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Tel Aviv offers start-up visas

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Tel Aviv has launched its start-up visa. A program that allows entrepreneurs from all over the world to enter Israel and work there for 24 months in order to develop innovative projects.

The startup city of Tel Aviv, Israel, is to launch a program which will allow entrepreneurs from around the world to work in the city for 24 months in order to develop innovative projects. Entrepreneurs who wish to stay in Israel and open a startup company will be granted a specialist visa.

The program has been annnounced by the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Interior, along with the office of Chief Scientist.

According to Compass report ranking Tel Aviv as the #1 startup ecosystem outside of the United States, Tel Aviv’s greatest challenge is the integration of international talent (40% lower share than Silicon Valley). It has been Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality’s goal to diversify the workforce in order to promote the ecosystem.

“Israel is perceived in the world as a center of innovation and development, and we must preserve this achievement,” said Aryeh Deri, Minister of Economy. “The Startup Visa will enable foreign entrepreneurs from around the world to develop new ideas in Israel, that will aid the development of the Israeli market”.

Tel Aviv-Yafo mayor Ron Huldai also endorsed the program.

“Tel Aviv is the Nonstop City with Nonstop Innovation,” he said. “Young entrepreneurs from all over Israel come to Tel Aviv to invent new products, and now young people from all over the world will be able to come and share this phenomenon with us. The decision of the Israeli government to launch a startup visa in 2016 is groundbreaking for the state of Israel and makes Tel Aviv’s ecosystem even more accessible and attractive for foreign entrepreneurs.”

Hila Oren, CEO of Tel Aviv Global, added: “This is a really exciting time for entrepreneurs from around the world. Tel Aviv is the Startup City of the Startup Nation, and we see a huge amount of foreign companies looking to be part of the amazingly innovative culture we have here.  As city makers, we’re thrilled that the government of Israel decided to launch this program and are looking forward to welcoming entrepreneurs to our Nonstop City”.

This Startup Visa joins Tel Aviv’s city-to-city-collaborations signed with Paris and Berlin in the last month, allowing entrepreneurs from these cities to visit each other’s ecosystems and receive a soft landing package including desks at co-working spaces, advice on visas, regulations and legal issues around starting up companies, as well as one-on-one mentoring assistance and access to the ecosystem.

 

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Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall

Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics

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Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.

Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.

Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.

Key report findings include:

  • The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
  • But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
  • Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.

Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.

“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”

Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”

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New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones

Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.

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Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.

Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides. 

But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world 

In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.

Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.

Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.

Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.

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