5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending Dec. 6, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.


The Week Ending Dec. 6

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is CyrusOne, the giant data center services provider that was the target of a ransomware attack.

Also making the list this week is Apple, which failed in a bid to dismiss a lawsuit against the company concerning allegedly defective laptop keyboards. Google faces more scrutiny for its planned acquisition of business analytics company Looker Data Sciences while email marketer TrueDialog is in hot water after a database managed by the Austin-based company containing millions of private SMS text messages was left unprotected. And Amazon Web Services is reportedly now part of a broader Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation of Amazon.

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Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves – or just had good luck – check out this week's Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

CyrusOne Ransomware Attack Hits Managed Service Clients

Six New York-area managed service customers of data center provider giant CyrusOne were hit by a ransomware attack this week.

The managed service clients experienced system availability issues due to a ransomware program encrypting certain devices in their network, according to Dallas-based CyrusOne, which was working with law enforcement and forensics firms to investigate the attack and with the involved customers to restore their affected systems.

The attack involved a version of the REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware — the same family of ransomware that hit several managed service providers in June, more than 20 Texas cities in early August and upward of 400 dentist offices later that month.

The hackers deliberately targeted CyrusOne’s network for attack, according to the ransom note, although the point of entry into the network remains unknown. CyrusOne said it does not intend to pay the ransom.

Apple Unable To Get MacBook Keyboard Lawsuit Dismissed

Apple suffered a legal defeat this week when a federal judge shot down the company’s bid to end a proposed class-action lawsuit over the troubled “butterfly” keyboard on notebooks such as the MacBook Pro.

A U.S. district judge in Northern California denied Apple’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the keyboards, which 10 plaintiffs brought against Apple in October 2018.

Apple introduced a redesigned MacBook Pro in late 2016 with a “butterfly” keyboard mechanism that Apple said was designed to provide more responsive and comfortable typing. But some of the keyboards have been defective with some keys not responding in a consistent manner or repeating letters and characters.

Apple has offered a service program for the problematic MacBook keyboards. But the judge’s ruling means that Apple may have to face the proposed class-action lawsuit.

Google’s Acquisition Of Looker Faces U.K. Antitrust Scrutiny

The U.K.’s competition watchdog is scrutinizing Google’s planned $2.6 billion acquisition of business analytics software company Looker Data Sciences.

This week the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority issued an initial enforcement order preventing the companies from integrating their services while the regulator conducts an early-stage review of the deal, according to Bloomberg and Reuters reports. The CMA said it is looking closely at the acquisition to determine whether the acquisition will hurt competition in the U.K. and has asked for comments on the deal through Dec. 20.

Google announced the Looker acquisition in June with plans to add the software to its Google Cloud Platform lineup to boost the platform’s business analytics capabilities.

In October, the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division disclosed that it was conducting a review of the proposed acquisition, asking Google and Looker for more information to assess whether the deal would harm competition.

TrueDialog Database Exposes Tens Of Millions Of Text Messages

A database managed by Austin-based TrueDialog containing millions of private SMS text messages was left open and unprotected online, according to security researchers.

The report from vpnMentor said the database included tens of millions of SMS text messages and exposed “a massive amount of private data,” including consumer email addresses and phone numbers, usernames and passwords to Facebook and other websites, and even access information to online medical services. Scammers could use the data for phishing and other online scams and to commit fraud and identity theft, vpnMentor said.

TrueDialog provides SMS texting services to businesses and educational institutions for business-to-consumer marketing campaigns and other purposes. The database was found hosted on Microsoft Azure and running on the Oracle Marketing Cloud platform, according to vpnMentor.

The security researcher said it discovered the database on Nov. 26 and contacted TrueDialog. The database was secured on Nov. 29, but as of Dec. 4 vpnMentor said TrueDialog had not replied to its communications.

“By not securing their database properly, TrueDialog compromised the security and privacy of millions of people across the U.S.A.,” vpnMentor said.

AWS Reportedly Now Part Of Broader FTC Antitrust Probe Of Amazon

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reportedly expanding its antitrust investigation of Amazon’s retail business to include the Amazon Web Services cloud services business unit.

FTC investigators have been talking to software companies about AWS’ business practices, according to a Bloomberg report that CRN has not independently confirmed. An investigation of AWS would be one of several moves by the U.S. government to examine whether tech giants, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, are potentially abusing their market positions.

AWS posted $9 billion in sales for its fiscal 2019 third quarter, accounting for nearly 13 percent of Amazon’s total sales. The cloud industry behemoth has a 48-percent share of the public cloud market, according to Gartner.