CCleaner Cyber-Attack Hit Telecoms, Network Hardware Companies Hardest

Today’s topics include findings that the CCleaner attack targeted makers of networking equipment and enterprise software; Facebook dropping a new stock plan that would have benefited Mark Zuckerberg; Microsoft and Facebook’s completion of an undersea cable linking the U.S. and Spain; and the London Transport Authority voting to kick out Uber.

The malware inserted into CCleaner, Avast’s popular system utility downloaded by at least 2.3 million users, is far more serious than originally thought, specifically targeting the makers of networking equipment and enterprise software.

While Avast previously argued that the malware had been blocked from installation on victims’ systems, an analysis has revealed that the malware infected 700,000 systems in four days and explicitly targeted at least 20 companies with additional malware.

The attackers had targeted Samsung, Sony, VMware, Cisco, Linksys, Akamai and DLink, among other companies, according to the Talos research group at Cisco, which analyzed files that the company had received from an “intelligence partner.”

“We have quarantined the whole CCleaner development environment,” Avast CEO Vince Steckler told eWEEK. “We brought every piece into our own labs, and we are analyzing it. There is progress, but there is not an answer yet.”

Facing a class-action lawsuit that was causing plenty of consternation among shareholders, Facebook has killed a plan to create a new class of non-voting stock shares that would have enabled co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to maintain control of the company despite selling many of his public shares last year to fund philanthropic endeavors.

The new stock shares, insulated from those sold on the public market, would have weakened stockholders' power irreparably within the company, the lawsuit alleged.

Shares with no voting rights would likely have been traded at a discounted value, and the plan would have benefited Zuckerberg far more than investors, it claimed.

On Sept. 22, a few days before he was scheduled to appear in court about the case, Zuckerberg said he and the board will drop the idea. "We're thrilled that Facebook has dropped the reclassification," said shareholder attorney Stuart Grant of Grant & Eisenhofer. "Today's move is a total victory for stockholders."

Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius announced on Sept. 22 the completion of an undersea cable called Marea—Spanish for "tide." The fiber-optic cable links Virginia Beach, Va., and Bilbao, Spain, to transmit data at speeds of 160 terabits per second.

That's 16 million times faster than the average household internet connection and enough bandwidth to stream 71 million videos in HD simultaneously.

Speaking during a media event, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith called Marea "a connection that will bring the next billion users of the internet—in Africa, in the Middle East, across Southern Europe—closer to those of us who live in the United States.

This is part of the infrastructure of the 21st century." Nestled 17,000 feet under the water's surface, Marea weighs nearly 10.25 million pounds and stretches 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

In what could start a series of similar moves in other jurisdictions, the Transport for London authority on September 22nd turned down Uber's application for an extension to its operating license, citing "a lack of corporate responsibility."

Uber’s London-area permit will expire September 30th, although Uber said it will appeal the decision and can continue doing business in the city while the appeal is in progress.

The TFL deemed Uber “not fit and proper” to be a private hire operator license holder due to Uber's mishandling of acquiring medical certificates and reporting criminal offenses, its practices related to using controversial officer-avoiding software Greyball, and questionable methods for obtaining Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks.