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Unbabel and Intercom partner to provide multilingual messaging

Betty Tűndik



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Enterprise Translation-as-a-Service provider Unbabel today announced the release of its Unbabel Chat app to Intercom’s App Store. Intercom, a customer messaging platform that helps businesses accelerate growth through better customer relationships, announced the launch of its App Store earlier this year. Today the App Store features more than 130 apps that help businesses and customers complete tasks inside the messenger.

The Unbabel app lets Intercom customers see inbound chat messages in their own language and respond to them in their customer’s preferred language rapidly, a big bonus for sales and support teams dealing with global queries. Unbabel can now share its services with Intercom customers globally and help more companies break down language barriers between enterprises and their customers around the world.

More than 30,000 businesses use Intercom to communicate with their customers. Intercom powers 500 million conversations a month and reaches over 1 billion unique people worldwide. Customers using the new integrated multilingual customer service chat include Monese, the award-winning globally-connected banking service, and Perkbox, one of the fastest growing global employee engagement platforms.

Automatically translated inbound messages means that customers can understand customer enquiries in other languages and handle them right away, writing a reply without having to consider the language barrier. The introduction of the built-in translation capability aims to shorten customer response times, improving the user experience and customer satisfaction.

Unbabel CEO Vasco Pedro commented: “As a platform, Intercom has been transforming global conversations for many years now, and with our app, we’re working together to break down language barriers to increase the volume and quality of those conversations. Together we’ve created a fully integrated translation pipeline to ensure customers around the world receive a native reply in near real time, a groundbreaking move for customer service and experience.”

Intercom’s Head of Platform Partnerships, Jeff Gardner, said: “We’re excited that Unbabel has joined the more than 130 other businesses that have chosen to develop apps on our platform. The Unbabel app breaks down language barriers and drives global personal communication between businesses and customers by helping people easily communicate across regions and languages.”

About Intercom
Intercom is the world’s first customer messaging platform to help internet businesses accelerate growth. Intercom is a new and better way for businesses to acquire, engage and retain customers and its modern products help sales, marketing and support to connect with customers and grow faster. Today Intercom powers more than 500 million monthly conversations and reaches over 1B+ people worldwide across our 30,000 paying customers.

About Unbabel
Unbabel’s “Translation as a Service” platform allows modern enterprises to understand and be understood by their customers in dozens of languages. Powered by state-of-the-art AI and refined by a global crowd of thousands, Unbabel helps global brands like, Facebook, Skyscanner, easyJet, Under Armour and Rovio remove language as a concern, increasing customer satisfaction and building a more efficient customer service operation in the process. Backed by Scale Venture Partners, Notion, Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Samsung NEXT and Y Combinator, Unbabel is accelerating the shift to a world without language barriers.


Internet Technology

Researchers publish a tool to hunt for hackable robots on the Internet

Vlad Poptamas



Reading Time: 4 minutes

Open sourced by Alias Robotics, the instrument is ready to be used by security researchers interested in robot footprinting and allows to track robots powered by ROS, SROS and other robot technologies 

In a first scan, close to 9000 insecure industrial routers have been reported potentially hosting more connected vulnerable robots. The study showed 1586 of them in Europe, with France and Spain leading the rankingof misconfigured devices
As potential targets for cyberattacks, robots “need to be secured as soon as possible” alert the authors. So far manufacturers are not responding, they claim, but end users are becoming aware of the problem Last summer, the University of Brown published a research on robot visibility on the internet.
They scanned the internet and found over 100 ROS-running internet-connected robots that were potential targets for cybercrime and mischief. This massive security issue got big international echo. Six months later, researchers from the robot cybersecurity startup Alias Robotics found no changes: hundreds of robots are still openly  onnected to the internet and potentially hackable. Moreover, Alias Robotics’ offensive team has extended the scan to other robots not running ROS, and developed a tool that allows security researchers to audit robots in the internet. This open source instrument, called
aztarna (“footprint” in Basque language), allows to locate and
identify robots and robot components, not only in the open internet, but also upon industrial environments where robots operate.
The authors of the piece of research have detected almost 9000 insecure industrial routers worldwide that potentially host more connected hackable robots all around the world. 1586 of them were placed in Europe. and the most insecure routers of the European Union are located in France and Spain, with
63% and 54% respectively. North American countries such as US and Canada also showed a large proportion them. All these detected industrial targets are configured with default credentials and totally unprotected.  

“Our aim was to improve, systematize and extend the results of previous studies. We target not only robots powered by the Robot Operating System (ROS), but also other setups (SROS, ROS 2.0) and technologies . Beyond robotics frameworks, our work also targets other robots that do not necessarily employ these popular middlewares”, says David Mayoral, CEO of Alias Robotics.

  As the University of Brown research team did, Alias Robotics’ authors have notified the owners of the bots whenever they came across a vulnerable robot. But the have also gone a step further: They have opened up the code. “We argue against the security by obscurity approach and instead, advocate for robot security powered by continuous assessments, including quality assurance practices in software. Of course, by no means we encourage unauthorized tampering of running robotic systems. Instead we value the importance to empower security researchers and aim to raise security-awareness among roboticists,
by releasing this robot security auditing tool” aztarna
is ready to be used by security researchers interested in robot footprinting. Throughout the article published on the preprint server arXiv sections, they’ve disclosed and
described how their work can be reproduced, and how it allows for future extensions thanks to
its modular architecture.

Authors argue that the release of these tools is a natural consequence of the general lack of concern among robot manufacturers towards security and cybersecurity.
“It’s not only that they are very slow patching their flaws when we warn them. Many just don’t care and say: We know our  robots have a set of reported vulnerabilities, but we leave security up to the end user”. Researchers from Alias Robotics invite for contributions to extend aztarna’s auditing capacities.

Hacking into 1 out of 3 industrial routers in the world is effortless While hunting for robots, researchers at Alias Robotics stumbled upon a frightening reality. As part of the search of industrial robots, a single internet wide scan was launched targeting industrial end-points, the routers. This scan has revealed a vast amount of connected devices, many of them using default, weak credentials, or having no authentication mechanisms at all. Most popular industrial routers from Ewon, Moxa, Westermo and Sierra Wireless manufacturers were scanned as they represent the majority of industrial routers nowadays.
26801 routers were found, out of which 8958 (a stunning 33%) were tagged as insecure. Results showed that most countries follow a similar balance between correctly configured and misconfigured devices, being Colombia, with 26 connected devices of which 100% were using default credentials, the most insecure country. Regarding European countries with a larger
number of connected routers, France stands out in the proportion of misconfigured devices, reported to display a total of 416 devices, 261 of them (63%) exposing default credentials. Spain follows with 54% of the studied industrial routers being configured with default credentials. North American countries showed the highest amount of industrial routers detected, with poor security settings in 36% in the US and 41% in Canadian routers. 

106 ROS systems detected by aztarnatool in a few hours 

Alias Robotics team has performed two different scans through the whole internet address space searching for open ROS Master in the 11311 port. Then, aztarna was used to verify that
the found hosts actually correspond to machines running ROS. A striking amount of 106 ROS Systems were detected, most of them in the US (52) and Korea (16). Some the ROS instances found corresponded to empty systems or simulations, but a
considerable proportion of real robots were identified. Including an array of research oriented machines, but also a series of robots in industrial environments (Figure; showing a trashclassifying robot).

Example of snaphsot by camara of an industrial trash-classification robot found with aztarna



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Banking/Financial Services

VCB Kenya Goes Live With Corporate Banking Solution Powered by i-exceed’s Appzillon

Vlad Poptamas



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Reading Time: 2 minutes


Victoria Commercial Bank (VCB), Kenya has gone live with an Appzillon-based omni-channel corporate banking solution to cater to the ever dynamic needs of their tech savvy corporate clients. VCB selected i-exceed over several other vendors due to its proven expertise in delivering digital banking solutions globally and strong technical capabilities. The application will be made available on mobile, Internet, SMS, and USSD channels.

VCB Kenya wanted a solution to address everyday needs of their clients while being future ready at the same time. Appzillon Digital Banking is a one-stop solution that makes the best use of technology to create delightful banking experiences. It leverages the technical prowess of Appzillon Digital Experience Platform, an award-winning omni-channel low-code application development platform that featured in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and Forrester’s Wave reports. Appzillon Digital Banking ranked #2 in IBS Intelligence’s Sales League Table 2018 and 2017 for Digital Banking Solutions.

Dr.Yogesh Pattni, CEO at VCB commented, “Since inception, we have always strived to promote a culture of client servicing through the implementation of smart solutions that have been designed based on a comprehensive understanding of our client’s banking needs. We are confident that the corporate digital banking solution from i-exceed will help us in achieving our goals, expand our client base, and meet client expectations. We have used i-exceed’s Appzillon solution for last four months and have seen considerable benefits in our business with usage of the solution. We are extremely pleased to be associated with i-exceed and pleasingly satisfied with the implementation approach of i-exceed and the technical functionalities of the Appzillon based product.”

Joseph John, Managing Director at i-exceed commented, “This is our first omni-channel solution in Kenya and we expect this to open up further opportunities in the region. We have always dedicated our efforts into constantly evolving our product as a leading-edge digital offering that empowers our clients with future ready solutions and helps them stay ahead of the digital race.”

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Objectway Acquires Algorfin From Unione Fiduciaria

Vlad Poptamas



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Reading Time: 2 minutes


Objectway, the leading Fintech group in Italy and one of the premier European players in software and services for the wealth, investment and asset management industries, acquired Algorfin, the software and services division of Unione Fiduciaria S.p.A.

Algorfin is specialised in IT and administrative outsourcing services for Asset Management Companies, Custodian Banks and other financial operators, through the Archimede, Diogene and Archimede Governance software platforms.

Archimede is the leading solution for the complete management of open-end and closed-end investment funds, including investors’ management, NAV calculation, compliance and any type of regulatory compliance required. Diogene supports the management of all the activities of a Custodian in the fund management area. Archimede Governance allows Asset Management Companies to perform all the checks required by the European UCITS V regulations. Moreover, Algorfin provides administrative services for back-office management and accounting to some of the premier Italian Asset Management Companies.

A team of over 100 Milan-based, highly specialised professionals from Algorfin join the Objectway Group, which reaches approximately €75 million of annual consolidated revenues following this latest acquisition.

In addition to its core business, Unione Fiduciaria will continue to carry out IT and administrative services for trust companies and to provide its own application software to support control functions and whistleblowing managers.

“This is a significant acquisition for our Group – declared Luigi Marciano, CEO of Objectway – as it consolidates our position as leader in the Italian market for Banks, Asset Management companies, Brokers and Custodian Banks, with a comprehensive offer that covers their application needs and opens new growth opportunities in Italy and other markets.”

“Unione Fiduciaria has identified in Objectway a solid and reliable partner to pass the baton for the development of the Algorfin business. With this sale, the process of focusing on fiduciary activity, the company’s core business, continues and accelerates. This operation allows Unione Fiduciaria to invest additional resources for expansion and thus continue a path already started several years ago,” commented Filippo Cappio, Managing Director of Unione Fiduciaria.

Objectway partially financed the operation, with the support of UBI Banca and Unicredit, as lending banks, and with the assistance of Marco Carbonara from Hi.lex and of Simmons & Simmons, as legal advisors. For the execution of the deal, Objectway was assisted by: UBI Banca, as financial advisor; Giovannelli e Associati, as legal advisor; Russo De Rosa Associati, as tax advisor; Accuracy for carrying out the financial due diligence. Unione Fiduciaria was assisted by Synpulse, as strategic advisor; by KPMG Advisory as financial advisor, KPMG for the vendor due diligence, and by Grimaldi as legal advisor.

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