Jun 28, 2017

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

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The growing threat of ransomware attacks

Get used to the kind of ransomeware attack that crippled critical infrastructure and shut down major corporations yesterday. It was an escalation of the kind of cyberattack that's becoming a regular occurrence worldwide with a reach that's threatening key elements of national security.

Why it matters: These kinds of attacks are affecting more people as the physical and digital worlds converge, and the attacks spill out of the cyber realm and into the real world of hospitals, power grids, and multinational corporations.

  • Consumer anxiety about security is at an all-time high, according to the recent Unisys Security Index.
  • EY's Global Capital Confidence Barometer shows cybersecurity concerns are delaying business deals.

Implications for the U.S.: Bret Padres, a former intel official and CEO of The Crypsis Group, tells Axios that "Eastern European systems are more likely to be running unpatched and could be more vulnerable to this type of attack." He says the "bulk of the U.S. capability in cyber security is in its offensive operations. We are in a very vulnerable place when it comes to defenses."

  • "We are actively monitoring the situation," a State Department official tells Axios.
  • Only a few dozen people appear to have paid the ransom, according to Raj Samani, head of strategic intelligence at McAfee. But the real cost comes to governments and companies reeling from the impact.

Axios' "cyber squad" has a deeper dive here.

One way harassment allegations remain secret

When Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake told Lightspeed Venture Partners, an early investor in her company, that (then) Lightspeed partner Justin Caldbeck had sexually harassed her, the firm asked her to sign a non-disparagement agreement. Not signing, a source suggests, could have endangered her entire company's future. So she signed, and remained silent about her experience.

Why it matters: Lightspeed yesterday tweeted that it regrets not taking "stronger action" when it learned of Caldbeck's alleged behavior. Lake signed the non-disparagement clause while Stitch Fix was trying to raise money — which it eventually did in a round led by top-tier VC firm Benchmark. Lightspeed could have blocked that investment.

Background: Caldbeck has been accused of sexual harassment by several other female founders, leading him to resign from Binary Capital, the firm he co-founded after leaving Lightspeed in early 2014. Lightspeed never said anything publicly about the charges against its partner until today, and arguably enabled his future behavior by legally requiring that Lake stay silent.

Dan Primack has more here.

Meanwhile: Bloomberg reports that Binary Capital is shutting down its most recent fund, in the wake of recent developments.

Sen. Blumenthal wants FTC to follow EU's lead on Google

In the wake of the EU's record $2.7 billion fine against Google, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal urged U.S. regulators, specifically the Federal Trade Commission, to pursue antitrust action of its own.

"This significant action by European regulators is the latest in a powerful collection of evidence suggesting Google has repeatedly and consistently abused international competition law. Here in the United States, the FTC must confront the mounting evidence that Google is manipulating search results in anticompetitive ways and possibly running afoul of our antitrust laws...Our economy – particularly when it comes to the rapidly growing tech sector – needs robust competition to thrive and to ensure consumer protection."
Some Eaze patient records may be compromised

Some patient records of medical marijuana delivery service Eaze may have fallen into the wrong hands. The records of a physician, Don Davidson, affiliated with EazeMD, were improperly accessed by a former employee of the doctor. Eaze confirmed the issue in a statement to Axios, saying it has revoked the access of Davidson and has more information on the breach here.

Their statement to Axios:

"We became aware on Monday, June 26 that a third party doctor that employs the EazeMD technology – Dr. Davidson MD - experienced unauthorized access by a former employee to patient data in their electronic medical records system. The issue has been reported to law enforcement and the doctor's office is working with an independent security firm to assess the full extent of the impact...We have no evidence to suggest that Eaze's systems were compromised.There is nothing more important to Eaze than the trust of our users."
Nokia phones return to the U.S. via Amazon

Nokia, which is once again in the phone business through a brand licensing deal, will see its name on smartphones sold through Amazon. The online retailer announced that the Android-based Nokia 6 will be one of several phones added to a program in which Amazon Prime customers can get phones at a discount if they agree to view ads on the lock screen.

Details: Amazon will sell the ad-supported model for $179 — a $50 discount. (Of note, though, the Nokia 6 won't work on Sprint or Verizon and only supports some of AT&T's LTE bands.) Amazon is also adding new devices from Alcatel and Motorola to the discount phone lineup.

Take note

On tap: Salesforce's TrailheaDX developer conference kicks off in San Francisco...Cisco Live continues in Las Vegas...Mobile World Congress Shanghai runs today through July 1...The FTC holds a workshop on the privacy and security issues related to connected and automated vehicles.

Trading places: Twitter hired consultant Candi Castleberry-Singleton as VP of diversity and inclusion, filling a spot that had been vacant since Jeffrey Siminoff left in February...Pandora officially announced the departure of co-founder Tim Westergren as CEO, with CFO Naveen Chopra stepping in as interim CEO. Also out are President Mike Herring and CMO Nick Bartle, according to Recode. Meanwhile, Jason Hirschhorn will take Westergren's spot on Pandora's board.

ICYMI: Facebook hit two billion monthly active users...Airbus is working with OneWeb on a new effort to deliver broadband from space via satellite...Microsoft added a new paid leave program allowing employees to care for sick family members.

After you Login

The Olympic Channel, working with Vice, is debuting a Web series called Identify, featuring profiles of a number of transgender athletes, including U.S. national team duathlete Chris Mosier, college volleyball player Chloe Anderson, professional hockey player Harrison Browne, and swimmer Schuyler Bailar.

A trailer for the series is here and the full series is available starting today via Olympicchannel.com.

Ina Fried