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Microsoft says suspected Russian hackers accessed its internal source code

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 31, 2020

Microsoft said the suspected Russian hackers behind the stunning breach of numerous U.S. government agencies also accessed the company’s internal source code, although no customer data or services were compromised.

“We detected unusual activity with a small number of internal accounts and upon review, we discovered one account had been used to view source code in a number of source code repositories,” Microsoft said Thursday in a blog post that updated its continuing investigation of the attack. “The account did not have permissions to modify any code or engineering systems and our investigation further confirmed no changes were made.”

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to say which source code the hackers accessed.Microsoft had previously said it, too, had received a malicious update of software from information technology provider SolarWinds Corp. that was used to breach government agencies and companies around the world.

Microsoft said the hackers didn’t use the SolarWinds update to reach the internal account, but declined to elaborate on exactly how the attackers gained access.

U.S. imposes tariffs on more EU products

The Trump administration imposed tariffs on additional products from the European Union as part of a long-running dispute over subsidies to aircraft makers Airbus SE and Boeing Co.

In November, the EU instituted duties on some $4 billion in goods from the U.S. after gaining approval from the World Trade Organization. A year earlier, the U.S. sanctioned about $7.5 billion in imports from the EU including French wine and Scotch whisky.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Wednesday that it was targeting more European products because the EU used a time period that affected “substantially more products than would have been covered” otherwise.

The new goods affected include some aircraft-manufacturing parts, certain wines, and some cognac and other grape brandies from France and Germany.

Latest Amazon purchase: podcast producer Wondery

NEW YORK – Amazon is jumping into the podcast business.

The online shopping giant is buying Wondery, a 4-year-old producer of popular true crime podcasts such as “Dr. Death” and “Dirty John,” which was later turned into a TV series.

An explosion of new podcasts has led to sevaral acquisitions as competing platforms try to grow their audiences and their ad revenue. The music streaming platform Spotify bought two podcast companies in 2019 and it’s added high-profile hosts to its roster, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Wondery podcasts will be part of Amazon’s music streaming service, but it will still be available on other platforms as well.

“This is a pivotal moment to expand the Amazon Music offering beyond music as listener habits evolve,” Amazon said in a blog post Wednesday.U.S. to ban Malaysian palm oil over forced labor issues

U.S. officials said they will ban all shipments of palm oil from one of the world’s biggest producers after finding indicators of forced labor and other abuses on plantations that feed into the supply chains of some of America’s most famous food and cosmetic companies.

The order against Malaysian-owned Sime Darby Plantation Berhad and its local subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliates followed an intensive months-long investigation by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade, said Ana Hinojosa, one of the agency’s executive directors.

Hinojosa said the investigation “reasonably indicates” abuses against workers that included physical and sexual violence, restriction of movement, intimidation and threats, debt bondage, withholding of wages and excessive overtime.

From wire reports

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