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Google Cloud instances are being hacked to mine crypto
by Paul Hill
Google’s November 2021 Threat Horizons report has revealed that a large number of Google Cloud instances that get hacked are used to mine cryptocurrency. It revealed that as many as 86% of 50 recently compromised Google Cloud instances were being used to perform cryptocurrency mining; while the hacker gets to walk away with any crypto they mine, the victim of the attack is left footing the bill for the usage.
Giving the most common reasons for how the breach took place, Google said 48% of instances had weak or no passwords for user accounts or no authentication for APIs, 26% of incidents happened due to a vulnerability in third-party software in the Cloud instance, 12% was attributed to ‘other issues’, another 12% was due to the misconfiguration of Cloud instances or in third-party software, and just 4% of hacks were the result of leaked credentials such as keys posted to GitHub.
Google believes that many of the attacks were scripted and didn’t require human intervention because, in 58% of situations, it noticed that mining software had been downloaded to the instances within 22 seconds of being compromised. It said that responding manually to scripts is next to impossible so users should ensure their system is not vulnerable or have automated systems in place to stop the attack.
In most cases, victims are not specifically chosen by hackers, instead, they scan Google Cloud IPs and look for any vulnerable systems. Google said that insecure instances can be targeted in as little as 30 minutes so it’s very important that you follow the best practices.
Aside from following Google’s best practices, you should ensure your accounts always have strong passwords, keep third-party software updated before allowing the instance to be exposed to the web, and you should also be careful not to expose credentials on GitHub.
By Kaarthic Vydya
Adidas chooses AWS over other cloud providers
by Kaarthic Vydya
Adidas AG, the holding company of Adidas Group, one of the largest sportswear brand in the world has chosen Amazon Web Services (AWS) over other cloud providers for its SAP workloads. With SAP S/4HANA on AWS, Adidas AG plans to fast track the digital transformation of its core business process, and utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a cloud-based customer-centric experience across its businesses.
In addition to Adidas Group, Adidas AG is also a shareholder in German football club Bayern München and Australian fitness technology company Runtastic. As part of the announcement by AWS, Adidas AG SAP environments will be migrated to AWS to become a more data-driven business and enhance the direct-to-customer business model.
One of the areas that the company plans to enhance is the personalization of customer experience in ecommerce by using Amazon SageMaker. Amazon SageMaker uses machine learning technology to analyze data and provide customer-focused product recommendations. Adidas AG plans to decrease the time taken in product creation process by creating virtual product lines in AWS for design, feedback, and update of its products.
AWS’ sustainable solutions would be explored by Adidas AG from carbon tracking, waste reduction, and energy conservation. The core service in this front is the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI) which allows organizations to gather datasets efficiently for sustainability analysis.
Image via Adidas
By Kaarthic Vydya
Google and SAP expand strategic partnership
by Kaarthic Vydya
Google and SAP have expanded their partnership for Enterprise customers with SAP offerings in Google Cloud Platform. At SAP TechEd, SAP has announced the availability of SAP Integration Suite in Google Cloud Platform which is an enterprise integration platform that allows customers to integrate on-premise and cloud-based applications. RISE with SAP which is a packaged solution for business transformation is expected to be expanded with Google with availability of SAP solutions across the global network of Google Cloud.
The other key partnership between Google and SAP is the availability of SAP HANA Cloud in Google Cloud Platform. SAP Hana Cloud is a in-memory cloud database that connects to enterprise systems for advanced analytics. SAP S/4HANA Cloud which is an integrated enterprise resource planning solution from SAP is already available in Google Cloud.
There are currently forty-three versions that provide country specific localized features. SAP now plans to expand with 16 more local versions. With BigQuery on Google Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and advanced analytics, SAP and Google's strategy is to drive more customers to their SAP solution in Google Cloud.
By News Staff
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by Steven Parker
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By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft Weekly: Love from Sega, broken Windows services, and Ignite news galore
by Usama Jawad
We are done with another week and it's been an eventful one due to Microsoft's fall 2021 Ignite event. The company had new stuff to announce across its broad range of services and there's plenty of stuff that developers and enterprises can be excited about. It wasn't all good news throughout the week though. Quite a few services and apps in Windows broke, with fixes issued for most in a relatively short amount of time. Find out more about all this and more as we unpack the week from October 31 - November 5.
Microsoft Fall 2021 Ignite conference
We start this week off with Microsoft's Ignite conference. Frankly, there's just so much to cover that this section would be insanely long so we'll only highlight some of the major announcements, and if you're interested, you can always head over to the associated hyperlink or the dedicated section here to read each announcement in more detail.
In terms of highlights, Microsoft finally announced a stable build of Edge for Linux and open-sourced the backend of its Power Fx low-code programming language. In related news, the Power Platform received deeper integration with Microsoft services such as Teams while Power Apps transitioned to pay-as-you-go (PAYG) per-app licensing along with mobile apps in preview.
Additionally, Microsoft unveiled Loop as a new app with portable elements that you can utilize with other services to enhance workflows. HoloLens 2 is available at a 15% discount for the next few days and we finally have a preview of SQL Server 2022. Microsoft has described it as its most "cloud-connected" release yet due to integrations with Azure.
Talking about integration, Teams is being enhanced with Mesh so that enterprises can conduct meetings in virtual, immersive worlds with customized avatars. In the same space, Microsoft also detailed how it is making it easier for IT admins to manage deployments of Windows 11, both on-premises and on the cloud via Windows 365.
You can read more about Microsoft's Ignite 2021 in our dedicated section here.
Microsoft loves Sega
In a bit of a surprise announcement, Sega announced that it is exploring a partnership with Microsoft through which the two will collaborate to build "Super Games" in a "next-generation development environment". While no concrete details have been revealed as of yet, it appears that Sega will be using the power of Microsoft's cloud platform to build large-scale games that are online, global, and community-focused. Who knows if this will lead to an acquisition, eh?
In other news, it's a big month for Xbox Game Pass too. Several high-profile releases including Minecraft: Java and Bedrock Editions, It Takes Two, Forza Horizon 5, Football Manager 2022, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - The Definitive Edition have made their way to Game Pass or will be launching on the service in the next few days. Microsoft has also revealed that the Sega-published Total War: Warhammer III will be heading to Xbox Game Pass for PC on day one.
Talking more about games, we learned that Forza Horizon 5 is becoming more accessible as Microsoft is introducing on-screen American and British Sign language for in-game cutscenes. The company also revealed more details about its upcoming AAA title Halo Infinite, saying that it will feature $10 Battle Passes with non-canon rewards. Interestingly, the Battle Passes won't expire but you can only activate one at a single instance.
In a bit of bad news, DRM seems to breaking games on Windows 10 and Windows 11 Alder-Lake PCs, but there's a workaround available. Intel has also published a full list of games affected by the problem.
It was a not-so-good week for Windows updates unfortunately. We learned that printing is broken (again!) on Windows 10 and Windows 11. This area has been an ongoing headache for Microsoft since the emergence of PrintNightmare back in July. This time, the issue is some updates in October's Patch Tuesday which break network printing. A fix is still in development but Microsoft has provided temporary workarounds until then. Here's to hoping that Microsoft gets this resolved in this month's Patch Tuesday.
That's not all, though. The expiration of a digital certificate in Windows 11 led to several native apps such as Snipping Tool and Touch Keyboard failing to launch. Thankfully, Microsoft released a fix for all versions of Windows 11 via Windows Update within a few hours.
On the good side of the fence, Microsoft released build 22494 to the Windows 11 Dev Channel. Most importantly, it packs a new mute button for Teams directly in the Taskbar and also features some UI enhancements to the default apps section. There are tons of other fixes plus some known issues in this build too and you can find out all about them here. Finally, while it is not tied to the latest Dev Channel build, Insiders on that ring can now try out Android apps on the operating system.
Microsoft is finally looking to improve the dark mode in Windows Search Support for the OneDrive desktop app on Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 is ending next year Microsoft has emphasized that capturing telemetry is essential in establishing a Zero Trust architecture Dynamics 365 gets new services in preview and GA, enhancements for existing ones Teams now features better harassment detection Microsoft's Customer Experience Platform is now official Microsoft Defender for Business is coming soon Microsoft SQL Server on Ubuntu Pro is now available through Azure Under the spotlight
If you want to stay on Windows 10 for some reason but still want some of the UI flavor offered by Windows 11, Neowin's very own Steven Parker has offered a handy guide around exactly this topic. It includes instructions for how to enable a centered taskbar, assigning friendly names to apps, and even a giveaway for Stardock's Start11!
Our gaming-focused News Reporter Asher Madan also dove into Forza Horizon 5 which released this week. Be sure to check out his review which talks about the stellar gameplay experience, huge roster of cars, diverse environments, and much more.
Meanwhile, in this week's combo of Closer Look, I talked about the Calendar app integration in Windows 11 - or lack thereof - and the UI updates to the Calculator app while lamenting about the fact that Microsoft takes one step forward and two steps back when it comes to Windows 11.
This week's most interesting news item is not directly related to Microsoft but is worth highlighting given the wider ramifications that it may have for industry design practices. iFixit has discovered that Apple has made it more difficult for third-party repair outlets and DIY technicians to repair iPhone 13 displays without breaking Face ID. This is due to the presence of a microcontroller that is soldered underneath the display and is used to pair a new display with an iPhone. Consumers will now be forced to visit Apple technicians and will potentially be charged higher unless they have access to technicians possessing microsoldering tools and the associated technical expertise. Consumers and proponents of the "right to repair" movement will be hoping that other OEMs don't follow suit.
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