Hackers stole data from 57 million Uber riders, drivers: CEO

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” said a statement from chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over at the ride-sharing giant in August.

Uber said that hackers compromised personal data from some 57 million riders and drivers in a breach kept hidden for a year.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” said a statement from chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over at the ride-sharing giant in August.

Two members of the Uber information security team who “led the response” that included not alerting users that their data was breached were let go from the San Francisco-based company effective on Wednesday, according to Khosrowshahi.

The Uber chief said he only recently learned that outsiders had broken into a cloud-based server used by the company for data and downloaded a “significant” amount of information.

Stolen files included names, email addresses, and mobile phone numbers for riders, and the names and driver license information of some 600,000 drivers, according to Uber.

Uber paid the hackers USD 100,000 to destroy the data, not telling riders or drivers whose information was at risk, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Co-founder and ousted chief Travis Kalanick was advised of the breach shortly after it was discovered, but it was not made public until Uber’s new boss Khosrowshahi learned of the incident.

“You may be asking why we are just talking about this now, a year later,” Khosrowshahi said.

“I had the same question, so I immediately asked for a thorough investigation of what happened and how we handled it.”

Khosrowshahi said that what he learned about Uber’s failure to notify users or regulators prompted corrective actions.

Uber is notifying drivers whose license numbers were swiped and offering them credit and identity theft protection.

The company also said it is notifying regulators, and monitoring affected rider accounts for signs of fraud.

“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” Khosrowshahi said.

“We are changing the way we do business.”

Khosrowshahi inherited a litany of scandals and a toxic workplace culture when he replaced Kalanick.

Kalanick’s brash style has been credited with driving Uber to the leading spot in the smartphone-summoned ride market but also blamed for fostering an atmosphere of impropriety and rule-breaking at the company.

NAFTA talks hit wall as Mexico, Canada push back on US demands

Mexico and Canada have rejected a US proposal to raise the minimum threshold for autos to 85 percent North American content from 62.5 percent as well as require half of vehicle content to come from the United States.

The United States, Mexico and Canada failed to resolve any major differences in the fifth round of talks to rework the NAFTA trade deal, drawing a swift complaint from the Trump administration on Tuesday that the lack of progress could doom the process.

The three nations have vowed to continue talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through March, but the yawning disagreements on core US demands are piling pressure on negotiators to come up with fixes before Mexico’s 2018 presidential campaign begins in the spring.

Mexico and Canada have rejected a US proposal to raise the minimum threshold for autos to 85 percent North American content from 62.5 percent as well as require half of vehicle content to come from the United States.

The two have also resisted a range of other US demands, including a plan to scrap a key dispute resolution mechanism and proposed curbs on Mexican and Canadian agriculture.

Minutes after the three countries issued a short joint statement underlining advances and vowing to continue work on concluding negotiations “as soon as possible,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer struck a different tone.

“While we have made progress on some of our efforts to modernize NAFTA, I remain concerned about the lack of headway,” he said in a statement. “Thus far, we have seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result,” Lighthizer added.

Lighthizer and his Mexican and Canadian counterparts stayed away from the talks in Mexico City, where the mood was calmer than in the previous round last month in Washington.

Negotiators said advances had been made in agreeing on to the technical detail that forms the bedrock of the accord. But time was running out if they want to reach a deal by the end of March.

The negotiating teams are due to meet again in Washington in December before a sixth formal round of negotiations is scheduled for Montreal, Canada from Jan. 23-28.

THREATS

A US official said wording had been agreed upon for anti-corruption, telecommunications, goods market access, sanitary and food safety measures and technical barriers to trade with spaces left for disputed sections.

“I think there’s a lot of gelling going on, rather than a lot of closing, so I think there’s a good argument that we are on schedule, that meeting our deadline of an agreement by March is not out of the question,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA unless he can rework it in favour of the United States, arguing that the pact has hollowed out U.S. manufacturing and caused a trade deficit of over $60 billion with Mexico.

The US official expressed frustration that Mexico and Canada were not engaging in talks on the auto content proposal and others aimed at “rebalancing” trade in the region.

“If you make a proposal and the other side doesn’t respond, what is it you’re doing?” the official said.

The U.S. auto proposal is a central plank of Trump’s America First strategy to boost U.S. manufacturing, but it faces stiff resistance from the auto industry, which worries it will make North American carmakers less competitive and costlier.

Mexican and Canadian officials said they wanted the United States to explain how the auto plan could prosper.

“Where is the merit in making a counterproposal to a demand that would take us backwards?” said a Canadian source.

The US official did note, however, that Mexico had put forward a counterproposal to a US plan to restrict access for Mexican and Canadian firms to U.S. public contract tenders that sought to put U.S. firms in the same situation in Mexico.

“I think Mexico is being helpful in using a counterproposal to crystallize their views,” the official said.

Mexico also formally proposed that NAFTA allow for a review of the accord every five years, instead of terminating the deal automatically if it is not renegotiated, as the United States has demanded, three Mexican officials said.

Taking effect in 1994, NAFTA underpins much of the more than $1 trillion in annual trilateral trade, and Washington’s threats to walk away from the pact have spooked markets.

Mexican officials initially expressed hope that chapters such as telecoms and e-commerce could be closed during the round. But chief Mexican negotiator Ken Smith told reporters that none would wrap up this time.

Nippon Paint bids for Axalta, merger talks with Akzo Nobel end

Axalta has a market capitalization of USD 8.2 billion while Nippon has a market capitalization of 1.2 trillion yen (USD 10.7 billion).

Nippon Paint Holdings Co Ltd made an all cash offer on Tuesday to acquire U.S. coatings company Axalta Coating Systems Ltd, two people familiar with the matter said, a move which prompted the latter to end merger talks with peer Akzo Nobel.

Axalta and Akzo announced earlier on Tuesday they had ended negotiations about a “merger of equals” because they were unable to reach mutually agreeable terms.

Axalta, whose largest shareholder is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said it continued to pursue other “value-creating alternatives”, but it did not disclose Nippon’s role in the termination of the discussions with Akzo Nobel.

Nippon, Japan’s biggest paint supplier, made the all-cash offer for Axalta at a premium to where Axalta shares ended on Monday at $33.54, one of the sources said. The offer was credible enough for Axalta to end negotiations with Akzo Nobel, the source added.

It is not clear how far the negotiations with Nippon will progress though, and Axalta could also choose to engage in deal talks with other interested parties, the second source said.

Axalta has a market capitalization of USD 8.2 billion while Nippon has a market capitalization of 1.2 trillion yen (USD 10.7 billion).

Axalta shares reversed losses in extended trading hours in New York after Reuters reported on Nippon’s offer, to trade up 3.3 percent at $35.01.

For Akzo Nobel, the breakdown in the talks with Axalta mark the end of a difficult year in which it rejected a 26 billion euro ($30.5 billion) takeover offer from PPG Industries Inc, in favor of a standalone plan.

Based on Dutch takeover rules, PPG could return with a new offer for Akzo Nobel as early as next month, if it so wishes.

However, PPG CEO Michael McGarry has indicated his company is no longer interested in Akzo after its three offers to the company in March and April were spurned.

Akzo said in a statement it would now continue to pursue that strategy of selling or seeking a stock market listing for its specialty chemicals division, which makes up a third of group sales and profits and has an estimated value of 8-10 billion euros.

Akzo promised to return the “vast majority of proceeds to shareholders”.

“We concluded we could not negotiate a transaction on terms that meet our criteria,” said Charles W. Shaver, Axalta’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Any transaction we ultimately agree to needs to generate superior long-term value for Axalta shareholders as compared to the continued execution of our strategic plan,” he added.

The failure of the talks comes days before Akzo Nobel’s shareholders are to meet on November 30 to approve the demerger of its specialty chemicals arms.

Since PPG walked away in June, former Akzo Nobel CEO Ton Buechner and former CFO Maelys Castella have both resigned, citing health reasons, while Chairman Antony Burgmans is due to retire in April.

Akzo Nobel’s new CEO Thierry Vanlancker said in a statement on Tuesday the company’s strategy — developed under Buechner and Burgmans — offers “significant value for shareholders and other stakeholders in the short, medium and long term”.

“We remain focused on our strategic options to continue to develop our business and improve profitability in the future,” he said.

Amazon tells Australian retailers to prepare for orders from Thursday

Amazon.com Inc has told its Australian sellers to be ready to take orders on November 23, according to a retailer, the first time the global retail juggernaut has given a start date for sales in a country.

Amazon.com Inc has told its Australian sellers to be ready to take orders on November 23, according to a retailer, the first time the global retail juggernaut has given a start date for sales in a country.

Going live at this time would help Amazon tap into Black Friday demand. Black Friday, the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, as so named because spending would surge and retailers would traditionally begin to turn a profit for the year, moving from the red into the black. It falls on November 24 this year.

“There’s a trial starting tomorrow at 2:00 pm (0300 GMT), and (Amazon) is saying that you need to be prepared to receive orders from that point on,” Adam Mills, founder of child internet monitor provider KoalaSafe Inc, told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday.

An Amazon spokesperson in Australia was not immediately available for comment.

Since Amazon confirmed plans to open in Australia in April, the U.S company has declined to say when it would begin taking orders. The company said on November 13 it was close to opening for business, without giving a date.

On Wednesday, technology website Lifehacker Australia published what it said was a screenshot of an email from Amazon to some Australian retailers registered to sell goods over its website, saying it would “start an internal testing phase with a small number of customers on Thursday 23 November”.

“You should be prepared to receive orders from this point onward,” added the email, which KoalaSafe’s Mills said he had received and was authentic.

Australians can already buy Amazon products from offshore, but having a local delivery network cuts sometimes sizable international shipping costs, adding to pressure on retailers already struggling with the overheads that come from maintaining shopfronts and employing checkout staff.

US regulator unveils plan to end ‘net neutrality’

The announcement by Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai marked the latest twist in a decade-old political dispute with both sides claiming to represent a “free and open” internet.

The top US telecom regulator unveiled a formal plan to roll back the “net neutrality” rules adopted in 2015 aimed at treating all online traffic equally.

The announcement by Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai marked the latest twist in a decade-old political dispute with both sides claiming to represent a “free and open” internet.

Pai unveiled a “Restoring Internet Freedom” order to be voted on at the FCC’s December 14 meeting, scrapping a hotly contest rule which barred broadband firms from shutting out rival services or creating online “fast” and “slow” lanes.

Pai said his plan would return to a “light-touch regulatory approach” which has allowed the internet to flourish.

He said the 2015 rule had “depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.”

“Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades,” Pai said in a statement.

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.”

The dispute over net neutrality has been the subject of several court battles, with backers arguing rules are needed to guard against powerful broadband firms like Comcast and AT&T acting as “gatekeepers” which can punish rivals.

Matt Wood of the consumer group Free Press said the new initiative was a “massive giveaway to the handful of media conglomerates” which control broadband.

“The most-hated and worst-rated companies will be free to block, throttle and discriminate against your speech on the internet if Trump’s FCC chairman gets his way,” Wood said.

“Companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be free to censor online speech and manipulate economic activity to their favour, while taking away the educational opportunities and political-organizing tools essential to millions of people across the country.”

But Jonathan Spalter, chief executive of the industry association US Telecom, welcomed the move.

“The removal of antiquated, restrictive regulations will pave the way for broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades,” Spalter said in a statement.

US government warns businesses about cyber bug in Intel chips

The US government on Tuesday urged businesses to act on an Intel Corp alert about security flaws in widely used computer chips as industry researchers scrambled to understand the impact of the newly disclosed vulnerability.

The US government on Tuesday urged businesses to act on an Intel Corp alert about security flaws in widely used computer chips as industry researchers scrambled to understand the impact of the newly disclosed vulnerability.

The Department of Homeland Security gave the guidance a day after Intel said it had identified security vulnerabilities in remote-management software known as “Management Engine” that shipped with eight types of processors used in business computers sold by Dell Technologies Inc, Lenovo Group Ltd, HP Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co and other manufacturers.

Security experts said that it was not clear how difficult it would be to exploit the vulnerabilities to launch attacks, though they found the disclosure troubling because the affected chips were widely used.

“These vulnerabilities affect essentially every business computer and server with an Intel processor released in the last two years,” said Jay Little, a security engineer with cyber consulting firm Trail of Bits.

For a remote attack to succeed, a vulnerable machine would need to be configured to allow remote access, and a hacker would need to know the administrator’s username and password, Little said. Attackers could break in without those credentials if they have physical access to the computer, he said.

Intel said that it knew of no cases where hackers had exploited the vulnerability in a cyber attack.

The Department of Homeland Security advised computer users to review the warning from Intel, which includes a software tool that checks whether a computer has a vulnerable chip. It also urged them to contact computer makers to obtain software updates and advice on strategies for mitigating the threat.

Intel spokeswoman Agnes Kwan said the company had provided software patches to fix the issue to all major computer manufacturers, though it was up to them to distribute patches to computers users.

Dell’s support website offered patches for servers, but not a laptop or desktop computers, as of midday Tuesday. Lenovo offered fixes for some servers, laptops and tablets and said more updates would be available Friday. HP posted patches to its website on Tuesday evening.

Security experts noted that it could take time to fix vulnerable systems because installing patches on computer chips is a difficult process.

“Patching software is hard. Patching hardware is even harder,” said Ben Johnson, co-founder of cyber startup Obsidian Security.

Nifty likely to move towards 10,450-10,500; 5 stocks which could give up to 16% return

We can see short covering on every dip as Put writers are once again seen active in Tuesday’s sessions. We have seen Put writing in 10,300, 10,200 puts and unwinding in calls.

After a steady move seen in the past 4 days, there are a lot of outstanding short position in Nifty and the index calls and we can expect another round of short covering as we are moving towards the expiry week.

As per the current derivatives data, Nifty can move towards 10,450-10,500 in coming sessions amid further short covering by call writers.

The derivative data indicates bullish scenario to continue with Nifty having multiple strong supports at lower levels around 10,250, 10,200 & 10,100 spot levels.

We can see short covering on every dip as Put writers are once again seen active in Tuesday’s sessions. We have seen Put writing in 10,300, 10,200 puts and unwinding in calls.

The overall data has turned positive and we can now witness more upside in coming sessions.

After taking support at its 100-days exponential moving average (DEMA) on the daily charts, the stock has been relatively trading higher along with the consistent rise in volumes.

The stock gave a fresh consolidation breakout this week above the recent resistance level placed around Rs920, supported with positive divergence in the secondary indicators such as relative strength index (RSI) and stochastic.

Traders can accumulate the stock in a range of Rs930-935 for the target of Rs1075 and a stop loss placed below Rs850.

The stock has witnessed a smart recovery from lower levels in the recent past and has once again managed to hold well above its 200-DEMA on the daily charts.

Additionally, on the weekly charts, the stock has formed an inverted head and shoulder formation and has also given a breakout in prices above the neckline of the formation.

Traders can accumulate the stock in a range of Rs205-209 for the upside target of Rs232 and a stop loss placed below Rs190.

The stock has been trading in a thin range of Rs850-950 from the last ten weeks with multiple supports placed on the downside at its short and long-term moving averages.

However, last week the consolidation breakout in prices has been witnessed on charts with rising volumes above the Rs950 levels.

The breakout in prices with decent volumes suggest more upside in coming sessions. Traders can accumulate the stock in a range of Rs970-980 for the target of Rs1125 and a stop loss placed below Rs885.

After giving a consolidation breakout above Rs75 level, the stock has tested Rs90 in the recent past, but, since then prices are seen trading sideways as the stock is maintaining a range of Rs80-95 from the last six weeks.

The stock gave a fresh breakout this week in prices and has also risen above the rectangle formation made on the daily charts.

The pattern is traded as continuation pattern of the previous trend. Traders can accumulate the stock in a range of Rs90-94 for the target of Rs105 and a stop loss placed below Rs82.

The stock has formed a bullish flag formation on the daily charts and has also given a breakout above the falling trend line of pattern formation. It has also risen above its recent resistance to Rs130 levels in the past session.

Additionally, rising volumes with rising prices suggest more upside in prices in the coming sessions as well. Traders can accumulate the stock in a range of 133-136 for the target of 156 with a stop loss below 120.

Insolvency law: Govt sets up 14-member panel to identify issues

With rising number of cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the government has set up a 14-member panel to identify and suggest ways to address issues faced in implementation of the law.

With rising number of cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the government has set up a 14-member panel to identify and suggest ways to address issues faced in implementation of the law.

The Insolvency Law Committee, chaired by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas, would take stock of the implementation of the Code, according to an official communication.

The move also comes against the backdrop of concerns in certain quarters about various aspects of the law including the possibility of promoters wresting back control of a company under insolvency process.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) Chairperson M S Sahoo, RBI Executive Director Sudarshan Sen, former Lok Sabha Speaker T K Viswanathan, Edelweiss Group Chairman and CEO Rashesh Shah, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co-Executive Chairman Shardul Shroff and Xpro India Chairman Sidharth Birla are among the panel members.

Other members include AZB & Partners Partner Bahram Vakil, SBI Stressed Assets Resolution Group MD B Sriram, Additional Secretary (Banking) at the Department of Financial Services and a Joint Secretary from the corporate affairs ministry.

Presidents of the institutes of chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries are also part of the committee.

A recent order issued by the Corporate Affairs Ministry said the panel would identify issues that might “impact the efficiency of the corporate insolvency resolution and liquidation framework” as well as make recommendations to address them. More than 300 cases have been admitted for resolution by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), it added.

The order also said the committee would “submit its recommendations within two months from its first meeting”. The panel can also invite practitioners, experts or individuals having knowledge about insolvency, law or economics and “representatives from other regulators or ministries”, it said.

The Code, which became operational in December last year, provides for a market-determined and time-bound insolvency resolution process. A case is taken up for resolution under the Code only after receiving approval of the NCLT for the same.

Microsoft’s Skype pulled from Apple, Android China app stores

Apple, responding to questions about Skype’s absence, late on Tuesday said it had removed several internet phone call apps from its App Store in China after the country’s government said they violated local laws.

Skype, Microsoft Corp’s internet phone call and messaging service, has disappeared from app stores in China including that of Apple Inc, indicating the latest setback for a foreign tech service in the country.

Apple, responding to questions about Skype’s absence, late on Tuesday said it had removed several internet phone call apps from its App Store in China after the country’s government said they violated local laws.

“We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law, therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China,” an Apple spokeswoman told Reuters.

“These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China, which oversees censored technology, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

According to Reuters checks on Wednesday morning, Skype was not available in app stores in China overseen by Apple, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd. Alphabet Inc’s Google Play app store is not available in China.

Microsoft, Tencent and Qihoo 360 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China has increased scrutiny of internet applications this year, ordering firms to remove hundreds of apps that allow users to communicate confidentially or get around China’s so-called Great Firewall system of censorship and use overseas social media.

Cyber authorities have also periodically interrupted services, such as Facebook Inc’s encrypted messenger app Whatsapp over the last two months.

The authorities said such actions are designed to protect personal privacy and prevent online terrorist activity. Foreign tech lobbies and businesses operating in China have said internet rules are too strict and could hit their local operations.

The actions are linked to real name authentication laws brought in earlier this year, requiring all network providers to verify the real names of users with state-issued IDs or passports.

Separate data regulations also require companies to store user information within China and make it accessible to authorities for surveillance purposes.

Some foreign firms, including Amazon Inc and Apple, have this year handed of parts of their business to local affiliates, often citing compliance with the new cybersecurity laws.

Unlike similar services that are blocked, including Facebook, Google and Twitter Inc, Skype’s services are still available for those who already have the app installed.

Chinese netizens on Tuesday evening took to Weibo to discuss Skype’s disappearance, which many criticized for being overly restrictive, despite the existence of local alternatives.