Windows 11 – new version of FILE EXPLORER JAN-2023

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A new redesigned version of File Explorer is being developed for future implementation in Windows 11

Exclusive: This is Microsoft’s new modern File Explorer overhaul for Windows 11 | Windows Central

As was revealed a handful of weeks ago, Microsoft is currently working on a significant update to File Explorer on Windows 11 that will update several core areas of the app with modern designs and new features that will better integrate the experience with OneDrive and Microsoft 365.  The updated app will feature a redesigned header with a modern file directory box, a modern search box, and a new “home” button. The existing header buttons, such as “new,” “copy,” and “paste,” will be moved into the file/folder view just below the header.  The home page itself is being updated with more integration with Microsoft 365. Along the top will be a feed of “recommended” files, which will be presented with larger thumbnails that will make it easier to see what files are being suggested to you.

Microsoft’s Project Phoenix – Explores innovations for Edge Browser

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Microsoft has created Project Phoenix to explore future innovations for Edge Browser for WIN11

Microsoft’s Project ‘Phoenix’ Aims to Reimagine the Edge Browser | PCMag

Microsoft Edge ‘Phoenix’ is an internal reimagining of the Edge web browser with a new UI and more features | Windows Central

Windows users are stuck with the Edge browser installed on their PC, but that browser could soon have a different look and be more deeply integrated with the operating system.  As Windows Central reports, an internal project codenamed “Phoenix” is being run by the Microsoft User Research team as an attempt to reimagine the web browser for Windows 11. It started last summer and is tweaking both the user interface and features integrated into Edge. Feedback is then gathered internally at Microsoft, which guides the direction development takes.

HIVE Ransomware malware – shut down by FBI JAN-2023

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The “HIVE” is a major Ransomware malware attack recently shut-down by the FBI

FBI Secretly Infiltrated Hive Ransomware Group’s Network for 7 Months | PCMag

The FBI secretly infiltrated the infamous Hive ransomware group over seven months to stymie its attempts to extract funds from hundreds of victims.   The Justice Department made the announcement(Opens in a new window) after the FBI joined with European law enforcement to shut down the ransomware gang’s servers. This included replacing Hive’s site on the dark web last night with a banner that says the destination has been seized.

“Since infiltrating Hive’s network in July 2022, the FBI has provided over 300 decryption keys to Hive victims who were under attack. In addition, the FBI distributed over 1,000 additional decryption keys to previous Hive victims,” the Justice Department said. The resulting decryption keys likely deprived the Hive gang of $130 million in ransomware payments.

Leadership – 5 best practices for Virtual Team productivity

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The shift of 40 hours in the local office to work-from-home presents new challenges for virtual teams & this excellent article by HBR provides excellent detailed best practices.

As pandemic restrictions ease, it’s clear that one big change to the way we work is here to stay: hybrid working. However, these environments run the risk of creating new inequities and exacerbating those that already exist. For employers to ensure fairness, maximize performance, and maintain cultural cohesion in hybrid work arrangements, they need to consider these five practical dimensions of inclusion when designing hybrid policies and navigating new ways of working.

1. Recruitment and Remote Onboarding
2. Working Together
3. Resolving Conflict
4. Team Cohesion
5. Promotions
6. Productivity

Leadership – Senior employees can be valuable company asset

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The Harvard Business Review is an excellent resource for management & leadership best practices & other topics

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Employee Tenure (

While tenure and age are correlated — we age as we accumulate experience — it is possible to separate the effects of tenure (firm-specific) from age (general) human capital. Our analyses did exactly that and showed that, after statistically accounting for the correlation between age and tenure, age has no statistically significant effect on performance, but tenure does. The positive effects of tenure vary in size from organization to organization, with the implication that well-managed tenure can return greater-than-average value to the employer.  There are three important consequences of these findings for employers.

  1. One is that there is no place for ageism at work — Prejudices that devalue older workers and antagonisms that can isolate or drive them out are bad for business.
  2. Another implication is that “retirement age” workers to stay in the organization can be good for the business. These practices extend the opportunity for older workers to contribute as SMEs
  3. The third implication is businesses with employees who build tenure — are competitively advantaged relative to organizations that opt for alternatives such as contract, gig, and platform workers. These organizations miss out on the business value that tenure and longevity with an employer bring.

FTC – SCAM warnings for those seeking Jobs JAN-2023

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With numerous recent Tech layoffs, the FTC warns of an increase in JOB recruitment based SCAMs

Looking for a job? Scammers might be looking for you | Consumer Advice (

Recent layoffs in industries like the tech sector have scammers fine-tuning their approaches to take advantage. They may advertise jobs online, sometimes setting up fake websites, or look for targets on social media — all to try to steal your money and personal information.

Scammers may go to great lengths to get what they want. Some may conduct fake online job interviews and set up phony onboarding portals where they ask you for Social Security numbers and bank account information to (supposedly) deposit paychecks. Other scammers may ask you to send money for (supposed) equipment needed for remote work — with the promise to reimburse you with your first paycheck. But these are scams. Whether you’re looking for your first job or seeking a new gig, here’s some advice to help you avoid job scams:

1. Verify job openings before you apply.
2. Watch for telltale signs of a possible scam.
3. Don’t pay for the promise of a job.


Looking for a job? Visit

Security – ZDI recap of key vulnerabilities during 2022

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The Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) was created to encourage the reporting of 0-day vulnerabilities privately & 2022 was another record year.  ZDI presents a recap of key vulnerabilities discovered during 2022

Zero Day Initiative — Looking Back at the Bugs of 2022

It’s always great to see the huge number of amazing bugs submitted by independent researchers around the globe, but some really stood out. We’re super thankful for our global community of independent researchers, and we congratulate the 23 researchers to achieve reward levels in 2022. We had five people reach Platinum status, five reach Gold, seven Silver, and six Bronze. The work and submissions from our community of independent researchers are key to our success, and we thank all of them for their continued trust in our program. Of course, there are some particular bugs I wanted to specifically call out.

Apple – new hardware based 2FA security for iPhones iPads Macs

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In a similar fashion to RSA’s SecureID physical hardware tokens — Apple is adding new hardware based 2-factor authentication for iPhones iPads Macs to better support higher-level security needs

Apple Adds Physical Security Key Option for 2FA on iPhones, iPads, Macs | PCMag

Apple’s latest security-focused OS updates add support for hardware-based account verification. Those with two-factor authentication enabled can now opt to require recognition of a nearby hardware device as one of the two factors to log into an Apple ID account on iOS 16.3iPadOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2.  “This feature is designed for users who, often due to their public profile, face concerted threats to their online accounts, such as celebrities, journalists, and members of government,” Apple said in announcing support for Security Keys in December.  Apple sees the use of physical keys as a logical progression for two-factor authentication, which it first introduced to Apple devices in 2015. More than 95% of iCloud accounts now use it.

“This takes our two-factor authentication even further, preventing even an advanced attacker from obtaining a user’s second factor in a phishing scam,” Apple said. The use of external hardware rather than a second software-based check can help prevent attackers from intercepting or requesting data on the authentication attempt.  So what exactly is a physical security key and how do you get one? Apple defines them as “a small external device that looks like a thumb drive or tag.” There are two main ways users can present a hardware key during a login attempt. The first is inserting it into an Apple device such as an iPhone or laptop, via a USB-C, Lightning, or USB-A port.

CISA – Remote access software security advisory JAN-2023

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US GOVT agencies warn of security risks associated with Remote access software

CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC Release Advisory on the Malicious Use of RMM Software | CISA

Protecting Against Malicious Use of Remote Monitoring and Management Software | CISA

Today, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) released joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) Protecting Against Malicious Use of Remote Monitoring and Management Software. The advisory describes a phishing scam in which cyber threat actors maliciously use legitimate remote monitoring and management (RMM) software to steal money from victim bank accounts.  CISA encourages network defenders to review the advisory for indicators of compromise, best practices, and recommended mitigations, which highlights the threat of additional types of malicious activity using RMM, including its use as a backdoor for persistence and/or command and control (C2).

Although this specific activity appears to be financially motivated and targets individuals, the access could lead to additional malicious activity against the recipient’s organization—from both other cybercriminals and APT actors. Network defenders should be aware that:

  • Although the cybercriminal actors in this campaign used ScreenConnect and AnyDesk, threat actors can maliciously leverage any legitimate RMM software.
  • Because threat actors can download legitimate RMM software as self-contained, portable executables, they can bypass both administrative privilege requirements and software management control policies.
  • The use of RMM software generally does not trigger antivirus or antimalware defenses.
  • Malicious cyber actors are known to leverage legitimate RMM and remote desktop software as backdoors for persistence and for C2.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8]
  • RMM software allows cyber threat actors to avoid using custom malware.

Microsoft Exchange Online – licensing improvements for 2023

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Microsoft Exchange Online is now offering simplified licensing improvements when used in conjunction with Azure AD.

Microsoft Eases Exchange Online License Assignments —

Introducing Support for Concurrent Exchange Online License Assignments – Microsoft Community Hub

Microsoft has simplified the administration of Exchange Online licensing when used with Azure Active Directory, per a Friday announcement.  IT pros that assign software licenses using the Microsoft 365 Admin Center or Azure AD PowerShell have sometimes gotten a message that they can’t assign licenses that include conflicting services. In such cases, the attempted license assignment will fail. The license assignment failed because “concurrent Exchange Online license assignments” weren’t permitted.  Microsoft has now changed that scenario. It’s now possible to “stack” licenses that include the Exchange Online service. Per this new approach, the license that supports the most features will take precedence over a lesser license.

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