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Microsoft Bing is back online in China

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Microsoft’s Bing could not be accessed in China on Thursday due to an accidental technical error rather than for censorship reasons, according to Bloomberg News sources.

Access to Microsoft’s Bing search engine has since been restored in China, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to ZDNet. The company did not provide further explanation for why the outage occurred.

Microsoft president Brad Smith told Fox Business on Thursday that its search engine was down. 

“People in China cannot access Bing, this is not the first time it’s happened. It happens periodically … we’re still waiting to find what this situation is about,” he said.

Smith also acknowledged that Microsoft had fewer legal rights in China than in other countries.

“There are certain principles that we think it’s important to stand up for,” he said. “And we’ll go at times into the negotiating room and the negotiations are sometimes pretty darn direct.”

With Bing, Microsoft has tried to play by China’s censorship rules. For example, the search engine filtered out both English and Chinese language search results of politically-sensitive terms such as “Dalai Lama” and “Tiananmen”, according to China-based freedom of speech advocacy blog GreatFire.org.

The temporary block of Microsoft’s Bing comes at a time when tensions between the US and China are running high, with the introduction of a bipartisan Bill in the US earlier this month to ban the sale of tech to Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, and the US stating on Wednesday it’s intention to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Both the US and China have already levied tit-fot-tat tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods, and Trump made good on his pledge to escalate the trade war, directing Lighthizer to find another $200 billion worth of products to hit.

Google, Bing’s competitor, withdrew from China in 2010 in opposition to its censorship rules after revealing it had been hacked by the government. It has since moved from its policy of opposing censorship, having made plans for a censored version of its search engine — code-named Dragonfly — for China.

Following the project being made public, 1,000 Google employees signed a letter in August that called for the search company to abandon its efforts to create the censored Chinese search engine. Another open letter protesting against Dragonfly was sent to Google in November, signed by almost 300 of its employees.

“Providing the Chinese government with ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses,” the November letter created by Google Employees Against Dragonfly states.

The internet is heavily censored in China. In 2017, China shut down over 128,000 so-called harmful websites, at the time, saying that it was part of efforts to maintain “social stability”, taking on “vulgar” and pornographic content as well as the unauthorised dissemination of news.

Related Coverage

US intends to formally extradite Huawei CFO from Canada

The US has informed the Canadian government that it will file a formal request to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on allegations of violating US sanctions.

China denies massive layoffs among internet firms

Since the fourth quarter of 2018, many Chinese reports have suggested that major internet firms in the country are either scaling back or freezing hiring, or axing staff due to lukewarm growth and unfavourable prospects.

China tech spending to hit $273B amidst US trade war, slowing economy

Chinese businesses are projected to spend US$256.61 billion on tech this year and another US$272.84 billion in 2020, focusing their investments on transforming operations and improving efficiencies as they brace themselves for an uncertain geopolitical climate, says Forrester.

Bipartisan Bill introduced to ban sale of US tech to Huawei and ZTE

US lawmakers introduce bipartisan Bill that, if passed, would ban the export of US chips and other components to the two Chinese tech companies.

Huawei looks up to Apple in terms of privacy: Founder Ren Zhengfei

History will judge whether Huawei adhered to its claims to not harm the interests of customers, its founder has said.

China vs. the US: How governments and markets influence tech innovations (TechRepublic)

Quantitative futurist Amy Webb discusses her experiences watching the rise of smartphones while living in China, and how the East’s approach to technology runs parallel to that of the US.

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Work from Home Security

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Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that invents toys and games, produces dozens of television and studio series that are distributed in 160 countries, and creates a variety of digital games played by more than 30 million children. What was once a small private company founded by childhood friends is now a public global supply chain with over 1,500 employees and 28 offices around the world.

Like most organizations in 2020, Spin Master had to adapt quickly to the new normal of remote work, shifting most of its production from cubicles in regional and head offices to hundreds of employees working from home and other remote locations.

This dramatic shift created potential security risks, as most employees were no longer behind the firewall on the corporate network. Without the implementation of hardened endpoint security, the door would be open for bad actors to infiltrate the organization, acquire intellectual property, and ransom customer information. Additionally, the potential downtime caused by a security breach could harm the global supply chain. With that in mind, Spin Master created a self-imposed 30-day deadline to extend its network protection capabilities to the edge.

Key Findings:

  • Think Long Term: The initial goal of establishing a stop-gap work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) strategy has since morphed into a permanent strategy, requiring long-term solutions.
  • Gather Skills: The real urgency posed by the global pandemic made forging partnerships with providers that could fill all the required skill sets a top priority.
  • Build Momentum: The compressed timeline left no room for delay or error. The Board of Directors threw its support behind the implementation team and gave it broad budget authority to ensure rapid action, while providing active guidance to align strategy with action.
  • Deliver Value: The team established two key requirements that the selected partner must deliver: implementation support and establishing an ongoing managed security operations center (SOC).
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Key Criteria for Evaluating Privileged Access Management

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Privileged Access Management (PAM) enables administrative access to critical IT systems while minimizing the chances of security compromises through monitoring, policy enforcement, and credential management.

A key operating principle of all PAM systems is the separation of user credentials for individual staff members from the system administration credentials they are permitted to use. PAM solutions store and manage all of the privileged credentials, providing system access without requiring users to remember, or even know, the privileged password. Of course, all staff have their own unique user ID and password that they use to complete everyday tasks such as accessing email and writing documents. Users who are permitted to handle system administration tasks that require privileged credentials log into the PAM solution, which provides and controls such access according to predefined security policies. These policies control who is allowed to use which privileged credentials when, where, and for what tasks. An organization’s policy may also require logging and recording of the actions undertaken with the privileged credentials.

Once implemented, PAM will improve your security posture in several ways. The first is by segregating day-to-day duties from duties that require elevated access, reducing the risk of accidental privileged actions. Secondly, automated password management reduces the possibility that credentials will be shared while also lowering the risk if credentials are accidentally exposed. Finally, extensive logging and activity recording in PAM solutions aids audits of critical system access for both preventative and forensic security.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure

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Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Overall TCO improvement

Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.

Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:

    • Improving overall performance for backups
    • Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
    • Replacing components difficult to manage and support

In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.

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