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Novel Security Tools Announced By Microsoft

Microsoft launches new security tools for IoT, Edge devices!

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

To help enterprises secure their data and networks against growing cyber attacks, Microsoft has announced new intelligent security tools and technologies for Internet of Things (IoT) and edge devices.

The company introduced “Azure Sphere”, the industry’s first holistic platform to create secured, connected microcontroller unit (MCU) devices on the “intelligent edge”.

MCU-powered devices are the most populous area of computing, with roughly nine billion new devices every year.

The company also unveiled several new intelligent security features for its Microsoft 365 commercial Cloud offering — designed to help IT and security professionals simplify how they manage security across their enterprises.

Microsoft's building.
The office building of Microsoft. Pixabay

“As last year’s devastating cyber attacks demonstrated, security threats are evolving and becoming even more serious,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement late on Monday.

“The tech sector’s innovations need to accelerate to outpace security threats. Today’s steps bring important security advances not just to the cloud, but to the billions of new devices that are working on the edge of the world’s computer networks,” Smith added.

MCUs are found in everything — from toys and household appliances to industrial equipment – and with “Azure Sphere”, Microsoft extends the boundaries of the “intelligent edge” power and secure this category of devices.

To help teams stay prepared and ahead of threats, the company released “Microsoft Secure Score” and “Attack Simulator”.

“Secure Score” makes it easier for organisations to determine which controls to enable to help protect users, data and devices by quickly assessing readiness and providing an overall security benchmark score.

“Attack Simulatora, part of Office 365 Threat Intelligence, lets security teams run simulated attacks — including mock ransomware and phishing campaigns — to event-test their employees’ responses and tune configurations accordingly.

With the latest Windows 10 update, now in preview, “Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection” (ATP) works across other parts of Microsoft 365 to include threat protection and remediation spanning Office 365, Windows and Azure.

Also Read: Microsoft brings enhanced security features to Office 365

“Also available today in preview, and with the upcoming Windows 10 update, are new automated investigation and remediation capabilities in Windows Defender ATP, leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to quickly detect and respond to threats on endpoints, within seconds, at scale,” the company said.

It also announced a new “Microsoft Intelligent Security Association” for security technology partners so they can benefit from, and contribute to.

Members of the association will be able to create more integrated solutions for customers that provide greater protection and detect attacks more quickly.  IANS

Next Story

To Ease The Seattle Housing Crisis, Microsoft Pledges $500Mn

Smith said he views the fund as an acknowledgment of the economic realities faced by low-salary workers at the company and elsewhere in King County.

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A man lies in a tent with others camped nearby, under and near an overpass in Seattle, Feb. 9, 2016. Microsoft pledged $500 million to address homelessness and develop affordable housing in response to the Seattle region's widening affordability gap. VOA

Microsoft pledged $500 million to address homelessness and develop affordable housing in response to the Seattle region’s widening affordability gap.

Most of the money will be aimed at increasing housing options in the Puget Sound region for low- and middle-income workers at a time when they’re being priced out of Seattle and some of its suburbs, and when the vast majority of new buildings target wealthier renters, said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

The pledge is the largest in the company’s 44-year history, and, according to the company, is one of the heftiest contributions by a private corporation to housing, The Seattle Times reported. In comparison, the amount dwarfs the $100 million in annual funding for Washington state’s Housing Trust Fund.

It’s too early to say exactly how much affordable housing will ultimately result from the $500 million, Microsoft officials said. Smith said the company, based in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, hopes to leverage the fund to help create “tens of thousands of units.”

Microsoft, seattle
Microsoft’s Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, speaks at the annual Microsoft shareholders meeting in Bellevue, Wash., Nov. 30, 2016. VOA

Funds split three ways

The initiative comes as Microsoft and other tech giants that have driven the region’s economic boom face increasing pressure to help mitigate affordable-housing shortages. Microsoft is coupling its contributions with a call for other companies to step up, and for Seattle’s Eastside suburbs, of which Redmond is one, to facilitate more housing.

The company, which plans a news conference Thursday, will split the funds three ways.

Microsoft will loan $225 million at below-market interest rates to help developers facing high land and construction costs build and preserve “workforce housing” on the Eastside, where the company has 50,000 workers and is planning for more. The developments will be aimed at households making between $62,000 and $124,000 per year.

Secondly, $250 million will go toward market-rate loans for construction of affordable housing across the Puget Sound region for people making up to 60 percent of the local median income ($48,150 for a two-person household). The remaining $25 million will be donated to services for the region’s low-income and homeless residents.

Typhus, seattle
A homeless man sits at his street-side tent along Interstate 110 along downtown Los Angeles’ skyline, May 10, 2018. Thousands of homeless people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles County.. VOA

Acknowledging the reality

Smith said he views the fund as an acknowledgment of the economic realities faced by low-salary workers at the company and elsewhere in King County.

Also Read: The Plight of India’s Homeless Women Increases As Cities Expand

“At some level we as a region are going to need to either say there are certain areas where we’re comfortable having more people live, or we just want permanently to force the people who are going to teach our kids in schools, and put out the fires in our houses and keep us alive in the hospital, to spend four hours every day getting to and from work,” he said. “That is not, in our view, the best outcome for the community.” (VOA)