Monthly Archives: March 2016

Chicago Law Firms Among Targeted in Russian Hacker Scheme

computer-crime-1233360_640Four of the almost 50 elite law firms targeted by a Russian hacker were from Chicago, it was reported in an alert from Flashpoint, a New York-based computer-threat intelligence company.

The firms were Kirkland & Ellis, Sidley Austin, McDermott Will & Emery and Jenner & Block; all listed on a spreadsheet of potential targets of a cyber break-in into the company’s computer systems.

The leader of the threat is a broker named “Oleras,” living in Ukraine. He has been trying to gain access since January into these law firms’ computer systems by means of hiring hackers. His wish is to find information which will then allow him to trade using insider information.

Flashpoint notified law agencies, but would not comment any further. As of March 4th the FBI has the illegal activity under investigation.

Goodyear Guessing on the Look of Driverless Car Tires

Traditional tires heading to the trash heap of history? Photo by: Brian Cantoni
Traditional tires heading to the trash heap of history? Photo by: Brian Cantoni

There has been a lot of speculation lately about what the world of driverless cars will look like, in the relatively near future. Observers are not only wondering what our society will become when cars don’t need drivers, but also what will the cars themselves look like. Will they have steering wheels? How will the interiors be designed? And lots of other questions.

But until now no one really thought much about the outside of the car, particularly, the tires. Goodyear, the giant manufacture of tires for vehicles, has been thinking about this issue. At the Geneva International Motor Show Goodyear presented what they are calling the Eagle-360, spherical tires (big rubber balls) designed exclusively for autonomous cars.

Apparently these tires will not connect to the car’s axles. Rather, they will magnetically levitate underneath the car. There will be a battery inside the wheels which will power the movement of the wheels. The batteries will charge from the car body wirelessly, and also from regenerative braking.

Other features, such as sensors and specialized treads will send information about road conditions to the car, as well as being responsive to the particular conditions of certain geographic regions. Even more amazing is that the wheels will not even turn in the traditional way. The balls will just start to roll in a different direction when a turn is needed. These cars are more efficient, for instance, they can be densely packed in parking lots, since they can make turns at 90-degree angles as opposed to traditional turning radius of conventional cars.

Kohl’s Stores Closing as Shift to Internet Proceeds

The exterior of a typical Kohl's department store in Northeast Columbia.
The exterior of a typical Kohl’s department store in Northeast Columbia.

It looks like 2016 is going to be a bad year for Kohl’s as they announce 18 stores will be closing this coming year.

Or perhaps its not so bad after all. Kohl’s says that sales from the 18 stores listed for closure represent only 1 percent of the company’s total sales. Closing the stores will make it easier for the giant retailer to focus on its burgeoning on-line business. Which stores will be put on the chopping block will be announced this month.

“While the decision to close stores is a difficult one, we evaluated all of the elements that contribute to making a store successful, and we were thoughtful and strategic in our approach. We are committed to leveraging our resources on our more productive assets,” Kevin Mansell, CEO of Kohl’s, said.

The company also announced that it will be opening seven new “smaller format” stores in the Midwest as well as 12 FILA outlet stores in the coming year.

Kohl’s is based in Wisconsin, and had fourth-quarter earnings of $296 million with a net income of $1.58 per share. Revenue for the same period totaled $6.4 billion.

Portage Park Making a Comeback

Six Corners. Photo by Antonio Vernon
Six Corners. Photo by Antonio Vernon

Once Chicago’s most popular shopping district outside the Loop, Portage Park’s Six Corners has recently seen some hard times. According to Quay Tao, owner of two Six Corners restaurants, The Portage and Community Tavern, five years ago, when he moved his businesses in, the area was like a “ghost-town.”

Due to two redevelopment projects some members of the community are feeling optimistic about the direction the area is now heading. Chuck Giovenco, general manager of Fantasy Costumes, said that things are “finally going in the right direction” for Six Corners.

“We are extremely excited and have been looking for opportunities at Six Corners for a long time. I think the Six Corners Association and Ald. (John) Arena have done a great job improving this iconic, historic retail district, and I think we’ll be able to make a contribution to continuing to evolve the area,”

said Peter Eisenberg, principal with developer Clark Street Real Estate.