Apple hit a market cap of US$ 2 trillion today after doubling in valuation in just over two years. The iPhone maker is the first American company to reach that milestone.
The most surprising part is, most of the momentum came in just a few months ago. Markets crashed globally in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but recovery has been extremely quick and the US’ NASDAQ 100 index is already hovering around an all-time high.
While a plethora of industries have taken a radical hit due to the pandemic, technology companies are leading the bullish wave. On July 31, Apple surpassed oil giant Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company.
Apple was an almost bankrupt company in 1997. In the last two decades, the company has grown rapidly thanks to cutting-edge innovation. The Cupertino giant went on to revolutionize the music industry with iPod and iTunes.
The portable music player became a cultural icon, making way for the iPhone. Apple’s iPhone is often credited for single-handedly dethroning leaders like BlackBerry and Nokia. Further evolving its lineup, the company went on to make the Apple Watch.
Today, it controls an ecosystem comprising of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and more. While the company continues to rely on hardware sales as its primary revenue source, services like Apple Music and Apple Arcade have received positive feedback. This opens another door of secondary revenues for the company.
However, the timing of the milestone is intriguing because the company is being investigated for having too much control. Antitrust hearings are ongoing and many in the Senate want to split up big tech companies. However, Apple isn’t the only one who’s valuation is consistently rising amid the pandemic. The stock of Microsoft, Facebook, and Google has also witnessed a wave of bullish investments.
Huawei praises American technology, reevaluates own lineup
In rare public letter
For a while now, Huawei has stayed silent following the recent slew of American bans. However, amid the silence, the Chinese company has suffered endless misery in the hands of the Trump administration. Now, under a new president, Huawei might finally get a well-deserved reprieve. In a rare public address, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei praises American technology and is reevaluating his own product lineup.
In the public letter, written sometime in June last year and reported by Reuters, Ren called out the Trump administration’s actions for creating “a great mismatch between [Huawei’s] strategy and [their] abilities.” The heavily restrictive policies have, in turn, forced Huawei to reevaluate their lineup, including cutting some products and some staff.
Since the letter was penned last year, Huawei’s cost-cutting might have already come to pass after selling Honor away. The company hasn’t eradicated much of its product lineup, though. Huawei is still planning to launch its tentpole series soon.
Despite criticizing Trump’s actions, Ren also praised the caliber of American technology as a “beacon of technology” and something to be emulated. The public praise makes the timing a bit conspicuous. There is a possibility that Huawei is trying to court the Biden administration into laxer policies going forward. Before the Trump administration ended, the ex-president landed a farewell blow, reportedly revoking some already accepted applications for operating licenses. With a new administration, Huawei is enjoying some renewed hope.
SEE ALSO: Huawei buys 90 patents from BlackBerry
OnePlus and OPPO are merging research departments
A new era for R&D
Everyone knows about the relationship between OPPO and OnePlus. Last year, renowned OnePlus CEO Pete Lau controversially switched sides over to OPPO, despite retaining some form of responsibility with his former company. Both companies have evolved side-by-side for a while. Today, they are taking a step further. Now confirmed by both companies, both companies have merged research departments.
Some rumors about the merge have emerged late last year. However, at the time, the rumors were just that — rumors. Now, it’s 100 percent confirmed.
In a statement sent to Android Authority, a OnePlus spokesperson has confirmed that both companies are integrating their research efforts into OPLUS, an overseeing holding company now led by Lau. Now, both companies are in a joint research partnership with one another.
However, the OnePlus statement also assures users that all involved parties will continue to operate independently despite the partnership. However, given that they are now working together, all companies under the BKK flag can now share new innovations and features with one another.
At the very least, the partnership cements a fact that was formerly known anyway: that OPPO and OnePlus share a strong relationship between themselves. At the moment, no one knows what the partnership will create, but it’s a good sight, at least.
Cybersecurity threats to lookout for in 2021 and beyond
Threats to intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will increase
Researchers from Fortinet have identified several cybersecurity threats for 2021 that will greatly impact both the consumer and enterprise sector. By 2021, cybersecurity threats on intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will double as most companies continue to implement remote working schemes.
A new wave of cybersecurity threats will also arise due to advances in computing. These threats have the potential to disrupt a large number of businesses and consumers in the future. Thus, preparation and eventual mitigation are key to stemming the potential disruption by these threats.
Threats on the intelligent edge are on the rise
Intelligent edge computing is more popular than ever thanks to remote work with most employees making use of personal and interconnected devices to access the company network. However, intelligent edge computing presents new threats as cybercriminals exploit these “edges” (i.e. connected IoTs, personal devices) thanks to a decentralized approach by companies.
These threats can run the gamut from ransomware to malware. As intelligent edge computing booms, cybercriminals can specifically target edge devices with malware that could disrupt corporate networks. They can design malware that could understand usage patterns, adapt accordingly, and attack networks with little to no risk of suspicion. Moreover, sophisticated malware may spread through networks to propagate additional attack commands or disrupt more networks and devices.
Ransomware on the rise
This 2021, consumers and businesses should be more concerned with social engineering-based attacks and ransomware. One of the most common forms of social engineering-based attacks is phishing. In phishing, cybercriminals send fake emails supposedly from legitimate entities coercing users into sending their personal information. For example, a user may receive a fake bank email notice warning of impending account closure but contains malicious links instead.
These attacks may even lock users from their personal data, holding them hostage until they pay a hefty amount of cash. Ransomware attacks do just that, affecting not only consumers but also the enterprise sector. As more businesses rely on edge devices for critical operations, the potential for a future ransomware attack rises significantly posing more risks than ever before.
Human lives are also at stake with ransomware attacks that blow out of control. An example of this happened last year when several hospitals across the US were hit by a variant of the Ryuk ransomware. As a result, several hospitals have to transfer their patients to other facilities since their systems cannot perform patient monitoring and other critical operations.
Advances in crypto mining and attacks on satellite-based networks
Bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning could also open up advances in crypto mining. While not inherently bad, cybercriminals can infect consumer devices more easily and gain access to system resources. When abused, crypto mining could potentially impact any device and affect users’ experience.
Meanwhile, network operators should prepare for more advanced attacks as they become reliant on satellite-based systems. Cybercriminals could infect a satellite base station and propagate malware to connected devices. Satellite-based networks could become a conduit for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in this way.
As an example, a cybercriminal could hijack a base station and inject scripts into other devices. In turn, infected devices could run malicious commands that could disrupt the connection of other networks.
Quantum computing, preparing for present and future threats
Quantum computers are the next big thing in computing, relying on qubits instead of the traditional binary bit present in all devices today. Research in quantum computing has made significant progress over the years, with working quantum computers not too far on the horizon.
Quantum computers, however, could also pose a new problem in the future. In the future, these can break traditional encryption algorithms rendering encryption moot. Fortinet advises businesses to adapt accordingly by using the principles of crypto agility.
In the meantime, businesses can readily adapt to these threats through a careful combination of technology, people, training, and partnerships. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also key technologies for preparing against and mitigating future cybersecurity threats. Businesses can train AI to spot attack patterns and identify threats even before they become a reality.
Partnerships are also vital in stemming the tide against cybercriminals. The enterprise sector, for example, could partner with law enforcement agencies for information sharing and dismantling of malicious networks.
Cybersecurity threats are here to stay
Connected devices have transformed society by enabling instant communication and richer user experiences. However, it also opens up new threats from cybercriminals willing to exploit and gather sensitive data.
There’s an old adage that says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same adage applies all the more in cybersecurity. Threats are here to stay, so consumers and businesses should prepare and mitigate potential impacts as much as possible. Thankfully, it is easy to stay safe and protected by following best practices.
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