Business Tidbits

State-Backed Cyberspies Promises Rich Payoff

BEIJING (AP) – For state-backed cyberspies such as a Chinese military unit implicated by a U.S. security firm in a computer crime wave, hacking foreign companies can produce high-value secrets ranging from details on oil fields to advanced manufacturing technology.

“This is really the new era of cybercrime,” said Graham Cluley, a British security expert. “We’ve moved from kids in their bedroom and financially motivated crime to state-sponsored cybercrime, which is interested in stealing secrets and getting military or commercial advantage.”

Instead of credit card numbers and other consumer data sought by crime gangs, security experts say cyberspies with resources that suggest they work for governments aim at better-guarded but more valuable information. Companies in fields from petrochemical to software can cut costs by receiving stolen secrets. An energy company bidding for access to an oil field abroad can save money if spies can tell it what foreign rivals might pay. Suppliers can press customers to pay more if they know details of their finances. For China, advanced technology and other information from the West could help speed the rise of giant state-owned companies seen as national champions.

Office Depot to Buy OfficeMax In $1.2B Stock Sale

NEW YORK (AP) – Office Depot and OfficeMax are being collated. The retailers said Wednesday they have agreed to combine in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion that would transform the office-supply retail sector by helping the No. 2 and No. 3 chains compete against industry behemoth Staples.

The merger marks the first move toward consolidation in an industry that is bloated with stores. It reflects the changing retail landscape as “big box” stores have become outmoded and more people shop online. Still, doubts remain whether the combination, which has been mulled over in the industry for years, is enough to offset growing competition and a changing retail landscape.

Greek President Warns of ‘Societal Explosion’

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Looking out across a room full of reporters gathered to welcome French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, Greece’s President Karolos Papoulias gave a stark warning about the state of the country after three harsh years of government spending cuts, joblessness and tax hikes.

“We are faced with a societal explosion if any more pressure is put on society,” he said.

In spite of Greece receiving much-needed bailout loans, life seems to be getting worse for ordinary people. Not only are Greece’s 1.35 million unemployed unable to make ends meet, but a growing number of those who have work are struggling as more and more companies can no longer make regular salary payments. As well finding it harder to feed, heat and clothe themselves and their families, Greek workers also have to pay increasingly hefty taxes the government is relying on to turn the economy around.

Source: Boeing to Propose 787 Battery Fix to FAA

WASHINGTON (AP) – Boeing has developed a plan that it intends to propose to federal regulators to temporarily fix problems with the 787 Dreamliner’s batteries that have kept the planes on the ground for more than a month, a congressional official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner is expected to present the plan to Michael Huerta, head of
the Federal Aviation Administration, in a meeting on Friday, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.