Facebook Will Have Users Help Police Fake News, Plus A Brief History Of Yahoo’s Hacks

By 12.16.16

morning-brew-new
QUOTE OF THE DAY

“This is the Exxon Valdez of security breaches. One billion accounts compromised, when there are only three billion people with internet access in the world” — Jeff Williams of Contrast Security on the scale of the recent Yahoo hack. More on this story in a bit.

Market Snapshot

  • U.S. stocks resumed their post-election climb after Wednesday’s rate increase put a brief damper on the rally. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar reached a 14-year high (rule of thumb: higher U.S. interest rates = more demand for the greenback)

The Ball’s in Your Court, Feds

…After 21st Century Fox put its money where its mouth is. That’s right, 21st Century Fox (-0.11%) officially reached a deal yesterday to buy the remaining 61% it doesn’t already own of Sky (-0.21%), the colossal British satellite TV company. The hefty $14.8 billion deal is sure to create some friction (check out the deets if you missed Monday’s issue). Now what? The UK has nine days to decide if the deal would concentrate too much media control in one firm’s hands. That said, Fox owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch ain’t scared—he’s already claiming that the deal should be finished within a year. Wanna bet?

Hot Off The Press

…Real news only. Yesterday, Facebook (+0.30%) announced its strategy to combat all the pesky fake news that circulates on its platform. How? It’s a two-step process: first, the social media giant will start letting users flag stories that are false or misleading, which will push those stories off the platform and prevent them from being promoted. Zuck and Co. will also use algorithms that will automatically identify false stories, which are checked by a third party and then labeled as misleading in the News Feed. Good news? Well, it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Facebook is (reluctantly) acknowledging it must take responsibility for what pops up on its site. On the other hand, the company might be walking into the minefield that is censorship of free speech. Good luck, Zuck.

Oracle Sees the Future

…And likes it. The software giant (-2.15%) reported earnings yesterday, beating profit expectations and slightly missing revenue expectations. Not horrible, and not entirely Oracle’s fault either: the results were hampered by a stronger U.S. dollar, which took a bite out of Oracle’s overseas revenues. Overall, it’s a step in the right direction for a company that’s been trying to keep up with the times and shift its business increasingly to the cloud. After investing heavily in its software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) businesses, these new-age sales finally began to overtake sales in its core, old-school database business. The future bodes well for Oracle, with its co-CEO saying that next quarter might be the “best quarter ever, period.”

Pharma Served a Dose of Justice

…It wasn’t a matter of if, bit when. Just a day after former pharma execs were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice, twenty states sued six generic drug companies Thursday on allegations of price-fixing. Talk about a sucker punch. Among those named was Mylan, aka that company you know for massively price-gouging the EpiPen, a crucial allergy device. The suit alleges that Mylan and others colluded to manipulate prices on an antibiotic and a diabetes drug. The lawsuit put a big ol’ spotlight on what many Americans have been fearing—deceitful fraud in Big Pharma. There’s plenty more where that came from: the Justice Department is expected to name more generic drug companies soon. Stay tuned.

Other Stories

Economic Calendar

The History of Hacks

In case you missed it, earlier this week, Yahoo announced that a billion users had their info hacked. Yes, it’s kind of a big deal. The breach happened back in August 2013, with a wide range of information compromised, from email addresses and passwords to encrypted security answers. While the company works with law enforcement to investigate, let’s see how this most recent attack stacks up to other, high-profile hacks:

  • This isn’t Yahoo’s first rodeo. 500 million user accounts were hacked in 2014, which was the largest ever…until now, that is. Congrats on two record-breakers, Yahoo. The perpetrator of the 2014 hack? “Peace,” a Russian hacker who posted an offer to sell the hacked info for $1,800.
  • In June 2013, information was stolen from 360 million MySpace users. Another act of “Peace,” the stolen names, passwords and emails had apparently been for sale in an online forum. This echoed a 2012 Linkedin attack, when the Russian hacker was found asking for $2,200 in bitcoin for stolen information.
  • Back in 2008, credit card processing company Heartland was attacked, with hackers gaining access to valuable credit card data. This time, it was an American hacker, who has since been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Interview Question of the Day

People are waiting in line to board a 100-seat airplane. Steve is the first person in the line. He gets on the plane but suddenly can’t remember what his seat number is, so he picks a seat at random. After that, each person who gets on the plane sits in their assigned seat if it’s available, otherwise they will choose an open seat at random to sit in. The flight is full and you are last in line. What is the probability that you get to sit in your assigned seat? (Answer)

Startup of the Day

Strivr Labs is a virtual reality startup that provides training tools for seven NFL teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, and 13 college football teams. On Wednesday, Strivr raised $5 million in an initial round of funding to expand further into sports and the workplace, mostly aimed at improving reaction time and decision making.

Food for Thought

Instagram announced yesterday that it reached 600 million monthly active users, double the total user base from 2014. Even better: 100 million monthly active users were added in just the last six months. Looks like not even Snapchat can snap Instagram’s healthy growth trend.


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