IDG Contributor Network: Critical updates for Microsoft Office for October Patch Tuesday

This is an unusual October Patch Tuesday release from Microsoft. Normally, we would see a number of urgent critical updates from Microsoft for severe, massively damaging exploits in either Adobe Flash Player or several less severe but still urgent issues in both of Microsoft’s browsers. This month is different. No Adobe Flash Player updates. I repeat, no Flash updates. And no urgent browser updates, either.

For this October Patch Tuesday, Microsoft Office has the highest, most serious rating with a publicly reported and already exploited vulnerability in the Word automation component. In addition, Microsoft has released a number of security advisories for Windows 10. The most serious (ADV170012) relates to “a security vulnerability [which] exists in certain Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chipsets.” With a relatively high CVSS score of 7.3, this firmware update requires some attention. You can also find a helpful infographic from Chris Goettl’s blog here.

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Executive decision

Flashback to the 1980s, when this remote newspaper office has a problem with a computer terminal that seems undiagnosable, according to a pilot fish in the know.”Most mornings, this terminal has lost connectivity to the mainframe, while all the othe…

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What’s new at GitHub: dependency management, security alerts

GitHub is adding several services to its popular code-sharing site to help developers manage dependencies and improve security.

GitHub dependency graph service

With the dependency graph service, GitHub will use its own data to build a dependency graph that gives developers insight into both projects their code depends on and the projects that depend on their code.

The essential features in the GitHub dependency graph service

Via the dependency graph, developers can see which applications and packages they are connected to without leaving their repository. The graph currently supports JavaScript and Ruby code, with Python support planned for later.

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

An assessment of the White House’s progress on deregulation

DEREGULATION, along with tax cuts and trade reform, is one of the three pillars of President Donald Trump’s economic agenda. Republicans promise that, freed of red tape, American firms will invest more and unleash faster economic growth. And while Mr Trump has yet to unite his party around a major piece of legislation, the White House has plenty of sway over regulatory policy. For a start, the government agencies Mr Trump commands can regulate and deregulate on their own (subject only to the instructions that Congress has given them in the past). How much red tape have they managed to tear down since Mr Trump took office?

Regulation is difficult to measure precisely, but the long-term trend towards excessive rulemaking has been obvious. In 1970 there were about 400,000 prescriptive words such as “shall” or “must” in the code of federal regulations, according to the Mercatus Centre, a libertarian-leaning think-tank. Today there are 1.1m (see chart). Wonks of many stripes agree…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

American politicians’ efforts to control Chinese firms amount to a dangerous game

WARS are fought with weapons, but also with money. To understand the global balance of power in the coming decades, it helps to pay attention to the commercial subplot of the North Korean crisis. For the first time, America is attempting to use its full legal and financial might to change the behaviour of Chinese companies and banks, which it believes are propping up North Korea by breaking UN and American sanctions. Some American politicians have concluded that, as China’s firms have integrated with the global economy, they have become more vulnerable to Uncle Sam’s wrath. America has potent weapons, but the trouble is that China can retaliate in devastating fashion.

North Korea is highly dependent on China. Some 60-90% of its trade is with its northern neighbour. China’s state-run energy giant, CNPC, is thought to have sold it oil in recent years—and is the parent of PetroChina, which has depositary receipts listed in New York. North Korean banks and firms operate in China, and…Continue reading

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