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Exam Code: MO-201 Practice test 2022 by team
MO-201 Microsoft Excel Expert a(Excel and Excel 2019)

EXAM NAME : Microsoft Excel Expert a(Excel and Excel 2019)

Demonstrate that you have the skills needed to get the most out of Excel by earning the Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Expert Certification. This certification demonstrates competency in creating, managing, and distributing professional spreadsheets for a variety of specialized purposes and situations.

An individual earning this certification has approximately 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with the product, has proven competency at an industry expert-level and is ready to enter into the job market. They can demonstrate the correct application of the principal features of Excel at an expert-level and can complete tasks independently.

- Manage workbook options and settings
- Manage and format data
- Create advanced formulas and macros
- Manage advanced charts and tables

Manage workbook options and settings
Manage workbooks
 copy macros between workbooks
 reference data in other workbooks
 enable macros in a workbook
 manage workbook versions
Prepare workbooks for collaboration
 restrict editing
 protect worksheets and cell ranges
 protect workbook structure
 configure formula calculation options
 manage comments
Use and configure language options
 configure editing and display languages
 use language-specific features
Manage and format data
Fill cells based on existing data
 fill cells by using Flash Fill
 fill cells by using advanced Fill Series options
Format and validate data
 create custom number formats
 configure data validation
 group and ungroup data
 calculate data by inserting subtotals and totals
 remove duplicate records
Apply advanced conditional formatting and filtering
 create custom conditional formatting rules
 create conditional formatting rules that use formulas
 manage conditional formatting rules
Create advanced formulas and macros
Perform logical operations in formulas
 perform logical operations by using nested functions including the IF(), IFS(), SWITCH(), SUMIF(), AVERAGEIF(), COUNTIF(), SUMIFS(), AVERAGEIFS(), COUNTIFS(), MAXIFS(), MINIFS(), AND(), OR(), and NOT() functions
Look up data by using functions
 look up data by using the VLOOKUP(), HLOOKUP(), MATCH(), and INDEX() functions
Use advanced date and time functions
 reference date and time by using the NOW() and TODAY() functions
 calculate dates by using the WEEKDAY() and WORKDAY() functions
Perform data analysis
 summarize data from multiple ranges by using the Consolidate feature
 perform what-if analysis by using Goal Seek and Scenario Manager
 forecast data by using the AND(), IF(), and NPER() functions
 calculate financial data by using the PMT() function
Troubleshoot formulas
 trace precedence and dependence
 monitor cells and formulas by using the Watch Window
 validate formulas by using error checking rules
 evaluate formulas
Create and modify simple macros
 record simple macros
 name simple macros
 edit simple macros
Manage advanced charts and tables
Create and modify advanced charts
 create and modify dual axis charts
 create and modify charts including Box & Whisker, Combo, Funnel, Histogram, Map,
Sunburst, and Waterfall charts
Create and modify PivotTables
 create PivotTables
 modify field selections and options
 create slicers
 group PivotTable data
 add calculated fields
 format data
Create and modify PivotCharts
 create PivotCharts
 manipulate options in existing PivotCharts
 apply styles to PivotCharts
 drill down into PivotChart details

Microsoft Excel Expert a(Excel and Excel 2019)
Microsoft Microsoft information
Killexams : Microsoft Microsoft information - BingNews Search results Killexams : Microsoft Microsoft information - BingNews Killexams : Microsoft Security: Windows 0Day Under Attack, Most Versions Vulnerable—Update Now

It's the second week of the month, which means it's time for Microsoft's scheduled monthly security update. As has become all too familiar with Microsoft users, this month's Patch Tuesday update confirms yet more Zero-Day (0Day) security vulnerabilities, including one that Microsoft says is being actively exploited.

October Patch Tuesday: 84 vulnerabilities, 13 critical-rated, 2 zero-days

With some 84 vulnerabilities, this is far from the biggest Patch Tuesday event of the year. However, 13 have a critical severity rating, and two are 0Days.

Microsoft defines an 0Day as a security vulnerability with no official fix available when it is publicly disclosed or found to be under active attack.

In the case of CVE-2022-41033, which Microsoft confirms is being actively exploited in the wild but provides no further exploitation information, it impacts most every version of Windows. "All versions of Windows, starting with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, are vulnerable," Mike Walters, vice-president of vulnerability and threat research at Action1, said.

MORE FROM FORBESGoogle Warns Hackers Not To Break Anything & Don't Chloroform The Security Guards

Why is fixing CVE-2022-41033 so important?

It doesn't get the highest severity classification, coming in with a CVSS rating of 7.8. Still, Walters says, "there has been an exploit for this vulnerability for a long time now, and it can be easily combined with an RCE exploit." This ups the security stakes somewhat, as this elevation-of-privilege vulnerability can provide an attacker full system privileges. Sure, the mitigating factor is that to exploit CVE-2022-41033 successfully, an attacker needs local access, but exploit-chaining quickly dilutes that. Aimed at the Windows COM+ Event System, which launches with the operating system by default, this vulnerability needs to be patched as soon as possible.

Some 39 of the vulnerabilities addressed are elevation-of-privilege in nature, which comes as little surprise as these are amongst the most valuable security flaws in an attacker mindset.

You can find more details of all the vulnerabilities that have been fixed by the October Patch Tuesday update at this excellent Sans Internet Storm Center resource which includes CVE links to the National Institute of Standards And Technology (NIST) National Vulnerability Database.

MORE FROM FORBESWindows Logo Weaponized By State-Backed Chinese APT10 Spies In Ongoing Attacks

Microsoft fails to fix two Exchange Server 0Days still being exploited

Unfortunately, there remain two zero-day vulnerabilities, still actively exploited by attackers, that Microsoft has yet to fix. Namely CVE-2022-41040 and CVE-2022-41082, which I reported on last month. Fixes for the Exchange Server 0Day vulnerabilities are, Microsoft confirmed, not included and will be released "when they are ready."

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 01:00:00 -0500 Davey Winder en text/html
Killexams : Microsoft named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Information and Event Management

Security operations teams are overwhelmed trying to protect their organizations against an onslaught of cyberattacks, including a 92 percent rise in ransomware attacks.1 Too often, existing security tools are siloed or not designed to meet the needs of today’s hybrid cloud environment. The result is overworked security analysts, unaddressed alerts, and undetected threats. As the threat landscape evolves, protecting today’s hybrid cloud environment requires a comprehensive approach that gives security operations (SecOps) teams the context they need to protect their organization better and faster.

Microsoft Sentinel is a modern, cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) solution that collects security data from your entire organization. Using hundreds of connectors and AI to help SecOps teams prioritize the most important incidents, Microsoft Sentinel includes user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) and rich security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities. 

We’re delighted to announce that Microsoft is named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic QuadrantTM for Security Information and Event Management and is positioned highest on the measure of Ability to Execute axis. We believe Microsoft’s placement in the Leaders quadrant validates our commitment to empowering our customers with a cloud-native SIEM powered by AI and automation.

Gartner Magic Quadrant™ for Security Information and Event Management.

Figure 1. 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant™ for Security Information and Event Management.
(Source: Gartner, 2022)

It is fulfilling to see the ongoing value our customers realize from Microsoft Sentinel today. iHeartMedia, a multinational entertainment company, chose Microsoft Sentinel for its simplicity, ease of management, and cost efficiency. “One screen shows our analysts the intelligence to alert based on the data it combines from multiple systems, including firewalls, domain controllers, and everything else,” says Janet Heins, Chief Information Security Officer, iHeartMedia.

Another global operation, Pearson VUE, also chose to empower its cybersecurity team with consolidated visibility by migrating to Microsoft Sentinel, while benefitting from reduced infrastructure costs. “I appreciate the collaborative approach Microsoft takes by having its team meet with ours to share advice on implementation details and fast-track issue resolution,” explains Vladan Pulec, Enterprise Architect, Pearson VUE.

Industry-leading innovation

Our customers are our team’s biggest inspiration for delivering ongoing innovation. We’ve continued to make investments in Microsoft Sentinel over the last 12 months, including:

  1. New data ingestion and transformation capabilities: With in-built normalization schemas, codeless API connectors, and low-cost options for collecting and archiving logs, we’ve made it easier to onboard new data sources.
  2. Rich SOAR and UEBA capabilities: By leveraging additional UEBA entity pages, reducing response times, and correlating similar alerts to an incident, we’ve helped Excellerate SOC performance.
  3. Broad ecosystem integration: Connecting existing systems to Microsoft Sentinel is vitally important, and this year we added more than 180 solutions that not only connect data but also provide analytic rules, workbooks, automation playbooks, and more.

Microsoft’s overall vision for protecting customers from threats is unique compared to vendors that only offer a SIEM. Microsoft takes the best of SIEM and combines that with the best of extended detection and response (XDR) to deliver a unified security operations platform—the breadth of coverage only a SIEM can provide and the depth of insight that XDR provides. That means teams using Microsoft security solutions have more context to work from to resolve attacks faster. Customers using our XDR capabilities, such as Microsoft 365 Defender, also receive a discount on their data ingestion into Microsoft Sentinel.

Looking forward

We know that in today’s threat environment there’s no time to rest on our laurels. We’ll continue to listen to customer needs and innovate to enhance Microsoft Sentinel’s already sophisticated threat-protection capabilities so that SecOps specialists can efficiently investigate, track, and automate their response to stay ahead of attackers. While we already have comprehensive and integrated SIEM and XDR capabilities, we’ll continue to do more to bring these two capabilities together as an integrated and open security platform. Thank you to all our customers for your feedback and your inspiration.

Learn more

To get the specifics on why Microsoft is recognized in the Leader quadrant, read the full 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Information and Event Management report. Microsoft Security is committed to empowering SecOps teams with security tools and platforms that enable the critical protection your users rely on. To experience Microsoft Sentinel at your organization, get started with a free trial today.

To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us at @MSFTSecurity for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.

1 Ransomware attacks nearly doubled in 2021, Security Magazine. February 28, 2022. 

2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management, written by Pete Shoard, Andrew Davies, and Mitchell Scheider. October 10, 2022. 

 Gartner and Magic Quadrant are registered trademarks and service marks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the US and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved. 

The graphic above was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Microsoft. 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. 

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 09:14:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : New Microsoft 365 app replaces Microsoft’s Office app with new features and design © Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is rebranding its built-in Office apps on Windows to Microsoft 365. While the existing app is mainly used for quick access to Office apps, this new Microsoft 365 one is designed to really leverage Microsoft’s Graph network to provide additional apps, relevant documents, and a feed of meetings and information that might be useful to plan a day ahead.

This new app won’t be limited to Microsoft’s commercial customers either, as consumers and students will also be able to take advantage of it. It will include the regular access to Office apps, a feed of exact documents and files, and the ability to browse by meetings.

It also now includes all Microsoft apps, not just Office ones, and there’s even a section for third-party apps and company apps. Then there’s a feed for seeing what meetings are coming up and personalized recommendations from Microsoft’s Graph network.

“The new Microsoft 365 app is one part of our larger strategy and focus as a company on Microsoft 365 and is reflective of the innovation we’ve strived to deliver as work and life continue to evolve,” explains Jared Spataro, CVP of modern work at Microsoft. “The new app serves as a hub for all the productivity apps Microsoft 365 offers and provides a simple, yet powerful experience for our customers as they navigate changing workstyles and collaboration patterns.”

Microsoft originally launched Microsoft 365 subscriptions for consumers two years ago, offering access to Office, Teams, and more in a monthly subscription package. It’s been largely successful, as Microsoft 365 Consumer subscriptions continue to grow and are currently at 59.7 million.

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 08:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Microsoft 365 Message Encryption Can Leak Sensitive Info

Researchers have discovered what they call a vulnerability in Microsoft 365, tied to the use of a broken or risky cryptographic algorithm. It could be exploited to infer some or all the content of encrypted email messages, they warned — but Microsoft has declined to address the issue.

Third-party researchers tell Dark memorizing that the real-world risk from the issue depends on an organization's profile. 

A Flawed Crypto Approach

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) offers a method of sending encrypted messages (Office 365 Message Encryption, or OME) using Electronic Codebook (ECB), a mode of operation known to expose certain structural information about messages.

WithSecure principal security consultant Harry Sintonen wrote in an Oct. 14 posting that if an attacker had access to enough emails using OME, it's possible to access leaked information by analyzing the frequency of repeating patterns in individual messages and then matching those patterns with those in other encrypted emails and files.

"This could impact anyone using OME, if the attachment in question has the properties that make it decipherable in this way," he tells Dark Reading. "Of course, for the extraction to be possible, the adversary first needs to get access to the actual encrypted email message."

Sintonen explains that even if the files did not have a larger structure that could directly be revealed, there is still possibility of fingerprinting files.

"If a file has some repeating blocks, you could construct a fingerprint from the relation of these repeating blocks," he says. "You can then scan the encrypted email messages for these fingerprints. If found, you know that this email message included the specific file."

He adds that it's also possible to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to find similar fingerprints to find content that is related, perhaps part of a set of similar files.

Microsoft: No Fix Forthcoming

In January 2022, Sintonen shared his research findings with Microsoft. Microsoft acknowledged the problem and compensated Sintonen as part of its vulnerability rewards program but decided against fixing it.

"The report was not considered meeting the bar for security servicing, nor is it considered a breach," the computing giant responded. "No code change was made and so no CVE was issued for this report."

Bud Broomhead, CEO at Viakoo, a provider of automated IoT cyber-hygiene, says he thinks Microsoft choosing not to fix it either means that there is a new message encryption capability soon to be released, or that the "fix" would need to be a complete rewrite of this capability.

"It could also be that usage of this feature [is] of low enough or limited enough that Microsoft would decline to fix it," he adds. "Even if Microsoft declines to fix this, it should at least remove or restrict the use of message encryption within Office 365 until a better solution is available to users."

And indeed, companies can mitigate the problem by not using the OME feature — but even that does not eliminate the risk entirely.

"If they have been using OME encryption and this issue is determined to be a problem, they have no other recourse than ceasing to use the problematic service — OME — and replace it with another, secure solution," Sintonen says.

This, however, doesn’t remedy the fact that large amounts of poorly encrypted email messages may linger in various parts of the Internet and could be analyzed by actors who gain access to them.

Senders, Recipients at Risk?

Broomhead notes that for many years the fear has been that encrypted data that was previously exfiltrated may someday be decrypted and exploited.

"For threat actors who have harvested large amounts of encrypted Microsoft Office 365 email messages, that day may be today," he says, adding that he thinks it's clearly "a bug of high severity."

"Both senders and recipients are at risk — especially with people outside the organization, the desire to use encryption may have been to protect trade or other organizational secrets," Broomhead says.

That said, the need to have a large number of encrypted emails to use this vulnerability narrows the victimology — by definition it would be larger organizations who felt the need to encrypt large numbers of email messages. And, highly sensitive information usually already has additional layers of data protection, Mike Parkin, senior technical engineer at Vulcan Cyber, points out.

"Those who require truly secure email have other options they can use," Parkin says. "For example, using GPG encryption and sending the encrypted message as an attachment."

He says that as a result, most business users won't be affected by the level of data leakage here, unless they are in the habit of sending highly sensitive, and time sensitive, information through Microsoft 365.

"It's sufficient to keep most expected threats at bay but wouldn't be adequate versus a well-resourced state or state-sponsored threat actor," he says. "High-value communications require highly secure cryptographic algorithms and protocols. In practice, the encryption[s] available in Office 365 are enough for most users."

On the flip side, Parkin notes that people can come to rely on basic encryption keeping their information safe, and anything that gives a potential threat actor insight into that secure communication is problematic.

"Ideally, encrypted traffic shouldn't reveal anything about the contents of the message beyond the sender and receiver information required to get it point to point," he says.

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 03:13:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Microsoft Authenticator vs LastPass - Which is better?

With newer services and devices making their way into our lives, it becomes difficult to remember every login ID and password. Google's autofill collaborates well with Chrome password manager, but it doesn't have much to offer in terms of security, functionality, etc.

This is where an authenticator with 2FA comes into play. It essentially replaces passwords by letting you log into an account by tapping on a mobile or a tablet with a Time-based one-time password (TOTP) on the installed authenticator app. Such passwords are valid for 30 seconds before getting expired and new ones are available from the server.

There are popular third-party authenticators such as Authy, Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, and LastPass Authenticator. In this post, we compare Microsoft and LastPass's authenticators from an Android user's perspective.

Logging in for the first time

Microsoft Authenticator is comparatively easier for people who are using an authenticator for the first time. Log in using a Microsoft account( personal, work, or school) or other accounts such as Google, Facebook, etc.

On the other hand, getting started with LastPass Authenticator as a first-time user of an authenticator is a struggle. You need their password manager to get started, which also falls flat as it attempts to look into the cloud for authenticator data backups (which doesn't exist for a new account). You will need a desktop to log into the authenticator app on mobile by scanning a QR code via the settings, which we learned through a random YouTube tutorial.

Lastpass Authenticator


The TOTP will only appear after tapping on the account. Microsoft Authenticator has separate sections for different items apart from the authenticator accounts. They are passwords, payments, addresses, and Checked IDs. When you are in a social setting and people are using your phone while the authenticator is open in the background? Microsoft locks the authenticator app if it has not been used in a while.

Microsoft Authenticator interface

LastPass offers a straightforward minimal user interface with a single screen and an add button for adding new accounts. You can rearrange the accounts list in different orders, along with the option to customize them which shows selected accounts at the top. And when that doesn't feel enough, you can use the search button to find a specific account in real-time results.

LastPass Authenticator UI

Data Handling

LastPass did not have any initial prompts but Microsoft Authenticator doesn't let you log into the app unless you agree to share diagnostic data with them. There is an option to stop sharing usage data but it is different from diagnostic data for which consent was asked on the welcome screen.

Microsoft Authenticator vs LastPass - Which is better? - - October 17, 2022

The LastPass Authenticator does keep the option enabled by default for sending error reporting data which can be disabled.

Adding new items

Adding new accounts is easy in Microsoft Authenticator as you just have to tap on the plus button. Add your Microsoft accounts directly or get a code from supported services such as Google account, Facebook, etc.

Microsoft Authenticator add account

LastPass lets you add accounts through a QR code but they must be from their authenticator apps on any of the platforms. You can also add accounts through screenshots of QR codes that are generated from their app alone.

LastPass Authenticator account add


Microsoft offers a single app lock that can be assigned to your fingerprint or a PIN. It works when you open the app and autofill passwords and other sensitive information on sites and apps. The app lock will prompt for verification every time you switch back to the authenticator from other apps or when you unlock the phone.

LastPass has a two-layer approach to the app lock. Set the biometric sensor (fingerprint or Face ID), and you will have to add a backup PIN as a backup in case the sensors are not working. Both the authenticators let you take screenshots after enabling the feature from the settings. One feature on the LastPass which really stands out for me is the tap to reveal, which comes in handy when in public. As the name suggests, you have to tap on the account to reveal the code.

Auto-fill functionality

As it contains passwords and other sensitive information, Microsoft Authenticator has the option to become your default autofill app on the phone. It can pull the passwords saved on Edge and provide auto-fill suggestions on different websites and apps. This saves time and effort when your primary browser is from Microsoft across devices.

Unlike Microsoft Authenticator, auto-fill on LastPass requires its password manager which needs to be installed separately on the phone. Their auto-fill also supports older devices but does not provide a unifying experience under an umbrella like the authenticator from Microsoft.

Additional features

Apart from authentication, the Microsoft app lets you add passwords and other sensitive information. If you have Edge as your daily driver then the close integration with the authenticator will really help you get the auto-fill going on different devices. Another feature worth talking about is battery optimization which saves your phone battery by stopping certain background processes of the authenticator.

Normally a TOTP is valid for a maximum of 30 seconds which is not enough when you randomly open the app. It may get expired by the time you enter it in the security prompt. LastPass Authenticator has the option to get a new TOTP when the current password expires in 5 seconds. You can directly copy the new code and enter it in the dialog box.

LastPass Authenticator new code

Both authenticators offer cloud backup for the added accounts and the accompanying information. You can enable it through the settings and wait for the cloud backup to finish.


Microsoft Authenticator is free to use with no hidden charges later. LastPass Authenticator is also free to use but using all the connected apps such as password manager, vault, etc, will require a subscription. The plan starts at $3/per month individually and an additional dollar for the family plan.


When you are looking for an authenticator which offers extra features such as passwords and other sensitive information storage, then Microsoft Authenticator is ideal for you. The icing on the cake here is the collaboration with the Edge browser, which syncs passwords and other information worth storing for auto-fill. If you want a standalone authenticator which may require some effort to set up then LastPass Authenticator would be worth trying.

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Mon, 17 Oct 2022 02:09:00 -0500 Amaan Rizwan en-US text/html
Killexams : Has Microsoft accidentally leaked what Windows 12 could look like? null © TechRadar null

Microsoft has allegedly showcased the next major version of Windows with a user interface that features a floating Taskbar alongside a translucent information bar at the top of a display.

According to Zac Bowden at Windows Central, the next major release of Windows is called 'Next Valley', carrying on the Valley naming convention that began with Windows 11.

An image was shown during a demo at Ignite 2022, where the aim for this design is allegedly trying to better adapt to different devices, such as tablets and mice peripherals.

Though Bowden says that no code has been finalized toward the next major release, we wonder if we're going to see something more final in 2023.

I've spoken before of what I'd like to see in Windows 12, such as the return of MSN Messenger and a dedicated podcast app, but if we're already seeing concept stages of the next major release, it could merely be an evolution of what Windows 11 has brought instead.

Seeing a floating Taskbar makes sense for when you're in certain apps, such as Microsoft's Designer app and even Paint but if this is for Windows 12, let's see it go further.

As the company has committed to a major release every three years, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the next major version showcased in late 2023, followed by a release for Insiders at the start of 2024.

With Apple releasing a major version of macOS every year since 2012, there's pressure on Microsoft to do something similar. However, with Windows accessible to millions of devices that the company isn't responsible for, it's not realistic to see a major update every year, which is why these 'Moment' updates make more sense.

It's a safe bet to imagine 2024 as a date for when Windows 12 can arrive, but whether it will include the floating taskbar is another matter.

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 22:47:38 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Microsoft Surface: How a shaky start led the re-invention of the PC
Image: Microsoft

This week, Microsoft held its fall Microsoft Surface launch event where the company added three new Surface models to its popular Surface lineup: the new Surface Laptop 5, Surface Pro 9, Surface Studio 2+. The Surface family is extensive and includes a wide range of devices, such as smartphones, laptops and, of course, its 2-in-1 tablet PCs.

Surface remains one of Microsoft's most popular products, with revenue increasing 3% year-over-year by $226 million in the fourth quarter of its 2022 financial year. But that wasn't always the case, and Surface represents a big shift in Microsoft's business over the last decade. Here is how the Surface earned its spot as one of Microsoft's best sellers.  

Microsoft released its first iteration of the Surface tablet PC back in 2012, launched as the Surface with Windows RT and then later renamed the Surface RT. At a glance, that model looked much like the more exact ones, with a detachable screen design, colorful attachable keyboard, folding kickstand and 2-in-1 tablet/laptop functionality.

Also: Microsoft's October 12 Surface launch: What's on tap

However, the first tablet and laptop combo had poor battery life, too little storage, and didn't quite meet the market for its laptop function. At the time, it was competing with other tablets and laptops that were cemented in the market, such as Apple's iPad, which could offer better functionality for around the same price point.

The sales of the tablet were poor and, despite being praised for its unique design, Microsoft took a $990 million loss in July 2013 as a result. This wasn't the first time Microsoft failed to get the hardware of a new product exactly right. In 2009, Microsoft dropped its Zune portable media player, which was discontinued a mere two years after launch. At the time, people speculated that the Surface would have the same fate.

"Microsoft really paved the way for PC computing in a detachable form factor with Surface, but it took several iterations to get it right," says Eric Smith, director for connected computing devices at Strategy Analytics.

Despite a shaky start, the launch of the Surface was in hindsight a pivotal moment for Microsoft because it moved the company from simply being seen as a software supplier that delivered Windows for PCs. Even though Microsoft had a long history of hardware making, this was the first time that Microsoft became really involved in delivering hardware that could bring clear value to the PC space.

"Surface is a tricky endeavor for Microsoft. It shifts the company from solely being a supplier to a supplier/competitor for its OEM partners," says Linn Huang, research vice president for devices & displays at IDC.

Also: Microsoft Surface in 2022: What do we want, and what do we expect?

Microsoft also entered – and energized – the market at a time when the PC market was weakening, and the popularity of options like tablets was growing. Microsoft took all of the criticisms of the first iteration and harnessed them to make its next models.

"Looking back, the formula was simple: use a popular OS capable of multitasking – Windows is running on 50% of mobile computing devices worldwide – and couple that with high-performance fanless CPUs. Every successful device to follow the Surface Pro 3 uses that method," says Smith.

Compared to the first model, Microsoft improved nearly every aspect of the Surface, including changing the screen's aspect ratio, optimizing the performance, making the device lighter and expanding the amount of applications it was compatible with, to name but a few.

"For many productivity users, the taller aspect ratio on most of the displays they use is a welcome change in a sea of ever-increasing widescreen notebooks," says Huang. "And it continues to be one of the lead options for students and creators."

These changes led the Surface to where it is now, an established PC and tablet market competitor. The Surface portfolio has the Surface Pro, Surface Go, Surface Studio, Surface Duo, and more. These products range from the 2-in-1 tablet model it began with, to actual laptop and all-in-one (AIO) models. 

The latest Surface tablet, the Surface Pro 9, which will replace the Surface Pro X, keeps the sleek 2-in-1 design but has major design upgrades that make it more practical than ever. For example, the tablet is Intel-based and comes equipped with Thunderbolt 4 for faster transfer speeds and the ability to connect the tablet to 4K monitors. 

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 in the Liberty special edition. 

Image: Microsoft

"From the Go all the way up to the Studio, there is an offering at a price point that will suit most any user's needs," says Huang. "And we're continuing to see the line-up expand further into laptops and convertibles. It sports an iconic design that has become synonymous with the whole category."

At the end of 2021, Microsoft broke into the top-five tablet vendors following Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Lenovo, with 1.9 million shipments and 4% of the market share, according to a Strategy Analytics study.

Source: Strategy Analytics

The Surface portfolio is so cemented in the market that people have come to associate Surface with any type of detachable laptop. 

"The Surface moniker itself has almost reached Kleenex status, with many in the industry referring to the entire detachables category as 'Surfaces'," says Huang.

The idea of Surface devices being catalysts that would help drive creativity in the PC market has worked: many other PC makers are now replicating that once-unique model in their own products.

For example, Dell has the XPS 13 2-in-1, Lenovo has the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 3 and Samsung has the Galaxy Book2, which all capitalize on the 2-in-1 laptop/tablet model. 

Microsoft has to make sure that it continues to upgrade its Surface lineup to stay fresh in a market that is becoming saturated with competitors. 

"There's a lot at stake to stay competitive in this segment," says Smith. "Detachables were literally 1% of the total mobile computing market back when the Surface Pro 3 launched; it's now at 21% and we expect this to rise further to 25% by 2027 as hybrid working and digitized learning are bigger forces in our lives than ever before."

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 06:18:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Microsoft Office will be replaced by Microsoft 365 as part of its ongoing refresh

Back in 2020, Microsoft announced that it would be changing the name of its Office 365 subscription to Microsoft 365, acknowledging that it had become more than just a work app. Now, it's removing most of the remaining Office branding, according to new updates spotted by The Verge. "In the coming months,, the Office mobile app, and the Office app for Windows will become the Microsoft 365 app, with a new icon, a new look, and even more features," a FAQ states.

Currently, you can access Microsoft's Word, Excel and other apps online at, but that will soon be switched to — with a new six-sided logo replacing the current square one. The changes will happen next month, and the Office app for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android will be rebranded in January.

The app names themselves won't change, as you'll still be using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, Clipchamp, Stream and Designer. There will also be a Microsoft 365 app on mobile and desktop that will act as a centralized hub for information, showing meetings, files, documents and more.

The Office name will remain for one-time purchases through Office 2021 and Office LTSC that offers apps through volume licensing. However, it's now considered a legacy brand, so any new features will be for Microsoft 365 and not Office, according to The Verge. Microsoft added that "there are no changes to Office 365 subscription plans."

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 22:47:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Haleon harnesses Microsoft’s Seeing AI technology to make health product information more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision

For Marc Powell, a seemingly simple trip to the store to buy medication or other consumer health products is often an onerous, complicated undertaking.

Powell, who is blind, usually must ask a store employee to help find what he needs and then read the information on the packaging to him, which can feel intrusive. At home he’ll ask his partner, who has partial sight, for help, but the print is sometimes too small for her to read. In a pinch, he’ll scour the internet or wait until a family member stops by and can read aloud to him the information he needs.

“I’m incredibly reliant on somebody else to let me know about the product — what I’m meant to do with it, how many tablets I can take or what it contains,” says Powell, the accessibility innovation lead for the U.K.-based Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), who lives in Cambridge, England. “It’s crazy to say that, isn’t it?”

Head and shoulders portrait of Marc Powell, accessibility innovation lead for the U.K.-based RNIB.
Marc Powell.

A new collaboration between Microsoft and global consumer health company Haleon aims to make health product information more accessible for people who are blind or have partial vision, or individuals with low literacy. The companies worked together to expand the functionality of Microsoft’s Seeing AI app to provide detailed audio information for more than 1,500 Haleon products in the U.S. and the U.K., including brands such as Centrum, Sensodyne and Emergen-C. The initiative was launched in recognition of World Sight Day Oct. 13.

Using Seeing AI, users can now scan the bar code on Haleon products and hear the same information that is provided on the packaging, such as the product name, usage instructions and ingredients. When users point a phone at a Haleon product, the Seeing AI app guides them to the bar code with a series of intensifying beeps. After scanning the code, users can navigate between sections to get the specific information they want, a feature that has been well-received by partially sighted people who tried out the functionality before its launch.

“We have had great feedback from people who are blind and have low vision,” says Tamara Rogers, global chief marketing officer at Haleon. “They really value the increased independence that comes from being empowered to access our product information themselves.”

Black and white head shot of Tamara Rogers, chief marketing officer for Haleon.
Tamara Rogers.

The new functionality was developed not just for people who are blind or have low vision, but also for those who have literacy challenges, Rogers says. “There’s a classic health industry saying which is, ‘Always read the label, always read the instructions,’ and for some, that just isn’t possible,” she says.

“This initiative will make Haleon products more accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. It will also provide more independence to people with low literacy levels. This is a great way of being able to communicate in a different way, audibly, rather than asking people to read.”

Launched in 2017, Microsoft’s Seeing AI application is an AI camera-based app that can read text such as documents or signs, describe scenes, recognize currency and even identify friends. Available in 19 languages, the app has become a multipurpose tool that is helping people who are blind or have low vision navigate their daily lives. The newly enhanced functionality helps consumers in the U.S. and U.K. read packaging details in English. Previously, there wasn’t an easy way for Seeing AI to read detailed information on packaging without a user moving a camera around the text.

The collaboration with Haleon “is really important and exciting, because Seeing AI has always been able to recognize products, but the challenge has been having access to data that is really rich, and that comes from the manufacturer,” says Saqib Shaikh, an engineering manager at Microsoft who led the team that developed Seeing AI.

“Now you can just scan the barcode and hear exactly what was written on the package. It’s directly what the manufacturer wanted you to hear. The information is really accurate, and you’re getting it all in one place. You’re not having to scan all the different sides of the package to find the bits you want. It’s all right there once you’ve scanned the barcode.

“Now you can provide more information, and trustworthy information,” Shaikh says. “Haleon is leading the way in doing this.”

Shaikh hopes more companies will follow Haleon’s lead and use technology to provide audio information for people who are blind or who have low vision, or those with literacy challenges. Doing so could provide important information not just for health products, he says, but for food items and countless other things people use in their daily lives.

“I’d love to make every product out there accessible so you can just scan it, whether by bar code or some other future technology, and know what it is,” he says. “This data is out there. It’s just that all the data’s in siloes. What we were able to do here was, by the companies having the will, to break down these siloes.”

Close-up of hands holding a box of Centrum in one hand and a phone showing the Seeing AI app in the other.
Using the Seeing AI app, detailed audio information will be available for more than 1,500 Haleon products in the U.S. and the U.K.

More than 3 million people in the United States and more than 2 million in the U.K. are living with sight loss, and millions more struggle with poor literacy. A study commissioned by Haleon found that 93 percent of respondents didn’t think health products were accessible enough, and almost one in five said they had taken an incorrect dosage of a product because they couldn’t read the packaging.

Haleon saw technology as a tool to address those issues, Rogers says, but wanted to build on an existing platform rather than creating new technology that people who are blind or have low vision would need to adopt. Haleon approached Microsoft about using the Seeing AI app to create audio guides for its products, and the two companies worked closely together to build out the new functionality for Haleon’s bar codes. Microsoft developed an end-to-end pipeline that allows Haleon to control the data for its consumer products, which is stored in Azure, and update information or add new items as needed.

Powell says to his knowledge, Haleon — a spinoff of GlaxoSmithKline created in July 2022 to focus on consumer health products — is the first consumer health company to provide accessible information through Seeing AI for its products.

“I think this will be really useful,” he says. “This allows us as blind people to have the same level of knowledge and understanding as someone who can read the packaging. So this is a really good step.”

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 16:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Microsoft 365 Message Encryption found to leak structural information in messages

Cybersecurity company WithSecure Oyj is warning that a security flaw in Microsoft 365 Message Encryption can leak structural information in messages.

WithSecure, previously known as F-Secure until March, explained that the issue with Microsoft 365, known as Office 365 until yesterday, is that Microsoft uses an Electronic Codebook implementation. That’s a mode of operation known to leak certain structural information about messages.

According to the advisory, attackers who can obtain enough OME emails could use the information to infer the contents of the messages partially or fully by analyzing the location and frequency of repeated patterns in individual messages. Having done so, an attacker could then match these patterns to ones found in other OME emails and files.

“Attackers who are able to get their hands on multiple messages can use the leaked ECB info to figure out the encrypted contents,” WithSecure consultant and security researcher Harry Sintonen explained. “More emails make this process easier and more accurate, so it’s something attackers can perform after getting their hands on e-mail archives stolen during a data breach, or by breaking into someone’s email account, e-mail server, or gaining access to backups.”

The advisory explains that the attack method can be done offline, meaning an attacker could compromise backlogs or archives of previous messages. It’s noted that organizations have no way to prevent an attacker that comes into possession of affected emails from compromising its contents using the method.

No knowledge of the encryption keys is needed to conduct the analysis, according to the advisory and the use of a Bring Your Own Key scheme does not remedy the problem.

WithSecure shared its research with Microsoft in January 2022, but the issue has not been fixed. Microsoft is said to have acknowledged the problem and made a payment via its vulnerability reward program. Organizations can mitigate the problem by not using the feature, but Microsoft’s decision not to address this issue is claimed to increase the risk of adversaries gaining access to existing emails encrypted with OME.

“Any organization with personnel that used OME to encrypt emails is basically stuck with this problem,” Sintonen added. “For some, such as those that have confidentiality requirements put into contracts or local regulations, this could create some issues. And then, of course, there are questions about the impact this data could have in the event it’s actually stolen, which makes it a significant concern for organizations.”

The advisory concludes with WithSecure recommending that Microsoft 365 users should avoid using OME as a means of ensuring the confidentiality of emails.

Image: Microsoft

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Thu, 13 Oct 2022 22:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html
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