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Category Archives: Microsoft

AP Exclusive: New Election Systems Use Vulnerable Software

AP via US News – “Pennsylvania’s message was clear: The state was taking a big step to keep its elections from being hacked in 2020. Last April, its top election official told counties they had to update their systems. So far, nearly 60% have taken action, with $14.15 million of mostly federal funds helping counties buy brand-new electoral systems. But there’s a problem: Many of these new systems still run on old software that will soon be outdated and more vulnerable to hackers. An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts. That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said Friday it would offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023. Critics say the situation is an example of what happens when private companies ultimately determine the security level of election systems with a lack of federal requirements or oversight. Vendors say they have been making consistent improvements in election systems. And many state officials say they are wary of federal involvement in state and local elections…”

CERN Ditches Microsoft to ‘Take Back Control’ with Open Source Software

omgubuntu.com: “CERN is best known for pushing the boundaries of science and understanding, but the famed research outfit’s next major experiment will be with open-source software. The cost of various commercial software licenses has increased 10x. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, and also known as home of the Large Hadron… Continue Reading

How Can We Overcome the Challenge of Biased and Incomplete Data?

“Data analytics and artificial intelligence are transforming our lives. Be it in health care, in banking and financial services, or in times of humanitarian crises — data determine the way decisions are made. But often, the way data is collected and measured can result in biased and incomplete information, and this can significantly impact outcomes.… Continue Reading

The 2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index is now online

“Microsoft has unseated Google at the top of the 2019 RDR Corporate Accountability Index. Telefónica outpaced Vodafone among telecommunications companies. Yet despite progress, most companies still leave users in the dark about key policies and practices affecting privacy and freedom of expression, according to the 2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, released today. The… Continue Reading

Microsoft stops selling ebooks and will refund customers for previous purchases

The Verge – Ebooks will no longer be accessible as of July 2019: “Starting today, Microsoft is ending all ebook sales in its Microsoft Store for Windows PCs. Previously purchased ebooks will be removed from users’ libraries in early July. Even free ones will be deleted. The company will offer full refunds to users for… Continue Reading

Paper – Perceptions and Reality of Windows 10 Home Edition Update Features

In Control with no Control: Perceptions and Reality of Windows 10 Home Edition Update Features, Jason Morris, Ingolf Becker, Simon Parkin – University College London Workshop on Usable Security (USEC) 201924 February 2019, San Diego, CA, USAISBN 1-1891562-53-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.14722/usec.2019.23008 – www.ndss-symposium.org: “Home computer users are regularly advised to install software updates to stay secure. Windows… Continue Reading

How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy

Dark Patterns – How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy. The Norwegian Consumer Council (the Forbrukerrådet or NCC) report criticizes “features of interface design crafted to trick users into doing things that they might not want to do, but which benefit the business in question.” “In this… Continue Reading

Microsoft really doesn’t want you to use Internet Explorer anymore

The Verge: “Microsoft killed off the Internet Explorer brand nearly four years ago, choosing Edge as its modern browser for Windows 10. Internet Explorer lived on as plumbing for Windows and for business compatibility, but Microsoft isn’t supporting it with new web standards – it’s legacy code. Chris Jackson, a cybersecurity expert in Microsoft’s Windows… Continue Reading

Visualizing Data in 3D

Visualizing Data in 3D – “Microsoft has published a free data visualization tool called Charts 3D that allows PC and Surface Hub users to create 3D visualizations of multi-axis data without knowing how to code. After users import datasets, Charts 3D generates an interactive graphic, such as a geospatial plot, scatter plot, or line graph.… Continue Reading

These are the websites your clean-install Windows PC connects to by itself

MSPoweruser: “Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has been accused of breaching privacy and connecting users to services without proper disclosure. The company now has released a list of websites and services that a Windows PC connects to after a clean install. The list mostly consists of Microsoft services which provide data endpoints to… Continue Reading