The next big cybersecurity threat is here
Image: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

The next big cybersecurity threat is here

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Good morning! Cybersecurity experts warn that companies need to start paying attention to China, which was responsible for a majority of attacks in the last few years. And businesses involved in emerging tech should especially be on high alert.

Pay attention to China

While the country’s attention has been focused on Russian hacking attacks, China has been getting to work. And it’s not at all hiding its intent to threaten a handful of U.S. industries.

China’s hacking operation needs much more attention in the U.S., my colleague Kyle Alspach reports. And the first step to addressing the threat is to acknowledge that there is one at all.

  • State-sponsored hacks accounted for nearly 70% of attacks between mid-2020 and mid-2021, compared to just 1% for the Russian government.
  • China isn’t being coy about which industries it’s targeting, either: AI, electric vehicles and quantum computing are all on the list. Some industries are aware of China’s intentions, others, not so much, CTM Insights’ Lou Steinberg told Kyle.
  • “Look at that list, and that lines up with what they're going to try to steal,” Kyle told me.

Why are we just talking about this now? Russia’s hacking threat has dominated the conversation over much of the past year, and it really wasn’t until the FBI issued a warning last month that people started raising eyebrows.

  • Experts told Kyle that defense strategies against China look a little different than ones implemented against Russia because their priorities are different. In this case, companies should concern themselves with data-loss prevention tech and other protections to systems hosting intellectual property.
  • It may also be a good idea to invest in threat hunting, because, according to CrowdStrike’s Adam Meyers, “you have to be out there looking for these threats.”

Unless companies take action to protect themselves from hackers now, they’re not going to know whether China got ahold of their information until it’s too late.

— Sarah Roach

Even with a loss, Uber’s winning

Uber reported a net loss of $2.6 billion yesterday. But it's still the darling of Wall Street.

The company reported total sales of $8.1 billion, 111% higher than the same quarter last year, adjusted for inflation. Gross bookings reached $29.1 billion, 36% higher than the year before.

  • Ridership also jumped 24% year over year to 1.87 billion for the quarter; that’s around 21 million trips daily.
  • Uber blamed its stakes in Aurora, Grab and Zomato for its $1.7 billion in losses. It now plans on selling its 7.8% share of Zomato.

Revenue and ridership revved investors’ engines, despite the losses. After earnings went out, Uber's shares jumped 19%.

  • That’s because revenue still beat analysts’ expectations by around $680 million.
  • Dan Ives and John Katsingris, analysts with Wedbush Securities, said in their guidance that the results point to Uber’s ability to “produce profits while navigating inflationary pressures and pockets of driver shortages that still linger in some cities.”

But Wall Street loves to pump up Uber. Even after the Uber Files, hiring freezes and adding gas surcharges, its stock didn’t significantly falter (though it did take a hit in early May like the rest of the sector).

  • Protocol Fintech editor Owen Thomas told me that investors only really care about two things: growth and free cash flow, both of which Uber has proven.
  • “If it’s a one-time charge, it’s in the rearview mirror and does not affect the decision to invest going forward,” he said.

Uber took a major wallop during the pandemic’s early days with declining revenue and ridership. But now that the world is open, the company’s recovery story continues.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

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Shipping off to London

In this week’s “How I Decided,” Protocol senior reporter Kate Kaye talked with Tonic Audio’s Allison Clift-Jennings about how she decided to move her company from Nevada to England.

  • Moving made Tonic Audio closer to its customers. “For us, obsessing about customers — it's like, well, shit — this is where we should be from a customer standpoint, from a business standpoint.”
  • The company can also tap into new VC firms. “There is definitely a unique subculture that's happening both on the commercial side of investment as well as the indie music creation side.”
  • Staff will find ways to connect. “What we'll end up doing is we'll have a remote, distributed team with maybe yearly or twice-a-year get-togethers, in person.”

Read the full conversation here.

People are talking

Gretchen Whitmer thinks Michigan is “uniquely positioned” to manufacture chips:

  • "We want to make sure that our potential partners in this chips manufacturing moment are ready to move as fast as we are because we are going to have to move together."

Making moves

Envoy bought OfficeTogether, a hybrid workplace collaboration platform, for an undisclosed amount.

Renate Nyborg is stepping down as Tinder CEO alongside a larger management reshuffle. Tinder's also getting rid of its metaverse dating and virtual currency plans.

Sanjay Poonen is Cohesity’s new CEO and president. Poonen’s a former VMware COO and SAP president.

Kikelomo Belizaire joined Pega as its first chief medical officer. She most recently worked in Anthem’s commercial business unit as medical director.

Chen Fang is the new COO of BitGo. Victor Tsou, former engineering head at Affirm, is also BitGo's new VP of engineering.

Blake Jorgensen is PayPal's new CFO. Jorgensen previously served as EVP of special projects at EA.

Michael Saylor stepped down as CEO of MicroStrategy to become executive chairman, where he'll focus on “bitcoin acquisition strategy" and other bitcoin-related work.

In other news

Nick Clegg is going home to London. Adam Mosseri and Alex Shultz will be there too, and Clegg will split his time between there and California.

Nancy Pelosi met with chip leaders in Taipei yesterday as part of her quick trip to Taiwan.

Celsius is trying to bring back ex-CFO Rod Bolger as an adviser who can help the company get through bankruptcy proceedings. The company's offering Bolger $92,000 a month

The U.S. is implementing export restrictions on software used to design chips in an effort to target Chinese chipmakers.

Robinhood was fined $30 million by New York’s top financial regulators because of “significant failures” in complying with state finance rules.

The company also laid off 23% of staff in its second round of layoffs. A total of 1,000 employees were affected by the two rounds.

Tech’s been quiet about the Inflation Reduction Act. Some companies have even spoken against the bill’s tax provision, which includes cash for businesses to meet their climate goals.

Twitter is subpoenaing Elon Musk’s inner circle, including Chamath Palihapitiya, David Sacks, Marc Andreessen and Jason Calacanis.

Who’s winning the short-form video war? This video from The Wall Street Journal compares Shorts, Reels and TikTok videos.

How long will your gadget last?

Everything comes to an end. That’s true for your devices, too. If you need time to mentally prepare, The Washington Post laid out how long you have before your favorite gadgets stop working.

Your AirPods could die in as soon as two years, iPhones could go in three and Fitbits and MacBook Airs could kick the bucket in four.

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

Correction: This story has been updated to note that the number of Uber riders was 1.87 billion, not $1.87 billion. This story was updated Aug. 3, 2022.

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