Microsoft Says It's Fully Patched 13 Exploits Dumped by Shadow Brokers

Today’s topics include Microsoft’s rapid response to a hacker group’s recent exploits, HTC cutting the price of some smartphones through April 23, Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquiring storage maker Nimble earlier than planned and Instagram’s latest feature release.

On April 14 a hacker group called the Shadow Brokers sparked fears of a new group of previously unknown zero-day exploits that potentially could have exposed millions of users to risk.

However, hours after the Shadow Brokers released the trove of exploits, Microsoft issued a comprehensive overview of how it has already protected Windows against the newly disclosed Shadow Brokers exploits.

The company explained that nine of the 13 exploits had been patched, and that the remaining are not "reproducible" on supported Windows operating systems. Microsoft added that several of the exploits that the hacker group just released were patched years ago.

Through April 23 HTC is offering special spring pricing for a number of its latest smartphones. The price cuts are for U.S. consumers.

The new HTC U Ultra handset is now priced at $599, a $150 discount from its regular $749 price tag. The U Ultra is a 4G LTE unlocked phablet with a 5.7-inch quad HD curved-edge touch-screen display with 2,560-by-1,440-pixel resolution.

The company also cut $150 off its Bolt smartphone, which is now priced at $450, and $300 off the HTC One A9 phone, whose sale price is $199.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise on April 17 completed its $1 billion acquisition of new-gen flash storage maker Nimble, several months earlier than planned. The deal, which ended up being worth $12.50 per stock share, was set for completion sometime in the third quarter.

Now HPE ostensibly has the all-flash storage intellectual property it requires to improve its position against storage market competitors, which include Dell EMC, IBM, Pure Storage and NetApp.

The deal will bring the company’s standing in the high-growth flash storage market up by a few percentage points. The overall flash storage market, worth about $15 billion in 2016, will grow to nearly $20 billion by 2020 and is evolving at a nearly 17 percent compound annual growth rate, according to industry analysts. HPE is now positioned to reap a good portion of that growth.

Instagram is asserting its position in the social media landscape by frequently rolling out new features. The latest new feature is users’ ability to group saved posts into private collections, the social network announced on April 17.

Users can save a post to add to a new or existing private collection, and only they can see them. When someone’s post is saved into a private collection, that person is not informed. Instagram introduced post-saving capability in December 2016, and the feature has taken off as nearly half of users have saved at least one post.