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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

How Amazon Taught the Echo Auto to Hear You in a Noisy Car

Start with a sort of crash test dummy that has creepily realistic human ears, then add a bunch of road noise. Repeat.
Source: Wired

US Lawyers Don’t Buy Huawei’s Argument on Chinese Hacking

Huawei says Chinese law prohibits the government from ordering it to install backdoors for spying. US lawyers say a law’s text isn’t always the final word in China.
Source: Wired

Tesla's new Model Y will be revealed on March 14 – Roadshow

Bigger than a Model 3 but smaller than a Model X, we’ll see Tesla’s new SUV this month.
Source: CNET

Huawei reportedly preparing to sue US government over ban – CNET

It’ll announce the suit later this week, the New York Times reported.
Source: CNET

FlixBus, the German Uber-like bus service, is buying rival Eurolines from Transdev

While all eyes are on what Uber Lyft and Didi will do this year as private transportation-on-demand services continue to consolidate, there’s also some interesting moves being played out in the adjacent business of bus and coach services.

Today, FlixBus, the German startup backed by Daimler, General Atlantic, Silver Lake and others that has built an Uber-like network to manage bus logistics, drivers and passengers on intercity routes, announced that it is entering a deal to acquire Eurolines, a competing service currently owned by Transdev, a European public transport giant.

The move is being made to expand its services specifically in Europe.

“This acquisition would strengthen our position as market leader in France and allows us to expand our European reach even further by integrating the Eurolines and isilines long-distance route networks,” said Jochen Engert, founder and CEO of FlixBus, in a statement. “With this integration, FlixBus would have an even more-complete and diverse offer to entice even more passengers. We aim to be the number one choice for travelers across Europe.” The companies say they are currently in negotiations with workers’ groups as part of the acquisition process.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, spokespeople for Transdev and Flixbus said in a statement to TechCrunch. FlixBus has never disclosed how much it has raised, nor its valuation.

But it is currently Europe’s largest bus service network, with routes in 29 countries and serving some 45 million passengers in 2018. It is rumored both to be eyeing up an IPO and is also valued at over $1 billion.

Transdev, meanwhile, was last valued at around $1.3 billion, according to PitchBook, after raising nearly $400 million earlier this year. The company, based out of France, has a plan to orient itself away from B2C services under new CEO Theirry Mallet (who took over the role last month), to instead focus on public transportation. Divesting Eurolines would be in keeping with that.

“The decision to enter exclusive negotiations with FlixBus regarding the potential divestment from Eurolines is in line with Transdev’s strategic plan,” said Mallet in a statement. “It would enable us to focus our resources on the core of our business, public transit and B2B transportation services by combining performance at best cost, technological and digital innovation, specifically to improve the customer experience.”

It’s not clear how big Eurolines/isilines is relative to Transdev overall, but the former business appears to be growing: it transported 2.5 million passengers in 2018, up 10 percent compared to 2017, a spokesperson told TechCrunch. (Still, a small business compared to FlixBus’ operation.)

The deal represents a big consolidation move in the area of bus services — and specifically services that help manage the movement of buses, rather than the physical bus companies themselves.

Similar to Uber, FlixBus and Eurolines do not take on the capital expenditure and operational costs of owning fleets of vehicles, instead providing a service to scores of companies that operate fleets to provide them with an efficient network to sell tickets and organise schedules around their services.

They also take a hand in customising the buses that work on their services with WiFi and other features.

While Greyhound-style long-distance bus services may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of when the concept of state-of-the-art travel, both Transdev and FlixBus have been trying to change that. FlixBus, which recently also entered the US market, started to pilot VR services on specific routes this year. Transdev, meanwhile, has been one of the companies building autonomous driving for buses.

With this deal, FlixBus would be bulking up in Europe specifically to help it take on not just other modes of transport like trains, planes and automobiles, but also to compete against bus companies.

Just a few months ago, France’s BlaBlaCar announced that it would acquire yet another hopeful in the space, Ouibus, from SNCF (France’s public transport provider). With others like Uber also recently launching its first forays into bus services as well, coach companies will have to bust a move if they hope to stay ahead in the bus game.


Source: TechCrunch

Facebook Messenger's dark mode is unlocked by a fun emoji Easter egg – CNET

The crescent moon brings darkness to Messenger.
Source: CNET

Go-Jek pulls in $100M more for its massive Series F round

U.S. ride-hailing giants Lyft and Uber are going public in the U.S. imminently, but over in Southeast Asia, the two largest on-demand companies are still madly fueling up on investment capital.

The latest update to that story today saw Go-Jek, the Indonesian ride-hailing firm aiming to go regional in Southeast Asia, announced that it has pulled in $100 million from conglomerate Astra, an existing investor, as part of the Series F round it is raising right now. We know Go-Jek is aiming to bring in at least $2 billion from that round — and that it has closed around half of that capital — so the addition from Astra is likely one of many that will take it towards that target.

There’s also a strategic component to this deal.

Astra, for those who are not aware of it, is a $20 billion conglomerate that specializes in manufacturing, automotive and infrastructure industries. It plans to start a joint venture with Go-Jek to equip its cars with Astra’s fleet management system to help improve the way Go-Jek manages its fleet and on-demand services. The rollout will start with “thousands” of Go-Car drivers.

The capital is being raised to expand Go-Jek’s services in Southeast Asia.

The company recently went official with the launch of its Thailand-based Get business. It has also expanded to Vietnam and Singapore over the last year and it is primed to offer its services in the Philippines soon.

Grab, meanwhile, Go-Jek’s key adversary, recently raised $2 billion for its recent Series H round. The company is working to extend that figure to $5 billion with a planned investment of up to $1.5 billion from SoftBank’s Vision Fund in the offing.


Source: TechCrunch

Flawed visitor check-in systems let anyone steal guest logs and sneak into buildings

Security researchers at IBM have found, reported and disclosed 19 vulnerabilities in five popular visitor management systems, which they say can be used to steal data on visitors — or even sneak into sensitive and off-limit areas of office buildings.

You’ve probably seen one of these visitor check-in systems before: they’re often found in lobbies or reception areas of office buildings to check staff and visitors onto the work floor. Visitors check in with their name and who they’re meeting using the touch-screen display or tablet, and a name badge is either printed or issued.

But the IBM researchers say flaws in these systems provided “a false sense of security.”

The researchers examined five of the most popular systems: Lobby Track Desktop, built by Jolly Technologies, had seven vulnerabilities; eVisitorPass, recently rebranded as Threshold Security, had five vulnerabilities; EasyLobby Solo, built by HID Global, had four vulnerabilities; Envoy’s flagship Passport system had two vulnerabilities; and The Receptionist, an iPad app, had one vulnerability.

According to IBM, the vulnerabilities could only be exploited by someone physically at check-in. The bugs ranged from allowing someone to download visitor logs, such as names, driver license and Social Security data, and phone numbers; or in some cases, the buggy software could be exploited to escape “kiosk” mode, allowing access to the underlying operating system, which the researchers say could be used to pivot to other applications and on the network, if connected.

Worse of all, the use of default admin credentials that would give “allow complete control of the application,” such as the ability to edit the visitor database. Some systems “can even issue and provision RFID badges, giving an attacker a key to open doors,” the researchers wrote.

Daniel Crowley, research director at IBM X-Force Red, the company’s pen-testing and vulnerability hunting team, told TechCrunch that all of the companies responded to the team’s findings.

“Some responded much more quickly than others,” said Crowley. “The Lobby Track vulnerabilities were acknowledged by Jolly Technologies, but they stated that the issues can be addressed through configuration options. X-Force Red tested the Lobby Track software in its default configuration,” he added.

We contacted the companies and received — for the most part — dismal responses.

Kate Miller, a spokesperson for Envoy, confirmed it fixed the bugs but “customer and visitor data was never at risk.”

Andy Alsop, chief executive of The Receptionist, did not respond to a request for comment but instead automatically signed us up to a mailing list without our permission, which we swiftly unsubscribed from. When reached, Michael Ashford, director of marketing, did not comment.

David Jordan, a representative for Jolly, declined to comment. And, neither Threshold Security and HID Global responded to our requests for comment.


Source: TechCrunch

Volvo to limit its cars' top speed to 112 mph – Roadshow

The change will go into effect in 2020, on all 2021 model year Volvos.
Source: CNET

The Overlooked Security Threat of Sign-In Kiosks

New research from IBM shows that several visitor management systems had a rash of vulnerabilities.
Source: Wired

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