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Tag Archives: data

Data breach exposes trade secrets of carmakers GM, Ford, Tesla, Toyota

Security researcher UpGuard Cyber Risk disclosed Friday that sensitive documents from more than 100 manufacturing companies, including GM, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Tesla, Toyota, ThyssenKrupp, and VW were exposed on a publicly accessible server belonging to  Level One Robotics. The exposure via Level One Robotics, which provides industrial automation services, came through rsync, a common file transfer protocol that’s used to backup large data sets, according to UpGuard Cyber Risk. The data breach was first reported by the New York Times . According to the security researchers, restrictions weren’t placed on the rsync server. This means that any rsync client that connected to the rsync port had access to download this data. UpGuard Cyber Risk published its account of how it discovered the data breach to show how a company within a supply chain can affect large companies with seemingly tight security protocols. This means if someone knew where to look they could access trade secrets closely protected by automakers. It’s unclear if any nefarious actors actually got their hands on the data. At least one source at an affected automaker told TechCrunch it doesn’t not appear that sensitive or proprietary data was exposed. UpGuard’s big takeaway in all of this: rsync instances should be restricted by IP address. The researchers also suggest that user access to rsync be set up so that clients have to authenticate before receiving the dataset. Without these measures, rsync is publicly accessible, the researchers said

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Spotify’s new tool helps artists and labels reach its playlist editors

Spotify wants give artists and labels and easier way to submit their new music for playlist consideration. The streaming service this morning launched a feature, still in beta, that allows any artists with a Spotify for Artists account or labels using Spotify Analytics to share unreleased tracks directly with Spotify’s team of over 100 editors worldwide. The team is responsible for programming Spotify’s playlists – the lists on which a new track’s inclusion could become a make or break point for an emerging artist, and are a key part of album promotion. The company says that, today, more than 75,000 artists are featured on its editorial playlists every week, plus another 150,000 on its flagship playlist, Discover Weekly. However, it hasn’t always been clear how to reach the editorial team to suggest music. These days, artists and labels ask for intros to playlists editors, believing that getting to the right person will give them an edge in having their tracks selected for a playlist. The new submissions feature aims to change this process, while also driving artists and labels to use Spotify’s own software for managing profiles and tracking their stats on the service. Spotify also stresses that submissions should include other data, not just the song itself. It wants artists and labels to notate things like the genre, mood and other data, including things like the instruments used, whether it’s a cover, the culture the song belongs to, and more. This data will be examined in addition to data Spotify already knows about the artist – like what else their fans listen to, what other playlists their music appears on, and more. This information is used by editors who will search across the submissions to find new tracks to add to playlists, and the info will be taken into account as Spotify programs its recommendations as an added bonus. For example, if the submission is tagged and sent in seven days in advance, the selected song will automatically appear in every one of the artist’s followers’ Release Radar playlists, says Spotify. The company also took the time in its announcement this morning to clarify that no one can pay to be added to Spotify’s playlists – something that may seem to be an option, given the over-the-top Drake promotion on the service recently that had some customers demanding refunds for what felt like an advertisement. It gave the appearance of an artist throwing money at Spotify in exchange for playlist inclusion

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Hu-manity wants to create a health data marketplace with help from blockchain

Imagine a world where you could sell your medical information to a drug company on your terms for a specific purpose like a drug trial. Then imagine you could restrict the company from using that data for anything else, including selling it to other medical data brokers, and enforcing those ownership rules on the blockchain. That’s what Hu-manity.co , a data ownership startup wants to do and they are putting the pieces in place to create a data marketplace. This is not an easy problem to solve, but co-founder and CEO Richie Etwaru, sees it as a crucial cultural shift in how we treat data. Etwaru, who wrote a book on using the blockchain and smart contracts in a business context called Blockchain Trust Companies , sees the blockchain as just a small piece of a much broader solution. It can provide a rules engine and enforcement mechanism, but he doesn’t see this as the gist of the company at all. For Etwaru and Hu-manity it’s about viewing your data as your property, and giving you legal control of it. “We’re starting with the idea that your data is your digital property, and we are allowing you to have the equivalent of a title, like you have for your car,” he explained. You may be wondering how they can bring this notion to business, which after all has been allowed to use your data for some time without your explicit permission, never mind pay you for it under a set of specific contractual terms. To achieve that, Hu-manity wants to create large pools of users that would make it attractive to the data buyers. “We are pooling large communities together to be able to notify corporations that don’t respect digital data streams of property, because they take a very business centric view of regulations to opt out, then invite them back into a property centric view of data within the new terms and conditions defined by the marketplace,” he said. They are starting with health data because Etwaru says that this data is often sold for medical studies, whether you know it or not — albeit with PII removed. The other thing besides market pressure, which could drive companies like big pharma to make contracts with individuals to buy their data, is that they get much better data when they understand the whole patient.

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Topbox raises $5M for its customer experience analytics service

Topbox helps businesses understand how their customers experience their products and where they run into issues by analyzing voice and text chats to surveys, social media posts and online reviews. Today, the company announced it has raised a $5 million funding round led by Telescope Partners, with participation from Cascade Angels, Flyover Capital and the Maryland Venture Fund. Topbox CEO Chris Tranquill told me he first experienced the problem he’s trying to solve when he was running call centers with thousands of agents. All of the companies that contracted his services faced the same problem: understanding the friction points their customers were experiencing. “We always had this vision that being able to really understand those friction points with deep context — that’s what the key is — but really getting to that granular level of detail so that you can have that context to support a decision,” Tranquill said. Say you want to understand what issues customers are having with a new shoe. Ideally, Topbox will aggregate all of the data across all channels about that shoe and help the company understand who the wearers are and what issues they are experiencing. Theoretically, companies could do this on their own, but all of this data exists in various silos and combining those disparate data sets is a major challenge. Topbox uses its technology to ingest this data (and it’s pretty agnostic about where it comes from) and then runs it through its classification models. Indeed, as Tranquill told me, it’s this model that’s the secret sauce behind the company’s ability to classify data. It’s not just about getting a high-level overview of your customer’s reactions, though. Tranquill stressed that users can go deeper. “The big thing for us is granularity,” he told me.

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Waze will provide its traffic data to US cities

Waze's real-time, crowdsourced info will soon do a lot more than help you avoid traffic jams. The Google-owned company is widening a partnership with Esri to provide its live alerts for free to American cities and municipalities that are part of its...

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