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JANUARY: New particulars emerge about Jeff Bezos’ iPhone hack

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (left) and Jeff Bezos.


AP



In January, The Guardian and The New York Instances reported {that a} forensic evaluation of Bezos’ iPhone by FTI Consulting discovered proof that Saudi officers have been concerned in the leaking of Bezos’ relationship and private messages in 2019.

The declare was backed up quickly after, when the UN referred to as for an “quick investigation” into the crown prince. 

In accordance with the forensic report, Bezos and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman exchanged numbers at a dinner in April 2018 — on Might 1 of that 12 months, Bezos’ iPhone is claimed to have been infiltrated after he acquired a video attachment from the crown prince’s private WhatsApp account.

Inside hours of Bezos receiving the video, the report discovered {that a} “large and … unprecedented exfiltration of knowledge” started, a rise of greater than 29,000%

After particulars of the forensic report have been printed, the Saudi authorities issued an announcement calling the reporting “absurd” and stated it will be investigating the claims. 

FEBRUARY: A former Microsoft engineer is convicted of stealing $10 million from the corporate

Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Stephen Brashear


Former Microsoft software program engineer Volodymyr Kvashuk was convicted in February of stealing $10 million value of digital foreign money from his former employer. 

Kvashuk — who labored at Microsoft from August 2016 to June 2018, first as a contractor, then as a full-time worker — was convicted by the US District Courtroom in Seattle after a five-day trial, the US Legal professional’s Workplace for the Western District of Washington introduced on the time

The court docket discovered that Kvashuk had stolen “foreign money saved worth,” like on-line present playing cards, throughout his time testing the retail-sales platform on Microsoft’s web site. He then resold the foreign money in change for bitcoin and used the cash to purchase a lakefront house for $1.6 million and a Tesla that value $160,000 — probably a Mannequin X, given the value. 

Kvashuk was later sentenced to 9 years in jail

APRIL: A leaked memo reveals that Amazon deliberate to discredit a warehouse employee who was fired after protesting coronavirus working situations

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A protester exterior of one among Amazon’s New York Metropolis warehouses.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


In April, Amazon fired Chris Smalls, an assistant supervisor at one among Amazon’s New York Metropolis warehouses. Smalls had helped manage a walkout to protest how the corporate was cleansing its services and treating warehouse staff in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Smalls stated on the time that he was fired in retaliation for organizing the protest; Amazon denied this. 

Quickly after, Vice printed a leaked memo from Amazon’s public relations crew through which executives laid out a plan to discredit Smalls. 

“He is not good, or articulate, and to the extent the press desires to give attention to us versus him, we will likely be in a a lot stronger PR place,” David Zapolsky, Amazon’s basic counsel, wrote in an e-mail, including that Amazon ought to “make him the face of the whole union/organizing motion.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly within the assembly in regards to the scenario, together with Dave Clark, Amazon’s head of worldwide operations and customer support, and Beth Galetti, head of human assets. In accordance with Vice, Zapolsky’s notes stated there was “basic settlement” on the technique. 

Learn extra: An Amazon warehouse employee explains how he grew to become a TikTok star by secretly filming his job and what occurred when HR came upon

APRIL: Elon Musk rails in opposition to stay-at-home orders, calling them “fascist”

Elon Musk

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

AP Picture/Susan Walsh


All through the coronavirus pandemic, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been outspoken about his ideas on the whole lot from ventilator shortages to attainable therapies to the severity of the virus general. 

In April, Musk went one step additional, calling US shelter-in-place orders “fascist” throughout a short, expletive-laden rant throughout a convention name following Tesla’s first-quarter earnings report.

“Frankly, I’d name it forcible imprisoning of individuals of their houses in opposition to all of, their constitutional rights, for my part,” he stated. “It is breaking individuals’s freedoms in methods which can be horrible and unsuitable and never why they got here to America or constructed this nation. What the f—. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.”

Shortly after, Musk acquired right into a public spat with the state of California after coronavirus restrictions pressured Tesla to quickly shut its Northern California manufacturing facility. Musk restarted operations with out county approval and tweeted that he’d be on the meeting line and was keen to danger arrest.  

Tesla went on to file a lawsuit in opposition to California arguing it needs to be allowed to proceed working regardless of the shutdown, which it later dropped after receiving authorities approval.

Learn extra: Tesla staff reveal CEO Elon Musk’s greatest strengths and weaknesses

APRIL: Invoice Gates leads to the middle of coronavirus conspiracy concept

bill gates

Microsoft cofounder Invoice Gates .

Yana Paskova/Getty Photos


One month into coronavirus lockdowns within the US, Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Invoice Gates ended up on the middle of conspiracy theories blaming him for the virus. 

Gates has been an advocate for pandemic preparedness for years, and warned way back to 2015 {that a} world pandemic might end in a surprising dying toll. 

However by mid-April, a New York Instances evaluation discovered greater than 16,000 Fb posts falsely claiming that Gates had engineered the virus. The surge in conspiracy theories about Gates appeared to originate from a YouTube persona linked to QAnon, who claimed in January that Gates knew in regards to the pandemic forward of time.

Outstanding right-wing and anti-vaccination figures additionally unfold the speculation, together with Roger Stone, Trump’s former marketing campaign adviser, and Alex Jones.

In June, the hashtag “#ExposeBillGates” trended on Twitter as a consequence of a coordinated effort from customers on Reddit, 4chan, and different web sites.

MAY: Individuals set cell towers on hearth as a consequence of a 5G conspiracy concept

Cell phone tower fire 5G

The aftermath of a hearth at a 5G cell tower within the Netherlands.

Robin Utrecht/SOPA Photos/LightRocket through Getty Photos


Within the spring, one other baseless conspiracy concept started to realize steam: that the rollout of sooner 5G web both precipitated or helped speed up the unfold of the coronavirus. Individuals within the UK and elsewhere started setting 5G cell towers on hearth, leading to greater than 70 arson assaults on cell towers by Might. 

The conspiracy concept has been round since a minimum of 2019, nevertheless it accelerated on-line in the course of the pandemic and was amplified by on-line teams, tv journalists, and even celebrities like Woody Harrelson. As the speculation unfold, so did the assaults on cell towers and telecoms staff.

The false claims led a bunch of Britain’s huge telecoms corporations to publish an open letter begging for individuals to cease damaging their cell towers and attacking their engineers, and social media corporations like Fb and YouTube each pledged to take away teams or content material linking 5G and the virus. 

JUNE: T-Cell experiences a large outage

T-Mobile down

A dwell T-Cell outage map from Down Detector.

Down Detector


In June, T-Cell clients across the US skilled a crippling and widespread outage, leading to 1000’s of consumers experiencing disruptions to their cell service. 

At its peak, service tracker DownDetector confirmed 93,000 stories of T-Cell outages in locations like New York, Florida, Texas, Georgia, California, and the Washington, DC, space. On the time, T-Cell’s president of know-how, Neville Ray, stated in a tweet that the corporate was experiencing a “voice and knowledge challenge.” 

Service was totally restored a number of hours later, however FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated the committee could be launching an investigation into the outage. 

JUNE: Fintech firm Wirecard is embroiled in an accounting scandal

Wirecard CEO Markus Brown

Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun.

Peter Kneffel/image alliance through Getty Photos


In mid-June, German funds processing firm Wirecard, which had lengthy been the goal of hypothesis that it was dealing in improper accounting practices, revealed that 1.9 billion euros had gone lacking from its stability sheet.

A couple of days later, the corporate’s CEO, Markus Braun, resigned from his publish and shortly after, Wirecard admitted that the lacking 1.9 billion probably didn’t exist, which despatched shares of Wirecard crashing. By the tip of June, Braun was arrested by German police on suspicion of market manipulation and false knowledge. Quickly after, Wirecard filed for insolvency

Wirecard’s scandal hit funding big SoftBank significantly laborious: In 2019, the agency’s Imaginative and prescient Fund had invested $1 billion in Wirecard by way of a convertible bond, a type of debt financing that may be repaid in inventory. Wirecard’s share worth plummeting erased lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in earnings for SoftBank

Learn extra: Fintech buyers say the Wirecard scandal will put elevated regulatory stress on funds corporations and stymie development for startups

JUNE: The Division of Justice expenses former eBay workers in reference to a cyberstalking marketing campaign in opposition to critics

eBay headquarters in San Jose, California

An exterior view of eBay headquarters in San Jose, California.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photos


In June, the Division of Justice charged six former eBay workers — together with two firm administrators — with main an “aggressive” cyberstalking marketing campaign. A seventh worker was charged in July

The Justice Division alleged that eBay workers had focused a Massachussetts-based couple who ran an ecommerce e-newsletter that was essential of eBay. The eBay workers despatched the couple nameless messages and packages, together with dwell cockroaches, a bloody pig masks, a funeral wreath, and a guide on “surviving the lack of a partner,” based on court docket paperwork. 

The previous workers have been charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. They might withstand 5 years in jail and a tremendous of as much as $250,000 for every cost.

JUNE: Hackers leak delicate recordsdata from over 200 police departments amid the George Floyd protests

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US Division of Homeland Safety; Wikimedia Commons; Courtesy of Emma Finest; Samantha Lee/Enterprise Insider


As protests continued nationwide following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, hackers leaked 269 gigabytes of knowledge from police departments throughout the US.

The leaked recordsdata, which got here to be generally known as BlueLeaks, confirmed how the FBI and police departments throughout the US have been monitoring the social media accounts of those that have been attending the protests in opposition to police brutality. Regulation enforcement have been exchanging details about protesters’ garments, tattoos, and Twitter handles, the recordsdata confirmed. 

The delicate info, which appeared to have been hacked from a Houston web-services firm referred to as Netsential and shared with a freedom-of-information activist named Emma Finest, was leaked within the type of a searchable database, which might be sorted by officers’ badge numbers.

Learn extra: How ‘Keyser Söze’ leaked a secret trove of police paperwork that uncovered cops monitoring George Floyd protesters

JULY: Twitter experiences a large hack that compromises the accounts of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, and different notable figures

Jack Dorsey

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

AP Picture/Jose Luis Magana


In July, notable tech figures and former world leaders have been focused in a large Twitter hack.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft cofounder Invoice Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and greater than 100 different verified accounts have been hacked as a part of a widespread bitcoin-giveaway rip-off that befell over a number of hours. The assault despatched Twitter reeling and referred to as into query how safe the platform actually was. 

Whereas it was initially believed that the hack was a complicated assault, it was later revealed to have been orchestrated by a Florida teen. In August, he pleaded not responsible to 30 felony expenses — if convicted, he might be sentenced to as much as 200 years in jail.

Learn extra: Safety professionals say the Twitter hack highlights how a easy mixture of phishing and ‘insider threats’ is the largest safety danger corporations want to fret about

JULY: Main advertisers pull their advertisements from Fb following its lack of motion in opposition to President Donald Trump’s posts threatening George Floyd protesters

mark zuckerberg facebook

Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The Asahi Shimbun through Getty Photos


Following George Floyd’s dying in Might and the protests that started in Minneapolis, President Donald Trump posted on Fb that the protesters have been “thugs” and appeared to threaten violence in opposition to them, writing on Fb and Twitter: “when the looting begins, the capturing begins.”

Although Twitter took motion in opposition to the posts, saying they glorified violence, Fb determined to not take any motion in opposition to the posts or Trump.

In response, civil rights teams referred to as for advertisers to boycott the positioning — at one level, greater than 500 advertisers, together with Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Ford, pulled their advertisements from Fb, leading to $60 billion in Fb’s market worth being erased in two days. 

Fb did not look like swayed by the boycott, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially saying in a message to workers that the corporate would not be altering its strategy to hate speech. COO Sheryl Sandberg later wrote on Fb that the corporate could be making adjustments to raised determine and take away hateful content material on the platform, “not for monetary causes or advertiser stress, however as a result of it’s the proper factor to do.” 

Learn extra: The place advertisers spent their cash from the Fb boycott, based on an company that handles $1.5 billion in advert spend

AUGUST: Epic Video games, the corporate behind “Fortnite,” recordsdata a lawsuit in opposition to Apple

Fortnite 1984 Apple ad parody

A scene parodying Apple CEO Tim Prepare dinner from the video “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite.”


Epic Video games



Epic Video games sued Apple in August, accusing it of participating in anticompetitive conduct after Apple pulled “Fortnite” from the App Retailer.

The gaming firm had beforehand introduced the power for customers to make in-game purchases straight by way of Epic, bypassing the 30% lower Apple and Google take from in-app purchases. In response, Apple yanked “Fortnite” from the App Retailer, with Google’s Play Retailer following go well with later within the day.

Epic shortly filed its lawsuit, claiming Apple used its energy to “impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully keep its 100% monopoly.”

Epic additionally launched a brief movie titled “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a scathing parody of Apple’s well-known “1984” industrial.

Since then, Fb had pledged to help Epic in its ongoing litigation with Apple. 

Learn extra: Tech went to warfare with itself this week and ‘Fortnite’ is simply the match lighting an even bigger battle involving Apple, Google and Huge Tech.

SEPTEMBER: Trump makes an attempt to drive the sale of TikTok to US corporations

Trump TikTok

TikTok customers within the US have been reacting to the information of a possible ban of the favored app for months.

Picture Illustration by Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto through Getty Photos


In September, the US Division of Commerce introduced it will ban the apps TikTok and WeChat from US app shops starting on September 20.

The ban was a results of months of scrutiny from US lawmakers, who felt the apps’ ties to China — TikTok was created by ByteDance whereas WeChat is produced by Tencent, each Chinese language corporations  — made them safety dangers for US customers.

Trump set a deadline for ByteDance to search out an American purchaser for TikTok or face a ban, launching a weeks-long bidding warfare for the mega-popular short-form video app. (The tried ban on WeChat is at the moment hitting authorized roadblocks and is unlikely to be applied anytime quickly.)

Whereas Microsoft emerged as an early frontrunner, the deal shortly fell aside. As a substitute, a brand new US-based TikTok enterprise will likely be created, with US buyers, together with Oracle and Walmart, changing ByteDance as the bulk shareholders.

Whereas Trump authorised the deal in September, it seems to at the moment be at a standstill, and two federal judges have blocked the Trump administration’s ban on TikTok. 

Learn extra: Walmart is taking a web page from Alibaba’s playbook in China, because it appears to assist pioneer dwell procuring occasions within the US on TikTok

SEPTEMBER: Electrical-car firm Nikola’s $2 billion take care of GM falls aside after a string of controversies

Nikola founder Trevor Milton

Nikola founder Trevor Milton.

REUTERS/Massimo Pinca


In September, electric-car firm Nikola inked a $2 billion take care of Basic Motors to supply an electrical pick-up truck.

However two days later, issues started to unravel.

A brief vendor revealed that it gathered “intensive proof” that it stated indicated fraud and implicated founder Trevor Milton. Nikola referred to as the quick vendor’s findings “false and deceptive,” however quickly after, the SEC and the DOJ started analyzing the allegations.

Milton resigned from the corporate, however across the time of his resignation, two ladies, one among whom was Milton’s cousin, got here ahead alleging that he had sexually assaulted them, which Milton denied.

Then, on the finish of September, a report surfaced alleging Milton had purchased the designs for the Nikola semi-truck fairly than designing it himself, as he had beforehand claimed.

By November, GM stated it will not take a stake in Nikola or produce a shopper truck, however will nonetheless promote its hydrogen gas cells to the corporate.

Learn extra: Nikola founder Trevor Milton’s cousin alleges he sexually assaulted her once they have been youngsters

OCTOBER: Twitter blocks a New York Submit story about Hunter Biden, inciting backlash from conservatives

donald trump joe hunter biden-2

From left: Donald Trump, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden.

Related Press/Evan Vucci, AP


In October, Twitter confronted backlash for an preliminary resolution to ban customers from sharing hyperlinks to a New York Submit story about Hunter and Joe Biden. The story was primarily based partly on recordsdata and emails that the Submit stated have been taken from Hunter Biden’s laptop computer, and a number of media shops, together with Enterprise Insider, referred to as the story’s reporting into query.

Twitter’s transfer to ban sharing hyperlinks to the story — which it quickly did, citing its coverage on sharing hacked supplies — resulted in swift reactions from customers, significantly from Republicans who felt Twitter was displaying bias in opposition to conservatives. 

Dorsey stated the platform’s resolution to ban hyperlinks to the story was “unsuitable” and stated blocking a URL with out offering context was “unacceptable.” 

NOVEMBER: Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh dies all of the sudden at age 46

tony hsieh zappos

Tony Hsieh in 2014.

Andy Cross/The Denver Submit/Getty Photos


Someday after Thanksgiving, Tony Hsieh, the previous CEO of Zappos, died after sustaining accidents in a home hearth. 

Following Hsieh’s sudden dying, stories emerged of a troubling closing few months for the legendary and beloved entrepreneur, who stepped down from his longtime function on the helm of Amazon-owned Zappos earlier this 12 months.

In June, Hsieh skilled what buddies described as a “psychotic break” that marked a darkish turning level and should have led to his departure from Zappos.

Throughout his closing months, Hsieh had relocated from his longtime house of Las Vegas to Park Metropolis, Utah, the place he grew to become more and more bodily and digitally remoted from longtime buddies and began consuming closely and inhaling nitrous oxide, based on Enterprise Insider’s reporting.

In accordance with The Wall Avenue Journal, Hsieh had been planning to examine right into a rehabilitation middle the day earlier than he died. 

Learn extra: Tony Hsieh offered Zappos for $1.2 billion in his 30s. He was lifeless by 46. Inside his closing Park Metropolis months, the place he hoped to ship extra happiness as he spiraled.

DECEMBER: The extremely anticipated launch of “Cyberpunk 2077” is derailed by main bugs

You_look_like_youve_seen_a_ghost en

Cyberpunk 2077.

CD Projekt Pink


“Cyberpunk 2077,” the extremely anticipated sport that took years to construct, lastly debuted in December. 

However quickly after launch, gamers reported main bugs and crippling efficiency points, significantly on the PlayStation four and Xbox One. Just one week after launch, the sport was pulled from PlayStation’s digital retailer, and each Sony and Microsoft provided full refunds to anybody who purchased the sport.

Following the sport’s messy launch, the event studio behind “Cyberpunk,” CD Projekt Pink, noticed its inventory worth tank by almost a 3rd. Quickly after, the studio issued an apology and provided refunds to some gamers.

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