This Week In Tech: North Korea Gets Disconnected, Twitter Stocks Rise, Staples Reports Hack, And Uber’s CEO Gets In Trouble

This week brought us a week of holiday celebrations and a lot of complications for the tech industry. Friday Flashback11 This Week In Tech: North Korea Gets Disconnected, Twitter Stocks Rise, Staples Reports Hack, And Uber’s CEO Gets In TroubleEarlier this week, there was a widespread Internet outage for North Korea and as an effect, more controversy surrounding the recent Sony hack. We also saw Twitter perform better with its stock, Staples as a confirmed hacking victim, and Uber’s CEO facing criminal charges. What a week!

Here’s what happened, this week in tech.

1. North Korea Gets Disconnected. Early this week, North Korea lost their Internet connectivity for over nine hours, which was discovered by Dyn Research, a company that monitors Internet performance around the world. According to a published chart and corresponding tweet sent by the company, North Korea had “24 hours of increasing instability,” which then led to the outage. By Tuesday, the Internet was up and running, however it wasn’t without unstable networks and a struggle to stay connected.

The timing falls in line with the recent tension between North Korea and the U.S., after there was finger pointing at North Korea for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures. These accusations were made in front of the upcoming release of “The Interview,” a film based on a CIA plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader. A few hours before the internet outage on Sunday, President Obama stated that the hacking was not an act of war. He said, “I think it was an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously. We will respond proportionately.” However, U.S. officials declined to comment. North Korea’s Internet is routed through China, which could also be a possible source for the disconnection. With constant back and forth accusations between North Korea and the U.S., there may be more of this “cyber” tension in the upcoming weeks.

2. Twitter’s Stock Rises. Twitter did well in its reporting of its shares on Monday, after a prediction that CEO Dick Costolo, may leave the company. Wall Street analyst Robert Peck told CNBC, “We think there’s a good chance he’s not there within a year,” when referencing the current Twitter CEO. There has been much disappointment with Costolo as Twitter’s stock is down overall by 39 percent and Twitter user growth is moving at a very slow pace, currently remaining at 284 million active monthly users. But, Twitter saw a 3.6 percent increase in stock at the end of the day, with a spike after Peck spoke about Costolo’s possible exit. Peck has also suggested some worthy candidates to fill the position once open, such as former Yahoo CEO, Ross Levinsohn.

3. Staples Was Hacked. Since October, Staples has been investigating a possible hack on their system. After waiting two months, it has finally been confirmed that over 1.16 million customer credit cards were compromised. It is reported that the hackers know the names, credit card numbers, expiration dates, and verification codes of shoppers who purchased anything at Staples between July 20 and September 16 of this year. For those affected from the 115 stores that were hacked, Staples is offering free identity protection, identity theft insurance and a free credit report. Staples also posted the stores that were affected for each state.

4. Uber’s CEO Faces Criminal Charges. Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, was indicted in Seoul, South Korea for violating a public transport law. This law “bans rental car service operators from using their cars to conduct passenger-transport business.” Those violating the law of providing or facilitating transportation services without appropriate state licenses are subject to two years in prison or 20 million won (equal to $ 18,140 U.S. dollars). At this time, Kalanick has not yet been detained or questioned. Insight Communications, Uber’s representative in Seoul, commented that, “Uber respects the Korean legal system,” and is hoping “the Korean court will make a fair and sensible judgement on this case.”

This isn’t the first time Uber is facing scrutiny for its services. Uber is blocked from Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, along with Nevada. Uber has also suspended its services temporarily in Portland for three months after the city sued the company for not complying to its safety, health and consumer protection rules. Looks like Uber has some “Seoul” searching to do when it comes to customer relations.

That’s it for this week. Did we miss anything?

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Innovation » Jen Cohen Crompton