Morning Money Memo…
Canadian taxpayers and British parents may be among the first victims of the Heartbleed bug. Canada’s tax agency says 900 social insurance numbers were stolen by hackers exploiting the bug. A popular British website for parents, Mumsnet, says cyber thieves may have obtained passwords and personal messages before its site was patched.
The Heartbleed bug was first revealed earlier this month, causing widespread concern about Internet security. Many sites using OpenSSL to digitally encrypt data as it passes between a user’s device and an online service could be vulnerable to Heartbleed.
Troubled Bitcoin exchange Mount Gox has apparently given up attempts to rebuild its business. The Tokyo-based virtual currency company asked a court to allow it to be liquidated, reports The Wall Street Journal. Mount Gox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, collapsed in February.
Yahoo shares jumped nearly 9 percent after a better-than-expected quarterly report. There was only slight growth for Yahoo’s US Internet operations. Almost all the improvement came from strong results in its ownership stake in China’s Alibaba, which reported a surge in sales and profits.
General Motors is pushing ahead with an aggressive legal strategy, trying to limit the damage of lawsuits over faulty ignition switches. The auto maker plans to ask a federal judge to shield it from legal claims on what happened before its 2009 bankruptcy. A GM motion filed for a federal court case in Corpus Christi, Texas, asks the judge to delay action until a federal bankruptcy court rules on a case involving defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. A switch can unexpectedly slip out of the “run” position, shutting down the engine, knocking out power-assisted steering and power brakes, and disabling the air bags. Some 2.6 million cars were recalled because of the switch problem.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced the creation of a product integrity team to improve safety. She told a meeting of car dealers that technical problems would be addressed quickly. Barra also promised dealers that GM is moving ahead with replacements for faulty ignition switches. “Parts are arriving at dealers. Trained technicians are at work and we are in the process of repairing cars,” she said.
On the surface there wasn’t much to worry about from the March consumer prices report. The annual US inflation rate is well under 2 percent, which is even lower than the target set by The Federal Reserve. Clothing, autos and consumer electronics cost the same or slightly less than a year ago. But the price of many basics rose. “It can really hurt people the most in terms of those on a limited budget,” says economist Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial.
Food and rental properties prices rose in much of the countre. But for the US economy the best thing is still modest inflation rather than deflation. “When you have falling prices everyone knows you hesitate. Think of when the housing market was going bust, no-one wanted to buy a depreciating asset,” says Swonk.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow