(Bloomberg) — In the race to commercialize a new type of powerful computer, Microsoft Corp. has just pulled up to the starting line with a slick-looking set of wheels. There’s just one problem: it doesn’t have an engine – at least not yet. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant is competing with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, International Business Machines Corp. and a clutch of small, specialized companies to develop quantum computers – machines that, in theory, will be many times more powerful than existing computers by bending the laws of physics.

Microsoft says it has a different approach that will make its technology less error-prone and more suitable for commercial use. If it works. On Monday, the company unveiled a new programming language called Q# – pronounced Q Sharp – and tools that help coders craft software for quantum computers. Microsoft is also releasing simulators that will let programmers test that software on a traditional desktop computer or through its Azure cloud-computing service.
The machines are one of the advanced technologies, along with artificial intelligence and augmented reality, that Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella considers crucial to the future of his company. Microsoft, like IBM and Google, will most likely rent computing time on these quantum machines through the internet as a service.D-Wave Systems Inc. in 2011 became the first company to sell a quantum computer, although its technology has been

 

(Bloomberg) — U.K. banks still aren’t telling regulators about all the cyber attacks on the financial services industry despite a ten-fold increase in reports to the  Financial Conduct Authority over the last four years.

“Our suspicion is that there’s currently a material under-reporting of successful cyber attacks,” Megan Butler, the FCA’s director of supervision, said in a speech Tuesday, according to a copy of her remarks on the regulator’s website. “The number of breaches relayed back to us looks modest when you set it against the number of attacks on the industry.”
The number of material attacks reported by firms to the FCA has grown to 49 this year from five in 2014, as hacks become one of the biggest threats to the safety of the financial services industry. The type of hacks is also increasingly concerning for regulators and firms with ransomware making up 17 percent of attacks reported to the regulator, according to Butler.
The FCA opened an investigation in October into the hack of credit reporting company Equifax Ltd. that saw personal data stolen from at least 143 million people. Outside of the FCA’s supervision, Uber Technologies Inc. paid hackers $100,000 to delete data taken from 2.7 million U.K. customers in a 2016 security breach.
Better Coordination
Butler emphasized the need for incidents to be reported to the regulator as they’re happening. She told the ICI global capital markets conference in London that the

 

Only half of cloud infrastructure professionals at global enterprises believe they are being charged the right amount for what they get from their cloud providers, according to survey results released Wednesday by cloud optimization firm Densify.
Three-quarters of organizations either overspend their public cloud budget, or are not sure how much they are spending, according to the survey results, and half of respondents do not know how to handle the frequent technology and pricing changes made by providers. This is despite significant public cloud spending, as half of the organizations surveyed spend more than $300,000 per year, and 20 percent spend more than $1.2 million per year.
See also: Hostway Adds AWS, VMware to Multi-Cloud Managed Services Portfolio
“In a market with very few major cloud providers, customers don’t have many choices and simply continue to pay their high cloud bills without a second thought,” Yama Habibzai, chief marketing officer of Densify said in a statement. “We’ve helped hundreds of companies optimize their clouds, with major reductions in their cloud bill, so we know that they are overspending.”
Better tracking of cloud spending could surely help, as one in four respondents do not audit cloud usage and cost, or do not know if their organization audits it, and only 20 percent utilize an automation tool to optimize their infrastructure.
Only 5 percent of respondents distrust cloud providers, but 30 percent say they are not well prepared

 

The massive and long-running Andromeda botnet, also known as Gamarue, has been take down by a collaborative effort between international law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders, according to a Monday announcement by Europol.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), in cooperation with the Luneburg Central Criminal Investigation Inspectorate in Germany, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the Joint Cybercrime Action Task Force (J-CAT), Eurojust and private-sector partners dismantled the network, which has been associated with 80 malware families and has been detected or blocked on more than a million machines every month over the past six months, on Nov. 29, Europol says.
“This is another example of international law enforcement working together with industry partners to tackle the most significant cyber criminals and the dedicated infrastructure they use to distribute malware on a global scale,” Steven Wilson, the Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre said in a statement. “The clear message is that public-private partnerships can impact these criminals and make the internet safer for all of us.”
The Andromeda/Gamarue malware family was created in September 2011 to steal credentials from and distribute other malware to infected computers, ZDNet reports.
Another international investigation, into the Avalanche international criminal infrastructure which had been used to launch “mass global malware attacks” including Andromeda, concluded

 

(Bloomberg) — Big technology companies have added the digital signatures of 40,000 terrorist videos and images to a shared database as they seek to keep extremist content off their platforms.
Facebook Inc., Google’s YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Twitter Inc. revealed the numbers in a joint blog post Monday.
The four big social media companies, which are part of a group called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, announced one year ago that they would begin sharing digital fingerprints – known as hashes – of videos they removed from their platforms for terrorism.
Under the initiative, if a company removes a piece of content from its network for violating policies around terrorism, it is logged in the shared database. Then, if someone tries to post the same content to one of the other participating social networks, the content is automatically flagged for review – usually by a human analyst – and possible removal.
Technology companies have been under increasing pressure from Western politicians to do more to tackle terrorist propaganda and recruitment online. British Prime Minister Theresa May has been particularly active in accusing tech companies of not doing enough to keep extremists off their platforms and has called for international regulation to force the companies to do more or face substantial penalties.
The companies, for their part, have recently been highlighting their progress in using artificial

 

(Bloomberg) — Big technology companies have added the digital signatures of 40,000 terrorist videos and images to a shared database as they seek to keep extremist content off their platforms.
Facebook Inc., Google’s YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Twitter Inc. revealed the numbers in a joint blog post Monday.
The four big social media companies, which are part of a group called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, announced one year ago that they would begin sharing digital fingerprints – known as hashes – of videos they removed from their platforms for terrorism.
Under the initiative, if a company removes a piece of content from its network for violating policies around terrorism, it is logged in the shared database. Then, if someone tries to post the same content to one of the other participating social networks, the content is automatically flagged for review – usually by a human analyst – and possible removal.
Technology companies have been under increasing pressure from Western politicians to do more to tackle terrorist propaganda and recruitment online. British Prime Minister Theresa May has been particularly active in accusing tech companies of not doing enough to keep extremists off their platforms and has called for international regulation to force the companies to do more or face substantial penalties.
The companies, for their part, have recently been highlighting their progress in using artificial

 

Former head of Intel’s Data Center Group Diane Bryant has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Google Cloud, bringing an engineering background and 30 years of industry experience to the position, as well as experience leading a group that brought in $17 billion in revenue last year, according to a blog post announcing her appointment.
Bryant left her role at Intel in May, taking a lengthy leave of absence for family reasons. At the time Intel CEO Brian Krzanich credited her with transforming the group “from a server-centric group to a business that spans servers, network, and storage across all end-user segments, and with product lines and business models that extend beyond the traditional.” At the same time Intel’s shift included a greater focus on the server business, including an appearances by Bryant at AWS re:Invent to announce new chip deployments.
“Google Cloud is the most technologically advanced, most highly available, and most open cloud in the world,” Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene wrote in the blog post. “We are growing at an extraordinary rate as we enable businesses to become smarter with data, increase their agility, collaborate and secure their information. Diane’s strategic acumen, technical knowledge and client focus will prove invaluable as we accelerate the scale and reach of Google Cloud.”
Bryant had worked at Intel since 1985, and was promoted from senior VP to executive VP in April 2016. She also serves on the board of United

 

Open source business CRM and ecommerce platform provider Oro Inc. has launched a Hosting Partner Program as it boosts the ecosystem to support the growing business to business (B2B) e-commerce market.
Oro launched its e-commerce platform earlier this year, though its CRM offering has been on the market for over four years. The company was formed and its technology developed largely by veterans of Magento, including Yoav Kutner, Oro CEO and co-founder. Oro is unique in that it is built specifically for B2B e-commerce, Oro Chief Operating Officer Motti Danino told the WHIR.
“If you want to support the complex processes of B2B, your system needs to be built and architected as such,” Danino says. “Otherwise you can’t fully serve that. You can customize applications, but it costs you a lot of money, and you don’t really get what you need. You also get a version of the product that you implemented, but it’s different, and all the maintenance and upgrades you have to do yourself, which is a headache.”
Oro is developing an ecosystem to support its CRM software and e-commerce platform with three partner programs. In addition to its Hosting Partner Program, Oro has programs for solution integrator partners and technology partners.
The Hosting Partner Program launches with five initial hosting partners, including Rackspace and Webscale in the U.S., UK-based managed hosting provider Sonassi, Germany-based root360, which specializes in ecommerce hosting solutions

 

(Bloomberg) — Selling custom nose rings, crocheted bunnies and hand-carved Santas is energy-intensive stuff.

Just ask Etsy Inc., the go-to marketplace for crafts that doubled its electricity use in two years to feed power-sucking data centers that keep the $2.8 billion-a-year business running. It’s one of the many technology giants including Amazon.com Inc. and  Alphabet Inc.’s Google demanding cheaper — and cleaner — electricity as their data demands grow.
This hunger for power has set Silicon Valley on a collision course with the Trump administration, which is working up a plan to keep coal plants afloat by raising electricity prices. As a rare source of demand growth, these tech firms have become formidable advocates for clean energy. They’ve contracted enough renewable energy to displace at least 12 coal generators, and some are paying millions to sever ties with utilities to find their own supply.
Big Tech is no longer “afraid to throw around their weight or their ability to influence — some might say bully — their local utility or local governments in what they want to get,” said Lucas Beran, a senior research analyst on IHS Markit’s data center and cloud team.
It’s easy to see why the companies have become such advocates. Power used by all the nation’s data centers is set to climb 4 percent from 2014 to 2020, according to an Energy Department report. Server farms now draw enough electricity to light up Las Vegas and

 

(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. unveiled new cloud computing services and tools Wednesday aimed at maintaining its edge over Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. in the fast-growing, profitable market.

Amazon Web Services Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy announced machine learning capabilities such as speech recognition and translation, intended to make the technology more accessible to developers who don’t have the time or resources to experiment with it on their own.
The presentation showed that Amazon anticipates high demand for machine learning products that can be sold to a variety of industries. Speech and image recognition and real-time language translation were among the tools Jassy unveiled Wednesday at the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas. The gathering is expected to draw 40,000 people for a week of learning about the latest offerings and services.
Amazon introduced SageMaker, which provides popular algorithms for tasks such as parsing data or recognizing images and speech. Amazon also showed off AWS DeepLens, a $249 device to help developers understand and experiment with machine learning. In a demonstration, the camera recognized a smile to be a positive reaction to a music album cover and a frown to be a negative reaction, enabling it to fine tune a customized playlist for the user. Other possible uses are to program a garage door to open when the camera recognizes a license plate number or sending an alert to an owner when their dog jumps on

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