Ionic Security, a TechCrunch Disrupt SF Battlefield company that offers an enterprise security software, has raised $9.25 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with TechOperators, Ken Levine and Dr. Paul Judge also participating. Ted Schlein, general partner at KPCB, will be joining Ionic Security’s board.
The company originally launched last Fall as Social Fortress, as a way for both consumers and enterprise users to simplify how they access and secure their important data, including emails, Yammer messages, photos, tweets, or status updates. The startup also allowed users to manage who gets to access to this data by encrypting everything.
Since last year, the startup shifted focus to the enterprise, and now, under the name Ionic Security, offers an end-to-end security, identity and access management platform for encrypted data in the cloud. And Ionic provides this without the need for, or use of, gateways. Users can centrally manage all employee login credentials for software apps plus internal applications.
As Kleiner Perkins partner Ted Schlein explains, there are a lot of companies working on access to cloud but no one ever put it together into a seamless system that addresses all aspects of cloud security and is endpoint agnostic.
The company’s software has seen interest from the defense industrial base and the healthcare and financial services industries in both North America and Europe.
“Security needs to change with the times,” says Schlein. “Enterprises have historically secured their data through network security, endpoint protections and central identity management offerings that are no match for the complex security challenges inherent in the combination of cloud services and the rise of bring-your-own-device policies. Ionic Security addresses this challenge head-on by providing enablement, not restriction and is poised to become standard in next-generation enterprise IT infrastructure.
The new funding will be used to expand Ionic’s engineering team, accelerate enterprise sales and for sales and marketing.
The president of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Fady Chehade told the Wall Street Journal that the organization will launch Chinese character options for top-level domains in the second half of this year. (A top-level domain is the part of the Web address after the dot, so the Chinese characters would replace the .com, .net, .org’s, etc. that you see in most Web addresses).
The roll-out is part of ICANN’s plan to introduce address endings in characters other than the Roman alphabet. Other languages in the works include Arabic, Korean, Russian, and Japanese.
The announcement marks a change in tune for ICANN, which was created in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Commerce to manage domain names. The organization has resisted previous efforts by China, Russia and other countries to control Internet addresses, and been criticized for not letting each country manage their own Internet addresses. In December at the World Conference on International Telecommunications, China was among a coalition of countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, that submitted a proposal to gain more sovereignty over Web addresses, which faced opposition at that time from other nations including the U.S., Germany and the U.K. Critics said that allowing different countries to manage their own Web addresses could potentially lead to charges being placed on data transmitted over international boundaries.
According to the WSJ, the language additions are “part of ICANN’s push to reduce global opposition to its regulatory power by leaving behind its U.S. roots and becoming a more international organization.” Another sign that the organization wants to work more closely with China includes the launch of an “engagement center” in Beijing to collaborate with the government on issues like URL trademarks.
Chinese characters can already be used in the main part of a Web address, but after ICANN rolls out its new changes, companies and organization will be able to add Chinese character address endings. According to ICANN, both Tencent Holdings and Sina have already applied for the extension .weibo in Roman and Chinese characters. Other major Chinese Web companies that have bid for new extensions include Alibaba Group and Qihoo 360.
Six months after its initial launch, the preview of Outlook.com, Microsoft’s free webmail service that is meant to replace the aging Hotmail brand and design, now has over 60 million active users according to the company’s own data. Today, Microsoft is officially taking Outlook.com out of preview and will start prompting its 360 million Hotmail users to switch to the new service (while keeping their old email addresses). Microsoft expects to switch all Hotmail users to the new interface and platform by the summer.
Now that Outlook.com is out of preview, Microsoft is also launching a massive new marketing campaign for the service in the U.S., and the company tells me this will be the “largest ever” for a free webmail service. This campaign, which will include TV ads and a number of digital-only videos, will have a very upbeat tone and will not be based on the recent Scroogled campaign. Instead, the new ads focus on Outlook.com’s features and how it plays well with the rest of Microsoft’s suite of online tools, including, for example, SkyDrive.
As Microsoft’s senior director of product management, Dharmesh Mehta told me earlier this week, his team spent the last six months working on scaling the service and preparing it for this transition. Similar to what Microsoft is doing with its migration from Windows Live Messenger to Skype, the transition will be optional at first and become mandatory later on. Unlike the Messenger/Skype switch, Microsoft isn’t staggering the upgrade by geographic location, though. Hotmail users can switch at any time over the next few months. At some point in the future, this switch will become mandatory, but the timing for this remains up in the air.
Microsoft, it is worth noting, always gave Hotmail users the option to move to the new Outlook.com, but it will now actively prompt users to do so and also email them to remind them that they can switch.
Mehta acknowledged that email is “historically a very slow-moving category.” People don’t generally switch between email services very often and are even less likely to abandon their addresses in favor of a new service. Outlook.com, he stressed, lets you keep your Gmail address if you want to switch (over one-third of Outlook.com’s 60 million active users, Microsoft says, switched from Gmail) and current Hotmail users will obviously be able to keep their old @hotmail.com, @msn.com and @live.com addresses.
According to Mehta, Microsoft believes that it now has a very competitive webmail client with features that are on par with Gmail, the service that stole Hotmail’s crown as the most popular free email service. Now that Gmail is becoming more and more complicated, he told me, is a “good opportunity to push people out of their complacency” and get them to try something new.
Microsoft is clearly not shying away from the Gmail comparison. In its press materials for today’s announcement, for example, the company argues that it’s been nine years since Gmail disrupted the email space “and did something basic and offered 1 GB mailboxes. “Things are different today than they were in 2004,” Microsoft writes. “We use new communication services, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and we have a much greater appreciation for well-designed and well-connected systems.”
Hotmail was obviously a pioneer in the webmail businesses, but over time, @hotmail.com addresses lost their luster as it was eclipsed by its competitors like Gmail. Outlook.com, on the other hand, is a very modern webmail client with numerous smart features like sweep (to quickly clean up your inbox) and active views (to track packages, etc.). Some Hotmail users will obviously dislike the change to the modern, flat interface. Overall, however, this is clearly a major upgrade to Hotmail and may just allow Microsoft to once again compete in this space.
It’s the time of the month in which we gather round, hold hands, and see just how much of Microsoft’s software needs patching. The answer for this month is ‘lots.’ Out today are a total of 12 bulletins that address a smacking 57 vulnerabilities. Making this Patch Tuesday quite a bit heavier than what we are accustomed to.
Key to the mix of fixes are two bulletins that relate to Internet Explorer. Both are rated as critical, and deal with ‘remote code execution,’ a nasty problem. Here’s Qualys’s Wolfgang Kandek on the twin fixes:
One of them, MS13-009, is referred to as the “core” IE update by Microsoft because it addresses a number of vulnerabilities in IE. It covers 13 bugs with all but one of them being Remote Code Execution vulnerabilities that can be used by an attacker to gain control over a user’s machine via drive-by-download.
The second bulletin also for Internet Explorer, MS13-010, addresses a vulnerability in an ActiveX Dynamic-Link Library (DLL). It is rated critical and quite urgent to fix because the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild.
If you use Internet Explorer in any capacity, you need ensure that you update. The cumulative patch, the first of the two listed above, will require a restart.
Rounding out the rest of the packages are a set of patches that nearly all deal with Windows, and a number with Microsoft’s server products. Recall that a total of five of the bulletins are rated as critical. If you are generally slack about installing fixes, this is the month to shape up.
I’ve seen reports that Windows RT-based devices such as the Surface RT are seeing firmware updates today. If I can find an official source on that, it will be brought to you. Now go update.
Top Image Credit: Ben Lakey
Apple introduced an update to OS X alongside the iOS 6 update today, version 10.8.2. It offers Facebook integration, allowing users to sign in with their Facebook integration at the system level and share links and photos directly from the OS, as well as see Facebook information in the Contacts apps and receive Facebook notifications in Notification Center.
Other additions include Game Center updates that allow for Facebook friend recommendations, Like button for Game Center games, Power Nap for older MacBook Air devices (late 2010), Passbook integration with Mail and Safari on Mac to devices running iOS 6, and more. You can get the update by checkin in the App Store on OS X under the “Updates” tab. For a full list of updates, check out the release notes below:
This update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users, and includes new features and fixes:
- Single sign on for Facebook
- Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos
- See Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts
- Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center
- Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages
- Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations
- Added Facebook “Like” button for games
- Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement
Other new features
- Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010)
- iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac*
- You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from Safari and Mail on your Mac*
- FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number*
- New shared Reminders lists
- New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them
- Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian
- Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary
- Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts
* Requires iOS 6
The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 update also includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, including the following fixes:
- Adds an option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As
- Unsent drafts are now opened automatically when launching Mail
- Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone
- URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center
- Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used
- Adds SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari
- Adds a new preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages
- Resolves an issue that may cause the “Enable Autodiscover” checkbox to always remain checked
- Enables access to the Mac App Store when Parental Controls are enabled
- Support for @icloud.com email addresses
- Resolves a video issue with some VGA projectors when connected to certain Mac notebooks
- Addresses an issue that may prevent Active Directory accounts from being locked out
- Resolves an issue that may cause the policy banner to re-appear prior to logging in
- Improvements to SMB
- Addresses an issue with NIS users when auto-login is enabled
- Addresses an issue in which the Keychain may not be accessible
- Ability to pre-authenticate a FileVault protected system
- Addresses an issue that may cause Xsan to not automatically start after migrating from Mac OS X Snow Leopard
See the rest here: Apple Rolls Out OS X 10.8.2, Brings Facebook To Mountain Lion