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AI-Powered Microsoft 365 Business Tool to Protect SMBs

Microsoft 365 Business is an integrated solution that includes Office 365, plus device management and security capabilities

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Microsoft's beta Android launcher has digital health feature. Pixabay

To further protect small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from cyberthreats and safeguard sensitive information, Microsoft has added new features to Microsoft 365 Business including AI-powered analysis to detect and discard dangerous messages.

Microsoft 365 Business is an integrated solution that includes Office 365, plus device management and security capabilities.

“Now we’re adding new ways to protect against phishing and ransomware and prevent unintentional leaks of business data,” the Microsoft 365 team wrote in a blog post this week.

Cyber criminals use phishing and ransomware attacks to get people to download viruses and malware or unwittingly give out sensitive information. These attacks can cause significant issues for a business, ranging from loss of customer trust to financial woes.

To help bolster the defences of SMBs against phishing, malware and viruses, Microsoft 365 Business now includes advanced protection from cyberthreats, including sophisticated scanning of attachments and AI-powered analysis to detect and discard dangerous messages, the blog post said.

Other features added to the solution includes automatic checks of links in email to assess if they are part of a phishing scheme and prevent users from accessing unsafe websites.

Microsoft
Microsoft. Wikimedia commons

It also added tools to prevent devices from interacting with ransomware and other malicious web locations.

According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 71 per cent SMBs feel vulnerable to cyberattack, jumping to 87 per cent for businesses that have already experienced a breach.

Most SMBs handle sensitive information and preventing unintentional leaks of these types of sensitive information can be a challenge, despite the best efforts and good intentions of employees.

Also Read: Novel Security Tools Announced By Microsoft

To identify, monitor and protect sensitive information such as social security and credit card numbers of SMBS, Microsoft added data loss prevention policies to Microsoft 365 Business.

It also added information protection in Outlook to let SMBs and their employees manage access to sensitive data in emails.

With this feature, they can set encryption rules to prevent an email from being forwarded, copied or pasted into other programmes.

To help ensure data is properly retained with continuous data backup and compliance, it added email archiving and preservation policies.  (IANS)

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Microsoft Rejects Request to Install Facial Recognition Technology in Officers’ Cars and Body Cameras

AI has more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, multiple research projects have found

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facial recognition, microsoft
FILE - Brad Smith of Microsoft takes part in a panel discussion "Cyber, big data and new technologies. Current Internet Governance Challenges: What's Next?" at the United Nations in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2017. VOA

Microsoft recently rejected a California law enforcement agency’s request to install facial recognition technology in officers’ cars and body cameras because of human rights concerns, company President Brad Smith said Tuesday.

Microsoft concluded it would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning because the artificial intelligence has been trained on mostly white, male pictures.

AI has more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, multiple research projects have found.

“Anytime they pulled anyone over, they wanted to run a face scan” against a database of suspects, Smith said without naming the agency. After thinking through the uneven impact, “we said this technology is not your answer.”

microsoft, facial recognition
Microsoft concluded it would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning because the artificial intelligence has been trained on mostly white, male pictures. Pixabay

Prison contract accepted

Speaking at a Stanford University conference on “human-centered artificial intelligence,” Smith said Microsoft had also declined a deal to install facial recognition on cameras blanketing the capital city of an unnamed country that the nonprofit Freedom House had deemed not free. Smith said it would have suppressed freedom of assembly there.

On the other hand, Microsoft did agree to provide the technology to an American prison, after the company concluded that the environment would be limited and that it would improve safety inside the unnamed institution.

Smith explained the decisions as part of a commitment to human rights that he said was increasingly critical as rapid technological advances empower governments to conduct blanket surveillance, deploy autonomous weapons and take other steps that might prove impossible to reverse.

‘Race to the bottom’

Microsoft said in December it would be open about shortcomings in its facial recognition and asked customers to be transparent about how they intended to use it, while stopping short of ruling out sales to police.

microsoft, facial recognition
“Anytime they pulled anyone over, they wanted to run a face scan” against a database of suspects, Smith said without naming the agency. Pixabay

Smith has called for greater regulation of facial recognition and other uses of artificial intelligence, and he warned Tuesday that without that, companies amassing the most data might win the race to develop the best AI in a “race to the bottom.”

ALSO READ: Samsung to Inspect Problems Related to Galaxy Fold Screen

He shared the stage with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who urged tech companies to refrain from building new tools without weighing their impact.

“Please embody the human rights approach when you are developing technology,” said Bachelet, a former president of Chile. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw declined to name the prospective customers the company turned down. (VOA)