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Tesla’s Model 3 Is Here, Switching To E-commerce?

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Elon Musk confirm the reintroduction of Tesla Model 3 with a more e-commerce centric move

The electric carmaker, Tesla, is finally launching its long-awaited standard Model 3 and announces that they will take the e-commerce route.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced that it would be bringing the long-promised, Model 3 with a base price cut of $35,000. The automaker previously promised this to its consumers ever since it revealed the mid-size sedan in 2016. This move is a significant decrease from the previous models that cost $45,000 base price.

The base model of the Model 3 will have 220 miles of range, a top speed of 130 miles-per-hour and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, the company said.

Also, they will also be releasing the Model 3 Standard Range Plus with 240 miles of range, a top speed of 140 miles-per-hour and accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds at the base price of $37,000.

Musk said he anticipates demand of more than 500,000 Model 3s a year. The company delivered 145,610 Model 3s in 2018 at a previous $45,000 with 260 miles of range.

“The interior will be slightly better than was originally promised,” Musk told reporters on a conference call Thursday, adding that the base price doesn’t factor in tax incentives or gas savings that may further lower the cost of buying and owning a Tesla.

“It’s an incredible car, and at $35,000 there are still some pretty significant consumer tax credits that can be had,” Musk said.

Moreover, Tesla is also changing the customer shopping experience. People can no go to Galleries and try the vehicles before buying. The automaker now also offer full refunds if a car is returned within a week or reaching 1,000 miles.

Critics are skeptical with Tesla’s decision of bringing the price range of the Model 3 much lower compared to other models and how it could affect profits.

The company won’t profit in the first quarter, Musk said, although he expects Tesla will return to profitability in the second quarter.

“Given that there is a lot happening in Q1, and we are taking a lot of one time charges, there are a lot of challenges getting cars to China and Europe, we do not expect to be profitable. We do think that profitability in Q2 is likely,” Musk said.

In addition, Tesla is converting to a pure e-commerce system where all sales can now be accomplished online through a customer’s mobile phones.

“You can buy your car on your phone in about one minute in the US,” Musk said. “We will still have stores, but they will be converted to galleries and information centers.”

There aren’t many showrooms across the USA as Tesla is focused on catering to well-off communities but the company is closing some stores to reduce head count and ultimately, expenses.

The cut is necessary to enable the company to sell the car at a much cheaper price.

“There’s just no way around that, I wish there was some other way,” Musk said. “It is excruciatingly difficult to make this car for $35,000 and still be financially sustainable,” he added.

Tesla did need the lower-priced Model 3 to draw in that larger market they have been aiming for, but they will have to carefully weigh the benefits of selling a lot of cheaper cars against making greater profits, said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

“I kind of view it as a balancing act, but a key ingredient to their success in the long term was coming out with a $35000 vehicle that can have more mass demand and ultimately get to a gross margin profile in line with targets,” Ives said.

However, some analysts argue that releasing a cheaper model would affect gross margins as consumers would flock the cheaper alternative and abandon the higher priced model that brought in higher gross margins for the company.

“Tesla’s blended average sales price between the Model 3, S and X was approximately $66,800 last quarter, so this is really going to degrade their average price realizations. It might be different if Tesla had the production capacity to drive volume and margin for this lower priced version, but they don’t currently and to add the incremental capacity would require significant additional capital investment,” said Garrett Nelson from CFRA.

The company prioritized the production of more expensive versions of the car in order to keep profit margins high. Musk has defended the decision by saying that making lower-priced versions was unprofitable and would cause Tesla to ‘die’, as reported by CNBC

The company’s shares were halted, and Tesla suspended all orders on its website ahead of Thursday’s news. It also redirected users to a page teasing a mystery announcement Musk promised to reveal at 5 p.m. ET, saying: “The wait is almost over.”

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Business

Boeing’s Aftermath After Deadly Plane Crashes

Boeing is facing multiple lawsuits following two deadly plane crashes amidst talk on changes with faulty 737 MAX planes. Click To Tweet

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Boeing 737 MAX. Photo From: Boeing.com

Last October, 189 people died on a Lion Air plane crash over the Java Sea, minutes into the flight. Last March, another 157 people killed on an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash while on its way to Nairobi, Kenya. The link between the two plane crashes? Both used Boeing’s new 737 Max 8 planes.

Boeing is ready to take the next step as they move forward from the tragedy that caused the lives of 346 individuals following the malfunctions of their new 737 Max 8 planes. However, the rest of the world share the same sentiments.

People who have lost their loved ones to the deadly plane incidents – airline companies, and the government are all coming after the airplane manufacturer demanding answers, compensation, and even justice for the toll it has caused unto the lives of the people who were left behind.

Boeing’s in a tight spot as their problems are accumulating more profusely during a sensitive time when they just presented the changes that they have started implementing to the FAA in accordance to the identified issues that may have led to the October and March crashes.

Tomorrow the Federal Aviation Authority is set to present updates regarding changes in Boeing’s safety and technical features on their 737 Max 8 plane crafts during an aviation summit in Texas that will involve 57 agencies from 33 countries, including China, France, Germany and the UK, as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

However, their consistent public neglect of the issue cannot just be forgotten as they still have to publicly address the issues revolving around the cause of the unfortunate incidents. Moreover, Boeing must be held accountable for the lives lost and lives affected by the accidents.

A French woman, May 20, filed a U.S. lawsuit against Boeing for the loss of his husband in the Ethiopian Airlines crash along with a dozen or more family members who also lost their loved ones in the crash and about another dozen more from the Lion Air crash.

Nadege Dubois-Seex, the French woman who lost her husband, Jonathan Seex, a Swedish and Kenyan citizen and chief executive of the Tamarind Group of Companies, filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago and is demanding for compensation from Boeing amounting to $276 million.

“The life of my husband was taken knowingly, and even willingly,” Dubois-Seex said in a press conference. “Boeing acted with cynicism. My husband was the collateral damage of a system, of a business strategy.”

A new system called MCAS was installed in Boeing’s 737 Max as part of the new fuel-efficient plane craft. Reportedly, this was supposed to rival the fuel-efficient plane that Airbus was planning to release.

The complaint alleges Boeing for failing to inform pilots properly about MCAS, which automatically lowered the plane’s nose in order to decrease stalling. However, it caused the plane to dip and ultimately crash because the pilots were unaware of how to handle the situation.

“We have learned that Boeing relied on a single sensor that had been previously flagged in over 200 incident reports submitted to the FAA,” U.S. attorney Nomaan Husain said during a press conference in Paris.

Explaining how he arrived at that sum, Husain added: “In 2018, Boeing grossed $101 billion. When you take that figure and divide it by 365, you arrive at the figure of $276 million.”

“Is one day’s worth of gross receipts by Boeing severe enough to deter future behavior? Or is it one week’s worth of wages, or one month, or one year? That’s going to be for the jury to decide.”

Boeing 737 Max
Photo From: Boeing.com

On the other hand, airline companies from all over the world have also demanded compensation from Boeing after regulators ordered all the 737 Max planes grounded after the second crash.

Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Ryanair and Flydubai have requested compensation but the most notable is the major airline companies from China: Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern.

China has the most number of 737 Max planes in the world. Moreover, in lieu of the circumstance, they were the first to ground the planes as a precaution to passenger safety and welfare.

“China has grounded 96 aircraft, which is about 4 percent of its airplanes. The grounding causes huge losses for Chinese airlines,” China aviation expert Li Xiaojin told Reuters.

Daily losses are likely to be at least 100,000 yuan ($14,469.90) per aircraft for each airline, Li estimated.

“The potential costs are huge too. Slower growth in passenger volume across China’s major airports for March and April was largely due to the grounding of 737 MAX jets, according to my calculations,” Li said.

Moreover, this also comes at a time when US-China relations are at a heated relationship with the on-going trade war and higher tariffs being placed against one another.

It is unclear that Boeing will have its 737 Max planes up in the air for the summer travel peak season but we’re guessing that it would be most unlikely.

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Cryptocurreny

Are Hackers Friends Of Crypto Industry Or Are They Enemies?

Hackers have been paid more than $30,000 for exposing and fixing security issues in crypto companies but at the same time, hackers are also the reason why some of them lose money. Click To Tweet

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Hackers have been paid more than $30,000 for exposing and fixing security issues in crypto companies but at the same time, hackers are also the reason why some of them lose money.
Hackers have been paid by crypto companies to fix bugs. Photo: Christoph Scholz | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The unregulated universe of cryptocurrencies have found its unlikely allies among hackers in solving systemic problems and fixing bugs, a report reveals.

Crypto companies including crypto exchanges have paid a lump sum of at least $32,150 to different white-hat hackers by fixing the security flaws in popular crypto and blockchain platforms such as TRON, Brave, EOS, and Coinbase.

The data revealed that 15 blockchain and crypto-related firms had made hefty payments as rewards to security researchers between March 28 and May 16. The said rewards were made concerning 30 publicly-released bug reports during the entire duration.

Among all the companies who had the security threats, Omise, the software firm behind cryptocurrency OmiseGo, need the most fixes with six disclosed bugs and security issues. Blockchain-powered prediction market Augur disclosed three reports, as did Brave Software, makers of the Brave browser, which features its own native token.

Crypto and blockchain technology has since been criticized by different financial institutions for being volatile and vulnerable to technology and cyber crimes, making the technology not conducive to become a working technology. It only makes sense that in time when they need help the most, white-hat hackers and security researchers are there to help them – for a price.

According to the study, he payment varies depending on the severity of the bug. They adjust their HackerOne rewards depending on how easy or difficult it is for the white-hat hacker to reolve a security issue. For instance, majority of Omise’s disclosed security flaws were only worth around $100 each, there are other payments that amounted to a lot more, the study suggests.

Both Block.one, the company that owns the EOS “blockchain,” and budding network Aeternity paid one hacker with more than $10,000 for a single issue that the hacker paid. TRON also paid $3,100 to the researcher who realized the network was susceptible to being flooded with malicious smart contracts, something thatcould jeopardize the future of the company.

Most of cryptocurrency companies and blockchain firms, just like other tech-based companies, have set up a reward or bounty system that would pay anyone that can point out any form of security issue in their systems; a bigger reward is also provided to those who can fix them.

While hackers who decided to use their skills to improve the technology stratosphere are increasing in number steadily, they could at any time decide to use their skills to exploit the vulnerabilities they have discovered for bigger take home money.

Just like how last week, cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that hackers had successfully stolen 7,000 BT (then $40 million, now $55 million) from its own wallets.

Similarly crypto exchange company Cryptopia announced last week that the company is going into liquidation following the attack that lost the company millions of dollars worth of crypto money in January.

According to a blockchain data analytics firm, their investigation allowed them to estimate the loss caused by the cyber attack to be as much as $16 million in ether and ERC-20 tokens. While the company has restarted their trading services in March, no one is still certain of the actual damages that the cyber attacked caused the company. Until now, the company is still recovering from the aftermath of the breach and still having banking issues.

According to the liquidation firm, Grant Thornton, since the damages caused by the hacking was too “severe” and has impacted the company massively in terms of trade, and amidst the effort of its management to regain composure by reducing costs and returning the business to profitability, they have decided that liquidation is the best option for the company and all stakeholders moving forward.

It is still unclear whether or not Cryptopia is running its own bounty program but coincidentally, Binance has a bounty reward of $100,000 for anyone who can solve the mystery of their stolen crypto money, but until now, the perpetrator is still at large and unidentified.

“At Binance, the security of our users is our number one priority. As such, we strive to provide the most secure platform possible. We will evaluate reported security issues based on the security impact to our users and the Binance ecosystem.”

In the end, the question still remains: Are hackers friends of the crypto industry or are they the enemy?

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Business

Researchers Found Exposed Database Containing HCL Employee Passwords, Client Management Record, And Internal Reports

Researchers from UpGuard found a database that contains HCL employee data, internal reports and project information. The database is now inaccessible. Click To Tweet

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Researchers from UpGuard found a database that contains HCL employee data, internal reports and project information.
HCL has exposed employee and project data in an unprotected database. Photo: Mike MacKenzie | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Notable IT services company, HCL, has left a database online that includes identifiable and sensitive data of its employees, and the database is open for download from an HCL-linked domain, cybersecurity research organization UpGuard revealed.

The discovery was made on May 1st, 2019 and revealed that the public data exposed included personal information and plaintext passwords of new hires, reports on installations of customer infrastructure, and web application for managing personnel. Following the disclosure to HCL, the company has already made the exposed database inaccessible and secured the known data exposures.

“On May 6, after reaching a reasonably complete level of analysis of the public pages and data, the researcher sent a notification to HCL’s Data Protection Officer at privacy@hcl.com. That notification included links to five subdomains hosting pages with some kind of business information and two URLs for pages as examples of what could be found on those subdomains. On May 7, the analyst confirmed that those two pages could no longer be accessed without authentication but that pages on the other subdomains were still accessible. The analyst sent a followup email linking to other pages with HCL data, and on the next day, May 8, the analyst confirmed that those pages were also no longer accessible to anonymous users,” said the announcement from UpGuard.

UpGuard reveals that the said accessible data were located after days of work because the exposed data were included in multiple subdomains and had to be accessed through a web UI. One of the accessible subdomains located by the researchers contained pages for various HR administrative tasks. While not all pages in the subdomain were accessible, the team said that access to the subdomain also allowed anonymous access to substantial amounts of personal information, “some of it very recent.”

A dashboard for new hires included records for 364 personnel. The oldest was from 2013, but over two hundred records were from 2019. Fifty-four of the records were for people who joined on May 6, 2019. The exposed data included candidate ID, name, mobile number, joining date, joining location, recruiter SAP code, recruiter name, created date, user name, cleartext password, BGV status, offer accepted, and a link to the candidate form.

A redacted sample of employee records who have joined in 2019. Photo: UpGuard

“Among those data points, the most obvious risk is that the passwords could be used to access other HCL systems to which these employees would be given access,” the post reads.

HCL Technologies Limited (Hindustan Computers Limited) is an Indian multinational information technology (IT) service and consulting company headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. It is a subsidiary of HCL Enterprise. Originally a research and development division of HCL, it emerged as an independent company in 1991 when HCL ventured into the software services business. The company offers a vast tech-related product portfolio from software development to cybersecurity, to Infrastructure Management and Engineering. They also provide IoT and cloud services.

Their relationship with their clients is also one of the things that were compromised by the recent exposure of data as customer installation reports were also exposed online for anonymous users to consume.

“The ASP framework used on this site had a security feature that prevents requests from being submitted if they are not from the UI. This prevents the alteration of requests to go beyond the scope of what the user is authorized to access. Because the UI was fully available to anonymous users, this did not protect the data but did prevent bulk downloading of all data by calling the APIs directly. None of the data here included credentials, but there were substantial amounts of information about HCL projects.”

Screenshot of the report index . Photo: UpGuard

Internal analysis reports were also compromised exposing 5700 incidents of “detailed incidences report with the following labels: VSAT ID, Location, ATM ID, Start time, End time, Duration, Reason, and Description. The “Service Window Uptime Report” includes VSAT ID, Consignee, City, Accountable Uptime, Comnet Issue, Non-HCL Comnet, Customer issue, Uptime. There were 450 records for April of 2019, 450 records for January of 2019, and 521 records for January 2018, matching the regularity one would expect from some kind of standard monthly report.

Other data that were anonymously accessed by the researchers are the company’s Weekly Customer Reports, Installation Reports, Escalation matrix for transportation service, and administrative panel for recruiting approval chain.

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