Sunday, August 28, 2016

Symantec Names Brazil as Eighth-largest Global Source of Malicious Botnet Activity

Symantec's new study highlights the fact that cybercriminals are becoming increasingly more organized and trying hard to stay one-step ahead of security agencies.
By Narayan Ammachchi, nearshore americas

Security software provider Symantec has found that Brazil is the eighth-largest global source of malicious botnet activity, according to the firm’s Internet Security Threat Report 2015.

The country is home to 2% of the world’s bots, which are defined as private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge.
Globally, China was the origin of much more bot activity in 2015, seeing a sharp rise of 84% in bot-related activity over the previous year. In contrast, bot activity in the US has dropped 67% since 2014.

Although cybercrime is also a problem in Mexico, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Panama, the report shows that the threat rate is declining in several countries. Successful law enforcement activity against cybercriminals and heightened cybersecurity awareness are both contributing factors to the decline of bots.
However, a similar study by BitSight Technologies stated that Brazil and the US are finding it difficult to prevent and mitigate machine compromises stemming from botnet infections. BitSight also said it found Brazilian companies underperforming on metrics such as machine compromise rates, email security and file-sharing practices.

Nearly 430 million new malware variants were discovered in 2015, up 36% from the previous year, suggesting that cybercriminals around the world are becoming increasingly more organized and trying hard to stay one step ahead of security agencies.
“Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skill sets of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly-skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off,” said Kevin Haley, Director, Symantec Security Response.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Paid Too Much For An Airline Ticket? FairFly Can Find A Better Deal, Get Refund

Traveling is fun; planning a trip is not, especially during the summer peak season. Every detail of a trip can take hours to be decided upon and can leave you with a headache. And this frustration starts with the first step of any trip: Buying an airline ticket.
By Meital Goldberg, NoCamels 

The cost of any plane ticket will fluctuate from the moment the flight becomes available until the flight takes off, but most people don’t bother to find out if the fare has changed. According to FairFly, an Israeli mobile and Web app dedicated to helping you find the best possible fare after you’ve booked, 88 percent of people don’t check the cost of flights once the ticket has been bought.

Many people have heard the trick that buying a ticket on a Tuesday afternoon for a trip in six weeks’ time will get them the best fare; another rumor says booking exactly five months in advance will do the trick. But, unfortunately, there is no magic bullet.

$100 billion in overpayment 

Overall, people overpay roughly $100 billion a year because they don’t check the prices after they booked an airline ticket, according to a 2015 report by Business Insider. Fortunately, the founders of FairFly were aware of the situation and decided to find a way to help people save money.

Using FairFly is a simple process. Once you’ve booked your flight, you need to send a copy of your itinerary to the FairFly team at They will immediately put your flight into the system and start scanning for lower fares. You can add as many flights as you want.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Brazilian IT market grows 9.2 percent in 2015

Enterprise investment in technology in the country is above world average despite the recession, says IDC
By Angelica Mari for Brazil Tech

Despite the political and economic challenges Brazil has faced over the last 12 months organizations continued to invest in technology as the local industry saw growth above global average in 2015, according to a report from analyst IDC in partnership with the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES).

The Brazilian IT industry grew by 9.2 percent last year - this compares to global average growth of 5.6 percent. This positions Brazil as the largest IT market in Latin America and sixth globally, with total investments of $59,9bn last year, according to the report.

According to the report, the most expressive growth was seen in the software segment, up 30.2 percent generating $12,4bn, while services firms saw 8.2 percent growth in relation to 2014 with total investments of $14,3bn and the local hardware market saw 6.3 percent growth, generating $33,4bn.
"The share of hardware investments is still close to 56 percent of the total, but the share of software and services is growing year by year and should exceed the 50 percent in total, as Brazil increases its level of maturity in those segments," said ABES president Jorge Sukarie.

Investment increases outside Rio-São Paulo area

IT investment has also become less focused in the regions near to the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and started to increase in the north and northeast areas of the country, according to ABES.

Both regions accounted for 15 percent of all purchases of hardware, software and services in the country in 2015, according to the report. Despite the fact that this represents growth of only one percent in relation to 2014, the trend is positive, considering the slowdown caused by the recession and the continuous increases in IT spend in the regions in the last few years.

Between 2013 and 2014, for example, spending in IT hardware, software and services went from 10.5 percent to 14 percent of the total spend in Brazil, the report adds.

Individually, the advance seen in the individual regions within that period was also noteworthy: the North of Brazil, which includes large states such as Amazonas and Pará, saw IT almost doubling from 2.2 percent to 4.24 percent, while the Northeast, where states such as Bahia are located, jumped from 8,3 percent to 10.72 percent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Car tech fast lane? Why automobile makers are rushing to Israel

Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and others are seeking out technology and expertise from the Israeli automotive startup scene.
By David Shamah for Tel Aviv Tech

Israel probably isn't the first place you'd think of for car technology. But it's a big player in the Internet of Things, and as cars become more automated and connected to the cloud, Israel is also emerging as a hub for automobile technology.

Nearly all the large Japanese manufacturers, and many American and European car makers, are opening R&D centers in and around Tel Aviv.

And as part of that process, manufacturers are discovering that Israel is good at other things, too. Honda Silicon Valley Lab ‎senior program director Nick Sugimoto says on a recent visit he's been looking at "a lot of interesting tech in a wide variety of areas: battery technology, materials technology, IT, connected vehicles, and more. Israel is very good at all of these, and more".

Honda is just the latest car company to take an interest in what Israeli startups can do to give them an edge in the evolving connected car technology ecosystem.

With more cars sporting internet connections, either onboard or via Bluetooth or USB connections to a connected device, there's been a growing demand for apps to keep drivers connected, but in a safe manner.

At a hackathon in Tel Aviv, for example, top Ford executive Scott Lyons said while the company wanted good apps, safety is a priority, both in terms of driving and from a cybersecurity point of view.

Ford's AppLink is probably the richest mobile app platform currently available. The company decided to run a hackathon in Israel because of developers' expertise both in connected IoT tech, and cybersecurity, another area where Israel excels, according to Lyons.

Other companies that have held hackathons or development events in Israel over the past year include Toyota and Hyundai, and like Sugimoto, they were first attracted to Israel by two locally-developed technologies that have now become more or less standard for drivers and vehicles: Waze and Mobileye.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Latin Americans commerce report - They Love Shopping Online

Online shopping is growing by Latin America, with a new Business Insider report projecting annual growth of 17% in the the region through 2019.The region's top markets, biggest growth opportunities, and foreign retailers making inroads
By Cooper Smith, business insider 

Despite the economic downturn, Latin America is a market retailers have to pay attention to. It's one of the top regions in the world for e-commerce growth, and those retailers that build out their e-commerce operations now will be in the best position to grab market share when the economy rebounds.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we size Latin America's biggest e-commerce markets — Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina — and project how online retail sales will rise in these countries. We look at the growth drivers in each market and identify opportunities and challenges for foreign retailers operating there.

Here are some of the key takeaways:
  • Latin America is one of the fastest-growing regions for e-commerce, behind Asia-Pacific. We expect online retail sales to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% between 2014 and 2019 to reach $85 billion in sales at the end of the forecast period.
  • Brazil is the largest online retail market in Latin America, accounting for 42% of the region's $47.4 billion in e-commerce sales. But e-commerce growth is decelerating due to an economic downturn. Between 2014 and 2019, we expect e-commerce sales to rise at a CAGR of 12.5%.
  • Mexico is the second-largest market for e-commerce in Latin America. Mexico currently accounts for 12.3% of the region's e-commerce, but we expect Mexico's share to increase to 15.6% by 2019. By 2018, Mexico is forecast to reach $11 billion in e-commerce sales — or just under 2.5% of total retail sales in the country. 
  • Argentina ranks third in terms of online retail sales in Latin America, but it will be the fastest-growing e-commerce market of the three countries. The country currently accounts for 8.9% of sales in the region, but by 2019, we expect its market share to increase to 14.6%. 
  • US retailers are investing heavily in building out their e-commerce businesses in the region, despite the slowing economy. Walmart recently redesigned its country-specific site in Brazil and is finalizing construction of three new e-commerce fulfillment centers in the country — doubling its current fulfillment network. Amazon has been investing heavily in Mexico, launching a Spanish-speaking version of its shopping site under the Mexican domain 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Crops Can ‘Communicate’ Their Needs Through Revolutionary IoT Technology Phytech

Smart tech agriculture technology firm Phytech, based near the border with Gaza, developed an Internet of Things technology for crops
By David Shamah, The Times of Israel

Sygenta, one of the world’s biggest agriculture technology businesses, along with Japan-based Mitsui, one of the world’s biggest corporate groups, are banding together to invest in an Israeli agriculture tech start-up.

Phytech, which has developed an Internet of Things technology for crops, is to receive an undisclosed investment from the two firms for its PlantBeat service, which equips crops with sensors that record information about the growing environment.

According to Dr. Michael Lee, managing director at Syngenta Ventures, the VC arm of Swiss
agribusiness giant Sygenta – the world’s largest maker of chemical pesticides – “Syngenta’s ambition is to bring greater food security in an environmentally sustainable way to an increasingly populous world by creating a worldwide step-change in farm productivity. In working towards our ambition, we put the grower at the center of everything we do. Phytech’s grower centric solutions join our breadth of technologies in crop protection, seeds, traits and seed treatment, providing the grower with integrated offers and broad-based innovation for the future.”

Already in use on some of the biggest farms in the US, Brazil, Australia, and other countries – including Israel, where some 60% of tomato farmers and 40% of cotton growers already use the system – Phytech’s PlantBeat keeps track of how much water crops get, how moist the soil is, soil temperature, and other data. The sensors upload the information to a cloud server, where it is analyzed and downloaded to a mobile app PhyTech users download, with the app indicating how healthy a plant is and what to do to improve its performance.
The low-cost sensors can be attached to sample plants to take readings within an immediate area of several square meters, with multiple sensors set up as an array to get a full picture of conditions in a growing area. The sensors include simple lithium batteries which can last for up to a year, and the sensors upload the data in an encrypted manner using cellphone networks, with the data secured from prying eyes.

“Investing in Phytech meets our consistent strategy for innovative technology and new business development,” says Mr. Masato Hisamune, SVP & DOO of Innovation and Corporate Development Division at Mitsui & Co. Europe. “We would like to provide Phytech with services and solutions that meet their diverse needs, optimizing Mitsui’s global marketing networks and extensive business experience.”
According to Phytech CEO Sarig Duek, “the support of leading global strategic investors such as Syngenta and Mitsui would allow Phytech to significantly enhance its decision support, cutting edge technology and innovation as well as its commercial development.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Brazil seeks projects for its best supercomputer

Projects are now being selected for execution in Brazil's most powerful computing resource.
By Angelica Mari for Brazil Tech

Brazil's National Laboratory of Scientific Computing is currently selecting research projects for application within the Santos Dumont supercomputing resource - the 148th best in the world and the most powerful in South America - in the field of processing demand.

Since there are three separate resources within the complex within different application purposes, interested parties with a representation in Brazil can submit proposals for research use of the computational capacity in a large scale, as well as smaller research projects.Santos Dumont is a cluster composed of three systems, Santos Dumont CPU, Santos Dumont GPU and Santos Dumont Hybrid. Out of its total processing capacity of 1,1 petaflops, Santos Dumont GPU alone can execute 456 teraflops/calculations per second.

Currently, Santos Dumont is accessed via the SINAPAD platform, which allows selected organizations to use the supercomputer for research matters that demand a large scale computing resource.

With six supercomputers in total, Brazil is the tenth country with most resources of that kind globally according to the twice-yearly Top500 list of the world's most powerful super machines.