Microsoft left internal passwords exposed in latest security blunder

Apr 10, 2024 - 6:56 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft reportedly locked down a server last month that exposed passwords, keys, and credentials of Microsoft employees to the open internet, as the company faces mounting pressure to bolster its software security.

According to Techcrunch, three security researchers at SOCRadar — a company specializing in detecting corporate cybersecurity weaknesses — discovered that an Azure-hosted server storing sensitive data linked to Microsoft’s Bing search engine was left open with no password protection, meaning it could be accessed by anyone online. The server contained a variety of security credentials used by Microsoft employees to access internal systems, housed within various scripts, code, and configuration files.

One of the researchers, Can Yoleri, told Techcrunch that hackers could potentially use this exposed data to find and access other areas where Microsoft stores internal data, which “could result in more significant data leaks and possibly compromise the services in use.”

Microsoft was notified about the vulnerability on February 6th, and locked it down by March 5th. It’s unclear if anyone else accessed the exposed server during this time. We have reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

Microsoft has faced several cybersecurity mishaps in recent years, and is currently in the process of overhauling its security practices. Earlier this month, a review from the US Cyber Safety Review Board said Microsoft could have prevented a breach in its Exchange Online software that allowed Chinese hackers to access US government email systems in 2023, accusing the tech giant of developing a “corporate culture that deprioritized enterprise security investments and rigorous risk management.” Another incident in 2022 saw sensitive login credentials for Microsoft’s systems being uploaded by its own employees on GitHub.

The Verge
  0 Replies | 159 Views

Android’s upgraded Find My Device network is here

Apr 08, 2024 - 7:27 PM - by Reverend
Android’s enhanced Find My Device network is officially here. It’s rolling out starting today, and it uses a crowdsourced network to help Android device owners find their stuff — much like iOS’s Find My network.

With the update, you’ll be able to find your phone even if it’s offline by using help from other Android devices silently relaying your phone’s approximate location. If your lost device is nearby, you can get visual cues in the Find My Device app as you move closer to it. And Google’s Pixel 8 phones get a bonus feature, too: they can be located even if they’re powered off.

Starting in May, the network will also support new Bluetooth tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee so you can use the network to track down your wallet or keys. Compatible tags are also expected from Motorola, Jio, and Eufy later this year. As on iOS, you’ll be able to share access to your tags with multiple users.

Tracking tags are handy, but in the wrong hands, they can be misused. The Find My Device network supports unwanted tracker alerts across Android and iOS, so you’ll get a notification if a tracking tag that isn’t yours is moving with you — even if you’re on an iPhone.

The network also limits the number of times you can get a tracking tag’s location in an added effort to deter stalkers. Dave Kleidermacher, Android’s VP of security and privacy, tells The Verge that this shouldn’t affect how most people use the tags.

Our research found that lost items are typically left behind in stationary spots. For example, you lose your keys at the cafe, and they stay at the table where you had your morning coffee. Meanwhile, a malicious user is often trying to engage in real-time tracking of a person. By applying rate limiting and throttling to reduce how often the location of a device is updated, the network continues to be helpful for finding items, like your lost checked baggage on a trip, while helping mitigate the risk of real-time tracking.
Google is tapping into a wide range of gadgets to help make its network more useful. Headphones from JBL and Sony will also get software updates so they can be located using the network. And if your item is lost at home and you have a Nest hub, you’ll get information about how far away or close it is to the Nest device.

The upgraded Find My Device network supports devices running Android 9 or later. The network is rolling out first to the US and Canada before expanding to Android devices around the world.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 247 Views

Microsoft unbundles Teams and Office globally to avoid antitrust fight

Apr 02, 2024 - 6:30 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is extending a move it’s already taken in the European Union (EU) to unbundle its Teams collaboration app from its Microsoft Office suite for global customers in a bid to avoid further antitrust scrutiny or litigation, both in Europe and abroad.

The company said Monday that the popular workplace collaboration app — with more than 300 million global users as of 2023 — will now be sold separately from its productivity suite worldwide.

“To ensure clarity for our customers, we are extending the steps we took last year to unbundle Teams from M365 and O365 in the European Economic Area and Switzerland to customers globally,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.

The move was made to address “feedback from the European Commission by providing multinational companies more flexibility when they want to standardize their purchasing across geographies,” the spokesperson said.

Though figures vary by country and currency, new commercial customers now will pay in the range of $7.75 to $54.75 per user per month for Office without Teams, while Teams Standalone will cost $5.25 per user per month. When renewing their subscriptions, existing customers may continue with their current bundled plans or switch to plans without Teams. A Microsoft blog post has more information about plans and pricing.

  0 Replies | 522 Views

Spotify finally launches Miniplayer for desktop users

Mar 21, 2024 - 7:14 PM - by Reverend
Spotify has added a long-requested Miniplayer to its desktop app, giving you quick playback access while freeing you to focus on other things. The resizable floating window lets you control the audio, including changing tracks, picking playlists and tweaking the volume. The company says the feature has already started rolling out to Premium subscribers.

Once it becomes available in your app, you can launch the Spotify Desktop Miniplayer (its proper name) by clicking on a square on the far lower right side of the app, to the right of the standard playback controls. After clicking that, a floating window appears next to the full application.

The resizable Miniplayer can function in a square aspect ratio, ideal for videos; as a thinner bar, it's minimally intrusive and offers play / pause and skip track controls next to the current track’s info and album art.

The feature potentially voids the need for third-party apps to fill what some users saw as a big oversight from the streaming service. Apple Music has had an equivalent MiniPlayer for macOS and Windows for ages.

  0 Replies | 1,065 Views

Microsoft debuts first Surface PCs with dedicated Copilot AI button

Mar 21, 2024 - 7:11 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is releasing its first Surface PCs featuring a dedicated Copilot button on the keyboard for quickly accessing the chatbot, following through on a promise it made in January.

The addition of the button, to the left of the arrow keys, represents the biggest change to the computer keyboard in decades. While Microsoft is not the largest PC seller — that distinction belongs to Lenovo — it does run the most popular operating system with Windows. Lenovo has announced its own PCs featuring Copilot keys, as have Dell and HP.

But the Surface has in the past been a showcase of what a Windows machine can be, and Microsoft is trying to articulate the convenience of having generative artificial intelligence one keystroke away with the two new PCs: its new convertible Surface Pro 10 for Business and Surface Laptop 6 for Business.

When people type a few words in to the Copilot, which draws on AI models from Microsoft-backed OpenAI, servers in faraway data centers perform the necessary computing work to craft a response.

Microsoft calls these new machines AI PCs. The new key, which allows users to open the Copilot panel any time on the right side of the screen, helps matters, along with the silicon inside. Each computer comes packed with an Intel

Core Ultra processor containing a special neural processing engine, or NPU. Surface computers have featured NPUs since 2019.

When those NPUs are on a PC, the benefits include faster responses and better security. Recently added AI features in Windows 11, such as automatic transcription of audio and simulation of eye contact during video calls, run on the NPU, which frees up the rest of the chip for other tasks.

Microsoft is not immediately releasing these Surface models for consumers.

“We absolutely remain committed to consumer devices,” a spokesperson told CNBC in an email. “Building great devices that people love to use aligns closely with our company mission to empower individuals as well as organizations. We are excited to be bringing devices to market that deliver great AI experiences to our customers. This commercial announcement is only the first part of this effort.

  0 Replies | 782 Views

Microsoft to hold a special Windows and Surface AI event in May

Mar 18, 2024 - 7:44 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is holding an AI event in the morning on Monday, May 20th — right before Build 2024 starts. In an invite emailed to media, Microsoft says CEO Satya Nadella will talk about the company’s “AI vision across hardware and software.”

The event won’t be livestreamed and will only be open to journalists who attend the event in person. Microsoft’s special event will focus on upcoming Surface hardware and changes to Windows that are all focused on AI. While the software giant is holding a business-focused Surface event later this week, sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the May 20th event will include the consumer versions of the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6.

These consumer Surface devices will run on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X Elite processors, and include dedicated NPU hardware for accelerating AI tasks in Windows 11. Microsoft is also working on a new AI Explorer feature for Windows 11 that’s designed to work as a timeline you can search through on your PC. Windows Central reports that it will catalog everything you do on your PC so you can search for moments, much like the Timeline feature in Windows 10 that Microsoft eventually removed.

This event will also set the stage for “the year of the AI PC,” as Microsoft has described it. Partners including AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm are all ready to ship processors for Microsoft’s big Windows AI push, but we’re waiting to hear when Windows will be ready to take advantage of these new chips and laptops.

The May 20th event will also include other parts of Microsoft’s AI initiatives, including Copilot. Microsoft recently launched its $20 per month Copilot Pro subscription worldwide, which lets users access the latest OpenAI models in Microsoft Office apps.

Microsoft Build starts on Tuesday, May 21st and runs through May 22nd. There, Microsoft says it will share updates on “AI, Copilots, and more.” The event will take place both in person in Seattle and online.

The Verge
  0 Replies | 919 Views

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