REUTERS EXCLUSIVE: Apple Inc computers were attacked by the same hackers who targeted Facebook Inc, but no data appeared to have been stolen, the company said on Tuesday in an unprecedented admission of a widespread cyber-security breach.
Facebook revealed on Friday that unidentified hackers traced to China had staged a sophisticated attack by infiltrating its employees’ laptops, but no user information was compromised.
Apple, which is working with law enforcement to track down the hackers, told Reuters that only a small number of its employees’ Macintosh computers were breached, but “there was no evidence that any data left Apple.”
The iPhone and iPad maker said it would release a software tool later on Tuesday to protect customers against the malicious software used in the attacks.
EXCLUSIVE: Apple said it was attacked by hackers who infected “small number” of its Mac computers. Apple says the hackers also hit Facebook and other small companies.
Apple says there is “no evidence that any data left Apple,” adding that the company is working with law enforcement to identify hackers. More soon on Reuters.com.
Software makers Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp said they disrupted a global cyber crime operation by shutting down servers that controlled hundreds of thousands of PCs without the knowledge of their users.
The move made it temporarily impossible for infected PCs around the world to search the web, though the companies offered free tools to clean machines through messages that were automatically pushed out to infected computers.
Technicians working on behalf of both companies raided data centers in Weehawken, New Jersey, and Manassas, Virginia, on Wednesday, accompanied by U.S. federal marshals, under an order issued by the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
They seized control of one server at the New Jersey facility and persuaded the operators of the Virginia data center to take down a server at their parent company in the Netherlands, according to Richard Boscovich, associate general counsel with Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit.
The servers that were pulled off line on Wednesday had been used to communicate with what Microsoft and Symantec estimate are between 300,000 and 600,000 PCs currently infected with malicious software that enslaved them into the botnet.
Walt Disney Co, which reported record earnings in November, started an internal cost cutting review several weeks ago that may include layoffs at its studio and other units, three people with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.
Disney, whose empire spans TV, film, merchandise and theme parks, is exploring cutbacks in jobs no longer needed because of improvements in technology, one of the people said.
It is also looking at redundant operations that could be eliminated after a string of major acquisitions over the past few years, said the person, who did not want to be identified because Disney has not disclosed the internal review.
Executives warned in November that the rising cost of sports rights and moribund home video sales will dampen growth.
"We are constantly looking at eliminating redundancies and creating greater efficiencies, especially with the rapid rise in new technology," said Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha.
Pakistan’s Taliban, one of the world’s most feared militant groups, are preparing for a leadership change that could mean less violence against the state but more attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, Pakistani military sources said.
Hakimullah Mehsud, a ruthless commander who has led the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the last three years, has lost operational control of the movement and the trust of his fighters, said a senior Pakistan army official based in the South Waziristan tribal region, the group’s stronghold.
The organization’s more moderate deputy leader, Wali-ur-Rehman, 40, is poised to succeed Mehsud, whose extreme violence has alienated enough of his fighters to significantly weaken him, the military sources told Reuters.
"Rehman is fast emerging as a consensus candidate to formally replace Hakimullah," said the army official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. "Now we may see the brutal commander replaced by a more pragmatic one for whom reconciliation with the Pakistani government has become a priority."
New Jersey Transit’s struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter of its passenger cars.
That damage is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars and take many months to repair, a Reuters examination has found.
The Garden State’s commuter railway parked critical equipment - including much of its newest and most expensive stock - at its low-lying main rail yard in Kearny just before the hurricane. It did so even though forecasters had released maps showing the wetland-surrounded area likely would be under water when Sandy’s expected record storm surge hit. Other equipment was parked at its Hoboken terminal and rail yard, where flooding also was predicted and which has flooded before.
Among the damaged equipment: nine dual-powered locomotive engines and 84 multi-level rail cars purchased over the past six years at a cost of about $385 million.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc will no longer sell Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle products, making a bet that consumers are more interested in other gadgets.
The retailer said the decision was consistent with its overall merchandising strategy. While Wal-Mart dwarfs other retailers in overall sales, it trails Amazon and others in online sales and has been trying to beef up its Internet business.
Consumers who buy Kindle tablets such as the new Kindle Fire HD can shop on the devices for more than just digital books, pushing Amazon into heightened competition with stores.
"We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments," Wal-Mart said in a memo sent to store managers on Wednesday. "This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced."
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed the decision and said the company would continue to sell “a broad assortment” of other tablets, eReaders and accessories. Amazon declined to comment.
EXCLUSIVE: Wal-Mart stops selling Amazon Kindles
Exclusive: Reuters obtains Pentagon letter on Osama bin Laden book
Exclusive: Former Navy SEAL in “material breach” of non-disclousre agreements with Osama bin Laden book, according to the Pentagon’s top attorney in a letter obtained by Reuters.
The Pentagon says it is considering “all remedies legally available” against the former Navy SEAL and all those acting in concert with him. The Pentagon says further public dissemination of the book “will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”
Google Inc CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been conducting behind-the-scenes conversations about a range of intellectual property matters, including the ongoing mobile patent disputes between the companies, according to people familiar with the matter.
The two chief executives had a phone conversation last week, the sources said. Discussions involving lower-level officials of the two companies are also ongoing.
Page and Cook are expected to talk again in the coming weeks, though no firm date has been set, the sources said. One source told Reuters that a meeting was scheduled for this Friday, but had been delayed for reasons that were unclear.
The two companies are keeping the lines of communication open at a high level against the backdrop of Apple’s decisive legal victory in a patent infringement case against Samsung, which uses Google’s Android software.
EXCLUSIVE: A nearly three-year-long investigation by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is expected to find there is little evidence the harsh “enhanced interrogation techniques” the CIA used on high-value prisoners produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.
People familiar with the inquiry said committee investigators, who have been poring over records from the administration of President George W. Bush, believe they do not substantiate claims by some Bush supporters that the harsh interrogations led to counter-terrorism coups.
The backers of such techniques, which include “water-boarding,” sleep deprivation and other practices critics call torture, maintain they have led to the disruption of major terror plots and the capture of al Qaeda leaders.
One official said investigators found “no evidence” such enhanced interrogations played “any significant role” in the years-long intelligence operations which led to the discovery and killing of Osama bin Laden last May by U.S. Navy SEALs.