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Microsoft details how to install Office with Intune

IT professionals can now use Intune, Microsoft's cloud-based enterprise mobility management service, to remotely install Office applications onto company devices running Windows 10 version 1703 or later.

The functionality was added to Intune in June, but on Thursday the Redmond, Wash. company implied it's an important feature of Microsoft 365, the subscription announced last month that will go on sale by the end of this year. Microsoft 365, which comes in both Business and Enterprise SKUs (stock-keeping units), is an amalgamation of Windows 10, Office 365 and a slew of cloud services, including Intune and Azure Active Directory (AAD).

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Apple's ARKit needs a CMS to reach its potential

As it evolves, ARKit will eventually pose bandwidth demands on mobile networks as these next-generation apps seek to download additional content they need. I spoke with Marxent's CEO and co-founder, Beck Besecker, to get some sense of the importance of ARKit to his industry and the need for a content management system (CMS) for augmented reality (AR).

‘ARKit is a big deal’

Noting that the introduction of these tools has incentivized developers, Besecker says, “ARKit is a big deal. Apple rarely is first to market, but they always aim for great over good enough — and it’s fair to say that they took their time with Augmented Reality (AR).

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New in Windows security: Automatically log off suspicious users

Microsoft has added rapid reaction to a year-old subscription service that will automatically shut down accounts - logging a user out of all managed apps and services, including those delivered by a third-party - at the first hint of suspicious activity.

The new feature in Cloud App Security (CAS), a security service launched in August 2016, collaborates with Azure Active Directory (AAD), another subscription service, to automatically bump off users behaving unusually and shut down accounts suspected of having been hijacked. CAS is built, at least in part, on technology Microsoft acquired in 2015 when it bought the Israeli cloud security vendor Adallom for $250 million.

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What's in the latest Chrome update?

Google on Tuesday released Chrome 60 for Windows, macOS and Linux, adding support for the Touch Bar on the newest MacBook Pro laptops and a new online payment API, and patching 40 security vulnerabilities.

Chrome updates in the background, so most users need only relaunch the browser to get the latest version. (To manually manage an update, select "About Google Chrome" from the Help menu under the vertical ellipsis at the upper right. The ensuing page either shows the browser is already up to date or displays the updating process before presenting a "Relaunch" button.)

The Mountain View, Calif. company updates Chrome every six or seven weeks; the last time it upgraded the browser, to version 59, was June 5, or just over seven weeks ago.

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Your next company computer may be a 2-in-1 laptop

While consumer adoption of tablets is decreasing, business adoption is going the other way, powered by corporate fondness for Apple's iPad Pro and 2-in-1 devices running Windows.

The number of consumer-owned tablets is expected to decline about 3.3% annually even as the number of business-owned tablets grows at a combined annual growth rate of 6.9% by 2022, according to Forrester Research.

Global mobile device usage is expected to reach more than 5.5 billion users by 2022,  almost double the total number of users (2.8 billion) in 2008, according a Forrester  report released last week.

Large-screen smartphones are contributing to the decline in tablet sales among consumers, while the diverse use cases for a 2-in-1s is driving that segment's growth, Forrester stated.

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Oracle beefs up cloud sales team with 1,000 EMEA openings

Oracle is the latest legacy software vendor looking to reorganise its sales teams to be more focused on cloud services, as it announces 1,000 job openings in EMEA.

Oracle is targeting "people from diverse backgrounds and profiles with between two to six years work experience", the official press release states.

This follows some positive financial results for Oracle, as it posted a 66 percent year-on-year growth in cloud revenues for Q4 2016. That figure comes in at $1.4 billion and includes PaaS, IaaS and SaaS, which has been boosted by the recent NetSuite acquisition. By comparison AWS posted revenues of $3.66 billion in its latest results back in April.

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How to expose flaws in custom-built mobile apps

As enterprises develop more custom applications -- many of them mobile apps as part of a mobile-first strategy -- in-house developers are increasingly at risk of unwittingly using open-source code rife with vulnerabilities.

Developing custom apps allows a business to differentiate itself from competitors by offering customers, whether internal users or consumers, a better mobile experience.

mobile payments / phone Thinkstock

Unlike traditional software development, mobile applications add layers of complexity, particularly when companies create server-side web APIs or client-side native rich clients. That's also true when integrating software across other applications and systems.

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(Insider Story)
R Consortium survey seeks input from R users

Linux group pushes out production-ready blockchain collaboration software

The Linux Foundation's Hyperledger announced today the availability of Fabric 1.0, a collaboration tool for building blockchain distributed ledger business networks  such as smart contract technology.

Hyperledger is a collaborative cross-industry effort created to advance blockchain technology, said the Hyperledger Fabric framework can be a foundation for developing blockchain applications, products or customized business solutions

Under development for the past 16 months, Hyberledger Fabric 1.0 is ready to be used to create an immutable, secure electronic ledger in industries such as financial services for completing transactions, including clearance and settlement, and healthcare, as a way to validate where electronic patient records exist and who has  access to them.

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High-def camera maker Red announces 3D smartphone

Red Digital Cinema Camera Co. announced that it will be shipping what it described as the "world's first holographic media machine," a smartphone with 3D image capabilities.

Red, known for its professional high-definition cameras used for filming movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hobbit, said its new Hydrogen One Media Machine smartphone will ship in the first quarter of 2018.

The Hydrogen One Media Machine has a 5.7-in "retina-riveting" holographic display, runs Google's Android OS and incorporates a new high-speed data bus and an "ever-expanding modular component system."

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Which iPhones and iPads can run iOS 11?

When Apple releases iOS 11 this fall, it will, as it has in the past, drop support for some of its older hardware to permanently lock them into 2016's operating system.

More pressing, some four-year-old devices will not be able to preview iOS 11 this summer, again because of lack of support. (Apple released the public beta of iOS 11 earlier this week.

Here's the line-up of devices iOS 11 will run on:

  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (launched 2016)
  • iPhone SE (2016)
  • iPhone 6S and 6S Plus (2015)
  • iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (2104)
  • iPhone 5S (2013)
  • 12.9-in. iPad Pro (2015-2017)
  • 10.5-in. iPad Pro (2017)
  • iPad, 5th generation (2017)
  • 9.7-in. iPad Pro (2016)
  • iPad Air and iPad Air 2 (2013-2015)
  • iPad Mini 2 and 3 and 4 (2013-2015)

Apple pared the list for last year's 2016 by three devices, dropping the iPhone 5 (2012) and the proud-to-be-plastic iPhone 5C (2013), as well as the fourth-generation iPad (2012).

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10 years -- The Evolution of Apple's iPhone
The iPhone, then and now
Apple's iPhone Evolution

Image by Computerworld / Apple

The iPhone has come a long way in ten years.

First iPhone
Apple's iPhone, first generation

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone on Jan. 9, 2007. The device, which didn’t actually go on sale until June, started at $499 for a 4GB model, $599 for the 8GB version (with a two-year contract). It offered a 3.5-in. screen, a 2-megapixel camera and won plaudits for the then-new multitouch features. Critics, however, said the phone was too expensive to do well in the market. [See iPhone launch story here.]

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Lenovo's new workstation is 'Tiny' but packs a punch

Windows users who work in tight spaces and are looking for a small form factor workstation with multiple display ports and solid processing power have a new contender to check out: the new ThinkStation P320 Tiny.

The workstation lives up to its name: At 1.4x7.1x7.2 inches, it's the smallest workstation on the market that is ISV (independent software vendor) certified, according to Rob Herman, the general manager of Lenovo's workstation business unit.

The ISV certification is important. "We don't consider a machine to be a workstation unless it has ISV certification," according to Lloyd Cohen, an analyst with IDC.

The U.S. government uses the same definition for workstations and for non-government users, software certifications mean that you can run CAD and CAM programs, for example, without worrying about crashing, Cohen noted. That's important if you're working on a complex design.

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Mingis on Tech: Is the iPad Pro (finally) ready for the enterprise?

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference two weeks ago was as much about hardware as software -- with a special emphasis on the new 10.5-in. iPad Pro (and its also-updated 12.9-in. sibling).

The new A10X processor, a brighter TrueTone screen, improved graphics, and even a better camera system all combine to make for a worthwhile upgrade over earlier versions of the iPad Pro.

Those iPads, along with a revamped iOS 11 -- especially as it will be used on tablets -- make for a powerful combo that again raises the question: Is the iPad a real enterprise device?

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Flash Player updated just 3 days after an update

On June 13th, Adobe updated their Flash Player to fix a number of critical security flaws. Then, just three days later, another fix.

The new fix seems relatively trivial. On the 16th, the company said "we've updated Flash Player to address a bug that was impacting some Flash content. If you are having problems interacting with mouse button presses or drag and drop actions, we recommend you update to today's release."

The latest version is now 26.0.0.131, except, of course, with Microsoft's browsers.

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Blockchain integration turns ERP into a collaboration platform

As the blockchain continues to mature and find adoption in areas other than cryptocurrency, ERP vendors are working to integrate the distributed ledger technology as a trackable, immutable record for everything from shipping manifests and supply chains to equipment maintenance and dispute-resolution systems.

"This is very real and something we're aggressively excited about," said Brigid McDermott, vice president of Blockchain Business Development at IBM. "What blockchain does is provide a trust system of record between disparate companies."

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The top 5 mobile security threats

A smartphone can feel like a ticking time bomb to IT security pros. With the BYOD trend now well established in the workplace, and employees less vigilant about avoiding malicious links, the chances for trouble remain high.

But when your personal and professional lives intersect on your phone -- the same one that often includes confidential corporate data and email -- it's inevitable that someone will stumble onto malware. Chris Crowley, an instructor at the SANS Institute, offers a rundown of the top mobile security threats today and what can be done to head then off.

1. Untrustworthy devices. A device itself may be faulty or maliciously configured within the supply chain, providing violation of CIA (confidentiality, integrity, availability), he said. One example: CheckPoint earlier this year found an infection of 36 Android devices at a large telecommunications company. In each case, the breach was not caused by the user, but by malware already on the phone when the employee took it out of the box.

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Tech VCs, at Churchill Club, predict an edgy future

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Innovation drives the tech industry, but nothing happens without investors. That's why the Churchill Club's annual Top Tech Trends event here in Silicon Valley always sells out -- to find out where the folks with money are placing their bets.

Every year, a panel of leading venture capitalists delivers 10 predictions and defends the trends they think will have a big impact in the next five years. Panelists (and audience members) vote up or down each one -- and offer critiques based on the merits or whether a prediction is so obvious it's not really a prediction.

This is the 19th year the Trends event has taken place and this year included a diverse set of predictions involving food production, anti-plague remedies, artificial intelligence, new forms of education, a new type of investing, big advances in voice technology and the expectation that Amazon.com will be hit with a major anti-trust lawsuit.

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The Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool has been updated for WannaCry

Microsoft offers a number of free anti-malware tools. Windows 10 and 8.1 users have Windows Defender. Windows 7 users can chose between the full-featured Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) or the limited Windows Defender. But all Windows users have access to the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) even though they may not be aware of it.

MSRT is part of the monthly patch Tuesday bug fixes. Windows Update downloads a new version of MSRT and runs a scan with it as part of its normal processing. The last patch Tuesday was May 9th and Microsoft dutifully issued a new version of MSRT.

I mention this because on May 23rd someone contacted me to ask why MSRT had just been updated. He had seen a new version appear in Windows Update on a 32 bit Windows 7 machine that had been dutifully updated on the 9th.

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Google raises heat on Microsoft with new Chrome bundle for enterprises

Google on Tuesday rolled out an enterprise bundle that packages Chrome, management templates and an add-on for dealing with legacy sites and apps, building on the chokehold its browser has on the web.

The collection -- prosaically dubbed "enterprise bundle" -- includes a Chrome installer (in .msi format), the Legacy Browser Support (LBS) add-on, and a set of templates for applying group policies to Chrome within the company. It was essentially a convenience, since all its components have been available separately.

"The new bundle includes multiple tools in a single download that IT admins need for a simple, managed deployment," boasted Matt Blumberg, a Chrome product manager on Google's enterprise and education team, in a post to a company blog.

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Former NSA chief weighs in on cybersecurity, cyberespionage at ZertoCon

BOSTON -- Retired Gen. Michael Hayden held nothing back when speaking to cybersecurity pros today at the ZertoCon business continuity conference.

It's been more than a decade since he led the National Security Agency (NSA), but that didn't stop Hayden from asserting that the Russians were involved in last year's U.S. presidential election. His view: Only two presidents doubt that the Russians were involved in the 2016 election -- Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

"They [the Russians] had an affect on the election, there is no question that this happened," Hayden said. "The question is if there was collaboration with the campaign."

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Connecting with work from the road? Here's how to stay safe

Every company has workaholics who can’t leave their duties behind when heading out on vacation. They're kind of worker who, if the hotel doesn’t have Wi-Fi, will rush to the closest coffee shop or eatery to stay connected, check email and jump onto a video conference call.

Those are the kinds of insecure wireless networks that make IT security managers nervous. 

And for good reason. Public Wi-Fi networks at cafes and coffee shops are open to, and can be accessed by, anyone, according to mobile security vendor iPass. They require neither security keys and passphrases nor firewall protection. That leaves  employees vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

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No, Windows XP didn't fuel WannaCry

The global WannaCry attack that started 10 days ago touched just a handful of Windows XP PCs, a security expert said Monday, contradicting the narrative that the aged OS was largely responsible for the ransomware's crippling impact.

"There were no real WannaCry infections of Windows XP," said Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab's global research and analysis team, in an interview Monday. "We've seen only a handful of cases, less than a dozen, and it looks like most of them were testers [self-infecting systems]."

Raiu's claim countered an assertion made by virtually every media report and blog post published after "WannaCry" emerged June 12. Countless news stories blamed Windows XP, which Microsoft retired three years ago, for falling victim to the attack because the vulnerability that WannaCry exploited had not been patched in the obsolete OS.

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For enterprise protection, antivirus software is no longer enough

Antivirus software to protect corporate systems from malware is like a flu shot. You should have it, but it won't likely protect you from every strain of the flu.

"Antivirus is great for blocking known threats, but the issue has grown past viruses," said Ryan O’Leary, vice president of the Threat Research Center at WhiteHat Security. "Malware and vulnerabilities in the network or application can lead to far greater compromise."

Worse yet, new threats are being crafted faster than traditional antivirus can keep up.

“We as an industry need to recognize that defaulting to an antivirus and firewall mentality is leaving yourself wide open to compromise," O’Leary said. "Companies need to take a more holistic approach to their security program and start looking at application, network and malware issues that could compromise their entire company.” 

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(Insider Story)
The ransomware epidemic: How to prep for a shakedown
'Know your enemy' – understanding what to prepare for
wannacry ransom screenshot

Image by Reuters

While ransomware isn't new, this once-simple criminal hacker tactic has morphed into a devastatingly effective weapon wielded by more advanced cyber-criminals -- as seen with the recent Wannacry outbreack. These sophisticated attackers are highly motivated by the profitable nature of their efforts. Dan Larson, technical director at CrowdStrike, looks at the current state of ransomware, why organizations should take  threats seriously and how to build a strong defense.

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CW@50: Vint Cerf on his 'love affair' with tech and what’s coming next

When internet pioneer Vinton Cerf was 10, he was working on advanced math, and by the time he was 17, he was tinkering at programming at UCLA and beginning a lifelong "love affair" with computing.

Today, Cerf, known as the father of the internet, says software bugs are among the biggest dangers to enterprise IT and warns of the mounting challenges the IT community must face in what he calls the "digital dark age."

Widely recognized for his contributions to technology, Cerf, 73, was awarded the U.S. National Medal of Technology for co-founding and developing the internet. He also was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the A.M. Turing Award and 29 honorary degrees.

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WD aims to tame growing data needs with latest enterprise SAS SSD

With data centers seeing rapid data growth, Western Digital Corp. (WD) has announced its highest performing 2.5-in. small form-factor SAS SSD. The drive is aimed at helping companies deal with increasing needs for virtualized storage systems, online transaction processing, database analytics and private and hybrid clouds.

WD's Ultrastar SS300, developed in partnership with Intel, uses a 12Gbps SAS interface and sports sequential read/write speeds up to 2.1GBps and 2.05GBps, respectively; the drive also offers random read/write input/output per second (IOPS) of up to 400,000 and 200,000, respectively.

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Google preps Android for an A.I.-laden future

The future of Android will be a lot smarter, thanks to new programming tools that Google unveiled on Wednesday. The company announced TensorFlow Lite, a version of its machine learning framework that’s designed to run on smartphones and other mobile devices, during the keynote address at its Google I/O developer conference.

“TensorFlow Lite will leverage a new neural network API to tap into silicon-specific accelerators, and over time we expect to see [digital signal processing chips] specifically designed for neural network inference and training,” said Dave Burke, Google's vice president of engineering for Android. “We think these new capabilities will help power a next generation of on-device speech processing, visual search, augmented reality, and more.”

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Apple simplifies Windows 10 installs with support for Creators Update

Apple this week updated macOS Sierra to version 10.12.5 with more than three dozen security patches, and a change that lets users install Microsoft's latest version of Windows 10 on their Macs.

Sierra 10.12.5 "adds support for media-free installation of Windows 10 Creators Update using Boot Camp," the update's brief release notes read. Creators Update was the name Microsoft assigned to Windows 10 1703, the upgrade issued last month.

Boot Camp, which is baked into macOS, lets Mac owners run Windows on their machines. A Windows license is required. Boot Camp, while not virtualization software like VMware's Fusion or Parallels International's Parallels Desktop, serves the same purpose: Running Windows applications, including custom or mission-critical corporate software, on a Mac personal computer.

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IBM makes leap in quantum computing power

IBM has some new options for businesses wanting to experiment with quantum computing.

Quantum computers, when they become commercially available, are expected to vastly outperform conventional computers in a number of domains, including machine learning, cryptography and the optimization of business problems in the fields of logistics and risk analysis.

Where conventional computers deal in ones and zeros (bits) the processors in quantum computers use qubits, which can simultaneously hold the values one and zero. This -- to grossly oversimplify -- allows a quantum computer with a 5-qubit processor to perform a calculation for 32 different input values at the same time.

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