Samsung’s Odyssey League Returns – This Time with Rocket League

Source: Samsung

 
London, UK – July 2nd, 2021 – After a successful Odyssey League for Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds last year, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, the global leader in the gaming monitor market*, are once again inviting teams to participate in heated esports action – only this time, they’ll be driving cars and shooting goals in Rocket League. There are a range of Samsung prizes to be won, along with a prize pool of €25,000.
 
Viewers of the EU Finals will notice Samsung’s latest iteration Odyssey gaming monitors, which will be used by the teams participating in the tournament’s final stages. Bringing together the best of Samsung gaming, including the award winning Odyssey G9, recently named Best Gaming monitor at the European Hardware Association, or the new announced G70A, G50A and G30A** models which allows players to enjoy the latest high-performing PC and console games with real-world colours, pinpoint accuracy and sharp response, perfect for playing Rocket League.
 
The Odyssey League, named after the innovative range of gaming monitors, is a search for Europe’s best teams in competitive titles such as PUBG and this time around, Rocket League. Players who can compete at the highest levels synonymous with the Odyssey brand and are willing [1]to prove it, have a chance to win part of the €25,000 prize pool.
 
Registration for the tournament will open from July 2nd, with regional teams signing up to participate in qualifiers starting July 23rd. The victors will participate in regional finals, all of which will be broadcast in local languages.
 
Teams succeeding in the finals will proceed to the European finals, taking place from August 27th to 29th, which will be broadcast in English, and will see one team crowned champions.
 
The regions participating in the Odyssey League are as follows:
 

Regions
Countries
Type
Period

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Eastern Europe, Romania, Greece, Hungary, Czech Republic, Baltics, Adriatics
Qualifier
July 23-26th

Regional Finals
August 7-8th

6, 7, 8, 9,10
Benelux, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, UK
Qualifier
July 30th – August 2nd

Regional Finals
August 14-15th

ALL
All regions
European Finals
August 27-29th

 
 
Teams wishing to participate can sign up at www.odysseyleague.gg.
 
Samsung will be tracking the tournament’s progress and news via Twitter (@OdysseyLeague) and our Discord server.
 
** Specifications of the on 21st of June, 2021 announced expansion of the Odyssey Gaming Monitor Lineup.
 

Model
G70A
G50A
G30A

Display
Screen Size
28″
27″
27″ 24″

Flat / Curved
Flat

Aspect Ratio
16:9

Brightness (Typical)
300 cd/㎡
(Peak 400 cd/㎡)

350 cd/㎡
250 cd/㎡

HDR
VESA DisplayHDR 400
HDR10

Resolution
3,840 x 2,160
2,560 x 1,440
1,920 x 1,080

Response Time
1ms(GTG)
1ms(MPRT)

Viewing Angle
178°(Horizontal)/178°(Vertical)

Frame Rate
Max 144Hz
Max 165Hz
Max 144Hz

Gaming
Feature

FreeSync
FreeSync Premium Pro
FreeSync Premium

G-SYNC
G-SYNC Compatible

Auto Source Switch+
Yes

Etc.(1)
Eye Saver Mode, Flicker Free, Black Equalizer, Refresh Rate Optimizer

Etc.(2)
Low Input Lag Mode, Super Arena Gaming UX, Ultrawide Game View, CoreSync Lighting

Etc.
Color
BLACK

Interface
Display Port 1.4 (1EA),
HDMI 2.1 (2EA),
USB3.0 Up (1EA) & Down (2EA)

Display Port 1.2 (1EA), HDMI 2.0 (1EA),
Display Port 1.2 (1EA),
HDMI 1.4 (1EA),

Ergonomics
HAS(Height Adjustable Stand), Tilt, Swivel, Pivot

Wall Mount
100 x 100

 
*Based on global market share in IDC Q1 2021 Final History Report.
 

Samsung Celebrates Bespoke with Limited Edition Designs

Source: Samsung

Latest offering is Bespoke 4-Door Flex refrigerator with stars and stripes design, now available in limited quantities

Samsung Electronics America is introducing a new, limited edition stars and stripes design, with white gloss panels, for its Bespoke 4-Door Flex refrigerator in counter-depth and standard configurations. No matter which you choose, Bespoke has the features you’ve come to expect from Samsung, including sleek lines, a contemporary flat-panel design with recessed handles and smart features.
The stars and stripes design is one of a number of limited edition custom panels that Samsung has released for Bespoke refrigerators in the U.S. and other global markets. These innovative, stylish customizations are a celebration of Bespoke, which has transformed traditional home appliances into statement pieces that push the boundaries of design and empower families to express their personal style.

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4.8.2021 / Home Appliances
Design Your Own Refrigerator with Samsung BESPOKE

Inside Bespoke 4-Door Flex are new, more convenient features for families, including the new Beverage Center . Hidden inside the upper-left door, the Beverage Center provides quick access two different ways, with an internal, filtered water dispenser and built-in AutoFill water pitcher. The AutoFill water pitcher automatically refills with fresh, filtered water, or you can easily infuse the water with a flavor of your choice. The refrigerator also features a Dual Ice Maker, which can make not only regular ice cubes but also small Ice Bites, which are perfectly sized for enjoyable chewing or to chill drinks faster.
Bespoke also features Samsung’s signature Flex Zone, a versatile compartment that converts from fridge to freezer temperatures, offering the flexibility to meet a family’s food storage needs.
The stars and stripes edition is now available on Samsung.com.
The post Samsung Celebrates Bespoke with Limited Edition Designs appeared first on Samsung US Newsroom.

[Healthy Friday] Wow Yourself with this Seafood Special Platter of Roasted Prawns

Source: Samsung

 
This one’s for all seafood lovers! For the past couple of weekends, our focus has been on sharing recipes of healthy but delish dishes. This weekend is no exception either! And that’s why we will make Roasted prawns in our own Samsung microwave. Served best with mint sauce, this dish can be served as an appetizer or a side dish with your main course.
 
A few simple steps and you have an absolute cracker of a dish!
 
Cooking Time: 9 minutes | Serving: 600-700 grams
Ingredients
 
Prawns: 500 grams
Chopped Onions: 2
Chopped tomatoes: 2
Oil: 2 tablespoon
Red Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Chopped curry leaves: 2 tablespoon
 
Cooking Method:

Press the Hot Blast Auto button
Select the type of food that you are cooking by turning the Multi Function Selector Dial
Now take a microwave safe glass bowl and add chopped tomatoes, onions, turmeric powder, oil, and ginger-garlic paste. Mix well.
Put it in the microwave and turn on the Microwave mode for 8 minutes.
After cooking, keep aside.
Select autocook program and put the crusty plate on high rack in the microwave oven.
Press START/+30s. At this stage, the Display shows ‘preheat’.
Once the microwave beeps, take out the crusty plate.
Add prawns and all other ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
Spread the prawns on the crusty plate and press START/+30s.
Once the prawns cooked, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

 
[To explore a world of delectable recipes, download Samsung My Recipes app on your smartphone]

Registration opens to access audio statements in “United States — Ripe Olives from Spain”

Source: World Trade Organisation

The statements were originally made and recorded at the first meeting of the panel held on 19 and 22 October 2020, the second meeting of the panel held on 3 and 4 February 2021, and the third-party session held on 20 October 2020.

In addition to the audio recordings, access will also be provided to written versions of the parties’ statements at the meetings, consenting third parties’ statements at the third-party session, and the parties’ responses to the panel’s questions at the meetings. The audio recordings and written materials will be available in English only.

Access to the audio recordings and written materials will be granted upon completion of a registration form. Applications will be accepted until Monday, 12 July 2021, 17:00 Geneva time.

On Monday, 19 July 2021, 12:00 Geneva time, registered participants will receive an email containing a web link and credentials to access the audio recordings and written materials. The link will remain active until Thursday, 22 July 2021, 12:00 Geneva time.

Please note that sharing the web-link or access credentials with other persons and/or any form of recording or sharing the audio and/or written materials with other persons is prohibited.

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Stadia Savepoint: June updates

Source: Google

It’s time for another update to our Stadia Savepoint series, recapping the new games, features and updates on Stadia.

In June, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege launched with instant access to 5v5 PVP action in the latest North Star season, including support for cross-play and cross-progression with PC and Luna. Players also competed within Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game, which supports Crowd Play Beta. June also gave players the chance to experiment with building new creations in Hello Engineer First on Stadia in Early Access, which includes support for State Share.

In addition, Stadia Pro subscribers enjoyed new games like the action-platformer Blue Fire or jumped into titles like The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, Chronos: Before the Ashes and MotoGP™20. Claiming these titles within the growing Pro library of 20+ games makes them easy to play instantly, as long as you’re a Pro subscriber. Plus, Stadia Pro offered free play weekends in PGA TOUR 2K21 and Borderlands 3, the latter of which now supports cross-play so you can party up and fight your way across Pandora.

Last month, the Ubisoft+ beta expanded to six new countries. Subscribers in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland gained access to a growing library of Ubisoft titles playable on Stadia ($14.99 USD/€14.99 EUR per month, cancel anytime.) At the same time, Stadia revealed nine crowd-favorite games coming soon from the biggest Ubisoft series including Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Rayman.

A new promotion with AT&T gives US players six free months of Stadia Pro when they pick up a qualifying AT&T Fiber plan or 5G smartphone on an eligible AT&T unlimited wireless plan. For a limited time, AT&T customers who redeem this offer can purchase a Stadia Premiere Edition for 80% off at only $19.99 USD, while supplies last. More details here.

On June 23, we launched the first version of Stadia on Chromecast with Google TV and other officially supported Android TV OS devices. For all other Android TV OS devices, players can opt into experimental support to play Stadia. (See more details on our support page.)

Stadia on iOS

Stadia has left the experimental stage on iOS and now features the ability to optimize and adjust resolution within the Progressive Web App.

Stadia support for Chrome on Android

Play games on Stadia using Chrome on Android, with access to your profiles, gameplay captures and the Stadia store.

Sign in with multiple profiles for multiplayer gameplay

Sign-in with up to four Stadia profiles for gameplay on a single screen with support for local multiplayer. Currently supported in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game.

Stadia Pro updates

  • Four new games were added to the Stadia Pro library in June: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, MotoGP™20, Chronos: Before the Ashes and Blue Fire.
  • An entire library of games are currently available to play instantly with Stadia Pro, including PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, Crayta: Premium Edition, Orcs Must Die! 3, Gunsport, HITMAN, Human Fall Flat, République, Journey to the Savage Planet: Employee of the Month Edition, Little Nightmares II, PixelJunk Raiders, AVICII Invector, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA, Trine 4 – The Nightmare Prince, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, MotoGP™20, Chronos: Before the Ashes, Blue Fire, Moonlighter, Street Power Football, Terraria and The Darkside Detective.
  • There are ongoing discounts for Stadia Pro subscribers and special savings for all players — check out the web or mobile Stadia store for the latest.

June content launches on Stadia:

New games coming to Stadia announced in June:

That’s all for now — we’ll be back next month to share more updates. As always, stay tuned to the Stadia Community Blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest news.

Company Response to ‘Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Joe Tsai Pledge Shares to Global Banks’

Source: Alibaba

Headline: Company Response to ‘Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Joe Tsai Pledge Shares to Global Banks’

On July 2, 2021, the Financial Times published a story with the headline “Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Joe Tsai pledge shares to global banks.” We take issue with the innuendos implied by the misleading characterizations of ordinary financial planning activities of our Company’s founders. Prior to publication of the article, we provided responses to the Financial Times to clarify their questions. However, the Financial Times chose to ignore the fact that Jack Ma has no outstanding loans collateralized by Alibaba shares. 

In the interest of providing more information and transparency to Alibaba’s shareholders, below is our response to the Financial Times that was delivered prior to the publication of their story: 

**************************************************************************

Dear Ryan,

Per your email dated 23 June 2021, you have submitted numerous questions about Jack Ma and Joe Tsai’s personal financial affairs. While it is not appropriate for us to comment on Jack and Joe’s private financial matters, we wish to provide information to the extent the inquiries relate to Alibaba Group, as well as Jack and Joe’s relationship with Alibaba, that could be of interest to the Company’s shareholders.

At the outset, we would like to remind you that Jack Ma handed over his CEO role in Alibaba in September 2018, and the chairmanship in September 2019, to Daniel Zhang. Further, Jack stepped down from the Company’s board in September 2020 and therefore he no longer has any executive or board responsibility at Alibaba.

Joe Tsai remains as executive vice chairman and board member of Alibaba.

Your questions broadly raise the following issues:

1. Whether loans to Jack and Joe using Alibaba stock as collateral were appropriately disclosed to Alibaba shareholders

2. Whether the loans pose a risk of margin calls resulting in a forced sale of Alibaba stock that might cause disruption to the stock price

3. Whether Jack and Joe would like to comment on their sale of Alibaba stock since Alibaba went public in 201

4. What is the tax treatment of stock sales by Jack and/or Cathy

We would like to address these issues.

1. Whether loans to Jack and Joe using Alibaba stock as collateral were appropriately disclosed to Alibaba shareholders

The fact that Jack and Joe have borrowed from financial institutions using their Alibaba stock as collateral has been widely reported. For example, please see this Bloomberg article in September 2015. At the time of the 2015 Bloomberg report, an Alibaba spokesperson made the following statement:

Share financing is very common for founders and senior executives who hold such a strong belief in the future growth potential of their companies. This is prudent financial planning and management.”

The rationale for the loans is ordinary financial planning to provide liquidity and diversification without having to sell shares in Alibaba, because the executives have strong belief in the potential of Alibaba. In fact, in the five years from the September 2015 Bloomberg report through September 2020, the stock price of Alibaba increased more than four-fold, representing a compounded annual return of 33%.

In addition, your statement that “most US companies bar executives from pledging their shares for loans” is incorrect. Share pledges by senior executives of US companies, including Elon Musk of Tesla and Larry Ellison of Oracle, are well-documented in the news, and based on even a cursory survey of public filings of other US companies, including Amazon, Bank of America, Bristol Myers Squibb, General Electric, Netflix and Walmart, it is clear that many companies do not prohibit share pledges by executives. 

2. Whether the loans pose a risk of margin calls resulting in a forced sale of Alibaba stock that might cause disruption to the stock price

As of Alibaba’s latest annual report filed in July 2020, Jack beneficially owned 4.8%, and Joe beneficially owned 1.6%, of the outstanding capital of Alibaba Group, respectively.  While Jack and Joe’s shareholding in Alibaba continues to constitute a majority of their wealth, such shareholding is relatively small compared to holdings by institutional investors.   

Currently, Jack and his affiliates do not have any loans outstanding that are collateralized by Alibaba shares. Therefore, there is no risk of any margin calls with respect to Jack or his affiliates.

In the case of Joe and his affiliates, the amount of loans incurred and the number of shares pledged are private personal financial information that we are not at liberty to disclose. We are able to say, however, that the size of the loans and share pledges are easily manageable in the context of Alibaba’s market capitalization and trading volume. Over the past three months, Alibaba stock has a combined average daily trading volume of approximately US$4 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In addition, the loans have prudent loan-to-value ratios to provide substantial cushion against triggering a margin call.

3. Whether Jack and Joe would like to comment on their sale of Alibaba stock since Alibaba went public in 2014

Jack and Joe are founders of Alibaba who started the Company in 1999. They have owned Alibaba stock for 22 years and continue to have significant holdings in Alibaba, which make up the majority of their wealth.

Since the Alibaba IPO in 2014, the amount of stock disposed of by our senior executives is a matter of public information. It is our company policy that when executive officers sell stock, they do so pursuant to a passive plan that comply with SEC Rule 10b5-1. These plans require the executive to enter into broker agreements that have pre-determined volume and price to minimize the risk of material non-public information being used to trade the stock.

Stock sales by founders and executives in an orderly manner under strict compliance with securities regulations are the usual way for the individuals to achieve liquidity and diversification as part of their normal personal financial management plans.

4. What is the tax treatment of stock sales by Jack and/or Cathy

Cathy is a founder of Alibaba and was employed by Alibaba from 1999 to 2005. She has owned Alibaba founder stock since the founding of the Company, and had been granted employee share-based compensation, in each case, independent of Jack’s shareholding in the Company. Per an agreement between Jack and Cathy, Jack has the right to exercise voting power over the Alibaba shares owned by Cathy and entities controlled by her, and Cathy’s shareholding is deemed to be beneficially owned by Jack under the relevant SEC reporting requirements.

Jack and Cathy have established separate trusts to hold their respective Alibaba stock holdings for estate planning purposes. 

Jack is a PRC citizen and has fully complied with all relevant Chinese tax laws on the sale of Alibaba stock – that is, for Chinese tax purposes the capital gains from stock sales by the trust controlled by Jack are attributed to him and he has paid all Chinese capital gains taxes on such sales.

Although Cathy serves as a director of certain holding companies under Jack’s trust, this does not change the fact that Jack is subject to Chinese capital gains tax on the sale of stocks held by his trust. Similarly, Cathy has complied with all relevant tax law and regulations on the Alibaba shares sold by entities controlled by her. 

*****************************************************************************

Please feel free to attribute our answers above to a spokesperson for Alibaba Group. We request that if you publish any article containing the private financial information of either Jack, Cathy or Joe, that you do so in a way that protects their privacy, as well as put facts into proper context so as to avoid your readers drawing misleading conclusions.

We reserve our right to publish the full text of this communication in a public medium of our choice.

Helping Consumers, Retailers, and the Environment

Source: SAP

Headline: Helping Consumers, Retailers, and the Environment

Our customers face new market conditions, competition and challenges every day, so they rely on us to deliver the technology and solutions to help them survive and thrive in this dynamic and increasingly digital environment. SAP’s deep industry domain knowledge has enabled us to deliver the best and most innovative business process support for our customers for almost 50 years.

By continuously evolving our enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, we are helping our customers modernize business processes and helping them adjust to a new IT reality at the same time. As I’ve said before, this reality combines flexibility, agility, and choice for our customers: Flexibility through a modular yet integrated approach to enterprise software, agility through business processes that can be adapted as needed, and choice for customers to operate their systems on the infrastructure of their choice. And we can certainly add the need for collaborative, networked, and sustainable solutions here.

One of my favorite examples of how SAP is helping customers adapt and modernize their business processes comes from the retail sector and relates to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. E-commerce has surged during the pandemic as consumers faced lockdowns and sought the relative safety of online shopping. This surge in e-commerce has had dramatic implications for traditional retailers that have had to pivot quickly from primarily in-store sales to online platforms but have also had to deal with much higher levels of returns.

Consumers are more likely to return something when bought online compared to offline purchases. This is particularly true in fashion retail because there is a much higher probability that a particular size doesn’t fit or the color is not quite what the consumer was expecting. Online customers also often bracket-purchase — ordering several similar items or sizes to ensure that one is the right fit and return the others.

This represents a significant problem for traditional retailers that were not used to dealing with such high levels of returns and that, in the past, often outsourced the handling of returns. Returns — or reverse logistics, as the process is sometimes called — is a costly and time-consuming part of the daily life of the supply chain.

Companies need to make decisions on where to return the stock, how to handle the stock when returned, and whether the customer will receive a refund or a replacement. Typically, these operations were optimized for time in order to keep customers happy, even if this meant destroying returned goods.

Retailers know that the return experience can break or build customer loyalty and trust, and that’s why they aim to process returns and provide refunds to customers as quickly as possible. But destroying — and even storing — returned items is potentially bad for the environment and represents a monetary loss. According to UK’s online retail association, 69% of shoppers confirm that the quality of the returns service strongly influences the retailers where they will shop.

Recognizing these problems, SAP has developed an innovative solution that we call SAP Intelligent Returns Management, a returns optimization solution that guides products from customers’ hands to the final dispositioning steps, maximizing both the customer experience and company margins. It uses routing and dispositioning decisions driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to maximize our customers’ sales and profits.

SAP Intelligent Returns Management benefits consumers, retailers, and other stakeholders — and it helps customers operate more sustainably. Consumers benefit because we help our customers make the returns process easy, and that delivers the intended consumer experience. Our retail customers know that brand loyalty is fragile and can be lost quickly if a returns process is anything but straightforward and smooth. They need to optimize their return process to be efficient and ensure a great customer experience. When goods arrive at their return centers, retailers want to be able to make fast decisions about what to do with them: Should they dispose of the goods? Should they do a quality check and re-certify them for sale, or send them to an agent such as outlet or reseller?

Our solution intelligently recommends return options for consumers optimizing for both the customer experience and the retailer and recommends disposition decisions for warehouse teams to limit value leakage. But it also provides business leaders with newfound visibility into the end-to-end returns process, enabling them to make data-based decisions.

Particularly, retailers can use the embedded analytics to understand what is selling and what is not. Does a particular item always come back because it does not meet expectations in terms of size or look? Is a particular color not selling or is a style out of fashion? Whatever the reason, they can inform the design team and stem a problem at the source by not offering products that do not meet expectations, and thereby be more sustainable.

SAP has offered a returns solution in the past, but it was a back-end, logistics solution. Now, with SAP Intelligent Returns Management sitting at the intersection of cloud ERP and SAP’s industry cloud, we have closed the gap between front office and back office. That’s the biggest advantage our solutions bring to fashion retailers and the like.


Thomas Saueressig is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE for SAP Product Engineering.
This story was originally published on LinkedIn.

It’s Time to Take the Ransomware Threat to Business-Critical SAP Applications More Seriously

Source: SAP

Headline: It’s Time to Take the Ransomware Threat to Business-Critical SAP Applications More Seriously

Almost every day, we see yet another case of ransomware. While historically, companies of all sizes are targeted, recently it appears that all the news revolves around debilitating attacks on mission-critical or business-critical systems of large enterprises — from fuel and energy companies to food processing companies.

It’s not that these enterprises haven’t taken steps to protect these assets; it’s just that the “traditional” way of preparing for and responding to ransomware simply won’t work anymore.

So what’s needed to protect your organization’s business-critical applications from the looming threat of ransomware? That’s exactly what SAP and Onapsis seek to address here.

When most people think about ransomware, there are two immediate, “traditional” solutions that come to mind: backups and endpoint security. Both are critical components of a solid security program, without a doubt. However, their presence could lull organizations into a false sense of security, as there still remain gaps, especially related to business-critical systems that are connected in more ways than ever before.

The challenge is that many enterprises realize too late that, in preparation for a ransomware attack, you need to close all the doors and windows of your house — not just the front door of endpoint protection. When thinking about ransomware attack vectors, it’s imperative to consider all potential entry points into the business-critical environment and how to secure them. To continue this metaphor, this also includes evaluating your neighbors and how they get into your house too.

When you think about all of these vectors, you slowly realize that this challenge goes way beyond just endpoint security and backups. It requires a more holistic look at securing your business-critical applications, including — yes — things that we would classify as “good security hygiene.”

In a recent joint Onapsis and SAP threat intelligence report, we demonstrated that threat actors clearly have the means, the motivation, and the expertise to identify and exploit unprotected mission-critical applications, and are, in fact, actively doing so.

As an example, a massive, publicly traded company was recently subjected to a ransomware attack on its enterprise resource planning (ERP) application data. Did they have backups? Yes: the backup was refreshed once a week. However, operations halted anyway. When this happens, even with backups in place, it could still take hours or even days to restore from a backup, and the negative impact on the business and the financial losses are high regardless. Did they have endpoint security? Yes; however, the attackers bypassed the endpoint detection and response (EDR) software by accessing the data through the application. EDR is great for identifying activities on compromised assets and allowing the containment and collection of artifacts, such as process trees, files created by malware, but the application level still poses a challenge. And these attackers used that application layer, which was not monitored by the tool itself, to compromise the business-critical assets.

Vulnerabilities such as 10KBLAZE, PayDay, and RECON allow threat actors to take full control of applications through the application layer itself. These threat actors go straight to the application, and, once in, go down to the operating system level there. When you consider CIO digital transformation initiatives or the rapid adjustment to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a significant magnification of risk. Onapsis has observed that new, unprotected SAP applications provisioned in IaaS environments were discovered by threat actors and attacked in less than three hours, with more than 400 successful exploitations observed as of the date of this publication.

Ultimately, what’s needed then is a new model to defend against ransomware, one that goes beyond the scope of just protecting endpoints, backing up files, and hoping for the best. Gartner claims that organizations should “[i]mplement a risk-based vulnerability management process that includes threat intelligence. Ransomware often relies on unpatched systems to allow lateral movement. This should be a continuous process. The risk associated with vulnerabilities changes as these vulnerabilities are exploited by attackers.” We couldn’t agree more.

What’s needed is a renewed commitment to some key security fundamentals:

  1. Security Hardening of Business-Critical Applications
  2. Timely Patch Management
  3. Point-in-Time Vulnerability Assessments
  4. Continuous Monitoring of Vulnerabilities and Threats to Your Business-Critical Applications
  5. Securing Your Custom Code in Business-Critical Applications
  6. A Commitment to Control and Governance

SAP is committed to continuously innovating our software to keep your information safe — both on premise and in the cloud. We prioritize security so that you can stay focused on running your business and managing your customer relationships effectively using SAP solutions, safe in the knowledge that your data is secured. To protect clients from ransomware attacks, securing development infrastructure, such as the build and deploy chain, is of utmost importance to prevent the manipulation of shipment artifacts.

As part of our commitment to clients, SAP follows a secure software development and operations lifecycle to identify and mitigate all kinds of security weaknesses and vulnerabilities during the development of products and services. Through the use of risk identification techniques such as the SAP threat modeling method and secure development trainings, SAP enables development teams to eliminate potential entry points for ransomware and other kind of attacks. It also ensures that basic security principles, such as that of least privilege, are part of the DNA of SAP developers.

SAP continues to harden our systems with automated static code analysis, vulnerability scans, and validation from a dedicated, independent SAP internal security team. SAP’s software development lifecycle serves as an example to clients on how to support a DevSecOps model covering development and operations aspects for continuous and secure delivery of software.

When deploying and running SAP applications, it is imperative that organizations focus on hardening their system to minimize the overall attack surface — for example, ensuring the proper setting of system parameters and other aspects of system configuration, including the activation of security features and functionalities. It is important that the proper configuration settings are in place to protect an organization against possible security vulnerabilities.

SAP provides key features such as the SAP EarlyWatch Alert service, which monitors the essential administrative areas of SAP components to keep organizations up to date on performance and stability as well as the SAP Security Optimization service, which verifies and improves the security by identifying potential security issues related to your SAP solution and providing key recommendations.

As threat actors continue to devise new modes of attack and vulnerabilities to these attacks are identified, SAP continuously provides security updates for existing code to keep your systems secure. SAP delivers these security updates through support packages, and, on the second Tuesday of every month, as part of “Security Patch Day,” SAP publishes security notes with the latest security corrections and recommendations. As noted, implementing a security maintenance process to assess and implement recommended security updates is a proven best practice for mitigating risk.

Onapsis has focused on protecting business-critical applications since 2009. We target the application layer with our Onapsis platform and serve an essential part of our clients’ plans to protect their business-critical SAP applications from ransomware attacks.

  • By providing automatic visibility into critical vulnerabilities, missing important patches and security updates, misconfigurations, and insecure interfaces, Onapsis identifies all the open doors. This is a crucial component in any ransomware prevention initiative. Once the entry points are identified, they can be closed, thereby reducing the attack surface that may lead to ransomware.
  • Through continuous monitoring and real-time alerts for threat indicators, Onapsis helps monitor real-time attempts to access critical systems through any remaining open doors. Win precious time to prevent threat actors from gaining further access.
  • With code analysis in real time, prior to moving into production, and in transport, Onapsis can help identify foreign code, such as malware, or new vulnerabilities before they get released to the public. Code vulnerabilities may appear to be a minor attack vector, until they’re not, such as in the case of the Solar Winds attack. In Onapsis’ experience, we generally see one critical vulnerability per 1,000 lines of code, but our clients generally have millions of lines of custom code. It’s important to close those thousands of open doors to prevent any access to business-critical systems.

It’s time to think differently about ransomware. We’re in the middle of a perfect storm, with more unprotected SAP applications and remote workers than ever before, expert threat actors who have the expertise to attack these systems, hyperconnected business-critical systems across the cloud, and strained InfoSec teams that may have fallen behind in patching and vulnerability management. Ransomware is the final step of an attack that could utilize a myriad of attack vectors to directly access your business-critical applications.

Organizations should leverage the powerful native security capabilities of SAP, establish the right risk-based patch, code, and vulnerability management processes, and take advantage of the optimized tools and critical threat intelligence from Onapsis. If they do so, organizations can drastically reduce their risk profiles, stay a step ahead of ransomware groups, and ultimately keep their names out of the news.


Tim McKnight is CSO of SAP.
Richard Puckett is CISO of SAP.
Mariano Nunez is CEO of Onapsis.

Additional contributors this content include: Elena Kvochko, Imran Islam, Oliver Meli, Vic Chung, and Robert Lorch from SAP, as well as David D’Aprile, Maaya Alagappan, and Tess Cunard from Onapsis.

Allbirds’ Runaway Success Leaves a Small Carbon Footprint

Source: SAP

Headline: Allbirds’ Runaway Success Leaves a Small Carbon Footprint

In a highly competitive and crowded category such as sportswear, it is extremely hard for any new player to break in. Understanding new market needs and creating differentiation in response to these needs requires fresh insights and viewpoints.

From its earliest days as a pilot project on Kickstarter, Allbirds Inc. positioned itself as a challenger brand by identifying sustainability as the core differentiator. This would help it appeal to an emerging class of consumers who were increasingly environmentally, economically, and socially conscious.

But putting this differentiation into practice is easier said than done. It required a revolutionary approach in the entire shoe-making value chain. This could help ensure a superior product that delivered on sought-after attributes such as quality, comfort, fit, reliability, and price, yet made fully with eco-friendly practices.

Allbirds co-founders and co-CEOs Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger both like to say, “Mother nature made us do it.” Brown was an all-star athlete and footballer from New Zealand that was familiar with the unique qualities of merino wool. Zwillinger was an engineer and an expert in renewables – both unlikely entrepreneurs but with a clear vision.

Less than a year after officially launching, Allbirds became a certified B Corporation, dedicated from its inception to making the most sustainable footwear possible while actively working to minimize its environmental impact. The California-based company crafts running shoes, and now even apparel and accessories, using planet-friendly natural materials such as merino wool and eucalyptus tree fibers ­– forsaking the synthetic materials commonly used in competing products.

Innovating a quality running shoe that is comfortable to wear and treads lightly on the planet has made Allbirds something of a runaway success. In its first two years, the company sold more than one million pairs of its green sneakers and expanded its e-commerce operations into brick-and-mortar stores.

Today, several factories feed into Allbirds’ nine distribution centers around the world, which supply its 25 physical retail stores, with the potential to reach 2.5 billion customers through digital commerce. To ensure that consumers can gain full visibility into the environmental impact across the supply chain, the company labels every product it makes with its individual carbon footprint, holding themselves accountable to their mantra to “create better things in a better way.”

This kind of rapid success requires a strategic and thoughtful approach to managing the complexity of building a socially responsible global supply value chain. Allbirds confronts the challenge head on by developing meaningful, multi-year relationships with its suppliers to ensure ethical and humane manufacturing practices and demanding full transparency into its partners’ supply chains. This safeguards social responsibility across sourcing and procurement.

With a long-term outlook from the beginning, Allbirds’ founders made the decision early on to invest in a single software platform. Allbirds wanted to invest in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that could help the company manage the entirety of its business in the present and continue to do so as it evolved and grew, all while keeping its commitment to sustainability at the forefront.

“We were really deliberate in making technology investments that would scale with our business,” said Zwillinger. “We needed to recognize how customers want to be served and offer an immersive cross-channel experience on mobile, Web, and in the store. To do this, we needed robust and connected real-time digital technologies, giving us visibility into our inventory. We also needed to personalize that experience for our customers, whether it’s online, pick-up in store, or ship-from-store, as well as be able to merchandize our products in a personalized way on our digital platforms.”

Meeting these wide-ranging needs and more, Allbirds adopted SAP S/4HANA as the foundational business infrastructure to help underpin its fast-growing business, track its inventory in real time, and trim waste.

In addition to supporting sales growth, managing marketing, and engaging customers through social media, Allbirds relies on SAP solutions to help it achieve specific business goals. This includes creating one financial system of record for all transactions throughout its global operations and embracing new cloud technologies to help it become a more diverse, capable, and responsible global employer.

And with connected technologies across its operations, Allbirds can calculate and monitor its carbon footprint from design and delivery to supporting ongoing innovation to deliver new products and services that delight customers everywhere.

By avoiding shortcuts and sticking to its values, Allbirds’ success story shows that what’s good for the planet is also good for business.

To learn more about how Allbirds created a niche in the sportswear category by focusing on sustainability, watch the interview between Zwillinger and Julia White, SAP Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer, or read this business transformation study.


Vivek Bapat is part of Purpose and Sustainability Marketing at SAP.
This story originally appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.

Alibaba News Roundup: Alibaba Creates Lifestyle Services Division; Paul Smith’s Tmall Flagship Store Launch and Taobao’s Philanthropy Campaign

Source: Alibaba

Headline: Alibaba News Roundup: Alibaba Creates Lifestyle Services Division; Paul Smith’s Tmall Flagship Store Launch and Taobao’s Philanthropy Campaign

This week, Alibaba Group announced management and organizational changes to create greater synergies across its business units. Meanwhile, Tmall officially opened its Shanghai hub after relocating key teams from its Hangzhou headquarters. Also, check out designer fashion brand Paul Smith’s online expansion with Alibaba’s luxury platform, Tmall Luxury Pavilion. We also share news about Taobao’s campaign to raise public awareness towards social issues, such as education equality, autism and wildlife protection, through e-commerce.

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Alibaba Outlines Staffing and Organizational Changes to Boost Platform Synergies

Alibaba Group CEO and Chairman Daniel Zhang announced a series of management changes and the creation of a new lifestyle services division as it pushes for greater synergies across its business units. In a letter to employees on Friday, Zhang announced the news including consolidating Ele.me, Fliggy and Amap under a single local lifestyle services umbrella, merging Tmall’s online grocery business with its import and exports division and appointing Jessie Zhang as Chief Customer Officer, in addition to Chief Risk Officer, for Alibaba Group. Click here to find out more.

Tmall’s Shanghai Hub Starts Operations

On Friday, Alibaba Group’s B2C online marketplace Tmall officially began operations at its Shanghai hub. Tmall’s key teams, including the beauty and sports and outdoors departments and its consumer-operations unit, have moved to China’s commercial capital from Alibaba’s Hangzhou headquarters – offering the company closer proximity to its brand partners. Following the launch of the Shanghai hub, the company plans to set up local operations teams across nearly 20 Chinese cities. This comes about two months after the company revealed its commitment to improving merchants’ experience, from cutting costs to lowering entry barriers for sellers looking to join its platforms.

Paul Smith’s New Flagship Launch on Tmall Luxury Pavillion

The UK-based independent designer brand officially debuted its digital flagship store on Tmall Luxury Pavilion on Monday. With the launch, the luxury platform introduced ready-to-wear ranges for both men and women from Paul Smith’s Spring-Summer 2021 collection. The independent British company is the latest to join a growing list of over 200 luxury brands that have joined Alibaba’s online marketplace. In August, Paul Smith will unveil a wider selection of its new Autumn-Winder 2021 styles, including the PS Paul Smith Happy Collection, known for its sportswear-inspired designs and logos, the company said.

Taobao Introduces Interactive Philanthropy Campaign “Story Cans”

Alibaba’s leading online marketplace, Taobao, is putting a new spin on its consumer-facing philanthropy campaign dubbed “Story Cans ”. The campaign features short videos made by local celebrities and songwriters that raise awareness for important social issues, including education equality, autism and wildlife protection. After watching the videos to learn about the cause, Taobao users can choose to donate online or purchase related items, such as handicrafts or agricultural products made by people featured in the digital campaign. “Story Cans” was launched this Tuesday by Taobao together with more than 600 public welfare and philanthropic organizations in China. It is an ongoing campaign that successfully garnered the attention of the app’s younger consumers. According to platform statistics, over 30% of online donations came from millennials, specifically those born after 1995.

Rural rice farmers in China taking part in Taobao’s philanthropy campaign

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