Business Highlights

Research: Millions of smart devices vulnerable to hacking

BOSTON (AP) — Researchers at a cybersecurity firm say they have identified vulnerabilities in software widely used by millions of connected devices — flaws that could be exploited by hackers to penetrate business and home computer networks and disrupt them. There is no evidence of any intrusions that made use of the vulnerabilities. But their existence in data-communications software central to internet-connected devices prompted the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to flag the issue in a bulletin. Potentially affected devices from an estimated 150 manufacturers range from networked thermometers to “smart” plugs and printers to office routers and healthcare appliances to components of industrial control systems.


Pfizer vaccine moves closer to getting the OK in the US

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators have released their first scientific evaluation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and confirmed it offers strong protection. That sets the stage for the government to green light the biggest vaccination effort in the nation’s history. A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers will meet on Thursday to decide whether to recommend vaccinating millions of Americans with the Pfizer formula. A final FDA decision and the first shots could follow within just days.


Steady gains for stocks deliver more records on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Steady gains throughout the day delivered another round of record highs for major indexes on Wall Street Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also hit a record high. Small-company stocks rose much more than the rest of the market, a signal that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy. The gains, which came after a shaky start for the market, came as the U.K. became the first Western country to start a mass vaccination program. U.S. regulators have given a positive initial review of the vaccine and a decision to allow its use is expected within days.


UK, EU leaders to meet Wednesday amid Brexit no-deal signals

LONDON (AP) — The leaders of Britain and the European Union will meet in the next 24 hours for a final push at a Brexit deal, as the two sides warned that the chances of a post-Brexit trade deal by a year-end deadline is slipping away. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she looked forward to welcoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Brussels on Wednesday evening. Johnson’s office confirmed the two leaders would hold a dinner meeting ”to continue discussions on the future relationship.” Britain is due to leave the EU’s economic structures on Jan. 1, a rupture that could cause upheaval for businesses on both sides of the English Channel if there is no trade deal.


Cybersecurity firm FireEye says was hacked by nation state

MILPITAS, Calif. (AP) — Prominent cybersecurity firm FireEye says it was hacked by what it believes was a national government. The company said Tuesday that the attacker targeted and stole assessment tools that FireEye uses to test the its customers’ security and which mimic the methods used by hackers. It didn’t identify who it thought was responsible. The stolen “Red Team” tools could be dangerous in the wrong hands, though FireEye said there’s no indication they have been used. The company said it has developed countermeasures to protect its customers and others.


Tesla seeks to sell $5B in stock; CEO Musk moves to Texas

Tesla says Tuesday it wants to raise up to $5 billion in capital through a stock offering. The move came the same day that CEO Elon Musk said he has moved from California to Texas. The stock offering is the second for the company in three months. In September Tesla said that it planned to sell up to $5 billion worth of common shares just one day after its 5-for-1 stock split took effect. Musk told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that he has switched states, saying that California is complacent with innovators and has taken them for granted.


Apple to tighten app privacy, remove apps that don’t comply

LONDON (AP) — Apple is stepping up privacy for app users, forcing developers to be more transparent about data collection and warning they could be removed if they don’t comply with a new anti-tracking measure. An executive at the U.S. tech giant said Tuesday it’s set to roll out the anti-tracking feature next year and warned it could kick apps off its widely used App Store if they don’t obey its requirements. Called App Tracking Transparency, it will require apps to clearly ask for users permission before tracking them. In a separate policy update, apps in the App Store will soon have to start giving users more details about the personal data each app uses.


The S&P 500 rose 10.29 points, or 0.3%, to 3,702.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 104.09 points, or 0.4%, to 30,173.88. The Nasdaq picked up 62.83 points, or 0.5%, to 12,582.77. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks climbed 26.53 points, or 1.4%, to 1,917.78.