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Customer engagement strategies that heed power of social media

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The power of social media to alter customer engagement strategies — for a product rollout, an executive hire, a policy change — is impressive.

Case in point: Legendary Entertainment did not anticipate the kind of response it would get when it released its trailer for The Great Wall. The decision to cast Matt Damon as the hero in a film centered around the iconic Chinese landmark drew immediate criticism on Twitter and Facebook as another example of a white savior narrative and of whitewashing.

“The whole storyline was meant to be about someone coming into a new culture and learning and growing in that culture,” Matt Marolda, chief analytics officer at Legendary, said at the recent HUBweek, an arts, science and innovation festival in Boston. “But the perception was not that.”

Social media platforms and the swift judgment of the internet are forcing companies to engage in ways they’ve never had to before. And executives from Legendary and Microsoft are sharing their experiences with the new tools for — and rules for — customer engagement.

New tools of engagement

On paper, The Great Wall made sense, according to Marolda. It was 2016, and the U.S. and China were the two biggest movie markets in the world; the East-meets-West film reflected Legendary’s sale to Wanda Group, a massive entertainment company in China. And, based on an analysis Marolda and his applied analytics team did, Damon had an active following and a reputation for taking on high-quality projects.

But what looked good on paper did not translate well to audiences — especially those in the U.S. Marolda said the company reacted to the criticism quickly. For example, the company released a statement from Zhang Yimou, the film’s director whom Marolda characterized as “the Steven Spielberg of China,” defending the casting decision.

After that, the team stood still and observed. “We had time on our side,” said Marolda, adding that the film wasn’t scheduled to be released for nine months. “We could see analytically that the best thing to do was nothing.”

The public ire did cool, but the film couldn’t completely escape the negative press it had received, according to Marolda. The company ultimately decided to shift its marketing strategy. “We then realized that emphasizing the movie’s possibilities outside of the U.S. was as important as emphasizing the movie’s possibilities inside the U.S.,” he said.

The decision appears to have been a good one. While the film bombed in the U.S., it was moderately successful worldwide, and has helped spark a larger conversation about how to make blockbuster films for a global market.

Executives onstage at HUBweek.
Matt Marolda, chief analytics officer at Legendary Entertainment, and Kathleen Kennedy, director of special projects at the MIT Sloan School of Management, onstage at HUBweek.

Customer engagement strategies: Ask three questions

How do companies develop customer engagement strategies that acknowledge the power of social media? A reactive approach — no matter how swift the response or how successful in the short term — doesn’t cut it.   

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, talked about the role companies should play in the public discourse and stressed that companies need a moral compass today.

“You have to know the issues for which you’re going to take a stand. And you have to be grounded in a certain set of principles,” he said during a fireside chat at HUBweek with Adi Ignatius, the editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review.

Before weighing in on a controversial issue, Smith suggested that companies ask three questions. First, is the issue important to the business? Smith described this question as “an easy space,” and can include tax law or intellectual property law — topics companies have always weighed in on.

Second, is the issue important to its customers? As data has moved to the cloud, companies have entered into a new kind of relationship with their customers, according to Smith. He said it’s vital that they think about the security and protection and actively take a stand on issues like surveillance and privacy.

Third, is the issue important to employees? The company believes a safe work environment doesn’t automatically equate to employee success. Employees could be hindered by issues outside of the office such as an inability to buy the home they want to buy, get the kind of healthcare coverage they need, or marry the person they want to marry, according to Smith.

So when a bill in North Carolina looked like it would restrict LGBT rights, Smith said it “was not a difficult decision” for Microsoft to voice its opposition. The company has a pretty significant presence in Charlotte, employing about 1,000 people there, and Smith said the issue was “important for our employees outside of the workplace.”

In an effort to be as effective as possible and preserve its relationship with the community, Microsoft will often seek out a local business community — a trusted organization that uses its voice to speak up on issues such as these — to partner with. “I prefer a course that’s going to maximize our chances of being effective and not just maximize our chances of being seen,” he said.

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Source: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/news/252451024/Customer-engagement-strategies-that-heed-power-of-social-media

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Crypto sees second week of outflows; ether posts record outflows – CoinShares

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By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cryptocurrency investment products and funds saw outflows for a second straight week, with ether posting record outflows as institutional investors took a step back, data from digital asset manager CoinShares showed on Monday.

Total crypto ouflows hit $21 million for the week ending June 11. Since mid-May, total outflows reached $267 million, representing 0.6% of total assets under management (AUM).

Ether, the token used in the Ethereum blockchain, posted its largest outflow last week of $12.7 million, data showed. The token has been one of the strongest performers this year.

But CoinShares said ether inflows last week were mixed, “implying mixed opinions among investors.”

Ether was last up 1% on the day at $2,536. Since hitting a record $4,380.64 on May 12, ether has fallen 40%.

The outflows in bitcoin cooled last week to $10 million, significantly lower than the previous record week of $141 million, CoinShares data showed. Trading activity in bitcoin products rose 43% from the previous week.

Bitcoin rose above $40,000 on Monday following tweets from Tesla boss Elon Musk, who said Tesla sold the currency but may resume transactions using it. It was last up 1.8% at $39,686.

While bitcoin is currently trading 36% below its 11-year exponential trend, Dan Morehead, co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital, said in his Blockchain Letter on Monday that investors should resist the urge to close positions and instead go the other way if they have the emotional and financial resources to do so.

“Bitcoin generally goes way up…Anyone that has held bitcoin for 3.25 years has made money,” said Morehead.

Grayscale, the largest digital currency manager, raised its AUM to $33.04 billion last week, from $30.3 billion the previous week.

CoinShares, the second biggest digital asset manager, saw AUM slip to $3.8 billion, from nearly $4 billion the week before.

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/crypto-sees-second-week-outflows-ether-posts-record-outflows-coinshares/15444

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Analysis: Murkiness of Russia’s ransomware role complicates Biden summit mission

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By Joseph Menn

(Reuters) – As U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over ransomware gangs in his country that twice recently targeted critical American infrastructure, his administration is publicly blaming the Russian government for allowing those criminals to profit without prosecution.

The FBI and private cybersecurity companies have not disclosed any evidence showing Russian government involvement in the ransomware attacks on U.S. fuel transporter Colonial Pipeline Co and meatpacker JBS SA of Brazil. Putin has called the idea that Russia was responsible absurd.

But as the cyber operations of Russian intelligence agencies have evolved, it has become harder for the U.S. government to distinguish alleged Russian intelligence operatives from ordinary cyber criminals stealing secrets in ransomware forays and threatening to publish them, according to more than a dozen U.S. intelligence, national security and law enforcement officials and experts outside of government interviewed by Reuters.

“It’s a combination of tasking and turning a blind eye, but there’s always a plausible deniability,” said cybercrime expert John Bennett of corporate risk consultancy Kroll.

As the top FBI agent in San Francisco, Bennett oversaw an investigation of a massive breach https://www.reuters.com/article/yahoo-hack-indictments-fsb-idINKBN16N0K4 of 500 million Yahoo email accounts that led to 2017 U.S. charges against two officers of Russia’s FSB security agency accused of instructing outside criminal hackers. A Canadian defendant pleaded guilty to nine felony counts in the case, while charges against three Russians remain pending because they are outside of America’s grasp.The White House said Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia when he meets Putin in Geneva on Wednesday in the wake of forced shutdowns at Colonial Pipeline and meatpacker JBS, which has extensive U.S. operations.

Putin told Russian state television that Moscow would be willing to hand over cybercriminals to the United States if Washington reciprocates. Biden on Sunday called that statement a sign of progress. White House and State Department officials declined to elaborate or say what Biden would seek from Putin.

Russian officials have denied control of criminal groups while calling hackers whose activities fulfill Kremlin objectives “patriotic.” In public statements and private forums, major criminal groups warn affiliates not to attack targets in Russia. Many ransomware programs will not execute on devices that have keyboards set for the Russian language.

In another U.S. criminal probe, Evgeniy Bogachev, a Russian national, was charged https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-leads-multi-national-action-against-gameover-zeus-botnet-and-cryptolocker-ransomware in 2014 with running GameOver Zeus, a variant of sophisticated bank-fraud software, and distributing early ransomware called Cryptolocker.

Though it was not part of the indictment, GameOver Zeus’ pattern of data collection – searching infected computers for banking passwords and phrases including “top secret” – indicated a relationship with Russian intelligence, according to senior U.S. Justice Department official John Carlin, who oversaw the case during the Obama administration.

Increasingly, ransomware has moved toward bigger targets and toward stealing secrets instead of just encrypting them inside the targets. Both trends could fit with Russian government goals, said analyst Craig Williams of Cisco Systems’ Talos threat intelligence unit.

Evil Corp, a group that the U.S. Treasury has said is led by a Bogachev associate named Maksim Yakubets, became the first ransomware gang to focus on “big game” targets likely to pay more, said Adam Meyers, senior vice president of cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike.

A 2019 U.S. Treasury Department sanctions order https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm845 accused Yakubets both of carrying out large-scale crimes and taking FSB directions, “acquiring confidential documents through cyber-enabled means and conducting cyber-enabled operations on its behalf.”

Yakubets was indicted https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/russian-national-charged-decade-long-series-hacking-and-bank-fraud-offenses-resulting-tens in the United States in 2019 for alleged hacking, wire fraud and bank fraud. The United States has offered millions of dollars in reward money for information leading to the arrests of Bogachev and Yakubets and published photographs of them, but they have not been apprehended by Russian authorities.

Analysts told Reuters Yakubets is married to the daughter of a former senior FSB operative. Reuters was unable to reach either man for comment.

Because the Treasury sanctions forbid U.S. ransomware targets from paying Evil Corp, the group keeps renaming its encryption software.

One of the new variants is called Hades, according to CrowdStrike https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/hades-ransomware-successor-to-indrik-spiders-wastedlocker. As of March, the Hades variant had been found in multiple companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to incident responders at Accenture https://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/cyber-defense/unknown-threat-group-using-hades-ransomware, including in the transportation and manufacturing sectors.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Editing by Will Dunham and Edward Tobin)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/analysis-murkiness-russias-ransomware-role-complicates-biden-summit-mission/15439

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Analysis: Murkiness of Russia’s ransomware role complicates Biden summit mission

Published

on

By Joseph Menn

(Reuters) – As U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over ransomware gangs in his country that twice recently targeted critical American infrastructure, his administration is publicly blaming the Russian government for allowing those criminals to profit without prosecution.

The FBI and private cybersecurity companies have not disclosed any evidence showing Russian government involvement in the ransomware attacks on U.S. fuel transporter Colonial Pipeline Co and meatpacker JBS SA of Brazil. Putin has called the idea that Russia was responsible absurd.

But as the cyber operations of Russian intelligence agencies have evolved, it has become harder for the U.S. government to distinguish alleged Russian intelligence operatives from ordinary cyber criminals stealing secrets in ransomware forays and threatening to publish them, according to more than a dozen U.S. intelligence, national security and law enforcement officials and experts outside of government interviewed by Reuters.

“It’s a combination of tasking and turning a blind eye, but there’s always a plausible deniability,” said cybercrime expert John Bennett of corporate risk consultancy Kroll.

As the top FBI agent in San Francisco, Bennett oversaw an investigation of a massive breach https://www.reuters.com/article/yahoo-hack-indictments-fsb-idINKBN16N0K4 of 500 million Yahoo email accounts that led to 2017 U.S. charges against two officers of Russia’s FSB security agency accused of instructing outside criminal hackers. A Canadian defendant pleaded guilty to nine felony counts in the case, while charges against three Russians remain pending because they are outside of America’s grasp.The White House said Biden will bring up ransomware attacks emanating from Russia when he meets Putin in Geneva on Wednesday in the wake of forced shutdowns at Colonial Pipeline and meatpacker JBS, which has extensive U.S. operations.

Putin told Russian state television that Moscow would be willing to hand over cybercriminals to the United States if Washington reciprocates. Biden on Sunday called that statement a sign of progress. White House and State Department officials declined to elaborate or say what Biden would seek from Putin.

Russian officials have denied control of criminal groups while calling hackers whose activities fulfill Kremlin objectives “patriotic.” In public statements and private forums, major criminal groups warn affiliates not to attack targets in Russia. Many ransomware programs will not execute on devices that have keyboards set for the Russian language.

In another U.S. criminal probe, Evgeniy Bogachev, a Russian national, was charged https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-leads-multi-national-action-against-gameover-zeus-botnet-and-cryptolocker-ransomware in 2014 with running GameOver Zeus, a variant of sophisticated bank-fraud software, and distributing early ransomware called Cryptolocker.

Though it was not part of the indictment, GameOver Zeus’ pattern of data collection – searching infected computers for banking passwords and phrases including “top secret” – indicated a relationship with Russian intelligence, according to senior U.S. Justice Department official John Carlin, who oversaw the case during the Obama administration.

Increasingly, ransomware has moved toward bigger targets and toward stealing secrets instead of just encrypting them inside the targets. Both trends could fit with Russian government goals, said analyst Craig Williams of Cisco Systems’ Talos threat intelligence unit.

Evil Corp, a group that the U.S. Treasury has said is led by a Bogachev associate named Maksim Yakubets, became the first ransomware gang to focus on “big game” targets likely to pay more, said Adam Meyers, senior vice president of cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike.

A 2019 U.S. Treasury Department sanctions order https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm845 accused Yakubets both of carrying out large-scale crimes and taking FSB directions, “acquiring confidential documents through cyber-enabled means and conducting cyber-enabled operations on its behalf.”

Yakubets was indicted https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/russian-national-charged-decade-long-series-hacking-and-bank-fraud-offenses-resulting-tens in the United States in 2019 for alleged hacking, wire fraud and bank fraud. The United States has offered millions of dollars in reward money for information leading to the arrests of Bogachev and Yakubets and published photographs of them, but they have not been apprehended by Russian authorities.

Analysts told Reuters Yakubets is married to the daughter of a former senior FSB operative. Reuters was unable to reach either man for comment.

Because the Treasury sanctions forbid U.S. ransomware targets from paying Evil Corp, the group keeps renaming its encryption software.

One of the new variants is called Hades, according to CrowdStrike https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/hades-ransomware-successor-to-indrik-spiders-wastedlocker. As of March, the Hades variant had been found in multiple companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to incident responders at Accenture https://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/cyber-defense/unknown-threat-group-using-hades-ransomware, including in the transportation and manufacturing sectors.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Editing by Will Dunham and Edward Tobin)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/analysis-murkiness-russias-ransomware-role-complicates-biden-summit-mission/15439

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Huawei CFO seeks publication ban on HSBC documents in U.S. extradition case

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By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Monday will seek to bar publication of documents her legal team received from HSBC, a request opposed by Canadian prosecutors in her U.S. extradition case who say it violates the principles of open court.

Meng’s legal team will present arguments in support of the ban in the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States, where she faces charges of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran and potentially causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions on business in Iran.

She has been under house arrest in Vancouver for more than two years and fighting her extradition to the United States. Meng has said she is innocent.

Lawyers for Huawei and HSBC in Hong Kong agreed to a release of the documents in April to Meng’s legal team on the condition that they “use reasonable effort” to keep confidential information concealed from the public, according to submissions filed by the defense on Friday.

Prosecutors representing the Canadian government argued against the ban, saying in submissions filed the same day that “to be consistent with the open court principle, a ban must be tailored” and details should be selectively redacted from the public, rather than the whole documents.

A consortium of media outlets, including Reuters News, also opposes the ban.

The open court principle requires that court proceedings be open and accessible to the public and to the media.

It is unclear what documents Huawei obtained from HSBC, but defense lawyers argue they are relevant to Meng’s case.

Meng’s hearing was initially set to wrap up in May but Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes granted an extension to allow the defense to read through the new documents.

Hearings in the extradition case are scheduled to finish in late August.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Howard Goller)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/huawei-cfo-seeks-publication-ban-hsbc-documents-us-extradition-case/15438

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