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Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

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LONDON — Amazon cancelled its acquisition of robot vacuum firm iRobot on Monday, citing “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles” after the European Union opposed the transaction.

The firms announced in a joint statement that they were disappointed but agreed to end the acquisition. The merger drew antitrust attention on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in Europe, where authorities investigating competition issues were scheduled to make a final decision by February 14.

Amazon said that in 2022, it would buy iRobot, the producer of the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion cash. However, the deal’s value decreased by 15% after iRobot took on extra debt.

Amazon will pay the Bedford, Massachusetts-based business a previously agreed-upon termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate release, which also revealed that it would lay off around 31% of its workforce and fire its CEO.

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Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm and top antitrust watchdog warned Amazon last year of its “preliminary view” that the iRobot acquisition would reduce industry competition.

While British antitrust regulators cleared the deal in June, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States continued investigating.

The European Commission waited to respond to a request for comment. It was concerned that Amazon would minimise the exposure of an iRobot competitor’s product or restrict access to certain labels, such as “Amazon’s Choice,” which could draw more customers.

Last year, the commission said that Amazon may have discovered ways to boost the expenses for iRobot’s competitors to advertise and sell their products on its platform.

Amazon’s chief counsel, David Zapolsky, slammed authorities, saying consumers would miss out on “faster innovation and more competitive prices.”

“Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics,” he added.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

He also pointed out that “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition— the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”

Now that the purchase has been called off, iRobot has announced a restructuring strategy to stabilise the company. The corporation plans to lay off approximately 350 people as part of these reforms.

Colin Angle, iRobot’s chairman and CEO, will also step down. Glen Weinstein, the company’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, will become interim CEO.

Consumer rights groups had expressed worries about the Amazon-iRobot merger, claiming it would increase the ecommerce giant’s domination in the smart home industry.

Amazon has previously acquired several smart home firms, including Blink, Ring, and Eero, a mesh-networking Wi-Fi company.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

This is the latest example of a partnership between US corporations that failed after being scrutinised by European regulators.

Adobe abandoned its $20 billion acquisition of online design business Figma last year due to antitrust concerns raised by the EU and the UK. After losing legal battles with antitrust officials in Europe and the United States, biotech giant Illumina was forced to cancel its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer-screening business Grail.

SOURCE – (CNN)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

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Google's Latest Spam Update Met with Widespread Criticism Amidst a Year of Turbulent Changes

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is in advanced talks to buy fast-growing cybersecurity startup Wiz for around $23 billion, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN.

A takeover of Wiz, which provides cybersecurity software for cloud computing, would be Google’s largest cybersecurity acquisition to date.

According to the source, the talks between Google and Wiz began after the business raised $1 billion from venture capital investors earlier this year.

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Google | CNN

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

According to the source, the terms of a potential deal have not been completed, and negotiations may fail.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the Wiz talks.

Neither Google nor Wiz responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

The transaction would likely beat Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola almost a decade ago, the company’s largest buyout in history. Only two years later, Google sold Motorola for a huge loss.

Wiz’s $23 billion price tag roughly quadruples the startup’s $12 billion valuation from its most recent fundraising round.

In March 2022, Alphabet paid $5.4 billion to acquire cybersecurity firm Mandiant as part of its attempts to help businesses better confront cyber risks and grow its cloud computing business.

Cloud is critical to the company’s efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond its main search advertising business. Despite increased cloud revenues, it has yet to compete with similar services like Microsoft and Amazon.

Buying Wiz would be a “shot across the bow” at Microsoft and Amazon, demonstrating Google’s “major bet on the cyber security space to complement its flagship offering in the cloud,” Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Wedbush, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

Cloud security has grown increasingly critical recently as businesses have extensively moved data to cloud systems. Last week, AT&T disclosed that virtually all of its wireless customers’ call and text records were compromised in a huge breach caused by an “illegal download” on a third-party cloud platform.

The Wiz acquisition talks came despite intensified antitrust investigation of internet titans by the Biden administration.

However, if Trump retakes the White House, that antitrust vigilance might be turned back slightly, Ives said, making the Federal Trade Commission “much weaker” and sparking an “accelerated merger and acquisition environment to take place for Big Tech.”

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Google | Wiki Image

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

If the acquisition is confirmed and completed, it will be a big departure for Wiz and its founders, Assaf Rappaport, Ami Luttwak, Yinon Costica, and Roy Reznik. The four executives first met when enlisted into Unit 8200, the Israel Defense Forces’ cyber intelligence branch.

In New York City, Wiz has experienced rapid development since its inception in March 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the organization claims that 40% of Fortune 100 corporations are its clientele.

Notable customers include BMW, Slack, and Salesforce, and it collaborates with major cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

SOURCE | CNN

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2024 | Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

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An activist hacker group claimed to have exposed hundreds of Disney’s internal message channels, including details on unreleased projects, raw photos, computer codes, and even logins.

Nullbulge, a “hacktivist group,” claimed responsibility for the breach and stated they exposed approximately 1.2 gigabytes of data from Slack, a communications platform. In an email to CNN on Monday, the group said it got access from “a man with Slack access who had cookies.” The email further stated the group was based in Russia.

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Disney | CNN Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

According to the mail, “The user was aware we had them. He tried to kick us out once but let us walk right back in before the second time.”

CNN could not independently verify the claims.

In a statement issued Monday, Disney stated it “is investigating this matter.” the entertainment empire encompasses various divisions and enterprises, from ESPN to Hulu, Disney+ to ABC News.

The group also declared that it wishes to defend artists’ rights and pay for their work, particularly in the age of artificial intelligence.

“Disney was our target due to how it handles artist contracts, its approach to AI, and its pretty blatant disregard for the consumer,” the hacking group stated via email.

Nullbulge had hinted at the massive release on social media for several weeks. For example, in June, the organization released visitation, booking, and income data from Disneyland Paris on X.

Artificial intelligence was a major stumbling block in negotiations during the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America strikes. Writers are anxious that ChatGPT can produce screenplays in their place, while performers are concerned that computer-generated imagery, or CGI, would completely replace them.

The hackers claimed they leaked the material because making demands on Disney would be pointless.

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Disney | Wired Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

“If we announced, ‘Hello, we have all your Slack data,’ they would immediately shut down and attempt to take us out. “In a duel, you better fire first,” the email read.

In 2014, a massive cyberattack at Sony Pictures attributed to North Korea sparked an international crisis by disclosing emails from corporate officials, celebrity aliases, social security information, and full movie scripts.

SOURCE | AP

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Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

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NEW YORK — Amazon Prime Day is approaching, and experts warn customers to be aware of scammers.

Deceptions like fraudulent emails from people mimicking internet shops like Amazon are not new. However, the Better Business Bureau reports that phishing attempts rise around major sales periods such as Black Friday and Prime Day.

“This is a huge moment on the retail calendar,” Josh Planos, vice president of communications and public relations for the Better Business Bureau, told The Associated Press. “And because of that, it represents an enormous opportunity for a scammer, con artist or even just an unethical business or organization to capitalize on the moment and separate folks from their hard-earned money.”

Prime Day, a two-day discount event for Amazon Prime subscribers, begins on Tuesday and continues through Wednesday. The Better Business Bureau issued a revised caution last week, reminding customers to be wary of lookalike websites, too-good-to-be-true social media ads, and unwanted emails or calls during this month’s sales events.

Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

Consumers may need to be more attentive this year than any before. In June, the Better Business Bureau released a study stating that it received a record amount of phishing reports in 2023. Reports have also been rising upward this year, according to the organization.

Meanwhile, Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli cybersecurity company, said this month that more than 1,230 new Amazon-related websites appeared in June. Check Point reported that most of them were malicious or appeared suspicious.

Scott Knapp, Amazon’s director of worldwide buyer risk prevention, notes two areas where the company has witnessed hoaxes during Prime Day in recent years: Prime membership and order confirmations.

According to Knapp’s emailed statement, more than two-thirds of scams reported by Amazon customers last year claimed to be connected to purchase or account concerns. Knapp explained that people reported receiving unsolicited calls or emails claiming there was a problem with their Prime subscription and requesting bank account or other payment details to reinstate the accounts.

He said that urging customers to confirm an order they did not place is another prevalent approach at this time of year. Scammers may use a costly item, such as a smartphone, to attract attention and request payment details or send a harmful link. They may also attempt to entice customers with promises of a gift or by employing language that generates a false feeling of urgency.

Amazon is working “to ensure scammers are not using our brand to take advantage of people who trust us,” Knapp wrote. The company’s app or website allows customers to authenticate their purchases and verify messages.

Additional scams are out there, but predicting what form they’ll take before this year’s Prime Day is difficult. However, experts observe that the same shopping frauds reemerge year after year.

“Typically, the bones remain the same,” Planos added, citing fake delivery scams, email phishing, and other common approaches. “It’s always a ploy to separate consumers from (their) personal and payment information.”

However, Planos and others caution that online hoaxes are continually changing and becoming more sophisticated. This implies that photographs appear more authentic, text messages sound more convincing, and fraudulent websites resemble reputable shopping places.

According to Amazon’s Knapp, with artificial intelligence “starting to leak in,” frauds targeting e-commerce buyers take the same strategy, but with a machine populating an email or text rather than a person.

According to Federal Trade Commission data, consumers reported losing around $10 billion to fraud in 2023, representing a 14% increase over 2022. According to the FTC, online shopping scams were the second most commonly reported type of fraud, trailing only impostor scams.

Throughout the year, the FTC and the Better Business Bureau educate customers with recommendations on how to prevent scams. The guidance includes rejecting unwanted communications, not exposing financial information to unsolicited callers, and double-checking URLs before clicking – secure websites, for example, will have “HTTPS” in the URL, not “HTTP.”

Scammers frequently encourage you to respond quickly, according to experts. It’s critical to pause and trust your instincts. Experts also encourage customers to report scams to regulators.

Aside from frauds that imitate firms or stores, be wary of counterfeit products and phony reviews on the websites of reputable retailers. Just because you are shopping on Amazon, for example, does not imply that you are purchasing from Amazon. Online shopping giants like eBay, Walmart, and others have extensive third-party markets.

Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

According to Planos, the quality and appearance of counterfeit products have improved dramatically in recent years, making the practice harder to control. A decent rule of thumb is to look at the price tag; if the product is sold for less than 75% of its annual market rate, “that’s a pretty big red flag,” he says.

Sketchy merchants can appear on many platforms, including sites like Amazon, “all the time,” according to Planos, who advises consumers to check out organizations on the Better Business Bureau website. Counterfeit products, like other scams, may become more prevalent during peak shopping seasons.

In recent years, Amazon has acknowledged getting rid of millions of fake products in response to mounting demand to combat counterfeit goods. The corporation also claimed to have prevented billions of fraudulent listings from appearing on its website. In 2023, Amazon stated that more than 7 million counterfeit items were “identified, seized, and appropriately disposed of.” The online shop has also launched many cases against fraudulent review brokers.

Amazon emphasizes that users can use its website to report fraudulent reviews and other scams. If a buyer purchases a counterfeit item found by the corporation, Amazon has stated that it will “proactively contact” the client and issue a refund.

SOURCE | AP

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