Microsoft Applications Assure Hardcore Defense Against Ransomware

Two consecutive attacks of ransomwares on devices with Windows operating system, in both May, 2017 and June, 2017 have been alarming the world, and causing debates on cybersecurity. The first attack was by “WannaCry”, a variant of ransomware that caused a major stir by disrupting businesses in over 150 countries across the globe. It was then followed by “Petya”, which was described as a stronger ransomware. It interrupted businesses in the Ukraine, Russia, USA, and other parts of the globe as well. Some companies have paid the ransom in exchange for their essential documents and highly confidential data. Unfortunately, companies with online storage and devices are susceptible to ransomwares as they are more capable of paying the demanded worth of bitcoins as ransom. Securing devices against a highly probable third consecutive attack must be given the utmost priority.

Office 365 – Quarantine and Advanced Threat Protection

Microsoft has been consistently optimizing its security features and updating its cybersecurity applications. Even before the onset of these cyber-attacks, Microsoft had been regularly vigilante in equipping their programs with built-in anti-virus features such as Office 365’s Quarantine and
Advanced Threat Protection.

Office 365’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP),

Office 365’s ATP continuously checks attachments, email inboxes, and links to avoid the penetration of malwares. Safe Links, Safe Attachments, URL Detonation, and Dynamic Delivery are the different parts of ATP that make protecting your data easy.

Office 365’s Quarantine feature automatically sends suspicious emails to the quarantine folder so that they will not be mixed with the safe contents of the user’s inbox. The administrator of the organization can then control the emails that will be sent directly into the quarantine section. The contents of the quarantine section get automatically deleted after fifteen (15) days. Emails that have been suspected to be malicious but turn out to be safe can be pulled out from that section and safely opened and read.

Prevention Applications
Microsoft has built its operating system with an antivirus application called “Windows Defender Tool”. Other prevention applications of Microsoft that were devised to guard your data against malwares and even ransomwares are “Smart Screen” and “Malware Protection Program”. Smart Screen is a Windows filtering tool used to block suspicious websites. On the other hand, Malware Protection Program educates the user on how to understand the prevention tools being offered, and how the threat can be removed.

Keeping your version of Microsoft windows updated is one of the surefire ways to maintain the security and protection of your corporate data being stored in your cloud system.

Leading the way in the fight against dangerous email threats

A typical month for the Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online Protection team might be considered a typical for most. In fight against spam and malware, Microsoft process over 200 billion emails each month and block 10 million spam messages every minute. That’s the norm for Microsoft’s malicious threat protection efforts—but Microsoft don’t stop there. As email attackers around the globe are getting smarter and more sophisticated, Microsoft is making big investments in Microsoft Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection services to proactively identify and block the most dangerous email threats, with features like:

  • Built-in protection against malicious attack vectors, with spoof and common attachment-type detection.
  • Visible protection to end-users via Safety Tips to prevent users from interacting with detected malicious emails.
  • Rich learning mechanisms for users, such as Phish Reporting and Advanced Threat Protection.

Click Here to watch: Exchange Online Protection updates – Safety, Tips and more

New capabilities of Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection

It takes constant vigilance to protect against external threats without disrupting end user productivity. That’s why Microsoft have introduced several new capabilities in Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection, which help protect you from unknown external threats while providing admins visibility on targets within their companies and options for mitigating or eliminating attacks.

Dynamic Delivery of Safe Attachments — Last June, Microsoft introduced Advanced Threat Protection Safe Attachments to protect against unknown threats by detecting viruses in email attachments. After going through the standard Office 365 protection process of three anti-virus engines and multiple spam filters, an email with a suspicious attachment enters the Safe Attachment sandbox environment, which has a detonation chamber to analyze the attachment and determine whether or not it’s safe—a process that typically takes 5–7 minutes.

With Dynamic Delivery of Safe Attachments, Microsoft eliminated that delay by sending the body of the email with a placeholder attachment, while the actual suspicious attachment undergoes a Safe Attachment scan. Recipients can read and respond to the message, which includes notification that the original attachment is being analyzed. If the real attachment is cleared, it replaces the placeholder; if not, the admin can filter out the unwanted and potentially malicious attachment. Dynamic Delivery of Safe Attachments is now in private preview for Advanced Threat Protection customers and is scheduled for general availability this quarter.

Zero-hour Auto Purge — In the event of incorrectly categorizing an unread email as spam, malicious or safe, Zero-hour Auto Purge provides the ability to change that verdict. For example, if a message is delivered to your inbox and later found to be spam, Zero-hour Auto Purge moves that message from the inbox to the spam folder; the reverse is true for messages misclassified as spam. Now in preview with approximately 50 customers and available on demand, Zero-hour Auto Purge will be rolled out for all Exchange Online Protection global tenants in the first quarter of 2016. Admins will have total control over using this feature or not since Zero-hour Auto Purge can be disabled in the admin center.

Safety Tips in Outlook on the web — This Exchange Online Protection feature proactively gives user-friendly safety tips that help you decide whether or not to open an email. For example:

  • If an email is from a trusted sender, you are notified that it’s a safe message.
  • If you receive a suspicious or phishing email, the message states that it’s from an untrusted source.

The idea behind Safety Tips in Outlook on the web is to educate users by augmenting written notification of the message status by adding a red bar at the top of suspicious or phishing emails. This added visual cue provides an alert to protect you from a potentially fraudulent request or other suspicious action. Safety Tips in Outlook on the web will be generally available to Exchange Online Protection customers in the first quarter of 2016.

Protection against insider spoofing — Yet another growth area for “spoofers” is what’s called “insider spoofing” or “peer phishing,” when a phisher impersonates high-ranking company executives by spoofing the company’s email domain. The email looks like an internal email, making it hard for existing filters to identify as malicious. Fortunately, by built-in intelligence that leverages big data, strong authentication checks and reputation filters, Exchange Online Protection has strengthened its counterfeit detection by over 500 percent.

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Phish reporting — This new feature enables Outlook on the web users to report phishing to Microsoft by clicking the Junk pull down menu and selecting Phishing. The Report as phishing dialog is displayed and includes a link to learn more about phishing and gives you the option to send a copy of this message to Microsoft to help the research and improvement of email protection technologies by clicking the Report or Don’t report button. Microsoft hope this feature helps you better recognize phishing messages and report any that appear suspicious.

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Microsoft expects to complete deployment of this feature by the end of this quarter. In the meantime, you can report missed phish by sending an email with the phish message as an attachment to Microsoft new phish@office365.microsoft.com address.

Filtering common malicious attachment types — Microsoft heard our feedback and are pleased to provide an easy-to-use feature for Exchange Online Protection admins to filter out unwanted and potentially malicious attachments by their file types within the Malware Policy. This will help consolidate attachment filtering and action for malicious content, rather than addressing these issues through Exchange transport rules and malware filtering policies. Later this quarter, you’ll find the “Common Attachment Types Filter” in the Malware Filter section of the admin center under the Protection tab on the left and the Malware Filter tab on the top. From there, your choice is to edit an existing malware policy or create a new one.

These new Office 365 Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection features reflect Microsoft ongoing commitment to provide the most advanced security, reliability and protection of your email as well as user education and a simpler and more efficient experience for admins. Microsoft are advancing the protection Microsoft offer to proactively protect you and your organization from external attacks.

Office 365 brings significant new value to business customers worldwide

Microsoft is excited to announce the availability of several new Office 365 communications services designed to modernize voice, video, and meeting experiences, while saving companies substantial costs in their communication infrastructure. Organizations can now replace their legacy meeting and phone systems with innovative services built on the familiar Skype for Business experience, all naturally integrated within Office 365—the world’s most-used collaboration and productivity platform.

They are also excited to announce significant new security and analytics capabilities aimed at dramatically improving our customers’ ability to protect their organizations and glean insights from data.

Communication-powered productivity

Microsoft believes that the heart of productivity is great teamwork, and the heart of great teams is great communication. Productivity today is centered on conversations—sometimes a quick instant message or call, and sometimes a meeting planned in advance including voice, video and content sharing.

With many different avenues of communication, people need tools that allow them flexibility in how they connect. For years, consumers have embraced new ways of communicating, turning “Skype” into a verb synonymous with video calling. But corporate telephony, including PBX systems, and audio and video conferencing systems, has lagged behind—until now. Having Skype for Business as an integrated part of the work people are already doing in Office means greater continuity as they collaborate and communicate throughout their day.

Built on the familiar Skype user interface, Skype for Business makes connecting with colleagues as easy and intuitive as connecting with friends and family on Skype. With the new services, Skype for Business gets even better, for organizations and their people:

  • PSTN Conferencing provides the flexibility to dial in to a meeting from a traditional phone, in addition to the existing ability to join a meeting with a single click on your PC or mobile device.
  • Skype Meeting Broadcast makes it easier than ever to produce large virtual meetings for up to 10,000 meeting attendees, who can join from virtually any browser or device (see it in action). Now Skype for Business truly is a single platform for every type of meeting.
  • Cloud PBX enables companies to eliminate separate PBX systems and transition to the cloud with Office 365 as the central location to manage users for communication and
  • With PSTN Calling, Office 365 customers can also subscribe to Microsoft managed calling plans and phone numbers, starting in the U.S. with more markets coming later.

Learn more about how the new Skype for Business capabilities can benefit your organization? Click here to watch the video 

Simplify your infrastructure, lower your costs and empower your people

Microsoft is the only company that has built this combination of capabilities—a cloud business phone system including dial tone, and a complete meetings solution including audio, video, content sharing and messaging service—as a core part of a complete productivity and collaboration suite, available across mobile platforms and at a global scale.

Today, over half of Microsoft business customers are currently paying for multiple conferencing solutions, and many are still using legacy PBX phone systems. Now they can simplify their infrastructure with one cloud platform for meetings and voice, ultimately reducing the cost, complexity and effort of maintaining legacy phone and conferencing systems.

But it’s about more than saving money. People spend nearly a third of their time at work in meetings, yet only 18 percent of information workers actively use conferencing tools that enable rich experiences like video and content sharing. When you consider that nonverbal signals account for nearly 90 percent of the messages we receive during interpersonal communication, it’s clear that moving to modern communication tools can have a dramatic impact on productivity and collaboration.

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Desktop sharing during a Skype for Business meeting.

Deeper value from security and analytics

In addition to the Skype for Business capabilities, Microsoft is releasing new security and data analytics capabilities in Office 365, including:

  • Delve Analytics – Empowers individuals through rich dashboards that provide insights on time and relationships, with the goal of helping individuals get time back and spend it effectively.
  • Power BI – A business analytics service that enables information workers to visualize and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency and understanding through live data dashboards, interactive reports and compelling visualizations.
  • Customer Lockbox – Gives customers new approval rights, transparency and control over their data in the cloud.
  • Advanced eDiscovery – Integrates Equivio machine learning, predictive coding and text analytics capabilities, to reduce the costs and challenges that come along with sorting through large quantities of data for eDiscovery purposes.
  • Advanced Threat Protection—Protects against unknown malware and viruses by applying behavioral analysis.

All of the new capabilities are now available and represent significant new value to enterprise customers. We’re excited to see the impact it can have on your organization!

Announcing Office 365 customer security considerations preview

Office 365 provides customers with a continuous stream of innovative features that provide significant productivity improvements while keeping information highly secure. Microsoft is working on resources and tools to help you leverage Office 365 information security features and controls, so you can manage security in your Office 365 tenant. The Office 365 Service Trust Portal (STP), launched earlier this year, is an example of a feature that provides deep insights into how Office 365 services are operated and independently audited.

Microsoft presents the customer security considerations (CSC) workbook that can be used to facilitate a quick review and implementation of the security controls available in Office 365. The CSC workbook is designed to provide you with information on key security and compliance features to consider when adopting, deploying and managing Office 365.

The CSC workbook, which currently is implemented as a Microsoft Excel workbook, is in preview.

The CSC workbook contains two security-based pivots on the same set of features and information. One pivot is the Office 365 Customer Control Considerations section. Information in this section is organized into five scenarios listing the features that can be used to manage information security risks:

  • Data Resiliency—Considerations for protecting and recovering information from potential data corruption.
  • Access Control—Things to consider around managing identity and access control using Office 365 and Azure features.
  • Data Leakage—Considerations around using encryption and controlling forwarding.
  • Security and Compliance Investigations—Considerations for conducting compliance searches and forensics investigations, as well as logging and hold actions in Office 365.
  • Incident Response and Recovery—Things to consider around security incident response and recovery.

In addition to these five scenarios, an all-up list of considerations is provided.

The second pivot is the Office 365 Risk Assessment Scenarios section. Information in this section is organized by risks/threats and how you will implement various controls to manage these risks:

  • Malicious Customer Administrator
  • Former Employee
  • Credential Theft
  • Malware
  • Trusted Device Compromised
  • Attacker Foothold
  • Microsoft Operator

We hope that the CSC workbook provides you with quick information on how to help secure your Office 365 service with features/configurations that you manage. Based on the usage of this tool and your valuable feedback, we hope to expand the scope of considerations as appropriate and make it even more user friendly in the future.

To get the CSC workbook, sign in to the STP and download the “Office 365 Customer Security Considerations Preview” and “Office 365 Customer Security Considerations Preview Reference Guide” from the Trust Documents area.

If you have not yet signed up for access to the STP, you can find instructions for doing so here.

Office 2016 for Windows Released!

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 22, 2015 — On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. began the worldwide release of Office 2016. The apps are the latest addition to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription service that helps people do their best work, together. The company also announced new and enhanced Office 365 services built for team productivity.

“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork.”

Nadella wrote about the new Office on the Official Microsoft Blog. Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office Client Applications and Services team, provided more insights about Office 2016 on the Office Blog.

Office 2016 delivers new versions of the Office desktop apps for Windows, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access. By subscribing to Office 365, customers can get always-up-to-date, fully installed apps for use across their devices, combined with a continually evolving set of consumer and commercial services, such as OneDrive online storage, Skype for Business, Delve, Yammer and enterprise-grade security features.

Together, the new Office and Windows 10 are the most complete solution for doing. The Office 2016 apps run beautifully on the best Windows ever, including the new Sway for Windows 10 to create shareable, interactive stories that look great on any screen. Windows Hello logs you into Windows and Office 365 in one simple step.1 Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 empower on-the-go productivity, and work with Continuum2 so you can use your phone like a PC. Cortanaconnects with Office 365 to help with tasks such as meeting preparation, with Outlook integration coming in November.

Built for teamwork

The Office 2016 apps simplify collaboration and remove barriers to team success.

  • Co-authoring4is now provided in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote desktop software, including real-time typing in Word that lets you see others’ edits as they make them.
  • Skype in-app integration across the rich client apps allows you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs.
  • Office 365 Groupsare now an integrated part of the Outlook 2016 client app and available on your favorite mobile device through the Outlook Groups app, delivering a consistent team experience across the suite.

 

In addition, new Office 365 solutions that combine the power of apps and services for better collaboration are coming soon.

  • Introduced today, Office 365 Plannerhelps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates, and update status with visual dashboards and email notifications. Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers starting next quarter.
  • Significant new updates to OneDrive for Businessare coming later this month, including a new sync client for Windows and Mac, which will deliver selective sync and enhanced reliability. Updates also include increased file size and volume limits per user, a new user interface in the browser, mobile enhancements, and new IT and developer features.
  • Unveiled earlier this year, GigJamis available Tuesday in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016. GigJam is an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people.

Works for you

Office 2016 provides built-in intelligence to help you work faster and smarter.

  • Outlook 2016provides the smartest inbox yet, with lightning-fast search and automatic removal of low-priority mail. Everyone on the To: line has the right access to documents with modern, cloud-based attachments.
  • Tell Mehelps you quickly find the right Office feature or command, and Smart Lookup brings insights from the Web right into your documents.
  • Excel 2016now includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart types to help you make the most of your data.
  • The most recently used documents listallows you to pick up right where you left off, traveling with you across your devices, whether you are working in Office Online, in the Office Mobile apps or in the Office 2016 desktop apps.

 

The most secured Office

Office 2016 apps with Office 365 deliver new capabilities for better enterprise security and protection.

  • Built-in Data Loss Preventionacross Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook significantly reduces the risk of leaking sensitive data, giving IT administrators tools to manage content authoring and document sharing policies.
  • Multifactor authenticationensures secured access to content anywhere when you’re away from the corporate network.
  • Enterprise Data Protection will be available for the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 later this year and for the desktop apps early next year, enabling secured content sharing within corporate boundaries.

Availability and requirements

The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later. Starting Tuesday, Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription. Automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers next month, and to commercial customers early next year. Office 2016 is also available today as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Macs.

Customers can visit one of the more than 110 Microsoft Stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico to discover and purchase the new Office. While there, they can participate in a free, one-hour Office 2016 workshop and visit the in-store Answer Desk, a one-stop shop for your Office needs.

 

More information is available at http://www.Office365.com.

 

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors, and may require additional authentication steps in certain configurations.

2 Available only on premium Windows Phones. External monitor must support HDMI input. Requires a Continuum-compatible accessory.

3 Cortana experience may vary by region and device.

4 Co-authors must be using Office 2016 or Office Online.