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Microsoft Introduces First-ever Surface Headphones

The Surface Laptop 2 offers a premium design, PixelSense Touch Display, and best-in-class keyboard and trackpad, without sacrificing the 14.5 hours of battery life

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Microsoft's new Surface products include 1st-ever headphones. Wikimedia Commons

Refreshing its Surface laptop line-up, Microsoft has announced four new products — Surface Pro 6, Surface Studio 2, Surface Laptop 2 and first-ever Surface Headphones — along with new innovations in Windows and Office 365.

At an event in New York on Tuesday, Microsoft also announced that the Windows 10 October 2018 update has arrived for its users.

Surface Pro 6 would start from $899 and Surface Laptop 2 would begin from $999. The devices — available for pre-order — would be available in the US from October 16.
Surface Headphones at $349 would be available later in 2018 while Surface Studio 2 would be available, starting at $3,499.

Surface Headphones has 13 levels of ambient noise control. There are two beam-forming microphones on each ear cup — eight microphones in total — helping the user focus on the sounds he or she wants to capture.

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

“You can easily adjust volume and noise cancellation levels with new, intuitive on-ear dials. While Surface Headphones are optimised for Surface devices, they will pair with any Bluetooth-enabled device,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Surface Pro 6 is equipped with latest eighth generation Intel Quad Core processor.

The device is 67 per cent faster than the fifth generation Surface Pro and has been redesigned to pack in more power but still keeps the portability, versatility and all-day battery.

“The Surface Pro 6 features the ‘PixelSense Touch Display’ which helps create the best work with Office 365 on Windows and features like intelligent inking,” said the company.

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Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

Surface Studio 2 is built for creators who need vibrancy, high-graphics performance and fast processing, delivering next-generation Pascal graphics and 50 per cent faster GPU.

The new Surface Studio is 38 per cent brighter, with 22 per cent more contrast.

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Surface Laptop 2 is 85 per cent faster than the original Surface Laptop and is powered by the new Quad Core eighth generation Intel processor.

The Surface Laptop 2 offers a premium design, PixelSense Touch Display, and best-in-class keyboard and trackpad, without sacrificing the 14.5 hours of battery life. (IANS)

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Special Olympics Partners Microsoft, Xbox to Organise Online Gaming Tournament

The tournament is scheduled to be held on May 30

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Special Olympics has partnered Microsoft and Xbox to organise a gaming tournament on May 30. Pixabay

Special Olympics has partnered Microsoft and Xbox to organise a gaming tournament on May 30 and fans can watch livestreamed Forza Motorsport 7 racing on Mixer, Xbox YouTube or Twitch.

There will be a first-ever Special Olympics award ceremony on gaming platform Minecraft.

“We’re partnering with the Special Olympics to keep athletes connected and maintain the joy of sports, using the power of Xbox,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities, providing year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, said it is a great partnership with the amazing team at Special Olympics to bring gaming to the 2020 Special Olympics.

“Incredibly proud of all the teams that are making this possible and can’t wait to see the Olympians running some fast laps,” he said.

Back in 2018, Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event during Special Olympics USA Games held in Seattle, Washington.

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Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event in 2018. Pixabay

“This year, Microsoft and Special Olympics are teaming up for the 2020 Special Olympics Xbox Virtual Gaming Event featuring Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport 7,” said the company.

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Eleven US states will be represented in this year’s event with over 35 athletes participating.

Microsoft and Special Olympics have been working together since 2014 with the goal of empowering Special Olympics athletes and programmes through technology.

Throughout the partnership, technologies such as Xbox and Microsoft Teams have been tools to bring adults and children with intellectual disabilities together in the face of a host of obstacles. (IANS)

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Intel-Microsoft Collaborated Project Turns Malware into Images

Intel and Microsoft joined hands to work on the study

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Intel-Microsoft joint project to turn malware into images. Pixabay

Researchers from Intel and Microsoft have joined forces to study the use of deep learning for malware threat detection in a project that first converts malware into images.

The basis for this study is the observation that if malware samples are turned into grayscale images, the textural and structural patterns can be used to effectively classify them as either benign or malicious, as well as cluster malicious samples into respective threat families, Microsoft said.

The researchers used an approach that they called static malware-as-image network analysis (STAMINA), Jugal Parikh and Marc Marino from Microsoft Threat Protection Intelligence Team wrote in a blog post.

For the first part of the collaboration, the researchers built on Intel’s prior work on deep transfer learning for static malware classification and used a real-world dataset from Microsoft to ascertain the practical value of approaching the malware classification problem as a computer vision task.

Using the dataset from Microsoft, the study showed that the STAMINA approach achieves high accuracy in detecting malware with low false positives.

The results were detailed in a paper titled “STAMINA: Scalable deep learning approach for malware classification”.

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The researchers used an approach that they called static malware-as-image network analysis (STAMINA). Wikimedia Commons

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To establish the practicality of the STAMINA approach, which posits that malware can be classified at scale by performing static analysis on malware codes represented as images, the study covered three main steps: image conversion, transfer learning, and evaluation.

The study was performed on a dataset of 2.2 million PE file hashes provided by Microsoft. This dataset was temporally split into 60:20:20 segments for training, validation, and test sets, respectively.

The joint research encourages the use of deep transfer learning for the purpose of malware classification. (IANS)

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Microsoft to Offer $100,000 to Anyone Who Can Hack its Custom Linux OS

Microsoft to offer sum of $100,000 if someone can hack its custom Linux OS

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Microsoft to offers $100,000 if someone hacks its custom Linux OS. Pixabay

In a three-month challenge, Microsoft is offering hackers up to $100,000 if they can break the security of its custom Linux OS.

The challenge is focused on the Azure Sphere OS for which, Microsoft built a compact and custom version of Linux last year.

“This new research challenge aims to spark new high impact security research in Azure Sphere, a comprehensive IoT security solution delivering end to end security across hardware, OS and the cloud,” said Sylvie Liu, a security programme manager at Microsoft’s Security Response Center.

“Engaging the security research community to research for high-impact vulnerabilities before the bad guys do is part of the holistic approach Azure Sphere is taking to minimize the risk,” Liu added.

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Microsoft to offers large sums to the hacker of LinuxOS. Pixabay

 

The bug bounty programme is part of a three-month research challenge that runs from June 1 until August 31.

“We will award up to $100,000 bounty for specific scenarios in the Azure Sphere Security Research Challenge during the programme period,” said Liu.

Azure Sphere was announced at last year’s Build developer conference.

“This research challenge is focused on the Azure Sphere OS. Vulnerabilities found outside the research initiative scope, including the Cloud portion, may be eligible for the public Azure Bounty Program awards,” said the company.

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Microsoft said its partnership with the global security community is key to keeping the customers secure. (IANS)