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Microsoft brings enhanced security features to Office 365

The new Office 365 can also detect ransomware attacks and help users restore their OneDrive to a point before files were compromised

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Microsoft's new Surface products include 1st-ever headphones. Wikimedia Commons
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In a bid to protect users from phishing scams and ransomware, Microsoft is rolling out new security features for the Home and Personal versions of its Office 365 suite. The new protection capabilities include email encryption, ransomware detection and recovery and files restore features. “Today, we’re announcing new advanced protection capabilities coming to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers to help further protect individuals and families from online threats,” Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President, Office 365 Client Applications-Microsoft, wrote in a blog post late on Thursday.

Ransomware has become an increasingly pervasive attack method in which cybercriminals ‘lock up’ and prevent access to files in an effort to extort money from victims. “To help protect customers, we are introducing two new capabilities that allow you to recover your files if they are affected by a malicious attack,” Koenigsbauer added.

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Microsoft is now more concerned about users’ protection. VOA

The new email encryption feature in Outlook.com offers an added layer of protection and ensures end-to-end encryption of users’ email. “When you use Outlook.com email encryption, your email remains encrypted over a secure connection-minimising the threat of your information being intercepted or leaked to cybercriminals,” the software giant added.

Also Read: Microsoft announces new partnerships, cloud start-up initiative

Explaining the files restore feature, Microsoft added: “Files Restore allows you to restore your entire OneDrive to a previous point in time within the last 30 days. You can use this feature to recover from an accidental mass delete, file corruption, ransomware or other catastrophic event.”

The new Office 365 can also detect ransomware attacks and help users restore their OneDrive to a point before files were compromised, so they don’t have to submit to cybercriminal demands. “As these threats evolve, we are continuously improving detection capabilities to help keep you safe from the most advanced ransomware,” the software giant added. IANS

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Microsoft To Acquire Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI

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Microsoft acquires conversational AI and bot development firm. Pixabay

Microsoft has announced to acquire a conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and bot development company XOXCO for an undisclosed sum.

Texas-based XOXCO has been paving the way in conversational AI since 2013 and was responsible for the creation of Howdy, the first commercially available bot for Slack that helps schedule meetings.

“It also developed Botkit which provides the development tools used by hundreds of thousands of developers on GitHub. Over the years, we have partnered with XOXCO and have been inspired by this work,” said Lili Cheng, Corporate Vice President, Conversational AI at Microsoft on Thursday.

Conversational AI is quickly becoming a way in which businesses engage with employees and customers — from creating virtual assistants and redesigning customer interactions to using conversational assistants to help employees communicate and work better together.

According to Gartner, “by 2020, conversational artificial intelligence will be a supported user experience for more than 50 percent of large, consumer-centric enterprises”.

The Microsoft Bot Framework, available as a service in Azure and on GitHub, today supports over 360,000 developers.

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A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

“With this acquisition, we are continuing to realise our approach of democratising AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate,” said Cheng.

Over the last six months, Microsoft has made several strategic acquisitions to accelerate the pace of AI development.

The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI.

In July, it acquired Bonsai to help reduce the barriers to AI development by combining machine teaching, reinforcement learning and simulation.

Also Read- YouTube Premium Service Expands to 7 New Countries

In September, Microsoft acquired Lobe, a company that has created a simple visual interface empowering anyone to develop and apply deep learning and AI models quickly, without writing code.

“The acquisition of GitHub in October demonstrates our belief in the power of communities to help fuel the next wave of bot development,” Microsoft said. (IANS)