Brandless, the pioneering Amazon alternative, shuts down (3 minute read)
Brandless is shutting down, just two and a half years after it launched. It had an original idea designed to disrupt the traditional grocery industry, but it could not perform under the pressure of its investors. Brandless blames the crowded e-commerce market, as the competition in the direct-to-consumer market is fierce. SoftBank poured $240 million into the company in mid-2018, a year after it launched. After it received the cash infusion, Brandless underwent major leadership changes, partly due to the fact that SoftBank was pushing Brandless to quickly turn a profit and meet steep financial targets. The company board decided to shut down the company while there was still enough money to provide severance packages to employees.
Equifax was hacked by Chinese military officers, federal prosecutors say (2 minute read)
The Department of Justice has announced the indictment of four members of China's military over the 2017 hack of Equifax. Using a vulnerability in the framework used by Equifax, the hackers obtained sensitive information such as names, social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, driver's license numbers, and sometimes even credit card numbers. Around 150 million Americans were affected by the attack. This is the second time the DOJ has indicted members of China's People's Liberation Army in an economic espionage case. There is no evidence that the stolen data has been used. People in the US are getting used to hearing about data breaches and should be more careful about managing the data that they give to companies.