Tag Archives: today

Assuring customers about EU cross-border data flows – Microsoft on the Issues

Today, the Court of Justice for the European Union issued a ruling in a case examining transfers of data from the EU. We appreciate that some of our customers may have questions about the impact of this ruling.

We want to be clear: If you are a commercial customer, you can continue to use Microsoft services in compliance with European law. The Court’s ruling does not change your ability to transfer data today between the EU and U.S. using the Microsoft cloud.

For years we have provided customers with overlapping protections under both the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) and Privacy Shield frameworks for data transfers. Although today’s ruling invalidated the use of Privacy Shield moving forward, the SCCs remain valid. Our commercial customers are already protected under SCCs.

Read our full reaction to the ruling here.

Tags: , , , ,

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft Azure IoT Connector for FHIR now in preview

Today, Microsoft released the preview of Azure IoT Connector for FHIR—a fully managed feature of the Azure API for FHIR. The connector empowers health teams with the technology for a scalable end-to-end pipeline to ingest, transform, and manage Protected Health Information (PHI) data from devices using the security of FHIR® APIs.

Telehealth and remote monitoring. It’s long been talked about in the delivery of healthcare, and while some areas of health have created targeted use cases in the last few years, the availability of scalable telehealth platforms that can span multiple devices and schemas has been a barrier. Yet in a matter of months, COVID-19 has accelerated the discussion. We have an urgent need for care teams to find secure and scalable ways to deliver remote monitoring platforms and to extend their services to patients in the home environment.

Unlike other services that can use generic video services and data transfer in virtual settings, telehealth visits and remote monitoring in healthcare require data pipelines that can securely manage Protected Health Information (PHI). To be truly effective, they must also be designed for interoperability with existing health software like electronic medical record platforms. When it comes to remote monitoring scenarios, privacy, security, and trusted data exchanges are must-haves. Microsoft is actively investing in FHIR-based health technology like the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to ensure health customers have an ecosystem they trust.

FHIR to fuel the Internet of Medical Things

FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is now the interoperability standard for secure and private exchange of health data. FHIR began as an open source framework for clinical data, but it’s growing adoption makes it an ideal technology to bring together data from the growing “Internet of Medical Things” (IoMT) and expand healthcare in remote monitoring scenarios.

Today remote data capture often requires device-specific platforms, making it difficult to scale when new processes are added or if patients use multiple devices. Developers have to build their own secure pipelines from scratch. With the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR available as a feature on Microsoft’s cloud-based FHIR service, it’s now quick and easy for health developers to set up an ingestion pipeline, designed for security to manage PHI from IoT devices. The Azure IoT Connector for FHIR focuses on biometric data at the ingestion layer, which means it can connect at the device-to-cloud or cloud-to-cloud workstreams. Health data can be sent to Event Hub, Azure IoT Hub, or Azure IoT Central, and is converted to FHIR resources, which enables care teams to view patient data captured from IoT devices in context with clinical records in FHIR.

The key features of the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR include:

  • Conversion of biometric data (such as blood glucose, heart rate, or pulse ox) from connected devices into FHIR resources.
  • Scalability and real-time data processing.
  • Seamless integration with Azure IoT solutions and Azure Stream Analytics.
  • Role-based Access Control (RBAC) allows for managing access to device data at scale in Azure API for FHIR.
  • Audit log tracking for data flow.
  • Helps with compliance in the cloud: ISO 27001:2013 certified, supports HIPAA and GDPR, and built on the HITRUST certified Azure platform.

Ingest IoMT data from devices using Azure IoT Connector for FHIR.

Microsoft customers are already ushering in the next generation of healthcare

As the delivery of healthcare shifts outside the exam room, new FHIR-enabled technology is fueling IoT scenarios across the ecosystem of Microsoft’s customers.
Here are few of the great solutions already underway:

Humana’s Conviva Care Centers transform care for chronic conditions with IoT and FHIR

Conviva Care Centers, Humana’s senior-focused primary care subsidiary, will be using the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR this fall as Humana accelerates remote monitoring programs for patients living with chronic conditions. Congestive heart failure patients who monitor their weight and blood pressure at home will be able to use a new platform that enables easy sharing of data with their care team. Data from in-home devices, like scales and blood pressure cuffs, can be transferred via Azure IoT Connector for FHIR, providing doctors and nurses real-time data managed in a highly secure and private pipeline and allowing for proactive virtual touchpoints. Humana’s flexible remote monitoring platform will not only ensure patients have the support they need between clinic visits, but will also accelerate the future of user-centric care.

“Using the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR will open up new remote care paths for patients living with chronic conditions. Being able to make decisions with data coming in real time from home devices will be the game changer for improving the quality and timeliness of patient care.” —Marc Willard, Senior Vice President of Digital Health and Analytics at Humana

Sensoria Health’s Motus Smart—powered by Sensoria—is the new gold standard for enabling diabetes rehabilitation with remote monitoring

Motus Smart, powered by Sensoria, is a cutting-edge device used to provide remote patient monitoring quantified patient adherence and activity data to manage patients with diabetic foot ulcers and reduce amputation risk. Sensoria was able to deploy the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to enable highly secure data exchange from the Motus device to patients, their doctors, and others within their circle of care. Clinicians at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center are using enterprise-class applications to see real-time data, proactively reach out to patients, and address any issues that might be impeding proper treatment.

Centene connected health data platform helps manage chronic diseases

Centene is using Azure IoT Connector for FHIR in an effort to better manage the ever-expanding personal bio-metric data resulting from the proliferation of wearables and other medical devices. The company is leveraging the connector to explore the use of near-real-time monitoring and alerting as part of its overall priority on improving the health of its members, enabling them to take better care of themselves, and supporting its care management staff with actionable insights to improve the health of the communities Centene serves. In the future, Centene intends to use the connector to monitor and manage chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, and high-blood pressure. By leveraging Microsoft’s scalable, open platforms, Centene can make further progress toward improving outcomes for Centene Health Plan members.

Learn more and get started

We’re excited about the way our customers are embracing and delivering transformative care with FHIR technology. As we bring down the barriers of interoperability with new FHIR-based tools, the future vision of how we can evolve healthcare starts to unfold and it’s inspiring.

Microsoft has expanded the tools in our FHIR ecosystem to include IoT pipelines, so our customers have easy to use, interconnected tools for responsibly managing patient health data. Whether you’re building clinical applications, analytics engines, or developing artificial intelligence (AI) with telehealth and remote monitoring, we want to make sure you have pipelines for PHI data with security in mind. Check out the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR and the Azure API for FHIR to get started today!

Read more about the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, which brings together our integrated capabilities, like our FHIR tools, with robust cloud capabilities specific to customers and partners in the healthcare industry. The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare enriches patient engagement and connects health teams to help improve collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies.

FHIR® is the registered trademark of HL7 and is used with the permission of HL7.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft announces expiration of its exchange offers – Stories

REDMOND, Wash. — May 29, 2020 — Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) (“Microsoft”) today announced the expiration of its offers to (i) exchange (the “Pool 1 Offer”) the ten series of notes described in the table below (collectively, the “Pool 1 Notes”) for a new series of Microsoft’s 2.525% Notes due June 1, 2050 (the “New 2050 Notes”) and a cash payment, as applicable, and (ii) exchange (the “Pool 2 Offer” and, together with the Pool 1 Offer, the “Exchange Offers”) the four series of notes described in the table below (collectively, the “Pool 2 Notes” and, together with the Pool 1 Notes, the “Existing Notes”) for a new series of Microsoft’s 2.675% Notes due June 1, 2060 (the “New 2060 Notes” and, together with the New 2050 Notes, the “New Notes”) and a cash payment, as applicable.

A Registration Statement on Form S-4 (File No. 333-237925), as amended by Amendment No. 1 thereto (the “Registration Statement”), relating to the issuance of the New Notes has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and has become effective. The New Notes, upon issuance, will be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, pursuant to the Registration Statement.

The table below identifies the aggregate principal amount of each series of Pool 1 Notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn) in the Pool 1 Offer and the principal amount of each series of Pool 1 Notes, based on the order of acceptance priority for such series, that Microsoft expects to accept on the Settlement Date (as defined below):

Pool 1 Table
Title of Security CUSIP
Number
Consideration Exchanged for Acceptance Priority
Level
Principal
Amount
Tendered(1)
Principal
Amount
Microsoft Expects to Accept
4.875% Notes due 2043

594918AX2

New 2050 Notes

1 $325,428,000 $325,428,000
5.300% Notes due 2041

594918AM6

New 2050 Notes

2 $229,661,000 $229,661,000
4.450% Notes due 2045

594918BL7

New 2050 Notes

3 $1,711,663,000 $1,711,663,000
4.250% Notes due 2047 594918CA0 New 2050 Notes

4 $1,415,370,000 $1,415,370,000
5.200% Notes due 2039

594918AD6 New 2050 Notes

5

$191,455,000 $191,455,000
4.500% Notes due 2040 594918AJ3 New 2050 Notes

6 $428,829,000

$428,829,000

3.750% Notes due 2043 594918AU8

New 2050 Notes

7 $255,985,000

$255,985,000

3.750% Notes due 2045

594918BD5

New 2050 Notes

8 $1,109,437,000

$1,109,433,000

4.100% Notes due 2037 594918BZ6 New 2050 Notes

9 $1,569,224,000

$583,533,000

4.200% Notes due 2035 594918BK9 New 2050 Notes

10 $325,218,000 $0

 

  1. The aggregate principal amounts of each series that have been validly tendered for exchange and not validly withdrawn, as of 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on May 28, 2020 (the “Expiration Time”), based on information provided by the exchange agent to Microsoft.

The table below identifies the aggregate principal amount of each series of Pool 2 Notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn) in the Pool 2 Offer and the principal amount of each series of Pool 2 Notes, based on the order of acceptance priority for such series, that Microsoft expects to accept on the Settlement Date:

Pool 2 Table
Title of Security CUSIP
Number
Consideration Exchanged for Acceptance Priority
Level
Principal
Amount
Tendered(1)
Principal
Amount
Microsoft Expects to Accept
4.750% Notes due 2055

594918BM5 New 2060 Notes

1 $673,265,000 $673,265,000
4.000% Notes due 2055

594918BE3 New 2060 Notes

2 $1,456,150,000 $1,456,150,000
4.500% Notes due 2057

594918CB8 New 2060 Notes

3 $1,116,223,000 $1,116,223,000
3.950% Notes due 2056 594918BU7 New 2060 Notes

4 $1,693,876,000 $295,490,000
  1. The aggregate principal amounts of each series that have been validly tendered for exchange and not validly withdrawn, as of the Expiration Time, based on information provided by the exchange agent to Microsoft.

In the Exchange Offers, according to the information provided by D.F. King & Co., Inc., the information agent and exchange agent for the Exchange Offers, $7,562,270,000 aggregate principal amount of Pool 1 Notes and $4,939,514,000 aggregate principal amount of Pool 2 Notes were validly tendered and not validly withdrawn at or prior to the Expiration Time, as more fully set forth above.

The Exchange Offers expired at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on May 28, 2020. Following the Expiration Time, tenders of the Existing Notes may not be validly withdrawn. As of the Expiration Time, all conditions to the Exchange Offers were satisfied. Microsoft currently anticipates that the settlement date of the Exchange Offers will be June 1, 2020 (the “Settlement Date”).

Based on the amount of Existing Notes tendered in the Exchange Offers and in accordance with the terms of the Exchange Offers, Microsoft expects to accept, on the Settlement Date, (a) the following Pool 1 Notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn): (i) all of the Pool 1 Notes listed in the Pool 1 Table above at Acceptance Priority Levels 1 through 7, (ii) $1,109,433,000 aggregate principal amount of its 3.750% Notes due 2045 (which is less than the amount tendered (and not validly withdrawn) due to minimum denomination requirements of the Exchange Offers) and (iii) $583,533,000 aggregate principal amount of its 4.100% Notes due 2037 with a proration factor for such notes equal to approximately 37.19% of such notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn) and (b) the following Pool 2 Notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn): (i) all of the Pool 2 Notes listed in the Pool 2 Table at Acceptance Priority Levels 1 through 3 and (ii) $295,490,000 aggregate principal amount of its 3.950% Notes due 2056 with a proration factor for such notes equal to approximately 17.44% of such notes validly tendered (and not validly withdrawn) as set forth above. Microsoft does not expect to accept any of the Pool 1 Notes listed in the Pool 1 Table at Acceptance Priority Level 10.

On the Settlement Date, Microsoft expects to deliver an aggregate principal amount of $6,249,997,000 of New 2050 Notes and an aggregate principal amount of $3,750,000,000 of New 2060 Notes and cash payments, as applicable, pursuant to Microsoft’s prospectus dated May 19, 2020 (the “Prospectus”), filed with the SEC on May 19, 2020, relating to the New Notes.

 About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this news release are “forward-looking statements” based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors described above as well as:

  • intense competition in all of our markets that may lead to lower revenue or operating margins;
  • increasing focus on cloud-based services presenting execution and competitive risks;
  • significant investments in products and services that may not achieve expected returns;
  • acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances that may have an adverse effect on our business;
  • impairment of goodwill or amortizable intangible assets causing a significant charge to earnings;
  • cyberattacks and security vulnerabilities that could lead to reduced revenue, increased costs, liability claims, or harm to our reputation or competitive position;
  • disclosure and misuse of personal data that could cause liability and harm to our reputation;
  • the possibility that we may not be able to protect information stored in our products and services from use by others;
  • abuse of our advertising or social platforms that may harm our reputation or user engagement;
  • the development of the internet of things presenting security, privacy, and execution risks;
  • issues about the use of artificial intelligence in our offerings that may result in competitive harm, legal liability, or reputational harm;
  • excessive outages, data losses, and disruptions of our online services if we fail to maintain an adequate operations infrastructure;
  • quality or supply problems;
  • the possibility that we may fail to protect our source code;
  • legal changes, our evolving business model, piracy, and other factors may decrease the value of our intellectual property;
  • claims that Microsoft has infringed the intellectual property rights of others;
  • claims against us that may result in adverse outcomes in legal disputes;
  • government litigation and regulatory activity relating to competition rules that may limit how we design and market our products;
  • potential liability under trade protection, anti-corruption, and other laws resulting from our global operations;
  • laws and regulations relating to the handling of personal data that may impede the adoption of our services or result in increased costs, legal claims, fines, or reputational damage;
  • additional tax liabilities;
  • damage to our reputation or our brands that may harm our business and operating results;
  • exposure to increased economic and operational uncertainties from operating a global business, including the effects of foreign currency exchange;
  • uncertainties relating to our business with government customers;
  • adverse economic or market conditions that may harm our business;
  • catastrophic events or geopolitical conditions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, that may disrupt our business; and
  • the dependence of our business on our ability to attract and retain talented employees.

For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q that are incorporated by reference in the Prospectus forming a part of the Registration Statement, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft’s Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/investor.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Looking back at 10 years of learning at the annual Ability Summit – Microsoft Accessibility Blog

Today kicks off the 10th Microsoft Ability Summit! With over 80 speakers, 22 breakout sessions, 20+ non-profit organizations, and product fair demos over two days, this is our first all-virtual summit that is fully open to the public. We’re excited to welcome speakers from Microsoft, industry and members of the accessibility and disability communities — many of whom have been alongside us this last decade and whose feedback has made the journey of accessibility possible.

The Ability Summit started in 2010 with a simple premise: to bring together employees with disabilities to share their best practices, pain points, and dreams. While our employee disability groups have been around since the 90’s, the Microsoft Disability Employee Resource Group was in its infancy at the time. I remember being as nervous then as I am today! Would there be value? Would people find the similarities that I was seeing across each of the groups? Would we walk away frustrated or excited? Approximately 80 people attended throughout the course of the short one-day event, and each of them said to me on the way out of the door “Jenny, we must do this again.” So, we did.

The goals of the Ability Summit have evolved over the years but remained true at the core. To bring together people with disabilities, experts in their domains, along with designers, engineering, marketeers, HR professions and nerds together to talk, share, connect and learn how we Build, Imagine, Include and Empower. To identify where we can speed up implementation of accessibility and innovation for people with disabilities – both in the company and outside of the company – on the pathway to driving for a more inclusive society. Lastly, to create best practice in how to build an accessible and inclusive event. Last year 2,500 people joined us for two days, this year – well, we’re about to find out!

Above all else, the Ability Summit has taught us the critical importance of collaboration. It’s the key to accelerating our accessibility journey. Its why we host this annual event, and it’s also why are sharing the Microsoft Accessibility Evolution Model (AEM). Many have asked in the last few years what ‘secret sauce’ has powered Microsoft’s approach to accessibility and inclusion. There is no secret sauce, but we do manage accessibility like a business. The AEM is a maturity model built on the foundation of two existing models – one from Carnegie Mellon, and the other from accessibility specialists at Level Access. The Microsoft Accessibility Leadership Team, which spans the breadth of the company, expanded on the wisdom of these models by creating a series of dimensions with five levels of maturity. We leverage the structure to gain an understanding of our progress and build upon the dimension definitions as our learning grows. It’s a cultural model that starts with inclusion of people with disabilities, strives for inclusive design in product development, and emphasizes the skilling of employees on about accessibility and importance of authentic representation in sales, marketing, and accessibility supplier/procurement.

We also learned the importance of disability and accessibility education. Last year we created an Accessibility in Action Badge for our employees to help shine a spotlight on how technology can empower everyone. After receiving great feedback, we created a similar accessibility in action certification for other employers, nonprofits, and consumers to take alongside our employees. Get your own badge and complete the accessibility fundamentals learning path today!

During this time, it’s especially crucial to adapt to listen to feedback and to insight from the community. Over the last several weeks we have been responding to questions in a series of blogs that highlight accessibility hints, tips, and product features that can power you to work, learn and play in the stay-at-home world. We’ve had a 175% increase in calls to our Disability Answer Desk, from customers looking for assistance from experts on accessibility. We’ve also seen a huge uptick in the use of AI-powered accessibility tools, such as Immersive Reader and captioning in Office 365. While AI captions do not replace human provided captions (CART) they do offer independence, flexibility and strong quality captions thanks to the AI and machine learning behind them. I’m thrilled to share that Microsoft Teams Free edition will soon support live captions, allowing everyone to give them a try. Just last week, Microsoft Edge shared that they have committed over 150 changes on accessibility features into their open source project with the support of the Google Chrome team, and recently embedded features such as Immersive Reader, Picture Dictionary, Microsoft Translator , Read aloud and more. We also highlighted new accessibility functions coming to Windows 10, including Narrator and Magnifier improvements to provide users who are blind or low vision a better experience across applications.

One project that particularly excites me is Project Tokyo, which leverages AI and AR with the power of HoloLens to power children who are blind and low vision to develop social interaction skills, giving these kids the understanding of not just ‘who’ is at the dinner table but where, their expressions and more. Its research and early, but a beautiful illustration of everything Ability Summit stands for – bringing together people with disabilities with experts to open doors with technology.

Excited to get this show on the road – virtually! We’ve been moving fast these last few weeks to pivot to a virtual event and incredibly grateful for the support of Microsoft Teams to power this year’s summit as well as all of the non-profits, companies and speakers who will be joining us. While registration is now closed, videos will be posted on the Microsoft Enable YouTube channel!

Thank you for powering our journey, for keeping us grounded and motivated. If you need any assistance at any time, remember Disability Answer Desk is open 24/7 and all information on accessibility is at www.microsoft.com/accessibility.

Look forward to seeing how we can Include, Build, Imagine, Empower people with disabilities around the world – together. Let’s get this party started!

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Celebrating 30 Years of Microsoft Solitaire with Those Oh-So-Familiar Bouncing Cards – Xbox Wire

Today, on National Solitaire Day, we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the beloved Microsoft Solitaire and saying ‘Thank You!’ to all the players over the past 30 years!

With a worldwide appeal, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, as it is known today, hosts over 35 million players each month, from more than 200+ countries and territories, in 65 different languages. And after 30 years, Microsoft Solitaire is still one of the most played games on the planet every day, with more than 100 million hands played daily around the globe.

The Solitaire we all know and love was first called Windows Solitaire on Windows 3.0 in 1990. The game helped people learn how to drag and drop items on their computer screens using a mouse, which was novel at the time.

Today, at the start of year 31, Microsoft Solitaire is played on computers, laptops, tablets, and phones in every corner of the globe, arguably by one of the most diverse gaming audiences in the world. Its Microsoft Solitaire’s unmatched familiarity and availability that’s contributed to its unending popularity, with more than half a billion players in the past decade alone, which no doubt added to the game being inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2019.

We’re celebrating the 30th Anniversary by inviting all players to join our record-breaking event today, with our goal to reach the most games of Microsoft Solitaire completed in one day. Join us as we embark on this record-breaking mission by downloading Microsoft Solitaire Collection for free on WindowsiOS, or Android, or play right through your browser! You can also visit our 30th Anniversary Event page on Facebook for more details and extra Anniversary fun. And don’t miss Major Nelson’s interview with a pair of Solitaire experts discussing the coveted winnability rate of the game.

Whether you play to take a break and relax or to test your brain for a challenge, we offer you, our players, a sincere round of applause for your passion and dedication. For that, there’s something new that I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce for the Microsoft Solitaire community: Microsoft Solitaire t-shirts and mugs are available now for the first time ever!

No matter where you shuffle the deck from – whether it’s the US, Japan, Brazil, China, or the UK – coincidentally, that’s in order the territories with the most Microsoft Solitaire players, or the Cocos Islands, Anguilla, Vatican City, Barbados, or New Zealand, in order the territories with the most players per capita (I love this stat!) – thank you for creating this amazing community!

It really is something special that a game called Microsoft Solitaire has brought together so many people for so many years. 

Enjoy your next hand of Microsoft Solitaire.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Xbox Game Studios

Check out the new look and feel of Microsoft Solitaire Collection on Windows 10! Solitaire remains the most played computer game of all time, and for good reason. Simple rules and straightforward gameplay make it easy to pick up for everyone. Solitaire has been part of Windows for more than 25 years, and the Microsoft Solitaire Collection makes it the best experience to date with five different card games in one: Klondike This version is the timeless classic that many people just call “Solitaire.” Try to clear all the cards from the table using one or three-card draw, while using traditional scoring or the Vegas scoring system. Spider Eight columns of cards await your attempts to clear them with the fewest moves possible. Start out playing with a single suit until you’re comfortable, and then see how you fare when using two or even all four suits in a game. FreeCell Use four extra cells to move cards around as you try to clear all cards from the table. More strategic than the Klondike version, FreeCell rewards players who think several moves ahead. TriPeaks Select cards in a sequence, either up or down, to earn points and clear the board. How many boards can you clear before you run out of deals? Pyramid Pair two cards that add up to 13 in order to remove them from the board. Try to reach the top of the pyramid. See how many boards you can clear and how high you can score in this highly addictive card game! Daily Challenges Players receive new challenges each day. Complete enough Daily Challenges in a month to earn badges and compete with your friends. Star Club Even more challenges arranged in collections and packs you can unlock by earning stars. Choose Your Theme The Microsoft Solitaire Collection features several beautiful themes, from the simplicity of “Classic” to the serenity of an Aquarium that comes to life before you while you play. You can even create custom themes from your own photos! Xbox Live Integration Sign in with your Microsoft account to earn achievements, compete with your friends on the leaderboards, and track your personal gameplay statistics. If you sign in with a Microsoft account, your progress is stored in the cloud so you can play the game on any device without missing a beat!

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft announces pricing terms for its exchange offers and increases the New 2060 Notes Issue Cap – Stories

REDMOND, Wash. — May 14, 2020 — Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) (“Microsoft”) announced today the pricing terms with respect to its offers to (i) exchange (the “Pool 1 Offer”) the ten series of notes described in the table below (collectively, the “Pool 1 Notes”) for a new series of Microsoft’s 2.525% notes due June 1, 2050 (the “New 2050 Notes”) and a cash payment, as applicable. For each $1,000 principal amount of Pool 1 Notes validly tendered and not validly withdrawn prior to 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on May 28, 2020 (the “Expiration Time”) and accepted by Microsoft, the following table sets forth the yield, the total exchange consideration, the principal amount of the New 2050 Notes and the amount of the cash payment, as applicable:

Pool 1 Table(1)
Title of
Security
CUSIP
Number
Acceptance Priority Level Reference
UST Security(2)
Fixed
Spread
(basis
points)
Yield(3) Early
Exchange
Premium(4)
Total
Exchange
Consideration
(4)(5)
Principal
Amount
of New
Notes(6)
Cash Payment(4)
4.875% Notes due 2043

594918AX2

1 30-year +110 2.375% $30 $1,441.62 $1,000.00 $441.62
5.300% Notes due 2041

594918AM6

2 30-year +105 2.325% $30 $1,486.31 $1,000.00 $486.31
4.450% Notes due 2045

594918BL7

3 30-year +110 2.375% $30 $1,388.59 $1,000.00 $388.59
4.250% Notes due 2047

594918CA0 4 30-year +110 2.375% $30 $1,363.95 $1,000.00 $363.95
5.200% Notes due 2039

594918AD6 5 30-year +95 2.225% $30 $1,458.92 $1,000.00 $458.92
4.500% Notes due 2040

594918AJ3 6 30-year +100 2.275% $30 $1,360.57 $1,000.00 $360.57
3.750% Notes due 2043

594918AU8

7 30-year +110 2.375% $30 $1,237.91 $1,000.00 $237.91
3.750% Notes due 2045

594918BD5

8 30-year +110 2.375% $30 $1,251.94 $1,000.00 $251.94
4.100% Notes due 2037

594918BZ6 9 30-year +87 2.145% $30 $1,266.05 $1,000.00 $266.05
4.200% Notes due 2035 594918BK9 10 30-year +75 2.025% $30 $1,278.89 $1,000.00 $278.89
  1. The figures in this table assume a settlement date of June 1, 2020.
  2. The “30-year Reference UST Security” refers to the 2.375% U.S. Treasury Notes due November 15, 2049.
  3. Reflects the bid-side yield of the 30-year Reference UST Security as of the pricing time of 1.275% plus the applicable Fixed Spread, calculated in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Prospectus.
  4. Per $1,000 principal amount of Pool 1 Notes.
  5. Holders who validly tender Pool 1 Notes after 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on May 13, 2020 (the “Early Exchange Time”) will not be eligible to receive the Early Exchange Premium of $30 principal amount of the New 2050 Notes for each $1,000 principal amount of Pool 1 Notes validly tendered and not withdrawn. For the avoidance of doubt, the $30 per $1,000 Early Exchange Premium is included within the total exchange consideration and is not in addition to the total exchange c
  6. Does not reflect any accrued and unpaid interest. The Company will pay accrued and unpaid interest on the Existing Notes up to, but not including, the settlement date.

and (ii) exchange (the “Pool 2 Offer” and, together with the Pool 1 Offer, the “Exchange Offers”) the four series of notes described in the table below (collectively, the “Pool 2 Notes” and, together with the Pool 1 Notes, the “Existing Notes”) for a new series of Microsoft 2.675% notes due June 1, 2060 (the “New 2060 Notes” and, together with the New 2050 Notes, the “New Notes”) and a cash payment, as applicable. For each $1,000 principal amount of Pool 2 Notes validly tendered and not validly withdrawn prior to the Expiration Time and accepted by Microsoft, the following table sets forth the yield, the total exchange consideration, the principal amount of the New 2060 Notes and the amount of the cash payment, as applicable:

Pool 2 Table(1)
Title of
Security
CUSIP
Number
Acceptance Priority Level Reference
UST Security(2)
Fixed
Spread
(basis
points)
Yield(3) Early
Exchange
Premium(4)
Total
Exchange
Consideration
(4)(5)
Principal
Amount
of New
Notes(6)
Cash Payment(4)
4.750% Notes due 2055

594918BM5 1 30-year +125 2.525% $30 $1,514.30 $1,138.86 $375.44
4.000% Notes due 2055

594918BE3 2 30-year +125 2.525% $30 $1,336.46 $1,000.00 $336.46
4.500% Notes due 2057

594918CB8 3 30-year +125 2.525% $30 $1,466.62 $1,107.32 $359.30
3.950% Notes due 2056 594918BU7 4 30-year +125 2.525% $30 $1,333.83 $1,000.00 $333.83
  1. The figures in this table reflect any optional adjustments of the total exchange consideration as permitted under the terms and conditions in the Prospectus forming part of the Registration Statement and assume a settlement date of June 1, 2020.
  2. The “30-year Reference UST Security” refers to the 2.375% U.S. Treasury Notes due November 15, 2049.
  3. Reflects the buy-side yield of the 30-year Reference UST Security as of the pricing time of 1.275% plus the applicable Fixed Spread, calculated in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Prospectus.
  4. Per $1,000 principal amount of Pool 2 Notes.
  5. Holders who validly tender Pool 2 Notes after the Early Exchange Time will not be eligible to receive the Early Exchange Premium of $30 principal amount of the New 2060 Notes for each $1,000 principal amount of Pool 2 Notes validly tendered and not withdrawn. For the avoidance of doubt, the $30 per $1,000 Early Exchange Premium is included within the total exchange consideration and is not in addition to the total exchange c
  6. Does not reflect any accrued and unpaid interest. The Company will pay accrued and unpaid interest on the Existing Notes up to, but not including, the settlement date.

The aggregate principal amount of Pool 1 Notes and Pool 2 Notes of each series that are accepted for exchange will be based on the order of acceptance priority for such series, as applicable, as set forth in the tables above, up to $6,250,000,000 aggregate principal amount (the “New 2050 Notes Issue Cap”) and up to $3,750,000,000 aggregate principal amount (the “New 2060 Notes Issue Cap,” increased from $3,000,000,000), respectively. Holders who validly tender the Existing Notes after the Early Exchange Time but on or before the Expiration Time will only be eligible to receive the Exchange Consideration, which equals the Total Exchange Consideration minus the Early Exchange Premium as detailed in the tables above.

As permitted under the terms and conditions in the Registration Statement (as defined below), the Company has elected to increase the Cash Payment Percent of Premium on the 4.750% Notes due 2055 from 70% to 73%, the 4.500% Notes due 2057 from 70% to 77%, and the 3.950% Notes due 2056 from 90% to 100%. These changes are reflected in the Cash Payment amounts shown in the tables above.

In addition to the principal amount of New Notes and applicable cash payment specified in the tables above, holders with Existing Notes that are accepted for exchange will receive a cash payment representing (i) all or a portion of the accrued and unpaid interest to, but not including, the settlement date, and (ii) amounts due in lieu of any fractional amounts of New Notes, in each case, as described in the Prospectus.

A Registration Statement on Form S-4, including a prospectus (the “Prospectus”), which is subject to change, relating to the New Notes has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on April 30, 2020 (the “Registration Statement”) but has not yet become effective. The New Notes may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the Registration Statement becomes effective. If and when issued, the New Notes will be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. This news release does not constitute an offer or a solicitation by Microsoft of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any state in which such offer or solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state.

Consummation of the Exchange Offers is subject to a number of conditions as set forth in the Prospectus included in the Registration Statement, including, among other things, the Registration Statement of which the Prospectus forms a part having been declared effective by the SEC and remaining effective on the settlement date.

The Exchange Offers are made only by and pursuant to the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Prospectus, which forms a part of the Registration Statement after it is declared effective by the SEC, and the information in this news release is qualified by reference to such Prospectus and the Registration Statement. None of Microsoft, the dealer managers, or the information agent and exchange agent makes any recommendations as to whether holders should tender their Existing Notes pursuant to the Exchange Offers. Holders must make their own decisions as to whether to tender Existing Notes and, if so, the principal amount of Existing Notes to tender.

Copies of the Prospectus pursuant to which the Exchange Offers are being made, may be obtained from D.F. King & Co., Inc., the information agent and exchange agent for the Exchange Offers, at 212-269-5552 (to exchange), at 800-431-9645 (for information U.S. Toll-free), at 212-269-5550 (information for brokers), at www.dfking.com/microsoft, or at [email protected].  Questions regarding the terms and conditions of the Exchange Offers should be directed to the following joint lead dealer managers:

  BofA Securities

620 South Tryon Street, 20th Floor

Charlotte, NC 28255

Toll Free: (888) 292-0070

Collect: (980) 387-3907

Attn: Liability Management Group

    Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

60 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

Toll Free: (866) 627-0391

Collect: (212) 250-2955

Attn: Liability Management Group

In order to participate in any Exchange Offer, holders of the Existing Notes located or resident in Canada are required to complete, sign and submit to the exchange agent a Canadian Eligibility Form, which may be obtained from D.F. King & Co., Inc. contacts above, to confirm they satisfy applicable Canadian eligibility requirements and to provide certain additional information.

Any holder of the Existing Notes located in any Member State of the European Economic Area or in the United Kingdom that is a retain investor will not be able to participate in the Exchange Offers. For these purposes, a retain investor means a person who is one or more of the following: (i) a retail client as defined in point (11) of Article 4(1) of the EU Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments (2014/65/EU) (as amended, “MiFID II”); or (ii) a customer within the meaning of Directive (EU) 2016/97, where that customer would not qualify as a professional client as defined in point (10) of Article (4)(1) of MiFID II.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this news release are “forward-looking statements” based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors described above as well as:

  • intense competition in all of our markets that may lead to lower revenue or operating margins;
  • increasing focus on cloud-based services presenting execution and competitive risks;
  • significant investments in products and services that may not achieve expected returns;
  • acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances that may have an adverse effect on our business;
  • impairment of goodwill or amortizable intangible assets causing a significant charge to earnings;
  • cyberattacks and security vulnerabilities that could lead to reduced revenue, increased costs, liability claims, or harm to our reputation or competitive position;
  • disclosure and misuse of personal data that could cause liability and harm to our reputation;
  • the possibility that we may not be able to protect information stored in our products and services from use by others;
  • abuse of our advertising or social platforms that may harm our reputation or user engagement;
  • the development of the internet of things presenting security, privacy, and execution risks;
  • issues about the use of artificial intelligence in our offerings that may result in competitive harm, legal liability, or reputational harm;
  • excessive outages, data losses, and disruptions of our online services if we fail to maintain an adequate operations infrastructure;
  • quality or supply problems;
  • the possibility that we may fail to protect our source code;
  • legal changes, our evolving business model, piracy, and other factors may decrease the value of our intellectual property;
  • claims that Microsoft has infringed the intellectual property rights of others;
  • claims against us that may result in adverse outcomes in legal disputes;
  • government litigation and regulatory activity relating to competition rules that may limit how we design and market our products;
  • potential liability under trade protection, anti-corruption, and other laws resulting from our global operations;
  • laws and regulations relating to the handling of personal data that may impede the adoption of our services or result in increased costs, legal claims, fines, or reputational damage;
  • additional tax liabilities;
  • damage to our reputation or our brands that may harm our business and operating results;
  • exposure to increased economic and operational uncertainties from operating a global business, including the effects of foreign currency exchange;
  • uncertainties relating to our business with government customers;
  • adverse economic or market conditions that may harm our business;
  • catastrophic events or geopolitical conditions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, that may disrupt our business; and
  • the dependence of our business on our ability to attract and retain talented employees.

For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q that are incorporated by reference in the Prospectus forming a part of the Registration Statement, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft’s Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/investor.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft announces definitive agreement to acquire Metaswitch Networks, expanding approach to empower operators and partner with network equipment providers to deliver on promise of 5G – The Official Microsoft Blog

Today, we are announcing that we have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Metaswitch Networks, a leading provider of virtualized network software and voice, data and communications solutions for operators.

The convergence of cloud and communication networks presents a unique opportunity for Microsoft to serve operators globally via continued investment in Azure, adding additional depth to our hyperscale cloud infrastructure with the specialized software required to run virtualized communication functions, applications and networks.

This announcement builds on our recent acquisition of Affirmed Networks, which closed on April 23, 2020. Metaswitch’s complementary portfolio of ultra-high-performance, cloud-native communications software will expand our range of offerings available for the telecommunications industry. Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of these two organizations, extending the Azure platform to both deploy and grow these capabilities at scale in a way that is secure, efficient and creates a sustainable ecosystem.

As the industry moves to 5G, operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualization of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future. Microsoft will continue to meet customers where they are, working together with the industry as operators and network equipment providers evolve their own operations.

We will continue to support hybrid and multi-cloud models to create a more diverse telecom ecosystem and spur faster innovation, an expanded set of unique offerings and greater opportunities for differentiation. We will continue to partner with existing suppliers, emerging innovators and network equipment partners to share roadmaps and explore expanded opportunities to work together, including in the areas of radio access networks (RAN), next-generation core, virtualized services, orchestration and operations support system/business support system (OSS/BSS) modernization. A future that is interoperable has never been more important to ensure the success of customers and partners.

By enabling advancements in enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable low latency communications and massive machine-type communication to enable IoT at scale, 5G offers significant potential for enterprises and governments and in turn creates new opportunities for operators. 5G will ultimately give operators a path to accelerate service innovation and deliver new transformative experiences that are faster, more resilient and more secure, spurred on by software advances to drive transformation at scale.

We have a long history of working with operators as they increasingly embrace software-based solutions and continue to support the advancement of cloud-based networking while helping create new partnership opportunities for existing network equipment providers. Our intention over time is to create modern alternatives to network infrastructure, enabling operators to deliver existing and value-added services – with greater cost efficiency and lower capital investment than they’ve faced in the past.

Tags: , ,

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Introducing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perks Plus New Titles for Console and PC – Xbox Wire

Today, we’re announcing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perks, a new exclusive member benefit starting March 18 that provides even more value for our Ultimate members. When we launched Xbox Game Pass in June 2017, we did so with the goal of creating a membership that provides the best value in gaming. Our members have told us they love discovering new games but they also want new in-game content. Through Perks, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will now regularly receive new benefits including DLC, in-game content and more – all free and included with membership.

To kick things off, this month members can redeem these Perks for free:

Phantasy Star Online 2: Enter the world of one of Japan’s biggest online RPGs with a special content bundle, which includes unique emotes, in-game cosmetics including an Xbox jacket, a gold ticket Mission Pass and in-game currency with a Meseta Crystal. Available to members in the US and Canada only.

World of Tanks: Mercenaries: A global multiplayer free-to-play game dedicated to tank warfare in the mid-20th century. Start your journey with three powerful tanks and more!

Sea of Thieves: The essential pirate experience, from sailing and fighting to exploring and looting – everything you need to live the pirate life and become a legend in your own right. With Perks, you get a free Ori-inspired Ancestral Sails, Figurehead, Hull, and Flag to adorn your ship.

Smite: Become divine in the #1 MOBA on Xbox, with a bundle that unlocks five Gods, special character skins and voice packs so you can ride into the battle of the Gods in style. With Smite, join a community of 30 million players and defend your portal in showdowns in the Collesium.

We’ll announce new Perks in the future alongside updates to the Xbox Game Pass catalog, so stay tuned. There’s no need to register or sign-up for the Perks program; as long as you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member, you can find your Perks on your console within the Xbox Game Pass tab, in the new Xbox (beta) app on Windows 10 PC, or within the Xbox Game Pass mobile app. If you are not a member of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can join today and get your first month for just $1.

As always, when we try something new, we want your feedback; please let us know what you think of the Perks program. Your feedback drives the evolution of Xbox Game Pass, and we appreciate the time you take to help us improve.

And now, I’m excited to share the upcoming titles joining Xbox Game Pass this month.


Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass for PC

Astrologaster
A comedy game set in Shakespeare’s London, play as ‘Doctor’ Simon Forman and treat his patients using astrology and win him a medical license. Explore Simon’s life, relationships, and his work. Make story choices strategically or just for fun – but be warned your choices will have consequences (and unpredictable side effects) in this story-driven adventure game based on a truly ridiculous story.

Bleeding Edge – Xbox Play Anywhere
Grab your team and tear it up in Bleeding Edge, an electrifying online brawler where every fighter comes mechanically enhanced for mayhem! Choose your fighter from a diverse cast of colorful characters from the edges of society: burn rubber as bold and beautiful Buttercup with her detachable saw blade arms, wreak havoc as Black-Metal rocker Niđhöggr with his electrifying guitar solos or slash up the streets as Daemon, New York’s most wanted assassin. Come join the cybernetic clash of the century!

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
It’s morphin time! Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid pits current and classic rangers and villains in 3 vs. 3 tag battles. Test your skills online against friends and players from around the world for endless replayability. Experience authentic but re-imagined Power Rangers battle sequences like never before.

The Surge 2
On the way to Jericho City, your plane is shot down by a mysterious storm and crash-lands in the outskirts. You wake up weeks later in a derelict detention facility inside the city. Robots are on a rampage and a dark, expanding nanostorm looms over the cityscape. In this hardcore, brutal melee combat game, The Surge 2 challenges you to unravel its hidden secrets.


Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass for Console

March 19

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Aerial combat has never looked or felt better than this. Soar through photorealistic skies with full 360-degree movement. Weather and environments affect your aircraft and HUD, making those dogfights just that more realistic. Take to the skies and become an ace pilot!

Kona
Northern Canada, 1970. A strange blizzard ravages Atamipek Lake. Step into the shoes of private detective to investigate surreal events in an eerie village while battling the elements to survive.

The Surge 2 – Xbox One X Enhanced
Your plane is shot down by a mysterious storm and crashes in the outskirts of Jericho City. Waking up weeks later in a derelict detention facility inside the city, you find that robots are on the rampage and a dark, expanding nanostorm looms over the city. The Surge 2 challenges you to unravel its hidden secrets in this hardcore, brutal melee combat game.

March 24

Bleeding Edge – Xbox One X Enhanced / Xbox Play Anywhere
Join the cybernetic clash of the century! Choose your fighter from a diverse cast of colorful characters from the edges of society: burn rubber as bold and beautiful Buttercup with her detachable saw blade arms, wreak havoc as Black-Metal rocker Niđhöggr with his electrifying guitar solos or slash up the streets as Daemon, New York’s most wanted assassin. Then grab your team and tear it up in Bleeding Edge, an electrifying online brawler where every fighter comes mechanically enhanced for mayhem.

March 26

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
Experience authentic but re-imagined Power Rangers battle sequences like never before. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid pits current and classic rangers and villains in 3 vs. 3 tag battles. You can also test your skills online against friends and players from around the world for endless replayability. It’s morphin time!

And we’re sorry to see them go, so get some game time in on these while they’re still in our library, these are the games leaving our libraries soon:

Console

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • The Golf Club 2
  • LEGO Worlds
  • Operencia: The Stolen Sun
  • Vampyr

PC

  • Battle Chef Brigade
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Kingsway
  • Operencia: The Stolen Sun
  • Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You
  • Vampyr

Thank you for all your feedback and your dedication to playing some amazing games. To keep up with the latest with Xbox Game Pass, you can download the mobile app and the new Xbox (Beta) app on your Windows 10 PC. Be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram for more games to come.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Microsoft Corporation

Get all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold, plus over 100 high-quality console and PC games for one low monthly price. With games added all the time, there’s always something new to play. With a huge variety of games from every genre, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy exclusive member deals and discounts. Play together with friends on the most advanced multiplayer network and discover your next favorite game. Use your active Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan membership to play games on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Game Pass for Console, Xbox Game Pass for PC (Xbox Game Pass for PC not available in South Korea), and Xbox Live Gold. Note: Purchase Xbox Game Pass Ultimate automatically upgrades your existing Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass membership(s) to Ultimate at a conversion ratio each based on days remaining. Learn how this works at www.xbox.com/gamepass. Future code redemptions are also subject to a conversion ratio. Conversion ratio subject to change. All conversions to Ultimate are final: Once converted, you cannot re-convert your Ultimate membership back to a previous membership. Maximum 36 months of redeemed Ultimate per account at a time, including any converted time from Xbox Live Gold and/or Xbox Game Pass (for PC or console). Game titles and number vary over time and by country. Membership continues to be charged at the then-current price (subject to change; plus applicable taxes) unless cancelled. Cancel any time to stop your next scheduled charge; see account.microsoft.com/services. Notice before purchase of add-ons, DLC, consumables, virtual currency, or subscriptions (sold separately): If your membership terminates or a game is removed from the catalog, you must reactivate your membership or buy the game separately to continue using these items. ISP fees may apply. Age restrictions apply. Xbox Game Pass discounts are based on Microsoft Store price and are not combinable with other offers and are not redeemable for cash. Discount offers exclude titles within 30 days of launch and are not available with select titles. Service, features, and requirements may change or be retired. Subject to the Microsoft Services Agreement (microsoft.com/msa). Sign in for your available offers. Promotional offers may not be valid for all members and are only available for a limited time. Offers not valid in Quebec and Russia; other geographic restrictions may apply. After promotional period, subscription continues to be charged at the then-current regular price (subject to change), unless cancelled. Plus applicable taxes.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

New action to disrupt world’s largest online criminal network – Microsoft on the Issues

Today, Microsoft and partners across 35 countries took coordinated legal and technical steps to disrupt one of the world’s most prolific botnets, called Necurs, which has infected more than nine million computers globally. This disruption is the result of eight years of tracking and planning and will help ensure the criminals behind this network are no longer able to use key elements of its infrastructure to execute cyberattacks.

A botnet is a network of computers that a cybercriminal has infected with malicious software, or malware. Once infected, criminals can control those computers remotely and use them to commit crimes. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, BitSight and others in the security community first observed the Necurs botnet in 2012 and have seen it distribute several forms of malware, including the GameOver Zeus banking trojan.

The Necurs botnet is one of the largest networks in the spam email threat ecosystem, with victims in nearly every country in the world. During a 58-day period in our investigation, for example, we observed that one Necurs-infected computer sent a total of 3.8 million spam emails to over 40.6 million potential victims.

Necurs is believed to be operated by criminals based in Russia and has also been used for a wide range of crimes including pump-and-dump stock scams, fake pharmaceutical spam email and “Russian dating” scams. It has also been used to attack other computers on the internet, steal credentials for online accounts, and steal people’s personal information and confidential data. Interestingly, it seems the criminals behind Necurs sell or rent access to the infected computer devices to other cybercriminals as part of a botnet-for-hire service. Necurs is also known for distributing financially targeted malware and ransomware, cryptomining, and even has a DDoS (distributed denial of service) capability that has not yet been activated but could be at any moment.

On Thursday, March 5, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order enabling Microsoft to take control of U.S.-based infrastructure Necurs uses to distribute malware and infect victim computers. With this legal action and through a collaborative effort involving public-private partnerships around the globe, Microsoft is leading activities that will prevent the criminals behind Necurs from registering new domains to execute attacks in the future.

This was accomplished by analyzing a technique used by Necurs to systematically generate new domains through an algorithm. We were then able to accurately predict over six million unique domains that would be created in the next 25 months. Microsoft reported these domains to their respective registries in countries around the world so the websites can be blocked and thus prevented from becoming part of the Necurs infrastructure. By taking control of existing websites and inhibiting the ability to register new ones, we have significantly disrupted the botnet.

Microsoft is also taking the additional step of partnering with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others around the world to rid their customers’ computers of malware associated with the Necurs botnet. This remediation effort is global in scale and involves collaboration with partners in industry, government and law enforcement via the Microsoft Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP). Through CTIP, Microsoft provides law enforcement, government Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), ISPs and government agencies responsible for the enforcement of cyber laws and the protection of critical infrastructure with better insights into criminal cyber infrastructure located within their jurisdiction, as well as a view of compromised computers and victims impacted by such criminal infrastructure.

For this disruption, we are working with ISPs, domain registries, government CERTs and law enforcement in Mexico, Colombia, Taiwan, India, Japan, France, Spain, Poland and Romania, among others. Each of us has a critical role to play in protecting customers and keeping the internet safe.

To make sure your computer is free of malware, visit support.microsoft.com/botnets.

Tags: , , , , ,

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center