Breakfast Briefing: PC-wrecking attack, Apple Store staffing

This morning’s top tech stories include new malware, Adobe Reader woes, and an admission from Apple’s retail boss, a former Dixons head, that maybe having enough staff to deal with customers is a good idea.

Breakfast Briefing: PC-wrecking attack, Apple Store staffing

PC-wrecking malware in targeted attack

Security experts are warning of a new targeted malware attack that vandalises victims’ PCs instead of stealing information. The Shamoon attacks have so far hit only one Saudi Arabian energy organisation, security company Symantec said, but the impact was severe.

“Unlike the current trend in targeted attacks that focus on stealing sensitive information, the Shamoon attacks seek to render infected computers unusable by corrupting critical files,” Symantec said. “The attacks leverage the destructive Disttrack malware, which in addition to corrupting files, overwrites infected machines’ boot records.”

Ex-Dixons boss admits mistake with Apple Store

When Apple hired Dixons CEO John Browett to head up its retail operations, it was hard to keep eyebrows from rising – one company is famously excellent at retail, the other… not so much. It seems the concern wasn’t misplaced: Browett has had to admit he made a mistake cutting back employees at Apple stores, after declaring them “too bloated” with employees and saying they needed to run “leaner” – even if it angered customers.

Now, we’re no sales experts, but the Apple Store reportedly makes the most money per square foot of retail space in the US – maybe don’t mess with the formula.

Google staffers warn of Adobe reader threat

Two Google employees have warned against using Adobe Reader after finding a string of memory related bugs in the software. Mateusz Jurczyk and Gynvael Coldwind had initially reported the bugs – across Windows, OS X and Linux platforms – back in June, but in a blog post noted that many of the issues remained unfixed in the latest update for Windows and OS X, while Linux remains exposed to all the 50 bugs reported.

How Microsoft could sell Surface for $199

Rumours have swirled this week about the possible price of Microsoft’s Surface, with reports suggesting it will sell for $199. Aside from the fact Microsoft said the Windows RT Surface would cost the same as similar other ARM devices, there are many reasons such a price sounds unlikely – namely, it would undercut and therefore anger rival/partner manufacturers, and there’s no way a 10in tablet could be made without a loss at that price.

However, The Guardian’s Charles Arthur has an idea, suggesting the devices could be sold on contract, like a phone – something Microsoft has already done with the Xbox.

Facebook can now delete your photos

It’s been three years, but Facebook can now delete your photos. In 2009, Ars Technica ran an experiment to see how quickly social media sites would take down photos from content delivery networks when they’d been deleted by the user. It took a year for the picture to disappear, and Ars readers wrote that their own photos were still online. Now, Facebook has admitted there was a problem with its photo storage system which is been solved by an upgrade – so those drunken or otherwise stupid photos will actually disappear within 30 days of deletion.

Quote of the day

Judge Lucy Koh, the poor lady tasked with settling the patent dispute between Samsung and Apple, has shown common sense and patience thought the trial – but she seems to be losing the latter.

Apple filed a document asking for 22 rebuttal witnesses after Samsung finishes with its evidence. According to The Verge, Koh asked why the legal team would ask for so much extra time, “when unless you’re smoking crack you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called!”

Apple attorney William Lee responded: “First, your honour, I’m not smoking crack. I can promise you that.”

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