Friday: the day before the weekend, the last day of the school week or workweek, and the day when companies and people sometimes drop news out of the blue. The Friday news dump!
Sometimes, a news dump means an announcement that, for whatever reason, companies choose not to announce during the week. But often, the news reflects badly on the company or person that dumps it — like, say, confirming layoffs, explaining why you aren’t getting paid as much as you think, or a security breach at a cybersecurity company.
Every time Friday afternoon rolls around (or Wednesday or Thursday if it’s a holiday weekend), there’s a part of my brain that’s preparing for the worst; I’ve been through enough late-in-the-week surprises that they don’t shock me as much as they used to. But now, we’ll be using this storystream to keep track of some of the news dumps we at The Verge get to live through — you, reader, can also experience our pain.
Nov 20Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt resigns.
His resignation follows an accident where a pedestrian who was struck by another vehicle became trapped underneath a Cruise robotaxi, which dragged her as it attempted to pull over. Rescuers needed to use the jaws of life to free her after Cruise disabled the vehicle.
The company recently announced one of GM’s lawyers would expand his role within Cruise. Then Motherboard reported Cruise’s first email to California’s DMV after the accident didn’t mention the whole dragging part. According to TechCrunch, Cruise engineering exec Mo Elshenawy will take over as president and CTO.
Nov 3Okta’s breach investigation missed key information for two weeks.
In a Friday news dump blog post, Okta chief security officer David Bradbury revealed that a threat actor had access to files for 134 customers. Stolen session tokens from support logs were used to hijack sessions for 5 Okta customers, of which three have been publicly identified: 1Password (which first alerted Okta of the problem), BeyondTrust, and Cloudflare.
For a period of 14 days, while actively investigating, Okta did not identify suspicious downloads in our logs. When a user opens and views files attached to a support case, a specific log event type and ID is generated tied to that file. If a user instead navigates directly to the Files tab in the customer support system, as the threat actor did in this attack, they will instead generate an entirely different log event with a different record ID.
Not a great look for an identity management company that is supposed to prevent this exact problem.Tracking Unauthorized Access to Okta's Support System
Oct 20Okta says hackers gained “unauthorized access” to its support system.
The identity and access management company says a hacker viewed files uploaded to its support system by “certain Okta customers.”
Okta says hackers gained access to its support using a stolen credential. However, the company notes that its authentication service was unaffected and is still “fully operational.”
Aug 13Nikola recalls 209 trucks after determining a battery fire was due to a leak — not sabotage.
Theranos-adjacent trucking company Nikola Motors admitted late Friday night that “a coolant leak inside a single battery pack was found to be the probable cause of the truck fire” at its HQ on June 23rd. The company blames a supplier component for the leak and says it’s working on a fix for affected trucks, which can stay in service. (via Wall Street Journal).
Oh, and as for its initial claim that “foul play is suspected”? Here’s the explanation:
The company’s initial statement on June 23 alluded to foul play as a possible cause of the incident, based on video footage showing a vehicle parked next to the impacted trucks and quickly pulling away after a bright flash and the commencement of the fire. Extensive internal and third party-led hypothesis testing, employee and contractor interviews, and hours of video footage review has since suggested foul play or other external factors were unlikely to have caused the incident.
Joseph Staten, a Bungie veteran who worked on the first three Halo games and was brought on to help get Halo Infinite over the finish line, is leaving Microsoft, the company confirmed to IGN on Friday and Staten himself confirmed on Twitter.Read Article >
“Hey folks, I am indeed leaving Microsoft,” Staten said. “I’ll have more info to share soon, but for now, I’d just like to thank all my @Xbox colleagues for all their understanding and support as I embark on a new adventure.”
Google is ending support for the Dropcam and the Nest Secure home security system in one year, on April 8th, 2024. They are among the few remaining Nest products that haven’t been brought over to Google Home, and their demise hints that the new Google Home app might almost be here. At least, no more than a year away. Surely.Read Article >
Google is also winding down the last few legacy Works with Nest connections, but not ‘til September 29th.
Google is cutting approximately 12,000 jobs — the latest technology firm to initiate significant layoffs as inflation rises and global markets brace for a downturn.Read Article >
Google SEO Sundar Pichai announced the cuts in an email to staff on Friday and a blog post. The job losses constitute around 6 percent of Google’s global workforce, compared to recent layoffs at Microsoft (10,000 jobs or 5 percent of the workforce), Amazon (18,000 jobs / 6 percent), and Meta (11,000 / 13 percent). Earlier this month, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced much smaller cuts at Verily, its health-focused subsidiary, and Intrinsic, a subsidiary developing software for industrial robots.
Aug 19, 2022
Wayfair saw a spike in sales at the beginning of the pandemic as customers stayed home and took an interest in renovating their space and shopping online but today announced it’s laying off 870 employees. In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the online furniture and home decor retailer indicated that the “workforce reduction” affects 5 percent of its global workforce and 10 percent of its corporate team.Read Article >
In the company’s second-quarter results released on August 4th, Wayfair reported a decrease in active customers, orders per customer, order deliveries, and a slight decrease in orders delivered via Wayfair’s mobile app and in other areas. Overall, Wayfair saw a nearly 15 percent decrease in net revenue compared to its earnings in 2021.
Aug 12, 2022
Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy had his job cut out for him when he took over the helm in February as the company laid off 2,800 employees. Now, roughly six months later, McCarthy has sent out a memo to staffers warning the company plans to eliminate an additional 784 jobs in a third round of layoffs, reports Bloomberg. Peloton will also increase the prices of the Bike Plus and Tread, while shuttering retail showrooms starting in 2023.Read Article >
Peloton spokesperson Ben Boyd confirmed the news in a statement to The Verge, writing:
Jul 22, 2022
Guerrilla Games, the Sony-owned studio most recently known for Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West, is shutting down online multiplayer for three games in August (via Polygon). The shutdowns, which will happen on August 12th, will affect Killzone: Mercenary, Killzone Shadow Fall, and Rigs: Mechanized Combat League.Read Article >
“Online features (including online multiplayer modes) will cease on that date,” Guerrilla wrote in a tweet on Friday. “Single player offline modes remain available.”
Feb 4, 2022
News Corp, the media company that owns The Wall Street Journal, said in a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it was the victim of a cyberattack last month. Its security consultant Mandiant, which is investigating the hack, believes the attackers “are likely involved in espionage activities to collect intelligence to benefit China’s interests,” Mandiant vice president of incident response David Wong said in an email to The Verge.Read Article >
According to the SEC filing, the company discovered in January that one of its cloud-based systems was the target of “persistent cyberattack activity.” A preliminary analysis found that “foreign government involvement may be associated with this activity, and that data was taken.” News Corp. said in the filing that its financial and customer data were not affected and that it believes the threat activity has been contained. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that emails and documents of its journalists were among those targeted in the hack.
Jan 11, 2022
Spotify is disbanding its founding podcast studio and laying off some of the team. An affected employee tells The Verge that Studio 4, or Spotify Studios as it’s been referenced externally, consisted of 10 to 15 employees and produced shows like Dissect and Chapo: Kingpin on Trial. Spotify called affected employees on Friday and said their last days would be January 21st. They’ll receive two months’ worth of severance. Some employees were reassigned while others were laid off and pointed to the Spotify job board. The studio’s head, Gina Delvac, was also let go.Read Article >
Spotify declined to comment. In a note to Spotify staff obtained by The Verge, however, Julie McNamara, head of US studios and video, acknowledged the layoffs and said shutting the studio down would enable the company to “move faster and make more significant progress and facilitate more effective collaboration across our organization.”
Sep 17, 2021
Pokémon Go developer Niantic is shutting down its augmented reality game Catan: World Explorers, the company announced on Friday (via Protocol). An AR adaptation of the popular board game Catan announced in 2019, World Explorers was the company’s latest attempt to recreate the magic of Pokémon Go, but soon it’s all coming to an end.Read Article >
After a year of early access, the game will not be playable after November 18th and Niantic says later today it “will be taking the game down from the App Store and removing real-money purchases from the Shop.” For the players that stick around, the company says it will increase in-game bonuses for the remaining weeks the game is live.
Jul 18, 2020
On Friday evening, Twitter issued its first full blog post about what happened after the biggest security lapse in the company’s history, one that led to attackers getting hold of some of the highest profile Twitter accounts in the world — including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Kanye West, Michael Bloomberg, and more.Read Article >
The bad news: Twitter has now revealed that the attackers may indeed have downloaded the private direct messages (DMs) of up to 8 individuals while conducting their Bitcoin scam, and were able to see “personal information” including phone numbers and email addresses for every account they targeted.
May 30, 2020
Microsoft is laying off dozens of journalists and editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations. The layoffs are part of a bigger push by Microsoft to rely on artificial intelligence to pick news and content that’s presented on MSN.com, inside Microsoft’s Edge browser, and in the company’s various Microsoft News apps. Many of the affected workers are part of Microsoft’s SANE (search, ads, News, Edge) division, and are contracted as human editors to help pick stories.Read Article >
“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement. “This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”
Apr 6, 2020
Zoox, the ambitious self-driving startup said to be worth over $3 billion, laid off almost all of its contract workers last week, including its backup drivers who ride around in the company’s autonomous vehicles. Around 120 people are said to be out of work.Read Article >
Zoox workers were informed in an email sent on Friday that their jobs were being terminated effective immediately. They were told that they were being locked out of the company’s email, Zoom, and Slack, and would be required to turn in their company-issued laptops and badges. But Zoox also insisted that this should not be “considered a standard layoff.” The company said that it will hire everyone back “once the shelter in place is lifted, unless stated otherwise.”
Mar 20, 2020
GameStop is closing its California retail stores until “further notice,” according to Kotaku, only a day after the video game retailer instructed all of its US employees to disregard coronavirus-related lockdowns.Read Article >
“We are closing our stores in California,” GameStop said in a letter to stores leaked to Kotaku. “The closure will remain in effect until further notice as we obtain more information from the California Governor’s Office.” Kotaku also notes that GameStop will not pay its employees during the shutdown, though some may be able to use personal time off.
Mar 20, 2020
Google has completely canceled Google I/O 2020, its biggest event of the year, due to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus. The company announced on March 3rd that it canceled the physical I/O event, but now the whole thing is off.Read Article >
“Out of concern for the health and safety of our developers, employees, and local communities — and in line with recent ‘shelter in place’ orders by the local Bay Area counties — we sadly will not be holding I/O in any capacity this year,” Google said in a statement on the I/O website. “Right now, the most important thing all of us can do is focus our attention on helping people with the new challenges we all face. Please know that we remain committed to finding other ways to share platform updates with you through our developer blogs and community forums.”
Feb 14, 2020
HQ, which made the once-popular HQ Trivia app, is shutting down and laying off its 25 employees, according to CNN Business.Read Article >
HQ CEO Rus Yusupov reportedly sent a note to employees announcing that HQ would cease operations. In the note, he said that there had been an offer “from an established business” to acquire HQ that had a closing date of tomorrow, but that the potential acquirer “suddenly changed their position.” You can read the full note below:
Jan 31, 2020
Randy Freer is stepping down from his role as Hulu CEO as Disney moves to consolidate its direct-to-consumer business under its own executives. Part of the decision to roll Hulu’s business operations into Disney’s direct-to-consumer division is to help “rapidly grow our presence outside the US,” according to a company press release put out Friday.Read Article >
Disney hasn’t shied away from its plans to roll out Hulu in various international territories, along with its other streaming service, Disney+. The integration means Hulu executives will now report to Disney execs. Everything Hulu — and streaming-at-large — will now operate under Kevin Mayer, who heads up the division for Disney that includes Disney+, ESPN+, and now Hulu.
Nov 22, 2019
OnePlus has suffered a data breach: the company says an “unauthorized party” accessed some customers’ order information. In a statement, OnePlus says some customer names, contact numbers, emails, and shipping addresses “may have been exposed,” but also that “all payment information, passwords and accounts are safe.” The company began notifying affected customers today.Read Article >
In an FAQ, the company says the breach was discovered last week, and that it has “inspected our website thoroughly to ensure that there are no similar security flaws.” That suggests the breach happened through the OnePlus website, perhaps the online store, rather than its phones.
Nov 1, 2019
Inboard Technology, an electric skateboard startup from Santa Cruz, California, is working with a liquidation firm to sell off its intellectual property and assets, The Verge has learned. All 24 employees, most of whom were located at the company’s headquarters in Santa Cruz, California, have been laid off.Read Article >
The startup was one of the highest-profile competitors to top electric skateboard company Boosted, and last year announced plans to enter the electric scooter market — a push that seems to have doomed Inboard.
Apr 15, 2019
Microsoft has admitted that its Outlook.com security breach was worse than the company initially revealed. The software maker started notifying some Outlook.com users late on Friday night that a hacker was able to access accounts for months earlier this year. Microsoft’s notification revealed that hackers could have viewed account email addresses, folder names, and subject lines of emails, but in a separate notification to other affected users the company also admitted email contents could have been viewed.Read Article >
Vice’s Motherboard revealed on Sunday that Microsoft sent a different notification message to around six percent of the affected Outlook.com accounts, and that the company only admitted this when it was presented with screenshot evidence that the breach was far worse for those customers. Microsoft discovered that a support agent’s credentials were compromised for its web mail service, allowing unauthorized access to some accounts between January 1st and March 28th, 2019.
Sep 21, 2018
The Walking Dead developer Telltale hit with devastating layoffs as part of a ‘majority studio closure’
Telltale Games, creators of episodic adventure games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman: The Enemy Within, laid off approximately 250 employees today as part of what the company is calling a “majority studio closure.” According to multiple sources The Verge spoke with, employees were let go with no severance.Read Article >
“Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges,” the company said in a statement. “A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning.” The company will retain a small team of 25. These remaining employees will stay on “to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners,” according to Telltale.
Mar 17, 2018
Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook’s disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters.Read Article >
Facebook said it cannot determine whether or how the data in question could have been used in conjunction with election ad campaigns. Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.