Inside CTO/CIO - August 20th, 2019 |

Inside CTO/CIO (Aug 20th, 2019)

Microsoft buys jClarity/Ransomware hits government agencies/Facebook's $100,000 research prize

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1. Microsoft has acquired jClarity, a service designed to tune the performance of Java applications. The acquisition provides Microsoft with technology to better service customers that have large-scale Java installations on Azure. JClarity is also a leading contributor to the AdoptOpenJDK project, which Microsoft has sponsored to help build binaries of OpenJDK — a free and open-source implementation of the Java Platform Standard Edition — for platforms such as Linux and Windows. - TECHCRUNCH

2. Twenty-three local government organizations in Texas were hit by a ransomware attack, the largest coordinated ransomware attack ever seen against multiple local governments. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Information Resources says that the evidence gathered indicates the attacks came from one single threat actor. The State of Texas networks and systems have not been affected. Texas has also seen a number of isolated ransomware incidents in the past, especially in the form of attacks against its Independent School Districts. - ARS TECHNICA

3. The former head of Apple’s Siri division, Bill Stasior, is leaving the company to join Microsoft’s artificial intelligence division. He will take on the title of corporate vice president, reporting to Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott, and lead an artificial intelligence group. Stasior will not be working on Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Microsoft is separating Cortana from search, moving it into the Windows Store as a standalone app. - THE INFORMATION

4. The world's biggest computer chip has debuted, featuring 400,000 cores linked to each other by high-bandwidth connections. It's designed for handling complex machine learning challenges with limited lag and low power requirements. Designed by Cerebras Systems, the Wafer Scale Engine is slightly bigger than a standard iPad. The supercomputer on a slab will reduce the time it takes to process some complex data from months to minutes, according to the startup. - BBC NEWS

5. Facebook has awarded its 2019 Internet Defense Prize to an academic team that has developed a new code isolation technique for safeguarding sensitive data. The $100,000 cash reward, which Facebook has been giving out yearly since 2014 for the most innovative research, goes to a team of German academics that developed ERIM. ERIM is a new technique that combines both hardware and software security features to provide a new way of isolating sensitive data as it is being processed inside a computer. - ZDNET

6. The US Department of Commerce is giving Huawei Technologies more time to buy supplies from U.S. companies. The Chinese firm, which the US blacklisted in May over national security concerns, has received a second 90-day Temporary General License that will allow it to continue supporting customers in the smartphone and cellular infrastructure business. This license expires November 18, 2019. At the same time, the US Commerce Department is adding more than 45 new businesses associated with Huawei to an export blacklist.  - REUTERS

7. CDOs and CIOs have shifted into peer-to-peer relationships at many companies but there remains a lack of consensus on what roles they should play in organizations. A recent survey from NewVantage Partners found that nearly 70 percent of companies have a chief data officer on staff. Forty-five percent of respondents say the CDO should be on the executive committee but 38 percent say the person who holds the position should report to the executive committee. - MIT MANAGEMENT

8. The U.S. Navy is creating a new position of special assistant to the secretary of the Navy for information management, a role that includes CIO responsibilities. It expects to hire a cyber expert from private industry who can help develop a strategy to deal with increasing online threats that plague the service and its contractors. - SIGNAL  

9. Enterprise software startup Ally has raised $8 million from investors to support its growth, adding up to a total of $11 million in outside funding. Its collaboration tools are designed to let business leaders set long-term strategic initiatives based on a framework of objectives and key results (OKR). The company has plans to scale the business across the board and invest in engineering, product, sales and marketing - XCONOMY

10. “Software developer” and “software engineer” are the most widely used job titles for H-1B candidates. Analysis of a recent H-1B visa data-dump from the US Department of Labor shows that most of the top ten job titles used in H-1B applications are generic, with the exception of  "Java Developer." Companies also are predominantly submitting H-1B requests for technology leads, senior software engineers, programmer analysts, and business analysts. - DICE

Jennifer Zaino is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business, technology, healthcare and education. 

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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