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TALKING POINTS

New apartment complex proposed in Allston near Pike

Globe Staff

computers

Flaw could expose unix, Linux systems to breaches

Boston computer security firm Rapid7 on Thursday reported it has discovered a new computer security problem that could allow an attacker to quickly infect hundreds of thousands of computers, much like the recent WannaCry ransomware attack. “Rapid7 has identified over 200,000 impacted systems exposed to the Internet,” said a statement issued by Josh Feinblum, the company’s vice president of information security. “These devices are facing an imminent threat and should be patched or removed from the Internet immediately.” A patch for the security flaw was released on Thursday. The security problem involves Samba, a piece of networking software found on computers running the Linux and Unix operating systems, which are primarily used by businesses and governments. A rapidly-spreading infection in such machines could cause severe online disruption. — HIAWATHA BRAY

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INSURANCE

President of John Hancock leaves

John Hancock is in search of a new leader. Craig Bromley, who had been president of John Hancock Financial Services since 2012, has left the company, its parent, Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp., announced Thursday as part of a series of leadership changes. Manulife offered few details about Bromley’s departure, but said the company has appointed Michael Doughty, who is currently the general manager of John Hancock Insurance, to run the US operations on an interim basis. Reached on Thursday, Bromley said he was retiring from the industry. Under Bromley, Boston-based John Hancock expanded its 401(k) business, buying a New York Life’s retirement planning division in 2014. It also launched a fitness-based discount program for life insurance in 2015 through a partnership with Vitality, a global wellness firm. John Hancock now offers its customers lower life insurance premiums if they permit the company to track their wellness and health habits, with mobile apps and wearable devices, such as Fitbits. But John Hancock has also struggled with its long-term care insurance line. Last year, the company, a major player in long-term care insurance, announced that it would stop selling new policies. On Thursday, Manulife also announced that its current chief executive, Donald Guloien, will retire on Sept. 30. Roy Gori, who is currently Manulife’s general manager for Asia, will take over as chief executive then.
— DEIRDRE FERNANDES

AUTOMOBILES

General Motors sued for allegedly installing devices to defeat emissions tests

General Motors on Thursday denied allegations made in a lawsuit that the company’s full-size diesel pickup trucks cheat on emissions tests. The lawsuit filed by lawyers for two truck owners in US District Court in Detroit alleges that trucks with Duramax diesel engines have three devices on them that are rigged to allow more pollution on the road than during treadmill tests in the Environmental Protection Agency laboratory. But GM called the allegations ‘‘baseless’’ and said in a statement it would vigorously defend itself. ‘‘The Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra comply with all US EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) emissions regulations,’’ the company said in a statement. The lawsuit filed by the Hagens Berman firm of Seattle alleges the trucks emit two to five times the legal limit for harmful nitrogen oxide. Also named as a defendant is Robert Bosch LLC, which made GM’s electronic diesel controls. Bosch says it is cooperating with government investigations into emissions cases and ‘‘defending its interests’’ in lawsuits. Diesel engines have been under scrutiny worldwide since Volkswagen admitted that its diesel cars cheated on tests. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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TECHNOLOGY

T-Mobile US Inc. is now letting customers link their phone numbers to any other Internet-connected device — tablets, laptops, or work-assigned phones — through a new app called Digits. With the service, T-Mobile is targeting consumers who want to use their 10-digit phone number to send and receive text messages using their computers and tablets as well. Digits will also give some of the 30 million people who carry two phones — business and personal — the option to use just one, according to chief operating officer Mike Sievert. Starting May 31, all T-Mobile phone numbers will be portable at no extra charge, and subscribers will have the option to add a second Digits phone number for an additional $10 a month. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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RETAIL

Sears shows signs of life

Sears Holdings Corp. rallied after posting its first quarterly profit since 2015, bringing a ray of optimism to a retail chain struggling to regain its relevance. First-quarter net income amounted to $244 million, compared with a loss of $471 million a year earlier. The gain reflects efforts by chief executive Eddie Lampert to sell assets and raise cash. But its main business — running the Sears and Kmart department stores — still struggled in the latest quarter: When excluding one-time items, the company posted a loss. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MORTGAGES

Rates fall to lowest level of the year

Long-term US mortgage rates fell this week to their lowest levels of the year. The benchmark 30-year rate dipped below the key 4 percent mark. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans tumbled to 3.95 percent from 4.02 percent last week. The rate stood at 3.64 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971. The rate on 15-year mortgages slipped to 3.19 percent from 3.27 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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development

Another apartment complex sought for Allston

A New Jersey-based developer filed preliminary plans this week to build a 262-unit apartment complex in Allston near the Massachusetts Turnpike. The Michaels Organization told the Boston Planning & Development Agency that it wants to demolish a handful of older warehouse and light-industrial buildings along Rugg Road and Braintree Street and build two, six-story apartment buildings and a five-floor “automated parking garage” with 177 spaces. In their letter, Michaels touted the site’s proximity to the brand new commuter rail station at Boston Landing, a quarter-mile away. It sits in a corridor of Allston between Brighton Avenue and the Turnpike that has turned into a development hotspot with New Balance’s massive Boston Landing campus, an 80-unit apartment complex under construction on Braintree Street, and a 1,000-unit housing development planned by Stop & Shop on the site of their store nearby. — TIM LOGAN

RETAIL

Best Buy’s bottom line helped by Mario and Luigi

Best Buy Co. got a boost from Mario and Luigi in the first quarter, as demand for Nintendo Co.’s new Switch game console helped the retailer post a surprise sales gain. Comparable-store sales — a closely watched benchmark — rose 1.6 percent, the company said on Thursday. Analysts had predicted a decline. Best Buy’s earnings also topped analysts’ projections, sending the shares on their biggest rally in six months. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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ECONOMY

More people file for jobless benefits

Slightly more people sought US unemployment benefits last week, but jobless claims remained at historically low levels. Applications for weekly unemployment aid rose 1,000 to 234,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile figure, fell 5,750 to 235,250. That’s the lowest level since April 14, 1973. Applications are a close indication for layoffs. They have been below 300,000 , a historically low figure, for 116 weeks. That’s the longest such streak since 1970. — ASSOCIATED PRESS