Alibaba fined record $2.8bn by Chinese regulator
Chinese technology giant Alibaba has been fined $2.8 billion by the Chinese market regulator, setting a record for the country’s antitrust measures.
The regulator has previously been seen as a light-touch body, so the fine is significant. However, it accounted for four per cent of the company’s 2019 domestic revenues, short of the 10 per cent maximum penalty.
Alibaba stock bump
Alibaba received the fine at the weekend, following which executives told an analysts’ conference that despite ongoing probes by the regulator into the tech industry at large, it was unaware of any further specific investigations into Alibaba. Following that call, the company’s Hong Kong-listed stock rose 6.5 per cent.
Joe Tsai, executive vice-chair of Alibaba, told the call, “We are pleased we can put this matter behind us.”
Alibaba vs China regulators
The antitrust investigation follows the eleventh-hour shelving of Ant Group, Alibaba’s stable mate, in November and the ongoing low profile of the company’s high-profile billionaire founder Jack Ma.
Ma’s absence has been conspicuous since giving a speech in Shanghai last October, widely believed to have irked China’s regulators.
Regulators are believed to be planning to review their maximum penalties. It released new regulatory guidelines for the tech sector in March.
Alibaba does not intend to appeal the latest decision.
Report: Financial institutions face cloud-based threats
Over one year into the pandemic, different financial institutions report costly consequences to falling short of protecting their data storage from cloud-based attacks and network disruptions. The report is based on more than 800 responses from IT professionals working in the financial services industry in North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
- Data breaches are an increasingly significant cost burden for the industry: Worldwide, financial firms that experienced a data breach reported estimated average losses of roughly $4.2 million per attack, with U.S. organisations hit hardest at $4.7 million in estimated losses.
- Network outages also result in costly burdens: Institutions lose an estimated $3.2 million on average with Asia-Pacific followed by European institutions carrying the heaviest losses at $4.3 million and $3.1 million respectively.
- The industry remains a popular target for cloud-based attacks: Over half of all organisations (54%) surveyed suffered a data breach in the last 12 months with 49% plagued by a cloud malware attack as well.
- Cloud and network-based attacks will continue to be a major threat vector: More than 50% of respondents expect to face a combination of IoT attacks, cloud vulnerabilities including misconfigurations, and data manipulation attempts over the next 12 months.
- Threat resolution teams are embracing network visibility for security hygiene: Globally, network monitoring (76%), threat intelligence (64%), and threat hunting (57%) are considered the most effective mitigation tactics against these threats.
Even before the pandemic, tech companies were increasingly seeking moves to the cloud. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of cloud computing by the financial sector as part of its process of digitalisation. As companies transition and move data, there can be a lack of protection due to a number of factors such as undertrained staff and insufficient firewalls.
“The financial services sector has long been a target for bad actors who are following the cyber money trail into the cloud,” said Anthony James, VP of Product Marketing at Infoblox. “As the pandemic pushed IT infrastructures to rely on remote work, cloud-based technologies that enabled digital transformation also created soft spots for cyber criminals to exploit.”
“This report shows us that cloud compromise has become the biggest cybersecurity issue for financial institutions and the investments they are making to protect themselves,” James continued.