Busi­ness

The Washington Post Sunday - - TAKING STOCK -

Ma­li­cious soft­ware that blocks ac­cess to com­put­ers spread swiftly across the world Fri­day, snarling crit­i­cal sys­tems in hos­pi­tals, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and cor­po­rate of­fices with the help of a soft­ware vul­ner­a­bil­ity orig­i­nally dis­cov­ered by the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency. Re­ports of the mal­ware spread be­gan in Bri­tain, where the Na­tional Health Ser­vice de­scribed se­ri­ous prob­lems. But gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­perts later de­scribed a far more ex­ten­sive prob­lem grow­ing across the In­ter­net, with tens of thou­sands of com­put­ers in dozens of na­tions af­fected. Europe, Asia and Latin Amer­ica were es­pe­cially hard hit. Ap­ple be­came the first U.S. com­pany to top $800 bil­lion in mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion, a lit­tle more than two years af­ter it crossed the $700 bil­lion thresh­old. The iPhone maker’s shares have gained 33 per­cent this year and al­most 50 per­cent since the Novem­ber elec­tions. Ap­ple rep­re­sents about 4 per­cent of the $21.7 tril­lion that makes up the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500-stock in­dex. A fed­eral ap­peals court up­held the gov­ern­ment’s bailout of Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Group in the heat of the Great Re­ces­sion. The rul­ing said a com­pany con­trolled by ex-AIG chief ex­ec­u­tive Mau­rice Green­berg did not have a le­gal right to pur­sue its claim against the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Green­berg had al­leged that the $85 bil­lion bailout of the tee­ter­ing AIG in Septem­ber 2008 vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion’s Fifth Amend­ment by tak­ing con­trol of the com­pany with­out “just com­pen­sa­tion.” Bar­clays will pay $97 mil­lion to set­tle civil charges that it over­billed its as­set man­age­ment busi­ness clients for tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, U.S. reg­u­la­tors said. Bar­clays de­clined to com­ment. Warren Buf­fett said United Air­lines bun­gled the case of the pas­sen­ger dragged off a plane last month, and he crit­i­cized the chief ex­ec­u­tive’s han­dling of the in­ci­dent. Buf­fett, whose Berk­shire Hath­away is a ma­jor share­holder of United and other U.S. air­lines, said the spot­light on poor cus­tomer ser­vice in the air­line in­dus­try doesn’t change his in­vest­ment strat­egy. Berk­shire Hath­away is also the top share­holder at Delta Air Lines, No. 2 at South­west Air­lines and No. 3 at Amer­i­can Air­lines. Face­book must delete hate speech post­ings world­wide, an Aus­trian court said, rul­ing that Aus­trian law can be ap­plied to law­suits against the so­cial me­dia web­site. Green Party politi­cian Eva Glaw­is­chnig sued af­ter com­ments about her were posted in a fake pro­file. Bum­ble Bee Foods has agreed to plead guilty to one count of fix­ing the prices of canned tuna sold in the United States and to pay a crim­i­nal fine of $25 mil­lion, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said.

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