Tech News Monday morning brings you: Yahoo Confirms Major Data Breach; Microsoft Launches ‘Project Bletchley’ Blockchain Fabric; CloudFlare Adds TLS 1.3 Support; Salesforce Launches Einstein Artificial Intelligence Platform; Swift, Angular Releases Not Backwards-Compatible.
Yahoo Confirms Major Data Breach
Yahoo, acquired by US communications company Verizon in July this year, has confirmed that a data breach has leaked information on around 500 million user accounts.
The breach, which took place in late 2014 but was only discovered recently, has resulted in names, email addresses, telephone numbers, security questions and answers and hashed passwords being obtained by what the company’s chief information security officer Bob Lord has claimed was a “state-sponsored actor”.
While the breach is not believed to have exposed any financial data, companies working in partnership with Yahoo or in related markets are advised to monitor their systems for abuse of linked accounts or accounts which shared common email addresses and passwords.
Microsoft Launches ‘Project Bletchley’ Blockchain Fabric
Microsoft has officially launched the first full version of Project Bletchley, named for the mansion where codebreakers worked during World War II to decode German ciphers, a modular blockchain fabric based on the company’s Azure cloud platform.
Designed to ease development of applications and services which use the Ethereum network, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin but noted for its ability to host applications based around the signing and transmission of ‘contracts’, Project Bletchley is now available as an Azure Quickstart Template.
“Rather than spending hours building out and configuring the infrastructure,” claimed Microsoft’s Christine Avanessians of the release, “we have automated these time-consuming pieces to allow you to focus on your core business – re-envisioning and reinventing business processes to come up with the new stories of tomorrow.”
CloudFlare Adds TLS 1.3 Support
Compared with TLS 1.2 – the current standard release of the TLS standard as implemented by all web browsers – TLS 1.3 adds a number of improved security features including the removal of several legacy functions. These include RSA key transportation, CBC mode ciphers, and export-strength ciphers – responsible for some of the most serious security scares of the last few years, as well as improving page load speed.
With CloudFlare’s two million strong user base now defaulting to TLS 1.3, it is hoped that the adoption of the standard elsewhere – including in web browsers themselves, where it is typically only available in developer or experimental releases – will increase in speed.
Salesforce Launches Einstein Artificial Intelligence Platform
Salesforce has announced the release of Einstein, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform it has been developing over the last two years.
“For many companies, the technical expertise, infrastructure and other resources required to deliver AI solutions is too significant to leverage in their enterprise applications,” claimed Salesforce’s Jim Sinai of the launch. “But in keeping with Albert Einstein’s dictum that the definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple, Salesforce Einstein is removing the complexity of AI, enabling any company to deliver smarter, personalised and more predictive customer experiences. Salesforce Einstein is a set of best-in-class platform services that bring advanced AI capabilities into the core of the Customer Success Platform, making Salesforce the world’s smartest CRM.”
Salesforce is the latest in a string of major companies betting heavily on artificial intelligence and deep-learning networks to boost their core competencies.
Swift, Angular Releases Not Backwards-Compatible
Developers working with Apple’s Swift or Google’s Angular will find moving to the latest releases of both a more difficult proposition than they may have expected: neither is fully backwards compatible with code written for older versions.
In GitHub updates surrounding the announcement of Swift 3.0, Apple warned that changes – including a complete rewrite of the standard library and improvements to the Objective-C translator – made in the latest release are “massively source-breaking,” requiring developers to rewrite their code to ensure compatibility.
Apple isn’t alone in this, however: Google’s Angular 2 platform was released earlier this month with much the same warning, though in Google’s case this was part of a plan first announced back in 2014. With Angular 2, Google further recommends that developers use Microsoft’s TypeScript for application development.