Tech wrap: Hackers target PayPal, again

July 27, 2011

PayPal is once again caught in the crosshairs of prominent hacker collectives Anonymous and LulzSec. The two groups released a joint statement on document-sharing website Pastebin on Wednesday urging their supporters who use the eBay-owned online payment service to close down their accounts in protest at the site’s continued refusal to process donations to whistleblower site WikiLeaks.

The message also criticized PayPal for helping police track down hackers suspected of taking part in an earlier attack on the company’s website in December that was allegedly coordinated by Anonymous. A spokesman for PayPal told Reuters that the company had observed no changes in “normal operations,” including the number of accounts that had been closed overnight.

Separately, a British teenager was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of being a leader of the LulzSec collective, which has boasted of breaking into the networks of the CIA, Sony and many other private and public bodies. The teenager is thought to be a spokesman for both LulzSec and Anonymous and uses the hacker nickname “Topiary,” London’s Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement.

Microsoft moved one step closer on Wednesday to getting the newest version of its Windows Phone operating software – dubbed Mango – onto smartphones and into consumers’ hands after it released the platform to manufacturers. That means the software giant has officially completed work on developing Mango and will now let handset manufacturers and mobile operators optimize it for use on their devices. Japan’s Fujitsu was the first phone maker to officially announce a Windows Phone “Mango” device, the IS12T, which will sport a 13.2-megapixel camera and 32 GB of storage.

Samsung is well on its way to reaching its goal of selling 10 million of its Galaxy S II smartphones. The company announced it has already sold 5 million units of the device, which went on sale in South Korea, Japan, China and Europe earlier this year.  That number should jump considerably once the smartphone is released in the United States in August. “None of the U.S. operators has announced definite plans to offer this phone, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that it will be sold by all four of the major carriers,” writes InformationWeek’s Eric Zeman.

Here’s a fun Apple factoid: each of the tech giant’s retail outlets make $4,406 per square foot on an annual basis, excluding online sales, according to investment bank Needham & Co. That figure is an average of the sales generated by all Apple outlets around the world. The company seems set to extend its retail footprint even further when it opens its new outlet in Grand Central Terminal. Business Insider estimates that the new store could generate half-a-billion dollars in annual sales.

Netflix subscribers in Canada and Latin America will soon be able to watch episodes of popular shows such as “Dexter” and “Californication” via the DVD and online streaming service. The company announced on Wednesday that it had reached a deal with CBS  Corp to allow streaming of those shows and others in the regions for two years. The deal follows a similar agreement between Netflix and CBS earlier this year covering streaming show in the U.S.

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