U.S. Claims Russia Was Behind Election System, DNC Hacks

Today's topics include the accusations that Russia was responsible for the hacks on the election systems and the DNC, the rising number of plaintiffs in the Apple "Touch Disease" lawsuit, the launch of IBM's new Watson Application Developer Certification program and the addition of Microsoft's Office document creation and collaboration features to the Yammer social platform.

The Obama administration has squarely blamed the Russian government for a series of hacks aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Over the past 18 months, online attackers have compromised the networks and computers of the Democratic National Committee, leaked emails and other documents, targeted election systems, and attempted to interfere or undermine trust in the coming U.S. elections.

On Oct. 7, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Intelligence Community explicitly called out the Russian government as the perpetrator behind the hacks.

New plaintiffs have joined a class action complaint against Apple, claiming the so-called "Touch Disease" has infected their iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones and accusing Apple of violating a long list of consumer protection, deceptive trade loss and warranty acts.

The original suit, filed Aug. 27 in a Northern California U.S. District Court, named three plaintiffs, who the document said were also filing "on behalf of others similarly situated." An updated suit, filed Oct. 7, names 12 plaintiffs, plus "others similarly situated," and includes the intentions of "9,539 class members who have experienced the Touchscreen Defect."

Their suit arises, the document states, from "Apple's concealment of a material manufacturing defect that ultimately causes iPhone touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail for their essential purpose as smartphones."

IBM has launched a new Watson Application Developer Certification program to recognize developers who are qualified to build applications on the Watson cognitive computing platform. Not only will the certification program enable developers to test and validate their expertise in developing artificial intelligence-based cognitive computing applications, but it also will help organizations looking to hire developers to identify those who are qualified to build enterprise- and consumer-ready solutions, IBM said.

The certification testing is available through Pearson VUE, which specializes in computer-based testing and certification. In the test, developers are given 105 minutes to answer 64 questions, and a score of 70 percent correct is required to pass.

Prerequisite knowledge for the test includes familiarity with provisioning services on IBM Bluemix; employing web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS; and developing applications with RESTful APIs.

Microsoft started rolling out an update to its Yammer business-focused social platform on Oct. 7 that enables teams to create and work together on Office files.

"With [the Oct. 7] announcement, users can now create Office documents such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel and co-author them with their team from within a Yammer group," wrote the Yammer group in a blog post. "Additionally, users can easily browse their SharePoint and OneDrive libraries to share files and start discussions with their teams on Yammer."

The authoring experience is provided by Office Online, the web-based version of Microsoft's venerable productivity applications, which has featured real-time co-authoring since 2013. Now users can create new Office documents directly from the Yammer UI, obviating the need to leave the app to start work on a new file. Yammer group members can also view the version history of a file and mark important files.

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