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Friday, October 30, 2020
Peter Endig | AFP | Getty Images Amazon on Thursday released comprehensive data into the spread of the coronavirus among its employees, disclosing for the first time that more than 19,000 workers, or 1.44% of the total, contracted the virus this year. Between March 1 and Sept. 19, Amazon counted 19,816 presumed or confirmed Covid-19 cases across its roughly 1.37 million Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the U.S.  The total does not include Amazon's network of third-party delivery drivers, which handle a portion of last-mile deliveries. It's unclear how many contracted drivers make up Amazon's third-party delivery network, but the company previously said it has added nearly 85,000 jobs across the U.S., Canada, UK, Spain, and Germany. At that level, Amazon said the rate of infection among employees was 42% lower than expected, compared to the "general population rate" in the U.S. If Amazon's infection rates were in line with the community, the total number of cases would have reached 33,952, the company said.  The company has long maintained that the rate of infection in its warehouses is lower than what the rates are in surrounding communities, though that has been
Jeff Lawson, CEO, Twilio Scott Mlyn | CNBC Shares of cloud communications company Twilio rose as much as 10% in extended trading on Thursday after the company said in a filing that it expects more third-quarter revenue than the $401 million to $406 million range it had provided in August. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected $407.9 million in revenue for the third quarter. The range had implied 36% to 38% growth, which would be down from 46% growth in the second quarter. Many cloud companies have seen gains this year as schools and companies have had to rely on cloud software to keep people connected during coronavirus quarantines. The day after Twilio reported its first-quarter results, including some impact from the virus, the company's shares rose nearly 40%. Twilio began its annual investor day as a webcast at market close on Thursday. During the investor day presentation Twilio said it expects at least 30% organic annual revenue growth for the next four years and a 60% to 65% adjusted gross margin over the long term. The company has not announced a date for the release of its third-quarter earnings report. Since the
A smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger FaceTime, and others are seen on a smartphone screen. S3studio | Getty Images News | Getty Images When President Donald Trump late Thursday issued an executive order to effectively ban WeChat in 45 days, it became a devastating blow to the U.S. users who rely on the app to communicate with family and friends in China.  WeChat operates a slew of services, such as ride hailing or making payments, within the app in China, but its flagship service is its messaging platform. It's picked up little traction in the United States compared to China, but the Chinese-owned messaging service is key for people who need to communicate between the two.  Banning the app would give those who used it with no other option to quickly communicate for free with friends and family in China. It's impossible for users to just switch over to U.S.-based messaging platforms, since China has already blocked the apps that Americans rely on, such as Facebook's Messenger and Instagram, Google and Snapchat. WhatsApp, another popular global messaging service owned by Facebook, is also blocked in the
SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Hacking activity against corporations in the United States and other countries more than doubled by some measures last month as digital thieves took advantage of security weakened by pandemic work-from-home policies, researchers said. Corporate security teams have a harder time protecting data when it is dispersed on home computers with widely varying setups and on company machines connecting remotely, experts said. Even those remote workers using virtual private networks (VPNs), which establish secure tunnels for digital traffic, are adding to the problem, officials and researchers said. Software and security company VMWare Carbon Black said this week that ransomware attacks it monitored jumped 148 per cent in March from the previous month, as governments worldwide curbed movement to slow the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 130,000. "There is a digitally historic event occurring in the background of this pandemic, and there is a cybercrime pandemic that is occurring," said VMWare cybersecurity strategist Tom Kellerman. "It's just easier, frankly, to hack a remote user than it is someone sitting inside their corporate environment. VPNs are not bullet-proof, they're not the be-all, end-all." Using data from US-based Team Cymru, which has sensors with access to millions of networks, researchers at Finland's Arctic Security found that the number of networks experiencing malicious activity was more than double in March in the United States and many European countries compared with January, soon after the virus was first reported in China. The biggest jump in volume came as computers responded to scans when they should not have. Such scans often look for vulnerable software that would enable deeper attacks. The researchers plan to release their country-by-country findings next week. Rules for safe communication, such as barring connections to disreputable web addresses, tend to be enforced less when users take computers home, said analyst Lari Huttunen at Arctic. That means previously safe networks can become exposed. In many cases, corporate firewalls and security policies had protected machines that had been infected by viruses or targeted malware, he said. Outside of the office, that protection can fall off sharply, allowing the infected machines to communicate again with the original hackers. That has been exacerbated because the sharp increase in VPN volume led some stressed technology departments to permit less rigorous security policies. "Everybody is trying to keep these connections up, and security controls or filtering are not keeping up at these levels," Mr Huttunen said. The US Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) cybersecurity agency agreed this week that VPNs bring with them a host of new problems. "As organisations use VPNs for telework, more vulnerabilities are being found and targeted by malicious cyber actors," wrote DHS' Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The agency said it is harder to keep VPNs updated with security fixes because they are used at all hours, instead of on a schedule that allows for routine installations during daily boot-ups or shutdowns. Even vigilant home users may have problems with VPNs. The DHS agency on Thursday (April 16) said some hackers who broke into VPNs provided by San Jose-based Pulse Secure before patches were available a year ago had used other programs to maintain that access. Other security experts said financially motivated hackers were using pandemic fears as bait and retooling existing malicious programs such as ransomware, which encrypts a target's data and demands payment for its release. Related Stories: