5 Companies That Dropped the Ball This Week11:06 AM EST Fri. Feb. 22, 2013
After a slew of phishing attacks at Oxford University, the school's IT department temporarily blocked all access to Google Docs in an effort to stop the attacks. The OxCERT team, which handles the university's network security, took the unusual step after criticizing the search engine giant's anti-phishing security measures. But because of the massive disruptions caused by cutting off Google, OxCERT was forced to reverse its decision and restore all access to Google services. Still, Oxford wasn't pleased with "Google's persistent failures" to prevent phishing scams and other cyberthreats.
In what's unfortunately become a reoccurring theme for Java these days, Oracle pushed out yet another security update for Java 7 following the discovery of five more serious vulnerabilities. The update follows a rushed, out-of-band security patch for the programming language earlier this month. The security update followed reports of recent Java-based attacks on Apple and Facebook, leading some security experts and researchers to recommend users disable Java until Oracle properly addresses the repeated security flaws.
Two major brands -- Burger King and Jeep -- had their official Twitter accounts hijacked by hackers (possibly the same group), who then began posting pranks. For example, the Burger King Twitter account falsely claimed the fast food company had been sold to rival McDonald's, while Jeep's Twitter account had its logo replaced with a Cadillac emblem and then falsely reported Jeep had been sold to General Motors. While corporations are often to blame for weak passwords, Twitter account hacks are becoming more frequent -- and embarrassing -- for big brands.
While HP made major progress this week toward repairing its channel partner relations with major changes to its PartnerOne program, HP's first-quarter 2013 earnings were a reminder that HP still has a long way to go. HP's first-quarter sales and earnings both declined year over year, with HP's Personal Systems Group seeing an 8 percent decrease and HP notebook revenue falling a whopping 16 percent. While HP said there are positive signs for the company's turnaround going into the second quarter, the company's PC business continues to be an area of concern.
While BlackBerry said its newest smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, has seen a strong opening in Canada and the U.K., several mobile analysts have cut their shipment estimates significantly for the first quarter, due to the delays for both the smartphone and the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Both the BlackBerry Z10 and BB10 OS have received positive reviews, but analysts are concerned that their late arrivals will hamper BlackBerry's comeback attempt.