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Microsoft Brings Passwordless Option to Outlook and OneDrive

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Microsoft closed 2020 with a promise that 2021 would be the year it moves to a passwordless future. The company said it would move away from passwords on Windows and Azure. It seems that Microsoft is sticking to its commitment and is now allowing users to remove passwords from their Microsoft Accounts.

While this is only for some apps and features at the moment, it is clear this will expand to other services in the future.

“For the past couple of years, we’ve been saying that the future is passwordless, and today I am excited to announce the next step in that vision,” says Vasu Jakkal, Corporate VP of Security, Compliance, and Identity for Microsoft. “Beginning today, you can now completely remove the password from your Microsoft account. Use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or a verification code sent to your phone or email to sign in to your favorite apps and services, such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Family Safety, and more.”

Among the password-less decisions the company as made in recent years include password-free login for Azure AD through Microsoft Authenticator. Elsewhere, customers also get password-free Microsoft Account login with FIDO2 compatibility. Then there’s Windows Hello, which uses biometric tools to remove the need for a password.

Moving Forward

One of the challenges for Microsoft has been convincing users that they no longer need passwords. It seems customers are attached to this security measure and still believe it is safe. That belief is becoming increasingly archaic considering how easy it has become for threat actors to access customer data through password manipulation.

While some Microsoft apps now have a passwordless option, there are plenty of major platforms that still rely on passwords. These include the following, which we guess will be getting the passwordless treatment eventually:

  • Xbox 360
  • Office 2010 or earlier
  • Office for Mac 2011 or earlier
  • Products and services which use IMAP and POP email services
  • Windows 8.1, Windows 7 or earlier
  • Some Windows features including Remote Desktop and Credential Manager
  • Some command line and task scheduler services.

Tip of the day: Do you know that Windows 10 now has a package manager similar to Linux called “Winget”? In our tutorial, we show you how to install and use this new tool that allows the quick installation of apps via PowerShell or a GUI.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft OneDrive Debuts as PWA for Edge and Chrome

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Microsoft is rolling out its OneDrive application as a Progressive Web Application (PWA). This means users can now install the web version of the cloud storage and file sharing app on Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

Both those Chromium browsers support PWAs, which Microsoft has been increasingly exploring over the last year. Microsoft has already made its Outlook email web app available as a PWA on Chrome and Edge, and is now expanding to Microsoft OneDrive.

It is worth noting one of the benefits of a PWA is the ability to work offline. It does not seem the OneDrive PWA has this ability. Instead, it displays as the OneDrive for Web portal running in Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Ongoing PWA Adoption

Last year, Microsoft made PWAs seem like a more seamless integration on Windows 10 by enabling them to run on start through Microsoft Edge on Windows and Mac.

Microsoft is throwing its weight behind PWAs on Windows and Edge. Some abilities Microsoft has introduced include custom tile bars, and transitioning some web services to PWA. While the “Run on OS login” ability does what it says on the tin, allowing PWAs to run when Windows 10 or Mac starts.

PWAs open as a standalone window connected to the web. Last year, Microsoft added PWAs as an option through the “open with” menu on Windows 10.

Tip of the day: Do you know that Windows 10 now has a package manager similar to Linux called “Winget”? In our tutorial, we show you how to install and use this new tool that allows the quick installation of apps via PowerShell or a GUI.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

How to Add a Page Border in Microsoft Word

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Featured - How to Create a Page Border in Microsoft Word

Page borders are a useful tool. They make your document stand out without looking tacky, while providing a guide should somebody want to staple or hole punch. Today we’re going to show you how to add a border in Word, which has various pre-built design options to spice up your document.

Setting page borders in Word differs by version

The process to create Microsoft Word borders will vary slightly depending on your version. We’re going to assume you have an Office 365 subscription or Office 2019. If you have an older version, look to the layout or page layout tab instead.

In newer versions of Word, there are three in-built page border variants: box, shadow, and 3-D. You can also set custom borders if you wish. The first is the most suitable for an enterprise setting, but the others can be a bit of fun. We’ll show you how to choose between them to suit your preference. Let’s get started:

Contents

  • 1 How to Add a Basic Border in Word
  • 2 How to Set Alternate Microsoft Word Border Styles and Formatting
  • 3 How to Insert a Border in Word for a Single Page
  • 4 How to Delete a Page in Word or Add Line Numbers

How to Add a Basic Border in Word

If you came here for a plain, black border, this section is for you. You can get from blank page to professional-looking border for Word in just a few clicks:

  1. Open the “Design” tab and click “Page Borders”Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders
  2. Select “Box” and click  “OK”

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Box - Accept
  3. Check your new page borders in Word page view 

    You should see that the border neatly hugs the edge of your text and images without overlapping.

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Box - Result

How to Set Alternate Microsoft Word Border Styles and Formatting

If a plain black line is a little too boring for you, you can make use of the Word page border options to customize the shadow, thickness, line style, and more.

  1. Switch to another border setting and change line style

    Instead of choosing a lined “Box” as borders for pages, you can use “None” for the standard invisible border design, or choose “Shadow” or “3-D” for a 3-D effect. “Custom” allows defining your own page border design. Border line style, color and thickness can also be changed. Press “OK” to apply the changes.

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Setting - Select Style - Accept

  2. Preview your page borders in your main document window
     

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Setting - Select Style - Result

  3. Remove an individual border line

    If you’d like to remove a specific border line, you can do so by clicking it in the preview on the right-hand side and then pressing “OK”.

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Setting - Select Style - Click One border to Delete

  4. Check your page borders in Word page view

    You should see that border you selected is completely gone and the line instead reaches right to the edge of the page.

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Setting - Select Style - Click One border to Delete - Result

  5. Modify the style of a specific Word border line

    If you want a single border to be in a different style, you can instead click “Custom”, select a line style, and then click on the border you want to change in the preview window. Press “OK” to apply the changes to your document.

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Custom Setting - Select Style - Click One border to Apply - Accept

  6. Check your border line’s new style

Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Custom Setting - Select Style - Click One border to Apply - Result

7. How to change the colour and width of page borders in Word

If you have a dark document background or black is too boring, you can change your border color and width in the same menu.

Click on the “Color” and “Width” dropdown to do so, then click “OK” to apply the changes. This works for both your border as a whole and a specific border line.

Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Setting - Select Style - Select Color & Width - Accept

8. View your new border colour and width and adjust as necessary

Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Select Setting - Select Style - Select Color & Width - Result

How to Insert a Border in Word for a Single Page

Quite often it makes sense to only have a border on the first page – for use on a cover page for example. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Click the dropdown underneath “Apply to” and choose “This section – First page only”
    Selecting this option will apply the border to your first page only. If you want to apply it to a different page, you can click on the page in your document and choose “This section” instead.

    Alternatively, if you want a border everywhere but the first page, choose “This section – All except first page”.

    Press “OK” to apply the changes.

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Borders and Shading - Apply to - Choose One Option - Accept

  2. Make sure the page border in Word applied correctly

    Windows 10 - Word - Design - Borders and Shading - Apply to - Choose One Option - Result

How to Delete a Page in Word or Add Line Numbers

Now that you’ve applied your borders, you may notice a blank page at the end of your document with a border around it. You can follow our how to delete a page in Word tutorial to remedy this.

Or, if you want to make your document even more useful, why not learn how to add or remove line numbers? This way, readers can reference any part of your document with ease.

 

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Snaps Up Video Editing Tool Clipchamp for Microsoft 365

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Microsoft recent flurry of acquisitions shows no signs of slowing down. This week, the company has announced a new purchase in the form of web-based video editing tool Clipchamp. Microsoft has not disclosed how much the deal is worth, but it seems the company is planning to use Clipchamps software within Microsoft Teams.

According to Microsoft, more people than ever want access to video editing as software becomes more accessible. Clipchamp is a leader in the mainstreaming of video editing tools with its web-based platform.

Clipchamp provides editing tools such as filters, styles, templates and more all available online. It is worth noting the service is squarely focused on “non-professionals and non-creatives”. In a blog post announcing the deal, Clipchamp CEO Alex Dreiling announced why he decided to sell to Microsoft:

“Few companies in tech have the legacy and reach that Microsoft has. We all grew up with iconic Microsoft products and have been using them ever since. Becoming part of Microsoft allows us to become part of a future legacy. Under no other scenario could our future look more exciting than what’s ahead of us now. At Clipchamp we have always said that we’re not suffering from a lack of opportunity, there absolutely is an abundance of opportunity in video. We just need to figure out how to seize it. Inside Microsoft we can approach seizing our opportunity in entirely new ways.”

Microsoft’s Plan

It is unclear if Microsoft will allow wide access to Clipchamp to continue, although the company will make the app a part of Microsoft 365. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Office Media Group Chris Pratley welcomed the acquisition:

“As a web app that uses the full power of your PC, Clipchamp is a natural fit to extend the cloud-powered productivity experiences in Microsoft 365 for individuals, families, schools, and businesses. It’s also a great fit for Microsoft Windows, which is a platform for boundless creativity. Whether you are editing game clips, making a school project, putting together a memory of your kids, or assembling the next indie short, Clipchamp and Microsoft will help you express yourself through the emotional power of video. If you are already a Clipchamp user, it’s all going to get better with more options, more power, and the easy creation experience you love.

I am bubbling over with excitement that Clipchamp will be joining Microsoft. The Clipchamp team is a creative powerhouse dedicated to quality and great customer outcomes, and we welcome them wholeheartedly as kindred spirits. We will be doing incredible things together—more to come on that later!”

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Office Insider Update Brings Voice Note Transcription to iOS

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How and where to buy a Microsoft Office license

Microsoft is rolling out a new Office Insider update this week. Specifically, this is for iOS users who can now update the preview to Version 2.53 (21083001). This is an interesting update because it adds three new features to Microsoft Office on iPhone and iPad.

First up is the ability to record voice messages and get transcription of your notes in real-time. Recording voice notes in Office Mobile is an increasingly important tool and users on iOS now get a real-time transcription automatically:

Recording your thoughts and jotting down notes using your voice on your mobile device is becoming increasingly important to stay productive. You can now record voice notes in Office Mobile and transcribe them in real time, right from your iOS device. To do this, tap the + button at the bottom of the navigation bar, select Voice in the Quick Capture pop-up menu, and tap the microphone icon to start a new recording. Office also generates an automated transcription of your recording, which can be reviewed by tapping on the voice card on the Home tab.”

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Across the core Office apps of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the new Office Insider update now allows iOS users to quickly delete files. This taps into an Apple feature that has previously been reserved for native iOS apps:

Now you can use familiar iOS gestures to quickly and easily delete a file or folder. Just swipe on the file or folder name, or tap and hold on the name, and you’ll be prompted to confirm the deletion.”

Microsoft 365 users on iOS can now access the premium library from their iPhone or iPad. This was previously off-limits on the platform. It means users now get access to icons, images, and more that they can integrate into their Office documents:

Microsoft 365 subscribers have access to a large and growing library of rich media—images, icons, stickers, cartoon people, and more—that they can use to enhance their Office creations. Now we’ve brought this library to the iOS platform! To access the premium content library in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, just tap Insert > Pictures > Stock Images. Then select the media element you want and tap Insert.”
Tip of the day:

Do you know the built-in repair tools SFC and DISM of Windows 10? With many problems they can get you back on track without loosing data and using third-party programs. In out tutorial we show you how to use them.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Ditches Office Apps on Chrome OS

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If you are using a Google Chromebook, the door is closing on your ability to download native Microsoft Office apps. According to Microsoft, Android Office apps on Chrome OS will only be available on the web from September 18.

This decision does not affect Office applications on other Android platforms. In other words, users on smartphones will still get the Android Office applications. This is just for Chrome OS users, and it seems Microsoft is taking this decision to get more users to sign up for an account.

That’s because to use Office apps on Outlook.com or Office.com requires users to a have a Microsoft Account (MSA) or a subscription for Office 365 (Microsoft 365).

Rumors have been swirling through the summer that Microsoft was planning to push users to the web Office platform instead of apps. Earlier this month, the company pointed to the change is an update on the “How to install and run Microsoft Office on Chromebook” support page:

“The Android versions of Office, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive are not currently supported on a Chromebook.”

Making the Move

On Office.com, Chrome OS users can access Excel, Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, OneDrive and the complete suite of apps. Still, it may be less convenient for users who have been able to download native Office apps from the Google Play Store.

Microsoft may argue because Chrome OS relies on an online connection, offering only Office on the web makes sense. The company says the web version “provide(s) the most optimized experience for Chrome OS/Chromebook customers.”

Either way, in a month’s time the apps will no longer be available for Chrome OS users. It is unclear what will happen with users already running the apps, but we guess the apps will stop working.

Tip of the day: When using your Windows 10 laptop or convertible with a mobile hotspot you might want to limit the Internet bandwidth your PC uses. In our tutorial we are showing you how to set up a metered connection in Windows 10 and how to turn it off again, if needed.

Source Winbuzzer

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Business TechnologyOffice 365

Cloud ‘data bursts’ from space move astronauts closer to Mars — and improve life on Earth

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When Michael Collins peeked out a portal on the Apollo 11’s command module, orbiting the moon alone while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic lunar walk below, he saw a blue and white planet with no borders. It struck him that humans would have a better future if political leaders also could see the world that way — as a whole globe — and learn to collaborate.

But he wouldn’t be able to share his now-famous musings with folks back home until he set foot on Earth again, in part due to severely limited connectivity between the spaceship and ground control.

HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2
HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 is about the size of a microwave oven (Photo by NASA)

Software engineers and researchers across companies are working together to change that with a new partnership that’s improving communication and enabling experiments that will propel astronauts further into space while improving the lives of the earthbound as well. It’s all based on a new platform involving a supercomputer the size of a small microwave oven that’s getting linked to the cloud from space.

“I grew up with space on the nightly news, and now we’re back again with a new space race, powered by new technology,” says Christine Kretz, vice president of programs and partnerships at the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. New, reusable rockets are making space exploration more affordable and opening it up to more players, she says, “and that’s the new space. It’s tearing down rivalries and divisions.”

Kretz’s organization has been directed by NASA, through Congress, to manage the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station (ISS), and it’s her job to hunt for groups — from universities to startups to tech giants — that will “make the best possible use of technology for this spacecraft that has become a floating laboratory circling the globe.”

Removing gravity from the equation has made a huge difference for scientists researching everything from combustion engines to air purification systems to cancer treatments. In its 21 years of human occupancy, the space station has hosted more than 3,000 experiments by more than 4,000 researchers from more than 100 countries.

With hundreds more ideas in the works, scientists need solid infrastructure and connection to run and access their experiments. That’s what a new partnership between Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft aims to provide, with edge computing and the Azure cloud.

Until now, research data collected from the space station has been transmitted down in drips and drops because of competing priorities for the limited connectivity available. By the time researchers got their data, it was too late to make any necessary tweaks to the collection process or to react to any surprises that might pop up outside the influence of gravity.

That constrained connectivity also can delay communicating critical decisions to the astronauts, who often have to wait for information to reach ground control and be analyzed there and then returned with the necessary insight.

The Destiny Module inside the International Space Station
The Destiny Module inside the International Space Station, where astronauts perform many of the experiments (Photo by NASA)

That’s hard enough with the space station, which orbits as high as 250 miles above the earth. But the moon is almost a thousand times further than that. And at its farthest orbiting position, Mars is a million times that distance. So missions further into outer space will need stronger computing power at the astronauts’ fingertips and a better pipeline for sharing information.

HPE was already designing supercomputers for NASA to use for the heavy computing required to plan missions. So the company took one of the hundreds of high-performance computing servers that comprise a supercomputer, made sure it could fit in a rocket, and then tested it to see if it could survive the shaking and rattling of a launch, be installed by untrained personnel, and function in space, where stray cosmic rays can flip a computer’s 1s into 0s or vice versa and wreak havoc on the system.

It worked.

And now the second iteration — Spaceborne Computer-2, sent up to the ISS in February — incorporates the proven approach of the first mission, with a significantly more advanced system that’s purposely engineered for harsh environments and for processing artificial intelligence and analytics, says Mark Fernandez, HPE’s principal investigator for the project.

Spaceborne Computer-2 is powerful enough to do the work of analyzing data at the source of collection — right there in space — with a process called edge computing. It’s as if your hand normally sent information to your brain and had to wait for analysis and response before giving the signal to pull back from a hot stove, and then it suddenly got the ability to analyze the temperature right at the fingertip itself and decide to immediately recoil from the heat.

Spaceborne Computer 2
The Spaceborne Computer-2 on the International Space Station (Photo by NASA)

There are hundreds of instruments on the space station, some that collect data constantly and some that require video to be sent down frequently. Reducing the amount of data that has to be transmitted frees up that stream for more scientific experiments.

Still, lengthier computations must be sent down to Earth for help.

One of the experiments the partners are undertaking, for example, addresses the needs of healthcare for astronauts on longer space missions. The effects on a human body of lengthy sojourns in space aren’t fully known, making technology that allows frequent monitoring of changes over time especially important.

So the experiment tests whether astronauts can constantly monitor their health amid the potential danger of additional radiation exposure onboard a spacecraft, which could prove even riskier when a planet like Mars is a seven-month journey away from medical treatment. Astronauts in the experiment download their genomes and analyze them for anomalies. Those then get compared to the National Institute for Health’s database to find out whether there are any new mutations, and if those are benign and the mission can continue, or if they’re ones often linked to cancer that may require immediate care back on Earth. It’s the ultimate test of telemedicine that’s being eyed for remote locations around the world as well.

Space is going through this major transformation period.

But sequencing a single human genome, about 6 billion characters, generates about 200 gigabytes of raw data, and the Spaceborne Computer-2 is only allotted two hours of communication bandwidth a week for transmitting data to Earth, with a maximum download speed of 250 kilobytes per second. That’s less than 2 gigabytes a week — not even enough to download a Netflix movie — meaning it would take two years to transmit just one genomic dataset.

“It’s like being back on a dial-up modem in the ‘90s,” says David Weinstein, a principal software engineering manager for Microsoft’s Azure Space division, which was created last year to support those already in the space sector while also drawing new entrants by integrating its cloud with other companies’ satellite platforms.

So Weinstein’s team developed the idea to flip what many organizations do now when they run out of room for computations within their own computer systems and “burst” the overflow up to the cloud temporarily — it’s the same pattern, he says, just bursting down to the cloud from space instead. When the space station runs out of computing room during an experiment, it will automatically burst down into the huge network of Azure computers to get help, connecting space and Earth to solve the problem in the cloud.

Spaceborne Computer-2 can scour the data onboard, following code written by engineers to find events or anomalies that need extra scrutiny — such as mutations, in the case of the genome experiment — and then it can burst just those bits down to Earth and into Azure, instead of laboring to send the billions. From there, scientists anywhere in the world can use the power of cloud computing to run their algorithms for analysis and decisions, accessing millions of computers running in parallel and linked by 165,000 miles of fiberoptic cables connecting Azure data centers scattered throughout 65 regions around the globe.

Fernandez recalls hearing about frustrations from one researcher that it would take months to get her data from the space station. He offered to help, and the Spaceborne Computer processed her dataset in six minutes, compressed it and then downloaded a file that was 20,000 times smaller, he says.

“So we went from months to minutes,” Fernandez says. “And that’s when the lightbulb went off.”

Speed is even more important because Congress has only authorized a budget for the space station through 2024.

“We’ve got to get as much as we can done in the time we have left,” Kretz says.

HPE has completed four initial experiments so far — including bursting data down to the Microsoft cloud, with a successful “hello world” message — and has four others underway and 29 more in the queue, Fernandez says. Some of the tests have to do with healthcare, such as the genome experiment and transmitting sonograms and X-rays of the astronauts. Others are in life sciences, such as analyzing the crops grown onboard for longer missions to determine if an odd-looking potato is just deformed due to the lack of gravity — a new variable in biology — or is infected with something and needs to be destroyed. And still others deal with space travel and satellite-to-satellite communication.

Space activity and exploration have a huge impact on daily life on Earth, whether it’s broadband internet or GPS signals from satellites that provide navigation as well as timing signals, such as those for financial networks so a driver can run their credit card at a gas pump. And the constraints of spacecraft, which are getting smaller and more powerful but still have to be lightweight and fully self-contained, are forcing engineers and developers to rethink assumptions about their designs.

That’s prompting innovations that lead to breakthroughs in applied science with a variety of uses back on ground, says Steve Kitay, who was the deputy assistant secretary for space policy for the U.S. Department of Defense before joining Microsoft last year to lead Azure Space. And the impact has ballooned since SpaceX and others have introduced new rockets, he says, including some that can be reused, massively reducing the cost to launch them.

We’re back again with a new space race, powered by new technology.

“Space is going through this major transformation period,” Kitay says. “It has historically been an environment dominated by major states and governments, because it was so expensive to build and launch space systems. But what’s happening now is rapid commercialization of space that’s opening up new opportunities for many more actors.”

The novel use of open-source software, with code that’s public for any programmer to develop and customize, has made it easier to build programs that can run in the space station, says Glenn Musa, a senior software engineer for Azure Space. And since Spaceborne Computer-2 has an Azure connection with the same off-the-shelf tools and languages as computers on Earth, he says, developers “no longer have to be special space engineers or rocket scientists” to build apps for the ISS but can do so with the skills of a high school computer science student.

Those working on space exploration today “were born too late for the space race of the last century but too early to venture out into space in our own rocket ships,” Musa says. “But once we’re able to connect devices from space to the computers we have here on Earth, we open up a big sandbox, and we can all be part of experimentation in space and developing new technologies that we’ll use in the future.

“This wasn’t possible before, but now the possibilities are endless.”

Source Microsoft

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Office 365

Microsoft’s PowerApps Data Leak: 38 Million Private Records Found Online

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Microsoft PowerApps Image Microsoft

Microsoft’s PowerApps solution has suffered a data leak that has left 38 million records exposed online. Included in the leak are vaccine statuses for COVID-19 and social security numbers. According to UpGuard, the company that discovered the leak, says default security on the platform leave some tools exposed.

Specifically, while default configurations in PowerApps protect tables secure, it does not protect lists. Data from 47 businesses, including Microsoft payroll information and government agency data was exposed.

Among those who have confirmed they were affected by the leak are the Maryland Department of Health and its COVID test appointments, New York City Department of Education rosters, employees lists from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, and contact-tracing data from the Indiana Department of Health.

UpGuard tried to inform Microsoft of the problem but the company responded by saying the “behavior is considered to be by design”. After Microsoft’s response, UpGuard disclosed the leak to affected companies.

PowerApps Update

Individual companies then took action to shore up the leak, while Microsoft helped government clients handle the issue. Furthermore, a new Microsoft tool allows users in PowerApps to detect when lists are open to anonymous access.

In a statement Microsoft says:

“We take security and privacy seriously, and we encourage our customers to use best practices when configuring products in ways that best meet their privacy needs.”

PowerApps allows developers and businesses create applications without needing to use coding, and it is now available in public preview.

There are now over 100 integrations within PowerApps, with this update bringing tighter integration with Azure Functions.

The service is a part of Microsoft’s Power Platform alongside Flow and Power BI.

Tip of the day: The Windows 10 Clipboard history feature provides the functionality across device, space, and time, letting you copy on one computer and paste the text days later on a different PC. All of it is possible via the Windows 10 clipboard manager, which lets you view, delete, pin, and clear clipboard history at will.

In our tutorial we show you how to enable the feature, clear clipboard history, and enable/disable clipboard sync to meet your preferences. You can also create a clear clipboard shortcut for quick removal of stored content.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft Research Details Argus System, a Blockchain Technology to Combat Digital Privacy

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Microsoft has had a mixed relationship with cryptocurrency. The company has both embraced and kept Bitcoin at arms length, depending on how you view it. However, Microsoft is mostly behind the concept of blockchain technology and is now looking to Ethereum blockchain to fight against digital piracy.

A new Microsoft Research paper shows the company is working on a system known as Argus, which leverages blockchain technology on the Ethereum crypto. Microsoft describes the Argus as the “first public anti-piracy system”.

Microsoft Research collaborated with Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon University on the project. Together, the project team has released an 11-page paper describing the creation, usage, and results for the Argus system.

Argus will operate on a public blockchain, which Microsoft says means people who inform on digital pirates can stay anonymous. Another reason to run the project publicly is to promote transparency.

Details

In the paper, Microsoft explains Argus is “a fully transparent incentive system for anti-piracy campaigns. The groundwork of Argus is to formulate the objectives for fully transparent incentive mechanisms, which securely and comprehensively consolidate the different interests of all roles. These objectives form the core of the Argus design, highlighted by our innovations about a Sybil-proof incentive function, a commit-and-reveal scheme, and an oblivious transfer scheme.

In the implementation, we overcome a set of unavoidable obstacles to ensure security despite full transparency. Moreover, we effectively optimize several cryptographic operations so that the cost for a piracy reporting is reduced to an equivalent cost of sending about 14 ETH-transfer transactions to run on the public Ethereum network, which would otherwise correspond to thousands of transactions. With the security and practicality of Argus, we hope real-world anti-piracy campaigns will be truly effective by shifting to a fully transparent incentive mechanism.”

It is worth noting Microsoft’s continued use of blockchain does not equate to full support of cryptocurrencies, at least not yet. We have previously reported that Microsoft is not willing to take the same jump into Bitcoin adoption as companies like Tesla have.

Tip of the day: It’s a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis, and the most fool-proof way is to manually create a disk image in Windows 10 and save it to an external hard drive.

Source Winbuzzer

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Office 365

Microsoft 365 Support for IE11 Stops Today

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Microsoft posted message center notification MC278815 today to inform Office 365 tenants that the era of IE11 is coming to an end, saying “As of today, August 17, 2021, Microsoft 365 apps and services no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) and users may have a degraded experience, or be unable to connect to, those apps and services from IE11. These apps and services will phase out over weeks and months to help ensure a smooth end of support, with each app and service phasing out on independent schedules.”

This step is part of Microsoft’s retirement plan for IE11, which started when Teams ceased support for IE11 on November 30, 2020 and goes through to support ceasing for Azure Virtual Desktop on September 30, 2021. IE11 remains a supported browser by Microsoft until June 15, 2022. At that point, IE11 goes into the great byte wastebasket.

IE11 Can’t Use New Features

The immediate question some have is what they’ll be able to do with IE11 after today. The Teams browser client is already a no-no. Apart from that, the answer is that they’ll continue to be able to connect to and work with Office 365 services but won’t have access to new features. Microsoft is explicit that new OWA features will be unavailable to IE11 users, probably because of the focus on the Edge WebView2 control as the basis for new cross-client functionality like the calendar’s Room Finder.

Microsoft notes out that people who sign into OWA with MSA (consumer) accounts will end up using the OWA light interface (dating back to Exchange 2000). This point underlines the fact that Exchange Online and Outlook.com share the same infrastructure within Microsoft 365 and the same browser client. The only difference between the OWA interface delivered to enterprise and consumer users is the set of features included in the package. Premium consumer users get a version of OWA that’s comparable on the surface but not as functional as that delivered to Exchange Online users.

Microsoft also points to the Open with Explorer and View in File Explorer which exist in IE11 and says that these features are in maintenance mode with no future development planned.

As time goes by, I imagine that IE11 users will run into more problems. Eventually, Microsoft will simply block IE11 because the experience is so degraded and so many problems exist. I wonder if even the most dedicated IE11 enthusiast wants to wait for that point.

Edge is the Future

Stripping everything away, Edge is Microsoft’s focus for future browser development for Microsoft 365 apps. This is understandable because Microsoft has transformed Edge to become a Chromium-based browser, which means that their development delivers benefits to other Chromium browsers like Chrome and Brave. The use of the WebView2 control by major apps like OWA and Teams supports this view.

Source Practical365

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