5 Companies That Had A Rough Week


The Week Ending Jan. 4

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Apple, which made a major reduction in its revenue forecast for its just completed fiscal 2019 first quarter, citing slow iPhone sales.

Also making the list this week are cloud hosting firm Data Resolution for battling a ransomware attack, CenturyLink for dealing with the aftermath of its massive telecom and Internet systems outage during the holiday, Marriott for the latest data on its massive hotel guest database security breach, and Adobe for scrambling to fix critical flaws in its Acrobat and Reader applications.

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.

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Apple Cuts Guidance For Quarter Citing Slow Demand For iPhone Upgrades

The new year isn't getting off to a very good start for Apple after the company slashed its guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter, which ended Dec. 29, citing slower-than-expected sales of its new iPhones.

The news caused Apple share prices to plunge more than 9 percent from $157.88 at the close of trading Wednesday to $143.92 at the opening bell Thursday.

CEO Tim Cook, in a letter to shareholders, said the demand for upgrades to the company's newest iPhones had been less than expected – especially in China and other developing markets. But Cook acknowledged that demand was lower in some developed markets as well.

The company now expects revenue for the quarter to be around $84 billion instead of the $89 billion to $93 billion the company had initially forecast.

Data Resolution Battles To Recover From Malware Attack Over The Holidays

Cloud hosting provider Data Resolution was briefly locked out of its own domain over the Christmas holiday break and was still working this week to restore operations to many of its customers.

Data Resolution's systems were infected Christmas Eve by the Ryuk ransomware – the same malware that hit delivery operations for several major newspapers across the country.

Data Resolution specializes in hosting Microsoft Dynamics and SharePoint applications. Some of those workloads for customers were still not restored by Wednesday of this week.

The Ryuk ransomware is believed to have originated in North Korea.

CenturyLink Faces Possible FCC Investigation Following Massive Phone And Internet Service Outage

Communications giant CenturyLink was still picking up the pieces this week after a massive system outage that began Dec. 27 took out phone and Internet services – including critical 911 emergency call services in some states – for both business and consumer customers.

Some customers lost services completely while others experienced limited functionality and intermittent interruptions.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called the outage "completely unacceptable" and said the FCC would investigate.

CenturyLink managed to resolve the outage after two days and blamed the problems on a single malfunctioning network card.

Marriott Says More Than 5 Million Passport Numbers Stolen In Massive Hack

Marriott International this week said that unencrypted passport numbers for 5.25 million guests were accessed by hackers in the massive security breach of the company's Starwood guest reservation database the company disclosed November 30.

The company also said that potentially as many as 20.3 million encrypted passport numbers were also accessed.

There was some good news, however: A forensics and analysis team investigating the breach now puts the "upper limit" of guests whose personal data was compromised at 383 million, down from as many as 500 million when Marriott first disclosed the security breach. Marriott said even that number is likely high because it counts multiple records belonging to the same guest.

Still, the scale of the security breach, which occurred between 2014 and September 2018, makes it one of the biggest such incidents in history.

Adobe Fixes Critical Bugs In Acrobat And Reader

Developers at Adobe scrambled this week to fix two critical flaws in the company's Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Reader DC applications for Windows and MacOS that could enable arbitrary code execution.

The unscheduled patch was released Thursday, according to a Threatpost story. The vulnerabilities, CVE-2018-16011 and CVE-2018-19725, could be exploited for arbitrary code execution in the context of the current user, Threatpost said.

While there are no known exploits for the vulnerabilities, they are in products that have historically been at elevated risk, Threatpost quoted Adobe as saying.