5 Companies That Had A Rough Week10:00 AM EST Fri. Aug. 30, 2013
Outages and hacks were front and center once again this week, as both Amazon and The New York Times were affected by downtime. Also, Steve Wozniak blasts Microsoft, Android is named king of malware and a major Google exec heads to China, while the company's co-founder makes the tabloids.
Amazon suffered another outage over the weekend, but unlike last week, this outage did not affect the Amazon.com marketplace. Amazon Web Services experienced server issues, and those issues caused Instagram and Vine to go offline for almost an hour on Sunday, according to TechCrunch.
Vine confirmed the outage on its Twitter account, saying that it was "aware of some issues affecting [its] servers and [it] was working to address them." According to TechCrunch, other services that rely on AWS, including Netflix, also experienced issues on Sunday.
Amazon kept users up-to-date on its status page, saying certain services were suffering a "degraded experience" that led to a "small number of EC2 instances [becoming] unreachable due to packet loss in a single [availability zone]." After an hour, all services were back to normal.
Microsoft stole all the headlines last week when it announced CEO Steve Ballmer would be retiring within a year. The fallout to that blockbuster announcement continued this week, and Ballmer's legacy is already being debated. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was among those who criticized Ballmer, telling the BBC the former CEO's tenure was not as significant as Bill Gates'.
Wozniak also criticized Microsoft as a company, saying it lacked "really great, new surprises", and it's been "resting on their markets that they built up a long, long time ago."
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Android is dominating the smartphone market, but it's also dominating the mobile malware market, according to a study issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
Android devices accounted for 79 percent of malicious attacks documented in the study. On the other end of the spectrum, Apple devices accounted for less than 1 percent of threats.
According to The Verge, about 50 percent of the malware threats came by way of text messages that installed attacking apps.
The New York Times, Twitter and other online services were crippled on Tuesday by a politically motivated hacktivist attack from the Syrian Electronic Army. The attack is being blamed on a security lapse at a domain reseller, according to Melbourne IT, the domain registrar responsible for handling the authoritative DNS server information.
The attack began shortly after 4 p.m. EST. Experts believe users trying to access the NYTimes.com website were redirected to an Internet space full of phishing and sites hosting malware.
"As good as your safeguards are, it's almost always going to come back to relying on humans," said Rob Delevan, national account manager at Salt Lake City, Utah-based Wasatch I.T. "This could be a black eye for some specific verticals, but the impact won't last long."
A Chinese smartphone company called Xiaomi announced this week that it had hired Hugo Barra, who served as vice president for Google's Android mobile operating system. Barra is among one of the highest-profile Westerners to join a tech company in China.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin (pictured) also made headlines for the wrong reasons this week. According to a report from AllThingsD, after six years of marriage, Brin has split with his wife Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe. This alone isn't worthy of a rough week. However, according to AllThingsD, Brin has become "romantically involved with a Google employee." That tidbit was picked up around the world by publications ranging from The Telegraph to Vanity Fair.
To tie everything together, The Los Angeles Times reported that the employee Brin is rumored to be romantically involved with was previously involved with Barra.