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U.S. software firm #Microsoft will continue to invest over $1 billion annually on cyber security research and development in the coming years, a senior executive said. This amount does not include acquisitions Microsoft may make in the sector, Bharat Shah, Microsoft vice president of security, told Reuters on the sidelines of the firm’s #BlueHat cyber security conference in Tel Aviv. “As more and more people use cloud, that spending has to go up,” Shah said.  While the number of attempted cyber attacks was 20,000 a week two or three years ago, that figure had now risen to 600,000-700,000, according to Microsoft data. Long known for its Windows software, Microsoft has shifted focus to the cloud where it is dueling with larger rival Amazon to control the still fledgling market. In October it said quarterly sales from its flagship cloud product #Azure, which businesses can use to host their websites, apps or data, rose 116 percent. In addition to its internal security investments, Microsoft has bought three security firms, all in Israel, in a little over two years: enterprise security startup Aorato, cloud security firm Adallom, and Secure Islands, whose data and file protection technology has been integrated into cloud service Azure Information Protection. Financial details of these deals were not disclosed.

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