Latest Technology News

Now it's easier to see just what data Facebook and Instagram are collecting about you

Facebook and Instagram icons

It's no secret that Facebook gathers staggering amounts of information about its users across its various products. This is something that many people just accept, but there is a slight discomfort in not knowing quite what is being collected.

To add a little balm to this aching fear, Facebook has announced updates to its Download Your Information tool on Facebook and Download Your Data tool on Instagram. The updates mean that while you can do little to stop Facebook from tracking you, you can at least download and see what data it is collecting about you.

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Not just the end of IT, the end of IT contractors

Yesterday, I predicted the demise of conventional IT caused by the wide adoption of SD-WAN and SASE, accelerated by the emergency demands of everyone working from home. Now that Congress has passed a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 bail-out, let’s throw-in the implications of that legislation to see what effect it is all likely to have on what used to be IT. The short version is to expect an even bigger bloodbath as IT employees at all levels are let go forever. Please understand that some version of this bloodbath was going to happen anyway. What matters right now is how we respond to it.

While my previous column was generally about turning lower-level IT nerds into Uber drivers, this one goes a little further up the food chain to include IT contractors and consultants. Yes, I’ll be using IBM as an example, not because Big Blue is anything like a bellwether anymore, but because I just know it so well.

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Excel vulnerability aids delivery of malware

Spreadsheet

Microsoft office files have long been used as a means of delivering malware payloads and researchers at Mimecast have discovered a rise in LimeRAT malware delivered using an Excel default password.

Excel files are designed to be easily encrypted, which helps attackers evade detection by common malware detection systems when a file is emailed.

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Microsoft releases out-of-band update to fix VPN bug

Angled Microsoft logo

After installing February's KB4535996 update, some Windows 10 users started to experience VPN problems. Microsoft promised to release an off-schedule update for the issue which was causing connectivity issues. Now the company has made good on that promise.

In all, there are four different updates available. You need to install the correct one according to the version of Windows 10 you are running.

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Microsoft is bringing vertical tabs to Edge so you can make better use of your widescreen monitor

Microsoft Edge vertical tabs

Websites are, on the whole, vertical experiences, whereas laptop screens and desktop monitors are, in most cases, horizontal ones. Despite the relatively limited amount of vertical space available, browsers tend to further reduce this by placing tabs, menus, toolbars and more at the top of the screen. But Microsoft is ready to try something different.

The company has announced a number of new features that are coming to the new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge. Among these features are vertical tabs which make more efficient use of screen space.

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Microsoft clarifies a slightly misleading claim about a leap in cloud service usage during coronavirus pandemic

Colorful Microsoft logo

Over the weekend, Microsoft post an article on its Azure blog announcing that there had been an astronomical 775 percent surge in the use of its cloud services. Despite the massive increase in traffic, the company added, uptime was good. But the blog post wasn't entirely correct.

Since we published a story about the claims, Microsoft has contacted us to say that it had not been "was not as clear as they intended to be with the previous statement". The company has provided updated stats explaining what it meant to say -- and it's rather different.

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BenQ launches TH685 HDR 1080P console gaming projector for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and more

If you are a console gamer, you probably have your gaming system hooked up to a TV. After all, this is what most people will connect their PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or Microsoft Xbox One up to. And for the most part, that make sense. But what if you want a really big screen without breaking the bank? When I say "big," I mean bigger than can be realistically achieved with a TV -- like, say, 150 inches. Well then, a projector is what you will need.

Unfortunately, projectors aren't typically designed for gaming, so there is a good chance you won't have a great experience due to lag. Today, BenQ  hopes to change that with the all-new TH685 HDR 1080P console gaming projector. The company promises that the low input lag (8ms response time) will provide a superior console gaming experience compared to other projectors.

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Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365 -- a 'subscription service for your life'

Microsoft has done a spot of rebranding today, replacing Office 365 with Microsoft 365, and introducing personal and family subscriptions.

This builds on the foundation of Office 365, but improves on it and adds some useful consumer focused apps and features.

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Why supply chain security is essential to digital transformation [Q&A]

supply chain

As digital transformation projects mean enterprises are sharing more and more information with customers and suppliers, added focus is placed on the security of that data.

To find out how companies can address this, while still reaping the benefits of AI, IoT and other fast growing technologies, we spoke to Fouad Khalil, VP of compliance at SecurityScorecard.

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COVID-19 will kill a ton of startups (or so it will seem)

Yes, I’m still predicting-away, though the pandemic is having some impact on the direction in which this narrative is going. Today’s column on startups and venture capital, for example, wasn’t even on my original list of predictions. Just as the financial markets will use this catastrophe for a reset, so, too, will Sand Hill Road, which has pretty much stopped investing and is now deciding, instead, who to kill?

The psychology of venture capital doesn’t work the way most people think. That’s because it is an industry based on failure: most startups -- the vast majority -- fail. That means most VC investment decisions are wrong. There is simply no way of getting around this fact. You can’t call yourself a VC if you don’t make investment decisions and you can’t make investment decisions without being wrong most of the time. So succeeding as a VC is not just a matter of finding good companies, but also avoiding bad companies and managing your portfolio for the greatest possible perceived total value.

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2020 brings the death of IT

IT -- Information Technology -- grew out of something we called MIS -- Management Information Systems -- but both meant a kid in a white shirt who brought you a new keyboard when yours broke. Well, the kid is now gone, sent home with everyone else, and that kid isn’t coming back… ever. IT is near death, fading by the day. But don’t blame COVID-19 because the death of IT was inevitable. This novel coronavirus just made it happen a little quicker.

I mentioned the switch from MIS to IT because that name change presaged the events I am describing here. Management Information Systems was an artifact of big business, where corporate life was managed rather than lived. Information Technology happened when MIS escaped into the wild. MIS meant office buildings and Local Area Networks while IT includes home workers in their pajamas which, frankly, describes me at this precise moment.

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Organizations not adequately protected against tax phishing scams

phishing hook

With phisherfolk ever keen to cash in at the end of the tax year, a new study has analyzed the public DNS records for 200 domains likely to be impersonated for tax fraud and finds that 78 percent are not adequately protected.

The research from email security company Valimail looked at Fortune 100 businesses, US states' departments of revenue, federal tax agencies and well-known tax preparation services.

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Install the Microsoft News Bar beta to keep track of news and stocks in Windows 10

Microsoft News Bar beta

Some people are obsessed with keeping up to date with breaking news, and this is something that's true of more and more people given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

Microsoft has a solution available for news addicts in the form of the News Bar beta. This free app adds a news ticker to the top or bottom of your screen, or you can use a side-panel at either edge of the screen. You have a choice between a text or image-based version in all cases, and you'll be shown headlines from thousands of trusted sources. It can display stocks too.

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Coronavirus has led to a 775 percent increase in usage of Microsoft Azure cloud services

Microsoft Azure

This weekend, Microsoft has given an insight into the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on its services. The company says that there has been a huge increase in Teams usage, and there are not over 44 million daily users.

In regions where there are isolation and home sheltering orders in place, Microsoft says that there has been a colossal 775 percent increase in usage of its cloud services. Despite the surge in demand, there have not been any significant service disruptions.

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Microsoft Edge finally gains extension synchronization

Multiple Edge logos

If you've used Firefox, Chrome or numerous other browsers, you'll be used to the extensions you install synchronizing between device. This simple but wonderfully handy feature is something that has been sadly lacking from Microsoft Edge, but now this is changing.

Microsoft has promised extension syncing for a little while, and the company is finally starting to roll it out to users. But not everyone is going to get the feature right now.

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