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Microsoft brings enhanced security features to Office 365

The new Office 365 can also detect ransomware attacks and help users restore their OneDrive to a point before files were compromised

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Microsoft's new Surface products include 1st-ever headphones. Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to protect users from phishing scams and ransomware, Microsoft is rolling out new security features for the Home and Personal versions of its Office 365 suite. The new protection capabilities include email encryption, ransomware detection and recovery and files restore features. “Today, we’re announcing new advanced protection capabilities coming to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers to help further protect individuals and families from online threats,” Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President, Office 365 Client Applications-Microsoft, wrote in a blog post late on Thursday.

Ransomware has become an increasingly pervasive attack method in which cybercriminals ‘lock up’ and prevent access to files in an effort to extort money from victims. “To help protect customers, we are introducing two new capabilities that allow you to recover your files if they are affected by a malicious attack,” Koenigsbauer added.

Microsoft Kaizala
Microsoft is now more concerned about users’ protection. VOA

The new email encryption feature in Outlook.com offers an added layer of protection and ensures end-to-end encryption of users’ email. “When you use Outlook.com email encryption, your email remains encrypted over a secure connection-minimising the threat of your information being intercepted or leaked to cybercriminals,” the software giant added.

Also Read: Microsoft announces new partnerships, cloud start-up initiative

Explaining the files restore feature, Microsoft added: “Files Restore allows you to restore your entire OneDrive to a previous point in time within the last 30 days. You can use this feature to recover from an accidental mass delete, file corruption, ransomware or other catastrophic event.”

The new Office 365 can also detect ransomware attacks and help users restore their OneDrive to a point before files were compromised, so they don’t have to submit to cybercriminal demands. “As these threats evolve, we are continuously improving detection capabilities to help keep you safe from the most advanced ransomware,” the software giant added. IANS

Next Story

Microsoft Tests Software Called “Election Guard” To Make Voting Secure

Microsoft tests its newly-developed software to ensure votes are not altered

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Microsoft
Microsoft has begun testing its free open-source software called "ElectionGuard"that aims to secure votes. Pixabay

Microsoft has begun testing its free open-source software called “ElectionGuard” in a small Wisconsin town in the US that aims to make voting more secure, verifiable and efficient.

“ElectionGuard” will enable end-to-end verification of elections, open results to third-party organisations for secure validation, and allow individual voters to confirm their votes were correctly counted.

It enables government entities, news outlets, human rights organisations or anyone else to build additional verifiers that independently can certify election results have been accurately counted and have not been altered, according to the company. The software would create a paper trail and assure voters their votes were properly tallied.

“On Tuesday, Fulton residents are using the technology while choosing who will join the local school board and hold a seat on Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court,” reports CNBC. With the test, the company aims to see if voters like the experience and make sure everything works fine.

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“ElectionGuard” by Microsoft will enable end-to-end verification of election. Pixabay

In May last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced “ElectionGuard”. According to Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust, voting system manufacturers will be free to build ElectionGuard into their systems in a variety of ways.

“These are exciting steps that enable individual voters to confirm their vote was properly counted, and assures those voters using an ElectionGuard system of the most secure and trustworthy vote in the history of the US,” Burt said in a recent blog post. “ElectionGuard” is not intended to replace paper ballots but rather to supplement and improve systems that rely on them, and it is not designed to support internet voting.

The software provides each voter a tracker with a unique code that can be used to follow an encrypted version of the vote through the entire election process via a web portal provided by election authorities.

During the process of vote-casting, voters have an optional step that allows them to confirm that their trackers and encrypted votes accurately reflect their selections. But once a vote is cast, neither the tracker nor any data provided through the web portal can be used to reveal the contents of the vote.

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After the election is complete, the tracker codes can be used by voters to confirm that their votes were not altered or tampered with and that they were properly counted, said Microsoft.

On the security front, “ElectionGuard” uses something called homomorphic encryption – which enables mathematical procedures “like counting – to be done with fully encrypted data”. (IANS)