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Twitter shares drop 7% on issues about hacking activity

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Twitter shares drop 7% on issues about hacking activity

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) stocks fell nearly 7 percent after the firm said it was exploring unusual traffic which may be from state-sponsored hackers as well as in what seemed to be an unrelated problem, a security company said hackers used the system to attempt and steal consumer information.

Twitter stated in a website it found suspicious visitors to some customer-support forum whilst exploring a security bug that subjected information, such as users’ phone state codes and information on secured accounts. It stated the bug was repaired Nov. 16.

Twitter observed plenty of visitors to the customer care website coming from individual net IP addresses in China and Saudi Arabia.

“While we can’t confirm purpose or attribution for sure, it’s likely that a few of those IP addresses might have ties to state-sponsored celebrities,” the site said.

“We continue to err on the side of complete transparency in this region and have upgraded law enforcement on our findings,” it stated.

Also Read: All Samsung Galaxy S10 models to support reverse wireless charging

A company spokesman declined to elaborate since Twitter stocks posted their biggest fall in two or more months.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter blamed the decline on issues that information of a breach might damage growth and consumer involvement.

“Certainly, a breach such as this impairs user confidence in the system,” he explained.

Separately, security software maker Trend Micro Inc said in a site before on Monday that attackers shipped out two tweets in October in an effort to steal information from previously infected servers.

The hackers concealed directions in tweeted memes that covertly ordered infected apparatus to deliver information, such as user names, display images, and other articles, Trend Micro said.

The Twitter spokesman declined to comment about the Trend Micro report.

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Toronto mayor retracts claims city is collecting cellphone location data in COVID-19 fight

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Toronto Mayor John Tory has walked back public claims he made Monday that the city was gathering cellphone data from telecommunications companies to spot places where residents continue to gather despite social-distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As first reported by The Logic, Tory told thousands of attendees of an online event hosted by TechTO that the city had “cellphone companies give us all the data on the pinging off their network on the weekend so we could see, ‘Where were people still congregating?’” He called such gatherings “the biggest enemy of fighting” COVID-19.

But on Tuesday, Tory said he had spoken incorrectly. “I made it sound like it was happening, not knowing it wasn’t happening,” he told the Toronto Star. The Star reported Tory had “raised the idea casually, but hadn’t spent time considering it deeply or putting it in use.”

Tory’s claims at the TechTO event came in response to a question about what those watching could do to assist the city’s efforts to fight the outbreak. Shortly after, The Logic contacted Don Peat, the mayor’s executive director of communications, with a transcript of the relevant section of Tory’s comments and questions including about to which companies he had been referring, what data the city had received and how it was using the information.

“The Mayor was referencing an offer to share totally anonymous cellphone location information with the City to help explain where people were congregating together in large groups over the weekend to help Toronto Public Health as it works to further encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Peat said in response. “The Mayor passed along the offer of anonymous data this morning to Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre to see if it could help in our efforts to confront the pandemic and save lives.”

Asked to clarify whether the city had already received any data, Peat directed The Logic to city staff, and copied Brad Ross, Toronto’s chief communications officer. The Logic followed up with Ross, but did not receive a response until after publication.

“The City of Toronto is not collecting cell phone location data, nor has it received any such data,” Ross said in an email early Tuesday. Asked to explain the contradiction with Tory’s comments on Monday night — in which the mayor called the data collection “something we’re doing now” and said he had “asked for it” and was “getting it” — Ross directed the inquiry back to Peat. “The City of Toronto statement stands: the City is not in possession of such data, nor will it acquire such data,” he said.

Neither Peat nor Ross have responded to The Logic’s repeated requests to provide further clarification.

On Monday night, Tory also asked TechTO event attendees to consider whether their own products produced data that could aid the city in its antiviral efforts. “You may not think it’s useful, but let us figure that out, because we just need more and more data about people’s habits, and about things and other applications you may think of that relate to everything from the shortage of personal protective equipment we have, through to compliance … with the orders that we’ve got to shut down and a host of other things,” he said.

It remains unclear who extended what Peat characterized as an “offer” to share cell data. Telus told The Logic it has not been contacted by the City of Toronto, while Rogers said it was not among the companies to which Tory was referring. Bell told the Star that no government had requested subscriber data, but the company “would consider it if it helps in the fight against COVID-19 while respecting privacy laws.” Shaw told Yahoo Finance Canada it had not been contacted by the city.

Other countries have used cellphone location data to track and enforce social distancing measures. South Korean health authorities and district offices have sent text messages to residents with links to websites detailing the movements of COVID-19 patients. Israel’s cabinet has given a domestic intelligence agency permission to use data it already gets from wireless carriers to identify and contact people who have been in close physical proximity to infected individuals.

Other officials engaged in the response to the outbreak were asked about cellphone location data tracking on Tuesday, following The Logic’s reporting.

“There has been, and continues to be, a wide variety of suggestions that come in to the city and into our [emergency operations centre] process with respect to opportunities to assist in potentially dealing with this issue,” said Matthew Pegg, the city’s fire chief and general manager of its Office of Emergency Management, during an afternoon press conference. “That’s an example of one of the suggestions that’s been made.”

Pegg repeated Ross’s comment that the city was not in possession of nor was it using any such data. Asked whether such information would be useful, if privacy considerations were dealt with, he said he “wouldn’t speculate at this point.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, the federal chief public health officer, said, “There’s lots of innovative approaches, and they should all be examined, obviously with respect, due respect to privacy, ethics, and all of those considerations.” But she noted that self-isolation and social distancing remain Canada’s “primary strategy” for dealing with the spread of COVID-19.

And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked Tuesday morning whether the federal government was using data from telecom firms to monitor people who should be self-isolating. “As far as I know, that is not a situation we’re looking at right now,” he said. “But as I’ve said, all options are on the table to do what is necessary to keep Canadians safe in these exceptional times.”

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The battle over driver experience is increasing and will be won in software

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The battle over driver experience is increasing and will be won in software

Sirius XM‘s current all-stock $3.5-billion buy of this music-streaming support Pandora increased a great deal of eyebrows. A major issue was why Sirius paid much. Is Pandora’s music library and client base actually worth that sum? The solution is that this is a tactical move by Sirius at a battle that’s much larger than radio. The actual battle, which is becoming a lot more visible in the next several years, is more than the driving experience.

People today spend a good deal of time commuting in their automobiles. This time is fixed and will not likely change. But what’s changing is how we drive. We are already seeing several new cars with motorist support characteristics, and automakers (and technology firms ) are working hard to attract completely autonomous automobiles into the industry as swiftly as possible. New cars now already contain a mean of 100 million lines of code which may be upgraded to boost motorist assist choices, and a few automakers such as Tesla offer an”autonomous” style on highways.

As stated by the Brookings Institute, one-quarter of cars will be autonomous from 2040 and IHS forecasts all automobiles will soon be autonomous after 2050. These are conservative estimates, as we’re very likely to see big changes in another 10 decades.

These changes will affect the driving experience. As automobiles become more autonomous, we could do more than just listen to podcasts or music. We might have the ability to watch movies, browse the internet and much more. The worth of automobile property is already precious, but it is likely to skyrocket because we alter how people consume media while driving.

The Pandora acquisition was a strategic move by Sirius to achieve the crucial assets so it will not fall behind in this area — and also to enter the fast-paced music streaming company, where consumers have music in the home, work and in play. Even though Pandora’s music library is possibly next grade, in addition, it is good enough it may provide pretty much every celebrity many men and women want. This can be how expensive mergers occur — a single party is worried about falling and pays a premium to buy the other firm’s assets. Additionally, it is a wager by Sirius concerning the driving experience of their future.

As the conflict over the driving experience heats up, we’ll initially see businesses such as Google, Amazon and Apple start dipping their toes on the marketplace. They might do this via investments in startups, rolling their own solutions, or buying competitions. A few of those massive tech firms already have jobs around autonomous automobiles. Uber might even be interested in the marketplace.

For the time being, Sirius likely does not need to be worried about competition from startups. They will not have the ability to grow large enough quickly enough to receive a large share of this marketplace. A more probable situation is that startups will operate on applications that delivers an exceptional performance, which makes it an attractive acquisition target by a bigger firm.

This will be an interesting battle to watch in the next few years, as automobiles basically become applications using four wheels attached. Firms like Sirius know that this is a significant space and the battle within the driving experience is going to be won in applications. The purchase of Pandora is just the start.

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Originally posted 2018-12-03 06:49:35.

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Shopify well placed to weather economic fallout from COVID-19, say analysts

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Despite losing nearly US$25 billion in market cap from its peak last month, e-commerce giant Shopify is well placed to avoid the worst effects of an economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic — and it could emerge from the outbreak ready to make deals and win business away from legacy technology providers, company and technology analysts say.

Shopify shares are down more than a third from their mid-February high amid a market-wide swoon, but the company still has a strong balance sheet to make deals and survive revenue slumps. It closed out 2019 with US$2.46 billion in cash and marketable securities on hand, following three secondary share offerings in two years.

The company’s executives have been active on social media during the outbreak, soliciting suggestions for ways to help merchants and compiling a list of government-support programs for small businesses. The Ottawa-based firm’s software and services were historically mostly used by small merchants, but big-brand division Shopify Plus now accounts for an increasingly important share of its business.

Those two groups are likely to be affected by a downturn at different times, according to Ken Wong, director of Guggenheim Partners and an analyst who covers the company. “The smaller [ones] will probably be okay, near- and medium-term, but hurt more long-term if this is protracted,” he said. “The big [ones] have a larger per cent of the wallet, [so] they’ll probably see some pain upfront.”

Shopify Plus contributed 27 per cent of the company’s US$53.9 million in monthly recurring revenue as of the end of 2019, up two percentage points from the previous year. The company also said the number of merchants doing more than US$1-million worth of business on the platform rose 44 per cent last year.

“More established businesses can probably weather the storm a little bit better than your average entrepreneur or [small- or medium-sized business],” said Ygal Arounian, vice-president of equity research at Wedbush Securities. A Plus merchant could lose a large share of sales, but “if they’re still around when all this wraps up and they have a demand backlog, that can come back really easily, versus a smaller merchant that has to close up shop.”

Big-brand clients of the company, which did not respond to The Logic’s request for comment for this story, include consumer packaged-goods giants like Nestle, General Mills and Heineken. Shoppers continue to stock up on these firms’ staple products during both recessions and outbreaks, and earlier this month, Nielsen predicted online sales will grow in the U.S., still by far Shopify’s largest market.

Businesses selling less essential items — clothing brands and furniture retailers, for example — could be harder hit by a downturn, as people avoid buying things they don’t feel they need. “We don’t have a really good sense of how much of Shopify’s exposure is to consumer discretionary,” said Wong, noting that the company doesn’t report its merchants by category. But a June 2019 company report identifies shirts and tops, shoes, books and mobile-phone cases among the most sold products on Shopify stores globally.

Shopify primarily makes money by selling subscriptions for its platform and through fees for add-ons like payment processing, shipping, loans and cash advances. Wong said growth in both is likely to “soften” in a downturn. The second category, which the company calls merchant solutions, contributed almost 60 per cent of its US$1.58 billion in 2019 revenue, and it’s growing faster. That income will “fluctuate with however much the economy is spending,” said Joe Cicman, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Arounian said it’s harder to quantify the effect of a downturn on Shopify than, for example, ride-sharing firms Uber and Lyft, which have seen demand drop off directly as a result of consumers socially isolating to avoid viral transmission.

In February, CFO Amy Shapero said 2020 would be “a year of heavy investment” for Shopify, including in its fulfillment network — warehouses and software that will handle shipping and delivery for merchants — as well as international growth and improvements to the Plus product. The firm forecast revenues between US$2.13 billion and US$2.16 billion, and said it would spend some US$80 million on capital expenditures, mostly for new office space.

It has not issued any additional guidance in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but neither Wong nor Arounian expect Shopify to retreat materially from its 2020 growth plans. “Maybe some of the bigger product releases that we would have expected to see mid-year get pushed back a little bit,” Arounian said, noting that the company has called off the in-person part of its annual Unite conference in May.

Wong said technology companies with long-term growth plans are often able to accelerate in downturns. “They typically are able to buy [other companies] when a lot of these privates that thought they were multi-billion-dollar companies all of a sudden realize that the window might have closed,” he said, adding that public firms with valuable equity are particularly well placed to make acquisitions.

In the longer term, it could win business from other vendors whose customers are looking to grow their online business or reduce their technology costs. “If this slowdown goes longer — [say] a year or two — Shopify is actually in a pretty good position to capture replatforming from some of these really big companies that are lumbering under very expensive and old monolithic e-commerce infrastructure,” said Cicman.

The Logic

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