Posts tagged with "technology"

Graph via BeyondTrust.com for Atlas VPN for use by 360 Magazine

In 2020 Number of Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Products Exceeded 1,000 for the First Time

Microsoft products are used by billions of people worldwide. Historically, however, they are known to have many vulnerabilities that pose security risks to users of the software.

According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, the total number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products reached 1,268 in 2020—an increase of 181% in five years. Windows was the most vulnerability-ridden Microsoft product. It had a total of 907 issues, of which 132 were critical. However, Windows Server had the largest number of critical issues. In 2020, 902 vulnerabilities were detected in Windows Server, of which 138 were critical.

Issues were also found in other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Together, these browsers had 92 vulnerabilities in 2020. In total, 61 or even 66% of these vulnerabilities were of critical level. Meanwhile, Microsoft Office had 79 vulnerabilities, 5 of which were critical. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation :

 “These numbers are a massive problem because every Microsoft product has millions of users. Therefore, it is important that consumers update their software applications on time. Software updates can include security patches that can fix vulnerabilities and save users from getting hacked.”

Elevation of privilege is the most common Microsoft vulnerability

A wide range of vulnerabilities was discovered in various Microsoft products last year.  However, some types of vulnerabilities were more common than others. Elevation of privilege was the most frequently detected issue in Microsoft products. It was discovered 559 times and made up 44% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.

Next up is remote code execution. In total, 345 such vulnerabilities were found last year, putting it in second place on the list. Remote code execution accounted for 27% of the total number of Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.

Information disclosure occupies the third spot on the list. There were 179 such issues discovered in 2020. Together, they made up 14% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities that year.

To learn more, click HERE.

business brief case illustration by sara davidson for use by 360 Magazine

MANN+HUMMEL’s 2020 Report

“In a challenging business year 2020, MANN+HUMMEL was able to achieve a very solid result,” said Kurk Wilks, President and CEO of MANN+HUMMEL, at the presentation of the annual report for the past year. The globally active filtration specialist ended the year with a turnover of 3.8 billion euros (2019: 4.2 billion euros).

Although the decline in global automotive production (16.9 percent less compared to the previous year) had an impact on business, the company managed to significantly reduce the negative effects by taking consistent action and diversifying its product portfolio, which it had already begun to do years earlier. Thus, the decrease in turnover was only 8.9 percent compared to the previous year.

“The company achieved increases in both EBIT and EBITDA. We have also succeeded in generating more cash flow which helped us to further reduce the Net Debt-to-EBITDA ratio,” said Emese Weissenbacher, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) resulted in 165 million euros, which is above the previous year’s figure (2019: 153 million euros). EBITDA increased to 404 million euros (2019: 387 million euros). A further positive factor was the development of EBIT margin, which improved from 3.6 percent (2019) to 4.3 percent (2020).

Maintaining production facilities worldwide during the pandemic was a major contribution to this solid result: “We responded promptly to the Coronavirus pandemic and implemented comprehensive protective measures at all plants. This has prevented major production losses. Of course, we were also affected by supplier shortages, but we were able to handle these well through effective process management,” said Nic Zerbst, Chief Operating Officer. 

The lockdown impressively demonstrated how important digitization and intelligent processes are for reacting adequately to such unforeseen situations. “For this reason, we continued to invest in our infrastructure, digitization and IT projects. We also pushed our restructuring plans. This will not change in the current year either,” said Weissenbacher.

“2020 was a year in which markets, that are already on the move, changed even faster. But it was also a year of new opportunities that MANN+HUMMEL was able to successfully develop and enhance for itself. On behalf of the management, I would like to thank all employees across MANN+HUMMEL’s global team, whose commitment, drive, and innovative strength have made a lasting impression on me,” said Wilks.

After great uncertainty due to the global lockdown in spring 2020, he explained, the Group had quickly found its way back to success with great cost discipline and very good figures in the aftermarket. In some cases, it even succeeded in gaining market share. The Life Sciences & Environment business, which combines activities relating to clean air and clean water, also succeeded in expanding its technology leadership. Rarely before has the topic of “clean air indoors” enjoyed greater attention than in recent months.

Wilks: “On our way to ‘Leadership in Filtration’, 2020 has impressively shown that our core competence of separating the useful from the harmful is a key technology: Filtration makes the difference. Rarely has it been more in demand than these days. With our global efforts for cleaner mobility, cleaner air and cleaner water, we are on the right track.”

With the acquisition of HELSATECH GmbH and HELSACOMP GmbH in September 2020, MANN+HUMMEL was also able to expand its expertise in activated carbon technology and in the production of elastomer membranes. MANN+HUMMEL will thus be able to offer an even broader product portfolio in the field of molecular filtration in the future.

Even though 2021 has continued to be heavily influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, MANN+HUMMEL’s management sees no reason for concern: “The liquidity situation remains strong. We do not see other risks that could arise from the crisis threatening the company’s continued existence. MANN+HUMMEL will consistently pursue its transformation strategy and continue to invest in restructuring, new business areas, research and development in the field of highly innovative filtration solutions, and digitalization,” said Weissenbacher.

For MANN+HUMMEL, 2020 was the first year under the new management board. Since January 2020, Kurk Wilks, President and CEO, is leading the Group alongside Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Emese Weissenbacher and Chief Operating Officer Nic Zerbst. 

Click here for the full annual report.

mophie products via Zagg for use by 360 Magazine

Tech Distributor mophie Announces New Products

Mophie, a leading brand in power, announced its snap line of magnetic products compatible with the iPhone 12 smartphone family. mophie snap accessories leverage the integrated magnetic array of the iPhone 12 to attach everything from charging cables to vent mounts and portable batteries.

“The snap ecosystem from mophie really improves the wireless charging experience,” said Charlie Quong, vice president of product development at mophie. “The snap accessories align with the MagSafe feature of the iPhone 12, making charging a snap every time. The snap ecosystem also brings the magnetic mounting function to other Qi-charging smartphones, including older iPhone models, Samsung Galaxy, and more via the snap adapter included with all snap accessories.” The mophie snap ecosystem includes:

  • snap vent mount–The snap vent mount keeps iPhone 12 and other smartphones at the perfect viewing angle while driving and holds it in portrait or landscape mode. The strong magnets secure your phone in place, making it easy to use for GPS navigation or hands‑free calling.
  • snap+ wireless chargerConveniently charge iPhone 12 and other devices with just one charger. The snap+ wireless charger provides up to 7.5W of power to iPhone and up to 15W of wireless power to other Qi compatible smartphones, and it can charge through lightweight phone cases.
  • snap+ wireless vent mount–Easily charge while you drive! The snap+ wireless charging vent mount delivers up to 15W of power to your phone while holding it at the perfect viewing angle. The strong magnets secure your phone in place and make it easy to use for GPS navigation or hands‑free calling. The snap+ wireless charger is removable for added versatility, and the snap+ wireless vent mount includes a 20W USB-C car adapter.
  • snap+ juice pack mini–The snap+ juice pack mini contains a 5,000mAh internal battery and demonstrates mophie’s deep commitment to the performance and convenience of mobile power. Use the USB-C input/output port to quickly recharge the snap+ juice pack mini or to charge another device at up to 12W. The magnetic array ensures accurate placement so charging begins on contact, and the integrated four-light LED power indicator displays charging status and current battery life.
  • snap+ wireless standElevate your charging experience while keeping iPhone 12 and other smartphones at the perfect angle. The strong magnets hold your smartphone in landscape or portrait mode, all while delivering a steady charge of up to 7.5W of power to the iPhone and up to 15W of wireless power to other Qi compatible smartphones. Plus, the stylish design makes this stand a must-have on any desk or nightstand.
  • snap+ powerstation standStream movies or make video calls without worrying about a low battery! The all-new snap+ powerstation stand contains a 10,000mAh internal battery and charges iPhone 12 and other devices in an ultra-versatile package. The snap+ powerstation stand includes a magnetic array to take advantage of wireless charging at up to 7.5W of power to iPhone, up to 10W of wireless power to other Qi compatible smartphones, and up to 20W of wired USB-C PD power to quickly charge another smartphone. An adjustable stand folds out to turn the powerstation into a portable stand that charges your phone while you text or stream. The snap+ powerstation stand also includes a standard one-quarter inch tripod socket to take your video calls and content creation to the next level. The magnetic array ensures charging begins on contact, so you get the perfect charge every time.
  • snap adapter–Easily upgrade your existing device to take advantage of the latest tech with the snap adapter. Two included metallic rings add magnetic hold to any Qi-enabled smartphone. The magnetic rings also mean instant compatibility with all snap and snap+ accessories by mophie. The snap adapter kit is sold separately (includes two rings), while each product in the snap ecosystem includes one in-box snap adapter ring.  

Availability

The snap+ wireless stand and snap+ powerstation stand will be available on their website during summer/fall 2021. Various products in the snap ecosystem will be available at AT&T, Best Buy, Staples, and Verizon stores nationwide. Each product includes a two-year warranty.

About mophie

Mophie, a leading brand in power, is a California-based, award-winning designer and manufacturer that empowers the mobile world to Stay Powerful. Widely acclaimed for innovative mobile solutions, mophie is the proud developer of the original juice pack®. mophie products are recognized for style and engineered for performance, providing a seamless integration of hardware, software and design. mophie has operations in California, Michigan, Hong Kong, and China. mophie products are available in more than 130 countries, and can be found at Apple, Best Buy, Verizon, and T-Mobile stores, as well as Sprint and other leading retailers.

GROW.HOUSE illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

GROW.HOUSE × Cryptocurrency

Saturday Night during GROW.HOUSE’s Bitcoin 2021 party at David Grutman’s Story Nightclub, G-Eazy and Questlove were seen performing, as well as the newly launched cannabis NFT game’s newest ambassador, Fetty Wap. Paris Hilton was also in the House.

GROW.HOUSE, the First Ever NFT game to Grow Digital Cannabis and Earn Cryptocurrency. It’s a Digital Metaverse for Lovers of Cannabis, Crypto, and DeFi, Led By Social Media Pioneer, Branden Hampton, the largest independent social media publisher in the world. Hampton’s role within GROW.HOUSE is Chief Cannabis Officer.

GROW.HOUSE is a Farmville-like game, where users can grow digital cannabis, earn $GROW tokens, collect NFTs, and learn about yield farming. Within the game users can plant NFT cannabis flowers, earn $GROW tokens, and use in-game assets to beautify farms. Users can also plant cryptocurrencies in our yield farms, where they can earn yield rewards. Players can choose to work together or alone and do their part to live, play, and GROW in the Cannaverse world. The game is made for mass consumer adoption, taking the social gaming elements of Farmville and combining them with the revolutionary aspects of Yield Farming to bring DeFi to the masses in a fun gamified way.

Within GROW.HOUSE, you will see the following:

  • Grow Digital Weed and learn about Cannabis
  • It’s built on the Polygon Blockchain for fast zero-fee transactions
  • Grow the ecosystem by combining cannabis, crypto, and gaming ecosystems
  • Big brand opportunities for exposure, land, and in game tie ins
  • A unique token economy that allows players to play, earn $Grow, and yield farm
  • Opportunities to $GROW with real world partnerships for the VIP players

According to MarketWatch, user play is as follows:

  • Players start off planting flowers and helping others water their plants to earn SEED
  • SEED can be used to buy in-game assets like NFTs, which users can use to get new in-game objects or $GROW tokens
  • Players than can use $GROW to buy land, seed, or NFT’s, to use throughout the Cannaverse ecosystem
  • $GROW and other cryptocurrencies can be planted in the ground to grow Money Trees, which will earn interest similar to a savings account.
  • Players can form groups of Co-ops to help manage NFT farms together and ensure they’re getting the best rewards
360 MAGAZINE gaming illustration by Ivory Rowen.

Bitcoin And Online Casinos

Is Bitcoin a viable payment method for online casinos?

There are many payment methods that can be used at online casinos. Bitcoin is being accepted by a growing number of online gambling sites. Bitcoin never seems to be out of the papers these days, so is it a viable payment method for use at an online casino?

The mere fact that online casinos are accepting Bitcoin as a payment method speaks volumes. It is not going to be helpful to anyone if a payment method employed by them is going to cause big problems.

These online casinos will have put a great deal of thought into whether to allow the use of Bitcoin or not. It’s not an overnight decision. A great deal of thought has been put into their decision, and the fact they allow Bitcoin’s use should be seen as a huge vote of confidence in the cryptocurrency.

One site that supports this cryptocurrency is Bitcoin Games online casino. It’s important to do some research before joining any site. Taking a good look at a Bitcoin Games review is helpful. This review gives you plenty of information about the site.

Safety is so important when it comes to online payments. There is still a fair amount of financial fraud that takes place, and of which no one wants to become a victim. Bitcoin can help in this area because of the way it operates as a currency.

Unlike with a credit or debit card, there is no central bank in play with Bitcoin. It is the person who makes the financial transaction that owns the Bitcoin being used. The amount of personal information being made available to possible fraudsters is always a worry with banks, but that’s not the case if you are using Bitcoin. The fraudsters will be upset when realizing they can’t get their hands on your currency. The customer and the online casino itself will be impressed with this situation.

Another worry is that your bank account might be frozen. If you are using a debit or credit card for your financial transactions, it will cause you major problems. However, Bitcoin avoids these issues due to that lack of a central bank.

It’s not just a central bank that is absent. Furthermore, there’s no government to deal with this currency, though the Chinese government are doing their best to warn people off its use. Online sites will be happy that there’s no government to deal with, another reason they like using Bitcoin. There’s no taxation either and transactions cannot be reversed.

There are some disadvantages with Bitcoin, but that can be said of any payment method. How many times do you hear people moaning about their bank or PayPal? The main problem with Bitcoin is how its value can be volatile. That’s common with any relatively new currency and will hopefully settle down in the future. However, that’s more of a worry for those investing with Bitcoin. Just using Bitcoin to gamble online is a much better and safer way of using it.

Cityzenith illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Cityzenith × World Economic Forum

­Cityzenith joins the World Economic Forum Global Innovators Program

Digital Twin market leader Cityzenith has been chosen to be part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Innovators community to support Cityzenith’s mission to decarbonize US cities.

The Global Innovators Community is a group of the world’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation. The World Economic Forum provides the Global Innovators Community with a platform to engage with public-and private-sector leaders and to contribute new solutions to overcome current crises and build future resiliency. There are over 140 community members across 15 different countries.

Companies who are invited to become Global Innovators will engage with one or more of the Forum’s Platforms, as relevant, to help define the global agenda on key issues. ‘Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure’ is one of the seventeen platforms which focuses on bringing together industry leaders from electricity, oil and gas, mining and metals, chemicals, and construction.

The latest participant to join this platform is Cityzenith, whose SmartWorldOS software platform can create virtual replicas of buildings and urban areas to track, manage and optimize carbon emissions and minimize environmental damage.

The US company’s tech is deployed in multiple international megaprojects, including a substantial ground-breaking decarbonization energy scheme for US cities.

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen said, “Our partnership with the World Economic Forum gives us a platform to have our voice heard, spread our message, and take advantage of more opportunities.

“WEF recognized that our technology and insight had a role to play in combating Climate Change, and now we can go further in helping governments and countries to decarbonize cities worldwide.”

The partnership’s catalyst was Cityzenith’s ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ campaign as part of the ‘Race to Zero’ movement. Cities worldwide generate 70% of global carbon emissions (source: UNHabitat) and Cityzenith believes its SmartWorldOS can help building and property asset management groups, city planners, and developers move to carbon neutrality in the next ten years.

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen said at the launch of the’ Clean Cities – Clean Future’ initiative: “We have to help the most polluted urban centers become carbon neutral, and we plan to do this by donating the company’s Digital Twin platform SmartWorldOS to key cities, one at a time, after every $1m raised. We’re able to do this because of the recent surge of investment as part of our $15m crowdfunding raise.

The World Economic Forum also partners with leading organizations that push change forward, like the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organization supporting countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.

President of the World Economic Forum, Børge Brende believes IRENA’s partnership with the Forum is “an important step in strengthening the mission of our organizations” adding:

“It brings together the knowledge, insight and innovation expertise of IRENA with the Forum’s global network to ensure these higher commitments are realized in the near term.”

Significant investment funds such as The Carlyle Group, Equinor, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment fund (CPP) have also partnered to offer a potential investment into promising climate solutions.

CPP President and CEO Mark Machin see the benefit and importance of investing now to protect the planet: “We at CPP Investments are trained to dig deep into both risks and opportunities. Climate Change offers both.”

“None of these efforts are cheap, but they are an investment in society’s future. And, as we’ve learned from the current crisis (COVID-19), the cost of being underprepared when catastrophe strikes can be far higher.”

If you would like to hear more from Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen, you can listen to him directly in an upcoming FREE investment webinar ‘Join The Race to Zero – Investing in Technology For Sustainable Cities,’ taking place virtually on Tuesday 8th June at 08:00 CT and 13:00 CT. To learn more about using emerging tech to combat Climate Change, please sign up here.

About Cityzenith
Cityzenith is based in Chicago with offices in London and New Delhi. The company’s SmartWorldOS Digital Twin platform was created for anyone designing, constructing, and managing complex, large-scale building projects, properties, and real estate portfolios but has developed to cover infrastructure, energy projects, transport, health, people movements, and whole cities. Find out more at Cityzenith.

Art courtesy of HLDN PR for use by 360 Magazine

Rich Caliente Auctions NFT with Custom 2021 Porsche 911 Carrera

ABSTRACT ARTIST & LUXURY AUTOMOTIVE DESIGNER RICH B. CALIENTE TO AUCTION REAL CUSTOM PAINTED 2021 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA ART CAR AS FIRST OF ITS KIND MINTED ART NFT WITH OWNERSHIP OF CAR INCLUDED AT THIS WEEK’S 2021 BITCOIN CONFERENCE IN MIAMI, FL, THE ONLY PORSCHE ART CAR OF THIS CENTURY, FOLLOWING JANIS JOPLIN’S PSYCHEDELIC PORSCHE 356 OF THE LATE 1960’s, RICH B. CALIENTE TO ALSO UNVEIL PHYSICAL JET PLANE ART NFT AT CONFERENCE

On June 4, 2021, abstract artist and world renown celebrity luxury car designer Rich B. Caliente will bring the first luxury art car on the market as a minted high-end NFT with the digital artwork of a customized 2021 Porsche 911 painted by Caliente. For the first time on the NFT market, whoever purchases the minted art NFT will acquire the digital artwork of the Porsche 911 as well as receive the physical Porsche with its ownership title inside of the NFT.

Known for designing one of a kind rolling works of art for high profile brands and collectors in music, sports, art and fortune 500 business such as Kid Robot, DJ Khaled, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Rick Ross and many others, this NFT art car was conceptualized by Rich B. Caliente and launched by Slash Dot, an NFT management consultancy co-founded Brad Flaherty. This will be the world’s first luxury art car to be auctioned on the NFT market that will include both the digital artwork of the car and ownership title to the physical car. Going to auction on June 4th at the 2021 Bitcoin Conference in Miami, FL, bids will be accepted using the blockchain cryptocurrency Ethereum through June 14th. This first of its kind NFT provides the metadata, storage, and legal standards that have been virtually absent from artwork and luxury items associated with non-fungible tokens until now.

Pre-sale exhibition of the NFT can be viewed at Rich’s website.

In addition to Friday’s auction launch for the Porsche art car NFT, Caliente will unveil a physical jet plane art NFT at the conference that will be coming up for auction soon as part of a series of art NFT’s that will be created by the artist.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of the art NFT will benefit the Irie Foundation, an organization founded by award winning DJ Irie that’s dedicated to empowering the lives of at-risk youth in South Florida through mentorship programs, cultural experiences, and scholarship opportunities.

ABOUT RICH B. CALIENTE

As featured in The Dupont Registry and others, Rich B. Caliente has established himself as one of the most highly sought after, pioneering luxury automotive designers in the industry and art world with a diverse clientele for his rolling works of art and one-of one-art pieces by brands such as Kid Robot where he was the first ever automotive designer to create for the popular brand as well as elite collectors in professional sports music, entertainment, art and fortune 500 business. Learn more at Rich Caliente’s website.

Art courtesy of Nicole of 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

ESPN+ Nearly Doubled in Subscribers Last Year

ESPN+ hit 13.8 Million Subscribers, a Massive 75% Increase Year-over-Year

Over the last years, ESPN’s business model has changed, both from a digital and broadcast perspective. The multinational cable sports channel is putting a bigger focus on its additional paid service, ESPN+, as the number of sports fans who chose live streaming instead of other media platforms continues to rise.

According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, the number of ESPN+ subscribers hit 13.8 million as of April, a massive 75% increase year-over-year.

The Number of Subscribers Doubled Amid the Pandemic

Not meant as a replacement for the cable channel, the ESPN+ has become essential for sports fans who don’t have the cable channel to access ESPN’s content and coverage. It has also grown into a necessary service for sports fanatics, searching for exclusive access to specific sports coverage, special analysis, events, shows, and much more.

In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2019, ESPN+ had around 1.4 million subscribers, revealed the Walt Disney Company’s financial results. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by 370% to 6.6 million. However, statistics show the number of subscribers surged after the pandemic struck, as more and more sports fans started choosing live sports streaming over other media platforms. Since January 2020, the number of ESPN+ subscribers more than doubled, rising from 6.6 million to 13.8 million.

Almost 40% of Sports Fans Choose Live Streaming Content, China Leads in Global Comparison

The global YouGov survey conducted in January 2021, revealed some interesting facts about the platforms and media channels sports fans choose to watch sports content. Although live TV still represents the global number-one choice for watching sports, almost 40% of sports fans prefer live streaming content. Statistics show that sports fans aged between 18 and 24 lead in watching live sports streaming, with 47% of them using these services. Millennials, aged between 25 and 34, ranked second with 45% of respondents who stated they do the same.

The social media platforms ranked as the third-most-popular choice for watching sports content, with a 34% share among respondents. Online content, mobile apps, and newspapers followed with 25%, 24%, and 19% share, respectively. Only 8% of all respondents followed sports via magazines.

The survey also showed China represents the leading market for live sports streaming, with 54% of respondents who use online streams to follow the sport. Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates follow with 50%, 49%, and 42% share, respectively.

The United States, France, and Japan were on the other side of the list with a 17%, 16%, and 13% share, respectively.

Read the full story here at Safe Betting Sites’ website.

Space Foundation illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Space Foundation Nominations

Space Tech Hall of Fame Nominations

Since 1988, Space Foundation has opened the doors of the Space Technology Hall of Fame (STHOF) to recognize life-changing technologies that have emerged from the world’s space programs. By honoring the innovators that have made these breakthroughs possible, it helps us to better convey to the public the important return on investment space technologies bring to life on Earth.

Nominations for the Class of 2022 inductees into the Space Technology Hall of Fame are now being sought. For more than 30 years, the Space Foundation has honored some of NASA’s greatest works that have bettered our nation’s and the world’s health care, communications, public safety, environmental protection, transportation, and more. It is encouraged to submit nominations for the 2022 Class of inductees.

With nearly 100 inducted technologies, honoring nearly 500 people and over 250 different organizations, the Space Foundation is committed to ensuring that life-changing work and talent are duly recognized. The value added and impact the space program brings to our nation and the world is incredibly important. Bringing more of those talents and works to light helps the Space Foundation advance space awareness to everyone.

Join the Space Foundation to celebrate the 2022 Class of Inductees at the 37th Annual Space Symposium (April 4 – April 7) in Colorado Springs, CO.

Cybersecurity illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Amazon × MGM Studios Merger

Amazon announced that it will be acquiring MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, in an effort to bolster the already growing Amazon studios and making it the second largest acquisition on Amazon’s part, following its $13.7 purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.

According to cybersecurity expert Mark Stamford, CEO of OccamSec, a deal of this scale will require a complete review of its cybersecurity infrastructure, as the process of fully merging these entities are rarely completed in the expected timescale.

Mark continues:

  • The standard “merger” due-diligence template goes into great detail looking at financial & legal status issues, but rarely seems to consider the potential liability associated with linking into an organization with a seriously compromised infrastructure. 
  • Trying to coherently map risks or produce an enterprise security plan for this type of environment is incredibly challenging, when multiple systems are coming together
  • With such notable deals, most attackers reside within the organization’s network for over 100 days before discovery, so there is a very real risk of starting work on merging infrastructure, whilst being observed by an interested resident attacker, who will be keenly looking out for an opportunity to vector into the core organization’s networks

Mark says, “Exercising strategic due-diligence during a merger or acquisition, is the most effective what for any organization, like Amazon, to protect itself from cyber threats.”

We had the opportunity to ask Mark Stamford some questions as far as the merger and his expert opinion(s):

Q: What changes can be expected with a merger like the Amazon/MGM Studio merger?

MS: The merging of two different cultures always prompts a lot of changes. In this case, MGM is going to become more like Amazon than the other way round.

Q: Do the benefits outweigh the risks with this type of merger?

MS: Yes, I assume so, from a cyber perspective, the main risk is joining two networks together that have different structures, and probably issues. So, for example I was called in to help with some M&A work once, the new network was plugged in…and brought a heap of malware with it which quickly spread into the acquirers’ network.  It later transpired that some of the IP, which was the very reason for the merger, had been stolen.

Q: What challenges is Amazon, an online retailer, facing when merging with MGM Studio?

MS: Both operate in different ways. The majority of movie making companies seem to follow the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra. So, technology tends to be a hodge podge, along with processes etc.… Amazon meanwhile is a tech company, and while primarily known as a retailer, has considerable presence in the cloud (with AWS) so has a lot of cutting-edge technology at its disposal.

Q: What are some ways to help the process move along with ease?

MS: Again, in a cyber perspective there needs to be due diligence done on the MGM environment. At the same time, since both organizations probably have a range of security tools, seeing who has the best tool for the job can save money in the long term.

Also, not to be discounted is the human element in cyber security – any merger results in layoffs. So, the potential for a “disgruntled insider” increases. The way to help with that is communication – not more monitoring.

Q: How can Amazon prevent cyber-attacks during the process of the merger?

MS: MGM makes a nice target right now, since at some point their technology will be integrated into Amazon, and if I was a bad guy, I would assume they are the softer target of the two. Amazon should work with MGM to ensure their security is at a “good” level, and work on the integration aspects – two distinct cyber security teams need to become one, quickly.

Q: In your opinion, does Amazon face cyber risks from vendors or third parties with the onset of the merger?

MS: I think amazon always faces this risk, as does everyone. Since the organization is increasing in size, the “attack surface increases” so yes, they do face risks.

Q: What are the biggest cybersecurity threats at the moment?

MS: Motivated attackers, be that nation states, criminal groups, hacktavists, or others. Ransomware is getting a lot of press right now. However, I think the biggest threat is the endless cost spiral companies are trapped in trying to deal with this.

Q: What are some ways to ensure that the infrastructure is not compromised?

MS: Defense in depth continues to be the key. Layers of security, which work together, and consider the context of the organization (how it makes money or delivers its service) in order to support that mission.  I assume Amazon will expand their cyber security program across MGM fairly quickly, which checks a number of boxes and provides a good starting point.

One issue may be that a movie studio faces different kinds of attackers than Amazon. Movie studios are primarily about their IP, everything else always seemed to be secondary to that. Stealing a movie is a different attack then ransomware, which we have seen borne out in practice (various insider attacks to steal content for example).

Q: What are your certifications in the cybersecurity field?

MS: I have been involved in cybersecurity since I was 11. Was senior penetration tester for a global consulting company, ran a security program at a global investment bank, and have been running a security company for 10 years.

Q: What does effective cybersecurity look like to you?

MS: Cost effective, business aware, and layered.