Business Briefs

Published: Friday, August 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 31, 2003 at 11:19 p.m.

Government, industry fear broad Net attack

  • WASHINGTON - Government and industry experts consider brewing hacker activity a precursor to a broad Internet attack that would target enormous numbers of computers vulnerable from a flaw in Windows software from Microsoft Corp.
    Experts described an unusual confluence of conditions that heighten prospects for a serious disruption soon. They cite the high numbers of potential victims and increasingly sophisticated attack tools already tested successfully by hackers in recent days.
    An alert distributed Thursday among U.S. government agencies warned of "widespread scanning and exploitation" of victim computers by hackers who were developing "improved and automated exploit tools."

    May plans to close 32 Lord & Taylor stores

  • ST. LOUIS - May Department Stores Co. said Wednesday it will close 32 of its Lord & Taylor stores in 15 states and two other stores under different names, leaving about 3,700 workers without jobs.
    The targeted stores - representing 38 percent of Lord & Taylor's sites but just 19 percent of the company's sales - are in markets where Lord & Taylor lacked a major presence and generally had a small number of stores, May said.
    All seven Lord & Taylor stores in Florida - two in Miami and others in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Wellington and Tampa - will be closed.

    Pac Bell sues RIAA over IDs of music swappers

  • SAN FRANCISCO - SBC Communications Inc. is joining a legal battle with the recording industry with a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the industry's effort to track down online music swappers.
    In a complaint filed late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, SBC unit Pacific Bell Internet Services alleges that many of the subpoenas served against it by the Recording Industry Association of America were done so improperly.
    The suit also called to question some sections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the federal law the RIAA contends supports its latest legal actions. A spokesman for SBC said the RIAA's use of the DMCA in its legal quest for online song-sharers interferes with customer privacy.

    Thailand celebrates repayment on IMF loan

  • BANGKOK, Thailand - The Thai government celebrated its "independence" from the International Monetary Fund, confirming it will repay the final installment Thursday of a $12 billion loan it had taken to deal with the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
    Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra plans to give a radio speech on the nation's economy and to announce the repayment of the final installment of $1.6 billion, one year ahead of schedule.
    Thaksin is also expected say that Thailand has foreign reserves of $38 billion, and deposits worth $14 billion.
    Government spokesman Sita Diwari said Thaksin will urge the public to fly national flags on Friday to celebrate.

    OPEC decides to keep oil output unchanged

  • VIENNA, Austria - OPEC members have agreed to hold oil output steady and to wait until September before making any changes in their production quotas, the cartel announced Thursday.
    In a widely expected decision, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries chose not to lower its daily production ceiling of 25.4 million barrels, despite earlier fears that a revival of Iraqi crude exports might upset the oil market and erode prices.
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