Microsoft says it will push for diversity and security from the Trump administration

Although Donald Trumpspresidential campaign never netted much support from tech companies, at least one company is now congratulating him on his election victory.

Every president-elect deserves our congratulations, best wishes and support for the country as a whole. The peaceful transition of power has been an enduring and vital part of our democracy for over two centuries, and it remains so today,Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smithwrote in a blog post.

Smith saidthat Trumps victory was driven by economic disparity, noting that job growth has not grown evenly for those who have college degrees and those who do not. Trumps supporters felt left out and left behind, he added, noting that Microsoft will work to create new jobs to address the gap.

However, Smiths post alsooffers a quiet repudiation of Trumps anti-immigration and anti-encryption stances.

As we think societally about these new opportunities to address those who have been left behind, its critically important that we appreciate the continuing national strengths that serve the country so well, Smith wrote, noting that diversity has a place in strengthening the economy and encouraging job growth. Were committed to promoting not just diversity among all the men and women who work here, but the type of inclusive culture that will enable people to do their best work and pursue rewarding careers.

His comments on diversity were echoed at eBay, where CEODevin Wenig issued a memo to employees reminding them of founder Pierre Omidyars immigrant background. As I travel to our offices around the world, I have the privilege to interact with people of countless nationalities and backgrounds. This diversity is one of the most valuable assets we have as we drive our business forward, Wenig wrote.

Smith also subtly went to bat for consumer privacy and access to encryption (Trump has called for tech companies, most notably Apple, to provide backdoor access to the government).

People will not use technology they do not trust. Were committed to developing technology that is secure and trusted, both for Americans and for people around the world, he wrote, referencing Microsofts recent legal victories against the Justice Department on these issues. As weve won the cases weve brought, weve been reminded of one of this countrys greatest strengths, its strong Constitution, independent judiciary, and the overarching rule of law.

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He Disappeared On A Bar Crawl, And Even Security Cameras Didn’t See Him Leave


“A guy walks into a bar.” It’s the start of so many jokes.

Presumably, the guy eventually walks back out of the bar, but that’s where this case gets confusing. Security footage shows a young man entering the Ugly Tuna Saloona in Columbus, Ohio, one night, but not leaving. He hasn’t been seen since.

Brian Randall Shaffer went out drinking with friends after a long week of studying for exams.

To celebrate the start of spring break, he had dinner with his father on March 31, 2006. Brian was a medical student at Ohio State University.

He joined William “Clint” Florence at the Ugly Tuna Saloona. Later, they moved on to other bars and met up with a woman named Meredith Reed after midnight.

Reed gave them a ride back to the Ugly Tuna, where Brian was seen on security footage saying goodbye to a few women. He reentered the bar, but was not seen leaving when it closed at 2 a.m. Florence says he assumed Brian had gone home without telling him.

Florence is the one person who saw Brian that night who refuses to take a lie detector test, but he claims he did not hurt him.

Some believe that he was killed by the Smiley Face Murderer(s) or that he changed clothes and put on a hat in the bar so as not to be recognized. Investigators think it also may have been possible that the pivoting camera simply did not catch him leave.

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Team Trump Struggling to Fill National-Security Jobs


Turned down by top talent, Trumps administration-in-waiting is trying to find someone to operate the agencies tasked with stopping hackers and terrorists. “>

President-elect Donald Trump is scrambling to line up senior officials to run the governments sprawling intelligence and homeland security bureaucracy.

Team Trump is struggling to fill numerous key slots or even attract many candidates because hundreds have either sworn theyd never work in a Trump administration or have directly turned down requests to join, multiple current and former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the transition efforts told The Daily Beast.

Team Trump didnt expect to win until the campaigns internal polling a month before the election signaled a possible victory. Thats when senior Trump officials went into overdrive, trying to build a bench of experienced national security candidates with top secret clearances willing to work for a Trump presidencyand they met resistance across the landscape of experienced GOP national security professionals.

One person who met last month with Trumps national security and homeland security transition team leader said that she confessed that many candidates had flatly rejected attempts to recruit them, believing that Trump was unfit to hold the office of commander in chief.

She said that it was going to be very difficult to fill positions in that space because everybody that had experience was a never-Trumper, this person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

She wasnt even sure that she was going to be able to fill a transition team, much less find people to serve in government positions, this person said.

In theory, 20 people are supposed to parachute into the Department of Homeland Security [during the transition between administrations]. And I dont think they have anybody to do it.

A second individual, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed this persons account that there are a large number of vacancies to fill without a clear plan of how that will happen. Since Trumps improbable win, Team Trump has been aggressively reaching out to possible candidates with a flurry of meetings in New York and Washington, D.C.

Two career U.S. officials, currently serving in the government, also said they were unsure whether they would continue in their positions, which are slated to last into the next administration.

On Monday morning, a group of officials working on a range of national security issues including the resettlement of refugees and methods for countering terrorists violent rhetoric met to discuss their progress. But it wasnt at all clear whether a President Trump would even continue those initiatives, one participant said. Trump has promised to ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States and has claimed he knows better how to combat terrorists than military generals and intelligence officials.

But before he can take the axe to Obama-era programs, Trump has to staff up his own administration. It wont be easy.

It was clear the Trump team would have trouble staffing their national security bench nine months ago, when more than 100 Republican national security leaders signed an open letter vowing not to support him as the GOP nominee and working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.

Everybody who has signed a never-Trump letter or indicated an anti-Trump attitude is not going to get a job. And thats most of the Republican foreign policy, national security, intelligence, homeland security, and Department of Justice experience, Paul Rosenzweig, who held a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security in the George W. Bush administration, told The Daily Beast. (Bush told reporters on Tuesday that neither he nor his wife, Laura, cast a vote for president.)

Rosenzweig predicted that Trump would be able to fill positions at the Cabinet level, the secretaries and administrators who lead agencies and departments. But the people below them, from the deputy level on down, are the ones who actually run the government day-to-day, and there are few takers for those jobs, he said.

The problem is going to be finding the deputy secretary, and the head of customs, and the general counsel, which are the jobs that fundamentally matter, Rosenzweig said.

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Since the public letter in March, more people who served in key positions in Republican administrations have stepped forward to disavow Trump and take themselves out of the running for jobs in his administration.

Last week, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden went so far as to accuse Trump of being a tool of the Russian government.

Trump had consistently refused to agree with the U.S. intelligence community's unanimous assessment that Russia was responsible for a campaign of cyber attacks and leaks against the Democratic Party, which officials said was intended to interfere with Tuesdays election.

Rejecting a fact-based intelligence assessmentnot because of compelling contrarian data, but because it is inconsistent with a preexisting worldviewthats the stuff of ideological authoritarianism, not pragmatic democracy. And it is frightening, Hayden wrote.

The likely pool of Trump administration officials now will come from a second-tier of younger and less experienced people, Stewart Baker, the former general counsel of the National Security Agency, told The Daily Beast.

Baker, who also served in a senior position in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, said these less-experienced candidates werent necessarily without talent, but he acknowledged that more seasoned people like himself were not likely to be joining the new administration.

Trump will take over an intelligence community that is already in his cross-hairs, after he said in the third presidential debate that he doubted its assessment on the Russian hacks. Trump has also talked openly about information that was relayed to him in classified briefings given to him and Clinton, and current and former officials have said they worried that Trump wouldnt be able to keep confidential information secret.

The intelligence community has had presidents before who were deeply skeptical about their role, their product, and their value, Baker said. The intelligence community, I predict, will work very hard to demonstrate its value to the new president. Because if they don't have support from the White House, they dont really have much influence in the interagency debate.

As the dust settled on a historic election, the plans for a would-be Clinton administration also became clearer, and they appeared much farther along than Trumps.

Clinton had planned to launch onto the world stage with a series of international summits in the Mideast, Europe and beyond, to reassure fretful allies weary of the global retrenchment of the Obama administration, according to senior advisors to the Clinton campaign interviewed in the run-up to the stunning election upset.

The muscular reassertion of American power was to include a stepped-up campaign against militants in Syria and Iraq, and a pushback against Russian expansionism and Iranian meddling in the Middle East.

Yet Clinton pulled her punches on that message during her campaign, so as not to alienate the Obamas and their supporters who were seen as key to clinching the election.

No roles had been assigned in a Clinton war cabinet nor specific policies chosen, the senior advisors said, but the Clinton transition team had been staffed since early this year with experienced policy wonks and former senior administration and military officials, like former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen and former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell.

Those officials chewed over many of the toughest foreign policy issues. And in least one case, an answer was emerging from those discussions that might be music to Trumps ears.

Most involved in the early Clinton transition discussions agreed that few good options remained in Syria, because of Russias backing of President Bashar al-Assad. Establishing a no-fly zone would have inevitably meant shooting down a Russian jet, because they would test us as soon as we established it, one adviser said.

So negotiating via Russia was emerging still as one of the best optionsand teaming up with Putin in the Middle East was something Trump repeatedly promised to do.

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IBM opens new Cambridge, MA security headquarters with massive cyber range

It was a big day for IBM today as it opened its shiny new security headquarters in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, complete with what the company is calling the first commercial cyber range.

A cyber range is a network security testing environment, and is typically run by the military or military contractors. This one, dubbed X-Force Command, however, is much more than a couple of terminals in a lab. It is a massive setup with seats for 36 operators. It features audio, video and a simulated Fortune 500 company operation with the goal of giving the user a realistically simulated cyber crisis.

It includes nearly a petabyte of data running in a data center underneath the cyber range, and includes all the kinds of operations that you would have running in a typical enterprise, such as email servers, supply chain software, employees using the internet and so forth.

The idea behind the cyber range is to simulate an actual cyber event to show security personnel, C-suite executives or anyone just how prepared (or more likely unprepared) they are to deal with a massive breach.

We are putting you into a simulator that is so realistic that your pulse will race, and you will be stressed, and you will learn how to make critical decisions in a crisis, Caleb Barlow, vice president of security at IBM explained.

The cyber range is part of a broader security strategy by the company. Over the last couple of years, it has purchased at least seven security properties,including Resilient Systems earlier this year, which helps companies prepare for a cyber attack before they happen.

We are putting you into a simulator that is so realistic that your pulse will race, and you will be stressed, and you will learn how to make critical decisions in a crisis.

— Caleb Barlow, IBM VP of Security

While Barlow said the cyber range wasnt being positioned as a sales tool, so much as an awareness-raising device, it is designed to show people in stark terms what happens during a breach, and how they might react after an incident especially if they are unprepared.

The simulation can help you understand the different aspects of breach response, such as how quickly you report the event to regulators and government officials, what happens if the breach leaks to the press (as often happens) and how to deal with all of this with the company in crisis mode. Obviously, if you have thought this through beforehand, and have a plan in place, a playbook if you will, you are going to be in a better position than trying to react to all of the different pressure points in the heat of the moment.

Its not a coincidence of course that this is all the kind of stuff Resilient has built into its solutions. In addition, it wouldnt be IBM without a consulting piece, and they have built a team of consultants to help customers prepare for an attack and deal with the aftermath.

Wendi Whitmore was brought on board seven months ago to run the IBM X-Force IRIS Team, a group of consultants picked for their expertise in cybersecurity. Whitmore herself has almost 15 years of cyber experience, including stints with the Air Force, Mandiant and CrowdStrike.

She says the goal of her team is to help companies deal with massive breaches after they occur, but they also want to work with companies on how to prevent them. While she acknowledges blocking smaller breaches is probably not possible, she believes that, with proper preparation, a company can prevent a massive company-wide, Sony-style breach and that is what her team is trying to do.

The company seems fixated on this idea of helping companies to prepare for breaches. It has devoted $200 million this calendar year to its security operation, which has included opening the new security headquarters and building the cyber range. To date, the security division has 8,000 employees worldwide and generates $2 billion worth of business. The company wouldnt reveal how many would be housed in the Cambridge office, but said much of the security executive team would be based there.

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Dropbox Business updates focus on increasing enterprise security credibility

Dropbox is getting much more serious about its Dropbox Business product, and today it announced a partnership with security vendor Symantec as part of a broader update to its business products designed to make it more attractive to larger businesses.

Rob Baesman, Dropboxs head of product for pro, business and enterprise versions, says the idea behind the admin tool update is to provide a measure of control, while allowing companies to mix in some of the security tools theyre already using, all with the same ease of use that Dropbox users are used to getting from the consumer tools.

When Dropbox launched its business versionin 2014, it had 275 million consumer users. Today it has 500 million users, of which 200,000 are business customers. It was precisely that consumer popularity that Dropbox was hoping to exploit when it launched the business product but it faced an inherent quandary.

Most IT departments saw the consumer Dropbox product as a problem when it came to security. They didnt appreciate employees using their privateaccounts to share company business. Employees, on the other hand, were just looking for a quick way to access their files when they werent in the office. Hard to blame them for wanting to find easier ways to get their work done in an increasingly mobile world.

Dropbox saw a business opportunity and launched Dropbox Business. Todays announcement represents a further maturing of that product and an attempt to use partnerships and more advanced administrative features to make the product more attractive to IT and to give them the tools to control and manage Dropbox usage in the company.

Today Dropbox has more than 30 security partnerships across areas such as data loss prevention (DLP), enterprise mobility management (EMM), identity and access management, data migration, eDiscovery and analytics. It chose to shine a spotlight on its partnership with Symantec, even including Symantec Vice President of Business Development Peter Doggart on the pre-brief.

The Symantec partnership is designed to show enterprise customers that they can use Dropbox Business safely, while maintaining the same kind of controls ina cloud software packagethat theyve traditionally had with on-prem software. For those customers who have spent many years using DLP on prem, they can with a simple switch, apply all those same policies for Dropbox. That is the power of integrations on both sides, Doggart explained.

In addition, Dropbox has beefed up its own network admin controls to have tighter control over the company network and better differentiate between Dropbox business traffic and Dropbox personal traffic. Some customers dont want their employees mixing the two, and the new tools should give them a better grip on that.

All of this and more, has been designed to make the product more attractive to IT. While 200,000 might sound like a big number when it comes to business customers, compared to the 500 million consumer ones, its a drop in the bucket, and announcements like todays are part of an ongoing effortto continue to build their business presence.

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