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FBI launches operation to remove backdoors from hacked Microsoft Exchange servers

A court in Houston has authorized an FBI operation to “copy and remove” backdoors from hundreds of Microsoft Exchange email servers in the United States, months after hackers used four previously undiscovered vulnerabilities to attack thousands of networks.
The Justice Department announced the operation on Tuesday, which it described as “successful.”
In March, Microsoft discovered a new China state-sponsored hacking group — Hafnium — targeting Exchange servers run from company networks. The four vulnerabilities when chained together allowed the hackers to break into a vulnerable Exchange server and steal its contents. Microsoft fixed the vulnerabilities but the patches did not close the …

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Daily Crunch: Microsoft acquires Nuance for $19.7B

Microsoft makes a big healthcare tech acquisition, Twitter is building a presence in Africa and Apple may be cooking up some new smart home products. This is your Daily Crunch for April 12, 2021.
The big story: Microsoft acquires Nuance for $19.7B
Microsoft announced this morning that it’s acquiring speech-to-text company Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion. It seems like the real focus here is on healthcare — Microsoft announced a Cloud for Healthcare last year, while Nuance’s industry products include Dragon Ambient eXperience, Dragon Medical One and PowerScribe One for radiology reporting.
“Today’s acquisition announcement represents the latest step in Microsoft’ …

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Microsoft outage knocks sites and services offline

Microsoft is experiencing a major outage, so that’s why you can’t get any work done.
Besides its homepage, Microsoft services are down, log-in pages aren’t loading, and even the company’s status pages were kaput. Worse, Microsoft’s cloud service Azure appeared to also be offline, causing outages to any sites and services that rely on it.
It’s looking like a networking issue, according to the status page — when it loaded. Microsoft also tweeted that it was related to DNS, the internet system that translates web addresses to computer-readable internet numbers. It’s an important function …

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LinkedIn confirms it’s working on a Clubhouse rival, too

Clubhouse’s list of competitors is growing. LinkedIn has now confirmed it’s also testing a social audio experience in its app which would allow creators on its network to connect with their community. Unlike the Clubhouse rivals being built by Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn believes its audio networking feature will be differentiated because it will be connected with users’ professional identity, not just a social profile. In addition, the company has already built out a platform that serves the creator community, which today has access to tools like Stories, LinkedIn Live video broadcasting, newsletters and more.
And just today, …

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The Roblox final fantasy

Hello friends, and welcome to Week in Review.
Last week, I talked a bit about NFTs and their impact on artists. If you’re inundated with NFT talk just take one quick look at this story I wrote this week about the $69 million sale of Beeple’s photo collage. This hype cycle is probably all the result of crypto folks talking each other up and buying each other’s stuff, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be lasting impacts. That said, I would imagine we’re pretty close to the peak of this wave, with a larger one …

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America’s small businesses face the brunt of China’s Exchange server hacks

As the U.S. reportedly readies for retaliation against Russia for hacking into some of the government’s most sensitive federal networks, the U.S. is facing another old adversary in cyberspace: China.
Microsoft last week revealed a new hacking group it calls Hafnium, which operates in, and is backed by, China. Hafnium used four previously unreported vulnerabilities — or zero-days — to break into at least tens of thousands of organizations running vulnerable Microsoft Exchange email servers and steal email mailboxes and address books.
It’s not clear what Hafnium’s motives are. Some liken the activity to espionage — a nation-state …

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Apple releases important iPhone, iPad, Mac and Watch security patches

Apple has released a set of security updates for iPhones, iPads, Macs and Watches. There are no new features — but these are updates you will still want to install.
As part of these security fixes, iPhones and iPads will update to iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1, watchOS users will update to 7.3.2 and macOS Big Sur will update to 11.2.3. Those on older versions of macOS can install the latest version of Safari, bumping the version to 14.0.3.
Apple says these are “important” security updates and are “recommended for all users.”
These patches fix the same vulnerability — a memory corruption bug in WebKit, the engine …

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Microsoft debuts its AR/VR meetings platform Mesh

Today, at a special AR/VR focused event held inside its virtual reality community platform Altspace, Microsoft showcased a new product aiming to provide their AR HoloLens platform and VR Windows Mixed Reality platform with a shared platform for meetings.
The app is called Microsoft Mesh and it gives users a cross AR/VR meeting space to interact with other users and 3D content, handling all of technical hard parts of sharing spatial multi-player experiences over the web. Like Microsoft’s other AR/VR apps, the sell seems to be less in the software than it is in enabling developers …

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Qualcomm veteran to replace Alain Crozier as Microsoft Greater China boss

Microsoft is getting a new leader for its Greater China business. Yang Hou, a former senior vice president at Qualcomm, will take over Alain Crozier as the chairman and chief executive officer for Microsoft Greater China Region, says a company announcement released Monday.
After eight years at Qualcomm where he led sales and business development, Hou will spearhead strategy, sales and operation for Microsoft in the Greater China region. Hou was credited for achieving 3X revenue growth for Qualcomm’s semiconductor business and fostering partnerships in the smartphone, industrial and automotive industries in China, according to the announcement.
A native …

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LA’s Splice gets $55 million for its software bringing beats from bedrooms to bandstands

Splice, the LA-based, AI-infused, beat-making software service for music producers created by the founder of GroupMe, has managed to sample another $55 million in financing from investors for its wildly popular service.
The github for music producers ranging from Hook N Sling, Mr Hudson, SLY, and Steve Solomon to TechCrunch’s own Megan Rose Dickey, Splice gained a following for its ability to help electronic dance music creators save, share, collaborate and remix music.
The company’s popularity has made it from bedroom djs to the Goldman Sachs boardroom as the financial services giant joined MUSIC, a joint venture between the …

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