Aspiring Israeli Singer Indicted for Hacking Madonna Since 2012

Aspiring Israeli Singer Indicted for Hacking Madonna Since 2012

An Israeli man arrested last month for allegedly hacking Madonna’s private accounts and stealing demos of her unreleased album first began targeting the singer way back in 2012, according to authorities. He apparently hacked not only cloud storage accounts to steal and sell her music but also breached more than a dozen email accounts associated […]

The post Aspiring Israeli Singer Indicted for Hacking Madonna Since 2012 appeared first on WIRED.

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How To Sabotage Encryption Software (And Not Get Caught)

How To Sabotage Encryption Software (And Not Get Caught)

When crypto researchers set out to discover the best way to undermine encryption software, they did so believing it would help them eradicate backdoors in the future. Here’s what they found.

The post How To Sabotage Encryption Software (And Not Get Caught) appeared first on WIRED.

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Tech Talent for Good launches, Microsoft Garage unveils new apps, language diversity embraced – Weekend Reading: Feb. 27 Edition

A lot of news and feats happened this week, making today’s Weekend Reading a catalog of great ideas to inspire you.

First up, Microsoft announced that its employees raised a record $117 million for nearly 20,000 nonprofits and schools in 2014. And to help employees give their time as well as money, the company unveiled Tech Talent for Good, a new program that encourages employees to help nonprofits with their technical skills. Microsoft also increased its company volunteer match to $25 per hour.

“Many of our employees have asked how they can do more for their local communities, and we are proud to provide this increased matching contribution and this new way to participate in the Microsoft Employee Giving Program,” wrote Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft executive vice president of Human Resources, and Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel and executive vice president of Legal & Corporate Affairs.

Microsoft employee Jeff Gollnick, left, volunteers at the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft employee Jeff Gollnick, left, volunteers at the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

The creative brainiacs at The Microsoft Garage released nine new apps, proving again they’re not holed up in a studio playing foozball. The eclectic, cross-platform apps include Your Weather, which customizes air quality reports in China; Join Conference, a time saver for conference callers; and DevSpace, a tool for easy access to Visual Studio Online projects.

“Great ideas are easy. The magic happens where execution meets data,” said Ed Essey, senior program manager, whose business card reads “Captain of the Ship.” That magic would be the Garage, a global community of more than 10,000 Microsoft employees and interns.

Milind Solage and Soniya Khoja created DevSpace, one of nine apps released from The Microsoft Garage this week. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Milind Solage and Soniya Khoja created DevSpace, one of nine apps released from The Microsoft Garage this week. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft also made news and gave shout-outs to several of its teams in commemorating Saturday’s International Mother Language Day. Microsoft Translator introduced Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi in an ongoing effort in preserve languages. Work continued on the ground-breaking Universal Shaping Engine, which allows you to type in Balinese, Tirhuta and other complex scripts in Windows 10. And Microsoft supported Chekov, a great tool for writing and recording dynamic eBooks – and increasing literacy in all languages.

Universal Shaping Engine supports the encoding of the Soyombo script, pictured.

Universal Shaping Engine supports the encoding of the Soyombo script, pictured.

Speaking of breaking new ground, Julie Larson-Green, chief experience officer for Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group, received the 2015 Women of Vision Leadership Award from the Anita Borg Institute. The award honors female trailblazers in technology.

For more than 20 years at Microsoft, Larson-Green has been a leader in user interface design and pioneer in product development and engineering. She’s the force behind the Office “ribbon,” which still shapes UI design today.

“Julie’s remarkable ability to unify leaders and teams to a single mission and create a shared vision of how technology can be built in a cohesive cross-system approach has led to significant product improvements,” the institute said.

Julie Larson-Green

Julie Larson-Green

The kids rocked it at We Day California, an annual celebration of young people who want to change the world. It’s sponsored by Microsoft YouthSpark. Microsoft also invited youths ages 13-25 to submit entries for the YouthSpark Challenge for Change, a global contest to use Microsoft technology and YouthSpark resources to creative positive social change.

Microsoft YouthSpark Advocates arrive at We Day California on Feb. 25, 2015 in San Jose, California. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft YouthSpark Advocates arrive at We Day California on Feb. 25, 2015 in San Jose, California. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Want to sound really smart? Hang out with Bing Predicts. The machine-learning algorithm correctly predicted the top six Academy Awards Sunday and foretold 16 of 19 Oscar wins. The feature is now setting its sights on the new season of “American Idol.” Remember, Bing knew last year’s “Idol” winner months before Caleb Johnson actually won.

Bing-Oscars-carousel-640x465
And finally, Microsoft’s Instagram page made a stop in Los Angeles, where it met modern-day Renaissance man Sal Masekela. He’s a reporter, surfer, musician, filmmaker and action-sports host. Follow us on Instagram to find out what drives him to #DoMore.

DoMore_SalM

Posted by Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Microsoft launches Tech Talent for Good as employees raise record-breaking $117 million

By Kathleen Hogan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs

Every day, Microsoft employees have the opportunity to help people do more and achieve more through technology. And today is a special day, as we’re announcing two new steps we’re taking to support our employees’ involvement in their communities.

As we’ve come to appreciate, everyday people working in nonprofit organizations wake up determined to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. But there are so many challenges facing them, a big one being lack of IT expertise to help them extend their work and do more good in their communities.

We want to turn that challenge into an opportunity. Today we are announcing Microsoft’s new Tech Talent for Good program. The program does two things. It is a direct response to the widespread need for technical expertise among nonprofits. And, it extends the expertise of Microsoft employees to help these organizations.

To deepen our employees’ impact, we’re also increasing our company volunteer match to $25 per hour. This means that four hours of employee volunteer time also results in a $100 donation to the nonprofit organization.

Many of our employees have asked how they can do more for their local communities, and we are proud to provide this increased matching contribution and this new way to participate in the Microsoft Employee Giving Program.

In 2014, Microsoft employees raised a record-breaking $117 million for nearly 20,000 nonprofits and schools around the world, including $60 million for nearly 5,000 organizations in Washington State. This reflects another year of continuing growth and it’s the fourth year in a row that our employees, together with the company’s match, raised more than $100 million to support nonprofits and schools. It is an honor to share the generous contributions of our employees and a privilege to extend our resources in a new way to the local communities where we live, work and play.

Microsoft Employee Giving Results 2014

As we know, technology can be a critical component of nonprofit success in addressing today’s myriad societal challenges, but it’s often beyond the reach of many organizations. For example, 46 percent of nonprofits don’t have the training budget for technology-related skills and knowledge. That’s according to an NTEN Report released in July 2014, which surveyed 781 nonprofits of all sizes across the U.S.

Microsoft’s new Tech Talent for Good program will encourage and enable our employees to bring their technical talents to bear against this challenge. Working with a number of nonprofit partners, including Taproot Foundation, an organization that specializes in skills-based volunteering, we will actively identify technology projects and help manage the engagement between nonprofit organizations and our employee volunteers. And, as we do with all employee volunteer efforts, we’ll match their time with cash contributions, now at $25 per hour, to each organization.

Nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes and our employees care about a wide range of social causes. So, we are starting this match-making with a varied portfolio of twenty nonprofits in Washington State, including Food Lifeline, Bellevue Arts Museum, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, PATH, Seattle Aquarium, Treehouse, USO Northwest, Washington FIRST Robotics and Year Up Puget Sound. Over time and as we refine our program, we’ll roll out even more nonprofit tech talent volunteering opportunities.

Tech_Talent (3)

Microsoft has long had a passion and focus on changing the world. Tech Talent for Good helps us take another big step forward by directly bringing the technical talents of our employees and nonprofits together to help drive even more social change.

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Gemalto Confirms It Was Hacked But Insists the NSA Didn’t Get Its Crypto Keys

Gemalto Confirms It Was Hacked But Insists the NSA Didn’t Get Its Crypto Keys

As the the company confirmed the hacks, it downplayed their significance, insisting that the attackers failed to get inside the network where cryptographic keys are stored to protect mobile communications.

The post Gemalto Confirms It Was Hacked But Insists the NSA Didn’t Get Its Crypto Keys appeared first on WIRED.

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Diplomacy Everywhere: Microsoft donates cutting-edge technology to bring diplomacy to life for visitors of the U.S. Diplomacy Center

Today, I was honored to announce a $1 million in-kind contribution to build a high-tech interactive exhibit at the U.S. Diplomacy Center (USDC)—the first step in a partnership with the Diplomacy Center Foundation (DCF).  Opening in 2017 in Washington, DC, the USDC will be a next-generation museum and education center that will showcase the importance of American diplomacy.  Our new partnership with DCF is an exciting step for Microsoft’s technological and philanthropic efforts and will help Americans understand U.S. diplomacy in a new and unique way.   I thank Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, a senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry and a Director of the Diplomacy Center Foundation, for working with us to develop this exciting partnership.

[See this PowerPoint presentation on the Microsoft-DCF partnership, including design concepts for the exhibits.]

Microsoft’s cutting-edge technologies will transport museum visitors to the front lines of American diplomacy.  As we picture it, the DIPLOMACY IS EVERYWHERE, 24/7 Exhibit will feature the latest Microsoft technology, such as Surface Hub touch screens, Skype Translator, and Bing Maps.  The result will be a next-generation museum—where visitors can virtually play the role of diplomat.  They’ll travel where diplomats travel, talk with foreign diplomatic counterparts, and make the decisions diplomats make every day around the world.

We picture Microsoft’s technology embedded throughout the museum bringing exhibits to life and even “gamifying” diplomacy.

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A marquee part of the museum, as we envision it, will feature Microsoft technology through the digital “Diplomacy Wall.” This wall will immerse museum visitors in real-life, interactive scenarios and the issues diplomats work through every day.

This exhibit will present visitors with a series of scenarios – from peace talks to natural disasters – allowing them to learn through hands-on experience how America’s diplomats engage in the world of international diplomacy.  Visitors will be able to learn about and interact with these issues, such as hostage situations, or dealing with the aftermath of a tsunami, just as diplomats do on a daily basis.

In the museum, we see USDC visitors being empowered to:

  • explore a career as a diplomat by using Surface Hub technology to make decisions about a global event;
  • communicate via Skype Translator to speak with non-English speaking international counterparts in real time; and
  • virtually travel with Bing Maps to see the region where the “crisis” is taking place.

I have no doubt that the USDC will quickly become one of the most sought after attractions near the National Mall, and that is why we are so excited about this unique partnership.  While Microsoft is well-known for our philanthropic efforts, we traditionally pursue initiatives that will advance education or inspire young people to pursue a career in the STEM fields.  Our partnership with the USDC combines these philanthropic pursuits, using both education and technology to inspire young people to pursue a career in diplomacy.

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In at least one respect, our work at Microsoft is not so different than the important work being done by the U.S. Department of State. Technology, like diplomacy, is used to connect people separated by distance and help them find common ground.  Thanks to the efforts of our men and women in the Foreign Service, leaders and nations across the globe can negotiate and maintain peace and sovereignty.

Images_translateYou can visit the U.S. Diplomacy Center website at diplomacy.state.gov and the Diplomacy Center Foundation (DCF) web site at DiplomacyCenterFoundation.org. You can also see more information in the linked presentation and FAQs.

 

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FedEx Refuses to Ship a Digital Mill That Can Make Untraceable Guns

FedEx Refuses to Ship a Digital Mill That Can Make Untraceable Guns

The new generation of “maker” tools like 3-D printers and milling machines promises to let anyone make virtually anything—from prosthetic limbs to firearms—in the privacy and convenience of his or her own home. But first, those tools have to get to customers’ homes. That’s going to be difficult for at least one new machine with […]

The post FedEx Refuses to Ship a Digital Mill That Can Make Untraceable Guns appeared first on WIRED.

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The 40,000 People in Bagram Air Base Haven’t Actually Seen Afghanistan

The 40,000 People in Bagram Air Base Haven’t Actually Seen Afghanistan

The view from soldiers and photojournalists in Afghanistan offers a glimpse of the boredom and the terror of war as they take us out on patrol, along for the raids and into the battles. And the best of them show us war through the eyes of those living with the horror. But this gritty reality is […]

The post The 40,000 People in Bagram Air Base Haven’t Actually Seen Afghanistan appeared first on WIRED.

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Why Firmware Is So Vulnerable to Hacking, and What Can Be Done About It

Why Firmware Is So Vulnerable to Hacking, and What Can Be Done About It

When Kaspersky Lab revealed last week that it had uncovered a sophisticated piece of malware designed to plant malicious code inside the firmware of computers, it should have surprised no one. And that’s not just because documents leaked by Edward Snowden have shown that spy agencies like the NSA have an intense interest in hacking […]

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For language, technology is both the medium and the message

It has often been said that air travel shrank the world, bringing people closer together. While true, that change was nothing like the transformation brought about by information and communications technologies (ICT). ICT has transformed every aspect of digital work and life, creating a globally connected society whose members have new social, economic and educational opportunities.

In this new environment, being multilingual, or knowing more than one language, increases our overall readiness to relate and to communicate cross-culturally. Since the ability to speak a language also gives us insight into a culture and a broader world view, language learning gives us more understanding than we get from simply having a translator present or learning a common diplomatic language.

Of course, not all people can learn many languages, and no one person could learn them all (there are currently over 7,000 known living languages in the world). Even if one never learns a foreign language and never travels, it remains true that cultural and language diversity brings a richness to our interactions, provides insight into the world around us and is in fact essential to leading a more cultivated life.

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In celebration of International Mother Language Day, Feb. 21, which promotes linguistic diversity and multilingualism, Microsoft proudly supports such enablement technologies such as Chekov, Translator Hub and Universal Shaping Engine, which is included in Windows 10.

Literacy

Microsoft supports Matuto: Literacy for Life Partnership to enable learners across the globe to further their literacy skills in an appropriate language and culture. The Chekov tool is used to write and record a dynamic eBook which can be used by learners worldwide to develop their literacy skills anytime, anywhere and in any language. Visit the Microsoft in Education Blog to find out more.

Spoken Language

Microsoft Translator is releasing Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi in an ongoing effort to further language preservation. The automatic translation systems for Mayan and Otomi were built using the Microsoft Translator Hub, a Translator product available free of cost to allow organizations to create their own unique translation systems. Visit the Microsoft Translator Team Blog to find out more.

Written Language

Microsoft is releasing the Universal Shaping Engine (USE), a groundbreaking script-rendering technology that allows Windows 10 to correctly display of all of the world’s writing systems. Visit Blogging Windows to find out more.

So how can we connect with even more people, across cultural and linguistic boundaries, learning local stories and building bridges between generations? The answer lies in technology. Today, search engines can translate voice and text so that all in the world can communicate. And real-time translation of conversations is another way forward to enable communication, as demonstrated in use here in classroom connections between the United States and Mexico.

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Advancing language technology means embracing our multi-lingual, multi-geo and multi-cultural world. A world where we communicate across linguistic borders at the speed of the touch of the device in our hand. A world where our services and devices are interdependent and go where we go.

Technology can help preserve language, represent language, and can open social and economic doors. Using language-enabling technologies advances our capabilities to communicate with each other across a diverse set of languages. In a multilingual, multicultural world, communicating across borders and boundaries by way of technology offerings is the way forward for current and future generations of learners and of leaders.

Learn more information about Microsoft’s language initiatives.

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