Wall Street’s most awaited startup company, Uber is set to go public Friday, May 10th and the stakes are high because the ride-hailing company is touted to be the largest IPO after Alibaba. The ride-hailing app is set to announce its IPO through the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) like other unicorns Spotify and Slack.
Dubbed as the most successful startup company in the world, Uber, valued at around $70 billion in the private market is said to make an approximate of $90 to $100 billion or possibly more by going public.
Months leading to Uber’s historic IPO launch, the company is seen doubling the effort to attract investors through aggressive actions across different regions to expand its business. Throughout the years, it has made deals with ride-hailing apps like Grab in Southeast Asia to focus more on areas like the Middle East, Australia, and Europe. Further, previous reports revealed Uber was planning to buy Middle East competitor, Careem.
In addition, Uber expanded its services through Uber Eats, a food delivery service, and Uber Freight, which “connects carriers with the most appropriate shipments available on our platform, and gives carriers upfront, transparent pricing and the ability to book a shipment with the touch of a button.” Uber has also touched with Mobility services that include bikes and scooters. All of which earned the company an estimated $370 million in 2018, a rise from 2017’s $67 million.
As of the moment, the startup unicorn is eyeing around 1.7 billion shares outstanding after the IPO, excluding items including options, restricted stock units, and warrants.
However, with every effort Uber has been trying to make to improve its rapport among possible investors, they still seem to fall short on other matters especially among their drivers. In contemporary ride-hailing companies, drivers are the very core of their service.
Apparently, Uber and Lyft employ their drivers contractually. This means that these companies are not legally bound to support their drivers’ health care, overtime fees, and other benefits that come with being a regular employee. In this sense, companies save more money from paying for said benefits at the driver’s expense.
At this rate, driver dissatisfaction is bound to increase along with reports that the company is planning to decrease wages and incentives offered to its drivers. For ride-hailing companies, increasing driver dissatisfaction equates to an increase of drivers leaving the company’s workforce, which again is at the very core of what these companies stand for.
Recently, the New York Taxi Workers Association is calling on its US-based drivers to work with solidarity with drivers from London and log off from both Uber and Lyft on May 8 between 7 AM and 9 AM.
“In the IPO filing, Uber said drivers will only get more dissatisfied because they plan to cut our pay and stop incentives,” NYTWA member Sonam Lama said in a press release. “We don’t want our wages to stay just minimum. We want Uber to answer to us, not to investors. The gig economy is all about exploiting workers by taking away our rights. It has to stop. Uber is the worst actor in the gig economy.”
On top of that, Uber is currently facing a class action lawsuit from its Australian drivers alleging that the company was operating illegally in the country.
Around 6,000 taxies, car rental drivers, and license owners have backed the case where they are seeking compensation for lost income or saw a fall in the value of their license.
The case also implies that Uber used a controversial software called Greyball where it blocks law enforcers from gaining access and preventing them from enforcing local laws. Although Uber denies all allegations, the ride-hailing company refuse to pay a settlement to make the problem go away. Unlike, the class action lawsuit filed in the US regarding salary and benefits issues among its drivers.
On other news, in contrast to Lyft’s IPO, Uber may not fair as positively as they would like to expect. Saying it as it is, Lyft is Samsung to Uber’s Apple, they both rest on top of the same battlefield; what one experiences, the other is bound to go through the same. Although Uber may do better. However, as Lyft’s stock dropped after an impressive first day, Uber may well be on the path of enduring the same fate. Lyft’s stock is currently trading at about $61 — more than 15% below its IPO price.
Moreover, Lyft’s stock market outcome may negatively impact possible investors for Uber and may result in much lower profits on its IPO. Particularly, a stock market flop does not necessarily fare well for possible investors on other companies that will technically provide the same set of services.
On top of that, Uber is currently bleeding money same with most tech unicorns it used to climb the ladder of corporate royalty with. Going public may end up as a saving grace rather than a victory lap at this rate.
Are Hackers Friends Of Crypto Industry Or Are They Enemies?
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?
Researchers Found Exposed Database Containing HCL Employee Passwords, Client Management Record, And Internal Reports
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
“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.”
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.
What’s The Next Move For Huawei?
Huawei assures users that they will still be receiving security updates and after-sales services amidst the Google/Android ban. Sources also revealed that company is poised to launch its own OS, Hongmeng, anytime soon. Click To Tweet
Following the decision of Google and Android to ban Huawei from contracting their services in conjunction of the government-led war against the Chinese tech giant and the executive order released by President Donald Trump, Huawei crumbles to assure users that current owners of both Huawei and Honor phones will still be receiving security updates and after-sales services.
In a short, unsubstantiated statement, Huawei highlight’s the company’s contribution to the growth of Android globally as Android phones from the company has seen unprecedented growth while other smartphone vendors are shrinking or stagnant. While the company promises the continuance of the services provided by Android to their smartphone users, and the promise extends to those units that were already shipped and in stock in stores globally, no additional guarantees were made beyond that.
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” said a statement from Huawei.
“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally […] We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” they added.
The revocation of Huawei’s license follows after the heightened crackdown by the U.S. government on Chinese companies. Previously, the Trump administration has been lobbying to its allies to ban Huawei’s 5G technology citing that the Chinese government can use the company for espionage and economic sabotage.
The latest blow against Huawei is the decision of Google to revoke the Android license of Huawei, forcing the company to use only the open source version of the operating system. A Google spokesperson confirmed that “Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
Because of the ban, Huawei is now restricted from using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), cutting the company off from critical Google apps and services that consumers outside of China expect on Android devices.
While existing phones from Huawei would probably be not affected by the decision, the future of updates and for those phones as well as any new phones Huawei would produce remains in question. But it seems like Huawei has prepared for the day that this would happen and already has a plan B in mind.
Earlier today, the China-based company released its very own operating system, Hongmeng. A source has confirmed that Huawei is set to officially launch Hongmeng, as the company has been working on it since 2012. The company has been testing the new OS on selected devices under closer door and closed environment. The source also said that the testing was accelerated for the new operating system to be ready for situations just like this.
Nonetheless, it is still unclear whether Hongmeng will be the official name of the OS from Huawei. Experts note that even if Huawei can successfully launch its operating system, the company will still be faced with the challenge of establishing an app ecosystem. It would take Huawei a lot of time to build apps that are compatible with the new operating system.
Huawei accounted for 19% of the worldwide smartphone market and became the second largest smartphone manufacturer, overtaking Apple, in Q1 2019.
The blunder faced by Huawei following the Google ban has caused severe market instability not only for Huawei but for the volatile US tech markets as stocks drop following the shocking decision. Huawei is dragging the entire tech industry with it as market uncertainty brought upon by the apparent tech trade wars. As Huawei’s future remains at the limbo, it brings with it the rest of the tech world.
“If this remains enforced, it’s going to create some opportunity, but companies are working with their compliance departments to get out of the way of this Huawei situation,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. That’s difficult because “Huawei has its tentacles in so many parts of the technology sector. That’s why this is not a one-day event.”
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