Today’s topics include T-Mobile spending billions to win the top bid in the FCC’s 600MHz auction; a zero-day security flaw in Microsoft Word used by criminals and intel agents to spread malicious software; Visual Studio for Mac taking inspiration from Windows; and Google teaching computers to illustrate human drawn sketches.
T-Mobile was the dominant winner in the 600MHz spectrum auction that ended on March 30. The Federal Communications Commission announced the results of the auction on April 13.
T-Mobile’s bids of nearly $8 billion secured about 45 percent of the available spectrum for the third-largest carrier while Dish Network bought just over $6 billion and Comcast bought $1.7 billion worth of newly available wireless spectrum.
The additional spectrum enables T-Mobile’s wireless service to completely cover the U.S. and Puerto Rico, something the company has not been able to do until now.
Intelligence operatives targeting Ukrainian rebels and cyber-criminals targeting businesses used the same zero-day attack exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Word, according to an analysis published by FireEye on April 12.
Microsoft patched the issue last week, but not before attackers had a chance to widely use the exploit to compromise systems and install malware.
Security firms identified attacks as far back as November of last year that used the exploit, with most firms pointing to the Dridex banking Trojan as the major culprit. Telltale artifacts in the code and documents used in the two attacks suggest a link, FireEye said.
Web developers who update their copies of Visual Studio for Mac to the newest preview version can now access many of the features that help make coding more manageable in the Windows edition of the integrated development environment.
After inadvertently leaking its existence, Microsoft officially announced Visual Studio for Mac during a developer event in New York City last November. The IDE is based on Xamarin, the mobile-friendly and Mac-compatible developer toolkit the software giant acquired in February 2016.
Now, Microsoft is narrowing the gap between the Mac and Windows versions of Visual Studio, starting with an enhanced web development experience. In the latest release, Microsoft has completed the work to bring the rich HTML, CSS and JSON editors to macOS, said Miguel de Icaza, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft’s Mobile Developer Tools unit, in a blog post.
Google has a number of research projects underway aimed at making computers smarter and technically versatile. One of those projects involves teaching machines how to draw.
On April 11, Google researchers released a technical paper describing “sketch-rnn,” a neural network that has been trained by using thousands of crude human-drawn images to construct basic drawings of its own.
One of the goals of the paper is to show that machines can be taught to draw certain things, like the sketch of a house, a tree or a dog, in a manner similar to humans.