Mobileye jumps on deal with carmakers for driverless data

Mobileye jumps on deal with carmakers for driverless data

Mobileye feat. PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Mobileye NV, the Jerusalem-based maker of chips and software for driverless cars, jumped the most in six months after announcing a strategic partnership with HERE, the mapping consortium forged by German automakers.

Shares of Mobileye rose 9.8 percent to $38.44 in New York, the most since June 30. The stock is still down 9.1 percent this year.

Automakers and technology companies are rushing to form partnerships to compete in self-driving technology with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which has already clocked 2 million miles of public road tests. BMW AG, Audi AG and Daimler AG agreed to buy Nokia Oyj’s digital-map unit in August 2015 to gain technology for connected cars. Under the strategic partnership announced Thursday, Mobileye’s technology, which uses sensors and data analysis to localize a car’s position on the road in real time, will be integrated into HERE’s navigational-mapping technology, the companies said in a statement.

“This validates our view that ‘map companies’ are partners/customers of Mobileye, not competitors,” David Leiker, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee, said in a research note. The announcement reinforces Mobileye’s “substantial and expanding moat in autonomous driving.”

While Mobileye is a favorite on Wall Street — 18 out 23 analysts covering the the stock rate it a buy — the shares have tumbled this year amid concern the company will face tougher competition. Mobileye has 65 percent of the market for advanced driver-assistance systems, according to Baird. A public spat with Tesla Motors Inc. earlier this year and attacks from short-seller Citron Research have also weighed on the shares.

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Microsoft, MainOne move to improve SMEs productivity

Microsoft, MainOne move to improve SMEs productivity

MainOne and Microsoft have launched a new product offering, SME-in-a-Box Pro, targeted at enabling small and medium enterprises in Nigeria enhance their productivity.

This new solution, SME-in-a-Box Pro offers SMEs business productivity tools from Microsoft such as Office 365 and Exchange Online, along with reliable broadband communications from MainOne.

The offering will enable SMEs to stay productive and connected anywhere, anytime, from any device and on any operating system.

The connectivity solution allows SMEs to take advantage of MainOne’s fast and reliable SME-IN-A-BOX broadband service or other Internet service provider connections to drive their business growth and efficiency.

In recognition of the fact that most Nigerian SMEs are yet to get an online presence, the companies introduced Gigalayer as their partner to provide domain name registration services for Nigerian websites, which will empower SMEs to build a branded website and gain access to new markets.

Speaking during the media launch of the product, ‎Director, Small, Mid-market Solutions & Partners Group, Microsoft Nigeria, Oluwawemimo Adeniyi, highlighted the great impact of the new offering on SMEs in terms of efficiency, cost savings and flexibility.

According to her, Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
She said: “For SMEs, this means ensuring that business owners and employees have access to the technologies and solutions they didn’t previously have access to, in order to enable them compete, grow and succeed. Microsoft in collaboration with MainOne wants to enable SMEs with expertise that frees them to spend their energy on their businesses instead of on technology.”

The Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke, said the partnership with Microsoft is great steps towards helping small businesses in Nigeria enhance their productivity and Internet presence.
She highlighted the impact of the new solution on such businesses in terms of growth and job creation.

Opeke said: “the SME-in-a-Box Pro is a welcome product for small businesses which require tools that enable their ability to scale up. There are many challenges for small businesses especially in this period of recession. The offering enables SMEs subscribe to these products directly with support from MainOne in Nigeria and to pay for the services in Naira.”

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Sprint to create 5,000 US jobs, pledges to work with Trump

Telecom firm Sprint said it will create 5,000 US jobs over the next 15 months, and pledged Wednesday to work with President-elect Donald Trump to boost the US economy.

Trump first made the announcement at his luxury Florida resort Mar-a-Lago, telling reporters that Sprint called him with the news.

“We just had some very good news,” he said. “Because of what is happening and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States. They have taken them from other countries.”

Sprint, owned mostly by Japan’s SoftBank, which already has announced a commitment to major US investments, released its statement nearly an hour later, clarifying that not all the jobs would come from overseas.

Sprint announced a “commitment to create or bring back to America 5,000 jobs,” although it has no specific plans yet. The company expects to fulfill its commitment by the end of its 2017 fiscal year, which ends in March 2018.

“We are excited to work with President-elect Trump and his administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs in the US,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement.

“We believe it is critical for business and government to partner together to create more job opportunities in the US and ensure prosperity for all Americans.”

The Sprint announcement gave Trump another chance to claim credit for job creation, and he referenced the December 19 announcement by satellite broadband firm OneWeb for 3,000 jobs over the next four years.

Those jobs are as a result of a $1.2 billion investment from SoftBank, whose chief executive Masayoshi Son met Trump earlier this month and pledged to invest $50 billion in the US economy and create 50,000 jobs.

In 2013, SoftBank paid $22 billion for 80 percent of Sprint.

“That’s a new company. And it was done through Masa. A terrific guy,” Trump said. “We appreciate it.”

Sprint said it will “begin discussions immediately with its business partners, states and cities to determine the right locations in the US to create these jobs.”

Sprint, which announced 2,500 layoffs in January, mostly in customer care, said it expects the new jobs “will support a variety of functions across the organization, including its customer care and sales teams.”

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CyberLogic to expand, take new services to market

CyberLogic to expand, take new services to market

Cape Town-based IT services firm CyberLogic is set to refresh its brand, expand its footprint and take new services to market in 2017, following its successful acquisition of Stellenbosch-based IT services firm Space Age Technologies last year.

CyberLogic’s acquisition of Space Age Technologies in 2015 united the two leading SME-focussed IT services firms in the Western Cape, to create a new IT powerhouse for small and mid-market clients. The move positioned the group to meet growing demand for managed services from a rapidly-expanding Western Cape business sector.

Until now, the group has focussed on standardising processes and services offerings across the two companies, as CyberLogic founder and chief executive Edge Bisset explains: “Prior to the acquisition of Space Age Technologies we saw them as our primary competitor in the local market. They pioneered the managed services industry in South Africa and were ahead of their time in many respects. The acquisition gave us the opportunity to peek under the hood of a world-class managed services operation and to learn from their 20-plus years of experience.”

“Of course, with any acquisition one hopes to unlock synergies but we were blown away by how well the strengths of the two companies dovetailed. The deep skills of the Space Age team, their robust processes and of course their technology stack were outstanding and naturally, we wanted to preserve as much of that IP as possible and to improve upon both operations. Over the last year we have been comparing the two companies and standardising on the best aspects of each. The results have been outstanding and we are extremely excited to bring the benefits of the combined group to our client base.”

The group is now preparing to bring Space Age Technologies under the CyberLogic brand, giving clients a uniform service experience, along with access to a broader skills base and enhanced service portfolio. Space Age Technologies will officially adopt the CyberLogic brand name from the 1st of January 2017, with the CyberLogic brand undergoing a refresh at the same time.

CyberLogic also plans to launch service innovations, particularly in the cloud space, during the course of the year. “The combination of cloud and managed services presents powerful opportunities for companies to become more agile, to address new markets and to improve their efficiencies, all while managing their technology spend. Many of our clients have already enjoyed these benefits over the last few years and this is the way we see the market moving in future. Over the coming year we will leverage our core competencies around managed services and cloud to make advanced new services available to our clients,” Bisset says.

While the company already supports major clients with multi-site environments across South Arica and the world from its base in the Western Cape, CyberLogic aims to expand its on-the-ground representation to Gauteng, to enhance service delivery. “This is in line with our key focus on excellence in service delivery and customer experience,” he says.

Staff Writer

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OSCE victim of 'major' cyber attack

OSCE victim of 'major' cyber attack

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, an international election and war monitor, said Wednesday it had become the latest global institution to suffer a “major” cyber attack.

The Vienna-based OSCE has its origins in the Cold War but after 1991 it expanded and now has 57 member states including the United States, Russia and Ukraine.

It currently has 700 monitors focused on the conflict in eastern Ukraine and is also active in observing elections and tracking media freedom.

OSCE spokeswoman Mersiha Causevic Podzic told AFP in an email that it “became aware of a major information security incident” in early November.

The attack “compromised the confidentiality” of the organisation’s IT network and put “its integrity at risk”, although it was still able to operate, she said.

According to French daily Le Monde, which first reported the incident, a Western intelligence agency believes that Russian hackers group APT28 was behind the attack.

This group, also known as Pawn Storm, Sofacy and Fancy Bears, is believed to be behind other high-profile cyber attacks and to be linked to Russia’s security services.

The OSCE said “the way in which the attacker accessed the OSCE was identified, as have some of the external communication destinations”.

France’s ambassador to the OSCE played down the dangers from the attack, saying officials in Vienna — long seen as a hotbed of espionage — are trained to be aware to the risks.

“Diplomats at the OSCE are warned that attempted spying, in whatever form, are part and parcel of this organisation,” Veronique Roger-Lacan told AFP.

– The cyber frontier –

But cyber attacks by criminals and governments are on the rise, with states and firms spending billions of dollars to defend and arm themselves.

The issue has become contentious between the United States and Russia, with the latter alleged to have hacked party computers and leaked documents during the US election campaign.

The White House has said Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved and President Barack Obama has vowed Washington will retaliate “at a time and place of our own choosing”.

The Kremlin has rejected the accusations, demanding America presents proof. US President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed the claims as “ridiculous”.

In Europe, with Germany holding elections late next year, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other top officials have warned that the country could be the target of Russian cyber attacks.

France announced its first cyber-warfare army unit this month, mirroring plans drawn up by Britain, which launched a cyber-defence plan backed by 2.1 billion euros ($2.2 billion) of funding.

It is not just Russia that is seen as a threat in the West.

North Korea has already proved it is a player with a damaging attack on South Korean banks and broadcasters in 2013. The US also blamed Pyongyang for an audacious hack on Sony Pictures the following year.

Russia too has been a victim. Earlier this month its telecom operator said that it had blocked a series of cyber attacks on the country’s leading banks.

And in the Middle East, the United States and Israel are thought to have been behind the Stuxnet worm that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in 2010.

Firms in the West have also been targeted. In Germany, almost a million Deutsche Telekom customers were knocked offline in late November after the firm was hit by hackers.

In September US internet giant Yahoo revealed that it had been the victim of one of biggest thefts of online users’ personal information ever, affecting some 500 million accounts.

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Yahoo’s data breaches unlikely to derail Verizon deal

Yahoo’s data breaches unlikely to derail Verizon deal

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 23, 2014 shows a sign in front of the Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale.
Yahoo said September 22, 2016 a massive attack on its network in 2014 accessed data from at least 500 million users and may have been “state sponsored.” “Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen,” a statement from the US Internet giant. / AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JUSTIN SULLIVAN

The second major hack of Yahoo! Inc. user accounts is unlikely to derail Verizon Communications Inc.’s $4.83 billion acquisition of the tech giant, with investors and the public becoming inured to near-daily disclosures of cyberattacks.

Hundreds of U.S. companies fall prey to hackers every year and, in many cases, the data breaches neither hurt bottom lines nor scare away customers for too long. After initial anxieties ease, everyone generally moves on. Experts say the same holds true for Yahoo and Verizon.

“I tend to not feel like these hacks are that big of a deal in the broader scheme of things,” said Michael Mahoney, senior managing director at Falcon Point Capital, which invests in wireless companies. “Obviously they can be damaging. But it doesn’t take too long before people forget about it.”

In the U.S. especially, data breaches continue to mount. Within the past few years, hackers have infiltrated Sony Corp., Target Corp., Home Depot Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., auction site EBay Inc. and health insurer Anthem Inc. Almost 1,000 data breaches, including Yahoo’s, occurred in the U.S. just this year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. And in all, more than 35 million critical personal records, including social security and passport numbers and medical and banking data, were exposed in 2016.

But Yahoo’s is one of the largest-scale data breaches reported to date. The Sunnyvale, California-based company said that cyber-thieves in 2013 siphoned information from more than 1 billion Yahoo accounts, including users’ e-mail addresses, scrambled account passwords and dates of birth, data that allow criminals to go after more sensitive personal information elsewhere online. It was the second disclosure of a major data breach since Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo. In September, the tech company revealed that more than 500 million users’ data had been hacked in a separate, state-sponsored attack in 2014.

“There are many breaches with many entities that have these types of breaches occurring,” said Eva Casey Velasquez, chief executive officer of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Since Target’s data breach in 2013, public sentiment has shifted, Velasquez said. “People know what a data breach is. But because it did become so ubiquitous in our conversation, there’s a little bit of apathy.”

And not all breaches are created equal, said Emily Mossburg, a principal at cyber-risk services practice at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Stolen names and account information don’t necessarily have a “broader impact.”

Manageable Costs
Costs of data breaches have been substantial but not devastating. Target and Home Depot estimated that their data breaches resulted in about $200 million each in expenses not covered by insurance. Those are minimal amounts for big companies their size.

And depending on the type of hack and the data stolen, Yahoo’s legal liability may be negligible. Benjamin Dean, president of Iconoclast Tech, a data-security consultant, said Yahoo is unlikely to incur large losses as a result of recent class-action lawsuits.

“The track record for successful class actions relating to stolen non-payment card data isn’t good,” Dean said. “Those bringing the class action typically have to show material damage due to the data lost in a breach — and this has proven difficult to show or prove.”

Still, Yahoo’s costs may be higher simply because of the magnitude of the breach, and may even lead to a loss of users or advertisers. Larry Ponemon, founder of the Ponemon Institute, a think-tank focused on data security, believes Yahoo’s costs — plus opportunities lost — could be $2 to $3 per customer record, and shave $1 billion from the price Verizon pays.

“The timing couldn’t be worse for Yahoo,” he said.

Price Cut
Verizon may be able to negotiate Yahoo’s purchase price down by 5 percent to 10 percent, said Mahoney of Falcon Point, who doesn’t hold shares of either company. Yahoo’s shares are down 5.5 percent since the close Dec. 14, when the company announced the second breach.

Verizon has been buying internet and media companies to drive growth beyond its maturing wireless business by selling advertising. The company purchased Yahoo in part for traffic to its websites like Yahoo Finance, and that traffic is unlikely to decline because of the breach. According to Alexa Internet, which tracks web viewing, Yahoo fell to the No. 6 most-popular property globally in early December, before the magnitude of the latest breach was revealed, and has held its rank since then. If Yahoo’s numbers remain steady, Verizon should still buy the company, according Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics LLC.

“Yahoo has a brand that’s pretty good in the marketplace,” added Mahoney, of Falcon Point Capital. Verizon “will certainly” use the breach as leverage to try to reduce the deal’s price, “but I doubt that it changes the strategic rationale for why they want to buy Yahoo,” he said.

Yahoo said it’s confident in the company’s value and continues to work toward integration with Verizon. Jim Gerace, a spokesman for Verizon, said the company will continue to evaluate the situation before making any final decisions.

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Facebook acquires eye tribe for Oculus eye-tracking software

Facebook acquires eye tribe for Oculus eye-tracking software

Facebook Inc.’s Oculus has acquired The Eye Tribe, a company that tracks eye movement in virtual reality to improve the experience.

Oculus confirmed the acquisition of the Copenhagen-based startup, without stating a price. The acquisition was reported earlier Wednesday by TechCrunch.

Eye Tribe is the latest in a series of tech acquisitions this year for Oculus. Facebook is especially interested in eye tracking because the company wants to take the lead in social interactions in VR. The ability to follow eye movement makes it easier to understand people’s expressions and let them communicate effectively with each other in a virtual world.

For example, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is interested in helping people watch basketball games together, have board meetings, travel to foreign countries and take selfies in virtual reality.

Facebook isn’t alone in focusing on the importance of eye tracking to VR. Alphabet Inc.’s Google acquired Eyefluence, another startup working on eye-tracking technology, in October. The search giant is investing in virtual reality as it aims to integrate its media services, like YouTube and its app store, into the nascent technology.

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Toshiba falls after rating cuts as nuclear unit faces writedown

Toshiba falls after rating cuts as nuclear unit faces writedown

Toshiba Corp. extended declines after the company’s credit rating was cut following an announcement that it may have to write down the value of an acquisition made by U.S. unit Westinghouse Electric by billions of dollars.

The shares fell as much as 18 percent to 260 yen in Tokyo. The stock plunged by the most on record Wednesday after Toshiba issued a statement Tuesday saying that while the final writedown was yet to be determined, it would affect earnings.

The loss is related to a dispute over the value of a nuclear construction unit acquired by Westinghouse that was geared toward completing the newest generation of reactors at two U.S. facilities, which are behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Moody’s Investors Service, Rating and Investment Information Inc. and S&P Global Ratings cut Toshiba’s credit rating.

Toshiba didn’t elaborate further in Tuesday’s statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, other than to say that the writedown would exceed an initially anticipated amount of $87 million, and would probably be in the billions. The increase in charges is related to project costs incurred by CB&I Stone & Webster, a nuclear construction and services company that was acquired by Westinghouse in January.

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Kaspersky Lab and Tresorit partner for secure devices and cloud storage

Kaspersky Lab and Tresorit partner for secure devices and cloud storage

Tresorit is an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage, which offers a secure alternative to mainstream file sync services. (image: bluecoat.com)

Given the cybercrime realities that mobile and Internet users are faced with, it has now become essential for consumers to pay attention to the protection of their mobile devices. However, with the added focus being placed in the cloud, where many consumers use it to increasingly store personal and/or professional data on remote servers, in an aim to safeguard data, it is also essential to ensure the use of secure cloud storage.

To assist users in safeguarding their ‘stored’ information in the cloud, Kaspersky Lab and Tresorit are running a special offer.

Anyone who purchases or renews the recently launched Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device 2017 protection product, or the Kaspersky Total Security – multi–device protection product, will receive 100GB of secure online cloud storage, for free from Tresorit. For online purchases, this promotion will run until the 18th January 2017. The promotion, on retail store box products, on the shelves, will run for December 2016.

Says Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Africa; “Securing your data from digital threats, means more than just investing in proper virus protection for devices. And given that cloud storage is becoming a popular means to store photos, emails, music etc., one of the most critically important items users should focus on is cloud antivirus protection or using a secure cloud storage platform. This promotion will not only provide customers with world-class protection for their devices, but give them added cloud storage protection, through our partnership with Tresorit.”

Tresorit is an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage, which offers a secure alternative to mainstream file sync services. “Antivirus protection is essential for securing the devices themselves, while for files stored and shared in the cloud, end-to-end encryption can provide the best protection from surveillance or hackers”, says Istvan Lam, co-founder and CEO at Tresorit.

Staff Writer

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Taking charge

Taking charge

Femi Taiwo, CTO, INITS Limited

Alexander III of Macedon (Alexander The Great) was only 20 years old when he became emperor. At age 30, he had created one of the largest empires in history and most of the standardisation of infrastructure in the world to this day was as a result of his conquests. My father reminded me of this when I turned 30, and before he died, when I turned 40, he always kept telling me that Barrack Obama became President of the USA when he was 48. My father always kept me grounded, and Alexander was one of the reasons why I started a technology business in my early 20s. He was a great inspiration.

In Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon became Head of State when he was only 32 years old. My uncles were in their 30s when they took over one of the largest banks in the country. Young people taking charge is not new to us. In fact, our civil war started indirectly as a result of soldiers also barely in their 30s who decided to take charge in the 1966 coup.
Taking charge of elections

Femi Taiwo is a young Nigerian in technology who also takes charge of things. His company INITS built the software that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) uses to run Nigerian elections. Femi offered this software free of charge to INEC at a time when people were making billions of Naira from other government contracts. He decided to do it because it is second nature for him to solve problems.
Femi was lucky that INEC had another visionary young person who was in charge of technology at that time. He gave INITS a chance to prove themselves. I am sure that after two successful election cycles now, INITS is ready to scale the software to other African countries.

When we keep saying that the future of Nigeria belongs to the younger people, it is the younger people in technology who believe in getting things done without making excuses or waiting for permission that would probably make the greatest difference. Gbenga Sesan and Sheriff Shittu are other great examples of such people.
Taking charge of talent

Sheriff Shittu is a developer, product manager and serial entrepreneur who had one of the most spectacular entrepreneurship failure stories this year. He was not ashamed to tell the world that he had failed and why he failed. He, however, bounced back from that setback to start the unlikeliest of ventures named “Switch.” As the name implies, Switch helps people to move from other careers to technology. He has already trained and placed his first cohort.

Sheriff decided to do this when he discovered that there was a talent gap. Everyone was looking for developers to build software locally, but nobody was training them or would give people coming in from outside technology a chance. There are a lot of individuals who are underemployed or unhappy in their careers while there are a lot of companies looking for talent but cannot afford to train them. Switch bridges this gap with training and placement. Sheriff simply took charge of the situation.

Taking charge of technology policy and regulation
Gbenga Sesan is a legend in the Nigerian technology space, and he has been one of the greatest forces shying away from publicity while getting things done. He has taken on the biggest problems facing technology in Nigeria singlehandedly and keeps fighting to make a difference for the good of all without seeking any personal reward for himself. He is the founder of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria a social impact venture that has done things too numerous to mention. He has mentored and trained more students still in university with the TENT series and went to the slums of Ajegunle to set up a technology training centre.

Once you have a problem and tell Gbenga, he takes it up as his personal battle and does not rest until the problem is solved. He is currently fighting the government on Internet freedom and digital rights. He has personally taken on the National Assembly on the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill. His work on technology policy has support from all the major players globally. Gbenga did not need permission from anyone to take charge and solve these problems.

Taking charge of our future
With people like Femi, Sheriff, Gbenga and others taking on the public sector, talent discovery, policy and regulation we can beat our chests in the technology industry that we are contributing our share to the development of the country without asking for rewards. Progress for all is enough reward. I believe that more self-motivated and mission-driven people like them are still coming and I see a future where more people take charge.

We were discussing the next national census on Twitter recently and asked why the INEC database powered by Femi’s software could not become the basis for an early effort to help government and the private sector tackle the problem of getting accurate demographic data for planning purposes? There are a lot of databases lying around that could be interfaced and aggregated to give a clearer picture of our numbers. We don’t have to wait for a crisis before building something similar to Ushahidi in Kenya. There were many volunteers on the day we had the conversation, and the project is currently undergoing preliminary discussions.

Nigerian technology people are taking charge as individuals. 2017 may be the year we will see them collectively take charge of things as a group, to solve our most pressing problems. The seeds have now been sown. It does not have to be about making a billion dollars. Solving the problems of a 170 million people helps to create the kind of Nigeria where we would all love to live.

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