New Malware Threat Infects Through Microsoft’s PowerPoint

In another security hack that is making the rounds, Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the target.

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“Spammers are testing a new way to trick victims into installing malware that downloads after the user hovers over a link in a PowerPoint slide show,” ZDNet reports. The new infection, which was discovered by BleepingComputer, “abuses a hover action in PowerPoint slide show mode to install malware.” When a user opens the PowerPoint file and puts their cursor over the malicious hyperlink, a PowerShell command runs quietly in the background “that connects to a malicious domain and downloads malware files.”

Like other Office malware that uses macros to infect victims, the latest malware is spread via email attachments. The attached file formats are the open-source version of Microsoft PowerPoint slide show, which are only for viewing, and can’t be edited like normal files. The malware proceeds to download a banking trojan.

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The PowerPoint (PPSX) examples seen so far display the hyperlinked text “Loading… Please wait”. Hovering over it will download malware automatically unless Office Protected View is enabled. Fortunately, Protected View was enabled by default in Office 2010, in which case Office displays a security warning that blocks the download.

The PowerPoint file downloads a banking trojan it calls Gootkit or Otlard. SentinalOne calls the malware Zusy.

Protecting Yourself

I wonder how much I have stated this. “Do not open attachments, or click on hyperlinks in your email unless you are 100% certain of it’s origin and that you have requested it”. Most security threats (malware – trojan horses, ransomware etc.) are spread through email. Always use caution before clicking!

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Technology Training Day @ West Chester

Today much of our staff got together for our quarterly technology training. Although you may have not been there – you can check out much of what we talked about right here.

We covered Microsoft Excel, Outlook, Word, OneNote, Skype for Business and the very scary situation that is Ransomware.

 

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Technology Training for November 10, 2016

Today’s Technology Training shared for all of our dedicated readers.

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Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Office Insider?

Much like the Windows Insider program that has vaulted Windows 10 into a popular beta operating system, Microsoft is now taking the wraps off a similar program for Office.

office_insider

This ongoing program is for consumer Office subscribers and includes Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal and Office 365 University editions. By joining the program you get first access to the latest Office innovations.

If you already have one of these editions installed and want to join, use the following link:

https://products.office.com/en-us/office-insider

When you visit the link you can choose to install the latest Office Insider build and gain links to participate in the Office community. This offer is currently only for Windows users. Insider builds are for Mac are expected soon.

Business users (Office 365 business, enterprise, or 365 Pro Plus) already have access to the First Release program.

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Office Arrives to Android Phones

If you are a Microsoft Office user and a Android user today will be a happy day for you.

That is because last November, Microsoft released mobile versions of its Word, Excel and PowerPoint office apps on Android, but they were only compatible with tablets.

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Today, they have added phone support for beta testers.. These are those users who joined the Microsoft Office Preview Community on Google+ and have signed up for the apps you want to try. Once you do this you are then able to find them on the Google Play Store, where the apps have dropped “for tablet” from their name.

It is about time that Android Phone support has come to Microsoft’s awesome Office apps and it finally brings Android to parity with iOS and Windows Phone.

You can learn more about how to check these apps out below.

Office for Android phone Preview now available

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Dropbox & Office BFF

Microsoft and Dropbox have expanded their partnership and further integrated their products.

In back to back announcements Thursday, Microsoft & Dropbox put the final touches on the moves they promised in 2014. Microsoft added Dropbox as a storage option for Office Online, the browser-based versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word that are free to consumers and part of every commercial Office 365 subscription plan.

“You can add your Dropbox account to easily browse, open and edit Office files with Office Online,” Microsoft said in a blog yesterday. “You can also create new files in Office Online, and save them directly to your Dropbox.”

Over at Dropbox we found out that they added an “Open” button to the previews of Excel, PowerPoint and Word shown in the storage service’s Web user interface (UI). When the Open button is clicked, the previewed document opens in the appropriate Office Online app.

“You’ll … be able to access your Dropbox directly from Office Online, so you can open any of your Dropbox files — and save new files to Dropbox — without leaving Office Online,” the company said.

The Office Online changes were the last steps in several that the partners outlined in November. At the time, they said the Dropbox-Office Online integration would appear in the first half of 2015.

If you are both a Microsoft Office user and a Dropbox user this new partnership will make your life just a little bit easier.


 

 

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Office 16 Technical Preview Arrives

office_16_previewToday Microsoft announced the availability of technical previews of both Office 2016 and Skype for Business.

Office 2016 is scheduled to be released in the second half of this year. The current technical preview has reportedly given a good insight into many new set of features, which will arrive in the next version of Microsoft’s Office suite.

The first major update will be coming to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. This update is Microsoft’s Data Loss Protection platform. Over the last few years, Microsoft had added DLP to Exchange, Outlook, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint, however Word, Excel and Powerpoint missed out. Now with the new Office, those three applications have been equipped with the same protection. With these new capabilities, IT admins wil be able to create, manage and enforce polices for content authoring and document sharing. At the same time and end users will see policy tips or sharing restrictions when the apps detect a potential policy violation.

Outlook too is getting a major upgrade, with the introduction of multiple protocols and upgradation/discontinuation of outdated ones. For example, Microsoft has replaced the RPC-based Sync with a new Internet-friendly MAPI-HTTP protocol that supports Exchange/Outlook connectivity.

The new Outlook will be equipped with multi-factor authentication through integration with the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL). The new Outlook features a much needed reduction in the amount of time it takes to download messages, display the message list, and show new email after resuming from hibernation.

Several smaller updates, like improved keyboard accessibility for high-value Excel features like PivotTables as well as the introduction of a dark theme for users with visual impairments.

Skype_Lync

In addition to Office 2016, Microsoft today also released a technical preview for its new Skype For Business software.

While Skype for Business client looks very similar to the consumer version of Skype and uses the same buttons and icons found there, this version arrive with with enterprise-level security solutions for secured video/audio calls to other Skype For Business users.

The new Skype for Business is expected to become available “in the coming weeks” for Lync customers, while it will ship with an entirely new back-end (including client, server and service) with Office 365.

I am working to get my hands on both of these technical previews so I can report back to you, my dedicated readers on my thoughts.

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Office Online Gets 2 Improvements Today

There were 2 very big Office Online related announcements today.

Microsoft has created a new Cloud Storage Partner Program for Office, allowing third-party cloud storage providers to connect Office Online. Microsoft has also updated its Office for iPad and iPhone apps so that they now also work natively with any third-party storage providers.

Office Online integration with cloud storage services

Thanks to a new Cloud Storage Partner Program, Microsoft is now allowing third party cloud services to integrate Office Online into their applications so that users can open, view, and even edit documents stored in those services with any web browser. Supported now is Box, Citrix, and Salesforce with more service providers scheduled to come onboard in the future.

Office Integration Improved on iOS Devices 

Starting today, third-party cloud storage providers can natively integrate into the Locations picker in the Office apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for both iPad and iPhone, Microsoft says, enabling users to open, edit and save documents from these providers right from within the apps. Apple’s iCloud and Box can be seen in this shot.

 

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OneNote Free Gets Better

microsoft-onenote-2013-06-535x535Microsoft OneNote has become my “go-to” tool for meetings, note taking and communicating in general.

Now the free version which had been limited as compared to the full version included in the Microsoft Office suite just got better.

In a blog post published last week, Microsoft’s OneNote Team announced that it had lifted the feature restrictions that previously applied to the free version of Microsoft’s venerable note-taking app, bringing the free “personal use” edition more in line with the premium paid edition.

According to Microsoft, the updated free edition of OneNote will now let you password-protect sections of your notebooks, view prior versions of a page, record audio or video in a notebook (and search your recordings), and embed other Office documents into your notes.

The free version of OneNote comes with 15GB of cloud storage space through Microsoft’s OneDrive service, and lets you save your documents either to your computers hard drive or to your OneDrive account (especially useful if you use OneNote on multiple devices). However there are still some restrictions when compared to the paid version. Abilities such as saving your notebooks to a network drive, SharePoint, or OneDrive for Business account still require the paid premium version of OneNote.

Check out the OneNote site to learn more.

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Microsoft Office Online Updated

Just a short time ago there was no Microsoft Office online. Now we have our first major update to the online service. This is an excellent Office product which you can use without actually having office installed on your PC or laptop.

Here are the highlights of the updates which were made available today.

New Start experience. Microsoft states that the new Start experience is optimized to get you into the right editing experience as fast as possible. You can now directly access your most recently used files as well as your files in OneDrive, or quickly create a blank document or a document based on a template.This is almost identical to what you see in Office 2013.

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Reading View improvements. The Reading View experience in Word Online has been updated with Edit, Print, Share and Comments buttons in the toolbar so you can access these commands more easily. In addition PDF files are now supported.

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File management improvements. The Office Online apps now support a number of new options off the Save As menu, including Save a Copy to OneDrive, Rename, Download a Copy from OneDrive and Download as PDF.

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Add files to OneDrive more easily. Via a new Add to OneDrive button on the Office Online app toolbar you can now save a file to your OneDrive. Then you can edit or share it normally.

Tell Me. The Office Online apps have been updated to with a Tell Me search box so you can find what you’re looking for more easily.

Better proofreading. Microsoft made backend improvements to its proofreading service and added a highlighted word count feature (in addition to total document word count) to Word Online.

Android integration. If you access the Office Online apps from a Windows PC, you know that each app lets you open a document in the corresponding Windows desktop application so you can access more functionality. Now, this works with the Office apps for Android tablets too (Word, Excel and PowerPoint Online).

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