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Tag Archives: europe

Bank says Ticketmaster knew of breach months before taking action

Ticketmaster UK announced on its site yesterday that it identified malicious malware on June 23rd that had affected nearly five percent of their customers, allowing an unknown third-party access to customers’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, payment details and login information between February 2017 and June 23rd, 2018. The company says the breach can be traced back to an AI chat bot it uses to help answer customers’ questions when a live staff member is unavailable. The software’s designer, Inbenta, confirmed that the malware had taken advantage of one piece of JavaScript  that was written specially for Ticketmaster’s use of the chat bot. However, both companies have confirmed that as of June 26th the vulnerability has been resolved. In its statement, Ticketmaster told customers that affected accounts had been contacted and were offered a free 12-month identity monitoring service as a consolation as soon as the company became aware of the breach. But, according to U.K. digital bank Monzo , Ticketmaster was informed of the breach in April. In a statement released by its Financial Crime team today, Monzo describes the events from its perspective. On April 6th, the bank began to notice a pattern of fraudulent transactions on cards that had been previously used at Ticketmaster. Out of 50 fraud reports the bank received that day, 70 percent of cards had made transactions on Ticketmaster in the last several months. “This seemed unusual, as overall only 0.8% of all our customers had used Ticketmaster,” said Natasha Vernier , head of Financial Crime at Monzo, in the statement. On April 12th, Monzo says it expressed its concerns directly to Ticketmaster and that the company said it would “investigate internally.” In the week to follow, Monzo received several more Ticketmaster-related fraud alerts and made the decision to replace roughly 6,000 compromised cards over the course of April 19th and 20th, without mentioning Ticketmaster. During that same period, Ticketmaster told Monzo that its completed internal investigation had shown no evidence of a breach. This puts Ticketmaster in an awkward position, because under the 2018 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), companies are required to report information of a breach within 72 hours

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PayPal introduces smart payment buttons that detect relevant payment methods for customers based on location and more, rolling out gradually starting…

Sarah Perez / TechCrunch : PayPal introduces smart payment buttons that detect relevant payment methods for customers based on location and more, rolling out gradually starting in Europe   —  PayPal today is introducing new checkout technology for e-commerce sites that will dynamically present the most relevant payment method for each customer.

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AT&T confirms it is buying ad platform AppNexus, reportedly for between $1.6B-$2B

Another legacy carrier built on offering phone services is now taking a deeper dive into the world of advertising and specifically ad tech to help catapult itself into the next generation of tech and communications. Today, AT&T confirmed that it is buying AppNexus, a programmatic advertising marketplace that competes against the likes of Google and Facebook and describes itself as the world’s largest independent digital ad exchange. Today’s release did not reveal any financial terms, except to note that the deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. An AT&T spokesperson has told TechCrunch that AT&T is not commenting on the terms of the deal. The news caps off a week of speculation after it was reported last week that AT&T was eyeing up the company for about $1.6 billion, and it comes just weeks after AT&T closed its deal to buy TimeWarner for nearly $85 billion. AppNexus reportedly confidentially filed for an IPO in November 2016 , valuing the company at between $1.5 billion and $2 billion although that deal appeared never to materialise. AppNexus had raised about $344 million from a range of investors including News Corp., WPP, Fidelity, TCV, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Khosla, and many more. AppNexus says that some 34,000 publishers and 177,000 brands use its marketplace today to connect ads with ad placements and audiences to see them. The company is also an ad tech play, providing a range of tools to measure engagement and optimise performance of ads. AT&T said that it plans to put AppNexus under its existing advertising and analytics division. As with Verizon and other carriers, AT&T has been working on ways of expanding its advertising business on top of its existing mobile network and broadband access operations, and now its extensive content operations. Carriers like AT&T are between a rock and a hard place these days. On one side, their broadband and mobile (and, to an increasingly lesser extent, fixed voice) networks have become increasingly commoditised over the years. On the other side, they are being squeezed by companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and a plethora of media and other tech companies. These companies dominate in content and “owning” consumers as subscribers, app users and smartphone brands, leaving little room for carrier to do much. Buying TimeWarner will have given AT&T a seat at the table when it comes to video and other entertainment, and now it is adding more technology to help monetise that content. Advertising — and ad tech — represent opportunities for carriers like AT&T to grow their revenues around the data that they already have about their connectivity customers — which in AT&T’s case exceeds 170 million “direct-to-consumer relationships across its wireless, video and broadband businesses.” Notably, AppNexus is “independent” of any of that range of media and tech titans

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Uber is in court to appeal London license loss by claiming it’s changed

Uber is in court in the UK today to try to overturn a decision by London’s transport regulator last fall to withdraw its license to operate in the city — where it claims to have some 3.5 million regular users. Its appeal is being heard in Westminster Magistrates Court from today, with the hearing expected to last for several days. The company can continue to operate its service in London while it appeals the decision. Transport for London (TfL) sent shockwaves through the ride-hailing giant last September when it rejected Uber’s application to renew its license on the grounds the company is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence” — a long history of rule-defying behavior finally catching up with the company. TfL criticized the company’s approach and conduct, saying it demonstrated “a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications” — including how it reported serious criminal offenses, and explanations it gave for its use of proprietary software (called Greyball) which it had developed internally to try to prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties. Notably, the court will be deciding whether Uber is fit and proper to hold an operator license at the time of the appeal hearing — rather than determining whether TfL made the right call to refuse a renewal last year. So operational changes Uber has made since then will be taken into consideration. In its favored media mouthpiece — the London Evening Standard newspaper, whose editor, George Osborne, consults for major Uber investor, BlackRock — Uber’s UK general manager Tom Elvidge has been given space for a lengthy op-ed where he admits the company “got things wrong along the way” before setting out the case for Uber having turned over a new leaf. “Over the past year we’ve been working hard to put right past mistakes as we’ve gone through a much-needed period of reflection and change,” he writes. “Our new global CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is establishing a new culture and direction for the company from the top, while in the UK we’ve brought in three experienced independent directors to help us stay on the right track. If there are times when we fall short, we are committed to being open, taking responsibility for the problem, and fixing it.” Talking to Politico last month, Khosrowshahi — the Uber outsider tasked last  summer  with cleaning up its problematic legacy under founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick — said technology companies need to take greater responsibility or prepare to have responsibility imposed upon them by more regulation. “We’re open to doing business with cities in the way in which cities want to do business,” he told the publication. “We’re not going to be absolutist in our approach, we will adjust on a local basis.” “This was a company that had a very particular culture that worked for it during the unbelievable growth years, during the startup phase.

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Konsus looks to give companies a way to get specially designed documents in under a day

Fredrik Thomassen as a consultant used to have the resources to offload the annoying project tasks — like making PowerPoint presentations — but now that it’s gone, he and his team wanted to make that available for everyone. Now the startup, called Konsus, wants to turn that around even faster. Konsus is a design marketplace where companies can quickly post design projects that they need for various parts of their jobs, like presentations, and designers can pick up those jobs and submit their work back — a task that could take up a lot of unnecessary time for an employee that might be better spent working on other parts of their job. Konsus said it is compressing that even further by now looking to provide a 12-hour turnaround for those companies. The company launched out of Y Combinator in 2016. “Employees want to be valuable and spend time on core tasks,” Thomassen said. “The average knowledge worker, depending on various specifics, spends around 40 percent of that time on non-core tasks that should be outsourced. That’s the 40 percent we’re going after, and people quite readily understand it. Some companies have in-house design agencies and so on, and they are 3 or 4 times as expensive as we are, and they typically want to work on these larger or more grand projects and don’t want to work on the small projects that range from 10 hours to 15 hours. Most of the projects we do are these small, nominal projects that people would have had to do themselves.” Konsus hires account managers and project managers handling the relationships with the customers to ensure that they’re getting the quality they need when they are posting projects like PowerPoint presentations onto the site. But Thomassen also said there are plenty of examples of those firms finding designers and contractors that they’ve decided to bring on full-time, and he’s fine with the startup being seen as a springboard for contractors that want to polish their skills for working with western clients — and even end up with a full-time job after that. A lot of the designers are coming in from eastern Europe, southeast Asia and other parts of the world that aren’t necessarily on the radar of these western firms. Like many other modern services and marketplaces, Konsus hopes to come in at the bottom of a company and work its way up

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Lime scooters are live in Paris

Lime is the hot new thing in San Francisco, but will it work in other countries? The company just launched its electric scooter service in Paris. This isn’t the first European city as Lime is also operating in Berlin, Bremen, Frankfurt and Zurich. But it’s a significant launch as alternative mobility solutions have all been trying to grab some market share in Paris. Yesterday, you could see 200 scooters in the South East of Paris ready to be deployed. Lime plans to expand its fleet over time. Every day, the company will collect all the scooters at 9 PM to recharge them and put them back on the streets at 5 AM. Between October and January, four bike-sharing services launched in Paris — GoBee Bike, Obike, Ofo and Mobike. GoBee Bike has left the market since then because it was underfunded and suffering from too much competition. But Mobike and Ofo seem to be doing really well, especially if you compare it to the docked bikes — Vélib is more or less broken right now. Vélib started in 2007, years before cities like New York and London adopted a bike-sharing system.

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Labstep wants to fix the way science experiments are recorded and reproduced

Labstep , an app and online platform to help scientists record and reproduce experiments, has raised £1 million in new funding, including from existing investors. The company, whose team has a background in commercial R&D and academic research, including at Oxford University, is backed by Seedcamp and says it plans to use the new capital to double its team to 12, and for further product development. This will include the launch of a marketplace for lab supplies, and is one of the ways Labstep plans to generate revenue. The startup will also add features to its app that streamline how scientists outsource elements of their research. First conceived of in late 2013 and soft launched in 2015, Labstep has set out to digitise the lab experiment tracking and sharing process, and in turn give scientific research a major leg up. As explained by CEO and co-founder Jake Schofield, science experiments are often recorded in an archaic way, relying on a mixture of pen and paper or entering resulting data into legacy software. Not only is this cumbersome but it also means that experiments are prone to mistakes and can be especially hard to replicate and therefore validate, either by a team working together internally or when sharing and cross-checking with the wider scientific and research community. Enter: Labstep. The platform and app enables scientists to build libraries of experimental procedures — a bit like recipes — and then easily record progress when following a procedure in the lab, including building a timeline of the experiment. Procedures can also be shared with teams or more broadly, as well as deviated from in a transparent way. In fact, Schofield says one way to think about Labstep is as a ‘Github for lab experiments’. Procedures can be made public or private and can be optionally forked.

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Announcing the agenda for The Europas Unconference, July 3, London

There are only 10 more days until The Europas where the winners of this year’s startup awards will be announced at our gala dinner, in association with TechCrunch! The Europas half-day “Unconference” will have a fantastic lineup of panels taking place in the afternoon before the awards. This year, we’ve done away with mainstage lectures, and we’ve created a series of more tightly focused discussion panels that give you a front-row seat to the biggest investors, founders and thought leaders in tech. No more seeing a huge investor or founder on stage and not even getting to talk to them! Our goal at The Europas is to break down the barriers between speakers and audience and to get the discussion going! This year our panels are focused around three themes: Tech + Society; Start Up Central, and The Crypto Zone. You can see the complete agenda here along with the panel speakers. In Tech + Society, we’ll be debating and discussing: — What happens to the tech community post Brexit? — The Disinfoconomy panel will dive into what’s next after Facebook’s data debacle for both companies, essentially trading in personal data and for user privacy. — Mapping the Future of Transportation and Cities: a startup that’s just emerging from stealth mode will talk about how AVs can co-exist in today’s cities. In the Startup Central, our zone dedicated to startup life, we’ll be covering everything from seed funding to Series B and beyond. Expect to meet many investors here, as many of them will be heading up the discussion (as well as attending the awards dinner), including investors from Accel, Passion Capital, Connect Ventures, LocalGlobe, Seedcamp and many more. We’ll also be diving into startup life itself, asking if a work life balance can ever exist, and what exactly is “cultural fit”? And our most popular panel is back – Meet the Press – where you can ask top tech reporters what about exactly “makes” a tech startup story

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Google StreetView cars to help map pollution in London

From next month two Google StreetView cars will be driving around London’s streets fitted with sensors that take air quality readings every 30 meters to map and monitor air quality in the UK capital. There will also be 100 fixed sensors fitted to lampposts and buildings in pollution blackspots and sensitive locations in the city — creating a new  air  quality monitoring network that Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, is billing as “the most sophisticated in the world”. The goal with the year-long project is to generate hyperlocal data to help feed policy responses. Khan has made tackling air pollution one of his priorities. It’s not the first time StreetView cars have been used as a vehicle for pollution monitoring. Three years ago sensors made by San Francisco startup Aclima were fitted to the cars to map air quality in the Bay Area. The London project is using sensors made by UK company  Air  Monitors . The air quality monitoring project is a partnership between the Greater London Authority and C40 Cities  network — a coalition of major cities around the world which is focused on tackling climate change and increasing health and well-being. The project is being led by the charity Environmental Defense Fund Europe, in partnership with  Air  Monitors, Google Earth Outreach, Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants, University of Cambridge, National Physical Laboratory, and the Environmental Defense Fund team in the United States. King’s College London will also be undertaking a linked study focused on schools. Results will be shared with members of the C40 Cities network — with the ambition of developing policy responses that help improve  air  quality for hundreds of millions of city dwellers around the world.

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Uber drivers made more than $600 million in tips in one year

Since finally launching in-app tipping for drivers last year , Uber has facilitated more than $600 million worth of payments in tips to its drivers. In August, Uber hit $50 million in tips . Since introducing mid-trip ratings and tips in May , there has been a 30 percent increase in tipping, Uber product manager Dhruv Tyagi wrote in a blog post. In April, Lyft announced drivers hit $500 million in tips since its launch , with tip averages increasing by nearly 8 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Lyft, of course, is not available in nearly as many markets as Uber. Lyft only operates in the U.S. and Canada, while Uber operates in the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. So, more continents and cities means more opportunities for tipping. Uber drivers make the most tips in Salt Lake City, Utah, San Antonio, Texas, Kansas City, Mo, New Orleans, La. and Nashville, Tenn. When Lyft ran its numbers, it found riders are most generous in New York City, Atlanta, Ga., Detroit, Mich., Dallas, Tx., San Jose, Calif., Minneapolis, Minn

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Lydia now supports Samsung Pay

While French banks are just catching up to Apple Pay, French startup Lydia is adding support for Samsung Pay. If you have a recent Samsung phone, you can now add a virtual card to Samsung Pay and pay using your phone in your favorite stores. Lydia started as a peer-to-peer payment app. It works more or less like Venmo or Square Cash in the U.S. After signing up, you can add a debit card to your account and send and receive money for free. You can withdraw your balance to a traditional bank account whenever you want. The company has been adding more features to turn Lydia into the only banking app you need. You can now connect Lydia to your bank accounts, view your balances, get an IBAN, initiate transfers, create Lydia sub-accounts with multiple people and get a physical MasterCard. Some features are now part of a premium subscription for €2.99 per month ($3.47) or €3.99 per month with the physical card ($4.62). The company also expanded to the U.K., Ireland, Spain and Portugal. There are a million registered users on Lydia. More interestingly, Lydia wants to go beyond peer-to-peer payments.

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How DNS rebinding attacks can be used to discover and communicate with devices on local networks, including Google Home, RokuTV, and Sonos WiFi…

Brannon Dorsey : How DNS rebinding attacks can be used to discover and communicate with devices on local networks, including Google Home, RokuTV, and Sonos WiFi speakers   —  The home WiFi network is a sacred place; your own local neighborhood of cyberspace.  There we connect our phones, laptops, and “smart” …

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Singapore-based game studio Mighty Bear raises $2.5M ahead of debut release

Mighty Bear, a game studio startup that grew out of King.com’s former office in Singapore, has landed new funding as it readies its debut title for smartphones. The startup was founded by four former King.com staffers — Simon Davis, Fadzuli Said, Benjamin Chevalier and Saurabh Shukul — after the gaming giant closed its Singapore office — inherited via the acquisition of Non Stop Games — following  its $5.9 billion acquisition by Activision . Today, Mighty Bear’s team of 18 counts experience working with Ubisoft, EA, Lucasarts, Disney, Gameloft and others. The startup previously raised $775,000 in a pre-seed round in early 2017 , and this time around it has pulled in a seven-figure USD investment. The deal is officially undisclosed, but a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch it is worth around $2.5 million. The deal was led by U.S.-based Skycatcher, New York hedge fund banker Eric Mindich’s Everblue fund, and M Ventures from Los Angeles. Others in the round include Singapore’s Atlas Ventures, Lev Leviev — who is co-founder of VK.com among other things — and existing backer Global Founders Capital, which is affiliated with Rocket Internet. “We’ve already got a good set of investors from Europe and Asia so we realized we needed networks in North America, too,” Mighty Bear CEO Simon Davis told TechCrunch in an interview. Davis added that, beyond extending their reach for purposes like hiring, partnerships and more, they open up the potential for IP and media deals further down the road. First thing first though: Mighty Bear is working to launch its first title, which Davis said will be an MMORPG. Right now, it is being secretly tested for scalability and technical capabilities among users in India and the Philippines with a view to a full launch on iOS and Android later this year. Davis said the company plans to launch another title, too, with both games managed concurrently

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