YouTube Pulls ‘Inciting’ Palestinian Videos

Israel said Monday that YouTube had taken down Palestinian videos that the Jewish state considered to be “inciting murder” at a time of increasingly deadly unrest.

Videos of Palestinians stabbing Israelis or calling for such attacks as well as footage of rioters throwing stones at Israeli soldiers have been shared on the Internet.

Others showing Israeli officers shoot dead alleged attackers have also helped galvanise Palestinian youths, with violence since the start of the month leading to warnings of the risk of a full-scale uprising, or third intifada.

It was unclear which videos Israel requested be removed or how many.

“Several videos, particularly from Hamas, that are inciting violence, hate and the murder of Israelis and Jews were removed after we made the request with YouTube,” foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told AFP.

He said Israel made the request by letter to the Israeli branch of Google, which owns YouTube.

“These videos describe terrorist attacks, justify their culprits and present Jews and Israelis in a hateful and racist manner,” he said.

According to Nahshon, YouTube did not respond directly “but we were able to note that the videos in question were quickly erased”.

Israeli officials are to meet Facebook representatives on Tuesday to make a similar request.

The ministry has set up a department to monitor social networks and also called on Israelis to report such videos to YouTube and Facebook.

LogMeIn Acquires LastPass for $125 Million

Remote-access software developer LogMeIn has acquired LastPass, a popular password-management software company, for $125 million (roughly Rs. 810 crores). LogMeIn said in a statement last week that the deal is expected to be closed in the coming weeks.

The company acquired another password management service, Meldium, in September 2014 and plans to merge it with LastPass. The statement said that in the near-term, both Meldium and LastPass will be supported, but long-term plans will have the company’s password and identity management services centre around the LastPass brand.

“LastPass has a great business, a beloved and award winning product, millions of loyal users, and thousands of great business customers – they are synonymous with the category,” said Michael Simon, LogMeIn’s Chairman and CEO. “We believe this transaction instantly gives us a market leading position in password management, while also providing a highly favourable foundation for delivering the next generation of identity and access management solutions to individuals, teams and companies.”

“LogMeIn and LastPass share a great common vision on reshaping identity and access management in ways that not only increase productivity but also improve security for individuals and companies, alike,” said Joe Siegrist, CEO of LastPass. “The striking commonality between our businesses, our products, and cultural DNA make this a great fit for both teams, and we believe a great win for our customers.”

LastPass made its password management app free for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets in August this year. The service also issued a security notice in June that it had been partially hacked. Founded in 2008, LastPass is based in Virginia, USA, while LogMeIn, founded in 2003, is based in Boston, USA. The acquisition will see LogMeIn significantly boost its position in the identity and access management segment.

Flipkart Opens Fulfilment Centre Near Gurgaon

E-commerce giant Flipkart on Sunday announced the opening of a fulfilment centre in Luhari, close to Gurgaon, to meet the growing needs for consumer electronics and durables in the northern region.

With this new facility, Flipkart now has a total of 17 warehouses covering 1.5 million square feet of storage capacity across the country, the company said in a release.

It said this warehouse has been primarily set up to stock consumer electronics and durables like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, ACs, and microwave ovens. Stating that the new facility has a total storage capacity of close to 500,000 cubic feet spread over 100,000 square feet, Flipkart said the service would facilitate quicker deliveries of consumer electronics and durables to the northern parts of the country – Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.

With this warehouse, Flipkart strengthens the large appliances supply chain in northern states of the country massively, it added.

“With Flipkart Big Billion Days just around the corner, the new warehouse will help us improve the productivity and meet the anticipated demand during this period,” Flipkart Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder Binny Bansal said.

“Owing to a rise in customer demand, we are investing hugely in strengthening the supply chain areas, improving processes and ensuring quality assurance,” he added.

Man Who Bought Google.com Is Handing Over His Reward to Charity

After Google was sold for $12 (approximately Rs. 790), the company is giving a reward to ex-Googler Sanmay Ved, who was the owner of the Google.com domain for a few minutes. Except, Ved’s not interested in taking the money, and would rather see it go to charity.

Ex-Googler Sanmay Ved bought Google.com for $12 and held on to the domain for a few minutes, before Google realised what had happened and cancelled the accidental sale of the domain, and Ved was refunded his $12.

“Google could do this given the registration service used by me (aka Google Domains) belonged to Google, unlike the 2003 event in which Microsoft forgot to renew their Hotmail UK domain which was registered with Nominet UK. As a result, the Hotmail UK domain was returned to the open market for pickup by anybody who fancied it,” Ved said. “Somebody else picked it up, and as Microsoft wasn’t the registrar themselves, Microsoft wasn’t able to cancel the order, and take it back automatically. In my case, I don’t know what caused Google to lose ownership of the domain Google.com as a result of which it was available in the open market.”

Ved reported the matter to the Google Security Team, and believes a bug was behind the accidental purchase. Tech companies typically have bug-bounty programs to give monetary rewards to people who discover bugs in their systems, but Ved said said that he wasn’t interested, and would rather see the money go to charity.

“I don’t care about the money, ” Ved told Business Insider. “It was never about the money. I also want to set an example that it’s people who want to find bugs that it’s not always about the money.”

Google decided to give a reward to Ved, and because he’s giving the money to a charity – The Art of Living Foundation – the company even decided to double the amount it would pay out. Ved didn’t disclose the amount that was given, but it was “more than $10,000”.

Cyber Insurance Premiums Rocket After High-Profile Attacks

A rash of hacking attacks on US companies over the past two years has prompted insurers to massively increase cyber premiums for some companies, leaving firms that are perceived to be a high risk scrambling for cover.

On top of rate hikes, insurers are raising deductibles and in some cases limiting the amount of coverage to $100 million (roughly Rs. 647 crores), leaving many potentially exposed to big losses from hacks that can cost more than twice that.

“Some companies are struggling to find the money to buy the coverage they want,” said Tom Reagan, a cyber insurance executive withMarsh & McLennan Co’s Marsh broker unit.

The price of cyber coverage – which helps cover costs like forensic investigations, credit monitoring, legal fees and settlements – varies widely, depending on the strength of a company’s security. But the overall trend is sharply up.

Retailers and health insurers have been especially hard hit by the squeeze after high-profile breaches at Home Depot Inc, Target Corp, Anthem Inc and Premera Blue Cross.

Health insurers who suffered hacks are facing the most extreme increases, with some premiums tripling at renewal time, said Bob Wice, a leader of Beazley Plc’s cyber insurance practice.

Average rates for retailers surged 32 percent in the first half of this year, after staying flat in 2014, according to previously unreported figures from Marsh.

Higher deductibles are also now common for retailers and health insurers. And even the biggest insurers will not write policies for more than $100 million for risky customers. That leave companies like Target, which says its big 2013 data breach has cost $264 million, paying out of pocket.

No. 2 US health insurer Anthem ran into difficulties renewing its coverage after an attack early this year that compromised some 79 million customer records, according to testimony from Anthem General Counsel Thomas Zielinski at an August hearing of the National Associationof Insurance Commissioners.

Renewal rates were “prohibitively expensive,” according to minutes of that session seen by Reuters. The company managed to get $100 million in coverage, Zielinski said, but only after agreeing to pay the first $25 million (roughly Rs. 160 crores) in costs for any future attacks. The company would not say what that figure was before, but it was likely much smaller.

Opportunity for insurers
The spate of hacks is potentially good and bad for insurers. It means they have to pay out more in claims, but it also highlights the importance of buying insurance and gives them a reason to jack rates up.

As more companies realize the importance of having coverage, and insurers move in to meet that demand, the cyber insurance market is set to triple to about $7.5 billion (roughly Rs. 48,552 crores) over the next five years, according to a recent study by consulting firm PwC.

But insurers are wary of the hard-to-predict risks they are taking on.

“We have turned clients away,” said Tracie Grella, the global head of professional liability at insurance giant American International Group Inc.

AIG offers cyber policies that cover up to $75 million (roughly Rs. 485 crores) for a cyber-attack, but only for companies like top global banks that have are the most adept at securing networks and mitigating cyber risk.

Another insurer, Ace Group, recently started offering up to $100 million in coverage, but only after an intensive review of potential clients’ cyber-security policies and procedures.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway this month also launched its first cyber policies through its specialty insurance division. “We will be very selective,” said Danielle Librizzi, an executive with the insurer.

Retail hikes
Target and Home Depot declined to comment on whether insurers had hiked rates or reduced coverage after massive breaches that exposed tens of millions of credit cards.

Target said in a filing that it expects insurance to cover just $90 million (roughly Rs. 582 crores) of the $264 million (roughly Rs. 1,710 crores) of costs related to its 2013 attack. Home Depot said it expects $100 million in payments toward $232 million (roughly Rs. 1,500 crores) in expenses from its 2014 breach.

“A lot of the carriers have gotten burned. They are coming back with harsher and more challenging penalties,” said Bob Shaker, a manager at Symantec Corp’s breach response team.

Insurance buyers may be able to get more than $100 million in coverage by using a syndicate of insurers organized by a broker. Even so, some have warned they may not have adequate cover.

In the wake of last year’s attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, parent Sony Corp said its financial condition could suffer if it were attacked again, since current policies “might not cover all expenses and losses.”

Sony spokesman Mack Araki said the company expects to recover “a significant portion” of the film studio attack’s costs from insurers. He declined to elaborate or say if insurers had raised pricing or reduced the limits on its cyber coverage.

Offering advice
Retailers shopping for cyber insurance are coming under pressure to secure their payment systems, just as homeowners are encouraged to install locks on doors and windows.

Insurers are promoting newer technologies for securing payment card transactions that exceed credit card companies’ requirements, such as tokenization and end-to-end encryption, said Ben Beeson, a partner with broker Lockton Companies.

“Retailers that don’t do that today are going to struggle to get insurance,” Beeson said.

But the stringent conditions on coverage could lead to the next chapter of the cyber drama: courtroom battles.

“The restrictions and terms that we are seeing in the underwriting process now will become the claim disputes we see in two or three years,” said Lynda Bennett, partner with Lowenstein Sandler. “We definitely expect more litigation.”

Government Orders Ban on Websites, Facebook Pages With ISIS Propaganda

Cracking its whip on terror propaganda being carried on Internet, government Wednesday ordered banning of two websites and some pages on social networking site Facebook after it was found that they contained material detrimental to the country’s sovereignty.

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting in which officials from Department of Telecom, Home Ministry and central security agencies participated. The meeting was convened by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a nodal agency under Ministry of Communications, that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing.

“On the request of the IB and some police, the CERT-In has blocked two websites belonging to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which were spreading outfit’s propaganda, and two Facebook pages which were being run by anonymous people in Jammu and Kashmir,” a senior government officer said.

The two websites spreading ISIS propaganda had details of how to make bombs and training modules of the outfit. The officials said about 55-60 websites and social networking sites pages, related to terror activities, have been blocked by the government this year.

Earlier in the day, Telecommunication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that steps will be taken to check misuse of social media platforms to disrupt communal harmony and national security.

“Well as far as radicalisation or extremism…communal or pro-terrorist views are concerned, there is a proper mechanism of coordination between Home Ministry and our Ministry,” he told a press conference.

Square Files for Keenly Awaited Stock Market Debut

Digital payments startup Square, founded by Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, announced Wednesday that it has filed with US regulators for a stock market offering to raise $275 million (roughly Rs. 1,781 crores).

The exact date Square will go public was not revealed, but the San Francisco-based company planned to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SQ.”

“We’ve built one of the fairest and most efficient payments businesses in the world,” Dorsey said in a letter included with paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Creating more inclusion and greater equality in the global economy is both a social need and a huge business opportunity.”

Square started out in 2009 by providing financial transactions software for smartphones or tablets along with free “dongles” that plug into devices for reading magnetic strips on payment cards.

Dorsey said that inspiration for the startup sprang from frustration experienced by an artist friend who was unable to accept credit card payments for creations.

Square recorded a loss of $77.6 million (roughly Rs. 502 crores) in the first half of this year as compared with a loss of $79.35 during the same period in 2014, according to the filing.

Revenue for the first six months of this year at Square was $560.6 million (roughly Rs. 3,632 crores) as compared with $371.9 million (roughly Rs. 2,409 crores) in revenue taken in during the same period last year.

Square warned in the filing that the rate of revenue growth was expected to drop for reasons including that major client Starbucks will switch to a rival payment system in the coming year.

“Our sellers and other users of our services have no obligation to continue to use our services, and we cannot assure you that they will,” Square said in the filing.

Battling giants
Square has been a hit with small businesses processing less than $250,000 in transactions annually, according to Forrester analyst Brendan Miller.

To thrive, Square needs to make inroads with bigger merchants, whose business is more aggressively courted by technology titans specializing in “point-of-sale” systems and powerhouses such as PayPal.

“Square has been vastly successful at attracting small merchants,” Miller said.

“If I am Square, I am thinking I need to move up-market. As soon as I do, I start competing with the giants of the world.”

PayPal was spun off by eBay in July, with the online payments group seeing a market value higher than its former parent.

Analysts at BMO Capital Markets at the time said PayPal had the potential to disrupt the market for personal and online payments.

Square has been differentiating itself by going beyond just processing payments to providing merchants with services such as financing, delivery, and ordering ahead, according to Miller.

“What gives me hope for Square is that traditional merchant service providers have not been successful at services beyond payments to merchants,” Miller said.

“I think Square is looking at services to attach to their platform; that will be the determination of their success.”

Steering two ships
Potential investors in the initial public offering (IPO) will have to decide whether they want to put their money into a company with a part-time chief.

Earlier this month, Dorsey made his job as interim chief at Twitter permanent, giving him the task of steering two major companies in the online sector.

Twitter is betting that the second coming of co-founder Dorsey as chief executive will bring blockbuster growth that has eluded its grasp and disappointed investors.

The soft-spoken Dorsey, who will turn 39 next month, ran Twitter in 2007-2008 and served as interim chief executive after Dick Costolo resigned in June.

Media reports said Square took advantage of a US law to file for its IPO on a confidential basis earlier this year. The law allows firms with less than $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,479 crores) in revenue to put off disclosure of financial data until 21 days before the “roadshow” for investors.

In addition to the United States, Square has operations in Canada, Japan and Australia and claims to have “millions” of users around the world ranging from independent craftsmen who use its dongle to accept credit card payments to large chain stores.

Square’s plans for a stock market debut come as many startups have been able to raise cash from eager investors without heading to Wall Street for a public share offering.

Silicon Valley is home to herds of “unicorns,” startups valued at a billion dollars or more based on money pumped into them by private investors.

Privately held firms are not subject to the same scrutiny as publicly traded companies for finances and governance.

Flipkart Says 5 Lakh Mobiles Sold in 10 Hours of Big Billion Days Sale

Flipkart says it sold five lakh mobile handsets in 10 hours after mobile offers went live on day three of the Flipkart Big Billion Days sale.

“This sets a record for the highest number of mobile phones sold in India in a short period of ten hours in any platform, either online or offline,” Flipkart said in statement.

Flipkart’s Big Billion Days festive sale started on Tuesday and will end on Saturday. The sale of mobile phones opened at midnight Wednesday night (12:01am on Thursday).

While metros like Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai led in terms of the sales, Flipkart said it saw a huge surge of interest from tier-II cities with Nagpur, Indore, Coimbatore, Vishakhapatnam and Jaipur leading in sales.

The Bengaluru-based firm said the platform also saw huge sales of 4G-enabled devices.

“75 percent of the phones sold during the ten hours period were 4G phones,” it added.

“It has been a blockbuster beginning for our mobile category sale. The half a million mobile handsets sale record is truly a testament to the growing demand for smartphones in India,” Mukesh Bansal, Head of Commerce Platform, Flipkart said.

On the first day of sale, Flipkart had sold 10 lakh products in the first 10 hours with six million visits from across the nation and 25 items sold per second.

“Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai have emerged as the chart toppers in terms of visits from metro cities, and Ludhiana, Lucknow and Bhopal from the non-metro cities,” Flipkart had said in a statement.