Jaguar Land Rover ploughs $25 million into Lyft

Jaguar Land Rover is to invest $ 25 million (£19m) investment in Lyft, aiming to support the US ridesharing firm’s expansion and technology plans.

The investment, made through InMotion Ventures, an investment firm linked to Jaguar which focuses on mobility and smart transportation, was included in Lyft’s most recent round of funding in April which totalled approximately $ 500 million.

InMotion had previously invested in SPLT, a Detroit-based ‘enterprise carpooling’ provider, which works with Lyft on providing non-emergency medical transport.

“We are excited to collaborate with a leading platform like Lyft not only on developing premium mobility solutions, but also devising innovative solutions to the transport problems Jaguar Land Rover’s customers face,” said Sebastian Peck, InMotion managing director. “Personal mobility and smart transportation is evolving, and this new collaborative venture will provide a real-world platform helping us develop our connected and autonomous services.”

“This is a strategic investment for both parties as we focus on innovating new mobility solutions for our customers,” added Hanno Kirner, executive director of corporate and strategy at Jaguar Land Rover. “Collaborating with an expanding technology business like Lyft is going to help us both accelerate our ambitions.”

Lyft’s most recent valuation was at $ 7.5bn, considerably lower than that of rival Uber, but without the vast majority of the bad press which has come the latter’s way over the past several weeks, culminating in the firing of 20 employees and the leaving of several top executives, including business head Emil Michael.

The company is awaiting the findings of a report prepared by former US attorney general Eric Holder around the company’s culture. Yet reports in the tech press argue the extent of the furore. Speaking to The Verge, Bradley Tusk, an advisor at Uber, argued that ‘no matter how bad the PR gets for Uber, consumers don’t seem to care…and Lyft still can’t catch up.’

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Cloudflare goes into Orbit with ‘private network for IoT devices’ launch

Internet security services provider Cloudflare has announced the launch of Orbit, a product which aims to solve the problems of Internet of Things (IoT) security by filtering traffic through the San Francisco-based vendor first.

The company argues a new model for security is needed with ever-increasing numbers of connected devices. “PC security does not work for IoT,” the company notes in a blog post. “Consumers do not share that similar understanding that they need to update their toasters, lightbulbs and cars, because they’ve never needed to in the past.

“And since we will never write perfect code, we need a better way of securing devices without waiting for users to do it for us.”

Hence Orbit. Cloudflare explains – in something of a Captain Hindsight move – that if Chrysler had used the company’s firewall, it could have simply patched the bug which made Jeeps vulnerable in 2015, rather than recall 1.4 million vehicles. “Orbit sits one layer before the device and provides a shield of security, so even if the device is running past its operating system’s expiration date, Cloudflare protects it from exploits,” the company explains. “And while devices may be seldom patched, the Cloudflare security team is shipping code every day, adding new firewall rules to Cloudflare’s edge.

“Think of it like changing IoT to I*oT – devices can still access the Internet, but only after passing through Cloudflare where malicious requests can be filtered.”

“IoT devices create a distinct security challenge both because of the inability of most end users to update their software, as well as the cost that manufacturers bear if they release an update that bricks devices. This is even worse for legacy devices, many of which are effectively unpatchable,” said Michael Freedman, CTO of Timescale and professor of computer science at Princeton University.

“Cloudflare’s Orbit provides a unique approach to help with these challenges, by deploying a defensive layer in the network where security updates can be safely made without end-user intervention or on-device changes.”

The launch is something of an interesting move. As other outlets have pointed out, while Cloudflare’s reputation when it comes to suppressing DDoS attacks and deflecting malicious traffic is good, putting itself out there as a one-stop shop for IoT devices would theoretically make it a major target for hackers.

You can read the full announcement here.

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