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Microsoft Roundup: Thwarts Cryptocoin Attack, Signs Energy Deal

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Last week, Microsoft’s (MSFT - Free Report) Windows Defender saved 400K PCs from malware attack, while its Indian operations signed the first renewable energy deal and its new diversity chief extricated herself from former employer International Business Machines (IBM - Free Report) .

Thwarts Cryptocoin Malware Attack: Microsoft says its Windows Defender was able to save a significant number of attacks from a cryptocoin mining malware called Dofoil. The malware, once it has infected a user’s machine, downloads other necessary components to help it mine cryptocoin using the system’s resources. This greatly pressures the processor, generating a lot of heat that can cause it to fail. So Defender’s ability to detect and thwart the first attempt impacting 80,000 machines is commendable.

But that isn’t all. Because it can now tap into machine learning resources in Microsoft’s cloud, the information can be transmitted to other machines. Microsoft says this enabled it to protect another 320,000 computers running Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. 73% of the 400,000 computers saved were in Russia, 18% were in Turkey and 4% in Ukraine.       

First Renewable Energy Deal in India: Microsoft has signed a renewable energy deal with Atria Power in the Karnataka state of India to power its new, 585,000-square foot Bengaluru facility. The 3 megawatts of solar power it is purchasing will take care of 80% of the estimated energy requirements of the plant, which will be operational in June.

The deal will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to nearly 900 megawatts. The focus on renewable energy in India is in line with the Prime Minister’s goal of generating 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022 as India’s contribution to slow down climate change. 

IBM Lawsuit: IBM has settled a lawsuit with Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, former HR VP at IBM before she was appointed chief diversity officer and vice president of leadership succession planning in 2015. IBM claimed that she was in possession of its diversity data, hiring plans and strategy, which if passed on to Microsoft, would be harmful for the company. It therefore asked the court to enforce a one-year non-compete agreement she had signed on the grounds that these were economically valuable “trade secrets.”

U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti issued a restraint order, temporarily preventing her from moving to Microsoft. In accordance with the settlement, she can take the new role as diversity chief at Microsoft in July.

 

Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other technology companies worth buying instead are DST Systems , Konami Corp (KNMCY - Free Report) and Pegasystems Inc (PEGA - Free Report) , all of which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can also see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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