Posted by Scott CharneyCorporate Vice President, Trustworthy Computing For more than two decades, people have struggled to understand the cyber threat, evaluate the risks to individuals, organizations (including nation-states), and society at large, and craft appropriate responses. Although many organizations have invested significantly in information assurance, most computer security experts believe that a well-resourced and persistent adversary will more often than not be successful in attacking systems, especially if raising defenses is the only response to an attack. For this reason, increasing attention is being paid to deterring such attacks in the first instance, especially by governments that have the power to investigate criminal activity and use a wide range of tools to respond to other public safety and national security concerns. Notwithstanding this emerging discussion, it appears to many people that neither governments nor industry are well-positioned to respond to this highly complex threat and that, from a policy and tactical perspective, there is considerable paralysis. In my Rethinking Cyber Threats and Strategies paper I discuss a framework for categorizing and assessing cyber threats, the problem with attribution, and possible ways for society to prevent and respond to cyber threats. In my speech today at the International Security Solutions Europe (ISSE) Conference in Berlin, Germany, I proposed one possible approach to addressing botnets and other malware impacting consumer machines. This approach involves implementing a global collective defense of Internet health much like what we see in place today in the world of public health. I outline my vision in a new position paper Microsoft is publishing today titled “Collective Defense: Applying Public Health Models to the Internet.”
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
As many of you may have seen, Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. We have released a press statement about our suit, but I thought I would provide a bit more context here around the innovations infringed by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones and how our suit fits into ongoing developments in the smartphone space.
As we all know, smartphones have become an integral part of people’s daily lives and are used for a variety of tasks beyond making phone calls; from watching video and listening to music to staying in touch with family and friends. The Microsoft innovations at issue in this case help make smartphones “smart.” Indeed, our patents relate to key features that users have come to expect from every smartphone. The ability to send and receive email on-the-go has driven smartphone adoption. Nowadays, everyone expects to receive e-mail from multiple services in real time, to read it on their phones, and to reply or send new messages out – in continuous and seamless synchronization with their email services. Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, a proprietary technology that we developed, makes this possible.
But people manage more than email from their devices, they manage their lives. Users can not only send and receive email from smartphones; they can also manage their calendars. Their phones will remind them of appointments and allow them to schedule new ones. Similarly, users maintain lists of contacts on their phones, so that they can easily stay connected – by phone, text message, or email – to the people they interact with most. Again, our technology enables people to see their calendar and email contacts on their phone, and to manage their calendar and contacts from whatever device they are using.
People use smartphones for much more as well: they surf the web, play music and videos, and run apps. Consumers expect more and more from their smartphones every day, making their phones resemble not so much a phone as a handheld computer. Of course, for certain apps to run efficiently on handheld devices, they must be notified of changes in signal strength and battery power and the device must manage memory for storing data. Given the wide range of functionality smartphones offer, they also need to be able to display relevant choices for users efficiently. Microsoft’s patented technologies tackle all of these challenges.
Posted by Dan ReedCorporate Vice President, eXtreme Computing Group and Technology Strategy & PolicyThroughout the history of science, back to the days of the Renaissance, data has been scarce and precious. But today, riding the same technological economics that have given us inexpensive computing and ubiquitous sensors, scientists have the ability to capture data at a previously unimaginable scale. In all domains, scientists and researchers are drowning in data. They've gone from scarcity to an incredible richness, necessitating a sea change in how they extract insight from all this data. In a parallel shift, our scientific questions and problems increasingly lie at the intersections of traditional disciplines—for example, the recent U.S. oil spill in the Gulf. Understanding the complexities of what it means for oil distribution in water is a problem related to computational fluid dynamics, but understanding the impact of that oil on the marine ecosystem is a biological problem. To fully understand the issue, researchers from multiple disciplines—from different cultures, using different research tools—have to unite to build models and analyze data from diverse sources. With this has come an insatiable demand for easy-to-use tools and computing support, unfortunately requiring many researchers to assume additional systems administrator roles. These researchers often spend inordinate amounts of time maintaining the computing systems they require to do their research rather than devoting their time and talents to the research itself. The cost to maintain and refresh this computing infrastructure is becoming a larger and larger burden, and the economics are unsustainable. As a result, much of our research funding climate has focused (because of the power of computing for scientific discovery) on refreshes and repeated deployments of infrastructures on research campuses and laboratories. Yet at even the best funded research organizations, the majority of researchers do not have access to the computing resources they need.
Microsoft recently released its 2010 Annual Report, and this week, we also released our Microsoft 2010 Citizenship Report.
The 2010 Microsoft Citizenship Report offers insight on Microsoft’s approach and outlook on economic, social, and environmental issues, as well as reporting on progress. How we conduct ourselves and our business is as important as delivering quality products and services. Our Citizenship goals and performance are a reflection of how we hold ourselves accountable as a global corporate citizen.
For more information and to download the complete report, start by reading this intro letter from Steve Ballmer and visiting the Microsoft UP blog. You can also review the 2010 Citizenship report online or download a copy here.
More and more government officials are recognizing that, for their country or region to thrive, they need to foster local innovation. And to do so, they are increasingly looking to students – especially those studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – as the key to success.
Over the past 4 months, Imagine Cup students from across the globe who won their regional competitions have been celebrated by their government leaders for their technological feats. These leaders recognize that it’s not enough to just hope that students study STEM fields. They acknowledge the importance of prestigious technology competitions such as the Imagine Cup in inspiring students to get excited about and pursue an education or career in science and technology.
With more than 325,000 students registering worldwide last year, the Imagine Cup is now the world’s premier student technology competition – challenging students to use technology to solve the world’s toughest problems. As you’ll see in the photos below, the finalists of last year’s competition have been hailed as national heroes because of their creative thinking and passion for designing solutions to solve real-world problems.
Last week, New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, literally brought the point home about the importance of innovation to drive growth when he announced the city’s partnership with Microsoft to host the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals next July.
Enjoy this celebration of the confluence of ingenuity and social consciousness!
On October 18th, two Imagine Cup 2010 finalists were invited to participate in the first annual White House Science Fair. Wilson To from the Mobilife team and Christian Hood from BeastWare had the opportunity to meet President Obama, standing among 60 students from across the nation that were recognized for their creative thinking and innovations in science, technology, engineering and math. You can read more about the White House Science Fair on the Imagine Cup blog.