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As tech companies such as Google wrestle with employee objections to working with the U.S. military, Microsoft Corp.’s president is throwing his company’s support behind the Pentagon. Microsoft is “going to provide the U.S. military with access to the best technology … all the technology we create. Full stop,” Brad Smith said Saturday during a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Smith acknowledged that “there is some angst” in some workforces, including Microsoft’s, about tech companies’ involvement in military contracts. In June, after thousands of employees voiced objections to a contract that allowed the military to use Google’s artificial intelligence tools to analyze drone footage, Google decided not to renew the contract. Smith said he wanted to quell such concerns. “We want Silicon Valley to know just how ethical and honorable a tradition the military has,” he said. The future and use of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems have broad implications, he said, and are “of importance to everybody and not just young people who happen to live on the West Coast.” Smith expressed openness to hearing his workers’ opinions, saying that Microsoft would “engage to address the ethical issues that new technology is creating.” He recalled an email he had received from an employee who grew up in Belgrade, Serbia — which was bombed by NATO forces in 1999 — that said the employee needed to think through Microsoft’s reasoning for working with military contracts. Smith said he understood the employee's background would lead to such hesitation. But he did not mention Microsoft taking any action or changing any policy as a result. Other tech industry executives pushed back against the idea that Silicon Valley workers are less inclined to work with the Defense Department solely because of cultural differences or qualms about the moral implications. Read employee objections, an open letter to Microsoft, and more on OUR FORUM.

When the United Kingdom's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) performs operational tasks, they may find vulnerabilities in software, hardware, websites, or critical infrastructure. When they find these vulnerabilities, they go through a review process called the "Equities Process" that determines if they are going to disclose the vulnerability so that it is fixed or if they will keep it to themselves for use during intelligence gathering. The NCSC explained this week that when they find a vulnerability, their starting position is to responsibly disclose it.  They then review the vulnerabilities through a series of groups to weigh whether the vulnerability has more value being kept private so that they can be used to protect the United Kingdom and its allies or if it is more important to disclose the vulnerability so that it is fixed. "The Equities Process provides a mechanism through which decisions about disclosure are taken. Expert analysis, based on objective criteria, is undertaken to decide whether such vulnerabilities should be released to allow them to be mitigated or retained so that they can be used for intelligence purposes in the interests of the UK," explained the NCSC. "The starting position is always that disclosing a vulnerability will be in the national interest." Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.

Dell announced today that they detected attackers in their systems on November 9th, 2018 who were attempting to extract customer information from the Dell.com, Premier, Global Portal, and support.dell.com sites. According to Dell's breach notification, they detected unauthorized users in their systems on November 9th, 2018. These attackers were trying to retrieve customers information from Dell.com accounts that included names, email addresses, and hashed passwords. "On November 9, 2018, Dell detected and disrupted unauthorized activity on our network that attempted to extract Dell.com customer information, limited to names, email addresses and hashed passwords," stated Dell's security disclosure. "Upon detection, we immediately implemented countermeasures and began an investigation. We also retained a digital forensics firm to conduct an independent investigation and engaged law enforcement." While their investigation did not reveal that any information was stolen, Dell decided to perform a mandatory reset on all Dell.com accounts. This password resets will occur when the user next logs in. You can find the security disclosure on OUR FORUM.

When users have been installing Sennheiser's HeadSetup software, little did they know that the software was also installing a root certificate into the Trusted Root CA Certificate store.  To make matters worse, the software was also installing an encrypted version of the certificate's private key that was not as secure as the developers may have thought. Similar to the Lenovo SuperFish fiasco, this certificate and its associated private key, was the same for everyone who installed the particular software. Due to this, it could allow an attacker who was able to decrypt the private key to issue fraudulent certificates under other domain that they have no control over. This would allow them to perform man-in-the-middle attacks to sniff the traffic when a user visits these sites. While these certificate files are deleted when a user uninstalls the HeadSetup software, the trusted root certificate was not removed. This would allow an attacker who had the right private key to continue to perform attacks even when the software was no longer installed on the computer. According to a vulnerability disclosure issued today by security consulting firm Secorvo these certificates were discovered when doing a random check of a computer's Trusted Root Certificate CA store.  Learn more from OUR FORUM.

A new patent application suggests that Microsoft could be working on a device that will come with the multi-part camera system. According to the patent, the camera system will have a body and a flexible mount, and it would be able to reduce the tilt error. First noticed by us, the patent titled “Self-aligning multi-part camera system” was published by USPTO earlier today and filed by Microsoft in 2016. “In some multi-part electronic devices, at least two of the multiple parts can be positioned to overlap each other to provide a specific operation for the camera. As just one example, the overlapped mode may provide for additional focusing options based on using optical elements in a second part of the device with a main camera part in a first part of the device when the first and second parts of the device are overlapped,” Microsoft explains in the background section of the patent application. The device feature multiple displays or body parts with one part comprising a camera and there is another camera module which is mounted on the second part of the device. Want to know more visit OUR FORUM.

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday will take up Apple Inc's effort to bury a lawsuit seeking damages from the company for allegedly monopolizing the market for iPhone software applications and forcing consumers to overpay. The justices will hear arguments in Apple's appeal of a lower court's decision to revive the proposed class-action lawsuit by a group of iPhone users. The lawsuit accused the Cupertino, California-based technology company of violating federal antitrust laws by requiring apps to be sold through the company's App Store and then taking a 30 percent commission from the purchases. The iPhone users, including lead plaintiff Robert Pepper of Chicago, filed the suit in a California federal court in 2011, claiming Apple's monopoly leads to inflated prices compared to if apps were available from other sources. Though developers set the prices of their apps, Apple collects the payments from iPhone users, keeping a 30 percent commission on each purchase. One area of dispute in the case is whether app developers recoup the cost of that commission by passing it on to consumers. Developers earned more than $26 billion in 2017, a 30 percent increase over 2016, according to Apple. The company, backed by Republican President Donald Trump's administration as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the justices in legal papers that siding with the iPhone users who filed the lawsuit would threaten the burgeoning field of e-commerce, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually in U.S. retail sales. The plaintiffs, as well as antitrust watchdog groups, said closing courthouse doors to those who buy end products would undermine antitrust enforcement and allow monopolistic behavior to expand unchecked. The plaintiffs were backed by 30 state attorneys general, including from Texas, California and New York. Full details can be found on OUR FORUM.