Tag Archives: player

Adobe zero-day fix precedes June Patch Tuesday

An Adobe zero-day vulnerability in Flash Player that was actively exploited stirred up excitement for admins in the week leading up to June Patch Tuesday.

Adobe released a fix for the zero-day (CVE-2018-5002) and three other vulnerabilities for the Windows client operating system on June 7.

The zero-day exploit launched its attacks from Excel documents sent via email. Users who open these infected Excel attachments on unpatched systems could allow the execution of arbitrary code under the exploited user account.

Chris Goettl, director of product management, IvantiChris Goettl

After the Adobe zero-day issue, the patching workload for administrators is lighter than usual for June Patch Tuesday, with about 50 unique vulnerabilities to correct — including 11 rated critical.

“Our recommendation is the Flash patch — if it already hasn’t been pushed out, [give that] high priority,” said Chris Goettl, director of product management at Ivanti, based in South Jordan, Utah.

June Patch Tuesday closes about 50 vulnerabilities

Microsoft released an update for the only publicly disclosed vulnerability (CVE-2018-8267) for June Patch Tuesday, which affects the Microsoft scripting engine on all supported versions of Internet Explorer. Attacks can exploit this flaw through a compromised website, or user-contributed ads or content, to take control of the target machine.

On an unpatched system, attackers could execute arbitrary code as the hacked user. Organizations that follow least-privilege rules that restrict the use of higher full permissions will reduce the damage from a breach.

Jimmy Graham, director of product management at QualysJimmy Graham

Microsoft’s June Patch Tuesday fixes also closed a remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-8225) that affects all supported versions of Windows. This vulnerability could allow an attacker to compromise systems through a domain name system (DNS) server.

“That would be higher risk for mobile workstations, where it’s likely the system will be accessing an untrusted DNS server through public Wi-Fi,” said Jimmy Graham, director of product management at Qualys, based in Redwood City, Calif.

A memory corruption vulnerability (CVE-2018-8229) in the Edge browser’s Chakra scripting engine would let an attacker exploit an unpatched system through specially crafted websites or user-provided content. The effects depend on the level of privilege on the system.

Spectre vulnerabilities continue

Just when it seemed the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were winding down, security researchers uncovered another CPU bug. The vulnerability, called Spectre variant 4, is similar to the other speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities disclosed in January, but they are rated with moderate severity.  

Jann Horn, a security researcher at Google’s Project Zero, and Ken Johnson, of the Microsoft Security Response Center, discovered Spectre variant 4 (CVE-2018-3639). This exploit enables malicious actors to read privileged data across trust boundaries.

Microsoft released its ADV180012 advisory in January to assist administrators with closing the exploits from the speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities. The company continues to update the site, and it added further mitigation instructions to address Spectre variant 4. There are still no active attacks on Meltdown or Spectre, but administrators should install the patches and microcode updates when the CPU manufacturers release them.

For more information about the remaining security bulletins for June Patch Tuesday, visit Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.

How Have the Seattle Seahawks Sold Out 127 Consecutive Games (and Counting)? A Relentless Focus on Customer Experience

Watch any NFL game and you’ll see player and coaches reviewing videos and images on light-blue Microsoft Surface tablets. But Microsoft’s involvement with the NFL goes much deeper than sideline branding.

Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, who use Microsoft technology on the field to improve player training, recover, and wellness, and off the field to innovate and execute for its rabid fan base — so well that the Seahawks have sold out 127 straight home games (and counting) and were ranked #1 in game day experience by the NFL’s ‘Voice of the Fan.’

To find out more about the Seahawk’s digital transformation, I talked with Amy Sprangers, VP of Corporate Sponsorship 

Any technologies you adopt have to serve multiple goals. You’re not just in the football business; you’re in the entertainment business, the hospitality business…

Our objective is to be on the frontline of embracing technology on the field, to identify the right investments to make sure our franchise succeeds. The detailed data we gather helps improve recovery time, reduces time off the field, maximizes our players’ impact when it comes to game time…

But you’re right. Off the field obviously matters, too. We want to connect closely with our fans to give them the best experience when they come to the stadium — and when they go to an opposing team’s stadium on the road. We constantly want to improve how we connect with fans. We’re proud we are ranked #1 in game day experience, but we want that experience to get even better.

So how do you turn all that data into actionable insights?

It starts with clearly defining your objectives. For us, that means making sure our fans have an incredible experience.

We have data to support that. We’ve sold out 127 consecutive home games. Over 99% of our season tickets holders renew. Our fans in this community and across the country are passionate about the Seahawks.

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That, as a front office, is our most cherished responsibility. Our goal is to be the best stewards we can be to our players, to our fan base, to our partners across the country… at every level our goal is to be a championship-caliber team.

Like any business, sports are obviously cyclical, but when you make customer experience a top priority, you can smooth out some of those cycles.

But you don’t just wake up one day and say, “Let’s use technology to help us build our business.”

That’s definitely been an evolution. It took time to reach a state of maturity to really capture insights from the rich set of data we have.

But, really, that’s the Microsoft partnership paying off. The various applications in Dynamics 365 (a suite of ERP and CRM applications) helped us evolve. That’s how we manage our ticket holder database. We capture information that comes from our fans to invest in the right areas of our building: Improve sound, food and beverage, safety and security of fans and guests… we can do that because we can analyze and make sense of all the data we receive.

It can be hard to sift through a massive data set and decide what to work on, so we keep it simple: We look for ways to make the most impact. If we hear that a fan can’t hear a call from a referee’s mic on the field, we look at ways to improve that. If we hear there is a certain section where food and beverage lines are longer, we work to improve that. We analyze points of purchase to help lines move more quickly so guests can get back to their seats.

Speaking of food and beverage, you brought that in-house. Why?

That’s a great example of listening to our fans. We know how important it is for fans to feel safe and secure… and to be served great food. So last march we decided to launch our own hospitality company, First and Goal Hospitality.

We wanted to control that. That’s all a part of constant renewal, of making investments to be sure we’re first in class.

It starts with data, but you have to act on your data. You can’t wait. 

Keep in mind that at CenturyLink Field we also have the Sounders (soccer), we host major concerts… next year Taylor Swift will perform here. Over 2.3 million people a year come to our facility. 

So we have to be proactive, because ultimately we’re in the experience business, and customer expectations constantly evolve.  

Speaking of being proactive…

What’s next for us? Continuing to explore ways to improve customer experience. Continuing to leverage insights. Expanding our use of mobile technologies.

Customization of data will help us moving forward. Whether it’s football, soccer, concerts… we’re pushing to provide a customized experienced for everyone who visits the building. 

From our perspective, if our fans aren’t constantly expecting us to deploy new things, better things… then we’re not doing our jobs.

Every business wants ‘raving fans.’ How has the Seahawks organization built such a devoted fan base?

For the Seahawks specifically, when fans come in the building, it’s all about ritual. You wear all your gear. You paint your face. You dye your hair.

More than that, though, our fans believe — with good reason — that they make an impact. We lead the league in opposing team false starts. Our defense will speak to the power of our fan base. Our fans are so loud they actually impact game play.

So we looked at how can we celebrate and honor our 12s. The 12 flag raising tradition came directly from feedback from fans; it’s one way to pay tribute to them. When our team takes the field, it’s a special moment.

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Our fan share ownership when they come into the building. That feeling is true and authentic, because it comes from the fans themselves.

We also have a fan council, a great representation of season ticket holders who meet to share positive and negative feedback, describe improvements they would like to see… that’s another great set of information that helps us improve our fan experience. Whether it’s sound improvement, concession improvement, more choices or grab-and-go locations where a fan can access healthy options and be in and out very quickly… 

We really feel like we have a great responsibility to our fans. It’s not lip service. They integral to everything we want to accomplish on the field, off the field, in the community… our fans aren’t “just” fans. They really are a part of the team.

Wanted – 12TB or 10TB Hard drive (possibly 8TB)

I’ve filled my media player HDD (6TB) and rapidly running out of space on my server (filled with 8TB drives). I thinking it would maybe make sense to upgrade one of the HDDs in my server to 10TB or ideally 12TB then swap an 8TB drive to the media player…

If anyone has a 12TB or 10TB Hard drive please let me know make and model/age/price/warranty status and I’d be interested.

Might possibly consider an 8TB drive if cheap (ideally a WD red) just for the media player as I can probably survive 5-6 months with the remaining space on the server and hopefully prices will have come down enough to replace more than one server drive by then.

Let me know what you have.

Location: Lincoln, UK

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4-H youth leader rocks the Hour of Code, plans to continue the movement in her community – Microsoft on the Issues

4H youth leader and Seattle Seahawk player with student in Microsoft Store in Bellevue, Washington
4-H youth leader and TEALS student Nora Medina, left, and Seattle Seahawks player Luke Willson participate in an Hour of Code with a student Dec. 5 at the Microsoft Store at Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue, Washington.

Earlier this fall, Microsoft and National 4-H Council announced a partnership to support young people to be digital leaders, equipping them with the digital skills and other resources to help them make an even bigger, positive impact on their communities. Youth leaders are working with educators, community members and others to identify challenges their communities face, and to use technology to address those challenges.

Nora Medina, from Quincy High School in central Washington state, is working to inspire kids to learn to code, and help adults build digital skills to close the digital divide in her community. We caught up with Nora during Computer Science Education Week when she visited the Microsoft Store in Bellevue, Washington, alongside Seattle Seahawk Luke Willson, to coach elementary school students through their first Hour of Code. Nora and Luke used the new Minecraft tutorial for Hour of Code, called Hero’s Journey, which introduces kids to coding in a fun and engaging way. While our partnership with 4-H is wide-ranging, going beyond digital skills, computer science was the focus of this conversation with Nora:

4H youth leader and TEALS student Nora Medina with Seattle Seahawk Luke Willson
4-H youth leader and TEALS student Nora Medina with Seattle Seahawk Luke Willson.

How did you discover computer science?

I was introduced to coding and Code.org in middle school in an afterschool club. I started by playing with Minecraft and JavaScript. After that I got involved in Digital Tools class, which opened up more classes at my high school, where I learned web design. I realized you can do so much with your imagination and your creativity. Nothing limits you!

Why do you think learning to code is important for kids today?

Coding is everywhere! If you know coding, companies will be more inclined to hire you. You’ll have more skills to offer.

What can you tell us about your involvement with 4-H?

We’re starting a service project where the main focus is teaching adults digital skills. There’s a gap between students and parents. If we teach adults about digital skills, and why we’re on our phones so much, that can bring us closer as a community, and opens up more opportunities for parents and adults!

Microsoft is a leading supporter of Computer Science Education Week because the lack of access to computer science education threatens to widen the income gap between those who have the skills to succeed in the 21st century and those who do not, impeding students’ ability to eventually thrive in their future careers. We’re inspired by young people like Nora Medina who are stepping forward to help us, and others, address the problem.

In the United States alone, there are over 500,000 open computing jobs, however last year, less than 43,000 computer science students graduated into the U.S. workforce.  Learning to code is one of the most important steps students can take to prepare themselves to fully participate in, and benefit from, our digital economy. That’s why Microsoft Philanthropies is working to help young people and adults become creators of technology, advance their careers and grow their local economies by making computer science education and digital skills available to everyone.

Learn more, and find resources to start learning to code, or to teach others, by visiting your local Microsoft Store or https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digital-skills/hour-of-code.

Tags: Computer Science Education Week, Hour of Code, Microsoft Philanthropies, Microsoft Store

The future of networking technology is playing out right now

In the 2011 novel Ready Player One, author Ernest Cline offers his take on the future of networking technology: a dystopian United States in 2044, where everyone is plugged into a virtual world dubbed Oasis.

The protagonist, Wade Watts, is a network-savvy teen who discusses data center stacks, servers, bandwidth and security with the air of a wizened IT pro as he stays a step ahead of forces who are out to stop him (spoiler alert). The book also offers some hardcore ’80s pop culture nostalgia, for anyone into things like John Hughes movies and new wave music.

In this story, the only way to escape the dreary real world is to have a thorough understanding of the networked, virtual world. Today’s infrastructure is not to the point of plugging people in — at least not yet. But the future of networking technology is already underway, and, like Watts, IT managers must understand how all these evolving concepts will work together.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), for one, is an intriguing peek into the future of networking technology. While still a small segment of the overall market, HCI brings together compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources in a single integrated platform. Storage management has fueled much of the rise in HCI, but today, IT managers are examining how it fits in with their overall cloud strategies.

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), meantime, continues to gain traction as enterprises examine new tools to connect their remote offices. But as WAN traffic grows, so do threats, and IT managers must determine the role SD-WAN security tools will play in helping them protect their WANs. New features like microsegmentation are promising, but more work needs to be done, analysts say.

Finally, enterprises might soon have the option of telling the network to fix itself through the use of intent-based networking (IBN). Using automation and policies, IBN could redefine how applications and services are delivered across networks, even as it ushers in evolutionary technologies.

How all of these developments combine to create the future of networking technology remains to be seen. But it’s certainly fun to read about.

In the meantime, network managers continue to find the best ways to manage their expanding networks and ensure enterprise users have the bandwidth and tools they need to get their jobs done. Read one IT pro’s story on how his company upgraded communications and bandwidth so it had the best network uptime possible.