5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Google Android Grapples With Malware

Google started off the week by pledging to reduce the spread of malware on its Android operating system. The company had recently pulled more than 50 apps with malicious code from its Google Android Market. But while Google said it would increase its efforts to keep bad apps off of Android, the search engine giant was struck with another security downer – Google's Android Market security tool had been repackaged with malware. So it seems that not even Google's security updates for Android can remain malware-free.

Twitter Settles With FTC Over Security Lapses

The FTC on Friday announced a final settlement with Twitter, stemming from security breaches that allowed hackers to gain administrative control of Twitter and access private accounts in January and April 2009, including the account of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The FTC said Twitter had ’deceived consumers and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information,’ despite posting a strong statement trumpeting privacy. Twitter’s policy had stated: ’Twitter is very concerned about safeguarding the confidentiality of your personally identifiable information. We employ administrative, physical, and electronic measures designed to protect your information from unauthorized access.’ Twitter must establish a comprehensive security program to be reviewed by an auditor every 10 years. Twitter will be barred from, ’misleading consumers about the extent to which it protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information.’

Microsoft Delays Windows Phone 7 Update

Microsoft has delayed a promised update for its Windows Phone 7 mobile OS from the first half of March until later in the month. The update includes cut-and-paste functionality that many say should have been in the original release last fall. Microsoft can't afford any stumbles with Windows Phone 7, however small. It already has a black eye from problems an earlier update caused with Samsung phones. It also leaked out this week that Microsoft will pay Nokia $1 billion as an undisclosed element of Microsoft's much ballyhooed alliance with the Finish phone manufacturer.

Chrysler's Social Media SNAFU

Plenty of companies are using social media tools like Twitter to reach their customers, but sometimes the message can get out of hand. For example, Chrysler this week apologized after its official Twitter feed posted a nasty message with the F-word. "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive." Chrysler deleted the message and later said that its account was "compromised" earlier in the day and was taking steps to resolve the matter, although the car maker didn't say whether the errant post was the result of a Twitter hack or an internal misstep. According to various reports, the real culprit was Chrysler's social media agency, New Media Strategies. Guess someone at the agency was feeling some road rage.

N.J. Nearly Auctions Off PCs With Sensitive Data

N.J. Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer issued a report this week detailing how several state agencies ignored policies for removing sensitive data from PCs, laptops and smartphones before they were designated for public auction.

The audit found sensitive and confidential data sitting on computers that were prepped for public auction, including tax returns, social security numbers, passwords to state systems and documentation on child abuse cases that included the names and addresses of the children.

Of the 58 hard drives tested in the audit, 79 percent contained data, according to the report.

We give mad props to Boxer’s office for conducting the audit, discovering the problems and effectively halting the auction of the devices. But the audit leaves us wondering how much private data the state has already released to the public.