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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 compact DSLR brings 4K video to its entry line – CNET

Canon sprinkles some feature fairy dust on its smallest DSLR.
Source: CNET

ShopBack, a cashback startup in Asia Pacific, raises $45M from Rakuten and others

ShopBack, a Singapore-based startup that offers cashback and consumer rewards in Asia Pacific, has closed a $45 million round led by new investors Rakuten Capital and EV Growth.

Founded in 2014, the startup had been relatively under-the-radar until late 2017 when it announced a $25 million investment that funded expansion into Australia among other things. Now, it is doubling down with this deal which sees participation from another new backer, EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board. Shopback has now raised close to $85 million from investors, which also include Credit Saison Blue Sky, AppWorks, SoftBank Ventures Korea, Singtel Innov8 and Qualgro.

The investment will see Amit Patel, who leads Rakuten-owned cashback service Ebates, and EV Growth managing partner Willson Cuaca, join the board. Cuaca is a familiar face since his East Ventures firm, which launched EV Growth alongside Yahoo Japan Capital and SMDV last year, was an early investor in Shopback, while the addition of Patel is potentially very significant for the startup. Indeed, when I previously wrote about ShopBack, I compared the startup directly to Ebates, which was bought by Rakuten for $1 billion in 2014.

Ebates brings operating experience in the cashback space,” Henry Chan, ShopBack co-founder and CEO told TechCrunch in an interview.

“A lot has changed in the last year and a half, Ebates has a very strong focus on the U.S… given that we’re not competing, it makes sense to partner and to learn,” he added.

The obvious question to ask is whether this deal is a precursor to a potential acquisition.

So, is it?

“It is squarely for learning and for growth,” Chan said in response. “It makes sense for us to partner with someone with the know-how.”

ShopBack operates in seven markets in Asia Pacific — Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia and Indonesia — with a core rewards service that gives consumers rebates for spending on areas like e-commerce, ride-hailing, food delivery, online travel and more. It has moved offline, too, with a new service for discovering and paying for food which initially launched in Singapore.

ShopBack said it saw a 250 percent growth in sales and orders last year which translated to nearly $1 billion in sales for its merchant partners. The company previously said it handled $400 million in 2017. It added that it typically handles more than 2.5 million transactions for upwards of seven million users.

(Left to right) Henry Chan, co-founder and CEO of ShopBack, welcomes new board member Amit Patel, CEO of Rakuten -owned Ebates [Image via ShopBack]

Chan said that, since the previous funding round, ShopBack has seen its business in emerging markets like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines take off and eclipse its efforts in more developed countries like Singapore. Still, he said, the company benefits from the diversity of the region.

Markets like Singapore and Taiwan, where online spending is more established, allow ShopBack to “learn ahead of time how different industries will develop” as the internet economy matures in Southeast Asia, Chan — who started the company with fellow co-founder Joel Leong — explained.

Outside of Southeast Asia, Chan said that ShopBack’s Australia business — launched nearly one year ago — has been its “most phenomenal market in terms of growth.”

“We’re already superseding incumbents,” he said.

ShopBack claims some 300,000 registered users in Australia, where it said purchases through its platform have grown by 1,300 percent between May 2018 and March 2019. Of course, that’s growth from a tiny initial base and ShopBack didn’t provide raw figures on sales.

For its next expansion, ShopBack is looking closer to home with Vietnam its upcoming target. The country is already home to one of its three R&D centers — the other two are located in Singapore and Taiwan — and Chan said the startup is currently hiring for a general manager to head up the soon-to-launch Vietnam business.

Already, though, the company is beginning to think about reaching beyond Asia Pacific. Chan maintained that the company already has a proven playbook — particularly on the tech side — so it “can enter a Western market” if it chooses, but that isn’t likely to happen in the immediate future.

“We could [expand beyond Asia Pacific] but we have a fair bit on our plate, right now,” said Chan with a laugh.


Source: TechCrunch

First black hole image could change everything we know about the universe – CNET

This week we’ll see a direct image of one of the most powerful objects in existence, and it might shift our understanding of how the universe works.
Source: CNET

A powerful malware that tried to blow up a Saudi plant strikes again

A highly capable malware reportedly used in a failed plot to blow up a Saudi petrochemical plant has now been linked to a second compromised facility.

FireEye researchers say the unnamed “critical infrastructure” facility was the latest victim of the powerful Triton malware, the umbrella term for a series of malicious custom components used to launched directed attacks.

Triton, previously linked to the Russian government, is designed to burrow into a target’s networks and sabotage their industrial control systems, often used in power plants and oil refineries to control the operations of the facility. By compromising these controls, a successful attack can cause significant disruption — even destruction.

According to the security company’s latest findings out Wednesday, the hackers waited almost a year after their initial compromise of the facility’s network before they launched a deeper assault, taking the time to prioritize learning what the network looked like and how to pivot from one system to another. The hackers’ goal was to quietly gain access to the facility’s safety instrumented system, an autonomous monitor that ensures physical systems don’t operate outside of their normal operational state. These critical systems are strictly segmented from the rest of the network to prevent any damage in the event of a cyberattack.

But the hackers were able to gain access to the critical safety system, and focused on finding a way to effectively deploy Triton’s payloads to carry out their mission without causing the systems to enter into a safe fail-over state.

In the case of the August 2017 attack in which Triton was deployed, the Saudi facility would have been destroyed had it not been for a bug in the code.

“These attacks are also often carried out by nation states that may be interested in preparing for contingency operations rather than conducting an immediate attack,” said FireEye’s report. “During this time, the attacker must ensure continued access to the target environment or risk losing years of effort and potentially expensive custom [industrial control system] malware,” said the report. “This attack was no exception.”.

FireEye would not comment on the type of facility or its location — or even the year of the attack, but said it was likely to cause damage.

“We assess the group was attempting to build the capability to cause physical damage at the facility when they accidentally caused a process shutdown that let to the Mandiant investigation,” said Nathan Brubaker, senior manager, analysis at FireEye, in an email to TechCrunch describing the first incident, but wouldn’t comment on the motives of the second facility.

But the security firm warned that the attackers’ slow and steady approach — which involved moving slowly and precisely as to not trigger any alarms — showed they had a deep focus on not getting caught. That, they said, suggests there may be other targets beyond the second facility “where the [hackers] was or still is present.”

The security company published lists of hashes unique to the files found in the second facility’s attack in a hope that I.T. staff in other at-risk industries and facilities can check for any compromise.

“Not only can these [tactics, techniques and procedures] be used to find evidence of intrusions, but identification of activity that has strong overlaps with the actor’s favored techniques can lead to stronger assessments of actor association, further bolstering incident response efforts,” the company said.


Source: TechCrunch

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition first drive review: Its roots are showing – Roadshow

Nissan’s Pathfinder recaptures a bit of its predecessor’s outdoorsy persona at a smart price.
Source: CNET

A Peek Into the Toolkit of the Dangerous 'Triton' Hackers

Security firm FireEye is naming a collection of tools it says might help identify more of the digital saboteurs’ intrusions.
Source: Wired

Uber reportedly plans to sell $10 billion in stock in IPO next month – CNET

Ride-hailing startup’s stock could begin trading as early as May, sources tell Reuters.
Source: CNET

Woman calls 911 over home invader. It was a Roomba – CNET

Grime doesn’t pay.
Source: CNET

Mysterious Hackers Hid Their Swiss Army Spyware for 5 Years

The TajMahal spyware includes more than 80 distinct spy tools, and went undetected for five years.
Source: Wired

Scientists discover Cthulhu sea cucumber that terrorised oceans 430 million years ago – CNET

Behold the Great Old One, over there next to the seaweed.
Source: CNET

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