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September 26th, 2015:

Microsoft Office – 2016 version release

Office 2016 improves workgroup collaboration and cloud capabilities as described below

http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/22/9366013/microsoft-office-2016-review

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/microsoft-releases-office-2016-with-features-focused-on-teamwork/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2491223,00.asp

Microsoft is giving one of its most successful products, Office, a big update. Consumers who use the software should get used to seeing more of them.

The company will begin shipping on Tuesday Office 2016, an overhaul of the software suite, which offers well-known apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook. People will be able to buy copies of the software in stores and online; or, if they have a subscription to the software though Microsoft’s Office 365 service, their existing applications will be automatically updated in the coming weeks.

There are numerous changes in Office 2016, with the most prominent ones designed to improve how the software is used by groups of people to collaborate. But one of the biggest changes is that Office 2016 signals a major push toward delivering the software as a continuing service to consumers, a model toward which Microsoft has slowly been shifting its entire business. More than a billion people use Office.

The new features get even more elaborate when you start working with other team members using timesaving Group functions built into Outlook. In all these changes, Microsoft isn’t merely playing catch-up with collaborative services like Google Apps or Zoho Office. Some of Office’s collaboration features are so effective and intuitive that you may wonder why no one thought of them before.

National Security – China to work with USA to prevent cybercrime

China has pledged to assist and cooperate with USA in combating cybercrime as shared below:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/24/daily-report-china-promises-to-work-with-u-s-to-prevent-cybercrime/

In Seattle, the talk was of cooperation. In a speech to American business leaders Tuesday night, China’s president, Xi Jinping, pledged to work with the United States to prevent cybercrime. Mr. Xi’s long-anticipated visit comes over increased tensions over what White House officials say has been a concerted effort by China to attack the computer networks of businesses and government agencies.

The Chinese government will not in whatever form engage in commercial theft, and hacking against government networks are crimes that must be punished in accordance with the law and relevant international treaties,” Mr. Xi said.  Mr. Xi is expected to arrive in Washington on Thursday

 

Facebook – New Dislike Button scam circulating

A new version of the Facebook “Dislike” button scam is being massively spammed and should be avoided.  Following the steps contained could lead to malware infections. 

http://facecrooks.com/Scam-Watch/Fake-%e2%80%9cDislike%e2%80%9d-Button-Scam-Spreads-On-Facebook.html/

https://grahamcluley.com/2015/09/right-cue-come-facebook-dislike-button-scams/

When Mark Zuckerberg recently hinted at the possibility of a “Dislike” button on Facebook, you could practically guess what would follow next: a wave of scams on the site purporting to offer the “real” dislike button. Of course, that’s exactly what has transpired, with cybercriminals using the news to help spread malware across untold numbers of News Feeds.

These spammy links offer unsuspecting users the opportunity to try out the new feature, but when they click through they are often encouraged to like a page and share it with their friends. The scams can sometimes be even more aggressive, potentially taking control of your account and spamming the link to all of your friends. Some other kinds of malware try to trick you into taking a survey or downloading a malicious program. But no matter what shape the scam takes, they are all trying to achieve the same thing: ripping you off.

Facebook – Adds email PGP encryption option

Facebook has strengthened email options by adding PGP encryption support via ProtonMail services as shared below

http://facecrooks.com/Internet-Safety-Privacy/Facebook-Strengthens-Email-Encryption.html/

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/22/protonmail-adds-support-for-facebook-pgp/

Facebook introduced email encryption back in June as a way of protecting users from getting their emails from the site hacked. The social media giant strengthened that protection this week, adding support from encrypted email provider ProtonMail.

Facebook added support for PGP encryption this June, enabling users to import their public PGP key to be able to encrypt any emails sent to them via Facebook.

Today, end-to-end encrypted email provider ProtonMail has added support for PGP encrypted Facebook emails — allowing Facebook users to get their encrypted missives automatically decrypted within ProtonMail. The feature works within ProtonMail v2.1, on both web and its mobile apps, once users have imported their ProtonMail public key into Facebook.

Google Chrome – 25 advanced features slideshow

Google Chrome users may benefit from some of advanced techniques shared below:

http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/323996/25-hidden-chrome-features-that-will-make-your-life-easier

Browsers have evolved far beyond their original mission of providing one-way windows into the world wide webosphere. Indeed, as more services migrate to the cloud, browsers only reinforce their new role as multi-function boxes of digital magic.

All the important Internet things are available in browser form—from communication tools to productivity suites to disposable escapist entertainment. It’s almost like the browser has become an OS in and of itself. In fact, you could say that’s exactly where things are headed.

While there is plenty of debate out there as to which browser is best, for my money it’s the sleek, minimalist package known as Google Chrome. And the data shows that most users agree: According to the latest numbers from W3Schools, 64.9 percent of people are using Chrome, more than double the next highest, Firefox (21.5 percent), with IE (7.1 percent) and Safari (3.8 percent) trailing far behind.

Leadership – Watch out for the Blind Spots

John Maxwell encourages leaders to assess weaknesses they not readily see, by assessing the four symptoms listed below

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/leadership-blind-spots

Do you have any blind spots?…If you answered no, you now know where your blind spot is! Okay, I think most of us would acknowledge that we do possess blind spots. We assume there must be some areas where we “don’t know what we don’t know.” And we suppose that our personal blind spots have an effect on our lives – quite possibly a negative effect.

But what happens when a leader has blind spots? It affects so many more people than the leader alone. It can have a far-reaching impact — on the leader, his or her followers, and the entire team, department or organization. Here’s my definition of a blind spot: an area in someone’s life in which he continually fails to see himself or his situation realistically. This unawareness often causes great damage to the person and those around him.

Here are just a few basic blind spots exhibited by leaders:

1. A Narrow Perspective
2. Insecurity
3. Out-of-Control Ego
4. Lack of Character

Mobile Security – iPhone iOS 9 Exploit manipulates Siri to gain access

A combination of manual techniques and manipulation of Siri service can unlock an iPhone by someone with access to physical device.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2491912,00.asp

http://lifehacker.com/ios-9-lock-screen-exploit-gives-evildoers-access-to-you-1732811435

RECOMMENDATION: Want to prevent it? Just turn off Siri on your lock screen.

A clever iPhone user uncovered a new exploit in iOS 9 (and 9.0.1) that allows a person—presumably with a list of handwritten steps—to bypass the device’s passcode and get into the Contacts and Photos apps.

So unless you have a bunch of selfies you don’t want anyone to see, or you use an alphanumeric instead of a four-digit passcode, you probably don’t have much to worry about. You can also cripple the exploit by disabling Siri on your lock screen, though you’ll lose convenience in the process.

Otherwise, here’s Lifehacker’s description of how it’s supposed to work—some iPhone owners have reported trouble getting the exploit to work as described. First, you have to enter the wrong PIN four times. On the fifth attempt, type in three numbers, then hold down Home to bring up Siri as you type in the fourth number (keep in mind that a typical iOS device will lock you out for a minute if you screw up a PIN five times in a row).

This time around, some obnoxious user can get into your phone’s Photos app via the Contacts screen. The video above suggests you need to incorrectly enter in the password a few times, then enter in half the passcode before invoking Siri. Then ask Siri “What time is it?” tap one of the alarms, then head over to the World Clock tab and create a new clock. Here, type in a couple letters, then tap to select the whole word. When the pop-up comes up, select “Share,” then text message. Now, you have access to the Contacts app, which also gives you access to photos if you try to change a contact’s photos

Facebook – New Rich Text authoring capabilities

Facebook is adding new rich text capability to notes and posting capabilities as shared below:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/88620/20150926/facebook-gives-notes-a-much-needed-facelift.htm

Facebook has given a significant makeover to its long-ignored feature: Notes. Now, the feature allows users to add cover photos, put captions and format texts, among other things. Facebook discussed the most recent update on the feature through a blog post on Friday, Sept. 25.

We’re rolling out an update to make notes on Facebook more beautiful and customizable,” writes Isaac Salier-Hellendag, a User Interface Engineer. “Notes are now an even better way to write a longer post and share with anyone—whether it’s a small group of friends or everyone on Facebook.”

It appears that Facebook is making the revamped version of Notes available to everyone in a bid to boost its publishing features, stimulating its 1.49 billion active users to think about the social network as a place for posting blogs as well.

The redesigned version of Notes comes with basic formatting tools, including block quotes, headers, as well as bulleted and numbered lists. “With this update, you can add a cover photo that represents what your note is all about,” reads the blog post.

The user may put a caption on the photo with the updated version. Photos can also be resized through the feature. In addition, the refreshed Notes touts more visually enticing layouts as well as new fonts to make the notes appear like a blog post and not just an extended user status.

Windows 10 Enterprise – Corporate maintenance documentation

An excellent resource on WIN10 security update options and other desktop management maintenance needs has been published on TechNet

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt598226%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

In enterprise IT environments, the desire to provide users with the latest technologies needs to be balanced with the need for manageability and cost control. In the past, many enterprises managed their Windows deployments homogeneously and performed large-scale upgrades to new releases of Windows (often in parallel with large-scale hardware upgrades) about every three to six years. Today, the rapid evolution of Windows as a platform for device-like experiences is causing businesses to rethink their upgrade strategies. Especially with the release of Windows 10, there are good business reasons to keep a significant portion of your enterprise’s devices current with the latest release of Windows.

For example, during the development of Windows 10, Microsoft did the following:

1.Streamlined the Windows product engineering and release cycle so that Microsoft can deliver the features, experiences, and functionality customers want, more quickly than ever.

2. Created new ways to deliver and install feature upgrades and servicing updates that simplify deployments and on-going management, broaden the base of employees who can be kept current with the latest Windows capabilities and experiences, and lower total cost of ownership.

3. Implemented new servicing options – referred to as Current Branch (CB), Current Branch for Business (CBB), and Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) – that provide pragmatic solutions to keep more devices more current in enterprise environments than was previously possible.