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Someone has to create Skynet, and to date, Google appeared to be in the lead, but Microsoft has started ramping up their own efforts to create a cloud-based AI infrastructure based on super-fast, dedicated, custom-designed AI chipsets. Called Project Olympus,  a Microsoft spokesperson described the work as “… server design, silicon, and AI to enable cloud workloads.” “We actually design a lot of our own silicon that goes into the data centers,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president for Azure. Clues to Microsoft’s silicon efforts has been found in 3 recent job postings. Three months ago, Microsoft published at least three job openings within its Azure public cloud division, looking for candidates to work on features for an AI chip. In April Microsoft listed an opening for a silicon program manager, and “an engineer for software/hardware co-design and optimization for AI acceleration.” Microsoft has invested in custom silicon before, using field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips to create Project Brainwave, again to accelerate AI training. This effort is separate from that, however, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed. Microsoft has also talked about their new Holographic Programming Unit for the HoloLens 2 which will feature boosted AI-based capabilities. There's more posted on OUR FORUM.

Cybercriminals are currently developing a new strain of malware targeting Android devices which blends the features of a banking trojan, keylogger, and mobile ransomware. Named MysteryBot, this malware strain is still under development, according to security researchers from ThreatFabric, who recently ran across this new threat. ThreatFabric says MysteryBot appears to be related to the well-known and highly popular LokiBot Android banking trojan. "Based on our analysis of the code of both Trojans, we believe that there is indeed a link between the creator(s) of LokiBot and MysteryBot," a ThreatFabric spokesperson told Bleeping Computer via email today. "This is justified by the fact that MysteryBot is clearly based on the LokiBot bot code," the spokesperson added. Furthermore, according to a report the company published yesterday, the recent MysteryBot malware sends data to the same command and control (C&C) server used in a past LokiBot campaign, clearly suggesting they are being controlled and developed by the same person or group. The reasons why the LokiBot group is now developing MysteryBot are unknown, but they may be related to the fact that the LokiBot source code leaked online a few months back. There's more detailed information on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft today announced its partnership with Thales Group, a leading international electronics, and systems group that provides services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets to develop cloud solutions for armed forces. The new solution will be based on the Azure Stack, Microsoft’s hybrid cloud platform and the solution will be fully cyber secured and adapted to military resilience constraints by Thales. Since the solution is Azure Stack-based, defense organizations can use it to handle the most sensitive data by hosting at MoDs headquarters or deployed in the field. Further development of this new solution in the future could give them the ability to analyze a large amount of data in real-time for intelligence gathering, to use military IoT applications involving various types of sensors on the field or even to exchange data with mobile applications for augmented soldiers. “We are thrilled to announce our unique partnership with Thales to accelerate digital transformation in the defense sector. Our solution, Microsoft Azure Stack will help armed forces in the analysis of huge volumes of sensitive data in order to make breakthrough developments. Follow this on OUR FORUM.

After every big Windows 10 update is released, it seems we hear about major gremlins affecting some computers – that’s certainly the case for the latest April 2018 Update – but how many users have been affected by PC problems caused by Microsoft’s desktop OS since its launch nearly three years ago? According to UK consumer watchdog Which, no less than half of all Windows 10 users have been beset by problems with their PC. This conclusion comes from a survey of 1,100 members of Which, with the issues encountered ranging from minor glitches to show-stopping bugs preventing the PC in question from working. The most prevalent flaws in those encountered by respondents were software compatibility issues, as cited by 21% – including apps that failed to run entirely following an update. Hardware problems, such as a peripheral not working following an upgrade, were also commonplace, affecting 16% of those surveyed. Some folks said their PC was slower following an update, and others ended up with a computer that failed to work or boot entirely. Of those unfortunates that fell into the latter camp, 46% said they had to pay someone to repair their PC, with the average cost of that work being £67 (around $90, AU$120). As a result, the Which website is banging the drum for Microsoft to better consider the consumer rights of users, and to consider paying compensation to anyone who has experienced a loss of any kind – presumably of data, or time – thanks to a problem with Windows 10. More can be found on OUR FORUM.

Tomorrow is Patch Tuesday, and Microsoft is expected to release new security fixes for Windows operating system and other software. Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 will be receiving new cumulative updates tomorrow with bug fixes, performance improvements, and patches. Patch Tuesday is the unofficial name of Microsoft’s scheduled release of updates for Windows operating, and it occurs on the second Tuesday of each month. Microsoft will kick off this month’s Patch Tuesday rollout tomorrow, and just as expected, Windows 10 April 2018 Update will be getting some important bug fixes. It’s worth noting that all supported versions of Windows will receive new patches tomorrow and later this month. The cumulative updates will include both security and non-security improvements. Microsoft is also expected to fix the reported bugs in Windows 10 version 1803 with tomorrow’s update, though it’s worth knowing that the operating system won’t receive any new features or major improvements. The cumulative updates are only supposed to address the bugs and improve the performance of the platform. Keep up to date and visit OUR FORUM.

Microsoft has released a new preview build of Windows 10 which contains a number of improvements for Windows Mixed Reality, among other tweaks. Build 17686, which has been pushed out to ‘skip ahead’ and fast ring testers, makes changes that include allowing Windows Mixed Reality apps to use the Camera Capture UI API to effectively take grabs of the virtual world. So, for example, if you’re in the Skyloft running the Mail app, you can snap an image of your virtual view and directly insert that into an email you’re composing. For those using a Mixed Reality headset with something like a backpack PC, another useful tweak is that it’s no longer necessary to plug in a monitor, so you can simply run with the backpack machine and headset. You’ll still need to hook up a monitor in order to set things up for the first time, but after that, you can have auto-login configured and dispense with the display for a much freer Mixed Reality experience Microsoft further notes that it has tweaked Mixed Reality video capture, making it easier to stop a video via the Start menu. More details listed on OUR FORUM.