Israeli Startup Aiming to Combine Uber and Tesla in the Sky Wins U.S. Competition

TechNation: Google to offer advanced protection to gov’t officials, journalists ■ Microsoft employees allege 2013 hack into its database ■ Israeli stock analysis firm TipRanks reels in Interactive Brokers

Eviation Aircraft co-founder and chief executive Omer Bar-Yohay
GLENN CHAPMAN/AFP

Google to offer advanced protection to gov’t officials, journalists

Google said on Tuesday it would roll out an advanced protection program to provide stronger security for some users such as government officials and journalists, who are at a higher risk of being targeted by hackers. The internet giant said program users would have their account security continuously updated to deal with emerging threats. The company said it would initially provide three defenses against security threats, which include blocking fraudulent account access and protection against phishing. The program would include additional reviews and requests in the account recovery process to prevent fraudulent access by hackers who try to gain access by pretending they have been locked out. Google’s rollout of a suite of new email security services follows a U.S. presidential election last year that was shaped in part by the disclosure of emails by WikiLeaks belonging to associates of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that were obtained through phishing schemes. (Reuters)

Microsoft employees allege 2013 hack into its database

Microsoft Corp’s secret internal database for tracking bugs in its own software was broken into by a highly sophisticated hacking group more than four years ago, according to five former employees, in only the second known breach of such a corporate database. The company did not disclose the extent of the attack to the public or its customers after its discovery in 2013, but the five former employees described it to Reuters in separate interviews. Microsoft declined to discuss the incident. The database contained descriptions of critical and unfixed vulnerabilities in some of the most widely used software in the world, including the Windows operating system. Spies for governments around the globe and other hackers covet such information because it shows them how to create tools for electronic break-ins. The Microsoft flaws were fixed likely within months of the hack, according to the former employees. (Reuters)

Israeli stock analysis firm TipRanks reels in Interactive Brokers

U.S.-based Interactive Broker Groups’ online trading platform is to feature a stock analysis took-kit provided by Israeli startup TipRanks. The company said its program “evaluates public stock recommendations made by financial analysts” and “ranks those experts based on their accuracy and performance.” Interactive Brokers, whose market cap is $20 billion, employs 1,100 people worldwide. TipRanks’ tools to be offered to the brokerage’s clients include stock ratings and price targets by over 5,000 analysts, analysis of news and of moves by interested parties and institutional investors reporting to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. TipRanks already provides the service to major players like Nasdaq and Santandar. “Many of our retail investors use IB as their execution platform and the new partnership will make their life easier and make our tools available to many new investors,” said CEO Uri Gruenbaum. (Shelly Appelberg)

Startup aiming to combine Uber and Tesla in the sky wins U.S. competition

Israeli startup Eviation won the admiration of participants at a Wall Street Journal conference this week in Laguna Beach, California, for its innovation described by its CEO as “Uber meeting Tesla in the sky.” The company envisions a small, pilotless electric plane offering passengers daily, efficient and affordable transportation. The company’s first plane, Alice, can carry nine passengers up to 1,000 kilometers at a speed of 440 kph. “The plane can take you quickly, but more importantly – it will do it cleanly and cheaply,” Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay said. “It will be cheap like a bus ticket.” The company expects to produce a full-scale model in 2019. News agencies covering the conference reported that some $10 million has been invested in the company since its founding two years ago, mostly coming out of the founders’ pockets. The company, which is looking for another $20 million round of funding, has also received Israeli government support. (Yisrael Fischer)