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Microsoft Joins Apple in the $2 Trillion Market Value Club

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It seems it wasn’t too long ago we were speculating whether Microsoft could break the $1 trillion market cap. Of course, that milestone came and went and since then Microsoft has only seen continued growth. So much so, the company’s market value has now topped $2 trillion for the first time.

A 1.2% share increase on the New York exchange yesterday sent Microsoft’s value past the $2 trillion mark. By the close of the day the value had fallen a little below the number, but the stone is now cast. From here growth will likely continue to send Microsoft over the milestone permanently.

However, Microsoft is not a founding member of this club, instead becoming the third company to achieve the milestone. First was Saudi Aramco, which topped a $2 trillion valuation because in December 2019. Who said oil was not the money-maker it once was?

In terms of U.S. companies, Microsoft is still not first past $2 trillion as Apple got the valuation last year.

Either way, first or third is hardly important because however you cut it, Microsoft continues to thrive. Much of the success has come from the tenure of CEO Satya Nadella and the cloud-first path the company has taken.

Success

Services like Azure have allowed Microsoft to enjoy steady and consistent growth for years. With the like to Office and Windows still doing well in enterprise, and even gaming is a money spinner.

Microsoft has been in arguably its most prosperous era ever. That was emphasized when the company brought in $100 billion revenue for the first time, topped a valuation of $1 trillion, and now the $2 trillion milestone.

In terms of Big Tech rivals, Microsoft also went through the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed. This was something Nadella said the company was primed to do as the crisis first emerged.

Amazon with its $1.8 trillion value and Google with its $1.6 trillion value are likely to be the next U.S. companies to join the $2 trillion club.

Tip of the day: If you need to create an ad-hoc network, you can do it on Windows 10. In our tutorial we show you how to easily create a shareable wireless internet connection in Windows 10 as a free WIFI hotspot.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Pwn2Own Hacking Contest Shows Flaws in Windows 10, Exchange Server, Zoom, and Chrome

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Pwn2Own is one of the biggest hacking contests in the world. It tasks hackers with highlighting vulnerabilities in some of the most famous platforms in tech. It also helps to shatter our ideas that the products we are using day-to-day are secure… spoiler, they’re not.

$1.5 million is up for grabs in prize money during Pwn2Own 2021 and so far researchers have found vulnerabilities across numerous popular services. Among them are Apple’s Safar browser, Microsoft Exchange, Windows, Ubuntu, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.

Some of the vulnerabilities found include flaws that would lead to problems for Web Browsers, Servers, Enterprise Communication tools, and more.

Microsoft Vulnerabilities

There were problems found across a range of Microsoft services. Starting with Microsoft Exchange, the DEVCORE research teams found an authentication bypass and local privilege escalation flaw that would allow them to take over a server.

On Windows 10, Team Viettel found a hole in Windows 10 security by using an integer overflow to escalate privileges for regular users to SYSTEM wide privileges. Palo Alto Networks researcher Tao Yan leveraged a Race Condition bug to create SYSTEM privileges on a Windows 10 machine that was fully patched.

A researcher known as OV targeted Microsoft Teams with two bugs that show how a code execution attack could happen. On Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome (both sharing the Chromium engine) with a Typer Mismatch bug that allows an attack on the browsers.

Flaws on Other Services

RET2 Systems’ Jack Date found a vulnerability in Apple’s Safari web browser. By using an integer overflow, he was able to use a OOB Write to access kernel-level code on the browser.

A Zoom vulnerability was found by Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade from Computest. Specifically, a three bug chain for the messenger app that allows a code execution to hit the system. Interestingly, the victim would not need to click anything to initiate the attack.

You can check out the Pwn2Own event on YouTube, Twitch, and the conference site.

Tip of the day:

Having problems with pop-ups and unwanted programs in Windows 10? Try the hidden adware blocker of Windows Defender. We show you how to turn it on in just a few steps.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Moves Windows 10 Taskbar to Its Own Code Location

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Microsoft has been tweaking the Windows 10 taskbar experience across previews for some time. Most of that tweaking will come to fruition in Windows 10X, which gets a slightly different taskbar to regular Win10. However, it seems Microsoft is now making some changes to the normal Windows 10 taskbar.

If you’re out of the loop on Windows 10X, it is Microsoft’s upcoming SKU which has been pushed back to a fall 2021 release. It’s taskbar will place icons cntrally.

While Microsoft is not so far planning a similar look for Windows 10, the company is making some changes. Specifically, Microsoft watcher Albacore has found the company is moving the taskbar code from Explorer.exe to its own bespoke DLL known as Taskbar.dll.

This can be observed in the latest Windows 10 21H2 preview on the Inside. The new Taskbar.dll component is a working code replacement but is not in use just yet. However, reports suggest the search bar is not functioning properly.

 

What’s important about this switch is it will give Microsoft more development fluidity. In its own dll, the company can update the taskbar independently of the rest of the platform. This could mean tweaks and updates between major Windows 10 updates.

As this change is part of a 21H2 preview, we won’t see the full version until Windows 10 21H2 launches in the fall.

Windows 10X Taskbar

It’s unclear if Microsoft plans to bring elements of the Windows 10X taskbar to Windows 10 proper. Earlier this month, we reported on Microsoft seemingly extending the release windows for Windows 10X again.

Microsoft is holding back to ensure the launch of the new Windows 10 experience is more secure and without issues. Late spring is now looking likely for a final production build in preview, and then a fall launch for the SKU on new devices.

Tip of the day:

Thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) you can run complete Linux distributions within Windows 10. In our tutorial, we show you how to install Ubuntu or other Linux packages and how to activate the bash shell.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Garage Debuts Group Transcribe App for Meetings

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Microsoft Garage has a new application called Group Transcribe, which provides users with a way to transcribe group chats or meetings. It is a real-time tool allowing groups to record and transcribe. Microsoft says the app is currently only available for Apple’s iOS.

If you’re unfamiliar with Microsoft Garage, it is a division of the company that allows collaborations across teams. Employees can interact with other Microsoft divisions on projects they are passionate about. Most the resulting apps start as an experiment, although some have become full fledged Microsoft services.

Whether Group Transcribe will follow a similar path or ultimately be dropped remains to be seen. However, it is the kind of tool that is useful in the current climate of increasing remote work and video meeting apps.

“This app uses a multi-device approach to provide real-time, high quality transcription and translation, so users can be more present and productive during in-person meetings and conversations,” Microsoft’s Lainie Huston said in a blog post.

How it Works

During a meeting, participants can opt into the group transcription. For those who decide to join in, they will also need the Group Transcribe application. One person begins the transcription and other join as invitees. Microsoft says a five-letter conversation code, or a QR code, gives those invitees access.

When transcribing, the app takes note of all relevant conversations and also records who says what. All transcriptions are automatically saved for later review or use.

What’s interesting about Group Transcribe is it seems to work for any meeting app. In other words, it’s not just for Microsoft Teams and will also work on Zoom and Google Meet. Furthermore, there is not sign-up requirement to use the app other than using the code to join a transcription.

Microsoft says the app sends cloud data as part of speaker identification. Users can choose whether they want to share this information with Microsoft. The company says the only purpose of data is to help improve speech services.

You can learn more about Microsoft Garage’s interesting new app in Microsoft’s FAQ.

Tip of the day:

Did you know that Windows 10´s Task Manager lets you set CPU affinity to claw back some resources from running apps and give selected apps higher priority. Our tutorial shows how you can use this helpful feature.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Joins Effort to Remove Emotet But Warns Customers to Remain Vigilant

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Microsoft has this week sent a warning to customers urging them to remain vigilant following a recent takedown raid on Emotet botnet servers. The Redmond company took down hundreds of servers later last month as part of an ongoing fight against cybercrime.

Despite the takedowns, Microsoft says customers remain at risk and need to keep their security robust. Emotet is a relatively old and solvable trojan that has been around since 2014. However, threat actors have evolved the botnet to become the most dangerous in circulation.

It is used by a threat group known as Mummy Spider (TA542) to deploy other malware types such as Trickbot. Microsoft says its efforts to disrupt Emotet by breaking infrastructure means activity has fallen significantly.

However, the company points out that does not mean the threat has been eliminated:

“Microsoft 365 Defender data shows that the disruption of Emotet infrastructure immediately resulted in the drop in new campaigns,” Microsoft says in a tweet. “Given Emotet’s reach and role in the deployment of payloads like ransomware, however, customers should ensure continued monitoring and protection.”

 

Takedown Operation

Microsoft did another round of targeting Emotet servers during January alongside a wider action run by Eurojust and Europol. Law enforcement agencies from several countries were able to seize servers for the botnet, making it easier to takedown activity.

“Within the framework of the criminal procedural measures carried out at international level, the Bundeskriminalamt has arranged for the malware Emotet to be quarantined in the computer systems affected,” Germany’s BKA told BleepingComputer.

“An identification of the systems affected is necessary in order to seize evidence and to enable the users concerned to carry out a complete system clean-up to prevent further offences.”

Importantly, law enforcement agencies are also rolling out a new Emotet module. It will be available for infected devices and help them uninstall the malware. That new module will be available on April 25, 2021.

So, does that mean the botnet is gone for good? Well, it’s going to be hard for threat actors to resurrect it, but Microsoft’s caution is telling. The company is aware other botnets have been able to come back after similar removal efforts.

Tip of the day:

Whether you’re planning an upgrade, tuning CPU timings, or just curious, it’s handy to know information about your RAM. In our tutorial, we show you how to check RAM speed, type, and size using several built-in Windows 10 tools.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Flight Simulator launched in August and has been one of the major game successes of the year. Arguably the most graphically impressive title of all-time, the game is also selling in huge numbers and winning rave reviews. Currently available on PC, Microsoft has now confirmed Flight Sim will land on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in 2021. Summer of 2021 to be more accurate, although the company is also killing plans for an Xbox One launch. Or that’s how it seems because Microsoft does not mention the old console in the trailer. That’s a shame, especially since Microsoft said Flight Simulator would come to its now old console. No reason has been given for going back on that promise, but I think it’s obvious. The company wants as many people as possible to move with the Xbox Series X|S and Microsoft Flight Simulator is the kind of game that could push them to an upgrade.

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Microsoft Flight Simulator launched in August and has been one of the major game successes of the year. Arguably the most graphically impressive title of all-time, the game is also selling in huge numbers and winning rave reviews. Currently available on PC, Microsoft has now confirmed Flight Sim will land on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in 2021.

Summer of 2021 to be more accurate, although the company is also killing plans for an Xbox One launch. Or that’s how it seems because Microsoft does not mention the old console in the trailer.

That’s a shame, especially since Microsoft said Flight Simulator would come to its now old console. No reason has been given for going back on that promise, but I think it’s obvious. The company wants as many people as possible to move with the Xbox Series X|S and Microsoft Flight Simulator is the kind of game that could push them to an upgrade.

It is also worth noting by the summer of 2021, the Xbox One will be a more distant memory. Microsoft will be full steam ahead on the new generation of hardware. Although, Xbox One continues to be supported by the company, including with game launches.

Just not Flight Sim it seems.

Success

Since launching, Microsoft Flight Simulator has been a huge success. It is on course to sell millions of copies. Analysts also point to the game creating its own mini industry around peripheral sales worth billions of dollars.

Microsoft has already sent out two world updates for the game. The second arrived last month with a bunch of improvements and additions. Called World Update II: USA, this update is available globally and provides new content related to the United States.

It includes 48 brand new points of interest with full graphical detail, alongside some new airports.

Tip of the day

If your system drive is constantly full and you need to free some space, you might want to try Windows 10 Disk Cleanup in extended mode. Our tutorial also shows you how to create a desktop shortcut to run this advanced method right from the desktop.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Says LinkedIn Stories Can Engage Younger Users

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Microsoft has enjoyed huge success under CEO Satya Nadella, but not by

hits in current tech trends. In fact, Microsoft has never really been a company that appeals to kids. Enterprise focus and now cloud tech hardly speak to the smartphone and chat generation. However, with LinkedIn Stories Nadella believes Microsoft may be able to appeal to a younger audience.

During Microsoft’s annual shareholders’ meeting this week (via Business Insider), the CEO was asked directly how Microsoft can speak to young users through LinkedIn. Nadella said this is something that the LinkedIn team is focusing on.

“As population ages, we do need to make sure that both the younger population, as well as the older population, can both find the economic opportunity,” Nadella said.

“That’s really the pressing need of our times, and we are very focused on that, specifically for some of the younger folks who are joining LinkedIn. We’re making sure, for example, the engagement tools, like the News feed, have new modalities.”

Stories

LinkedIn Stories were first announced and tested earlier this year and launched in September. Like Stories on Snapchat and Instagram before, this could be a quick way to share key moments at conferences and work events, or quick tips relevant to the industry.

Of course, Stories on LinkedIn put a professional twist on the idea, so it remains interesting to see how users tap into the tool. While Nadella thinks it can drive usage amongst younger generations, it could be argued LinkedIn is not that kind of platform to start with.

LinkedIn sees Stories as a form of future-proofing. Many children have grown up with such features as one of their primary methods of communication and implementing Stories may help them to find a home there.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Points to Trend of State-Backed Hackers Moving to Non-Espionage Attacks

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Microsoft says it has found hackers backed by the Vietnamese government sending cryptocurrency mining malware. The company says the threat actors are packaging the malware in their normal cyber-spying toolkits.

This shows some threat actors who typically work with/for governments are now spreading into non-espionage cyber-attacks. Microsoft points out this blend makes it harder to know if an attack is for spying purposes or motivated by money.

Microsoft says the group Bismuth, or other popular names like OceanLotus and APT32. Known as a Vietnamese-backed cyber cell, the group is a longstanding threat actor in operation since 2012.

As it is government backed, Bismuth usually focuses on creating hacking operations within and outside Vietnam that are designed to extract information from systems. Microsoft says it seems the group has evolved to more mainstream cyber operations.

“In campaigns from July to August 2020, the group deployed Monero coin miners in attacks that targeted both the private sector and government institutions in France and Vietnam,” Microsoft said.

Moving On

Microsoft says there are couple of potential reasons why Bismuth is making this switch. It is clear the group is taking advantage of the relative ease of crypto-mining tools and exploiting them. These are often low priority security risks, so they are easier to breach:

“Because BISMUTH’s attacks involved techniques that ranged from typical to more advanced, devices with common threat activities like phishing and coin mining should be elevated and inspected for advanced threats. More importantly, organizations should prioritize reducing attack surface and hardening networks against the full range of attacks.”

Microsoft adds Bismuth is not alone in transitioning from espionage to traditional cyberattacks. In fact, the company points to a trend where Russian, North Korean, Chinese, and Iranian state-backed groups are also targeting monetary attacks.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Use Plus Addressing in Microsoft 365 to create email addresses on the fly

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Plus addressing allows you create additional email addresses on the fly, and is useful when sign-up for mailing lists or online services. Email addresses created this way use your existing email address as the basis and once configured within Office 365, don’t require any administrator intervention to use.

A normal email address is in the form steve@practical365.com and with the “local” part being the name before the @ symbol. With plus addressing, you can create a new email address, like steve+onlineshopping@practical365.com by adding a plus (+) after the local part followed by your preferred tag.

Enabling Plus Addressing in Exchange Online

Plus addressing is off by default in Exchange Online, and is not available on-premises. This is because in the past, Exchange Online has allowed administrators to create email addresses containing the plus character for users.

To enable plus addressing, first, connect to Exchange Online using Powershell. In Exchange Online Powershell, use the following command to enable plus addressing for your organization:

Plus addressing is enabled rapidly – in our testing it was enabled within the hour.

Using Inbox rules to filter mail received

It is straightforward to use Inbox rules in Outlook to filter mail received via plus addressing. You can use this to auto-delete messages, if your additional email address ends of on spam lists, or most usefully you can automatically move messages into an Inbox folder.

To do this, right click on a message received to the additional address – it will be shown in the to field of a relevant message – then from the menu choose Rules>Always move message to..

Plus Addressing in Exchange Online

On the menu shown, you’ll be presented the option to create a new folder and automatically move messages. You can also choose Create Rule, and create an advanced rule based on the same criteria:

Plus Addressing advanced options

Source Practical365

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft HoloLens 2 Development Edition Now Available in the U.S.

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Microsoft debuted HoloLens 2 back in February 2019 but at the time no Development Edition was available. Microsoft has been slow to roll out availability of the second-generation augmented reality (AR) headset and platform. Nearly two years after launch, the HoloLens 2 Development Edition is now available.

Well, it is available if you happen to be in the United States. For now, the device is only available to US customers. Microsoft says that will change shortly when other regions are included by the end of the year.

Those regions are Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, UK, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.

Microsoft first announced the HoloLens 2 Development Edition in May 2019, a few months after the commercial version was announced. However, availability of the device took some time. We know the commercial version took over a year to reach the Microsoft Store, landing in June this year.

So, it makes sense the Development Edition is also late for the party. However, better late than never. If you are unfamiliar with this edition, it is a bundle package that includes the HoloLens 2 device and software focused on 3D augmented reality and interactive work. Also included is $500 in Microsoft Azure credits, a 3-month license and Unity Pro and Pixyz.

HoloLens 2 Specs

For developers coming to the HoloLens experience for the first time, here is the specsheet for the second generation.

Display:

  • Optics – See-through holographic lenses (waveguides)
  • Resolution –  2k 3:2 light engines
  • Holographic Density –  >2.5k radiants (light points per radian)
  • Eye-based Rendering –  Display optimization for 3D eye position

Sensors & Audio:

  • Depth – Azure Kinect sensor
  • IMU –  Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
  • Camera –  8MP stills, 1080p30 video
  • Microphone Array –  5 channels
  • Speakers – Built-in, Spatial Audio

Human Understanding:

  • Hand Tracking – Two-handed fully articulated model, direct manipulation
  • Eye Tracking – Real-time tracking
  • Voice – Command and control on-device, Natural Language with internet connectivity

Environmental Understanding:

  • 6DoF Tracking – World-scale positional tracking
  • Spatial Mapping –  Real-time environment mesh
  • Mixed Reality Capture – Mixed hologram and physical environment photos and videos

Compute & Connectivity:

  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform
  • HPU: 2nd Generation Custom-built Holographic Processing Unit
  • WiFi: 802.11ac 2×2
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • USB: USB Type-C

Power:

  • Battery Life – 2-3 hours of active use
  • Charging – USB Power Delivery – Fast Charging
  • Thermals – Passively Cooled

Fit:

  • Size – Fits over glasses, size using adjustment dial

Software:

  • Windows Holographic OS
  • Edge
  • Remote Assist
  • Layout
  • Guides
  • 3D Viewer
  • OneDrive for Business

Source Winbuzzer

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