Author: Kate Conger

Las Vegas taps AI for cybersecurity help

TECHCRUNCH Hundreds of thousands of people live in the city of Las Vegas. But the city’s information security team is made up of just three employees and one intern, so the chief information officer of Las Vegas relies on artificial intelligence to keep the city’s data and tech secure. “The things that keep me up most are ransomware and phishing,” Vegas CIO Michael Sherwood tells TechCrunch. “They’re some of the simplest attacks but the hardest to defend against.” In order to rest easy at night, Sherwood relies on AI security solutions from Darktrace to support his small team. Artificial...

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Waymo’s claims of trade secret theft could result in criminal case

TECHCRUNCH When Waymo sued Uber earlier this year, claiming that its former employee stole 14,000 documents containing trade secrets about its self-driving car project and took the documents to Uber, it was a stain on Uber’s reputation. Now, it looks like the damage could be more extensive — the judge in the civil case has referred the theft claims to the U.S. Attorney for a possible criminal investigation. Anthony Levandowski, the engineer accused of stealing the documents, has broadly invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the case, refusing to answer questions about the documents and his work at his self-driving truck startup Otto or on Uber’s self-driving car project. Levandowski’s silence has stymied the discovery process in the lawsuit, as Uber has argued that it can’t release documents related to its acquisition of Otto without violating its employee’s 5th Amendment rights. Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the civil lawsuit, referred the case to the U.S. Attorney tonight — a move that could result in a criminal investigation into Levandowski’s behavior. However, the referral does not guarantee that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will open an investigation or bring any charges against Levandowski. “This case is referred to the United States Attorney for investigation of possible theft of trade secrets based on the evidentiary record supplied thus far concerning plaintiff Waymo LLC’s claims for trade secret misappropriation. Said evidentiary...

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Waymo’s lawsuit against Uber is going to trial, judge rules

TECHCRUNCH Waymo’s lawsuit against Uber, its competitor in the automated vehicle business, is going to trial. Judge William Alsup ruled that Uber could not force the lawsuit over theft of trade secrets into private arbitration. Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, accused Anthony Levandowski, one of its former engineers, of stealing thousands of confidential documents from Waymo before founding his own self-driving truck startup and eventually going to lead Uber’s self-driving team. Uber argued unsuccessfully that Waymo’s claims belonged in an arbitration proceeding because of a clause in Levandowski’s employment contract that said disputes between...

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Trump signs long-delayed executive order on cybersecurity

TECHCRUNCH President Trump signed a executive order today commanding a review of the United States’ cybersecurity capabilities. Trump was initially set to sign the order shortly after his inauguration in January and held a press conference on the issue, but ultimately delayed the signing. The version of the order signed today bears some similarity to the earlier draft, but does contain some notable changes. For instance, the order puts responsibility for cybersecurity risk on the heads of federal agencies. Agencies are required to follow the standards established by the National Institute for Standards and Technology in assessing their risk,...

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Trolling the patent trolls

TECHCRUNCH “Don’t feed the trolls,” the popular wisdom goes. But with a new project, Cloudflare is taking things a little farther — the company is trying to starve its trolls out by taking away their revenue. Patent lawsuits against tech companies are fairly common, and most companies will simply settle with their opponents rather than fund an expensive, lengthy legal defense. Because companies are quick to settle, patent lawsuits have become a lucrative way for litigants to make money. Trolls can buy technology patents for as little as a dollar, then use the patents to extract settlements from well-funded...

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Yahoo cybersecurity lead Bob Lord is speaking at Disrupt NY

TECHCRUNCH I’m very excited to announce that Yahoo’s chief information security officer, Bob Lord, will be joining TechCrunch for a fireside chat at Disrupt NY this year. Since the news first broke last year that Yahoo had suffered two massive breaches — the biggest in history — we’ve had a lot of questions. How did this happen? Why did it take Yahoo years to discover that hackers were surreptitiously stealing user data from their networks? What could the theft of more than a billion users’ data teach us about cybersecurity? How would Yahoo secure user data going forward? Some of those...

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Shareholders pressure Intel over PAC spending

TECHCRUNCH Intel isn’t the only tech company with a political action committee funneling money into Congress. But some of Intel’s recent donations — including to politicians known for opposing marriage equality like North Carolina Senator Richard Burr and Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer — have alarmed shareholders, who are now proposing a resolution that would force the chip-maker to publicly explain political donations that don’t line up with its stated policy positions. The proposal is the brainchild of NorthStar Asset Management, a firm that frequently pushes tech companies to more closely evaluate their political contributions. Julie Goodridge, the CEO of NorthStar, told TechCrunch that Intel...

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Waymo case reveals Levandowski got $250 million in Uber stock for Otto

TECHCRUNCH Autonomous driving company Waymo alleged today in court that the formation of rival Otto was a ruse concocted between its founder Anthony Levandowski and eventual acquirer Uber to hide the fact that he immediately went to work for the ride-hailing company after leaving Waymo’s parent company, Google. To prove its case, Waymo points to a stock grant with a vesting date of January 28, 2016 — the day after Levandowski resigned without notice — that grants Levandowski more than 5 million shares in Uber. The shares are estimated to be worth more than $250 million. Uber and Waymo...

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