Microsoft Launches Teams Collaboration Platform for Office 365

Today's topics include Microsoft's introduction of its Teams collaboration platform, Microsoft's response to Google's public disclosure of a bug in the Windows kernel, Belkin's patch of the security flaws in its WEMO IoT devices and Broadcom's $5.9 billion deal to acquire networking vendor Brocade.

Microsoft on Nov. 2 took the wraps off its new team collaboration service for Office 365 called Teams, confirming rumors that the company was preparing its own platform to rival the popular Slack platform.

Rumblings of a Slack rival from Redmond, Wash., began to surface earlier this year after Microsoft had reportedly considered buying the cloud-based messaging and collaboration company for as much as $8 billion. In September, details of a Skype Teams app with Slack-like functionality emerged.

Microsoft rebuked Google for releasing details of a security flaw in the Windows kernel for which a patch is not yet available. Microsoft officials said that Google's disclosure potentially endangers customers and that they believe in coordinated vulnerability disclosures.

In an Oct. 31 blog post, Neel Mehta and Billy Leonard, security researchers with Google's Threat Analysis Group, said a local privilege escalation bug exists in the Windows kernel. Attackers can take advantage of the flaw to escape a security sandbox, the researchers warned. The vulnerability is especially serious because attackers are already exploiting it in the wild, the two Google researchers said.

However, in a statement emailed to eWEEK, Microsoft challenged Google's description of the issue. "We disagree with Google's characterization of a local elevation of privilege as 'critical' and 'particularly serious,'" the statement said.

Belkin's WEMO internet of things devices, widely deployed in homes around the world, until this week were at risk from a pair of zero-day vulnerabilities.

The vulnerabilities, which security firm Invincea reported, are set to be detailed in a Black Hat Europe session on Nov. 4 titled, "Breaking BHAD: Abusing Belkin Home Automation Devices." The WEMO devices include functionality that enables users to set up rules for when devices should turn on or off, Scott Tenaglia, internet of things researcher for Invincea Labs, explained.

The WEMO mobile app includes a user interface that enables users to easily create rules, which are all stored internally in the app, inside of a SQLite database, which is commonly used on embedded devices as it has a small resource footprint.

Chip maker Broadcom is bulking up its capabilities in networking and storage with the $5.9 billion acquisition of networking equipment maker Brocade in a deal that comes two days after speculation about a possible acquisition first surfaced.

Executives for both companies announced the deal Nov. 2, saying that bringing Brocade into the fold will give Broadcom a broader portfolio of products that it can offer system makers. Broadcom is particularly focused on Brocade's products in the area of Fibre Channel storage-area network switching.

The company plans to sell Brocade's IP networking business, which includes wireless and campus networking, data center switching and routing and network software offerings. The acquisition, which has been approved by Brocade's board of directors and Broadcom's executive committee, is expected to close in the middle of next year.

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