This Week In Tech: Sony Announcements, Anthem Is Hacked, Sprint Saves Radioshack, And Pandora Drops

This week, Sony revealed the ramifications of their November 2014 security breach while Friday Flashback11 This Week In Tech: Sony Announcements, Anthem Is Hacked, Sprint Saves Radioshack, And Pandora DropsAnthem Health Insurance became a data breach victim compromising data from about 80 million people. We also saw Sprint swoop in to try and save the day by making a deal with RadioShack. Meanwhile Pandora lost some ground in their shares and Spotify did some data analysis to predict this year’s Grammy award winners.

Here’s what happened, this week in tech.

1. Sony Dished Out $ 15 Million. CEO Steps Down. On Wednesday, Sony Pictures announced they will invest $ 15 million into the cost associated with the severe cyber attack the company received last year. During the breach, hackers leaked personal information, employee salaries, private email exchanges, upcoming movie information, and other damaging Sony-related documents. The hack was suspected to be in retaliation for Sony’s recent film, “The Interview,” in which the main characters plot the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. However, Sony decided to release the movie for download, which generated around 40 million dollars in revenue. The hack also delayed Sony’s third quarter results, with an extension filed for March 31. Regardless of the hack, however, the company continued to do well with 20 million in earnings, and Sony’s parent company Sony Corp. earned $ 737 million in its fourth quarter.

In other related Sony news, on Thursday the company announced the departure of entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal who had been with the company for 20 years, but did fall victim to the breach as personal emails of hers were released. Although she won’t be moving out of Sony completely, she will be shifting her career to become a movie producer. “I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” Pascal said in a statement. “I have always wanted to be a producer.” Whether it be her leaked emails or just a fresh start for the co-chairman, it was a needed move for both Pascal and Sony.

2. Anthem Health Insurance Hacked. The second largest health insurer was hacked on Thursday, with the breach affecting an estimated 80 million people. Those affected by the attack were sent an email by the company stating that “names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, addresses and employment data including income might have been stolen.” Some of the plans that could be affected include those covered under Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Caremore, DeCare, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Healthlink and Unicare. Anthem is doing their best to provide services to help with the aftermath and answering questions about the cyber attack. The FBI is investigating the attack, but customers are urged to keep a close eye on any suspicious activity with any accounts or suspicious emails and phone calls. Data breaches were a trend in 2014 with health care suffering 42.5 percent of those hacks. While credit card data was not stolen, the personal information that was compromised could be equal, if not more, dangerous.

3. Sprint into RadioShack. As RadioShack is nearing its end, Sprint will be picking up the tab by making a deal with one of RadioShack’s biggest shareholders Standard General. This week, RadioShack filed for bankruptcy and will be selling 1,500 to 2,400 stores and closing the remainder of the stores. Sprint will be operating as many as 1,750 stores, with a third of the store dedicated to Sprint, where company employees will be selling mobile devices using Sprint services, while also selling RadioShack products, services, and accessories. RadioShack’s bankruptcy comes as no surprise with 11 consecutive quarters proving unprofitable. Other buyers will have the opportunity to bid on RadioShack assets pending approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

4. Pandora Drops in Shares. As the fourth quarter sales results are coming in, the stocks are dropping for Pandora. The company’s shares fell 26 percent in after hours trading on Thursday, after revenues fell short by $ 9 million. With a prediction of $ 277 million, Pandora’s revenue came in at just about $ 268 million. However, Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews is hopeful for 2015, stating in a press release, “We ended 2014 in a very good position, with stronger relationships across the music community, record monetization metrics and highly engaged users. We’re looking forward to an exciting and productive 2015.” With 81.5 million active users (an increase from last year), Pandora hopes to turn around their stock numbers and exceed analysts revenue expectations.

For Fun…

5. Spotify Data to Predict Winners. On February 8, the 57th Grammys will celebrate the best in music…and Spotify says they already know who will win. Based on user data and unique algorithms, Spotify ran data analysis and says Pharrell and Sia will be this year’s big winners. Will the data prove true? Tune in to find out.

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

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Innovation » Jen Cohen Crompton