157-Year-Old Lincoln College Succumbed To A Ransomware Attack

157-Year-Old Lincoln College Succumbed To A Ransomware Attack

157-Year-Old Lincoln College Succumbed To A Ransomware Attack

On May 13th, 2022, a college that has remained open through two world wars, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, and the Great Depression will close its doors. The college has been struggling to stay afloat in recent years, and the coronavirus pandemic and a recent ransomware attack have dealt a fatal blow.

The college’s closure will be a significant loss for the community, as it has been a source of education and employment for many generations. The college’s decision to close is a sign of the times, as more and more colleges face financial difficulties due to the pandemic.

It is an unfortunate reality that the long-standing institution will soon be no more.

Lincoln College — a historically Black college in rural central Illinois that broke ground on President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1865 — tried but failed to raise enough money to recover from the combined impact of COVID-19 and a December cyber attack, David Gerlach, the college’s president, said in a statement.

The college had hoped to use the funds to cover expenses related to the pandemic and the cyberattack, which shut down the school’s computer systems and caused “significant financial losses.” According to Gerlach, the college has made some progress in restoring its systems, but it is still facing “major challenges.”

He did not say how much money the school was seeking or where the funds would come from. The news comes as many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are struggling to stay afloat amid the pandemic. Earlier this month, Maryland’s Bowie State University announced laying off more than 100 employees.

And last year, Florida A&M University laid off nearly 200 employees and imposed a hiring freeze to cut costs. With their already tight budgets, HBCUs have been hit hard by the pandemic, which has led to a decline in enrollment and revenue.

157-Year-Old Lincoln College Succumbed To A Ransomware Attack

Ransomware Blocks Access To Critical Information

Lincoln College, which has roughly 600 students, saw its enrollment fall after the coronavirus hit, disrupting its operations and finances. As the school struggled to stay afloat, a ransomware attack blocked the college from accessing data used in its student recruitment and retention and fundraising efforts.

The attack, which occurred over the summer, was particularly damaging because it came when the college was already facing significant financial challenges. Lincoln is just one of many colleges that have been hit by ransomware attacks in recent years.

These attacks have cost colleges millions of dollars in damages and have led to disruptions in campus operations. They have even forced schools to close their doors permanently in some cases. Given the financial challenges that many colleges are currently facing, it is likely that we will see even more ransomware attacks in the coming years.

According to the school’s statement, by the time Lincoln regained access to its vital computer systems in March, estimates had shown “significant enrollment shortfalls” requiring a “transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester,” the school’s statement outlined. The shortfall was caused by a malware attack that shut down the college’s online and on-campus operations for nearly two weeks.

The attack also disrupted the school’s ability to process new applications, causing a drop in incoming students.

Zero Trust Networks: What Are They?

Zero Trust Networks

Zero Trust Networks: What Are They?

The internet has brought a world of opportunity for businesses. It is easy for companies to reach out to consumers and offer them products or services without a physical storefront. However, this also opens businesses up to the risk of data breaches and cyber attacks. Cyber attacks can be costly, and data breaches can damage your business’s reputation.

To protect your business, you need to be aware of the risks and take steps to mitigate them. Cyber insurance can help cover the costs of a data breach or cyber-attack, and a cyber security plan can help you protect your business from these threats.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your business is protected from the risks of operating online.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for determining whether you should implement zero-trust network access in your organization. Instead, the best way to decide whether this security model is suitable for you depends on the level of risk your business faces and the type of data you store on your network.

For businesses dealing with highly sensitive or proprietary information, implementing zero trust is a must. Without strict controls, there is a significant risk that your information could fall into the wrong hands and be used for malicious purposes. Furthermore, the increased regulatory requirements and cyber threats facing businesses today mean that protecting sensitive data must be a top priority if you want to avoid costly fines and reputation damage.

On the other hand, if your business doesn’t handle any sensitive or proprietary data, zero-trust may not be as critical to securing your network. However, implementing zero trust can still help protect against common threats like phishing scams and malware attacks, even in these cases. Furthermore, limiting access to less important or lower-risk assets on your network can help ensure that your most valuable data remains secure even if there is a breach elsewhere on the network. Ultimately, whether or not to implement zero-trust network access should be based on the unique needs and risks of your organization.

If you are considering implementing zero trust in your organization, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, zero trust is not a silver bullet that will magically make your network impenetrable. It is important to remember that no security measure is 100% effective and that zero trust should be just one part of a comprehensive security strategy.
  • Second, zero trust requires a significant investment of time and resources to implement correctly. To be effective, zero trust must be integrated into every aspect of your network, from your infrastructure and applications to your end-users and devices.
  • Finally, it is essential to remember that a zero-trust network is a constantly evolving entity. Your security measures will need to be updated as new threats emerge and your network changes over time.

If you are looking for a way to improve the security of your network, zero trust may be the right solution for you. By taking steps to limit access and protect your data, you can help ensure that your business is protected from cyber-attacks.
Zero Trust Networks

What Is Zero Trust Network Access?

At its core, a zero-trust network access policy is all about limiting access to sensitive data based on the security of a given endpoint. This means that if an endpoint cannot be verified, it won’t have access to any critical or confidential information on the network. By limiting access in this way, zero-trust policies help to protect against threats and keep data secure. They also ensure that only authorized and authenticated users can use and connect to services on their devices or computers. Overall, a zero-trust network access policy is essential for businesses looking to protect their most sensitive information and maintain their digital integrity.

Any effective security policy must consider the fact that employees are the weak link in the security chain. No matter how strong your technical defenses are, they can be easily circumvented if an employee accidentally discloses sensitive data. That’s why it’s crucial to have a policy that limits user access based on the trust level. By only allowing users to access the data they need to do their jobs, you can reduce the chances of accidental disclosure. And by requiring users to log into the system with a unique username and password, you can ensure that only authorized users are accessing the data. You can help protect your company’s sensitive data from accidental disclosure by taking these steps.

Why Zero Trust Networks Are Crucial For Today’s Business

A zero-trust network is a critical component of any business. By creating this secure and reliable system, companies can ensure that their employees have the tools and information they need to do their jobs efficiently, without the risk of malicious acts or cyber attacks. This promotes a healthy work environment, but it also reduces the overall risk for the company as a whole.

With a zero-trust network in place, companies can grant much more flexibility and access to individuals within their organizations. These employees can then use applications and other resources designed specifically for their particular roles, increasing productivity and efficiency. Moreover, by giving certain employees far more flexibility than others within the same organization, companies can achieve new levels of collaboration while still protecting sensitive data from prying eyes.

Overall, a zero-trust network is essential for any business that wants to create an effective and safe working environment for its employees. By empowering these individuals with access to valuable resources while at the same time limiting their ability to make mistakes or act maliciously, businesses can reduce their risk and thrive in today’s fast-paced digital economy.

Zero Trust Policies

Zero-trust policies are vital for organizations that want to stay protected against cybersecurity threats. These policies take a proactive approach, actively monitoring and restricting access to data regardless of where the user is coming from or what device they are using. And the benefits of these policies speak for themselves: businesses that have implemented zero-trust policies have been able to significantly reduce the risk of cyber-attacks while maintaining high levels of data transfer speeds and productivity throughout their organization.

But what does the future hold for zero-trust policies? According to recent research carried out by Microsoft, nearly all security decision-makers believe that zero-trust is critical to business success in today’s digital world. This suggests that zero-trust will continue to be on the rise in the years ahead, offering organizations unparalleled protection against cyber threats without compromising speed or efficiency. In a landscape where data breaches seem more common than ever, embracing zero trust may be one of the most effective ways to keep companies safe and secure in our increasingly digitized world.

Any business that handles sensitive customer data needs to have a zero-trust network access policy. This policy ensures that only authorized users can access the network and that all data passing through the network is encrypted. The benefits of a zero-trust network are manifold. It reduces the risk of data breaches, improves productivity and engagement, and cuts costs for businesses. For employees, it increases job satisfaction and peace of mind. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, a zero-trust network access policy is essential for any business that wants to protect its data and reputation.

The Overall Benefits Of Zero Trust Networks

Protection For Your Remote Workforce

A zero-trust network is an excellent way to secure your remote workforce. Many companies don’t take the time to think about their remote staff’s level of access. This can lead to a dangerous situation where employees have full access to an asset they shouldn’t.

A zero-trust network addresses this issue in a few different ways. First, you can create different user access levels depending on an individual’s level of access. This can help give teams clear guidelines for what each remote worker can do. For example, if an employee only needs to access files on a specific server, they should only be given access to that server and no others. By contrast, if an employee needs to be able to access multiple servers, they should be given appropriate levels of access to those servers. This system of user access levels helps ensure that each remote worker only has the level of access they need and no more.

In addition, a zero-trust network can help improve communication between remote workers and the rest of the company. Often, communication breakdowns happen because employees feel like they are being left out of the loop or are not being given enough information. With a zero-trust network, this is less likely to happen. Instead of relying on outdated emails or documents, remote workers can be given access to a secure intranet where they can find the most up-to-date information. This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page, and it can improve communication throughout the company.

Data Breach Risk Lowered

A data breach is one of the biggest threats to businesses today. When someone gains unauthorized access to your network and obtains sensitive information from your server, they can use this information for malicious purposes, like identity theft or fraud.

However, a key benefit of having a zero-trust network is that it makes data breaches much harder. This is because strong security and access policies help you control who has access to what. You can also update these policies quickly if they become outdated or new threats emerge, which means that your network will always be protected against emerging vulnerabilities.

Therefore, by adopting a zero-trust policy and ensuring that your network is secure and protected, you can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and protect your business against costly cyberattacks.

Keep Confidential Business Information Secure

Another key benefit of having a zero-trust network is that it can help protect your private business information. Many companies don’t take the time to think about their remote staff’s level of access. This can lead to a dangerous situation where employees have full access to an asset they shouldn’t.

A zero-trust network addresses this issue in a few different ways. First, you can create different user access levels depending on an individual’s level of access. This can help give teams clear guidelines for what each remote worker can do. Second, all data passing through the network is encrypted, so even if an unauthorized person were to gain access, they wouldn’t be able to read it. Finally, zero-trust networks are designed with security in mind from the ground up, so you can be confident that your data is safe.

Looking Ahead For Zero-Trust Networks

In today’s world, data security is more important than ever. With the rise of digital transformation, more and more businesses are moving their data online. This makes it easier for cybercriminals to target companies and steal sensitive information. A zero-trust network can help protect businesses against these threats by ensuring that only authorized users have access to sensitive data.

We can expect to see more businesses embrace zero-trust networks in the years ahead. As the world becomes more digitized, the need for these types of networks will only grow. Companies that want to protect their data and reputation need to take action now – before it’s too late. By embracing zero trust, businesses can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and keep their data safe.

Secure Your Business Network

In today’s fast-paced business world, nearly every employee needs access to the company network. This makes it easy for employees to collaborate and stay on top of their work, posing some significant risks. With so many people accessing the network worldwide, there is a greater danger of data breaches and hacking attempts. To address these risks, many companies are beginning to implement zero-trust network access policies – a set of guidelines designed to limit the network access of remote employees and limit their potential for data breaches.

These policies typically involve a multi-step verification process that includes strict authentication protocols like two-factor authentication or biometric scanning. By requiring comprehensive verification each time someone logs in remotely, the zero-trust approach ensures that only authorized users have access to sensitive information within the company network. Not only does this help minimize the risk of data breaches, but it can also help businesses maintain higher security standards overall as they adapt and prepare for future threats. So if you’re looking for ways to improve your business’s cyber security practices, consider taking a page from this book and implementing zero-trust network access policies in your organization today.

Can Ransomware Spread Through Business WiFi Networks?

Securing Your Wireless Network from Ransomware

Can Ransomware Spread Through WiFi?

Ransomware has been a menace to businesses large and small for years, and the problem is only getting worse. One of the most insidious aspects of ransomware is its ability to spread through wifi networks, infecting multiple computers and devices.

This can cause severe disruptions to business operations, as employees are unable to access their files or applications. In some cases, ransomware can even render entire networks unusable. While there are steps that businesses can take to protect themselves from these attacks, such as implementing robust security measures and backing up data, the best defense is often proactive detection and response.

By ensuring that their networks are constantly monitored for suspicious activity, businesses can reduce the chances of being hit by a ransomware attack.

Securing Your Wireless Network from Ransomware

How Does Ransomware Spread Through A Network?

The increase in ransomware attacks is a serious concern for businesses of all sizes. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom be paid in order to decrypt them. Attackers are constantly finding new ways to spread ransomware, and the amount of ransom demanded has been increasing.

This has led to businesses losing access to critical data and facing significant financial losses. The best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to have a good backup strategy in place. This will ensure that you can recover your data if you do become a victim of an attack. You should also make sure that your security software is up to date, and that you only download apps and software from trusted sources.

By taking these precautions, you can help to protect your business from the growing threat of ransomware attacks.

Who Does Ransomware Typically Target?

Despite ransomware becoming more prevalent in society, many people are still unaware of what it is and how it works. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and holds them for ransom.

The attackers usually demand a ransom in cryptocurrency, which is difficult to trace. In some cases, the attackers will release the victim’s files after the ransom is paid; however, there is no guarantee that the files will be released or that they will be decrypted correctly.

Many times, the victims of ransomware attacks are left with no choice but to pay the ransom or lose their data forever.

Recently, ransomware has been used to target critical infrastructure, such as the Colonial Pipeline attack in 2021. This attack disrupted the flow of oil across the eastern United States. Cybercriminals have also started to target supply chains, such as when remote management software vendor Kaseya fell victim to the REvil ransomware.

These attacks have highlighted the need for organizations to be prepared for a ransomware attack and have a plan in place to respond quickly.

Securing Your Wireless Network From Spreading Ransomware

Business wireless networks are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people connect their devices to the internet. However, as the number of devices connected to the internet grows, so does the risk of cyberattacks.

One way to protect your business network from intrusion is to keep your wifi access password protected. Many routers come with a default password that is easy to guess, so it’s important to change it to something that is unique and difficult to crack.

In addition, it’s also a good idea to enable encryption on your router. This will make it more difficult for hackers to access your data. Finally, be sure to keep your router and firmware up-to-date with the latest security patches.

By following these simple steps, you can help protect your business’s wireless network from cyber threats and the spread of ransomware.

Network Equipment Shortages

Supply Issues Information Sign

Network Equipment Shortages

The current state of microchips for network equipment is difficult at best, depending on a supply chain that can cross over 70 international borders and 31,000 miles before reaching its end destination, with processes in Texas, Michigan, Malaysia, Germany, and China before landing at the port in California for distribution. The many limitations in travel and supply chain staffing brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have made what was already a just-in-time supply chain into a mess, one that’s expected to continue for the foreseeable future. With chip supply shortages contributing to lead times as far out as 400 days for your networking equipment, price increases due to inflation, and missed shipping dates, how will your company keep up?

In a recent report titled “What Are My Options for Dealing With Long Lead Times on Network Equipment?” Gartner mentioned, “We expect lead times to remain high through early 2023, at which point we expect slow incremental improvement over the course of months.” This leaves many companies scrambling to get their network hardware in place, with the report citing five ways to increase capability, but only one of which puts more hardware into your servers, while one is a touch on the sneaky side.

Supply Issues Information Sign

1) Optimize your existing hardware

Many company switches are operated at less than 75% port capacity, according to the report by Gartner, with campus and enterprise switches often underutilized so that rapid growth or cable simplification can be achieved. “We estimate at least 25% of campus and data center ports are unused, and likely more. Thus, reducing excess capacity via consolidating connectivity can readily free up 10% to 15% of switches for most enterprises, while leaving room for growth.” By using existing hardware effectively, you won’t have the option for growth in the future, but it may get you past the worst of the shortages and delays. It will require changes and recalling of the network, along with downtime and labor.

2) Move to the cloud

When you switch your network to the cloud, your hosting or cloud provider will have to come up with the network hardware, but because the hardware is often shared among many companies, there’s a lower overall demand for chips. This allows you to avoid having to purchase new data-center switches and similar equipment. In the report,

The solution to everything: Move to the cloud. Enterprises can avoid buying data-center switches and other hardware if they move workloads to hosting providers or public cloud providers. The report also recommended putting x86 servers in place instead of network appliances that have low interface counts, including routers, firewalls, and load balancers.

3) Move to the front

Vendors often prioritize customers that give them larger opportunities for revenue or loss of revenue, so consider competition at the vendor level. Threaten to take your business somewhere else and see if they’ll come around. As a new customer, make sure your vendors know that you represent significant future income. As the report states, “Vendors are prioritizing customers that represent larger revenue opportunities and/or create the risk of revenue loss.” This allows you to avoid having to wait in line for a first-in, first-out order approach and may get you what you need.

4) Consider certified refurbished equipment

What happens to relatively new equipment that isn’t used for very long? It’s refurbished and resold. Though it’s not brand new, the recertification process still provides you with some protection in terms of a warranty or similar benefits. This can include equipment from top brands including Cisco and HPE Aruba. Though the equipment maybe a little older, the lead time is often only days to weeks versus months to over a year.

5) Wear it out

Many companies will change out hardware well before the end of its useful life by months to years. Just because you have a switch that is approaching the end of its warranty doesn’t mean it will immediately break down. Instead of automatically retiring it, try negotiating with your vendor to get an extended service contract to get more use out of existing assets.

These five solutions provide you with a range of options you may not have considered.

Slack vs. Microsoft Teams

Slack vs. Microsoft Teams

Slack vs. Microsoft Teams

Chat-based collaboration has been around for several years, but with the sudden impact at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack and Microsoft Teams both quickly rose to the forefront. But which one is better for your business? Whichever option you choose, you’re still the winner, because two great collaboration platforms provide you with the features you want. Here’s a six-category comparison to help you through the process.

Slack vs. Microsoft Teams

Business Tech Blog: Slack vs. Teams

Interface and Usability

  • Appearance: For customization, go with Slack for a ton of options.
  • Navigation/Dashboard: Slack focuses on work channels to separate projects, teams or topics. Teams focuses on the people being brought into the collaboration.
  • In-App Help: Teams features Help icons at the bottom of the sidebar, including training, topics, and what’s new links, allowing you to browse or search. Slack’s in-app chatbot is super easy to use for fast answers.
  • Chat: Teams will provide an experience closer to a word processor, with additional colors, fonts, and similar options.
  • Video and Voice Conference: Slack integrates well with Zoom, Webex and others. Teams build in videoconferencing but can use other options.
  • Notification Control: Teams provides many notification options, while Slack provides superior Do Not Disturb controls.

Integrations

  • Microsoft 365/Office 365: Not surprisingly, being a Microsoft product, Teams is better at integrating the business productivity suite, along with integration to SharePoint and OneDrive. Slack also integrates, but not as far as Teams does.
  • Google Workspace: If you use Google-based options, such as Google Calendar, Gmail, and Google Drive, you’ll want to stick with Slack, because Teams doesn’t even try it.
  • Salesforce: Salesforce bought Slack in July 2021, allowing easy integration. View Slack messages tied to specific Salesforce records and Salesforce alerts on Slack channels. Teams integrates with it, but not as deeply.
  • Overall: Slack offers significantly more third-party app integrations, currently tying into over 2,400 apps versus Teams’ 700, with both apps providing the option to build customized apps and integrations, with Slack having about 935,000 customized apps.

Additional Noteworthy Features

  • Shared Channels: Slack Channels makes it easy to connect your workspace to a partner’s workspace, improving collaboration. Teams provides guest access for outside parties.
  • Scaling: Slack supports unlimited users and channels, with over 100,000 users per channel. Teams allow unlimited users, up to 25,000 participants per team, 200 channels per team, and 5,000 users per channel.
  • Translation: Teams offers onboard message translation in 36 different languages. Again, Slack uses app integrations such as the Rosetta Translator bot.

Mobile and Web Apps

In this category, Slack and Teams were very even, with similar functionality, features and usability.

Security, Compliance and Enterprise Management

  • Security: Both have similar layers and degrees of protection overall. However, integrations in Slack could open new vulnerabilities.
  • Encryption: Both apps encrypt data while in transit as well as in storage. A wide range of capabilities and apps keep your data secure.
  • Enterprise Key Management: Teams offers this to a certain extent, but Slack’s Enterprise Key Management lets you create encryption keys for messages and files.

Plans and Pricing

  • Free Options: Both apps provide free plans, but Teams is more generous, with unlimited meetings, messages, and search, up to 500 users, 2GB storage per user, 10GB shared storage, one-on-one chat, screen sharing, unlimited integrations, and encryption, while Slack has up to 10,000 messages, 10 integrations, one-on-one video calls, and two-factor authentication.
  • Slack Plans: Pro plan starts at $6.67/user/month and steps up to $12.50/user/month for Business+, with both billed annually. Enterprise Grid plan pricing requires contacting Slack sales. Paid plans provide unlimited access, messages, and much more.
  • Teams Plans: There are many plans for Teams, ranging from $5/user/month to $57/user/month, while adding more capability, such as scheduled meetings, recording, security, admin, and compliance features.

In Conclusion

Overall, Slack and Teams offer many of the same features. Consider what features you need and which option delivers those features best. If you do a great deal of Microsoft 365 work, consider giving Teams a long trial before switching. If, on the other hand, you tend to avoid vendor lock-in issues, are avidly using Salesforce, or use Google Workspace, give Slack a shot and see how well it will work for your enterprise.

Do Microsoft Teams Attacks Prove Need for Innovative Cybersecurity Awareness Training?

cybersecurity experts

Do Microsoft Teams Attacks Prove Need for Innovative Cybersecurity Awareness Training?

Although hackers select email as their preferred delivery method upwards of 92 percent of the time, a recent Microsoft Teams exploitation emerged as a significant threat. Do these stunning Trojan attacks on businesses require a rethinking of cybersecurity awareness training?

With more than 270 million monthly users collaborating on the platform, Microsoft Teams ranks among the high-value targets. This holds true for relatively unskilled hackers and advanced persistent threat (APT) actors who possess the knowledge, tools, and funding to abuse the even heightened cybersecurity defenses. In January, a report by researchers at Avanan surfaced that indicates thousands of malicious files circulated Microsoft Team chat spaces.

“By attaching the file to a Teams attack, hackers have found a new way to target millions of users easily. They can steal Microsoft 365 credentials from a previous phishing campaign, giving them carte blanche access to Teams and the rest of the Office suite,” Avanan reportedly stated. “Given that hackers are quite adept at compromising Microsoft 365 accounts using traditional email phishing methods, they’ve learned that the same credentials work for Teams.”

Cybersecurity experts have issued alerts to check laptops, desktops, and other devices synced with business networks to run enterprise-level antivirus scams immediately. It’s also crucial to search devices for Trojans named User Centric, UserCentric, or UserCentric.exe. These were among the initial monikers APTs gave the Trojan files. However, cybersecurity experts believe hackers have renamed the malware.

cybersecurity experts

Microsoft Teams Malware Poses Substantial Risk

What makes the Teams malware attack particularly dangerous stems from workplace comfort. Business leaders who invest in cybersecurity awareness training help employees identify email phishing scams. Even more sophisticated spear-phishing schemes are usually spotted because workforces possess the knowledge to identify telltale signs. But workforces grow increasingly relaxed on platforms such as Teams and Slack, among others.

“Most employees have been trained to second-guess identities in email, but few know how to make sure that the name and photo they see in a Teams conversation are real,” Avanan officials reportedly stated. “This attack demonstrates that hackers are beginning to understand and better utilize Teams as a potential attack vector.”

Relatively unskilled hackers will continue to send out tens of thousands of bulk emails, hoping an uneducated user will make a mistake. Fortunately, many industry leaders have already invested in cybersecurity awareness training that turned their workers into a hardened frontline of defense. But for cybercriminal adept a problem-solving, Teams was worth their time and energy to infiltrate. This highlights the international chess match played between digital thieves and cybersecurity professionals.

How are Hackers Manipulating Teams?

Everyday people generally believe that platforms such as Teams are safe. With this comfort in mind, it’s inconceivable that seemingly valid massages have been laced with malware. Unfortunately, that’s precisely the vulnerability that now exists on these once trustworthy platforms. These rank among the latest methods cybercriminals leveraged on teams.

  • Compromise one organization and monitor inter-organizational communication.
  • Compromise an email address that can access Teams.
  • Use phishing schemes to steal Microsoft 365 credentials.

When someone clicks on the malicious file transmitted on the platform, it automatically downloads. The Trojan installs into the system and allows digital thieves to administer and control the network or device. Unlike ransomware attacks, APTs could hide in a system and pilfer off valued digital assets until detected and expelled.

“Compounding this problem is the fact that default Teams protections are lacking, as scanning for malicious links and files is limited. Further, many email security solutions do not offer robust protection for Teams,” Avanan reportedly stated. “Hackers, who can access Teams accounts via East-West attacks, or by leveraging the credentials they harvest in other phishing attacks, have carte blanche to launch attacks against millions of unsuspecting users.”

How Can Business Leaders Defend Against Teams Trojan Attacks?

Devices and networks often demonstrate signs they’ve been infected by a Trojan. Sluggishness, frequent crashes, excessive pop-ups, or random programs running could be the result of a Trojan.

It’s essential to contact a third-party cybersecurity professional if you believe your business network has been compromised. Finding and removing a Trojan requires in-depth knowledge and experience. People who try a DIY approach risk triggering unidentified files and potentially damaging the network. In some cases, organizations believe they have eliminated the threat, only to later discover it was embedded in other devices, documents, or electronic messages.

Industry leaders would be well-served to consider having a full review of their systems conducted. Even if this Trojan hasn’t infiltrated your network yet, enhanced cybersecurity awareness training regarding Teams and other platforms empowers your staff to repel malware attacks.

Microsoft Office 365 Updates

Microsoft 365

Updates To Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Office 365

Are you a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscriber? Then, you’ll have access to the latest security patches, bug fixes, and software features. However, it might be challenging to monitor the changes in every update and know when to expect them. Here is information about the most recent updates to Office 365/Microsoft 365 for Windows.

Microsoft 365

Version 2201 (Build 14827.20192)

Released on February 8, 2022, this build fixes multiple bugs while offering security updates for Excel, Visio, and the Office suite. With this build, people can now save files in Project. IT teams should look out for this security update. Be sure to apply the update when reports about problematic issues indicate that everything is well.

Version 2201 (Build 14827.20158)

Microsoft released this update on January 26, 2022. The build comprises multiple features, including new Cortana features for Teams, simplified scrolling through large Excel spreadsheets, and enhanced address book searches for MS Outlook. The fixes resolved the Access bug that prevented the Insights add-in from working intermittently.

The update also resolved an Outlook bug that resulted in unresponsive applications after loading contact cards. This build also ensures that “Repeat style” in Word will repeat the style rather than apply “Normal.”

Version 2212 (Build 14729.20248)

Released on January 11, 2022, this build ensures that Excel shapes and form controls can now call VBA macros. The build also comes with security updates covering Microsoft Office Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities. Like other security updates, IT teams need to apply the update once they ascertain that there are no problematic issues with the build.

Version 2112 (Build 14729.20194)

This January 4, 2022 update offers multiple new features, including a team update that lets you “raise your hand” without interrupting the conversation. The build also includes a new feature that allows you to only track your Word charges when collaborating. You will also get access to an enhanced way of searching for Outlook’s calendar.

The MS update also fixes multiple bugs. First, the update resolved a bug in Outlook that created garbled text when users exported contacts to a CSV. Also, users no longer have to deal with applications closing unexpectedly in Access when making a connection to a Jet or Access database with multiple threads.

Version 2111 (Build 14701.20262)

Microsoft released this build on December 16, 2021, to fix two bugs. One bug fix applied to the whole Office suite as it involved refreshing elements that have text. The other bug was an Access bug that hindered multiple users from accessing a database on a network file share.

Version 2111 (Build 14701.20248)

On December 14, 2021, MS released a build to fix multiple bugs, including one in Outlook, where the teaching tips about Office’s new look were absent. This build also fixed a bug in Excel, where opening an XLSM file in the SpreadsheetCompare tool resulted in sluggish responses.

Users also got access to multiple security updates for Excel and the MS Office suite.

Version 2111 (Build 14701.20226)

Microsoft dedicated this build to resolving common bugs. Released on December 3, 2021, the update fixed different bugs, including an Excel bug where newly created PivotTables lost custom settings whenever users changed the data source range. Users can now click on all pop-UI elements in PowerPoint and Word with the update. This update also resolves a bug in the Project where specific projects closed unexpectedly when users loaded customized reports.

Version 2210 (Build 14527.20312)

Released on December 1, 2021, version 2110 offers viable solutions for multiple bugs. The update resolved a bug that prevented users from inserting signatures into forwards, replies, and new email conversations. Besides, this upgrade ensures that all R64 users can select a theme picker under Word’s Options menu.

Version 2110 (Build 14527.20226)

Microsoft Teams users are the greatest beneficiaries of this update that MS released on October 25, 2021. With this update, users can now leverage the Q&A application available on Teams. Also, the update lets users create Live Transcripts for web users on the platform. Besides, people can use Team’s desktop app to join other cloud meetings anonymously.

The upgrade’s capability also extended to MS Office. This build addressed an issue on Outlook where sync failures occurred whenever someone generated a preview.

All these upgrades have one thing in common – Microsoft designed them to ease operations on Office 365 and Microsoft 365. Upgrade your tools regularly to leverage all these upgrade benefits.

What Is Google Assistant?

What Is Google Assistant

What Is Google Assistant?

Have you ever told a friend or coworker: “I could really use a personal assistant!” Or perhaps muttered the same words under your breath while tackling a particularly prickly list of to-dos?

If so, your next line (thought silently, regretfully) was probably: “Like I could ever have my own assistant …” Alas … you may be in luck.

Google Assistant, like Siri (Apple) and Alexa (Amazon), is a personal assistant — albeit virtual — who can help you tackle nearly any task that doesn’t require getting in the car and going somewhere.

If you’re new to Google Assistant and would like to learn more about how it can make your life easier by helping you in various ways at home and at work, this article is for you. But before we learn the specifics, let’s learn a bit more about this brilliant innovation in software.

What Is Google Assistant

What Is Google Assistant?

Google Assistant is a voice-commanded virtual assistant that works with most Google devices. According to the app description on Google Play, Google Assistant “ is an easy way to use your phone and apps, hands-free … It can help you set reminders and alarms, manage your schedule, look up answers, navigate and control smart home devices while away from home, and much more.”

How Can Google Assistant Help Make Your Life Easier?

Check out these 6 ways Google Assistant can streamline and enhance your life — both at home and at work.

1. It makes phone calls a breeze.

Ever lamented the disappearance of the operator? Just dial zero and you get an actual person who can look up a phone number for you, right? Well, the operator is back with Google Assistant.

The next time you need to call a company, business, organization, as long as it’s listed online and can be found via Google, just get Google Assistant on the line and say the entity you’re trying to call.

2. Texts are simpler too.

What about hands-free texting? Yep, Google Assistant does that. You may be driving, cooking, or in the middle of something else — simply ask Google Assistant to read back or draft a text message.

3. It can set reminders.

What’s your first instinct when someone tells you, “Hey, don’t forget to _____!” naturally, you want to write it down somewhere or scramble for your agenda before you forget what you have to remember.

This is where Google Assistant is exceptionally useful. Whether it’s an appointment on Thursday at 4 PM or a meeting every Monday at 9 AM, just tell Google Assistant to, “Remind me to ____” and say the event or reminder and the date, time, and frequency.

4. It can streamline your home life.

Google Assistant can even make your boring regular home into a smart home! Sit on your couch and ask Google about the weather, tell it to play music, or give it a task like turning on the lights. Just remember you may need Google compatible devices (speakers, lights, etc.).

5. It can keep you up to date on the news.

Just ask Google Assistant a question related to current events, and you’ll get instant results. Say, “How’s Apple’s stock doing?” “What’s happening today in Chicago?” or “Who won last night’s Tigers game?”

6. It can make reminders based on location.

Remember how well Google Assistant was at setting up your calendar and reminding you of things? It gets even better. The next time you randomly think of something you need to add to your grocery list, for example, just tell Google.

Google Assistant can remind you of things based on location. Let’s say you remember that you want to buy bananas at the store, and you plan on stopping there after work. Just say, “Remind me to buy bananas when I get to Rick’s Grocer.”

Do You Have the Right Device for Google Assistant?

As a final note, remember that only compatible devices work with Google Assistant. In other words, just because a device you own was made by Google or operates with Google search doesn’t always mean you can use this feature. Most Android and Chromecast devices, Lenovo Smart Display and other smart TVs, Nest Hub, and related devices can be used. They must have updated software, however, and Google Assistant must be downloaded (as an app) and enabled in the settings as well.

 

Improve Network Performance With Your iPhone

Network Performance

Improve Network Performance With Your iPhone

In today’s remote working world, many people are exploring the world. However, bad signal and hotspot coverage are two of the most frustrating issues you’ll face. Here are a few ways to improve coverage and the reliability of your hotspot, so that you can get more work done on the go.

Network Performance

Improving Your Network Signal

To start, you’ll want to try to signal, because, without a signal, your hotspot coverage won’t work. Here are a few ways to ensure your iPhone isn’t contributing to your reception issues.

  • Toggle Airplane Mode: Swipe from the top right of your screen to access the Control Center, then tap your Airplane Mode icon. It will turn orange to show it’s on. This disables your connections, so after a minute, switch it back off, which will sometimes improve your signal.
  • Check Your Carrier Settings: A simple fix, Open Settings/General/About. If your carrier updated its settings but the device hasn’t updated to those settings, an alert will prompt you to install the update from the carrier. If it doesn’t show up, you’re already up-to-date and can go to the next step.
  • Restart: For a phone with the Home button, hold the sleep/wake button down until a power slider appears. Drag the slider to off, then after a minute, press and hold the sleep/wake button to turn it on. For iPhones with Face ID, press and hold sleep/wake and volume up or down buttons simultaneously until your power slider appears, and slide it off. After a minute, touch and hold the sleep/wake button to turn it on again.
  • Force Reset: For an iPhone with the Home button, hold both home and power buttons at the same time until the Apple logo shows up. A Face ID iPhone can be reset by pressing volume up, then volume down, then pressing and holding the side button until the Apple logo shows up.
  • SIM Removal and Replacement: If nothing else has worked, remove and reset your SIM card. Insert your SIM removal tool or a paperclip end until the SIM tray pops out, check if the SIM is damaged and reinsert it.
  • Network Settings Reset: This means you have to reapply all your passwords and connections. However, it can fix both coverage and hotspot problems. To reset, open Settings/General/Transfer or Reset iPhone/Reset, and select Reset network settings. When the warning message appears, tap Reset settings. Your iPhone restarts and you may have better connectivity.

Personal Hotspot Issues

Your personal hotspot is at Settings/Personal Hotspot, listed under Cellular Data, which is located at the top of the first Settings page that shows up. If the option doesn’t show up, your carrier doesn’t support it, or you have to contact the carrier to have it added to your account. If you know it should be working but isn’t, here are some options:

  • Check Easy Personal Hotspot Settings: Open Settings/Personal Hotspot and check if the Allow Others to Join checkbox is checked. If it isn’t, check it and your devices should be able to see it. You could also check your Control Center to double-check if Airplane Mode is active.
  • Check Harder Personal Hotspot Settings: Open your Settings/Personal Hotspot and check the bottom of the page. Turn on the setting Maximize Compatibility, and it may improve device connectivity.
  • Toggle Wi-Fi: If your device isn’t finding your Personal Hotspot, try switching the device’s Wi-Fi off and on. Toggling this setting can force the device’s Wi-Fi to find your Personal Hotspot.
  • Restart All Devices: If your Personal Hotspot still isn’t working, restart your iPhone, then restart all the devices you’re trying to connect to it, which may reset all of the connections.
  • Try a Different Connection Method: The Personal Hotspot can be connected with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a USB cable. Oftentimes, if Wi-Fi doesn’t work well, another connection method will. However, for a Windows PC, you may have to install iTunes, then log in using your AppleID.
  • Network Settings Reset: This is the same as the connection fix above, and you can follow the above instructions.

If nothing is working, you may have a SIM card or device problem that your carrier will need to fix.

Thanks to Guy Baroan at Baroan Technologies for this article.

What is USB C?

USB Type C

What Is USB C?

Are you using one of the latest laptop models? Then, you probably have come across the new USB Type-C. The advent of this new connection standard port eliminates multiple challenges faced while using previous chargers.

With the earlier chargers, you had to replace them whenever you purchased a new laptop. The USB Type-C port has replaced the type-A port on the latest laptops, tablets, and phones. While most devices are shifting towards this new technology age, iPad and iPhone users still rely on Apple’s proprietary lightning connector.

Here’s everything you need to know concerning USB Type-C.

 

The USB-C Demystified

The new USB-C connector delivers data to and from computing devices. The USB Type-C comes in a rectangular shape with curved, smooth corners. There’s no chance that you’ll insert it wrongly with this symmetrical shape. Besides, the USB-C is narrow enough to fit your phone with ease. Its form makes it ideal for phones, computers, and gaming consoles.

The MacBook Pro and Samsung Galaxy phones top the list of popular devices using USB-C cables.

What Benefits Does USB-C Offer?

The USB-C connector has multiple features that are ideal for today’s users. Depending on the specific port’s implementation, the USB-C connector offers diverse advantages, including:

  • Speed: Working with the USB-C offers you access to the USB’ protocol latest version. You’ll enjoy zippy speeds that guarantee data transfers of up to ten gigabits per second. Ensure that you go for the best USB port standards, 3.1, 3.2, and Thunderbolt 3, to get ideal transfer speeds. Plugging your cable into a USB 3.1 port delivers 10 GB of data per second, while a USB 3.2 port offers 20 GB per second. Using Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 provides transfer speeds of up to 40GB per second.
  • Size: Unlike its predecessors, type-B and C, the USB-C has a smaller height and width. Its smaller size is valuable in ensuring that smartphone and laptop USB ports remain clean.
  • Enhanced power output: With the USB-C, you get to enjoy a power output of up to 100 watts thanks to its power delivery 3.0 technology. This connector offers little to worry about while working with laptops. Besides, the increased power output means that your devices will charge faster. You also get to charge high-powered devices with this new connector. This connector also features a two-way charging capability.
  • Symmetrical: Earlier USB connectors require you to plug them into their ports in a specific orientation. However, the USB-C connector comes in a reversible form that lets you plug it in either way. Also, its pin configuration enables this feature. Unlike the previous USB connectors, the USB-C has no ‘right side up’ way that you need to plug in. When you are in a hurry, the USB-C connector won’t disappoint.
  • Long-lasting: This robust connector can withstand up to 10000 insertion and removal cycles compared to its predecessors, which withstood only 1500 cycles.
  • Guaranteed Safety: The USB Implementer Forum launched a USB Type-C authentication program protecting against non-compliant USB threats. With this program, your smartphone can interrupt data and current flow if it detects a suspicious USB-C plugged in.
  • Consistent Support: Globally established smartphone and laptop manufacturers like HP, Samsung, Apple, and Dell deliver excellent support for USB-C users.

Getting The Suitable USB-C Connector

While the USB-C connector offers significant promise for the future, you need to understand some of its key features to make the right choice. First, USB-C ports are not always identical and function differently. Also, these connectors might not work on devices that are not compatible.

Besides, not all USB-C products support this connector’s full capability. Ultimately, product manufacturers determine how much users can get from this robust connector. Brands that target the high-end market will, typically, ensure that you leverage the full potential of the USB-C connector.

It would be helpful to check your product’s specs on the manufacturer’s official website to know if it supports all the features of the USB Type-C connector.

Should You Get A USB-C Connector?

USB-C manufacturers have designed this product to serve present and future client needs. If you are looking to stay ahead of the curve, the USB Type-C connector will deliver for you. The USB-C connector delivers faster speeds, durability, secure data transfer, and higher power output. These features make it an ideal choice for mobile device users.

Thanks to the team at DataEcon in Dallas for their help with this content.