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Cybersecurity Awareness Month -- this year it's personal

In what was a far-sighted move back in 2004, the President of the United States and Congress declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month, dedicated to helping individuals protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more commonplace.

This has now become a regular event on the calendar and the theme of this year's campaign is 'See Yourself in Cyber', aiming to underline the fact that cybersecurity is ultimately about people rather than technology.

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Best Windows apps this week

Five-hundred-and-eleven in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 and 11 on the Microsoft Store and elsewhere in the past seven days.

The Spotify application is being installed on some Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems without user consent. The Spotify app can be uninstalled as any other applications from Settings > Apps and other locations.

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How to tell your customers that you've been hacked [Q&A]

The short-term costs of a cyberattack are significant. Investigating and containing a breach, rebuilding IT systems and implementing new security controls, as well as the loss of productivity, can all cause severe financial strain.

However, the long-term costs of a breach are often even more damaging. Enterprises that do not handle an attack well can suffer a number of further consequences, including reputational damage, a loss of customer loyalty and a drop in share prices.

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Microsoft says that gamers can boost performance by lowering Windows 11 security settings

Windows 11 laptop

It is not very often we are told to disable security features -- usually, we're enabling options, or leaving things well alone. But now Microsoft has issued some advice about improving game performance in Windows 11, and it involves turning off security features of the operating system.

The somewhat surprising advice comes in a support document entitled Options to Optimize Gaming Performance in Windows 11. Microsoft does point out, however, that this is meant to be done only when gaming, and that security should be re-enabled afterwards.

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Microsoft warns of problems with provisioning packages in Windows 11 2022 Update

Windows 11 logo on laptop screen

The problems with Windows 11 2022 Update keep on popping up, and now Microsoft has issued a warning that "provisioning packages might not work as expected".

What this means in practice is that the Windows 11 OOBE (Out of Box Experience) may not complete, or it might cause unexpected restarts. Microsoft warns that the likes of businesses and schools are most likely to be affected by the issues.

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Google Pixel Watch is finally here, but the smartwatch is very underwhelming

Are smartwatches popular? Well, the Apple Watch certainly is. Other brands? Not so much. Quite frankly, Android users have had to deal with watches that are far inferior to the excellent Apple Watch. Being an Android user has not been very fun in recent years.

Earlier today, Google unveiled its newest flagship Android phones -- the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Unfortunately, the Pixel line has been disastrous lately, and I am not expecting anything different with the new models. With all of the bugs and issues that have plagued the past several Pixel phones, I am surprised anyone would still buy one, but I digress.

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Microsoft releases Windows 11 Build 25217 with support for third party widgets

It’s been a big week for Microsoft already this week as yesterday the software giant began rolling out new features to some Windows 11 2022 Update users, including tabs in Explorer.

Today, the company delivers a new Windows 11 build for Insiders in the Dev Channel. Build 25217 comes with the usual collection of fixes and improvements, but also introduces support for third party widgets.

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Get 'Emotional Intelligence: A Simple and Actionable Guide to Increasing Performance, Engagement and Ownership' ($12.00 value) FREE for a limited time

Emotional Intelligence in the workplace -- including the five key concepts of self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills and motivation -- is defined as your ability to identify and manage your personal emotions and the emotions of your colleagues and co-workers. 

Cutting through the hype and dispelling the myths about EI, this practical, easy-to-use resource provides clear guidance, powerful tools, and actionable steps for developing and implementing EI in the workplace for immediate results.

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Google unveils the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, keeps the pricing the same as last year

At its fall hardware event today, Google took the wraps off the next generation of its flagship smartphones -- the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

Powered by a next-generation Google Tensor G2 processor, and running Android 13, the new devices sport an aluminum enclosure made entirely of recycled content. What’s somewhat unusual about the Pixel 7 is Google has opted to make in smaller than its predecessor, the Pixel 6.

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Tech graduates lack the skills employers need

Despite recent downward pressures on recruitment stemming from fears of what might lie ahead for global economies, huge numbers of tech vacancies remain open across the globe. In the US, tech vacancies to July 2022 were up 49 percent compared to last year, while a ten-year high of 870,000 tech and digital job vacancies in the UK was matched by a steady growth in tech job opportunities in continental Europe.

With employer demand for tech talent still at healthy levels, many of these vacancies can be described as 'hard to fill' with employers reporting difficulty in finding suitable candidates. So what is stopping employers from finding suitable candidates for their jobs? The key here is suitable candidates.

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Politically motivated ransomware declines as attackers switch back to old targets

ransomware key

Ransomware operators have turned their attention away from politically motivated attacks focusing on Russia back to their usual targets such as the United States, China, and Israel.

The latest T2 2022 threat report from ESET also shows the total number of RDP attack attempts has declined by a further 89 percent. The likely reasons for the decline are post-COVID return to offices, improved security, and the Russia-Ukraine war.

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Almost 19 percent of phishing emails bypass Microsoft Defender

Bypass

For many organizations, Microsoft 365 has become their default service for email. But for attackers this makes it attractive as a point of compromise.

New research from cloud and email security specialist Avanan shows that the missed phishing rate for Microsoft Defender is 18.8 percent. A previous analysis in 2020 showed 10.8 percent of phishing emails reaching inboxes, so Defender's missed phishing rates have increased by 74 percent.

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Microsoft updates its mitigation advice for Exchange Server zero-day vulnerabilities

Microsoft logo on mobile

Since Microsoft acknowledged the existence of two actively exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in Exchange Server, security experts were quick to point out that the company was providing bad advice in response.

The URL blocking recommended by Microsoft was found to be sadly lacking, and hackers could easily bypass it. Now Microsoft has provided updated mitigation advice, as well as providing automated protection options.

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Microsoft releases Windows HDR Calibration app to help configure your monitor in Windows 11

Windows HDR Calibration

If you have an HDR monitor connected to your Windows 11 PC, Microsoft has a new app to help you out.

The company has just released the Windows HDR Calibration app to simplify the process of optimizing an HDR display. It's an app that was announced a number of months ago, but it has only just seen the light of day.

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Picking up Good Vibrations from Google Maps

In the years since Google Maps arrived on the scene, millions of people have come to rely on it. Yes, there have been a few less-than-successful results, nothing is without fault, but for the most part, it has guided travelers to their destinations with few problems. 

The company has also continued to keep up with the times, adding new features and updating directions based on the many constant changes to roads and conditions. It doesn't always get it right -- for instance, at the time of writing this story, the route for driving from Sarisota, Florida to Sanibel Island, Florida still shows as open. 

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