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Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm •  Published: December 18, 2014
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Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

ATLANTA (AP) — Companies across the globe are on high alert to tighten up network security to avoid being a target of an attack like that on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The hack, which a U.S. official has said investigators believe is linked to North Korea, culminated in the cancellation of a Sony film and ultimately could cost the movie studio hundreds of millions of dollars.

The fact that the attack included terrorist threats and was focused on causing major corporate damage, rather than on stealing customer information for fraud, indicates a whole new frontier has emerged in cybersecurity. Suddenly every major company could be the target of cyberextortion.

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2 more former Sony workers sue over data breach

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two more former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment are suing the company over the massive data breach in which their personal and financial information was stolen and posted online.

The lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday seeks class-action status for current and former Sony employees who information was hacked from the company's servers. The breach resulted in the release of Social Security numbers, financial, medical and other personal info for about 50,000 Sony workers.

It is the third such lawsuit filed against Sony this week.

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Questions and answers about traveling to Cuba

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't rush to book that flight to Cuba just yet.

While the U.S. plans to restore diplomatic ties with the Caribbean island nation, globe-trotting tourists won't be able to hop on a plane to Havana anytime soon. It remains illegal for most U.S. citizens to travel to — and spend money in — Cuba. Congress would first have to lift its half-century old trade embargo.

Still, travel companies are salivating at the chance to set up shop in Cuba. Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and the Carnival Corp. all expressed interest this week.

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Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

NEW YORK (AP) — Online shopping has become as volatile as stock market trading. Wild, minute-by-minute price swings on everything from clothes to TVs have made it difficult for holiday shoppers to "buy low."

A growing number of retailers are using software that changes online prices based on demand, competition, inventory and other factors. The main goal is to undercut rivals when necessary, and raise prices when demand is high and there's no competitive pressure.

But the new online tools can change the price on a single item — say, a sweater — dozens of times throughout the day. And that can leave shoppers confused about when they can get the best deal.

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US jobless aid applications decline to 289,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of solid job security and growing confidence among employers.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is the lowest level since late October. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 750 to 298,750.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The average has fallen nearly 13 percent in the past year, evidence the job market is improving.

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Gauge of US economy rises 0.6 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — An index designed to predict the future health of the economy posted a third straight solid gain in November.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month, matching the revised October gain. The October reading had originally been reported as a 0.9 percent increase. The index rose 0.8 percent in September after being unchanged in August.

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