Fastly, the content delivery network, files for an IPO

Fastly, the content delivery network that’s raised $219 million in financing from investors (according to Crunchbase), is ready for its close up in the public markets.

The eight-year-old company is one of several businesses that improve the download time and delivery of different websites to internet browsers and it has just filed for an IPO.

Media companies like The New York Times use Fastly to cache their homepages, media and articles on Fastly’s servers so that when somebody wants to browse the Times online, Fastly’s servers can send it directly to the browser. In some cases, Fastly serves up to 90 percent of browser requests.

E-commerce companies like Stripe and Ticketmaster are also big users of the service. They appreciate Fastly because its network of servers enable faster load times — sometimes as quickly as 20 or 30 milliseconds, according to the company.

The company raised its last round of financing roughly nine months ago, a $40 million investment that Fastly [...]  read more

If you watch one celebrity-filled, anally obsessed charity video before Earth Day, make it this one

Lil Dicky, the white comedy rapper with questionable taste but an impressive rolodex, has come up with a millennial’s Earth Day answer to the 80s celebrity-studded, charity hit “We are the World“.

Dicky isn’t tackling African famine, instead he’s come up with an oddly anally-fixated paean to the Earth’s climate and the disaster the world faces if there isn’t some collective action taken to reverse our current course of carbon emissions.

To hammer this message home, and raise money for Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change-focused foundation, the tricky Dicky with a fraught history has enlisted some very very powerful celebrity friends for an animated musical extravaganza.

DiCaprio appears in the video, as does  [...]  read more

Boston Dynamics showcases new uses for SpotMini ahead of commercial production

Last year at our TC Sessions: Robotics event, Boston Dynamics announced its intention to commercialize SpotMini. It was a big step for the secretive company. After a quarter of building some of the world’s most sophisticated robots, it was finally taking a step into the commercial realm, making the quadrupedal robot available to anyone with the need and financial resources for the device.

CEO Marc Raibert made a return appearance at our event this week to discuss the progress Boston Dynamics has made in the intervening 12 months, both with regard to SpotMini and the company’s broader intentions to take a more market-based approach to a number of its creations.

The appearance came hot on the heels of a key acquisition for the company. In fact, Kinema was the first major acquisition in the company’s history — no doubt helped along by the very deep coffers [...]  read more

Notes from the Samsung Galaxy Fold: day four

Apologies for skipping day three. This kept me extremely busy yesterday. Though the Galaxy Fold remained a constant companion.

Before you ask (or after you ask on Twitter without having read beyond the headline), no it’s hasn’t broken yet. It’s actually been fairly robust, all things considered. But here’s the official line from Samsung on that,

A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.

Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information [...]  read more

Caterina Fake is known for her trend-spotting; here’s some of what she’s chasing now

Roughly a year ago, entrepreneurs Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström decided to form a traditional venture outfit called Yes VC. Fast forward, and the duo has nearly closed on $50 million for their debut fund, including backing from Supercell founder Ilkka Paananen, former Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and the family office of Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa.

That investors would want to invest alongside them isn’t surprising. Fake famously co-founded the photo-sharing site Flickr, which sold to Yahoo, before co-founding Hunch, which sold to eBay. Engeström co-founded Jaiku, a mobile social network that sold to Google, before co-founding Ditto, a mobile local recommendations app that was acquired by Groupon. They’ve also written early checks as angel investors to a wide number of companies. Fake backed Kickstarter and Etsy, among tens of others; Engeström’s various bets include the popular clothing label Betabrand, and startups like Applifier (acquired by Unity Technologies) and Moves [...]  read more

Malware researcher Marcus Hutchins pleads guilty, ending his legal case

Malware researcher Marcus Hutchins has pleaded guilty to two counts of creating and selling a powerful banking malware, ending a long and protracted battle with U.S. prosecutors.

Hutchins, a British national who goes by the online handle MalwareTech, was arrested in August 2017 as he was due to fly back to the U.K. following the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas. Prosecutors charged Hutchins with his involvement with creating the Kronos banking malware, dating back to 2014. He was later freed on bail.

A plea agreement was filed with the Eastern District of Wisconsin, where the case was being heard on Friday. His trial was set to begin later this year.

Hutchins agreed to plead guilty to distributing Kronos, a trojan that can be used to steal passwords and credentials from banking websites. In recent years, the trojan has continued to spread. He also agreed to plead guilty to a second count of conspiracy.

Hutchins faces up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors have dropped the remaining [...]  read more

Hacker dumps thousands of sensitive Mexican embassy documents online

A hacker stole thousands of documents from Mexico’s embassy in Guatemala and posted them online.

The hacker, who goes by the online handle @0x55Taylor, tweeted a link to the data earlier this week. The data is no longer available for download after the cloud host pulled the data offline, but the hacker shared the document dump with TechCrunch to verify its contents.

The hacker told TechCrunch in a message: “A vulnerable server in Guatemala related to the Mexican embassy was compromised and I downloaded all the documents and databases.” He said he contacted Mexican officials but he was ignored.

In previous correspondence with the hacker, he said he tries to report problems and has received bounty payouts for his discoveries. “But when I don’t get a reply, then it’s going public,” he said.

More than 4,800 documents were stolen, most of which related to the inner workings of the Mexican embassy in the Guatemalan capital, including its consular activities, such as recognizing births [...]  read more

ProcessOut improves payment data visualization

ProcessOut has grown quite a lot since I first covered the startup. The company now has a ton of small and big clients, from Glovo to Vente-Privée and Dashlane. The company has become an expert on payment providers and payment analytics.

The core of the product remains the same. Clients sign up to get an overview on the performance of their payment systems. After setting up ProcessOut Telescope, you can monitor payments with expensive fees, failed payments and disappointing payment service providers.

And this product is quite successful. Back in October 2018, the company had monitored $7 billion in transactions since its inception — last month, that number grew to $13 billion.

The company is adding new features to make it easier to get insights from your payment data. You can now customize your data visualization dashboards with a custom scripting language called ProcessOut Lang. This way, if you have an internal payment team, they can spot issues more easily.

ProcessOut can also help [...]  read more

Security flaw in French government messaging app exposed confidential conversations

The French government just launched its own messaging app called Tchap in order to protect conversations from hackers, private companies and foreign entities. But Elliot Alderson, also known as Baptiste Robert, immediately found a security flaw. He was able to create an account even though the service is supposed to be restricted to government officials.

Tchap wasn’t built from scratch. The DINSIC, France’s government agency in charge of all things digital, forked an open source project called Riot, which is based on an open source protocol called Matrix.

In a few words, Matrix is a messaging protocol that features end-to-end encryption. It competes with other protocols, such as the Signal Protocol that is widely used by consumer apps, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Messenger’s secret conversations and Google Allo’s incognito conversions — Messenger and Allo conversations aren’t end-to-end encrypted by default.

Riot is a Matrix client that works on desktop and mobile. You can join [...]  read more

Breeze Automation is building soft robots for the Navy and NASA

San Francisco soft robotics startup Breeze Automation made its debut today onstage at TechCrunch’s TC Sessions: Robotics + AI event at UC Berkeley. Co-founder and CEO Gui Cavalcanti joined us onstage at the event to showcase the contract work the company has been doing for organizations like NASA and the U.S. Navy.

Cavalcanti last joined TechCrunch onstage in September 2016, decked out in aviator sunglasses and full American flag regalia as a co-founder of fighting robot league MegaBots. These days, however, the Boston Dynamics alum’s work is a lot more serious and subdued, solving problems in dangerous settings like under water and outer space.

Developed as part of San Francisco R&D facility Otherlab, Breeze leverages the concept of highly adaptable soft robotics. The company’s robotic arms are air-filled fabric structures.

“The concept Otherlab has been developing for around seven years has been this idea of Fluidic Robots, hydraulic and Pneumatic Robots that are very [...]  read more