Tech Stocks This Week: Facebook's Security Breach and More

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk managed to steal the show this week, though not in a good way, when the SEC filed a suit against the executive, asserting he misled investors with his Aug. 7 tweet about considering taking the company private. While this was certainly an interesting development, a look beyond this widely covered story reveals some other intriguing stories.

Two stories in tech, in particular, stood out during the week.

  • Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) discovered a security breach that affected nearly 50 million accounts.
  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) executive Jennifer Bailey discussed Apple Pay in an interview.
A drawing of a shield

Image source: Facebook.

Facebook

On Friday, social network Facebook said its engineering team had discovered a security breach that allowed hackers to access some information from almost 50 million accounts. 

Facebook explained the attack in a press release:

Our investigation is still in its early stages. But it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As” [–] a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens, which they could then use to take over people’s accounts.

To address the situation, Facebook fixed the vulnerability and reset many users’ access tokens, or the digital keys that help Facebook users stay logged into their accounts without having to re-enter their password. In addition, Facebook temporarily disabled its “View As” feature as it investigates the situation.

“People’s privacy and security is incredibly important, and we’re sorry this happened,” Facebook said in its press release on Friday.

Facebook stock took a hit on news of the hack, with shares falling about 2.6% on Friday.

Apple Pay

In an interview this week at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Reinvent conference, Apple’s vice president of internet services and Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, discussed Apple Pay — the company’s mobile wallet and mobile payments product.

The interview gave investors a window into Bailey’s big-picture vision for the product.

Explaining why Apple opted to partner with credit card and debit card companies for the service instead of launching an independent mobile banking product, Bailey said: “We don’t sit around thinking about, ‘What industry should we disrupted?’ We think about, ‘What great customer experiences can we develop?'” Bailey also noted that though the company “perhaps” makes money off Apple Pay transactions, the product’s main purpose is to create a great customer experience and play a role in keeping its customers locked into its ecosystem.

Bailey has overseen some extraordinary growth for Apple Pay. In the company’s most recent quarter, for instance, the service booked over 1 billion transactions — triple the transactions in the year-ago quarter. In addition, transaction growth accelerated during the period, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s most recent earnings call. 

Non-hardware products such as Apple Pay are growing in importance to Apple as the company’s services business is becoming increasingly important to the company’s long-term growth story. Now Apple’s second-largest segment, services revenue increased 31% year over year to more than $9.5 billion in the company’s third quarter of fiscal 2018.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple and Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, Facebook, and Tesla. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.