Google Using Machine Learning to Mine Server Farms’ Data

Google is now using machine learning and artificial intelligence to better analyze the large amount of data it collects about its server farms so that it can develop ways to further improve their operations and save money. The company has developed a neural-network-based analysis tool that enables it to be more efficient and more accurately model future performance. The company gathers increasing amounts of complex data on its server infrastructure—including its energy use—from a sensor network. (SlashDot)(Data Center Knowledge)(Google)

Microsoft Launches Skype Translator

New technology that Microsoft is demonstrating translates phone calls in near-real time. Skype Translator builds on years of research by the company, which is showcasing the development version of its software that can translate between German and English. The demonstration at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, involved a Skype conversation between Skype corporate vice president Gurdeep Pall speaking in English and Microsoft employee  Diana Heinrichs, Microsoft communications manager for social enterprise and market strategy, speaking in German. The system translated the conversation through both speech – converting the language spoken into the listener’s target language, output -- and text, the latter appearing on the screen as subtitles might as the translated message audio plays. The technology will be available in beta later this year for Windows 8 users. Within two years, Microsoft hopes the application can translate conversations in real time across various languages. Microsoft plans to add several languages, including Chinese, to the system’s capabilities. (The Verge)(TIME)(PC Mag)(Microsoft Research)

Chinese Government Asks Banks to Remove IBM Products

The Chinese government is asking all domestic banks to remove high-end IBM servers and replace them with local products as part of a trial program, according to Bloomberg reports. It is the latest in what some media outlets are calling retaliation against the US for its spying claims against China. As part of a larger government review, the People’s Bank of China and the state Ministry of Finance are reviewing whether the nation’s reliance on foreign-made technology compromises its security. The move is political gamesmanship, according to Richard Fichera, a Forrester analyst. “There’s obviously an element of political tit for tat going on here,” Fichera told Bloomberg. “Telling the Chinese banks to get off of it is one thing, but actually doing it is another.” The sources did not state specifically why IBM was targeted nor the specific problems the products could cause. IBM has not commented on the matter. (Reuters)(Bloomberg)

Foxconn Moves into Telecommunications Services

Electronics maker Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan is buying roughly 15 percentof Taiwanese mobile carrier Asia Pacific Telecom. In New Taiwan dollars, Foxconn is paying NT$11.6 billion (about $390 million), according to recent regulatory filings. The transaction—expected to be finalized 20 June 2014—is expected to help Foxconn establish a substantial market share in Taiwan’s emerging 4G-wireless market. Taiwan’s government awarded a 4G operating license to the company, which expects to offer services later this year. Foxconn—also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry—is best known in the US as the contract manufacturer for Apple products. The company is diversifying into other new markets, including software and cloud computing. (Reuters)(ZDNet)

Visa, MasterCard Push Adoption of Chip and PIN Payment-card Technology

Facing a growing number of data breaches, both Visa and MasterCard want to increase security by having retailers and financial institutions support the use of payment cards with embedded chips in the US. Unlike Western European and some other North American countries the US has been slow to move away from magnetic strip cards. The so-called chip and PIN cards offer consumers greater protection as they are extremely difficult to copy in comparison to magnetic strip cards because they include a chip and have processes, such as the use of a one-time code that moves between the chip and the retailer's register, that make their unauthorized use difficult. The Target department-store chain, which experienced a major breach last year, says payment terminals that work with chip-based payment cards will be in its stores by September 2014. Unless retailers take such action, chip and PIN cards won’t provide additional protection, said Consumer Bankers Association CEO Richard Hunt. US financial institutions question the value of using the new approach, saying that only a fraction of transactions are fraudulent, while implementing new theft-deterrent technologies is very expensive. (The Associated Press)

Chinese Government Examining IT Products to Prevent Cyberespionage

The Chinese government is inspecting all IT products used by the government as well as by companies in the communications, finance, energy, and national security sectors to prevent espionage, according to the country’s official Xinhua News Agency. The government’s Internet Information Office will be looking for security problems with products and services, offered by Chinese and non-Chinese companies. The government will block suppliers whose products fail the inspection from selling goods or services in China. Xinhua claims “The vetting is aimed at preventing suppliers from taking advantage of their products to illegally control, disrupt, or shut down their clients’ systems, or to gather, store, process or use their clients’ information.” The government contends that it—along with Chinese universities, enterprises, and telecommunications infrastructure—has suffered extensive hacking. (The Associated Press)(Computerworld)(Xinhua News Service)

Google Replaces Apple as World’s Most Valuable Brand

A new study names Google as the most valuable brand in the world. The search leader takes the spot from Apple, which had been atop the annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking by branding-research consultancy Millward Brown for three years. The firm calculated Google’s brand value to have grown by 40 percent to $159 billion year over year. Details regarding the report period were not provided. During the same time period, Apple’s brand value, now ranked second, eroded 20 percent to $148 billion, according to the study. IBM and Microsoft were in third and fourth places, with McDonald’s in fifth. Contributing to Google’s ascent were its continued dominance as a search engine technology, the growing popularity of the Android mobile operating system, and high-profile projects such as Google Glass and an experimental autonomous car, according to Millward Brown. Google’s brand value has risen 324 percent since the inception of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands in 2006. Discussing the result of this year’s study, Millward Brown wrote in its report, “These brand value increases demonstrate the centrality of technology in our society and also the power of strong brands with a clear proposition and a mission to help improve the lives of their customers.” (TIME)(Adweek)(BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand)

Massive eBay Breach Affects 145 Million Users

A cyberattack against online auction site eBay resulted in hackers stealing the personal details of 145 million customers, prompting the firm to ask all users to change their passwords. The attackers were able to access a database containing user login and password information plus data such as email addresses, birthdays, and phone numbers three months ago, the company disclosed recently. User credit card information is stored separately and encrypted. eBay says there has been no sign of unauthorized activity as a result of the cybertheft. Hackers apparently were able to access the customer database after first obtaining several corporate network login credentials for eBay employees. How these were obtained was not disclosed by eBay. Later in the day, reports emerged that the company’s servers failed under the high volumes of traffic on the site, which was attributed to users resetting their passwords. eBay has hired FireEye’s Mandiant forensics division to investigate the incident. (Reuters)(Bloomberg)(Telegraph)

US Utility Is a Victim of Hackers

Hackers attacked the computer network of a US public utility, compromising its industrial-control-system network, according to a new report from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The utility—which the DHS’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team didn’t identify—fended off the brute-force attack and its operations were not affected, according to the report, which also stated that the utility was likely attacked previously. The disclosure of such an attack is rare. (Reuters)(CNN)

Sony CEO Announces Restructuring Plans to Address Financial Problems

Kazuo Hirai, CEO of financially troubled Sony, has outlined the company’s plans for restructuring, which he says do not include selling or closing its unprofitable television business. He said that Sony’s losses are the result of its failure to quickly respond to market conditions and that the company will be profitable next year. The company recently announced it lost ¥128.4 billion ($1.3 billion) in the most recent fiscal year, which ended in March, and will have a ¥50 billion ($490 million) loss in the current fiscal year. Sony will be focused on new, key technologies such as image sensors, cloud-based services, and wearable devices, while continuing to rely on existing businesses such as those in the financial and entertainment sectors. The company’s TV-products division has not performed well, leading analysts to predict that any restructuring would entail an exit from that that business. However, Hirai said that the business’ future will be brighter with new higher-definition TVs and that the company will spin off its TV division into a new firm called Sony Visual Products. He also said there are no plans for layoffs or sales of any units for the rest of this year. (The Associated Press)(Reuters)

Showing 61 - 70 of 4,392 results.
Items per Page 10
of 440