Home Depot Officicially Hacked; Facebook’s New High; Organic Lucky Charms?!

Hacked…

Image courtesy of chanpipat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of chanpipat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Home Depot officially confirmed what was already assumed to be fact as of last week: The home improvement chain was hacked at least as far back as April. Home Depot is definitely in the running for having suffered one of the worst hack attacks. Ever. Banks noticed an unusually high amount of suspicious and fraudulent activity on ATM withdrawals. Information stolen from Home Depot has been surfacing in online cyber-crime shops where criminals can conveniently purchase stolen information. Who knew? Of course, the chain apologized and will not hold consumers accountable for fraudulent activities. Duh. If you’re a frequent Home Depot patron, expect to be issued new cards with chips in them, making it that much more challenging for any would-be criminals to help themselves to a shopping spree on your dime. With 2,200 stores dotting the US and Canada, the cost of the breach has yet to be determined but it’ll likely be sharing the spotlight with Target, whose own data breach is still wreaking havoc. Given the similarities between the two hackings, sources suspect it’s the same group of hacker/cyber-crminals.

Ranked…

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s just another day in the fascinating cyber life of Facebook, whose stock hit yet another high of $77.89, putting the company’s value over the $200 billion mark. Speaking of Mark, Zuckerberg, that is, he himself is ranked as the 13th richest person, according to Forbes, with a net worth of $34.5 billion. That wealth comes primarily from his more than 61% ownership of Facebook. How convenient. Facebook now ranks as the 22nd largest company, comfortably sandwiched between Verizon and Toyota, companies that have been around much longer than the social media website (and Mark Zuckerberg). If you recall (and it’s okay if you don’t), Facebook’s IPO was a modest $38.00 per share. Oh, how hindsight is a bitter, teary 20/20.

Paying the price for organics…

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

General Mills is going to get a bit more organic now that it is picking up Annie’s, of the bunny-shaped mac and cheese fame, for the green green price of $820 million. Annie’s boasts over 150 products that are sold in over 35,000 locations and just last year the company hit over $200 million in sales. Not bad for a company that was founded in 1989. Okay, not as good as Facebook, but still not too shabby. While the company was doing okay, an increase in the price of commodities began shrinking its margins, making a sale to a bigger company a worthwhile and fiscally prudent decision. Annie’s now joins the illustrious ranks of Lucky Charms, Wheaties, and one of my personal favorites, Trix. Silly rabbit.

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Russian Cyber-vengeance?;Insta-gram-ification!; A&Fitch Logo Ditch

Cyber-score?

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now that a massive cyber-attack on JPMorgan Chase and a few other banks has been linked to Russian hackers, the question looms large: Was the hack attack in response to US imposed sanctions? Things that make you go hmmm. And while major amounts of data loss fell into the hands of these hackers, curiously enough, there hasn’t been an unusually high amount of fraudulent activity noted. At least for now. Which kind of suggests – in a really big way ¬†– that yeah, this cyber attack was politically motivated. Incidentally, back in April, JPMorgan blocked a money payment from a Russian embassy to a US sanctioned bank. ¬†That didn’t go over well – probably more so for JPMorgan than the Russians involved. In any case, with global conflicts on the rise, expect to see a lot more cyber-threats, kind of like the ones Iran has been throwing our way for years. Probably because they’re annoyed with US imposed economic sanctions. The attacks on banks are particularly impressive, more so than say those on Target, since banks have security and firewalls that are way more hardcore than those used in the retail sector. But banks have and will continue to step up their cyber-security precautions. JPMorgan is hoping $250 million and 1000 employees will do the trick.

I want it now!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Look out Veruca Salt! If you want it all and want it NOW then give a big shout out to Instagram for redefining the shopping experince. Now when you see something on Instagram that you absolutely have to have, like, immediately, you don’t just get to like the item on Instagram. You don’t just get to love it the product on Instagram. You actually get to buy the darn thing too! No more brooding over a an Instagram shot while you frantically search the retailer’s products page. A new “Like2Buy” button will take you exactly where you need to go/be. Shopper ecstasy.

Abercrombie & Switch…

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shockingly…or not, depending on whom you ask, Abercrombie & Fitch had its tenth straight quarter of declining sales. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that retailers like Forever 21, Zara and H&M are offering much trendier clothing for much less. It probably doesn’t help that A&F is helmed by a loud-mouthed CEO, who was stripped of his chairman title for making such stupid, odious comments about how his company’s clothing is intended for cool, skinny and pretty people. But clearly the cool, skinnies don’t care as they have been clearly taking their business elsewhere. The company has now decided that, in the US anyway, it’s going to shed the logo that is so prominently featured on so much of its clothing. They’re hoping that a move like that will bring in more revenue since adding more larger sizes didn’t do the trick. Go figure! Same store sales fell 6% and news of the unimpressive earnings report sent shares south by 8%.