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Why Microsoft’s next HoloLens will have Artificial Intelligence

This last Sunday, Microsoft announced radical changes to the next generation augmented reality HoloLens by incorporating an artificial intelligence coprocessor. What is HoloLens? HoloLens is essentially a holographic computer built into a headset that lets you see, hear, and interact with holograms within an environment such as a living room or an office space.

The AI coprocessor will expand the capabilities of the HoloLens allowing it to analyze visual and auditory data locally, without having to send and receive information from a cloud based server, giving the next generation HoloLens faster processing times and increased mobility.

“… and this is the kind of thinking you need if you’re going to develop mixed reality devices that are themselves intelligent. Mixed reality and artificial intelligence represent the future of computing, and we’re excited to be advancing this frontier.” Wrote Marc Pollefeys, Director of Science for the HoloLens at Microsoft, in their latest blog post.  

Previously, the current version of the HoloLens could only perform simple augmented reality tasks such as simple visual interactions and displays. However with the AI coprocessor Microsoft plans to develop, the next generation HoloLens will be able to perform much more complex interactions and tasks. Possible examples of these tasks could be displaying real time statistics on products. Since the AI coprocessor will help with tagging data in the real world the HoloLens can present overlays that are incredibly informative.

Microsoft plans of create the silicon AI coprocessor in house because they believe that is the most productive way to unlock the best uses from augmented and mixed reality environments. Google has also built its own AI processor, and Apple has also been developing its own dedicated AI chip for the iPhone. However, Micorsoft’s approach to developing its own AI coprocessor chip is to unlock the full potential of MXNet, an open-source deep neural-network framework that Microsoft supports.

With Microsoft developing their own AI coprocessor to incorporate into their next generation HoloLens, Microsoft is taking augmented and mixed intelligent reality to the next level. Removing cloud based computing to store information locally, giving the HoloLens increased processing times and enhanced real world interactions. All of these enhancements will make for faster and smarter business decisions, allowing companies and organizations to win and succeed through an intelligent augmented reality. 

Ransomware Protection: How Your Business Can Protect From a Ransomware Attack

What Is Ransomware and Where Does It Come From?

Ransomware attacks are increasingly more common these days,  making ransomware protection such an important topic of discussion. You must understand ransomware, why you need ransomware protection, how to remove ransomware before it strikes.

The entire concept of a ransomware attack is a simple one - someone takes something that is rightfully yours and demands money in exchange for it. Ransomware malware, and particularly encrypting ransomware, takes all of the existing files on your system and overrides them with encrypted copies, making it near impossible for you to recover and access your important documents. With your files encrypted, the attacker will usually demand a ransom to be paid via Bitcoin to unlock  your files and documents, hopefully. 

Once you’re hit with a ransomware attack, you will usually not know until it’s too late, then you will need to figure out how to remove ransomware. The ransomware virus will infect your computer and system, taking over any and all documents, folders, and files, and once it has completed its mission of encrypting your whole system it will then kindfully let you know it has done so, asking for payment in exchange of returning your personal assets. 

These attacks are created by scammers and hackers from all across the globe, with highly trained and skilled knowledge in computers & network programming. The malware can easily enter into a PC’s system through spam email, maybe as a PDF attachment that looks like a legitimate invoice, or through a malicious website that contains the malware code. I If your PC is connected to a network at your home or office, an infection to a single system can rapidly spread to infect the entire network, making it impossible to recover those files held hostage. Not only do you acquire a financial loss in paying the ransom, but a direct hit in loss of productivity and billable hours. That is why ransomware protection is increasingly important in today's volatile cyberspace. 

Why You Need Ransomware Protection 

An encrypted malware attack without any ransomware protection can be a silent and deadly killer. These viruses encrypt all of your important and essential documents and render them completely inaccessible to you. You can pay the ransom and get your files back, right? Hopefully, but paying the ransom cannot guarantee you’ll get your files back. 

Earlier this year there was a large scale ransomware attack called Petya, which was very similar to the WannaCry attack that  galvanized the IT community. Petya infected over 230,000 computers and systems worldwide, encrypting their files and demanding a $300 ransom to be paid via Bitcoin.  What the victims didn’t know was that Petya’s hosted email exchange server was shut down, thus preventing them from paying the $300 ransom to unlock their files! 

Even though ransomware attacks are on the rise, there are techniques and ways in which you can protect yourself and your organization from these sort of attacks. So what can you do?

Cloud Storage for Ransomware Protection

The best and number one defense against a ransomware attack is not to be vulnerable to these attacks in the first place. This can be done  with remote offsite backup in the cloud to store your entire system documents, folders and files. So if there is ever a ransomware attack on your personal PC or your company's  network, you won't be forced to pay the ransom to see your critical files and assets ever again. 

Even if you or your company has anti-malware, decryption software, or an on-site IT support staff, all in the event of a possible ransomware attack, the amount of time invested in restoring an entire system with these methods can take hours, days or even weeks. That’s why having a daily backup of your entire system in the cloud can leave your critical assets unaffected during the time of an attack, and restoring your system from the cloud may take only minutes, bringing your organization back to full production as soon as possible. 

The Best Protection Is Prevention 

With ransomware attacks on the rise, having a solid ransomware protection plan in place to save you and your organization from any disruption is crucial. Even when you're hit with a ransomware attack,  there is no guarantee paying the ransom will unlock all of your files. Even if you do get them restored, the amount of time lost can be insurmountable in comparison. By having a ransomware protection plan in place with anti-malware software or by bringing out the big guns and backing up your system remotely in the cloud, you  can keep your computer and your organization running efficiently and smoothly even when the waters are rough.