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Microsoft To Provide New Encryption Algorithm For the Healthcare Sector 85

An anonymous reader writes: The healthcare sector gets a hand from Microsoft, who will release a new encryption algorithm which will allow developers to handle genomic data in encrypted format, without the need of decryption, and by doing so, minimizing security risks. The new algorithm is dubbed SEAL (Simple Encrypted Arithmetic Library) and is based on homomorphic encryption, which allows mathematical operations to be run on encrypted data, yielding the same results as if it would run on the cleartext version. Microsoft will create a new tool and offer it as a free download. They've also published the theoretical research. For now, the algorithm can handle only genomic data.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: "Microsoft Surface Book Tries Too Hard To Do Too Much" ( 478

MojoKid writes: Apple CEO Tim Cook isn't making any friends on the PC side of the aisle this week. Cook took to the interview circuit this week to heavily promote the release of the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and didn't waste any time kicking some dirt in the eyes of PC consumers around the world. When questioned on his thoughts about PCs, Cook wondered, "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?" Many would take issue with those comments. But we'll leave those comments behind, because Cook decided to set his targets on the current darling of the PC community — the Microsoft Surface Book. Even though Cook says that his company's relationship with Microsoft is "really good," he went on to say that the Surface Book "tries too hard to do too much" and that "it's trying to be a tablet and a notebook and it really succeeds at being neither." It will be interesting to see Mr. Cook's reaction as sales figures for the device roll in post holiday shopping season.

Microsoft Follows Mozilla In Considering Early Ban On SHA-1 Certificates ( 47

itwbennett writes: Following the first successful collision attack on the SHA-1 hashing algorithm last month, Mozilla said that it was considering a cut-off of July 1, 2016 to start rejecting all SHA-1 SSL certificates, ahead of an earlier scheduled date of Jan. 1, 2017. And now Microsoft is considering blocking the hashing algorithm on Windows by June next year.

Apple Usurps Oracle As the Biggest Threat To PC Security 320

AmiMoJo writes: According to data from Secunia, Apple's software for Windows is now the biggest threat to PC security, surpassing previous long term champion Java. Among U.S. users, some 61 percent of computers detected running QuickTime did not have the latest version. With iTunes, 47 percent of the installations were outdated versions. There were 18 vulnerabilities in Apple QuickTime 7 at the time of the study. Oracle has now fallen/risen to 2nd place, followed by Adobe. All three vendors bundle automatic updater utilities with their software, but users seem to be declining new versions. Update fatigue, perhaps?

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Reviews 152

An anonymous reader writes: Anandtech posted reviews of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the Microsoft Surface Book today. They write: "After launching Surface Pro 3 with Haswell in 2014, Microsoft — like so many manufacturers — opted to skip the short-lived Broadwell generation of Intel CPUs in favor of making the larger jump to Skylake. Skylake brings with it notable increases in both CPU and GPU performance, particularly in the mobile space thanks to a series of optimizations and the use of Intel's leading 14nm manufacturing node," about the Pro 4 and with regards to the Book, "The basis of the Surface Book is that it is designed to be used as a laptop most of the time, but the display can be removed as a Clipboard for use with the pen. The Surface Book is certainly not the first device to do this, but it does some things in new ways that are pretty interesting."

Windows 10 Upgrades Are Being Forced On Some Users ( 374

grimmjeeper writes: According to Ars Technica the Windows 10 upgrade option is being selected by default for some users. A dialogue box is appearing that only permits them to reschedule the upgrade process, not cancel it. "For the first year of its availability, Windows 10 is available for free to most Windows 7 and 8 users, and Microsoft has been trying to coax those users to make the switch by delivering the operating system through Windows Update. Until now, the OS has been delivered as an optional update; while Windows Update gives it prominent positioning, it shouldn't be installed automatically. This system has already generated some complaints, as Windows Update will download the sizeable operating system installer even if you don't intend to upgrade any time soon, but, over the last couple of days, the situation seems to have become a little more aggressive. We've received a number of reports that people's systems are not merely downloading the installer but actually starting it up." Update: 10/16 11:35 GMT by S : Microsoft said, "In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check."

Kaspersky Fixes Bug That Allowed Attackers To Block Windows Update & Others ( 34

An anonymous reader writes with this story at Softpedia about Google Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy's latest find. A vulnerability that allowed abuse by attackers was discovered and quickly fixed in the Kaspersky Internet Security antivirus package, one which allowed hackers to spoof traffic and use the antivirus product against the user and itself. Basically, by spoofing a few TCP packets, attackers could have tricked the antivirus into blocking services like Windows Update, Kaspersky's own update servers, or any other IPs which might cripple a computer's defenses, allowing them to carry out further attacks later on.

Microsoft Claims 110M Devices Now Run Windows 10 ( 171

New submitter enterpriseITrocks writes: Computerworld reports that Windows 10 is running on 110 million devices, citing stats provided by Panos Panay, the chief of the Surface team. It's the first time since late August that Microsoft has provided usage stats for Win10 at a time when the new OS was running on 75 million machines. From the article: "Microsoft's 110 million described those running Windows 10, not downloads, the company confirmed. A spokeswoman declined to describe how the company tracks uptake, but presumably it does via Windows 10 activations, which it could easily tally from its logs."

Software Defined Smart Battery Arrays Extend Laptop Life 42

An anonymous reader writes: A Microsoft research paper, titled 'Software Defined Batteries', outlines a radical charging alternative which uses a smart battery system to keep consumer-grade gadgets going for much longer than the current norm, by monitoring user habits. Making use of existing technologies, the engineers place multiple battery control under the duties of the operating system to create a software-defined approach optimized for different scenarios, such as word processing, email or video streaming.

Google and Microsoft Agree To Stand Down In Patent Wars 43

_0x783czar writes: Today Google and Microsoft have announced an end to litigious hostilities between themselves; signaling another step on the road to peace as the "global smartphone wars" wind down. This moves settles 18 lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany, including those involving Motorola Mobility's patents, which Google retained after selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. Both companies hope this move will help settle the smartphone wars and refocus their efforts on consumers. Reuters reports: "Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers."

Nerves Rattled By Highly Suspicious Windows Update Delivered Worldwide 217

An anonymous reader writes: If you're using Windows 7 you might want to be careful about which updates you install. Users on Windows forums are worried about a new "important" update that looks a little suspect. Ars reports: "'Clearly there's something that's delivered into the [Windows Update] queue that's trusted,' Kenneth White, a Washington DC-based security researcher, told Ars after contacting some of the Windows users who received the suspicious update. 'For someone to compromise the Windows Update server, that's a pretty serious vector. I don't raise the alarm very often but this has just enough characteristics of something pretty serious that I think it's worth looking at.'" UPDATE: Microsoft says there's nothing to worry about, the company "incorrectly published a test update."

Ditch Linux For Windows 10 On Your Raspberry Pi With Microsoft's IoT Kit 308

An anonymous reader writes: Partnering with Adafruit, Microsoft has announced the Windows IoT Core Starter Kit. The $75 kit comes comes with an SD card preloaded with Windows 10 IoT. According to the Raspberry Pi blog: "The pack is available with a Pi 2 for people who are are new to Raspberry Pi or who'd like a dedicated device for their projects, or without one for those who'll be using a Pi they already own. The box contains an SD card with Windows 10 Core and a case, power supply, wifi module and Ethernet cable for your Pi; a breadboard, jumper wires and components including LEDs, potentiometers and switches; and sensors for light, colour, temperature and pressure. There's everything you need to start building."

Microsoft's Satya Nadella Shown Up By Confused Cortana Assistant 201

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was a little embarrassed at a Salesforce conference today when he tested the company's personal virtual assistant during a presentation. Slightly fluffing the question 'Show me my most at-risk opportunities', Nadella was dismayed to find Cortana offering him a Bing page with the search term 'Show me to buy milk at this opportunity'. Two further efforts to discover the exposure of his shares failed to achieve their aim, and eventually the CEO of Microsoft gave up. The fact that he stumbled over his first attempt at the question seemed to floor Cortana, which uses the 'Einstein' AI engine, and which has been more praised for its accurate speech recognition than its ability to understand what an array of interpreted words actually mean.

Microsoft Backports Start Menu To Windows RT 39

jones_supa writes: Windows RT devices, such as the Surface RT and the Surface 2, won't get an upgrade to Windows 10, but instead Microsoft has been working on a platform update that brings the original Start Menu which the company introduced in the first Windows 10 builds. This means that it is technologically based on DirectUI, instead of an XAML-based menu which shipped with the RTM PC version of Windows 10. Aside from the Start Menu, the update is expected to include some minor tweaks and performance improvements as well.

Microsoft Signs Renewed Cybersecurity Agreement With NATO 37

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft and NATO have renewed a cybersecurity partnership. The agreement is part of Microsoft's Government Security Program (GSP) which allows worldwide federal bodies controlled access to Microsoft source code. PCWorld reports: "Since its inception, the GSP has grown to encompass a bunch of other types of information, especially over the past few years. With the new agreement, NATO will get controlled online access to source code for key Microsoft products including Windows and Office; information about Microsoft's cloud services, and intelligence about cybersecurity threats."

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