Yet more activity in the world of cybersecurity. Microsoft today confirmed that it has acquired Hexadite, an Israeli startup that uses AI to identify and protect against attacks. We and others reported last month that this deal was in the works, for a price sources tell us is $100 million. The idea is to expand Microsoft s existing security portfolio with an infusion of new technology based around new innovations in areas like AI and machine learning. Our vision is to deliver a new generation of security capabilities that helps our customers protect, detect and respond to the constantly evolving and ever-changing cyberthreat landscape, said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft, in a statement.
Hexadite s technology and talent will augment our existing capabilities and enable our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft s robust enterprise security offerings. Microsoft said that Hexadite will be folded into work it does to develop security solutions for commercial Windows 10 customers, specifically with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP). With Hexadite, WDATP will include endpoint security automated remediation, while continuing the incredible growth in activations of WDATP, which now protects almost 2 million devices, Microsoft notes.
Other security acquisitions Microsoft has made in Israel include Aorato, Adallom and Secure Islands. More generally, Hexadite s tech and Microsoft s interest in it are part of a bigger, new trend in security: legacy services are no longer fit for purpose in the new era of increasingly sophisticated malicious attacks, so enterprises are now spending to update their systems to better protect their networks. Hexadite is part of what you might call that new guard of security companies, building solutions based on machine learning and AI modeled on top cyber analysts to try to tackle threats more like the smartest humans would. Other startups using AI to tackle security threats include Crowdstrike, which raised a large round of funding last month at a billion-dollar valuation; Cylance, also valued at more than $1 billion; and Harvest AI, which, as we reported, Amazon quietly acquired last year.
As we ve noted before, what Hexadite does is provide a security remediation system: it identifies and stops smaller issues itself, and at the same time it weeds out bigger problems that need to be addressed by in-person security teams. By doing this, it prevents those teams from being overwhelmed by the smaller items. It claims to reduce the time it takes to deal with security issues, as a result, by 95 percent. Microsoft s interest in Hexadite whose customers include Nuance, Telit and IDT points to how security remains a hot area in the world of technology and specifically enterprise IT. The rapid growth of connected services and devices has gone hand-in-hand with a rapid rise in cybercrime, with malicious hackers becoming increasingly rampant and sophisticated in their attacks on networks and the hardware and apps that run on them, with breaches leading to millions of dollars in costs and lots of stress.
This has led to an increasingly sophisticated landscape for security services, with companies covering every aspect of how we conduct business today and a huge amount of spending by organizations to try to prevent, stop, fix or mitigate damage. IDC estimates that enterprises will spend nearly $82 billion on security software this year.
Hexadite had raised $10.5 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, with investors including HP Ventures, YL Ventures, TenEleven Ventures and Moshe Lichtman of Israel Venture Partners. As we pointed out before, Lichtman is a 10-year veteran of Microsoft, which could point to one connection between the startup and its acquirer. Hexadite s last round, of $8 million, was raised last year.
Featured Image: Getty Images
- ^ confirmed (news.microsoft.com)
- ^ Hexadite (www.hexadite.com)
- ^ reported (techcrunch.com)
- ^ Aorato (techcrunch.com)
- ^ Adallom (techcrunch.com)
- ^ Secure Islands (techcrunch.com)
- ^ Crowdstrike (techcrunch.com)
- ^ Cylance (techcrunch.com)
- ^ Harvest AI (techcrunch.com)
- ^ millions of dollars in costs (www-01.ibm.com)
- ^ estimates (www.idc.com)
- ^ $10.5 million (www.crunchbase.com)
- ^ last year (techcrunch.com)
A Team of Security Experts from Israel is Providing Special Security Services for Some of the Biggest Business …
A Team of Security Experts from Israel is Providing Special Security Services for Some of the Biggest Business Delegations Travelling to Brazil, Israel and Latin America
Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 06, 2017 –(PR.com)– A team of security experts from Israel is providing special security services for some of the biggest business delegations travelling to Brazil, Israel and Latin America as well as families and authorities.
GA, Global Advising (www.gaadvising.com) (www.gaadvising.com/vipsecurity), which was set up by Ronen Ben Efraim, Uri Sade, and Yoram Shvartz, has enjoyed growth over the last two years and is now regarded by many as one of the leaders in security consulting services in Brazil as well as in intelligence and protection services.
The company was founded in Israel by three of us, we are extremely experienced personnel from a cross-section of Israel s Security Agency (ISA) and from various elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), we bring together a highly qualified group of professionals with years of unparalleled experience in the evaluation, planning and execution of security, intelligence and protection programs. We ve been involved in some of the world s most hostile places in our previous careers, explains Ronen Ben Efraim. He continued: We have planed and managed, preventive and operatives missions for close protection of heads of state, prime ministers, senior religious leaders and heads of industry. We also employ highly experienced VIP Protection personnel from the civilian sector, whose clients include A-list celebrities and high-net-worth individuals of note.
Our concept is to provide a full cover solution to the client, focusing on preliminary preparations and analysis that will allow a high level of prevention. Our company not only includes the security issues, but also logistics, coordination and technical support that will guarantee a successful operation under one management and responsibility, our goal is to attend all aspects of the operation as defined by the client. GA , Global Advising VIP security services are available upon request, for specific events, circumstances & time periods, covering any or all of the whole range of Close Protection Officer duties, including:
– VIP security analyst: Gathering preliminary information, regarding the visit and locations, elaborating the security program upon risk analysis.
– Operational Officer: Escorting the team as the coordinator of the operation. The operational officer is with the highest professional level and experience on managing operational activities.
– Personal Bodyguards: High, trained security personals with the professional vision and approach of the ISA.
– Security Drivers: Operation: High, trained security personals with the professional vision and approach of the ISA.
– Personal Medical Officers (Upon demand): Medical assistance and solution in case of emergency or health risk of the VIP.
– Escort Team (several Bodyguards): For relatively complex operation and high quantity of VIPS .(Delegations)
– Transportation: Armoured (www.gaadvising.com/vipsecurity) vehicles, unarmored vehicles (regular and luxury), GPS equipped vehicles for satellite tracking (upon demands), airport pick-up and drop-off, aviation (air-crafts and helicopters)
– Residential Security Teams, providing security for permanent residences, offices, venues & also temporary locations for holidays, high profile events, product launches and more.
GA, Global Advising is known for its realistic approach and dynamic delivery by the highest operational and preventive standards.
GA, Global Advising
Ronen Ben Efraim
+55 11 989854443
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ALTOONA – Globe-trotter is a word that gets tossed around casually regarding people who travel internationally. Yet it seems somehow insufficient to describe the record-setting travel exploits of Dusty Pfundheller, a 2005 Altoona High School graduate. In May, Dusty, 31, visited Israel to become by several definitions, he believes the youngest person to travel to every country in the world. TheBestTraveled.com, a site that tracks people who set out on the same quest as Pfundheller’s, lists him as the youngest traveler in the world to visit all 193 United Nations countries.
He recently applied to Guinness World Records to be recognized for eight travel-related world records, including the youngest person to travel to all nations recognized by the United Nations, the Olympics, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, and the Lonely Planet travel guides. Guinness officials confirmed the organization is beginning the verification process for Dusty’s application.
When Dusty first tallied his travel exploits for a Leader-Telegram feature in January 2016, he had visited six of the world’s seven continents and 127 countries, or about two-thirds of the 193 recognized by the U.N. He was just getting started.
In the ensuing 16 months, Dusty has literally visited every remaining corner of the world, including several countries where few Americans dare to venture.
By his count, combining various lists, he has visited 236 countries always trying to meet locals and never counting airport stops, as some power travelers do. The seven countries initially singled out for their potential terrorist ties in President Donald Trump’s travel ban? Dusty checked Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan off the list in 2016, and made it to Iraq and Somalia in March of this year. How about North Korea, generally considered the most closed country in the world? Dusty finagled his way into a visit last July and has smiling photos of himself in front of giant bronze statues of supreme leaders Kim Jon-il and Kim II-sung in Pyongyang to prove it.
Throughout his excursions, Dusty found himself increasingly drawn to exotic locales, where people were eager to talk to a rare American tourist.
“The more I went to places that most people never go or haven’t even heard of, the better the adventure I had,” Dusty said in a telephone interview from his home in Singapore. He approaches his unofficial ambassador to the world role in a regular-guy way, showing interest in others and trying to leave a good impression of Americans in his wake.
“I just try to be myself, a nice, friendly person,” he said. Dusty also has done volunteer dental work at sites across the globe, including the world’s smallest country, the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, where people got very excited last November to learn a dentist was visiting. By the time Dusty left, he figured he had treated half the nation’s population of about 50 people in the country’s lone, long-vacant dental chair.
Remarkably, Dusty has done almost all of his globe-trotting in the past four years while working as a dentist in Singapore and paying off his loans from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2009, and the University of Florida College of Dentistry, from which he graduated in 2013. He spends a little more than half his days at work and travels the rest of the time. The logistics add up because Dusty typically works 11 -hour days seven days a week to build up enough time off for his adventures.
World traveler Dusty Pfundheller poses in front of the Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan, where the crater is known as “The Door to Hell.” (Photo: Courtesy of Dusty Pfundheller)
Dusty does extensive research before his travels and usually connects with locals over the internet before arriving at a new destination. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
Perhaps his most harrowing tale involves the time he spent a night in jail while traveling alone in the East African nation of Burundi, one of the world’s poorest countries that is struggling to emerge from a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war.
The February 2016 visit there began uneventfully. But in the evening, he and his host went to a bar, where Dusty, as the only foreigner, attracted the attention of a police officer, who questioned him for about half an hour. The grilling ended after Dusty followed his host’s advice and slipped the officer $5.
Then, at about 11 p.m., two military officers armed with AK-47s showed up at the host’s house, asked to see Dusty and searched his luggage. Just when it seemed like everything was going to be OK, two trucks showed up carrying about 20 soldiers, all dressed in camouflage uniforms, carrying large guns and barking orders in French.
“It was the middle of the night and deep in the forest, and it was really, really scary,” said Dusty, who had no idea why he was being detained because he doesn’t speak French.
The soldiers took Dusty to a local jail, where he was thrust into a cell with five other inmates. With no guard in sight, a terrified Dusty sat in a corner with his head down hoping nobody would bother him when, out of the blue, one of his cellmates said, “Where are you from, man?” Dusty was shocked that he could speak English.
“They treated me like a VIP in that jail cell,” Dusty said, recalling that his cellmates shared their limited food stash and even offered to share space on the newspapers they sat on to avoid contact with the gross floor. “It was absolutely incredible.”
The next day the inmates all got to go outside and shower Dusty passed on that opportunity and then a guard talked to him, learned he was an American and let him go.
Dusty’s parents, retired teachers Raina and Bob Pfundheller of Altoona, have learned to trust their son’s judgment and support the love of travel they instilled in him as a child.
Raina said the key for her is to focus on his incredible opportunities instead of the potential danger.
“I’ve had four years to practice strengthening my mental discipline,” she said. “Now, when I start to scare myself with dark thoughts, I silently remind myself to think of something more pleasant. I actually say to myself, ‘Stop! Don’t go there!’ ”
It also helps that, thanks to Dusty’s busy schedule and the 13-hour time difference between Altoona and Singapore, Raina and Bob often don’t know where Dusty has been until he’s safely back at work.
“It’s not that he’s secretive; it’s that he knows we’ll worry, so he waits to call us,” Raina said.
Traveler Dusty Pfundheller spends some time with feathered friends at Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands. (Photo: Courtesy of Dusty Pfundheller)
Dusty’s biggest border battles came when trying to gain access to Israel and Syria.
“Israel and Syria don’t like each other, but the one thing they have in common is the first two times they didn’t let me in, but then the third time they did,” he said with a chuckle.
Even though many Americans visit Israel, Dusty believes he was denied a tourist visa his first two attempts because he had visited and made friends in Arab nations viewed as hostile to Israel.
His inability to get into Israel, the only country he hadn’t visited, made news there. The Times of Israel even ran a blog he wrote titled “Tinder Dating Got Me Deported From Israel,” in which Dusty described how he told Israeli security officials he had met girls from the dating site Tinder in Lebanon and Iran. After hiring a lawyer and filing a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice, Dusty got his long-sought visa and visited Israel’s famous sites with his mother, Raina Pfundheller, who called the chance to share the momentous occasion with her oldest son an “amazing Mother’s Day gift.”
War-torn Syria presented an entirely different challenge.
After being denied a visa through normal channels, Dusty learned some travelers are granted access at the border. So he went to the Lebanon-Syrian border twice in failed attempts to get a visa the first time despite dying his blond hair and eyebrows dark to better fit in and the second time despite the pleadings of a female Syrian dentist he had met on Tinder.
On the first border visit, Dusty recalled fearing an interrogation when a police officer “with a huge gun” called him over. But after asking his name and where he was from, the policeman shocked Dusty with his next question: “Can I add you on Facebook?” Dusty said the experience, which still makes him laugh, made him think, “Maybe this place isn’t so bad.”
Dusty eventually gained admission when his dentist friend connected with the Syrian dental association’s president, who wrote a letter to the Syrian government on his behalf saying the group wanted Dusty to present at an international dental conference in Damascus. It worked. After 16 security checks, Dusty’s visa was approved and he presented at the conference, where he was a novelty as an American.
“None of the people at the conference had met an American in six or seven years,” he said. “After I got done giving my presentation, they lined up for photos. Over 100 of them ended up taking photos with me.”
The only way to enter North Korea is with a tour group, so that’s what Dusty signed up for, although he ended up being the only one in his group.
But he was far from alone; two tour guides were with him at all times. “Every visitor to North Korea is required to be accompanied,” Dusty said.
Even in North Korea, Dusty stuck to his engaging, personable style, chatting with his twentysomething guides about everything from dating and family to what they do in their spare time.
“I know they were being paid to be nice to me, but I really felt that we were friends by the end,” Dusty said.
For danger, he said, no place he visited compared with Somalia. The East African nation has been wracked by civil war and poverty for decades.
“I had four guys with guns that walked with me everywhere I went,” he said. “It was crazy.”
In Somalia, Dusty saw some sights, went to a beach and visited an internally displaced persons camp near Mogadishu, where he met with dentists who weren’t interested in his offer of medical assistance. The camps are tent cities filled with hundreds of thousands of displaced Somalians, mostly women and children separated from the men in their lives, who are forced to line up for food and water rations.
While he never saw anybody get hurt or heard any gunfire, his visit to Somalia was an unsettling experience.
“That was the only country I’ve gone to where I thought, ‘Maybe I don’t need to go back there anytime soon,’ ” Dusty said.
While many of the most-traveled people in the world head for the relative safety of Kurdistan when seeking to check Iraq off their itineraries, Dusty wanted to see what he considered the “real Iraq” he’d seen on TV.
So Dusty obtained a visa and went to Baghdad, Iraq’s capital. He arranged a tour through an agency in the United Kingdom the only company he could find worldwide offering tours in Iraq.
“I had to have three people with me the whole time. That’s how little people go there,” Dusty said, noting that his escorts included a driver, a representative from the Ministry of Tourism and another man.
Yet even in Iraq, Dusty connected with people online before his trip and arranged to sleep in the homes of local residents. He talked to his hosts about the Iraq wars and everyday life while the ministry official waited in the next room.
“None of them had ever met a regular American, and they couldn’t believe I was going there as a tourist,” he said.
Dusty considers himself fortunate to have been to places and had experiences unlike anyone else on the planet.
He maximizes efficiency by generally traveling solo and at an ambitious some might say frantic pace that involves little downtime and limited sleep. Fortunately, jet lag doesn’t seem to slow him down.
“It’s an adventure from the second I land,” he said.
His visit last August to Jokulsarlon, a glacial lagoon in southeastern Iceland, is an example of his travel style. Before arriving, he had arranged for a local to pick him up, and they drove the five hours to the iceberg-filled lagoon straight from the airport.
Dusty tentatively plans to return to the United States in the next year or two and continue practicing dentistry. He has pondered writing a book about his travels.
But there’s also the matter of the 10 countries he traveled to with other people. He is considering returning to those in the next six months so he can claim to have visited every nation solo.
“There are obviously a lot of places in the countries I’ve visited that I haven’t been,” Dusty said. “There is still so much more to see.”
For a longer version of this story, go to jsonline.com/greensheet.
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