Most Companies Can't Keep Up With Cybercrime 'Bad Guys'

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Morning Money Memo:

"The bad guys are winning." That's a major conclusion in Verizon's annual data breach report, which looked at cyberbreak-ins from dozens of firms and analyzed tens of thousands of security incidents. More than 94 percent of the attacks fall into nine basic patterns, the report says. "All of these attacks share financial gain as a motive," it concludes. Most of the attacks against companies' point-of-sales systems appear to come from organized criminal groups based in Eastern Europe. "We realize most organizations cannot keep up with cybercrime," the report states.

General Motors wants a federal bankruptcy court judge to protect the company from legal claims for actions that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. The filing makes the distinction between vehicles "manufactured and sold by Old GM," and the "new GM." The company says "numerous lawsuits" recently filed throughout the United States dealing with GM's recall of cars with possible ignition switch problems are "retained liabilities" of the old GM, not the new company

After recent jitters, the stock market is on its longest winning streak in six months. The first stage of the first-quarter corporate earnings season has gone well. Nearly a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings this week. Stock averages closed up Monday and futures rose again this morning.

Cable TV powerhouse Comcast reported stronger-than-expected, first-quarter numbers. Profits rose by a third as ad revenue surged at broadcast network NBC, helped by the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Jimmy Fallon's elevation as host of "The Tonight Show." Cable services revenue rose 5 percent compared with last year.

Big moves in the drug industry. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced a series of multibillion-dollar deals today that it said would reduce sales but boost profitability. Novartis has agreed to buy GlaxoSmithKline's cancer-drug business for $14.5 billion, and to divest most of its vaccines business to GSK for $7.1 billion, plus royalties. The two drugmakers also are creating a new consumer health care business. Separately, Novartis said it will sell off its animal health division to Eli Lilly.

Shares of Allergan rose more than 20 percent after hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals joined forces in a bid to buy the company. Their proposal is a cash-and-stock deal that could be worth about $45 billion. Allergan is well known for its Botox wrinkle treatment.

The cost of gasoline keeps going up. The average price for regular - $3.68 a gallon - is 15 cents higher than this time last year, a U.S. Energy Department's survey says. Analyst Tom Kloza of GasBuddy says the cost of switching to summertime blend is a reason for the price hike. "Somewhere between now and Cinco de Mayo [May 5] they'll probably peak, and my hunch is that these prices that you may pay in the next two weeks may be the highest numbers you see for the first eight months of the year," he says.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow

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