Thursday

Nazara acquires majority stake in children’s ed-tech app Kiddopia


New Delhi: Gaming and sports media company Nazara Technologies today announced that it has acquired a majority stake of 51% in Paper Boat Apps. Paper Boat Apps is the company that developed Kiddopia, a popular educational games app which is targeted at kids in the 2-7 year age bracket.


Nazara issued shares worth INR 43 crores to complete the final tranche of the deal. This transaction is part of the Rs. 83 crore deal to acquire a majority stake in Paper Boat Apps, valuing the company at over Rs. 150 crores.


Last month, Nazara acquired a majority stake in fantasy platform Halaplay Technologies.


According to the release issued by Nazara, Kiddopia now has an annualized revenue run rate of over Rs.175 crores.


Kiddopia was launched in 2017 by husband-wife duo, Anupam and Anshu Dhanuka. The app has more than 5 millions downloads and over 300,000 subscribers.


Anupam Dhanuka, co-founder and CEO, Kiddopia said, “This investment from Nazara has helped us focus on product enhancement and marketing, thereby leading to a 3x growth in subscriber base.”


Kiddopia will also step up hiring across all levels, including middle to senior management. The company is also looking to hire people at the CXO level.


He further adds “We have just finished our best month and we expect our topline to grow 2x in annual revenues by March 2021.”


Nitish Mittersain, founder and managing director, Nazara Technologies Ltd said, “Gamified edtech is the only way to deliver high quality learning to young kids on digital devices. Nazara is very happy to add Kiddopia to our portfolio catering to over 100 million monthly active users on our network”


Nazara said it is the largest free-to-play kids games publisher in India with 20 million monthly children playing and over 180 million downloads on Google Play and App store.

Alibaba's UCWeb lays off India staff, Club Factory halts payments after app ban


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s subsidiary UC Web is slashing staff in India after a ban on 59 Chinese-origin mobile apps that includes UC Web’s browser and two other products, according to staff and a company letter seen by Reuters.


India last month outlawed the apps following a skirmish between Indian and Chinese forces on a disputed stretch of Himalayan border in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.


It said the apps threatened India’s sovereignty and security and its tech minister described the ban as a “digital strike”.


UCWeb, which entered India a decade ago and operated the browser along with a news app and the Vmate short video app, told some employees in a letter dated July 15 and seen by Reuters that they were losing their jobs.


“This termination is on account of the ban imposed by the government of India on UCWeb and Vmate, hampering the company’s ability to continue providing services in India,” the company said in the letter.


UCWeb said in a statement that it had complied with the government order and stopped services but did not comment on whether it had shut operations entirely.


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba declined to comment.


UC Browser had 130 million monthly active users in India. The company has under 100 direct employees in India and hundreds of third-party workers, sources said.


Another banned app, an e-commerce service called Club Factory (CF), has written to its Indian sellers saying it is invoking a “force majeure” clause – freeing it from contractual obligations.


“We hereby wish to inform that all settlements with sellers on the CF app and website are hereby being put on hold until the ban of the CF app and website is lifted,” the firm said in a letter to some 30,000 Indian sellers.


The India app ban requires a temporary halt of business activities and the company is working with the government to resolve their queries, Club Factory said in a statement.


Operators of the banned apps, which include the TikTok video service, have been asked by India to answer 77 questions, including whether they censored content, worked on behalf of foreign governments or lobbied influencers, Reuters reported previously.

SMIC shares surge in Shanghai debut after $6.6 billion offering



(Reuters) Shares in semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), China’s biggest chipmaker, more than tripled when they debuted on the Shanghai market on Thursday in one of the most anticipated listings of the year. 


SMIC’s arrival on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market was closely watched given both its size and importance to China’s drive for greater technological independence amid rising U.S. restrictions on the country’s data firms.


SMIC 688981.SS opened at 95 yuan, 246% higher than its offer price of 27.46 yuan. The company has said it plans to use the $6.6 billion raised in its share sale ahead of Thursday’s listing to build plants and replenish operating capital.


Specifically, it intends to build out foundries for the manufacture of computer chips that can compete with those operated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the industry’s market leader.


However, SMIC’s global aspirations fall under the shadow of tense Sino-U.S. relations, after U.S. restrictions announced in May against China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on security grounds.


The U.S. decision to prevent Huawei from receiving supplies or services from American companies also threatens Huawei’s suppliers such as TSMC and SMIC. However, analysts said SMIC remains China’s best hope for developing a first-class chip fab, in spite of significant business hurdles given its size and progression.


Li Xinxie, a tech analyst with Shanxi Securities, said the enthusiasm for SMIC’s Shanghai stock reflected ongoing confidence for China’s tech self-sufficiency push.


SMIC’s opening price represents a more than 300 PE ratio, and a premium of more than 200% over its Hong Kong-listed shares, which fell as much as 28.5% in volatile trade on Thursday on profit-taking.


On the mainland, the CSI all share semiconductors and semiconductor equipment index .CSIH30184 tumbled nearly 8% as investors pocketed gains after a rally in recent weeks.


Source: Reuters; Reporting by Samuel Shen and Josh Horwitz; additional reporting by Luoyan Liu; Editing by Jane Wardell 

Microsoft will bundle xCloud gaming service with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership


Microsoft announced today that its cloud gaming service Project xCloud will be included in its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership program.


Xbox Game Pass gives members access to more than 100 PC and console games, for $4.99 to $9.99 a month. The Ultimate package includes both console and PC games, in addition to an Xbox Live Gold membership, for $14.99/month.


“Cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate means your games are no longer locked to the living room,” Xbox chief Phil Spencer wrote in a blog post. “And just like you do with the popular movie and music streaming services, when cloud gaming launches into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can continue your game wherever you left off on any of your devices.”


Project xCloud lets users play high-powered Xbox games such as Halo on their smartphones. xCloud will be coming to Windows 10 as well as the Xbox platform.


The xCloud preview initially opened up to gamers in the U.S., U.K., and South Korea late last year. Microsoft opened up a beta registration to 11 countries in Western Europe in April.


Microsoft will host the livestream on July 23 to reveal more about games for its new Xbox Series X console scheduled to debut this holiday season, including Halo: Infinite.

Why Can Application Security Be Considered A Enabler For Business?


Web application security

If you ask Alex, he won’t admit being old-fashioned. He has been working in the IT industry for a while now and accepts that security is important for the business’s health. But reluctant to take security as the business enabler.


In today’s environment, moving to digitization is a critical step required to drive innovation and business growth. When the application development takes the driver seat, security stalls the progress by saying NO to many things on the highway. — Is what he says.


At that point, my friend Daniel got involved and argued that application security is no longer optional to our business as we rely on apps for our day-to-day activities.
And, he added a powerful quote:


“Because we’ve brakes in our cars, we can drive fast” – Robert Garigue


Businesses will less likely advance if they don’t have security (brakes) to do safely. The car’s speed obtains improvement with brakes – the improvements to business are the improvement to the security.


Alex wants more direct links to prove Daniel’s claim. Let’s go through what Daniel has confronted and figure out whether the Application Security is, in reality, the growth enabler.


Daniel — Not just you Alex, still few business owners project a negative image of the security within the business.


According to the IDC report, while 56% of management views security as an enabler, 27% are still considering it as Blocker for simply working towards employee retention and customer satisfaction.











web app firewall
Image source: IDC

But this is an improvement in the year 2017 when only 53% viewed it as an enabler.



Why is Application Security a Business Enabler?


Alex, application security is often discussed in terms of security breaches, business disruption, and regulatory fines. The opportunities are seldom highlighted.


For instance, effective security makes it feasible for businesses to innovate, which drives profit, growth, and revenue. Securing against cyberattacks can provide genuine benefits for SMEs and lead to valuable organizations.


Alex — How could you demonstrate the value besides risks management optimization?


Well, Alex, this aligns with the Data from the survey of IDC – Harnessing Identity Position Security Business Enabler:











web app firewall
Image source: IDC



Competitive Advantage


Everything is connected to the internet. The hyper-connectivity, IoT, and customer demand businesses to use applications. Apps bridge the connection of business with the network, mobile, peripheral, and wired devices.


They enable us to collect information and offer ease of use for employees and consumers, making a great difference.


In this age of competitive choice, customers rarely possess the same brand loyalty once they did. Customers prefer companies, which understand the security status of their application.


As such, application security addresses the following business goals:



  • Product Brand Image – by preventing leaks and projecting security

  • Reduce Risk – Considering those from 3rd parties

  • Protect & safeguard Data – both customer and enterprise data

  • Protect and enhance customer confidence – Effective customer experience drives competition

  • Enhance Trust from an investor, customers, and lenders – eliminating risks, boosts trust of all parties


For any business, image, trust, and risks are the most key topics, which require attention. Application security covers them all.


You know, 71% of CEOs consider information security as a source of competitive advantage, according to KPMG.


This reflects a spectacular change given what they’ve heard in the past report, where CEOs largely stated security to measure risk mitigation.



Improve Productivity with Mobile Employees


Alex, in this new world of wireless, the mobile workforce becomes the new norm. Mobile devices are unleashing collaboration and productivity in the workforce, particularly for the 80% of workers who don’t want to sit behind the desk every day.


Companies building strong security behind their application infrastructure, empower the workforce to access resources without compromising security.



  • Profitability – reduce operating expense

  • Productivity – application access anywhere, anytime


The app stores filled with modern apps prove its advertised usefulness.



Supporting digital transformation initiatives


Cisco’s survey of C-level executives disclosed that 69% of respondents stated digital transformation is vital to their company’s growth strategy. Among them, 64% realized that security was the significant driver of the digitization.


With a strong application security stance, enterprises could confidently drive the success of their digital transformation and obtain new opportunities.


The digital transformation has given significant changes, new processes were created, new methodologies were made, and all are aimed at ensuring faster delivery of safer digital products to the customers.


The application security integrated into the core app platform automates the major security process, workflows, and tasks to enhance accuracy, response time, and standardization.


Implementing strong security measures facilitates businesses to deliver applications without being slowed down or compromised.


Enterprises that have invested in security will be able to continue performance and operations – a significant advantage over those trapped unpreparedly by a cyberthreat.



In the journey of cloud adoption


Security though a key concern, it is not preventing businesses from reaping the advantages of cloud computing. I hope you agree with this. Cloud adoption gives business speed they need and with a shared responsibility model to manage security risks (AWS-Shared Responsibility model).


Over these last few years, cloud computing resources have evolved into a thriving IT supermarket of processing storage, capacity, apps, and a wide range of automated tasks (security, networking & system maintenance), all provided “as a service” by 3rd party vendors.


A report of Oracle reveals that 48% of businesses believe that enforcing better security policies will increase cloud adoption.


With the right application security solutions and controls in place, businesses are riding the Cloud.


Alex — Thank you, Daniel, Now I Agree – Application security can actually be an enabler for business. I understand perfectly why now. But, how do I secure my application, hire the skill set, and, more importantly, have the time to do this?


Daniel — You are spot on, and this is a specialized skill set, and it is better to partner with experts who not just provide security products but also include management of security lifecycle in sync with your web application lifecycle as an integral part of their offering. You may want to look at services like AppTrana from Induface who provide a Risk-based managed Security for web applications.


Alex — Risk-Based Managed Security? Can you explain more


Daniel — Get visibility of your application risks before hackers find and exploit them. You have to take care of only your applications and hence can do it more frequently on a continuous basis with on-demand Application Security scanning and Manual Penetration testing services and at least get visibility into your risks before hackers do. As part of the managed service, they will also fix it and protect you from exploiting those vulnerabilities instantly with their Managed Cloud WAF. You can launch new applications and services and use them to provide security risk visibility, protection, and management continuously.


Alex — Thanks, I will take a look.


Unquestionably, the points mentioned above prove that application security can create a positive return by supporting us to be better at what we do, innovate faster, and give us the edge in the competitive market.


Partnering with companies like Indusface with their AppTrana Managed Cloud WAF offering ensures you can get started fast without having to wait to build the expertise and find the time.



Get Positioned for Success!


It’s time for businesses to begin thinking about their application security program as a growth enabler that adds value and ensures efficiency. This view can only support when you align security culture with core business goals like brand image, customer retention, and profitability.

The 20 Best Things to Do in Norway for First Timers


Fjords







Famous for its Viking history and as a place to visit to enjoy winter sports and other outdoor activities, Norway is a Scandinavian country in Europe. The landscape of this country is diverse, with mountains, glaciers, and coastal fjords. The capital o this country is Oslo, which is famous for its museums and green spaces. No matter whether you focus your visit to Norway on Oslo and other Norwegian cities or spend your time predominantly in the rural areas, you will find plenty of things to see and do in this fantastic country. To help you plan your vacation itinerary, here are the 20 best things to do in Norway for first-timers.


Atlantic Ocean Road


20. Drive Along the Atlantic Ocean Road


Driving may not seem like a fun activity to enjoy on vacation, but the Atlantic Ocean Road is as much a landmark and tourist attraction as it is a transportation route. It is a road like no other anywhere else across the globe, and it spans five miles of the rugged coastline of Norway. This unique and winding road bridges between large water-bound rocks and islets, and you can enjoy spectacular views as you drive.


Akershus Castle


19. Tour Akershus Castle


Built in 1299, Arkeshus Castle was constructed to protect Oslo from enemy invasion. Over time, the castle has had many uses, including being used as a prison in modern times. It is now used as a base for the Norwegian Ministry of Defense. It is open to the public for tours of the building, and this includes visits to rooms such as the chapel and the banquet rooms. The castle is also home to various antique collections that you will see as you tour the building. It is a fantastic place to learn about the history of Norway.







Oslo Cathedral


18. Visit Oslo Cathedral


One of the top attractions to visit in Oslo is Oslo Cathedral, and this structure will particularly appeal to you if you are interested in history or architecture. According to The Crazy Tourist, it was the first church to be established in Norway, and it was built in its original form in the 11th century. The structure has a baroque-style, and the interior has many interesting features. These include colorful murals, an ornate pulpit, and a large organ.


Karasjok


17. Absorb Yourself in Sami Culture in Karasjok


The northernmost indigenous people of Europe are the Sami. Of those living on the Norwegian tundra, the Sami make up 90 percent of the population. The Sami capital is Karasjok, which has 3,000 inhabitants. It is also home to approximately 60 thousand reindeer. If you want to learn about the Norwegian culture and the lives of the Sami, then Karasjok is somewhere that you should include on your vacation itinerary. There are many ways that you can absorb yourself in the Sami culture, including camping in a Sami tent, sampling the cuisine, seeing the reindeers, and trying dog sledding.


Trondelag


16. Have a Go at Cross Country Skiing at Trondelag


Those who enjoy outdoor pursuits should have a go at cross-country skiing, which is a popular activity in Norway. One of the best places to try cross-country skiing is Trondelag, which is a county in central Norway that has both coastal and inland areas that are both good for skiing. In this area, there are more than 500 kilometers of cross-country ski trails to explore. Cross-country skiing is different from downhill skiing, and it is a much easier activity for skiing novices to try.







Galdhopiggen


15. Climb Galdhopiggen


You might think that mountain climbing is something that is only achievable by experienced climbers, but Galdhopiggen is accessible for novices if they are relatively fit. It is the highest mountain in Norway at 2,469 meters. It is also the highest mountain in Scandinavia and northern Europe. The guided tours have an experienced mountaineer who takes you to the summit of the mountain, crossing a glacier along the way. This mountain is located in the mountainous Jotunheimen area. If you are visiting in the winter months, you can also ski on this mountain.


Mount Ulriken


14. Have Fun on the Zipline at Mount Ulriken


A fun activity that will give you an adrenaline rush is whizzing down the zip wires at Mount Ulriken. This mountain is the highest in Bergen as it is 643 meters tall. From the summit, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the city below. In 2016, a zip wire was added to the mountain, and it holds the accolade of being the fastest zip wire in Norway. As you whizz along the zip wire at speed, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape around you.


Ekeberg Park


13. See the Sculptures at Ekeberg Park


Art lovers should set aside some time to see the sculptures in the Ekeberg Sculpture Park. This park is located just half an hour from central Oslo on foot. Throughout the wooded park, there are 31 sculptures. These are the work of various artists, including Salvador Dali and Damien Hirst. This park is also where the artist Munch got his inspiration for one of his most famous works, ‘The Scream.’ Even if you are not interested in art, it is a pretty park to visit with excellent views across the city. It is free to visit the park, so it is a budget-friendly activity.







Lofoten Islands


12. Go Deep-Sea Fishing Around the Lofoten Islands


Many of the best activities in Norway involve taking to the water, and one popular activity is fishing. Not only is fishing a great leisure activity, but it has also played an important role in the economy of the country. It is possible to book a chartered fishing boat to take you out on deep-sea fishing trips. One of the best places to enjoy this activity is off the coast of the Lofoten Islands. Vestfjorden is an island that is famous for its cod fishery, and this island separates the mainland from the other Lofotus Islands, including Austvagoy, Flakstadoy, Moskenesoy, and Vestvagoy. If you are passionate about fishing, then you can even spend a couple of days of your vacation staying in a fisherman’s cabin on the island. After your fishing trip, there is the chance to eat your catch.


Troll Tongue Rock


11. Hike to Troll Tongue Rock


There are some amazing trails in Norway, and each offers a different experience. One of the best and most popular trails is the hike to Trolltunga, also known as Troll Tongue Rock. This is a spectacular sea cliff that juts out 700 meters above lake Ringedal. At the summit, there is a protruding ledge where you can enjoy spectacular views across the lake and of the surrounding cliffs and mountains. The hike is approximately 27 kilometers, and there is an ascent of 1,000 meters. Therefore, it is a challenging hike that is best-suited to experienced walkers.


Mount Floyen


10. Take a Funicular Ride Up Mount Floyen


If you visit the city of Bergen, then you should take the funicular railway, called the Flobanen, which takes you up Floyen mountain. The funicular railway was established in 1918, and it has become one of the most popular attractions in Norway. It takes less than 10 minutes to rise to the 320-meter summit of the mountain. Riding the historic funicular railway is fun, and there are impressive views of the city, harbor, and sea when you reach the summit of the mountain.







Geirangerfjord


9. Kayak the Geirangerfjord


If you enjoy outdoor pursuits, then one of the best activities to enjoy is kayaking along the Geirangerfjord. This fjord is 15 kilometers long, and it is UNESCO-listed. It runs through a beautiful setting, and it has multiple waterfalls, including the Seven Sisters Falls. Although it is possible to enjoy this fjord on a boat trip, you will get a more immersive experience if you kayak.


Oslo Opera House


8. Walk Across the Roof of Oslo Opera House


One of the most impressive structures in Oslo, Norway’s capital, is the Oslo Opera House. The design of the building is intended to look like a glacier rising from the fjords. Time Out recommends walking across the roof of this spectacular building during your visit. From a rooftop position, you can enjoy spectacular views across the city. This is also the best venue if you want to enjoy a ballet or opera performance.


Arctic Boat Safari


7. Enjoy an Arctic Boat Safari


Those who enjoy wildlife should take the Arctic boat safari. These boat trips take you through the Svalbard archipelago, which is a hostile and remote environment. As you travel through the ice-covered fjords, you can see walruses, seals, whales, and various species of birds, including puffins and white pelicans. If you are lucky, you may even see a polar bear. You can also enjoy the unique surroundings that are unlike anywhere else in the world.


Jostedalsbreen Glacier


6. Walk the Jostedalsbreen Glacier


There are more than 1,600 glaciers in Norway, and they are one of the most impressive natural features of this country. While admiring these from afar is an impressive sight, you will get an even better experience up close. There are some glaciers that you can walk over, and the most famous of these is the Jostedalsbreen glacier. This is the largest glacier in continental Europe, and it is possible to take a guided walk across the mammoth peaks. If you enjoy glacier walks, then another popular option is Nigardsbreen.


Flam Railway


5. Ride the Flam Railway


A highlight of a visit to Norway for many people is riding the Flam Railway. A trip on this railway takes approximately 50 minutes, and it showcases some of the best landscapes in the country. You will travel through a narrow valley that passes spectacular waterfalls, pretty and colorful farming villages, and magnificent mountain peaks. It is one of the steepest railways in the world, and you will climb to an elevation of 850 meters above sea level. You will also pass through 20 winding tunnels during the trip.


Tromso- The Arctic Capital


4. Visit Tromso- The Arctic Capital


Tromso is a city in the remote northern section of Norway, and it is considered the social and cultural capital of this region. It is a thriving fishing port and one of the best places to try some of the culinary specialties of the Arctic, including char and reindeer. One of the best attractions in this city is the botanical gardens, which are the most northerly in the world. Tromso also has a vibrant nightlife.


Northern Lights


3. See the Northern Lights


The Northern Lights, also called the Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that occurs in the magnetic polar regions. They are caused by electrically charged particles from the sun entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Arctic Norway is one of the best places in the world to see this spectacular natural phenomenon.


Bergen


2. Explore Bergen


Many tourists head straight for Oslo, but one Norwegian destination that you should visit during your trip is Bergen. This is the second-largest city in Norway, although it has the feel of a small town. The old wharf, called Bryggen, is UNESCO-listed, and the city is set against a backdrop of forested hills. Bergen is one of the oldest port cities in Europe as it originated in the 12th century, and it is considered a gateway to the western fjords. The layout of the city remains true to its medieval history, but the oldest of the colorful wooden buildings in this city date back to only the 1700s.


Fjords


Cruise the Fjords


According to On the Go Tours, one of the best things to do in Norway for first-timers is to cruise the fjords. The fjords are one of the most significant natural features of the Norwegian landscape, so you should appreciate their beauty during your visit to this country. There are many cruises available that take you through the fjords so that you can admire the surrounding mountains and scenery. These cruises vary in terms of their length, and some packages include food, drink, and entertainment.





Sastasundar.com launches a range of immunity boosting products


Keeping in mind the importance of boosting one’s immunity following the outbreak of Covid-19, digital healthcare platform Sastasundar.com has introduced a new range of immunity boosting and pro-immunity products known under the category, SastaSundar Health Foods – Herbal Range.


The immunity boosting range of products include Golden Milk Mixture, Steam Inhaler, Immunity Kadha, Giloy Powder, Ashwagandha Root Powder, Mulethi Powder, Organic Whole Black Pepper, Organic Turmeric & Black Pepper Powder and Organic Clove, said a press statement issued by the company.


Kolkata-based e-pharmacy startup, supported by a network of physical counselling and service centres called ‘Healthbuddies’, is working towards adding on more products to this range in the coming months, the release added.


“In the current circumstances, it is important to work on building our immunity to fight various viral infections. Hence, we decided to introduce a range of immunity boosting products for our customers. The new product range will have myriad health benefits,” said BL Mittal, founder & executive chairman, Sastasundar.com.


While Golden Milk Mixture has antioxidant and antimicrobial agent which helps in effective purifying of the blood and is a potent digestive aid, the Steam Inhaler will help drain sinuses and clear congested nasal passage. Immunity Kadha is aimed at boosting body’s immunity, Giloy Powder is expected to combat respiratory ailments, smoothen digestion and help in managing diabetes, the company release elaborated.


“Other products launched also provide a range of benefits,” Mittal said.