martes, 18 de enero de 2011

Consumer Confidential: IPad hack; A&W for sale; Sprint raising data fee

Ipadpic Here's your take-it-or-leave-it Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Two men have been charged by federal prosecutors with stealing e-mail addresses and other information from more than 100,000 Apple iPad users. Daniel Spitler, 26, of San Francisco, and Andrew Auernheimer, 25, of Fayetteville, Ark., face charges of fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. In June, AT&T acknowledged a security weak spot that exposed the e-mail addresses of apparently more than 100,000 iPad users. The company said the vulnerability affected only iPad users who signed up for AT&T's "3G" wireless Internet service and that it had fixed the problem. It involved an insecure way that AT&T's website would prompt iPad users when they tried to log into their AT&T accounts through the devices. The site would supply users' e-mail addresses. Hackers then apparently helped themselves.

--Apparently our thirst for root beer has diminished. Yum Brands says it's selling its A&W and Long John Silver's chains so it can concentrate on its KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands. The company also wants to focus on growth in China and elsewhere. "We do not believe Long John Silver’s and A&W-All American Food restaurants fit into our long-term growth strategy," says Yum Chief Executive David Novak. In the case of A&W, that's a pretty harsh indictment for a chain that once tried to reflect all-American tastes with its "family" of burgers and root beer. A&W and Long John Silver's now account for about 1,600 outlets, all of which are owned and operated by franchisees.

--The cost of a Sprint smart phone is about to go up. The wireless carrier says it will add a $10 fee on top of its existing data-service plans later this month to offset rising costs from increased wireless traffic on its network. Sprint already charges a $10 "premium data" fee for its 4G smart phones, but on Jan. 30 will expand the fee to all of its smart phones. Existing customers won't be affected until they renew their contracts. Wireless companies have scrambled to balance soaring traffic with prices that won't chase customers away. It's pretty much a sure bet that unlimited data plans like Sprint's are on the way out. In the future, you'll pay for every scrap of data you download.

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