Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
Office app on Android now supports voice recordings with transcription
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft's Office app for Android is getting a new feature today - the ability to record voice captures with live transcription. The update only seems to be available for users enrolled in the beta program on the Google Play Store, and it comes with version 16.0.14026.20172 of the app.
Voice capture is a fairly straightforward feature. You can access it from the big "+" icon at the bottom of the app screen, and from there, you can simply start recording by tapping the microphone button. Recordings are transcribed live by default and can then be saved in audio format along with the transcription. The app can also recognize different speakers and separate the dialog for each speaker in the transcription. Should there be any errors in the transcription, it's also possible to edit the text after the fact.
This feature seems to build on the work Microsoft has already done on voice-related features, such as Transcribe for Word, which launched last summer. The Office mobile app has become a hub for many of Microsoft's smart Office features, too, making it an increasingly versatile tool. The app first launched last year and in addition to bringing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint together, it integrates tools like Microsoft Lens (formerly Office Lens), Forms, and local wireless file sharing. It can also access your sticky notes and open PDF files.
If you haven't yet, you can download the Office app for Android here, and there's also an iOS version available on the App Store.
President Joe Biden signs executive order to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses
by Subir Kathuria
Following the crippling ransomware attacks on Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, United States President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at strengthening U.S. cybersecurity defenses. The company operates 5,500 miles-long pipelines that can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York. The attack has led to widespread fuel shortages along the East Coast and panic buying in the southeastern United States.
Ransomware attacks are usually carried out using a trojan, which then spreads malware that blocks and encrypts files on a device or network that results in the system becoming inaccessible in most cases. The attackers then threaten to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid.
The FBI confirmed that it believes the DarkSide ransomware is responsible for the attack on Colonial Pipeline. DarkSide is a criminal group with origins in Russia.
The White House said it was directing a “comprehensive federal response” in light of the recent attack. President Joe Biden’s executive order takes a number of steps for modernizing the nation’s cybersecurity defenses which include upgrading to secure cloud services and other cyberinfrastructure. It also mandates the deployment of multifactor authentication mechanisms and encryption with a specific time period in place. Software developers are even required to share certain security data publicly.
Colonial announced in a press release that although it has started pipeline operations, it will take several days for fuel deliveries to return to normal levels. President Biden's Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm also tweeted the update after a phone call with Colonial CEO Tim Felt.
Colonial Pipeline's use of outdated on-premises Exchange Servers seem to be a potential attack vector, but it has not yet been confirmed that this was indeed the security vulnerability that led to the latest attack. Microsoft’s systems were also involved in the SolarWinds attack last year. Microsoft's President Brad Smith had described the cyberattack as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.”
Even though Microsoft has published many advisories about the importance of keeping on-premises Exchange Servers up to date due to several vulnerabilities being exploited in the wild, many organizations have failed to do so leading to devastating cyberattacks.
Source: CNBC | Image: ANI News
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft is shutting down Azure Blockchain Service in September
by Usama Jawad
Azure Blockchain Service is Microsoft's Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) offering that has been available in preview for quite some time. Essentially, it is a fully managed ledger service which allows organizations to manage their blockchain network in Azure, perform network deployments, and develop smart contracts. It currently supports Ethereum Quorum using Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance (IBFT) as its underlying consensus mechanism.
Microsoft has now announced that it will be shutting down Azure Blockchain Service on September 10, 2021.
Image via Datafloq While no official reasoning has been given regarding why the service is being retired, Microsoft has recommended that customers immediately start looking for an alternative. For solutions which are already in production or pilot phases, the primary suggestion is to migrate to ConsenSys' Quorum Blockchain offering on Azure since that is also a managed service. Alternatively, customers can opt to utilize blockchain resource management templates on their own infrastructure using Azure VMs. Of course, the disadvantage of this approach is that you'll have to manage the solution yourself after deployment.
For new blockchain deployments and planning, Microsoft has recommended the Quorum and Besu templates available in the Azure Marketplace. The company has also highlighted migration and data export steps and strategy in its guidance here.
Existing Azure Blockchain Service deployments will be supported up until September 10, 2021, which is why customers should start evaluating alternatives immediately. New deployments will not be allowed after May 10, 2021.
By Jay Bonggolto
Xbox Party Chat now supports speech transcription and text-to-speech for Insiders
by Jay Bonggolto
Xbox' accessibility for everyone, including those with speech and hearing difficulties, has gained new improvements. Microsoft announced today that Xbox Party Chat has added support for speech-to-text transcription and text-to-speech synthesis for Insiders.
Party Chat was introduced a couple of years ago to Xbox One in order to let gamers communicate with other players on the platform using text in addition to voice chat. With the speech-to-text feature, everything you say in the party will be transcribed and the resulting text will show up in an overlay while you're playing a game. Text-to-speech, on the other hand, lets your text be read out loud to others in the party by a synthetic voice. You can even choose multiple voices for every supported language.
To get started with the new accessibility features, you can simply head over to the Settings menu and then choose "Ease of Access". From there, you can click on Game and then select chat transcription. Alternatively, when you're in a party, you can just click on options to open the settings and then choose "Configure ease of access."
Speech transcription and text-to-speech capabilities were rolled out to Xbox One (along with Windows 10) in 2017 for some games. Their addition to Party Chat is a welcome development for those using the communication feature during a party.
Colonial Pipeline was using vulnerable, outdated version of Microsoft Exchange
by Subir Kathuria
A forensic report of the Colonial Pipeline noted that the "most likely culprit" within the company’s IT infrastructure was the vulnerable Microsoft Exchange services, as noted by New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth, though there were several other issues that researchers characterized as an overall "lack of cybersecurity sophistication."
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned pipeline operators about potential ransomware attacks in 2020 and offered a number of potential mitigation strategies. The FBI confirmed that it believes the DarkSide ransomware is responsible for the attack. DarkSide is a criminal group with origins in Russia.
Microsoft has published many advisories about the importance of keeping the On-Premise Exchange Servers up to date due to several vulnerabilities being exploited in the wild. The latest updates were released in April 2021 after a report from NSA. Exchange Online was not affected by these issues.
Colonial Pipeline took its systems down to contain the threat. Its major pipelines were still down as of Tuesday. The pipeline transports 100 million gallons of fuel each day, including 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. Its products range from various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel, and fuels for the U.S. military.
On Monday night, Line 4, which runs from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Woodbine, Maryland, was temporarily operating under manual control while existing inventory is available, the company said.