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Eclypsium lands $25M to secure the device supply chain

As the enterprise device supply chain grows increasingly global and fragmented, it’s becoming more challenging for organizations to secure their hardware…

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As the enterprise device supply chain grows increasingly global and fragmented, it’s becoming more challenging for organizations to secure their hardware and software from suppliers. According to the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, the EU agency that contributes to the bloc’s cyber policy, 66% of cyberattacks focused on a supplier’s code as of 2021.

Combating these attacks is no easy feat — but Yuriy Bulygin is making a go of it. He’s the founder of Eclypsium, a cloud platform that provides protection against device hardware, firmware and software exploits in corporate environments and public sector environments.

In a reflection of investor confidence — or perhaps simply the demand for supply chain security solutions — Eclypsium today closed a $25 million Series B round led by Ten Eleven Ventures with participation from Global Brain’s KDDI Open Innovation Fund and J Ventures, bringing the company’s war chest to $50 million. Bulygin says that the capital will be put toward expanding Eclypsium’s product capabilities, supporting current sales efforts and expanding headcount from around 80 people to over 100 by the end of the year.

“A few macro-level trends are driving demand for Eclypsium’s solution, and therefore made this the right time to raise funding to enable accelerated growth,” Bulygin told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The global supply chain is increasingly complex, which means that finished devices may have hardware and firmware components sourced from vendors around the world — all of whom add to the risk and complexity of securing a device. Moreover, the White House’s continued focus on … creating resiliency in America’s supply chains has brought a new focus to the risks inherent in a global economy, and has also driven increased demand from government agencies in Eclypsium’s solutions.”

Prior to launching Eclypsium, Bulygin spent nearly a decade at Intel, where he led security threat analysis and directed research on software and hardware vulnerabilities and exploits. Bulygin went on to become the senior director of advanced threat research at McAfee before founding CHIPSEC, an open source platform security assessment framework.

In founding Eclypsium, Bulygin sought to build a service that — in his own words — helps companies avoid “falling into the trap” of relying on equipment manufacturers and more traditional endpoint security management tools. While some startups, like Finite State, provide firmware-based supply chain security for connected devices, Bulygin argues that this level of protection is an afterthought where it concerns most cybersecurity vendors.

Eclypsium’s cloud management dashboard Image Credits: Eclypsium

The assertion has to be taken with a grain of salt — Bulygin has a product to sell, obviously. But all else being equal, it’s true that supply chain attacks are on the rise globally. According to a 2022 survey by Venafi, a machine identity management firm, 82% of chief information officers believe that their organizations are vulnerable to cyberattacks targeting supply chains. The report suggests the shift to cloud-native development, along with the increased speed brought by DevOps processes, made the challenges associated with securing supply chains significantly more complex.

“The sheer number and complexity of modern devices requires highly specialized understanding and expertise in equipment built by various manufacturers — with all firmware and software shipped with these devices — and requires a unique set of capabilities to detect compromised devices and protect from further compromise,” Bulygin said. “Because firmware plays such a critical role in enabling and defending our technology supply chains, many traditional security vendors have opportunistically added ‘firmware-specific features’ to their products. However, firmware security is not an add-on.”

Eclypsium supports hardware, including PCs and Macs, servers, “enterprise-grade” networking equipment and Internet of Things devices. Using the platform, organizations can see and control fleets of devices as well as networking infrastructure without having to install client software. Firmware orchestration capabilities allow security teams to go one step further, tapping Eclypsium to discover, analyze and deploy firmware updates published by device manufacturers to spot “unexpected” — and potentially malicious — software modules embedded in the hardware.

“Organizations are increasingly turning to zero trust principles to defend their device fleets and operations. As such, the default position is to avoid trusting systems and users until explicitly verified … [yet] each device represents a complex system of computers with their own embedded code and operating systems — each built by many suppliers,” Bulygin said. “Organizations need to understand all layers of hardware and software code for device verification to be truly successful, from all of the code embedded into devices and supplied by manufacturers to operating systems and applications. Software and firmware code embedded into devices is the most fundamental and privileged software running on each device.”

Bulygin was coy when asked about the size of Eclypsium’s customer base, and he declined to reveal any specific revenue figures. But Bulygin did volunteer that a third of the company’s customers are Fortune 2000 firms and that Eclypsium has a number of U.S. federal government contracts.

The pandemic shifted many organizations to a remote-first, work-from-anywhere, bring-your-own-device environment, accelerating the need to adopt defensive models and principles which don’t rely on perimeter defenses. The most notable shift is the move to zero trust principles, both at the application and the device level. This growing recognition of the need to provide multi-layered defense for devices, including at the operating system, embedded software and firmware, and hardware layers, has increased interest in supply chain … solutions for devices, like those from Eclypsium.

As funding rounds like Eclypsium’s shows, the cybersecurity bubble might be starting to deflate — but it hasn’t burst. Data from Momentum Cyber, a financial advisory firm, showed that cybersecurity startups raised a record-shattering $29.5 billion in venture capital in 2021, more than doubling the $12 billion raised in 2020, while a record number were minted as unicorns. And according to Crunchbase, venture dollars invested into cyber startups hit almost $6 billion in Q1 2022.

Eclypsium lands $25M to secure the device supply chain by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

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High fossil fuel prices mean UK cannot delay transition to low emissions steel

Steelmaking with green hydrogen is now a less expensive prospect relative to alternatives.

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Norenko Andrey/Shutterstock

Steel is essential for making many of the technologies that will end fossil fuel combustion, including electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels. Unfortunately, to produce a lot of steel, manufacturers need to burn a lot of fossil fuel.

Steel production accounted for 2% of the UK’s emissions in 2019 and ranks second for energy consumption among the country’s heavy industries. Roughly two-thirds of this energy comes from coal.

The blast furnaces of steelworks burn a special type called coking coal (which is converted to a hard and porous fuel known as coke) at temperatures of up to 2,000°C, producing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO₂) – around 1.8 tonnes for each tonne of steel. This method accounted for 82% of steel production in the UK in 2021, and 71% of all steel made worldwide that year.

While coal-based steelmaking can be decarbonised to an extent by capturing the CO₂, there has to be a suitable storage site nearby or sufficient demand for using that CO₂ in other industries. This is not the case for the blast furnaces in Port Talbot, Wales, which account for half of UK steel production.

Coking coal prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine has disrupted supplies. In 2021, the UK imported 39% of its coking coal from Russia, with almost all of the rest coming from the US and Australia.

Another option is to use natural gas, another fossil fuel. But since 2020, gas prices have also risen considerably. These recent fuel cost hikes demand a reassessment of how steel is made.

A metallurgical plant at night with chimneys belching smoke.
High coal prices make coal-based steelmaking less attractive for producers. ArtEvent ET/Shutterstock

Steelmaking with green hydrogen (hydrogen that has been split from water using electricity generated by renewables or nuclear power) removes fossil fuels from the process altogether. As a result, it could be insulated from increases in fossil fuel prices and carbon taxes, all of which have made steelmaking with fossil fuels more expensive in recent years.

The UK steel industry is currently given a free allocation of emissions allowances, which significantly lowers the effective carbon price paid by steel producers. Our recent research shows that, if this exemption were phased out gradually, steelmaking with green hydrogen produced using wind and solar electricity would in fact be cheaper than all other options.

Green steel

Hydrogen can convert iron ore to a pure form known as sponge iron through a process known as direct reduction. This involves heating hydrogen to between 800 and 1,000°C which reacts with the oxygen in iron ore to leave pure iron and water vapour, with no carbon emissions. The sponge iron is then processed in an electric arc furnace to produce steel.

Electric arc furnaces can also recycle scrap metal, and while the UK has no direct reduction furnaces, it already has five electric arc furnaces that recycle scrap to provide 18% of the nation’s steel. If renewable electricity powered these furnaces and was used to generate the hydrogen that fuels the production of sponge iron, then total emissions from the steel industry could be zero.

A suspended cylinder spewing molten metal.
Electric arc furnaces cut out fossil fuels, but are still expensive to run. D.Alimkin/Shutterstock

The EU and UK have both committed to ending imports of Russian coal in 2022, and large producers such as Tata Steel and ArcelorMittal have already stopped using Russian commodities in their supply chains.

While high gas and electricity prices are making some industries revert to burning coal, our findings show that green hydrogen offers a cheaper alternative to steelmakers. At recent fossil fuel prices, we estimate that direct reduction steelmaking with green hydrogen could be roughly 15% cheaper than the cheapest coal-based option (including carbon capture and storage) over a typical 25-year project lifetime.

Steelmaking with green hydrogen and electric arc furnaces uses lots of electricity. So, in a recent paper, we looked at reducing industrial electricity bills by removing green levies (which raise funds to spur the deployment of renewable technology and support vulnerable customers) and energy network maintenance costs and moving them to general taxation instead.

This would put the UK’s steel industry on an equal footing with France’s and Germany’s. We found that price parity could be achieved by increasing the average income tax bill by around 68p, rising to around £5.50 if UK steel production switched entirely to direct reduction with green hydrogen.

The UK government is considering exempting industries that consume a lot of energy from paying green levies. But soaring fossil fuel prices have hiked wholesale electricity costs so much that removing them and network maintenance fees will not significantly affect bills.

Instead, steelmakers and other heavy industries could access cheap renewable electricity directly in a green power pool.

The UK cannot afford to keep coal-based steelmaking in its decarbonisation strategy and must ensure the steel industry is ready to transition to using green hydrogen fuel instead.


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Clare Richardson-Barlow is a non-resident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Andrew Pimm and Pepa Ambrosio-Albala do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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‘Where would the world be without nurses?’ J&J refreshes campaign honoring health workers

More than two and a half years into the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson wants to remind people that nurses are much more than just caregivers.
In the latest…

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More than two and a half years into the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson wants to remind people that nurses are much more than just caregivers.

In the latest iteration of its campaign, J&J honors nurses as “innovators, lifesavers, and fierce patient advocates.” The program got a refresh from last year, including a new tagline, “Where Would the World Be Without Nurses,” and videos that debuted on social media on Thursday.

“Who would be there when no one else is?” a narrator asks in J&J’s 30-second ad video that depicts nurses scrubbing up, performing CPR and comforting patients.

J&J claims it has been a “proud champion of nurses since 1897,” and launched a campaign in 2001 to drive more people into the profession with the help of TV ad spots, grants, scholarships and more. There have been several iterations since, including last year’s “Nurses Rise to the Challenge Every Day” campaign.

Lynda Benton

“Last year, we were just really focused on trying to engage and support and remind nurses that we saw their value,” said Lynda Benton, senior director of global community impact strategic initiatives for J&J Nursing. “Now we want to open the lens and get a broader healthcare community to understand what nurses bring to healthcare.”

The ads are meant to address “alarming levels of burnout” in the nursing field, J&J said. A report published last year by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that 66% of surveyed acute and critical care nurses had considered leaving their jobs because of the pandemic. The American Nurses Association also urged the HHS secretary in a letter last year to declare the nurse staffing shortage a national crisis.

In 2022, healthcare employment has increased at a significantly higher monthly rate than last year’s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there’s more to be done, J&J emphasized.

“When you think about early 2020, the world was basically cheering on the nursing workforce and thanking them for all they were doing to care for patients,” Benton said. “As the pandemic wore on, and the vaccines started coming out … in some cases life went back to normal and [people] kind of forgot about the nurses who were still working inside the walls of the hospital and saving lives on a day-to-day basis.”

The latest campaign is complemented by videos spotlighting the next generation of nurses, and a ‘Today” show segment called “Heroes Among Us.”

“If we don’t address this, this is a healthcare crisis for everybody,” Benton said. “It’s just so important that people will really wake up and understand what’s happening today within the nursing profession.”

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What Is Helicopter Money? Definition, Examples & Applications

What Is Helicopter Money?What’s a surefire way to encourage spending, and thus, spur growth? How about dropping money from the sky? As far-stretched…

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Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke describes helicopter money as a “money-financed tax cut.”

Public DomainPictures from Pexels; Canva

What Is Helicopter Money?

What’s a surefire way to encourage spending, and thus, spur growth? How about dropping money from the sky?

As far-stretched as this idea seems, it actually has credence in schools of economic thought, particularly during times of recession or supply shocks. Helicopter money policies inject large sums into the monetary supply either through increased spending, direct cash stimulus, or a tax cut.

This policy has two goals in mind:

1. Expand the supply of money, which improves liquidity

2. Spur economic growth

Economists consider helicopter money to be an option oflast resort, after other measures, such as lowering interest rates or quantitative easing, have either failed to lift an economy out of recession or because interest rates are already as low as they can get. This conundrum is known as a liquidity trap, when the economy is at a standstill because people are hoarding their savings instead of spending.

Since the practice of helicopter money also tends to foster inflation, it typically works best during periods of deflation, when prices, along with overall monetary supply, contract without a corresponding decrease in economic output. One relevant example is the Great Depression. Bank runs resulted in a reduction in both the monetary supply as well as in the overall prices of goods and services.

It takes a whole lot to lift an economy from such dire straits, and in such cases, helicopter money can be a viable option.

Example of Helicopter Money: The COVID-19 Recession

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stock market crashed, and GDP nosedived, thrusting the economy into recession. While the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates and instituted a new round of quantitative easing measures, the U.S. government responded with helicopter money.

  • Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Trump administration authorized two rounds of direct-to-taxpayer stimulus payments, of $1200 and $600 per person, in 2020.
  • In addition, as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), payroll loans were offered to thousands of small businesses—and many were quickly forgiven. The Federal Reserve also provided increased liquidity to banks so that they could offer loans to businesses to help them stay afloat.

Who Coined the Term Helicopter Money?

In a 1969 paper entitled “The Optimum Quantity of Money,” economist Milton Friedman coined the term “helicopter drop” as a method to increase monetary policy during times of economic stress. He wrote:

“Let us suppose now that one day a helicopter flies over [the] community and drops an additional $1,000 in bills from the sky, which is, of course, hastily collected by members of the community. Let us suppose further that everyone is convinced that this is a unique event which will never be repeated.”

The point was that the easiest way to lift an economy out of troubled times would be to give its population a direct injection of money. This would both expand the monetary supply and as well as increase the disposable income of the populace, resulting in greater consumer spending and increased economic output.

Who Made the Concept of Helicopter Money Popular?

In the 1990s, Japan was facing a deflationary crisis. Its central bank had implemented crippling rate hikes to calm its housing bubble—to disastrous economic effects.

In a 2002 speech to the National Economists Club, then-Fed Governor Ben Bernanke proposed that Japan’s central bank could have re-started the country’s economy through fiscal programs:

“A broad-based tax cut, for example, accommodated by a program of open-market purchases to alleviate any tendency for interest rates to increase, would almost certainly be an effective stimulant to consumption and hence to prices. Even if households decided not to increase consumption but instead re-balanced their portfolios by using their extra cash to acquire real and financial assets, the resulting increase in asset values would lower the cost of capital and improve the balance sheet positions of potential borrowers. A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman's famous "helicopter drop" of money”

However, critics interpreted Bernanke’s words as his way of authorizing indiscriminate money printing, and the moniker “Helicopter Ben” took hold.

Bernanke would go on to chair the Federal Reserve from 2006–2014, and many of his theories were put into practice during the Financial Crisis of 2007–2008 and subsequent Great Recession. In fact, President Barack Obama credited Bernanke’s leadership during the crisis with averting a second Great Depression.

Helicopter Money vs. Quantitative Easing

While helicopter money and quantitative easing are both monetary policy tools, and both increase the monetary supply, they actually have different effects on a central bank’s balance sheet.

Through quantitative easing, a central bank buys trillions of dollars’ worth of long-term securities, such as Treasury securities, corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities, or even stocks. This increases its reserves and expands its balance sheet. These purchases are also reversible, meaning the central bank can swap out its assets if it chooses.

Helicopter money, on the other hand, involves fiscal stimulus: distributing money to the public. It has no impact on a central bank’s balance sheet. The practice of helicopter money is irreversible, which means it is permanent—and cannot be undone.

In effect, helicopter money is less a long-term economic solution than it is a “one-time” or short-term operation.

Pros of Helicopter Money

In a 2016 blog post written for the think-tank Brookings Institution, Bernanke admitted that his helicopter money reference gave him some bad PR. In fact, he said that their media relations officer, Dave Skidmore, had warned Bernanke against using the term, saying “It’s just not the sort of thing a central banker says.”

But Bernanke insisted, and the moniker stuck.

To this day, Bernanke continues to believe in the practice of helicopter money as a tool the Fed could use in response to a slowdown in the economy. His successor at the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, agreed, stating that helicopter money “is something that one might legitimately consider.”

Other central bankers support the concept, particularly in Europe, which suffered from debt crises that mired its economy throughout the 2000s, igniting deflationary pressures like low demand and weak lending, and made recovery exceedingly difficult.

Cons of Helicopter Money

The biggest drawback of helicopter money is the inflation it tends to ignite. And since inflation is notoriously difficult to manage, once the inflationary fires have been stoked, what’s to prevent them from growing out of control—and fostering hyperinflation? That’s what happened in countries like Argentina and Venezuela, when their central banks printed money and gave it to their governments, who in turn gave it to the people. Inflation surged.

Helicopter money also leads to weakened currencies, because as more and more money is printed, its value decreases significantly. It could also deter currency traders from making long-term investments if the practice is prolonged.

Clearly, helicopter money is not a practice a central bank should undertake lightly.

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