Vehicle security device Ernest launches today

Ernest is a bit difficult to describe. Its a device, its two devices, its an app, and according to its founder, Arturs Pumpurs, its a kind of virtual butler. The system secures your vehicle, tells you where it is,andcontrols your garage door or, if you have one, gate. The Kickstarter campaign starts October 28 and runsthrough December 7.

The project began as a way to protect vehicles, with a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled device that can be installed by the user but should probably be installed by professionals. Thats because if you have the immobilizer feature, Ernest keeps fuel from getting to the engine unless it recognizes your device. You can allow other people with other devices to use the car, and you can also revoke those privileges.

The Ernest GPS devices, like many car-related apps and devices, will show you your cars location plus driving information like speed and distance. It will also guide you to your car if you forgot where you left it or you share it with other people.

The same secure Bluetooth-based sharing principle applies to garage doors and gates. This requires a second Ernest device that you install in the gate or door panel itself, not in the car. Then, you connect the same Ernest app on your phone, the one that controls access to your vehicle, to the door device. Once again, you can share and revoke access to your garage door.

While Ernestwould make one person or familys life a bit easier, theres potential here for security in the sharing economy. When your car and private garage are used by multiple people, knowing who has access and cutting off that access when, say, their vacation rental is up would be helpful. If a car is being shared, it would be nice to know who used it when and how many miles were driven by each owner. Just set every user up with the app and give them access.

During the Kickstarter campaign, the Auto GPS (without the immobilizer feature) starts at $60, and prices go up from there. Its too expensive for a fleet operator to use, but it might work for limited sharing situations.

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UK commits 1.9B to National Cyber Security Strategy, working with Microsoft and more

The recent rush of allegations against countries like Russia and China and their possible roles incyber attacks on countries like the U.S. have prompted a big move from the UK: the government said today that it plans to invest 1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) over the next five years in a new cyber defence plan, called the National Cyber Security Strategy, to prepare forand fight back against cyber attacks in the future.

The investment, detailed by Chancellor Philip Hammond today in a speech at a Microsoft event in London (andhere), will also involve newpartnerships with private and public organisations (including Microsoft) to develop technology.

Our new strategy, underpinned by 1.9 billion of support over five years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyber-space and to strike back when we are attacked, he said.

The size of the investment makes this the largest funding that the UK has earmarked for cyber security services, but its not the only one: in October the Defence Secretary earmarked 265 million specifically for cyber vulnerability at the Ministry of Defence. They are also not sudden actions: todays newscomes nearly a year after the government first started to talk about how it needed to get more proactive in cyber security defence.

Todays news has a two-fold purpose, Hammond noted today in his presentation. Its in part about protecting the government, but also about protecting the wider UK digital economy, since cyber attacks would directly impact confidence in the latter.

Tech is the future of the UK economy, he said in his speech at Microsofts Future:Decoded event today, as he described a landscape where businesses and people will feel safe to do business.

Interestingly, while there will likely be many other companies involved, it seems that the biggest to get billing and a name check today is Microsoft.

The mobile-first, cloud-first world holds enormous potential for organisations and individuals to generate new and exciting growth opportunities, saidCindy Rose, UK CEO, Microsoft, in a statement. However, there is a corresponding risk that as people increase their technology usage they also increase their exposure to cyber security threats. It is critical for all organisations to strengthen their core security hygiene as well as creating a pervasive security culture through education and awareness.

All participants in the security ecosystem also need to work together to ensure everyone can trust the technology they use. The Chancellors announcement is the kind of initiative that the UK needs to protect British citizens from the growing threats we face. We welcome the governments focus on tackling this significant issue which affects business and individuals alike.

There are three areas where the government will be targeting investment, Hammond said today:

Defence will be about the government investing in its own systems and those of larger utility-based industries that partly come under its regulatory remit such as energy and transport, as part of a Critical National Infrastructure strategy. One company the government is highlighting here is Netcraft for automated defence techniques to reduce the impact of cyber-attacks by hackers, stopping viruses and spam emails ever reaching their intended victims for example. This will also include defenses against phishing attacks.

Detercovers law enforcement capabilities to fight cybercrime in the National Cyber Crime Unit, as well as more international partnerships. The UK will defend itself in cyberspace and strike back against those that try to harm our country, a statement notes. The government is already recruiting cybercrime investigators and tech specialists, it said.

Develop is focused on education and future R&D. Anew Cyber Security Research Institute will be a virtual collection of UK universities which will look to improve the security of smart phones, tablets and laptops through research that could one day make passwords obsolete. Its notable that the first Innovation Centre will be located in Cheltenham, not far from the GCHQ where the government runs its surveillance and other covert programs. This is also likely the category under whichthe National Cyber Security Centre, announced earlier this year, will also fall.

Today is very much a high-level news announcement. As it begins to take shape, therewill likely be a lot of questions about how far the UK plans to go in its bid to protect the UK and UK plc, with many who are already up in arms about its surveillance activities and more likely also to raise questions about how the plans announced today will impact our privacy, and our data. Thbigger picture here is that for now the government is laying out a policy both to the UK and the rest of the world to say that its aware and it plans to fight whatever might come.

No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality and they are happening now. Our adversaries are varied organised criminal groups, hactivists, untrained teenagers and foreign states, saidBen Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office & Paymaster General, said in a statement. The first duty of the government is to keep the nation safe. Any modern state cannot remain secure and prosperous without securing itself in cyberspace. That is why we are taking the decisive action needed to protect our country, our economy and our citizens.

Photo: Alistair Esam

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Sunflower Labs raises $2.1 million to build a flying home security system

Broadband at home, motion sensors and high definition video cameras led to a renaissance in home security systems over the past decade.

But big problems remain in residential security, says Alex Pachikov, CEO and cofounder of Sunflower Labswith CTO Chris Eheim. Stationary cameras dont detect would-be intruders until they are close or activelytrying to enter the home, he said.

Palo Alto-based Sunflower Labs has raised a seed round of $2.1 million to build a home awareness system that monitors homes beyond the doorway, yet is easy to install.

Major home improvement retailers are selling smart cameras and smart doorbells from companieslike Nest, Logitech, Ring, Canary or Oco. But theseare positioned ata homes entryways, and stationary.

The Sunflower System uses a different approach. Itincludes what the company is calling Smart Lights and Flying Cameras.

Its sensor-laden smart lights are solar-powered, and can detect motion, sounds and vibrations while illuminating the perimeter of a property or its walkways.

The lights communicate with a camera-equipped quadcopter. Whenever theres uncommon activity identified by the smart lights, the quadcopter flies to where the action is, to capture video and transmit it to the cloud.


Rendering of the Sunflower System Flying Camera and Smart Lights.

Users of the Sunflower System get notifications via a mobile app when theres activity detected on their property. The app learns, over time, what kind of commotion is routine and which is abnormal.

Users can ignore alerts for routine occurrenceslike a spouses car coming up the driveway or their own kids playing basketball in the driveway. But they can opt totake a deeper look at the video if something aberrantis happening.

The idea is to identify suspicious activity only, and do something about it before trouble arrives at your doorstep, says Pachikov. We also want topreserve our usersprivacy. We have come up with a way to do this without recording 24-7.

General Catalyst led the seed round in Sunflower Labs.

Evernote founder and Managing Director with the firm, Phil Libin, said he backed Sunflower in part because he knew the founders well. Pachikov worked for Evernote for a decade, and recruited other former Evernote employees to his startup.

But Libin also relishedthe concept behind the Sunflower System.

Home security is one of those industries where products havent been living up to their promise.The current systems for monitoring your whole property do not enhance your enjoyment of your home as much as they make you paranoid. By tying together really smart sensors, drones, and artificial intelligence you can have a house that looks out for itself and gives you more awareness as to whats going on, Libin said.

The investorexpects Sunflower Labs to use its seed funding to prove out itstechnology.

Pachikovadded thatthe company will be selling direct to consumers online, and working with smart home installers and electronics retailers to distribute its systems in 2017.

The Sunflower System can be reserved for $25 online today. The company plans to charge a monthly fee for its services rather than sell the hardware as a one-off.

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Watch This Footballer Live Out His Worst Nightmare When Porn Website Pops Up During His Presentation on Cyber Security


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Microsoft says it will push for diversity and security from the Trump administration

Although Donald Trumpspresidential campaign never netted much support from tech companies, at least one company is now congratulating him on his election victory.

Every president-elect deserves our congratulations, best wishes and support for the country as a whole. The peaceful transition of power has been an enduring and vital part of our democracy for over two centuries, and it remains so today,Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smithwrote in a blog post.

Smith saidthat Trumps victory was driven by economic disparity, noting that job growth has not grown evenly for those who have college degrees and those who do not. Trumps supporters felt left out and left behind, he added, noting that Microsoft will work to create new jobs to address the gap.

However, Smiths post alsooffers a quiet repudiation of Trumps anti-immigration and anti-encryption stances.

As we think societally about these new opportunities to address those who have been left behind, its critically important that we appreciate the continuing national strengths that serve the country so well, Smith wrote, noting that diversity has a place in strengthening the economy and encouraging job growth. Were committed to promoting not just diversity among all the men and women who work here, but the type of inclusive culture that will enable people to do their best work and pursue rewarding careers.

His comments on diversity were echoed at eBay, where CEODevin Wenig issued a memo to employees reminding them of founder Pierre Omidyars immigrant background. As I travel to our offices around the world, I have the privilege to interact with people of countless nationalities and backgrounds. This diversity is one of the most valuable assets we have as we drive our business forward, Wenig wrote.

Smith also subtly went to bat for consumer privacy and access to encryption (Trump has called for tech companies, most notably Apple, to provide backdoor access to the government).

People will not use technology they do not trust. Were committed to developing technology that is secure and trusted, both for Americans and for people around the world, he wrote, referencing Microsofts recent legal victories against the Justice Department on these issues. As weve won the cases weve brought, weve been reminded of one of this countrys greatest strengths, its strong Constitution, independent judiciary, and the overarching rule of law.

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He Disappeared On A Bar Crawl, And Even Security Cameras Didn’t See Him Leave


“A guy walks into a bar.” It’s the start of so many jokes.

Presumably, the guy eventually walks back out of the bar, but that’s where this case gets confusing. Security footage shows a young man entering the Ugly Tuna Saloona in Columbus, Ohio, one night, but not leaving. He hasn’t been seen since.

Brian Randall Shaffer went out drinking with friends after a long week of studying for exams.

To celebrate the start of spring break, he had dinner with his father on March 31, 2006. Brian was a medical student at Ohio State University.

He joined William “Clint” Florence at the Ugly Tuna Saloona. Later, they moved on to other bars and met up with a woman named Meredith Reed after midnight.

Reed gave them a ride back to the Ugly Tuna, where Brian was seen on security footage saying goodbye to a few women. He reentered the bar, but was not seen leaving when it closed at 2 a.m. Florence says he assumed Brian had gone home without telling him.

Florence is the one person who saw Brian that night who refuses to take a lie detector test, but he claims he did not hurt him.

Some believe that he was killed by the Smiley Face Murderer(s) or that he changed clothes and put on a hat in the bar so as not to be recognized. Investigators think it also may have been possible that the pivoting camera simply did not catch him leave.

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Team Trump Struggling to Fill National-Security Jobs


Turned down by top talent, Trumps administration-in-waiting is trying to find someone to operate the agencies tasked with stopping hackers and terrorists. “>

President-elect Donald Trump is scrambling to line up senior officials to run the governments sprawling intelligence and homeland security bureaucracy.

Team Trump is struggling to fill numerous key slots or even attract many candidates because hundreds have either sworn theyd never work in a Trump administration or have directly turned down requests to join, multiple current and former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the transition efforts told The Daily Beast.

Team Trump didnt expect to win until the campaigns internal polling a month before the election signaled a possible victory. Thats when senior Trump officials went into overdrive, trying to build a bench of experienced national security candidates with top secret clearances willing to work for a Trump presidencyand they met resistance across the landscape of experienced GOP national security professionals.

One person who met last month with Trumps national security and homeland security transition team leader said that she confessed that many candidates had flatly rejected attempts to recruit them, believing that Trump was unfit to hold the office of commander in chief.

She said that it was going to be very difficult to fill positions in that space because everybody that had experience was a never-Trumper, this person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

She wasnt even sure that she was going to be able to fill a transition team, much less find people to serve in government positions, this person said.

In theory, 20 people are supposed to parachute into the Department of Homeland Security [during the transition between administrations]. And I dont think they have anybody to do it.

A second individual, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed this persons account that there are a large number of vacancies to fill without a clear plan of how that will happen. Since Trumps improbable win, Team Trump has been aggressively reaching out to possible candidates with a flurry of meetings in New York and Washington, D.C.

Two career U.S. officials, currently serving in the government, also said they were unsure whether they would continue in their positions, which are slated to last into the next administration.

On Monday morning, a group of officials working on a range of national security issues including the resettlement of refugees and methods for countering terrorists violent rhetoric met to discuss their progress. But it wasnt at all clear whether a President Trump would even continue those initiatives, one participant said. Trump has promised to ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States and has claimed he knows better how to combat terrorists than military generals and intelligence officials.

But before he can take the axe to Obama-era programs, Trump has to staff up his own administration. It wont be easy.

It was clear the Trump team would have trouble staffing their national security bench nine months ago, when more than 100 Republican national security leaders signed an open letter vowing not to support him as the GOP nominee and working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.

Everybody who has signed a never-Trump letter or indicated an anti-Trump attitude is not going to get a job. And thats most of the Republican foreign policy, national security, intelligence, homeland security, and Department of Justice experience, Paul Rosenzweig, who held a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security in the George W. Bush administration, told The Daily Beast. (Bush told reporters on Tuesday that neither he nor his wife, Laura, cast a vote for president.)

Rosenzweig predicted that Trump would be able to fill positions at the Cabinet level, the secretaries and administrators who lead agencies and departments. But the people below them, from the deputy level on down, are the ones who actually run the government day-to-day, and there are few takers for those jobs, he said.

The problem is going to be finding the deputy secretary, and the head of customs, and the general counsel, which are the jobs that fundamentally matter, Rosenzweig said.

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Since the public letter in March, more people who served in key positions in Republican administrations have stepped forward to disavow Trump and take themselves out of the running for jobs in his administration.

Last week, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden went so far as to accuse Trump of being a tool of the Russian government.

Trump had consistently refused to agree with the U.S. intelligence community's unanimous assessment that Russia was responsible for a campaign of cyber attacks and leaks against the Democratic Party, which officials said was intended to interfere with Tuesdays election.

Rejecting a fact-based intelligence assessmentnot because of compelling contrarian data, but because it is inconsistent with a preexisting worldviewthats the stuff of ideological authoritarianism, not pragmatic democracy. And it is frightening, Hayden wrote.

The likely pool of Trump administration officials now will come from a second-tier of younger and less experienced people, Stewart Baker, the former general counsel of the National Security Agency, told The Daily Beast.

Baker, who also served in a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, said these less-experienced candidates werent necessarily without talent, but he acknowledged that more seasoned people like himself were not likely to be joining the new administration.

Trump will take over an intelligence community that is already in his cross-hairs, after he said in the third presidential debate that he doubted its assessment on the Russian hacks. Trump has also talked openly about information that was relayed to him in classified briefings given to him and Clinton, and current and former officials have said they worried that Trump wouldnt be able to keep confidential information secret.

The intelligence community has had presidents before who were deeply skeptical about their role, their product, and their value, Baker said. The intelligence community, I predict, will work very hard to demonstrate its value to the new president. Because if they don't have support from the White House, they dont really have much influence in the interagency debate.

As the dust settled on a historic election, the plans for a would-be Clinton administration also became clearer, and they appeared much farther along than Trumps.

Clinton had planned to launch onto the world stage with a series of international summits in the Mideast, Europe and beyond, to reassure fretful allies weary of the global retrenchment of the Obama administration, according to senior advisors to the Clinton campaign interviewed in the run-up to the stunning election upset.

The muscular reassertion of American power was to include a stepped-up campaign against militants in Syria and Iraq, and a pushback against Russian expansionism and Iranian meddling in the Middle East.

Yet Clinton pulled her punches on that message during her campaign, so as not to alienate the Obamas and their supporters who were seen as key to clinching the election.

No roles had been assigned in a Clinton war cabinet nor specific policies chosen, the senior advisors said, but the Clinton transition team had been staffed since early this year with experienced policy wonks and former senior administration and military officials, like former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen and former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell.

Those officials chewed over many of the toughest foreign policy issues. And in least one case, an answer was emerging from those discussions that might be music to Trumps ears.

Most involved in the early Clinton transition discussions agreed that few good options remained in Syria, because of Russias backing of President Bashar al-Assad. Establishing a no-fly zone would have inevitably meant shooting down a Russian jet, because they would test us as soon as we established it, one adviser said.

So negotiating via Russia was emerging still as one of the best optionsand teaming up with Putin in the Middle East was something Trump repeatedly promised to do.

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