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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Hackers slow down the web, foreclosures fall, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Hedge-fund Billionaire Steve Cohen is now the owner of this serene-looking lady, Picasso's Le Reve.
Hedge-fund Billionaire Steve Cohen is now the owner of this serene-looking lady, Picasso's Le Reve. Anthony Behar/Getty Images

1. MASSIVE CYBERATTACK SLOWS GLOBAL INTERNET TRAFFIC
Internet connections slowed down across the world on Wednesday due to what online security experts are calling the biggest "distributed denial of service" cyberattack in history. The attacks, which clog up web servers with dummy traffic, was aimed at a nonprofit spam-fighting group called Spamhaus, which operates out of London and Geneva, that has been involved in a battle with Cyberbunker, a Dutch web host that boasts it will host anyone but child pornographers or terrorists. Spamhaus is accusing Cyberbunker of "criminal gangs" in Eastern Europe to swamp its server with six times the phony traffic it takes to knock a bank offline. [BBC News]
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2. FORECLOSURES FALL AS THE ECONOMY IMPROVES
The number of new mortgage foreclosures in the U.S. fell in the last quarter of 2012 to the lowest level since early 2008, according to a federal government report released on Wednesday. Large banks initiated 156,773 foreclosures over the three-month period, the least since the government started tracking foreclosure filings during the financial crisis. The total number of homes in foreclosure fell below one million for the first time since the summer of 2009, as the economy improved and banks searched for ways to deal with delinquent loans without resorting to taking back homes. [Reuters]
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3. ITALY'S WEAK BOND AUCTION RENEWS EUROZONE ANXIETY
U.S. Treasury bonds surged on Wednesday as investors rushed to find safe places to put their money following a disappointing auction of bonds in Italy, where political uncertainty is stoking fear that the government won't be able to put its finances in order. The higher demand pushed yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note down by 7 basis points, to 1.84 percent. Italy's troubles, coming as Cyprus struggles to restore calm in the wake of its controversial bailout agreement with Europe, served as a reminder that the eurozone's debt troubles could still explode. [MarketWatch]
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4. PICASSO PAINTING SELLS FOR $155 MILLION
Hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen has purchased Pablo Picasso's Le Reve from casino owner Steve Wynn for $155 million — the most a collector has ever paid for a work of art in the U.S. Wynn had agreed to sell Cohen the painting for $139 million, but the deal was canceled after Wynn accidentally put his elbow through the canvas. Cohen remained interested, however, as the work was being restored. [Bloomberg]
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5. CYPRUS WORKS ON MEASURES TO PREVENT A RUN ON BANKS
Cyprus is rushing to get capital controls in place to prevent people from emptying their accounts when the Mediterranean nation's banks reopen on Thursday. The safeguards are expected to include a ban on cashing checks and taking more than 3,000 euros ($3,830) out of the country. Cyprus' banks have been closed since March 16 as the country hammered out a $13 billion European Union bailout it needs to prevent the collapse of its financial system. The tiny tax haven's leaders rejected a controversial proposal to partially pay for the rescue with a tax on all bank accounts, but the new plan calls for raiding deposits over $130,000. [Bloomberg]

 
Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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