duckduckgo 100m brian sir tim bernersleelomastechcrunch
Privacy tech continues cooking on gas. To wit: Non-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo has just revealed that it beefed up its balance sheet at the back end of last year with $100 million+ in “mainly secondary investment” — from a mix of existing and new investors.
Its blog post name-checks Omers Ventures, Thrive, GP Bullhound, Impact America Fund and WhatsApp founder Brian Acton; inventor of the world wide web Tim Berners-Lee; VC and diversity activist Freada Kapor Klein; and entrepreneur Mitch Kapor as being among the participating investors. So quite the line up.
DuckDuckGo said the secondary investment allowed some of its early employees and investors to cash out a chunk of their equity while bolstering its financial position.
Although it also says its business — which has been profitable since 2014 — is “thriving”, reporting that revenues are now running at more than $100 million a year. Hence it not needing to keep dipping into an external investor pot.
Its last VC raise was in 2018 when it took in $10 million after being actively pursued by Omers Ventures — who convinced it to take the money to help support growth objectives (especially internationally).
DDG has a few other metrics to throw around now: Over the last 12 months it said its apps were downloaded over 50 million times — more than in all prior years combined.
It’s also revealed that its monthly search traffic increased 55% and says market share trackers indicate that it grabbed the No. 2 spot for search engine on mobile in a number of countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Netherlands (StatCounter/Wikipedia).
“We don’t track our users so we can’t say for sure how many we have, but based on market share estimates, download numbers, and national surveys, we believe there are between 70-100 million DuckDuckGo users,” it added.
A looming shift to Google’s Android choice screen in Europe, where regulators have forced the company to present users of mobile devices that run its OS with rival options when they’re setting a default search engine, looks likely to further boost DuckDuckGo’s regional fortunes.
Google will be ditching the current paid auction model — so rivals which have a valuable alternative proposition for users (like privacy) combined with strong brand awareness (and, well, everyone likes ducks…) have the best chance yet to take slices out of Google’s market share.
DuckDuckGo’s blog post confirms it’ll be dialling up its marketing in Europe and other regions.
“Our thriving business also gives us the resources to tell more people there is a simple solution for online privacy they can use right now. Over the last month, we’ve rolled out billboard, radio, and TV ads in 175 metro areas across the U.S., with additional efforts planned for Europe and other countries around the world,” it notes.
NVIDIA resolves critical issues affecting Windows and Linux devices.
NVIDIA has released security upgrades to fix ten more bugs impacting the NVIDIA Virtual GPU (vGPU) management software in addition to six security holes discovered in Windows and Linux GPU display drivers.
The flaws make Windows and Linux systems vulnerable to attacks that could cause a denial of service, privilege escalation, data manipulation, or information disclosure.
Because all of these security flaws need local user access, potential attackers must first get access to susceptible targets via a different attack method.
Patching of eleven high severity vulnerabilities
Attackers can simply escalate privileges to obtain permissions above those provided by the OS after successfully exploiting one of the vulnerabilities fixed today.
Denial-of-service attacks or gaining access to otherwise inaccessible information can also be used to temporarily disable workstations running vulnerable drivers or software.
With the exception of the security flaws identified as CVE-2021-1052, CVE-2021-1053, and CVE-2021-1056 affecting the Linux GPU Display Driver for Tesla GPUs, which will start receiving an updated driver version on January 18, 2021, NVIDIA has patched all impacted software products and platforms.
The flaws have CVSS V3 base ratings ranging from 5.3 to 8.4, and NVIDIA has classified 11 of them as high-risk.
The risk assessment “is based on an average of risk across a broad set of deployed systems and may not represent the true risk of your local installation,” according to NVIDIA’s security alert.
To accurately assess the risk these vulnerabilities represent to your particular system configuration, the business further suggests speaking with an IT or security specialist.
The January 2021 Security Bulletin is a complete list of security problems that NVIDIA patched this month.
Several driver updates are accessible from hardware vendors.
NVIDIA advises users to use the security updates offered on the NVIDIA Driver Downloads page to upgrade their GeForce, NVIDIA RTX, Quadro, NVS, and Tesla GPU display drivers, as well as Virtual GPU Manager and guest driver software.
According to the business, certain consumers who choose not to manually fix the weaknesses might also get security upgrades bundled with Windows GPU display driver 460.84, 457.49, and 452.66 versions from their computer hardware vendors.
Users of the NVIDIA vGPU enterprise software must sign into the NVIDIA Enterprise Application Hub in order to download updates from the NVIDIA Licensing Center.
By plugging in a mouse, Razer Bug enables you to access Windows 10 administration.
By just putting in a Razer mouse or keyboard, a Razer Synapse zero-day vulnerability that has been publicly published on Twitter enables you to take control of Windows as an administrator.
A well-known maker of computer accessories, Razer is well recognised for their gaming keyboards and mice.
The Razer Synapse programme will immediately download and start installing on a computer when a Razer device is plugged into Windows 10 or Windows 11. Users can set up macros, map buttons, and modify their gear using the software Razer Synapse.
Over 100 million people use Razer Synapse, according to Razer, who claims that number.
The plug-and-play Razer Synapse installation contains a zero-day vulnerability that, when exploited, allows users to swiftly gain SYSTEM access on a Windows system. This vulnerability was found by security researcher jonhat.
The greatest user rights in Windows, known as SYSTEM privileges, provide users the ability to run any command on the operating system. Basically, if a user has Windows’ SYSTEM capabilities, they have total control over the system and are able to install anything they want, including malicious software.
Razer had yet to respond, so yesterday jonhat revealed the zero-day vulnerability on Twitter and provided a little video explaining how the flaw operates.
Using a mouse while plugged in to gain access to the SYSTEM
We chose to test the flaw as BleepingComputer has a Razer mouse handy. We can confirm that it took us roughly two minutes to get SYSTEM rights in Windows 10 after plugging in our mouse.
It should be emphasised that this is a local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerability, requiring physical access to a computer and a Razer device. To exploit the problem, all you need to do is purchase a $20 Razer mouse from Amazon and plug it into a Windows 10 computer.
On one of our Windows 10 machines, we set up a temporary ‘Test’ user with ordinary, non-administrator capabilities to test this flaw.
When we connected the Razer device to Windows 10, the operating system downloaded and set up both the driver and the Razer Synapse application automatically.
The Razer installation application got SYSTEM access as a result of the RazerInstaller.exe executable being started by a Windows process with SYSTEM privileges, as demonstrated below.
The setup procedure lets you choose the folder where the Razer Synapse software will be installed when you install it. Everything goes wrong when you have the choice of where to install your software.
The “Choose a Folder” window will show up when you move your folder. When you right-click the dialogue while holding down Shift, you will be given the option to “Open PowerShell window here,” which will launch a PowerShell prompt in the folder displayed in the dialogue.
This PowerShell prompt will inherit the same rights as the process that launched it because it was run with SYSTEM permissions.
As you can see in the screenshot below, after typing the “whoami” command at the PowerShell prompt, it became clear that the console has SYSTEM capabilities, enabling us to execute whatever command we like.
According to Will Dormann, a Vulnerability Analyst at the CERT/CC, other applications installed by the Windows plug-and-play mechanism is likely to include similar flaws.
Razer will address the flaw
Razer has contacted the security researcher to let them know that they will be delivering a remedy after this zero-day issue attracted significant notice on Twitter.
Despite the fact that the vulnerability was made public, Razer also informed the researcher that he would be getting a bug bounty payment.
The New York Times reports that investigators are investigating whether solarwinds has been hacked via offices in Czech, Polish, and Belorussia, where many of the company’s engineering has taken place (NEW YORK TIMES).
Sources: investigators are checking if SolarWinds was hacked via its offices in Czechia, Poland, and Belarus, where the company moved much of its engineering — Those behind the widespread intrusion into government and corporate networks exploited seams in U.S. defenses and gave away nothing to American monitoring of their systems.
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