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Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm •  Published: February 12, 2015
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FireEye is "first in the door" on big cyberattacks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As hackers invade the computer systems of major companies with greater frequency and their corporate victims scramble to contain the damage and prevent future intrusions, these are boom times for cybersecurity sleuths.

Perhaps no security specialist has benefited more than a small but fast-growing company called FireEye, which is based in Silicon Valley and staffed with a roster of former military and law-enforcement cyberexperts.

FireEye has been called in to investigate the high-profile cyberattacks against Target, JPMorgan Chase, Sony Pictures and, just last week, Anthem, the country's second-largest health insurer.

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Are you a hack waiting to happen? Your boss wants to know

NEW YORK (AP) — The next phishing email you get could be from your boss.

With high-profile security breaches on the rise, from Sony Pictures to Anthem, companies are on the defensive. And they want to make sure their employees are not a hack waiting to happen.

Data show phishing emails are more and more common as entry points for hackers. Unwittingly clicking on a link in a scam email could unleash malware into a network or provide other access to cyberthieves.

So a growing number of companies are giving their workers a pop quiz, testing security savvy by sending spoof phishing emails to see who bites.

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Chinese phone sensation dips toes in US with accessories

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Xiaomi, one of China's hottest companies, is bringing its blend of cheap yet fashionable technology and crowd-pleasing antics to the U.S.

Although its smartphones won't be available here anytime soon, Xiaomi unveiled plans Thursday to test the U.S. market by selling inexpensive headphones and other accessories online.

It's hewing to the Internet-driven, customer-friendly model that has helped turn the company into a major player in mobile computing just five years after its founding.

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Now someone can manage your Facebook account after you die

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is making it easier to plan for your online afterlife.

The world's biggest online social network said Thursday that it will now let users pick someone who can manage their account after they die. Previously, the accounts were "memorialized" after death, or locked so that no one could log in.

But Facebook says its users wanted more choice. Beginning in the U.S., Facebook users can pick a "legacy contact" to post on their page after they die, respond to new friend requests and update their profile picture and cover photo.

Users can also have their accounts deleted after their death, which was not possible before.

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Expedia to buy Orbitz, further shift in online travel space

A wave of deals in the online travel industry has increasingly put some familiar names under two corporate umbrellas: Expedia and Priceline.

Expedia said Thursday that it is buying rival Orbitz for about $1.3 billion. The deal adds the Orbitz brand and sites including CheapTickets and HotelClub to a lineup that already includes names such as Hotels.com, Hotwire, Trivago and Australia's Wotif. com. Expedia is also in the process of buying Travelocity.

For now, industry executives and travel experts say, consumers won't notice much of an impact. They will still have plenty of options for booking flights, hotel rooms and vacation packages, including shopping directly with airline and hotel websites.

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American Express, Costco to end US exclusivity deal

Costco shoppers who have been limited for years to American Express credit cards may be able to pluck a new option from their wallets or purses next year after an exclusivity deal between the companies expires.

American Express said Thursday that it hasn't been able to come to an agreement with Costco on renewal terms. The current agreement covers U.S. stores and dates back 16 years. It will end March 31, 2016.

The end of the partnership with Costco will hurt American Express earnings and revenue growth in 2015 and 2016. Costco is the world's second-largest retailer by revenue, and its deal with the card company accounted for 8 percent of American Express billed business last year.

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Kellogg's cereal sales fall again, hurt by Special K

NEW YORK (AP) — Special K can't seem to shake its outdated image among weight watchers.

Kellogg said Thursday its U.S. cereal unit suffered another sales decline in the fourth quarter, hurt by the performance of its top moneymaker, which over the years has branched out into an array of products including bars, crackers and chips.

During a conference call, Kellogg CEO John Bryant noted weight watchers are no longer as focused on "holding back calories" and instead want foods that make them feel good about themselves. That has hurt Special K.

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Applications for US jobless aid rose to 304,000 last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week, though it is still at relatively low levels pointing to healthy hiring.

Applications rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week average, which smooths out some of the volatility, fell to 289,750. That is down 14 percent from a year ago.

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Cheaper gas lowers US retail sales; spending up elsewhere

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales fell sharply last month as gas prices plummeted and auto sales slowed. But excluding those volatile categories, Americans stepped up their spending a bit.

Retail sales dropped 0.8 percent in January, the Commerce Department said Thursday, following a 0.9 percent decline in December. The dollar value of gas station sales plunged 9.3 percent, the largest drop in six years. Auto dealer sales also fell for the second straight month after big gains in the fall.

Outside those categories, sales ticked up 0.2 percent after a flat reading in December.

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Johnson & Johnson projects aim to spot who'll get a disease

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Imagine being able to identify who is likely to develop a particular disease — and then stop the disorder before it starts.

That's the goal of three research projects launched by Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical research arm, Janssen Research & Development.

The projects, announced Thursday, aim to prevent illnesses — particularly ones related to aging and lifestyle — including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease and Type 1 diabetes.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 110.24 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,972.38. The S&P 500 index climbed 19.95 points, or 1 percent, to 2,088.48. The Nasdaq composite gained 56.43 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,857.61.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.37 to close at $51.21 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $2.39 to close at $57.05 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 5.2 cents to close at $1.596 a gallon. Heating oil rose 10 cents to close at $1.914 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8.4 cents to close at $2.713 per 1,000 cubic feet.