Tag Archives: users

Microsoft Teams updates streamline search, sharing features

Microsoft has rolled out updates to Teams that improve how users share information and access apps within the service. The Microsoft Teams updates range from embedding content in conversations to handling new app integrations.

Users can now share content from apps integrated with Teams by directly embedding the information into the conversation, rather than by hyperlinking or taking a screenshot. Users can search for specific information in an app, such as Trello or YouTube, and include an interactive card with the information in a chat.

The Microsoft Teams updates also include a personal view of user apps within Teams that allow users to access tasks, issues or requests they have been assigned to. Users can view recently accessed items such as OneNote notebooks or videos from Microsoft Stream. Microsoft also added a new app, called Who, which uses capabilities from Microsoft Office Graph to let users search for people within their organization by name or topic.

Microsoft has also integrated its automated workflow service, Flow, with Teams. The integration allows users to create and manage workflows, review approval requests and launch workflows from within Teams.

Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky said in a blog post that the Microsoft Teams updates are good enhancements, but some features, such as the commands for searching and sharing information, will take some getting used to.

However, the updates could lead to increased user adoption of Teams. “The more integration, the more seamless experience, the more time you spend inside these programs,” he said.

The latest Microsoft Teams updates make sharing content easier.
A new Microsoft Teams feature allows users to embed information directly in a conversation.

Verizon and Ribbon partner for SBCs as a service

Verizon has introduced session border controllers as a service (SBCs) to help its customers secure their real-time communications.

The offering, a partnership between Verizon and Ribbon Communications, is a fully managed service that can be deployed either stand-alone or service-chained with other virtual network functions hosted by Verizon’s network service data centers. Individual virtual SBC instances are created for each customer; new SBCs can be spun up as needed to meet spikes in demand.

Virtual SBCs offer benefits for organizations by easing capital and operational expenses, allowing licensing-based subscription models and enabling integrated analytics and enterprise orchestration capabilities.

Ribbon, which was created following the October 2017 merger between Genband and Sonus, is the first vendor to offer virtual SBCs through Verizon’s virtual network services platform.

Midmarket, enterprise cloud adoption drives 8×8 revenues

Cloud communications service provider 8×8 Inc. has reported revenue growth driven by demand for cloud services in midmarket and enterprise organizations.

Service revenue reached nearly $72 million, a 20% year-over-year increase. Service revenue for midmarket and enterprise customers represented 59% of total services revenue, according to 8×8’s fiscal third quarter earnings report.

New monthly recurring revenue from midmarket and enterprise customers increased 70% year over year and comprised 65% total bookings in the quarter. Nearly half of new monthly recurring revenue from midmarket and enterprise customers came from organizations purchasing integrated unified-communications-as-a-service and contact-center-as-a-service offerings.

Vik Verma, CEO of 8×8, attributed the spike in revenue to demands by midmarket and enterprise CIOs for integrated enterprise communication services for their employees, customers and partners. He said midmarket and enterprise bookings grew 40% year over year.

Google got faster pulling bad Android apps from Play Store

Google wants to reinforce that the Play Store is the safest place for Android users to get apps with a new set of stats on how its efforts to block bad Android apps have improved.

Andrew Ahn, product manager for Google Play, said the company has “halved the probability” of users installing bad Android apps and also made the Play Store “a more challenging place for those who seek to abuse the app ecosystem for their own gain.”

“In 2017, we took down more than 700,000 apps that violated the Google Play policies, 70% more than the apps taken down in 2016. Not only did we remove more bad apps, we were able to identify and action against them earlier,” Ahn wrote in a blog post. “In fact, 99% of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them. This was possible through significant improvements in our ability to detect abuse — such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware — through new machine learning models and techniques.”

Liviu Arsene, senior e-threat analyst at Romania-based antimalware firm Bitdefender, said it is “commendable that Google is going through great lengths to optimize be malicious app bouncing process,” considering the more than 3.5 million apps in the Play Store.

“However, malware developers don’t necessarily have to submit ‘bad Android apps’ when they can simply create something that’s barely functional with the sole purpose of getting past the vetting process. Some apps may offer deceptive descriptions and functionalities just to get installed on devices, from which they can request all sorts of permissions for tracking users or for bombarding them with ads,” Arsene told SearchSecurity. “There have been instances where apps walk a very fine line between complying with Google’s advertising policy and spamming users with nag screens, browser redirects, and unsolicited pop-ups just for the sole purpose of generating revenue for the developer. While, granted, they don’t install malware or pilfer personal data, some of them can still be borderline legitimate.”

Will the Play Store catch all the bad apps?

A Google spokesperson told SearchSecurity that there will always be a chance for bad Android apps to slip through because “they evade detection in a sneaky way, or seem to be very borderline cases,” and in those cases Google relies on analyzing how apps are being distributed, monitoring user community flagging and reviewing data from post-install Google Play Protect scans in order to take action on a potentially harmful app.

“Apps submitted to Google Play are automatically scanned for potentially malicious code as well as spammy developer accounts before they are published on the Google Play Store. To complement that effort, we recently introduced a proactive app review process to catch policy offenders earlier in the process, while still ensuring that developers can get their apps to market as soon as possible — in a matter of hours, not days or weeks,” the spokesperson said. “During that process, apps are specifically reviewed for compliance against our Google Play Developer Content Policy and Developer Distribution Agreement, which prevents things like apps that are impersonating legitimate companies or deceptive behavior.”

Arsene applauded the work done by Google to block bad Android apps “because Android is one of the most popular operating systems.”

“Some built in app scanning features even let users know if they’ve downloaded something malicious from a third-party marketplace, which acts as an additional line of defense,” Arsene said. “However, it’s recommended that everyone owning an Android device, regardless if they install apps from official marketplaces or not, install a mobile security solution as it will have the ability to protect them from much more than just malicious apps, but also against web-based attacks and other online threats.”

Cryptomining, ransomware are top malware in 2017

Cryptomining, using tools to hijack a user’s CPU to mine cryptocurrency; ransomware and mobile malware continued to plague enterprises in 2017, according to a top malware report issued by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

The report, which investigated the top security issues facing enterprises in the last half of the year, said 20% of organizations were infected by cryptomining malware that in some cases can diminish CPU processing by more than half.

Check Point, based in San Carlos, Calif., also said in its top malware report that attack vectors shifted during the last half of the year, with infections based on the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol eclipsing those on HTTP. The increase — from 55% during the first half of 2017 to 62% after July — reflected the number of skilled hackers targeting vulnerabilities in documents, particularly Microsoft Office.

Mobile attacks, meantime, became more nefarious. The Check Point top malware study found that enterprises are now becoming vulnerable to threats either launched by mobile devices or through mobile malware such as Switcher.

“The second half of 2017 has seen cryptominers take the world by storm to become a favorite monetizing attack vector,” said Maya Horowitz, Check Point’s threat intelligence group manager, in a statement. “While this is not an entirely new malware type, the increasing popularity and value of cryptocurrency has led to a significant increase in the distribution of crypto-mining malware. It’s clear that there is still a lot that organizations need to do to fully protect themselves against attacks.”

Check Point based its second-half top malware report on its ThreatCloud intelligence service, which holds more than 250 million addresses analyzed for bot discovery and 11 million malware signatures.

Broadcom releases SDK for ASICs

Broadcom Ltd. issued an open source software development kit, or SDK, to enable developers to customize their use of Tomahawk switch silicon in their operations.

The first version of the kit, dubbed SDKLT, is based on the BCM56960 Tomahawk switch, used within top-of-rack switches and fabric designs. The open source code is downloadable from GitHub, with the associated logical table APIs available through an Apache 2.0 license, Broadcom said.

The SDKLT uses a logical table approach to simplify how developers add features to the switch silicon. All device physical resources, such as media access control address tables, Layer 3 route tables and other functions, are presented within logical tables instead of proprietary function calls, Broadcom said.

“The SDKLT brings a fresh, state-of-the-art software development approach to the broader community of network software developers where they can now fully and directly control and monitor the rich switch feature set optimized for SDN and cloud use cases,” said Ram Velaga, Broadcom’s senior vice president and general manager of switching products, in a statement.

Broadcom’s move follows a similar initiative by Barefoot Networks, which in 2016 released Tofino, a family of switches that can be customized through P4, an open source consortium with more than 60 members.

F5 launches training for app development

F5 Networks has introduced a new training program aimed at speeding up the time it now takes for enterprises to ramp up new applications and services.

The initiative, called Super-NetOps, is focused on enabling engineers and developers to deliver applications through a service model rather than a traditional, ticket-driven approach, Seattle-based F5 said.

By standardizing critical application services and basing how they’re developed through automated toolchains, F5 said applications can go live within minutes.

“Super-NetOps will help network operations professionals build on their decades of experience deploying, managing, maintaining, and securing applications and equip them to deliver the automation and agility needed by DevOps teams,” said Kara Sprague, F5’s senior vice president and general manager, in a statement.

The online course, which is free, will debut with two modules covering DevOps methodologies and the concepts of automation, orchestration and infrastructure as code. Future modules will include training about agile methodologies, application language frameworks and how to deploy third-party automation toolchains.

For Sale – Office 365 home 5 users

new and sealed in the box

For PC or Mac

5 users + 5 tablets.

Price and currency: 60
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Blackburn
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Office 365 home 5 users

new and sealed in the box

For PC or Mac

5 users + 5 tablets.

Price and currency: 60
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Blackburn
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Office 365 home 5 users

new and sealed in the box

For PC or Mac

5 users + 5 tablets.

Price and currency: 60
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Blackburn
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Fake WhatsApp app downloaded 1 million times

Android users were tricked by a convincing fake WhatsApp app listing in the official Google Play Store, but one expert said this incident shouldn’t take away from confidence in the safety of the Play Store.

The issue was first revealed on the r/Android subreddit and showed a fake WhatsApp app listing in the Google Play Store that had the developer name appearing to be the real WhatsApp Inc. Redditor “E_x_Lnc” first posted about the fake listing, noting it used a Unicode character that mimicked a blank space after the name in order to bypass Google’s malware scanner and was invisible unless someone looked at the code itself.

There were some minor red flags on the fake WhatsApp app listing that redditors pointed out though. First, while 1 million downloads may seem impressive, the real WhatsApp has been downloaded more than 1 billion times. The fake WhatsApp app listing also contained the tag claiming the app contained ads, which the real app does not. Finally, the real WhatsApp listing bears the “Verified by Play Protect” branding from Google.

What the fakeout means

Liviu Arsene, senior e-threat analyst at Romania-based antimalware firm Bitdefender, said using Unicode characters to impersonate a brand name and the fake WhatsApp app itself should never have made it past the Google Bouncer malware scanners.

“Malicious app developers have proven to be very resourceful in the past, and this incident with WhatsApp is no different,” Arsene told SearchSecurity. “It’s worth noting that before actually installing an application users should also go through the comments section to see if others reported any abnormalities with it or even doing a little research regarding the developer’s name and what other apps has he published, to spot any potential issues.”

According to redditor “dextersgenius”, the app itself was little more than an ad-wrapper, and once installed it tried to hide itself by having a blank icon and no title.

Malicious app developers have proven to be very resourceful in the past, and this incident with WhatsApp is no different.
Liviu Arsenesenior e-threat analyst at Bitdefender

Arsene said “adware itself is not always malicious,” which may be why this fake WhatsApp app wasn’t caught earlier.

“Benign apps have been smuggled before in Google Play, only to be later updated with malicious components — even if for a short period of time,” Arsene said. “However, malicious behavior that involves data exfiltration and remote control of the device is a lot easier to spot that simply deciding whether or not an ad-displaying app is too intrusive.”  

Despite this incident, Arsene said Android users should still see the Google Play Store as the safest place to get apps.

“The general line for Android safety remains downloading apps from Google Play, mostly because these incidents where malware or aggressive adware makes it in their marketplace are sufficiently rare and quickly handled,” Arsene said. “However, it’s more than recommended to also rely on a security solution for mobile devices, as security vendors are in the business of scrutinizing apps more aggressively for keeping users safe.”

Microsoft Teams roadmap introduces telephony, interoperability

Many Skype for Business users probably won’t migrate to Microsoft Teams over the next year, because they are concerned about the lack of telephony features in the new chat-based workspace in Office 365, according to one industry expert.

The Microsoft Teams roadmap, released this week, promises a slew of Skype for Business features over the coming months. But Microsoft won’t fully roll out many of the telephony features until late next year.

“The biggest concern is Microsoft won’t deliver a lot of the telephony set until well into 2018,” said Irwin Lazar, a Nemertes Research analyst.

The Microsoft Teams roadmap details several Skype for Business features that will be rolled into Teams to help users prepare for a migration. Enterprise calling features — such as call park, group call pickup, location-based routing and shared-line appearance — are not expected until the fourth quarter of next year.

Additionally, the Microsoft Teams roadmap does not offer any new insights into Microsoft’s collaboration strategy, Lazar said. The roadmap, however, does provide customers with a timeline of when they can expect to see certain telephony features in Teams.

“It provides more clarity and will help companies plan for an eventual transition to Teams,” Lazar said.

Microsoft Teams roadmap: A bumpy ride?

The biggest concern is Microsoft won’t deliver a lot of the telephony set until well into 2018.
Irwin Lazaranalyst at Nemertes Research

Microsoft announced last month that Teams would replace Skype for Business Online to become the main communications client within Office 365. The announcement left many organizations questioning the migration process and the quality of telephony within Teams.

After Microsoft posted a blog announcing the roadmap, several users commented to share their thoughts. Some users are happy about the change. They lauded the upcoming Microsoft Teams features, the integration between Skype and Teams, and how the roadmap helps organizations plan for the migration and improve adoption.

Other users, however, remain skeptical.

“Honestly I am very disappointed you are moving in this direction, I miss the days of a small simple interface like the old school Communicator,” John Gooding posted in response to Microsoft’s blog. “We tried Slack and Teams, and it was fun for 30 minutes then it turned into a productivity drag.”

Messaging, meetings and more

The Microsoft Teams roadmap focuses on messaging, meetings and calling capabilities within the application. Lazar said the roadmap will help organizations with their user-awareness and adoption programs, and it will help them plan training for users as features become available.

Messaging. As a messaging-centric application, Teams already offers persistent, one-on-one and group chat. Features such as the ability to import contacts from Skype for Business, unified presence and messaging policies are expected to be available by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Microsoft expects to add screen sharing and federation between companies by the end of the second quarter of 2018.

Meetings. Teams includes meeting capabilities such as screen sharing and capturing chats in the channel after a meeting. Later this quarter, Microsoft will debut audio conferencing in over 90 countries, meeting support in the Edge and Google Chrome web browsers, and call-quality analytics.

Microsoft will introduce meeting room support with Skype Room Systems, cloud video interoperability with third-party devices and support for the Surface Hub by the end of the second quarter of 2018.

Calling. Later this year, Microsoft plans to introduce voicemail, call forwarding, e911 support, Skype for Business to Teams calling, and IT policies for Teams interoperability. In the second quarter next year, Microsoft will enable customers to use their existing telecom voice line to activate calling services in Office 365. Additional capabilities such as call queues and one-to-one to group call escalation with Teams, Skype for Business and PSTN participants will also be available.

Additional Microsoft Teams features will roll out in the second quarter of 2018, including recording and storing meetings, meeting transcriptions and the ability to search key terms.

In an effort to clear up confusion over its collaboration roadmap, Microsoft will also update the names of its PSTN Calling, PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX services. PSTN Calling will be renamed Calling Plan, PSTN Conferencing will be named Audio Conferencing, and Cloud PBX will be called Phone System.

For features yet to be announced in the Microsoft Teams roadmap, Lazar said he’d like to see announcements around customers using on-premises Skype for Business being able to use the cloud-based Teams for telephony.