Latest Technology News

Microsoft brings Debian Linux to Azure

penguin megaphone

While many Linux users are vocal Microsoft detractors, the truth is, the company is a proponent of the kernel. Yes, in years past, the Windows-maker seemingly looked at Linux with disdain, but times are changing, folks. The company is hiring open source professionals, and even developing apps for the world's most popular Linux distro, Android. Not to mention, Azure has long supported a handful of Linux distributions.

Today, Microsoft is once again embracing Linux by announcing Debian support for Azure. Yes, one of the world's most popular distros is coming to the Azure Marketplace. It is joining other operating systems based on the kernel, such as Ubuntu, RHEL, openSUSE and more.

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Moto 360 Sport Android Wear smartwatch will miss holiday shopping season


Years ago, venerable toy-seller Toys R Us ran a brilliant advertisement. It showed a goofy kid playing with a rain-check. Yes, the child was palling-around with a slip of paper. This highlighted the importance of being prepared with your Christmas shopping. Kids, and adults, want actual gifts -- not paper-promises for the future.

The same applies for manufacturers, you see, as launching a product after the holiday shopping season can mean death. My colleague Joe Wilcox highlighted this recently with Google's Pixel C, for which the holiday shopping window is closing. Today, Motorola announces its latest Android Wear smartwatch, the Moto 360 Sport, and it is not even pretending to be aiming for the shopping season in the USA. Nope, the company is targeting the beginning of 2016. Maybe the fancy smartwatch doesn't have a calendar?

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EFF accuses Google of sneakily gathering data about students


The Electronic Frontier Foundation claims that Google is gathering data about school children, including their web searches. In a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission about the search giant, the EFF gives details of the deceptive usage tracking it says was uncovered while conducting research for its Spying on Students campaign.

The campaign, which launches today, aims to "spread the word about companies collecting students' data and launching a campaign to educate parents and administrators about these risks to student privacy". At the center of the controversy are Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.

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GCHQ accused of "persistent" illegal computer hacking


Court documents released during a court case brought by Privacy International show that GCHQ -- the UK version of the NSA -- has engaged in "persistent" illegal hacking. The targets of the intelligence agency's surveillance include computers and phones around the world without the need for individual warrants.

There is concern about the use of "thematic warrants" which allows GCHQ to hack computers with very little justification or oversight, and with very broad remits. Privacy International is involved because there are clear privacy issues involved in GCHQ's activities, and it is seen as being of greater importance than ever with renewed interest in the Investigatory Powers Bill.

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Microsoft's enterprise security software now offers PUA protection


Microsoft has started to offer potentially unwanted application (PUA) protection in its anti-malware products for enterprise firms.

The news means that businesses will finally have an easy way of removing adware, browser hijackers and any other piece of software that deploys programs without the user’s knowledge or consent.

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Hillary Clinton wants to spend $275 billion on IoT and world-class broadband for all Americans


Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will invest $275 billion over five years on the US infrastructure -- if she's elected, that is. A key part of the plan is to bring "world-class broadband" to every American with a view to increasing competition and equality in the workplace.

While acknowledging the importance of investing in road, rail, and other transport infrastructures, Clinton also wants to invest in the technology of the future. Embracing the Internet of Things, she wants to create "smart cities" that will be filled with connected citizens, businesses, and services, including free Wi-Fi.

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Technology terror: How ad-blocking technology steals ad dollars and video views

scared frighten fear cat

Freddy Krueger. Jason Voorhees. Michael Myers. Ad Blocking Technology. If you’ve watched a horror movie in the past 20 years, you’ve no doubt heard of those first three gruesome monsters. The last term may not be as familiar to you, but it is becoming a boogeyman of sorts for streaming video -- both for those who create and provide it as well as those who consume it.

Ad-blocking software and technology has become a very serious concern for programers, video creators, and publishers in 2015. Before the year is over, an estimated $3 billion dollars in video ad payload will be lost by publishers because of ad-blocking technology. Some premium video authors estimate that as much as one third of their video content isn’t reaching their streaming audiences at all. It may not be an epidemic yet, but there clearly is a trend, as ad-supported video businesses are being challenged as consumers install ad blockers at an increasing rate, especially on their mobile devices where they engage with video the most.

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Some VPN services might expose your IP address

Virtual Private Network VPN

Just because you’re hiding behind a VPN (virtual private network), it doesn’t mean your real IP address cannot be traced. Those are the results summarised in a report by security firm Perfect Privacy, which says that it has found a vulnerability "in a number of providers".

The flaw, described as "port fail", affects virtual private network providers which offer port forwarding and do not have appropriate protection against the vulnerability.

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Cortana comes to the enterprise with Power BI preview -- will it push Windows 10 adoption?


Companies are very good at collecting data. Hell, some entities, like Google, make an entire business out of the collection. There is nothing wrong with this -- actually, it is quite wise to collect as much data as possible. The problem, however, is that data is worthless unless you use it and sadly, it is not uncommon for data to be underutilized and sit dormant. In other words, unless you can use it to tell a story, your efforts are for naught.

Luckily, solutions such as Microsoft's Power BI can be used to create value and present data to executives in a meaningful and easily-digestible way. Today, Microsoft announces a new public preview that marries Power BI and the popular voice-assistant, Cortana, in a brilliant marriage of data presentation and interaction.

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Microsoft trolls Apple for peace

Microsoft Peace on Earth Ad

Advertising rarely gets as good as this! Microsoft sets the mood for the season in a new spot where its New York store staffers serenade Apple specialists for "peace on Earth". A children's choir joins the caroling, creating a classic! This is award-winning advertising in the making. Filming at night adds terrific ambiance, topped off with Apple 5th Avenue Store employees embracing their Microsoft retail rivals.

If Microsoft is the British Empire, then Apple is the American era. Oftentimes, the mighty are arrogant and condescending about their dominance, and it's rare that they sue rivals for peace -- from a position of dominance. The humbled fallen must adopt new tactics in the New World order. For Microsoft, that means cooperation. If nothing else, the commercial is a metaphor for the new Microsoft.

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How DDoS attacks have evolved in 2015

DDoS bombs

As with most other cyber threats, the world of DDoS attacks seldom stands still, with new techniques constantly evolving to make them more effective and harder to defeat.

Security strategist Andrew Lemke, writing on the IBM Security Intelligence blog, has taken a look at some of the most significant DDoS developments of the past year.

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How to securely manage the Windows 10 devices in your network


Microsoft’s decision to make Windows 10 a free upgrade means that, according to industry analysts, more than 350 million Windows machines are expected to be on Windows 10 within the next 12 months. This can create a huge gap between enterprise IT teams and employee devices.

While "free" has accelerated the adoption of Windows 10, what truly sets this release apart from others is that Microsoft plans to expand Windows 10 to an unlimited number of devices via the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is becoming an increasing topic of conversation both in and outside of the workplace, in particular in discussions around how to secure these connected devices.

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Google Chrome can now cut data usage by up to 70 percent

Gamer gaming games playing child kid small smartphone mobile

Websites are rapidly growing in size, making it harder for mobile device users to keep their data usage at reasonable levels. Connecting to Wi-Fi can make a huge difference, but free hotspots are not available everywhere. This is especially true when we are talking about developing markets where, for many, browsing the Web can prove to be a too costly affair.

But, at least in Chrome's case, it is possible to minimize data consumption by turning on Data Saver. In my experience, I see data savings of around 40 percent with this mode enabled. And now Google is rolling out an even more aggressive version for the Android version of its mobile browser, which promises to cut down data usage even further.

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WAFS allows simple, secure file sharing and collaboration across the world

file sharing

Secure information exchange specialist GlobalScape has used this year's Autodesk University in Las Vegas to launch an upgraded version of its Wide Area File Services collaborative software platform, WAFS 5.

WAFS 5 simplifies enterprise collaboration, eliminates errors, and decreases bandwidth usage, providing secure, near real-time data access to both on-premises and cloud-based files located anywhere in the world.

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Cyber Monday a success? Amazon and Adobe think so

delivery man

The "biggest online shopping day" is now behind us. Cyber Monday certainly brings out the deals, but do people really take advantage of them? According to a couple of announcements it would seem that the answer to that is yes.

Both Adobe and Amazon are reporting record sales, with Adobe citing a number of $3 billion. That same number was reported this morning by CNN. Obviously these are not sales to Adobe, but it tracks the data in general. The company calculates $11 billion in total was spent between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. It also claims that "out-of-stock" rates hit an all-time high.

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