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Uber and Takamol to Offer Affordable Transport Solutions for Saudi Women

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Uber today announced a strategic partnership with “Takamol Holding”, which operates Wusool. The program’s goal it to enable working women in Saudi Arabia overcome transportation challenges to and from the workplace. This is in line with the goals and objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Commenting on the announcement, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, VP & Regional General Manager EMEA, Uber said: “Uber is a conscientious company that strives to uplift the communities it operates in. We are expanding exponentially within the Middle East and North Africa region, with Saudi Arabia being one of our fastest-growing markets. At Uber, we will continue supporting the government’s focus on Saudization and the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to increase women’s participation in the workforce.”

“Through this partnership with Takamol Holding for “Wusool”, which is Uber’s largest subsidised transport program globally, we are able to provide women with the opportunity to achieve their professional ambitions, as well as strive to be catalysts for economic growth in the Kingdom with their active contribution to the overall workforce,” added Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Ahmed Al Yamani, CEO Takamol stated: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Uber, a leader in the ride-hailing industry. This partnership will provide Saudi women with access to transportation solutions to and from their workplace, which falls under one of the strategic objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, that aims to enable members of the community to enter the workforce and bolster it under the National Transformation Program. Approximately 25,000 women currently benefit from the program and we aim for more to join them by the end of the year 2019.”

Saudi-women between the ages of 18 and 65 can apply to the program throughTaqat – the National Labor gateway managed by the HRDF, based on the eligibility criteria to receive partially subsidised “Wusool” rides on the Uber application in the Kingdom. Applicants must be working in the private sector and earning an income of up to a maximum of SAR 8,000 per month.

In line with the Kingdom’s cultural and economical changes, and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the strategic partnership aims at increasing women’s participation in the workforce by supporting them in overcoming the challenges associated with accessing reliable and convenient transportation to/from their workplace, as well as providing flexible economic opportunities.

The partnership is aligned with Uber’s Masaruky (“your path” in Arabic) initiative, which is committed to enhancing women’s mobility in the Kingdom. As part of the “Masaruky” initiative, Uber pledged SAR 1 million to support select women through driving schools. Most recently, Uber has announced the launch of a feature which enables women drivers on Uber to select a preference for women riders, a feature only available in Saudi and a global first for Uber.

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Free Fire to Celebrate 5th Anniversary with Justin Bieber

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Free Fire’s 5th-anniversary celebrations are off to an exciting start as it launches a spectacular 5-part extravaganza to delight fans and players. The festivities are set to culminate on 27 August with several in-game content drops involving global icon Justin Bieber, who is headlining this special anniversary collaboration. The Free Fire community can revel and reminisce iconic anniversary celebrations over the years with the weekly rollout of 5 specially-designed chapters – Battle, Style, Map, Hero and Memory. Experience new in-game events, gain exclusive rewards, and enjoy Free Fire like never before. 

Free Fire will host its first ever in-game performance on 27 August, with Justin Bieber set to debut an exclusive track “Beautiful Love (Free Fire)” as part of the 5th-anniversary celebrations. Players can look forward to immersing themselves in an interactive set-up, groove along to custom emotes, participate in minigames and potentially even perform with Justin Bieber’s avatar on stage. A permanent in-game character modelled after Justin Bieber will also be unveiled and distributed to all players.

To commemorate this unique celebration, Free Fire will also give away the highly coveted Magic Cube to players, allowing them to easily redeem their favourite exclusive costume bundles and battle in style. Players will be able to try their hand at various daily and time-limited missions, accumulating tokens which can be swapped for exclusive rewards in the exchange store. With iconic costumes and classic guns available to unlock during these missions, players can expect a nostalgic and exciting experience every day.

Expansive, dynamic maps are iconic features of Free Fire and players can look forward to the release of a new map Nexterra, which has been enhanced with various elements to elevate and diversify the battle experience for players. There will also be new game modes for players to explore, including:

  • A new limited-time mode Free For All. Set against the backdrop of El Pastelo, it will simulate intense close combat point-based matches where up to 16 players will battle it out. Players will be able to select their own weapons and can obtain points by eliminating other players. Matches will be decided by the first player to accumulate a predetermined amount of points.
  • An exclusive 5th-anniversary mode Droid Apocalypse, which will see 12 players compete in each match, vying to become the ultimate droid. Players will get to select their own type of droid and convert as many humans as possible before the timer runs out. When only a predetermined number of humans remain, they will transform into hunters and have enhanced stats, as well as the ability to permanently eliminate droids. Points can be gained based on performance and the player with the most points after three rounds will win the match.
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New Malicious Campaign Hunts Discord Messenger Users

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On July 26, using the internal automated system for monitoring open-source repositories, Kaspersky researchers identified a malicious campaign dubbed LofyLife. The campaign employed 4 malicious packages spreading Volt Stealer and Lofy Stealer malware in the open-source npm repository to gather various information from victims, including Discord tokens and credit card information, and to spy on them over time.

The npm repository is a public collection of open-source code packages widely used in front-end web apps, mobile apps, robots and routers, and also to serve countless needs of the JavaScript community. Its popularity makes the LofyLife campaign even more dangerous, as it could potentially have affected numerous users of the repository.

The identified malicious repositories appeared to be packages used for ordinary tasks such as formatting headlines or certain gaming functions, however, they contained highly obfuscated malicious JavaScript and Python code. This made them harder to analyze when being uploaded to the repository. The malicious payload consisted of malware written in Python dubbed Volt Stealer, and a JavaScript malware dubbed Lofy Stealer, which possesses numerous features.

Volt Stealer was used to stealing Discord tokens from the infected machines along with the victim’s IP address and upload them via HTTP. The Lofy Stealer, a new development from the attackers, is able to infect Discord client files and monitor the victim’s actions – detecting when a user logs in, changes email or password details, enables or disables multi-factor authentication and adds new payment methods, including full credit card details. Collected information is also uploaded to the remote endpoint.

“Developers rely heavily on open-source code repositories – they use them to make IT-solution developments faster and more efficient and significantly contribute to the development of the IT industry as a whole. As the LofyLife campaign shows, however, even reputable repositories cannot be trusted by default – all code, including open-source code, that a developer injects into his products becomes their own responsibility. We’ve added detections of this malware to our products, so users who run our solutions will be able to identify whether they have been infected and remove the malware,” comments Leonid Bezvershenko, a security researcher at Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team.

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Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) Removed From Google Play Store and Apple App Store in India

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India blocked a popular battle-royale format game from Krafton Inc, a South Korean company backed by China’s Tencent, using a law it has invoked since 2020 to ban Chinese apps on national security concerns, a source said. Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) was removed from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store as of Thursday evening in India.

The removal of BGMI, which had more than 100 million users in India, comes after India’s 2020 ban of another Krafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). The PUBG crackdown was part of New Delhi’s ban of more than 100 mobile apps of Chinese origins, following a months-long border standoff between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The ban has expanded since to cover more than 300 apps, including popular gaming app ‘Free Fire’, owned by Singapore’s technology group Sea Ltd. Tencent held a 13.5% stake in Krafton as of end-March through an investment vehicle, according to Krafton’s regulatory filing.

Krafton shares slumped more than 9% on the news on Friday, later paring losses to trade down 4.5% as of afternoon trade in Seoul. The company said in May India accounted for a high single-digit percentage of its revenue in the first quarter of this year.

According to news reports, a Google spokesperson said it blocked the game following a government directive. In Seoul, a Krafton spokesperson said the developer was talking to relevant authorities and companies to figure out the exact situation regarding the suspension in the two major app stores in India.

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