VeriSign Was Hacked Repeatedly: Morning Business Memo

Feb 3, 2012 7:08am

The latest firm to reveal it was hit by computer hackers may come as a surprise — even to those who’ve warned cyber threats are a growing threat. VeriSign may not be a household name, but this is the infrastructure services company that’s behind the servers that provide the foundation for the Internet.

VeriSign has revealed it repeatedly hacked in 2010. PC World Magazine reports: “The disclosure did not happen as a result of VeriSign discovering the breach and taking responsible, proactive action to alert customers and address the situation. No, VeriSign buried the information in a quarterly Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing as if it was just another mundane tidbit.” The revelation first came in a Reuters report yesterday. In addition The Washington Post reported a virus has attacked the computer network of a job-development agency in the Commerce Department, forcing it to block employees from the Internet for nine days.

Financial markets may be largely driven by reaction to today’s employment report from the Labor Department. The January survey follows fairly strong reports from November and December. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress yesterday it may take years for the labor market to return to normal. The recession that began four years ago “took out eight and a half million jobs,” Scott Biddle of Public Agenda, the author of a new book on the employment market tells ABC News Radio. Two big things happened in recent years: accelerating technological change and the recession. “It’s almost as if the great depression and the industrial revolution were hitting at the same time,” he says. “We have a lot to cope with and some of these things are going to be very long-term challenges.”

More signs that Europe is sliding into a recession. Retail sales in the 17 eurozone nations fell during December. The European Union’s agency Eurostat says 2011 retail sales fell 1.6 percent as European consumers spent less.

Two of the world’s biggest mining companies are discussion a merger. Glencore and Xstrata — both based in Switzerland — could combine into an $80 billion company.

Morning Business Memo will be vacation next week and will return tanned rested and ready on February 13.

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