TechNation: No Next-generation Model Planned for Sirin Labs $15,000 Smartphone

Check Point finds vulnerability in Whatsapp and Telegram instant-messaging platforms | Goldman Sachs leads $12 million investment in cyber-security startup Dyadic | Bringg secures $10 million for e-commerce logistics technology

A woman takes a picture with her mobile phone during the Angelus prayer delivered by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 5, 2017.
Gregorio Borgia/AP

No next-generation model planned for Sirin Labs $15,000 smartphone

Sirin Labs, the Switzerland-based startup that last June introduced its $15,000 Solarin smartphone with enhanced privacy features, is weighing freezing development of a next-generation model and is laying off 30 employees. “We’re considering not developing the next generation phones, but we’ll continue making the Solarin. We don’t have the resources to make a new model every year,” Moshe Hogeg, the Israeli technology entrepreneur behind Sirin, told TheMarker Thursday. Launched with much fanfare, the Solarin phone has a case made of “Black Carbon Leather with Titanium” and contains anti-cyberattack software and encryption technology as well as a 23.8-megapixel camera. Hogeg said about 30 of the company’s 90 employees in Israel and Ukraine would be let go, but said some of them would be replaced. “We are starting to look for people with different skills for a new project,” he said. “That startup isn’t shutting down – we’re investing $20 million to develop a new computing product.” (Eliran Rubin)

Check Point finds vulnerability in Whatsapp and Telegram instant-messaging platforms

WhatsApp and Telegram patched flaws in their popular instant messaging applications Thursday after researchers at Israel’s Check Point Software Technologies showed that hackers could seize control of accounts. “By simply sending an innocent looking photo, an attacker could gain control over the account, access message history, all photos that were ever shared, and send messages on behalf of the user,” said Oded Vanunu, head of product vulnerability research at Check Point. “Hundreds of millions of WhatsApp Web and Telegram Web users were at risk of complete account take over.” The message encryption that both apps use made the system vulnerable because the providers can’t see content and stop malicious content from being sent, Check Point said. Whatsapp and Telegram were informed of the flaws on March 8 and now require content to be validated before it is encrypted. There was no evidence that attacks like those staged by Check Point were actually used, said Telegram spokesman Markus Ra. (Amitai Ziv)

Goldman Sachs leads $12 million investment in cyber-security startup Dyadic

Dyadic Security, which provides cloud-based security software for the special needs of the financial-service industry, said on Tuesday it completed a $12 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs, Citi Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. The funding round will be used to expand Dyadic’s sales and marketing operations in North America, it said. Dyadic said the round valued the company at between $40 million and $60 million. Banks have traditionally relied on costly, rigid hardware-based security modules to meet security and compliance requirements for handling sensitive operations such as identity, payments and data protection. Dyadic’s software allows companies to store, manage and use cryptographic keys on servers, laptops, smartphones and internet-of-things devices on site or in the cloud. The latest funding was the second for the Israeli startup after a $3 million fundraiser two years ago. In addition it received 2 million euros ($2.12 million) from the European Union’s Horizon program. (Ruti Levy)

Bringg secures $10 million for e-commerce logistics technology

Bringg, a startup that is helping online retailers compete with the super-efficient logistics of Amazon, said on Tuesday it had raised $10 million from investors led by Aleph Venture Capital. Coca-Cola and existing investor Pereg Ventures joined the round. With offices in Tel Aviv, New York and Chicago, the company said it would use the money to beef up its marketing and sales presence in existing and new markets, and expand its research and development. “Amazon raised the standards when it comes to delivery, we provide the tools that enable any company to match their logistics excellence,” said Bringg cofounder and CEO Raanan Cohen. The company was founded in 2013 by Cohen and Lior Sion, now chief technology officer. It has 45 people on its staff, all but five of them in Tel Aviv. The company declined to say at what valuation the latest investment round was made or name customers, apart from Coca Cola. (Eliran Rubin)