5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Sept. 1

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week are the Houston-based businesses that were relentlessly pounded by Hurricane Harvey this week. Thankfully, local solution providers as well as vendors stepped up to the plate to lend a helping hand.

Also making the list this week is Samsung for losing one of its channel champions in Kevin Gilroy; Abbott Laboratories for having to recall 465,000 of its pacemakers after being alerted that hackers can gain access to the devices; Yahoo and Verizon, which must now face litigation related to multiple breaches where personal information of more than 1 billion users was compromised; and users affected by a spambot that captured 711 million emal addresses.

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 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Hurricane Harvey Brings Massive Flooding To Houston Businesses

Hurricane Harvey brought 52 inches of rain to Houston in just under five days, breaking the record for the heaviest rainfall for a storm in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service. The storm cost the lives of at least 44 people thus far, and has displaced tens of thousands of residents from their homes.

Houston-based solution providers like Computex Technology Solutions and Centre Technologies have been helping businesses deal with the flood as well as making sure there's no loss of data. "We have email center updates going out at least three times a day, letting customers know about the weather, how their data is being protected, and then next steps," said Patricia Gonzalez, Centre's director of sales and marketing, this week.

Vendors also are stepping up to the plate to provide aid. Cisco launched a $500,000 disaster response campaign to support the American Red Cross in efforts to provide aid to Houston. The Cisco Foundation will match donations up to $10,000 per employee. CompTIA launched a fundraising campaign that will contribute $2 for every $1 pledged, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation has pledged $36 million for disaster relief.

Samsung Loses Channel Champion Kevin Gilroy

Samsung's B2B channel champion, Kevin Gilroy, this week revealed he is leaving the company on Sept. 1. Gilroy was spearheading the vendor's broad-scale focus on ramping up Samsung's channel efforts.

"We doubled the channel team, and we'll continue to make major investments in the channel team," Gilroy had said in a recent interview with CRN. "We just rolled out our certifications program for partners, we're making major marketing and enablement investments in the channel, so the channel is a big part of our future."

In a LinkedIn post, Gilroy said he was "retiring from Samsung" and plans to focus on part-time consulting and board advising.

Abbott Laboratories: Pacemaker Mayhem

Abbott Laboratories is recalling 465,000 pacemakers in the wake of an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that hackers can gain unauthorized access to change settings, modify program commands or shut off the device. There are four affected pacemaker models manufactured by St. Jude Medical, which Abbott acquired in January.

Abbott recently created a software upgrade for the affected pacemakers that includes data encryption and disables networking features. The FDA is not recommending the removal of the devices, but asking patients to visit their doctors to get the software updates needed.

Verizon And Yahoo To Face Litigation

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh this week ordered that Yahoo must face litigation stemming from three data breaches that occurred between 2013 and 2016. Yahoo was acquired by Verizon in June for $4.5 billion, and is now a subsidiary of Verizon working under a division dubbed Oath.

The first breach occurred in August 2013, compromising more than 1 billion user accounts. The next breach happened in 2014, affecting around 500 million user accounts. In March, the U.S. Department of Justice charged two federal Russian officers and two hackers in connection with the second breach. On Thursday, Judge Koh said the class-action lawsuits filed by the victims can move forward.

"All plaintiffs have alleged a risk of future identity theft, in addition to loss of value of their personal identification information," Judge Koh wrote in her 93-page decision.

Spambot Leaks 711 Million Email Accounts

Security researchers discovered this week that a spamming operation captured 711 million email address, and in some cases passwords, in a massive data breach.

The spambot, known as Onliner, stored files containing a large batch of email address, passwords and a list of email servers used to send junk mail. Onliner can bypass spam filters to target these millions of email addresses. Hackers could potentially hijack the accounts where both the email and passwords were breached. The spambot has been tracked to a Netherlands-based server. Researchers are recommending users change their password.