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Category Archives: Microsoft

FTC updates consumers on ransomware

You’ve probably heard about the ransomware attack affecting organizations’ computer systems around the world. It seems to affect server software on organizations’ networked computers. But ransomware can attack anybody’s computer, so now is a good time to update your own operating system and other software. And then keep them up-to-date. The ransomware in the news now is known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt. It locks users out of their systems until they pay the crooks who installed it. This ransomware takes advantage of a security hole in Windows server software that can be closed by an update from Microsoft. Many of the organizations affected by the ransomware had not installed the software update. Even if you only have one computer, download security updates as soon as they’re available – no matter what operating system you use. Hackers are constantly looking for security gaps, and companies try to close those gaps as soon as they are discovered. So it’s important to download updates right away. Most operating systems have a setting to download and install security updates automatically. Use it. And install updates for your other software, including apps. If you use old software that doesn’t update automatically, set up a regular schedule to go to the company’s website and download and install updates yourself. It’s wise to check at least weekly. In addition to keeping software up to date, here are a couple of other things you can do to prepare for a ransomware attack:

  • Back up your important files. From tax forms to family photos, make it part of your routine to back up files often on your computers and mobile devices. When you’re done, log out of the cloud and unplug external hard drives so hackers can’t encrypt and lock your back-ups, too.
  • Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments and apps. Ransomware often is downloaded through phishing emails. You also can get ransomware from visiting a compromised site or through malicious online ads.”

NYT – With New Digital Tools, Even Nonexperts Can Wage Cyberattacks

The New York Times: “The ransomware tactic behind a global cyberattack on Friday was nothing new. But new digital tools mean that hackers “don’t even need to have any skills to do this anymore.” Attack May Worsen Monday, It Is Feared – “The effects of Friday’s attack could be magnified as workers return to their… Continue Reading

Microsoft Academic Scholar Search Adds Neuroscience

Engadget – “Semantic Scholar went live in November 2015 with a focus on computer science papers. Today, the service expanded to include neuroscience, bringing the search engine’s database to more than 10 million papers. Semantic Scholar is pitched as a sophisticated alternative to Google Scholar, and it uses AI systems and natural language processing algorithms… Continue Reading

EFF Commentary – With Windows 10, Microsoft Blatantly Disregards User Choice and Privacy

Amul Kalia – “Microsoft had an ambitious goal with the launch of Windows 10: a billion devices running the software by the end of 2018. In its quest to reach that goal, the company aggressively pushed Windows 10 on its users and went so far as to offer free upgrades for a whole year. However,… Continue Reading

Poetic Botany Art & Science of the Eighteenth-Century Vegetable World

Via the New York Botanical Garden – A Digital Exhibit: “Poetic Botany identifies an eighteenth-century movement in which botany became the subject of poetry. The relationship between art and science cultivated during this movement resulted in a rich trove of botanical knowledge, sumptuously presented in books, artworks, and gardens. This exhibition will introduce the poetic… Continue Reading

HTTPS Windows exploit targets social security numbers, email addresses

Dan Goodin, arstechnica, August 3, 2016: “The HTTPS cryptographic scheme protecting millions of websites is vulnerable to a newly revived attack that exposes encrypted e-mail addresses, social security numbers, and other sensitive data even when attackers don’t have the ability to monitor a targeted end user’s Internet connection. The exploit is notable because it doesn’t… Continue Reading

Microsoft sues DOJ – demands right to disclose when law enforcement seeks customer data

Microsoft v. The United States Department of Justice, USDC Western District of Washington at Seattle – April 14, 2016: “Microsoft brings this case because its customers have a right to know when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails, and because Microsoft has a right to tell them. Yet the Electronic Communications Privacy… Continue Reading

Microsoft launched Fetch app using artificial intelligence to name dog breeds

“Man’s best friend has inspired a new app – Fetch! Using your iPhone camera or photo library, it can identify and classify dogs by breeds and tell you what kind of human personality fits best with specific breeds. And just for fun, the app will even take an informed guess on what kind of dog… Continue Reading

Reminder – no more IE support for versions prior to 11

Via Microsoft for Business – “What is end of support? Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical supports and security updates. Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and… Continue Reading

Organizational Restructuring and Collaborative Creativity: The Case of Microsoft and Sony

Gupta, Sonam and Dhillon, Ishneet, Organizational Restructuring and Collaborative Creativity: The Case of Microsoft and Sony (2015). The IUP Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. XII, No. 1, March 2015, pp. 53-65. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2671723 “The need for innovation and cross-dependencies among the departments is forcing organizations to restructure from divisional to functional organizational structure. This… Continue Reading

Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security (with slides) – James Mickens

“In this bleak, relentlessly morbid talk, James Mickens will describe why making computers secure is an intrinsically impossible task. He will explain why no programming language makes it easy to write secure code. He will then discuss why cloud computing is a black hole for privacy, and only useful for people who want to fill… Continue Reading

State Legislature Online Tech Landscape

A comparison of legislature and SaaS websites shows stark differences:  “An analysis of 54 state legislature websites shows that the technology they utilize trails industry standards significantly. A majority, 35 (65%), are programmed in ASP.NET and running on IIS servers – both, usually paired, are Microsoft technologies. This differs greatly from standards seen in leading… Continue Reading