Microsoft Outlook is Rolling Out New Design Changes

Microsoft Outlook is Rolling Out New Design Changes

Microsoft is making some long overdue and welcome changes to Outlook to include the Windows and the Web-based version. People who use either one will now see a “Coming Soon” option that allows users to toggle between the version they’ve got now, and the new and improved version with the changes.   As to those changes, they fall broadly into three groups: Better Organization - The improved Outlook offers intelligent technology, specialized icons, visual changes and a “highlights” feature that are all designed to help you manage your time better and provide a greater level of focus on your daily and weekly activities. Improved Speed and Efficiency - The redesign is sleeker and faster. Using it will allow you to schedule meetings, read and act on emails and write new emails much more quickly than the old version. More Customization - Hotmail users know only too well that Outlook on the web has lagged behind its competitors in terms of customization, and the redesign seeks to change that. Microsoft is playing a bit of catch up here, but any improvements on this front are welcome indeed. Among other things, you can now apply additional themes, personalize your inbox and simplify the ribbon. There’s no word yet on how long the new features will be offered as an opt-in option, but of course, at some point, the company will mandate the change. On balance, these are good changes. Perhaps more modest than long-time users would like to have seen, but again, any changes to one of the oldest email systems still around have to be counted as a positive. Kudos...
Microsoft Allowing More Time For Major Windows 10 Updates

Microsoft Allowing More Time For Major Windows 10 Updates

Microsoft has been making two major Windows 10 releases every year, giving businesses 18 months before they need to move to the next update. This plan and schedule is part of the company’s “Windows as a service” paradigm, designed to ensure that Windows 10 gets new features, as opposed to the company’s former practice of a new Windows release every three years. In most respects, the new paradigm has to be regarded as the superior approach, but unfortunately, the pace is a bit too fast for some businesses. High level executives have pushed back, asking for more time and flexibility to update the OS, so they can be sure that business critical apps work with the latest update. Microsoft has heard, and more importantly, they’ve listened. However, business owners didn’t get everything they wanted. Here’s the scoop: The company is planning to release a series of cloud-based tools that will make app compatibility testing easier, and has agreed to give IT admins more time to update. As things stand now, all currently supported feature updates of Windows 10 (Enterprise and Education editions) are supported for 18 months. The company is expanding that to 30 months, but only for their September release. The March updates will still only be supported for 18 months. While not a perfect solution, it does give everyone some of what they wanted. Businesses will have an extra year to apply the latest features if they stick to the September cycle, while firms that don’t need the extra time can simply continue on as they are. Jared Spataro, the Corporate VP of Microsoft 365 summarized the...
Another Chrome Extension Is Stealing Passwords

Another Chrome Extension Is Stealing Passwords

Do you use the Chrome browser extension for the MEGA file storage service? If you do, please read this article carefully. The official extension for that service has been compromised. It has been replaced with a malware version that has the capability to steal user login data for a number of popular websites, including Github, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and more. The extension was compromised on September 4th, when an unknown attacker breached MEGA’s Chrome Web Store account and uploaded the poisoned version of the extension. Any user who installs it is at risk of having their other login credentials stolen. It gets worse. If you allow auto-updates, then the poisoned version of the extension would have automatically “updated” on your PC or smartphone when the malware was uploaded. Note that when the extension attempted to update, it would have asked users for elevated permissions. Those elevated permissions would allow the extension access to personal information, which is the mechanism by which the credentials are stolen. The poisoned file was in place for a total of four hours before it was found, eradicated and replaced by a clean version (version 3.39.5). According to MEGA: “You are only affected if you had the MEGA Chrome extension installed at the time of the incident, auto update enabled, and you accepted the additional permission, or if you freshly installed version 3.39.4.” If you think there’s even a chance you were impacted by this event, your best bet would be an across-the-board change of all your passwords, as there’s no way to be sure which ones may have been compromised. Two things to note...
Amazon Joins Trillion Dollar Club

Amazon Joins Trillion Dollar Club

It’s official, Apple now has company in the Trillion Dollar Club as Amazon’s stock surged past $2,000, briefly pushing the company’s total value to just over the trillion-dollar mark. This makes the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos the richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at around $166 billion dollars. Amazon started out as just another internet company struggling to turn a profit. Over the years, however, the company has become a true retail powerhouse, and a disruptive force in the industry. Some analysts predict that the company’s stock price is poised to climb even higher. Brian Nowak, (an analyst at Morgan Stanley) cities some reasons for his continued optimism. These include the company’s rapid growth, their improving business mix and their profit potential. Overall, Amazon’s total value only trails Apple’s by about $100 billion. The last twelve months have been kind to Amazon, and the company has seen its stock price surge nearly 75 percent. The company is aggressively expanding into new businesses and finding success in doing so, which is exciting investors. Last year, for example, Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, and recently acquired the online pharmacy, PillPack. While there are only two members of the trillion-dollar club, there are two other companies poised to join their ranks. Both Microsoft and Google’s parent company, Alphabet are currently valued at about $850 billion. A modest nudge in either company’s stock price could push either of them into the trillion-dollar stratosphere. Although there are a number of analysts who are excited by the stock’s future prospects, there is also some cause for concern. At...
Name Of Utility Company That Leaked Information Just Released

Name Of Utility Company That Leaked Information Just Released

In 2016, an unnamed US energy company left some 30,000 records (containing information about its security assets) exposed for more than two months (a total of 70 days), in violation of energy sector cyber security regulations. When the incident was initially reported, the name of the company was withheld. That company has now agreed to a $2.7 million-dollar settlement, and its name has now been made public, along with some additional details about the incident. Initially, the company admitted that they unintentionally exposed the database in question, but that it contained fake data. As the investigation into the matter continued, it became apparent that the data was not only real, but that it included hashed passwords for administrators that hackers could have easily reverse-engineered. PG&E subsequently reversed their fake data assertion. The exposed data was found by independent security researcher Chris Vickery, who indicated at the time that the database contained details for some 47,000 computers, virtual machines, servers and other devices. In addition to that a number of non-encrypted email passwords were found, along with 120 encrypted passwords. In Vickery’s words, “This would be a treasure trove for any hostile nation-state hacking group.” According to the official NERC notice regarding the incident: “The data was exposed publicly on the internet for 70 days. The usernames of the database were also exposed, which included cryptographic information of those usernames and passwords. Exposure of the username and cryptographic information could aid malicious attackers in using this information to decode passwords.” Once PG&E was made aware of the problem, it took a server offline, which removed the exposed data. They also...