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Venture capital funding of cybersecurity firms hit record high in 2018: report
January 17, 2019 12:13 pm|Comments (0)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Venture capital investments in cybersecurity firms hit a record high last year amid a surge in cyber crime over the last few years, according to a report released on Thursday by U.S.-based Strategic Cyber Ventures.

Total venture capital funding in the space totaled $ 5.3 billion in 2018, up 20 percent from $ 4.4 billion seen in 2017.

“We’re seeing mega-breaches happening on an extremely frequent basis,” Chris Ahern, data scientist and principal at Strategic Cyber Ventures, told Reuters on Wednesday.

“I don’t think that’s going to stop anytime soon. And investors are seeing that as an opportunity for investment.”

Cybersecurity has become the focus for governments and corporations around the world as digital crime increases.

The latest quarterly data from cybersecurity firm ThreatMetrix showed that it detected 210 million attacks in the first quarter last year, with another 151 million seen in the second quarter. Compared with 2015, cyberattacks have surged more than 100 percent, illustrating an overall heightened risk landscape over the last two years, ThreatMetrix said.

U.S. cybersecurity firms took the bulk of investments, accounting for 46 percent of investments in 2018, according to the Strategic Cyber Ventures report. Asian and European companies took 22.6 percent of global investment, up from 12.7 percent in 2014.

“We’ve seen this trend in the broader tech ecosystem as well, with many large international funds and investment outside of the U.S.,” the report said.

“Simply put, amazing and valuable technology companies are being created outside of the U.S.”

That said, Ahern sees a bit of a pullback in investments for this year. “There is still a lot of money being put to work in 2019. I do think investors are a little bit weary, there’s a bit of vendor fatigue,” he added.

Asked about the biggest cybersecurity threat in the world, Strategic Cyber Ventures co-founder and chief executive officer Hank Thomas told Reuters that he considers the People’s Liberation Army — China’s armed forces — as the largest cyber threat actor in the world.

“They’re playing the long game. They have been able to use cyber to facilitate all sorts of things beyond just information warfare,” said Thomas, who is a former U.S. army intelligence officer focused on cyber, signals intelligence, information operations, and military intelligence planning.

Strategic Cyber Ventures has a $ 100 million portfolio that includes four cybersecurity companies.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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Chipmaker SK Hynix posts record third-quarter profit
October 25, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc posted record third-quarter operating profit on Thursday, beating expectations thanks to a seasonal sales boost for mobile devices and strong server demand.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SK Hynix is seen at its headquarters in Seongnam, South Korea, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo/File Photo

The world’s second-biggest memory chipmaker behind Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said July-September profit rose 73 percent year-on-year to 6.5 trillion won ($ 5.7 billion). That compared with a 6.3 trillion won average forecast drawn from 19 analysts, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Stephen Coates

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This Bomb-Simulating US Supercomputer Broke a World Record
July 23, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

Brad Settlemyer had a supercomputing solution in search of a problem. Los Alamos National Lab, where Settlemyer works as a research scientist, hosts the Trinity supercomputer—a machine that regularly makes the internet’s (ever-evolving) Top 10 Fastest lists. As large as a Midwestern McMansion, Trinity’s main job is to ensure that the cache of US nuclear weapons works when it’s supposed to, and doesn’t when it’s not.

The supercomputer doesn’t dedicate all its digital resources to stockpile stewardship, though. During its nuclear downtime, it also does fundamental research.

Settlemyer wanted to expand the machine’s scientific envelope. So he set out in search of a problem that even Trinity couldn’t currently solve. What he found was a physicist who wanted to follow only the most energetic particles through a trillion-particle simulation—a problem whose technological solutions have surprising implications for the bomb babysitters at Los Alamos.

Settlemyer and his team—a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon’s Parallel Data Lab—had been working for a while on a way to create huge numbers of files very fast. But they didn’t know how far could they push that capability. How many files, and how fast? “We were working on this tech, and we needed a use case,” he says. “What we really wanted to was find something over the top.”

So they started asking around Los Alamos, and found a lab scientist studying “Fermi acceleration,” a speed-up that happens to the particles in supernovae and solar flares. As particles oscillate back and forth, they gain speed along the way—acting kind of like pinballs bouncing between bumpers. The scientist wanted to simulate a plasma, the fourth state of matter that’s just a stew of dismembered nuclei and electrons, and see if its pinballs accelerated this way.

To do so, however, he needed to find out which few thousand particles—out of a trillion or so—accelerated to the highest speeds. “The problem,” according to Settlemyer, “is you don’t know until the end.” That made the particles essentially untrackable under the existing computing limits.

But maybe he and his team could fix that, if they could gin up files fast enough. They’d use a kind of program called a “vector particle-in-cell,” or VPIC code, invented at Los Alamos back [in 1955(http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.470.2911&rep=rep1&type=pdf). This program essentially allows scientists to keep track of individual particles, to see where they go and what they do in a certain situation. In nuclear research, scientists often use particle-in-cell code to understand how plasma mixes with plasma.

That mixing matters for Los Alamos because nuclear bombs produce plasma. Scientists don’t explode bombs with abandon anymore to understand them—as they did in the early days, turning islands into holes. Instead, they simulate bombs’ statuses, and look back at old videos to try to simulate what they see. To date, they haven’t been able to get at all the nuance in the footage. But with slick new simulations, Settlemyer says maybe they can.

But first, they had to test their file-creation speed limits using the physicist’s Fermi acceleration problem.

Here’s how such a simulation would classically work: The supercomputer would essentially take snapshots of all trillion particles at once, throughout the process. To find the most energetic characters in the final picture, and then rewind through their trajectories, the supercomputer would need to dig through each snapshot (each a couple of terabytes) to pull out the path of the relevant particles. “That was a huge cost,” says Settlemyer. Too huge: It would have crashed Trinity.

Settlemyer’s solution was, instead, to create more files with less information: one file for every particle, tracing each one through the entirety of the simulation. If Settlemyer put those files into a searchable index, the scientist could simply ask the computer, “Which of those particles’ lives ends with the biggest bang?”

The scientist can then just pull and parse those personal dossiers. “We’re able to retrieve the data between 1,000 and 5,000 times faster,” adds Settlemyer. Fast enough to make the scientist’s Fermi acceleration research doable. Trinity created a trillion files in two minutes—a world record.

It’s not just an academic achievement. That speed could allow scientists to follow the trajectory of a particle (or 10,000 particles) in a trillion-particle warhead simulation. The warheads whose integrity, remember, Los Alamos is tasked with maintaining.

The US hasn’t added new warheads to its stockpile in decades. But based on the nation’s first Nuclear Posture Review since 2010, that may be changing—and bringing more work to places like Los Alamos. “Many hoped conditions had been set for deep reductions in global nuclear arsenals, and perhaps for their elimination,” read a draft of the review. “These aspirations have not been realized. … We must look reality in the eye and see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”


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Etsy raises 2018 revenue growth forecast, shares hit record
June 14, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Etsy Inc on Thursday raised its full-year revenue growth forecast, boosted by an increase in its transaction fee for sellers, sending shares of the company surging 35 percent to a record high.

FILE PHOTO – A sign advertising the online seller Etsy Inc. is seen outside the Nasdaq market site in Times Square following Etsy’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq in New York April 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The share jump pushed up the company’s market cap by $ 1.4 billion.

The site for handmade goods, which struggled after its initial public offering in 2015, began its turnaround effort after board member and former eBay executive Josh Silverman took charge as chief executive officer in May last year after ex-CEO Chad Dickerson stepped down.

Silverman came to Etsy amid concerns about slowing growth, poor functionality of the company’s website and the specter of competition from Amazon.com Inc, which launched a marketplace for handmade goods in 2015.

The company now expects revenue growth of 32 percent to 34 percent in 2018, up from its previous forecast of 22 percent to 24 percent. It also raised the higher end of its gross merchandise sales growth range.

Etsy’s share movement was in contrast to arts and crafts specialty retailer Michaels Cos Inc, which dropped 15 percent after it expected flat comparable sales in the second quarter and comparable sales growth of up to 1.5 percent in fiscal 2018.

Etsy, however has beaten average analysts’ estimates in every quarter since Silverman’s appointment to the helm. It missed estimates in the four quarters prior to his arrival.

The company’s shares have more than doubled in the last 12 months.

“Etsy management has improved its merchandising, which in turn has led to stronger merchant sales. As Etsy is doing more for the merchants, Etsy is able to charge more, especially since the fees were relatively cheaper than competitors,” analyst Ronald Bookbinder of IFS Securities said.

Etsy said it would increase the transaction fee it charges when a seller makes a sale to 5 percent from 3.5 percent. The new fee would apply to the cost of shipping.

The company said it plans to increase direct marketing spending by at least 40 percent in 2018 and revamp community platforms.

Etsy has shifted its focus to areas that are showing the most growth for the handmade marketplace, particularly on its core e-commerce site.

The company has improved its website’s search function and uses artificial intelligence to provide better product recommendations for customers. In 2017 the company also ran holiday promotions for the first time.

“They took that really good business model and fine tuned the engine and now they have got that engine firing on all cylinders,” D.A. Davidson & Co. analyst Tom Forte said.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta

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An Especially Diverse Audience Lifted ‘Black Panther’ to Record Box Office Heights
February 21, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

Black Panther sprung into the record books with a massive opening weekend that came at the hands of a mostly non-white audience—not to mention with more women than your typical superhero flick.

The trailblazing superhero movie from Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios easily topped Hollywood’s box office with one of the biggest theatrical debuts ever, grossing more than $ 426 million worldwide over the President’s Day holiday weekend. Millions of people around the world lined up at their local movie theater to watch Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther battle for the throne in the fictional African country of Wakanda.

In the U.S., 37% of the movie’s overall audience was African-American, which is well above the norm as the average movie audience is about 15% African-American, according to box office tracking company ComScore. White moviegoers made up just 35% of Black Panther‘s audience over its opening weekend. That an exceptional percentage of African-American viewers turned out for the highly-anticipated movie’s debut is not so surprising, considering that the movie had generated considerable buzz, thanks to its overall critical acclaim and the fact that it boasts an African-American director (a first for a Marvel superhero movie) and a mostly black cast led by Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, and Angela Bassett.

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The real surprise from Black Panther‘s huge arrival was just how high its box-office totals have climbed in only a few days. The movie is the latest and largest rejoinder to outdated and extremely misguided Hollywood concerns over the ability of movies featuring black-led casts and storylines to become legitimate blockbusters. Following recent strong box-office showings from movies like last year’s Get Out and Girls Trip, along with 2015’s Straight Outta Compton (all three of which were distributed by Universal Pictures), Black Panther‘s roaring success serves as yet another lesson that increased diversity on the big screen can also provide a boost at the box office.

Paul Dergarabedian, ComScore’s senior media analyst, raised the idea of Black Panther as “a game changer in terms of its ability to erase outdated perceptions of what can constitute a blockbuster/superhero movie,” in an e-mail to Fortune. “The across the board appeal of the film reflects that there are no apparent cultural limitations on the interest and love that people have for Black Panther,” he added.

Meanwhile, a higher percentage of women also showed up for Black Panther‘s opening weekend. Women represented 45% of the movie’s audience, which is less than the average moviegoing population but more than the typical female turnout for a superhero movie. The average superhero movie (many of which are led by mostly male characters) draws a 62% male audience, though Black Panther and last year’s Wonder Woman have bucked that trend.

Warner Bros.’s Wonder Woman scored box-office success with a majority female audience when it opened last summer. While Black Panther‘s main character is male, the movie features several lead female characters—including Nyong’o, as well as T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. And, like Wonder Woman‘s island of female warriors, Black Panther‘s fictional Wakanda features the Dora Milaje, an elite squad of women fighters sworn to protect the country’s king.

Whether the issue is finding more screen time for minorities and women in Hollywood, Black Panther is the latest example that diversity and inclusion can be sound investments in the movie business.

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Christie Technology Helps LUMA Projection Arts Festival Draw Record…
December 3, 2016 1:55 pm|Comments (0)

New City Video & Staging and Favorite Color collaborate on spectacular projection mapping show

(PRWeb September 23, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13711122.htm


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Christie Technology Helps LUMA Projection Arts Festival Draw Record…
November 23, 2016 2:34 am|Comments (0)

New City Video & Staging and Favorite Color collaborate on spectacular projection mapping show

(PRWeb September 23, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13711122.htm


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