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  • Booby-trapped Word documents in the wild exploit critical Microsoft 0day

    Posted on April 17th, 2017 at 03:26 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The exploit appears in a Word doc attached to an email message. When you open the doc, it has an embedded link that retrieves an executable HTML file which looks like an RTF file. Apparently, all of that happens automatically.

    The downloaded file loads a decoy that looks like a document, so the user thinks they’re looking at a doc. It then stops the Word program to hide a warning that would normally appear because of the link.

    Very clever. It works on all versions of Windows, including Win10. It works on all versions of Office, including Office 2016.

    Good overview by Dan Goodin at Ars Technica.

    Technical analysis by Genwei Jiang at FireEye

    FireEye shared the details of the vulnerability with Microsoft and has been coordinating for several weeks public disclosure timed with the release of a patch by Microsoft to address the vulnerability. After recent public disclosure by another company, this blog serves to acknowledge FireEye’s awareness and coverage of these attacks.

    Likely cause of the rush to disclose from Haifei Li at McAfee.

    McAfee’s recommendation:

    • Do not open any Office files obtained from untrusted locations.
    •  According to our tests, this active attack cannot bypass the Office Protected View, so we suggest everyone ensure that Office Protected View is enabled.

    More details in my InfoWorld Woody on Windows post.

  • The lowdown on Microsoft Teams

    Posted on March 14th, 2017 at 11:23 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Today marks general availability of Microsoft Teams, the Slack-like communication product that’s now part of the paid Office 365 E3 and E5 packages.

    Galen Gruman has an unbiased take at InfoWorld:

    Teams is underwhelming in its formal debut and definitely not a match for the hype Microsoft has been providing since October 2016. For a product so late to market, Microsoft should have delivered much more…

    Slack is great, and no one needs Teams to replace it.

    If you’re getting caught up in the Teams advertising push, take a minute to read the rest of the story.

  • How-To Geek: What’s the Difference Between Office 365 and Office 2016?

    Posted on March 2nd, 2017 at 10:15 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s a question I hear all the time, with a clear answer  from HTG’s Chris Hoffman.

    Short version –

    Office 2016 Home & Student is $150 for one machine (PC or Mac). You can use it forever. Doesn’t include Outlook, Publisher or Access.

    Office 365 Personal is $70/yr for one machine, plus one tablet (iPad, Android). Does include Outlook, Publisher and Access.

    Office 365 Home is $100/yr for up to five PCs or Macs plus five tablets. You also get 1 TB of OneDrive storage.

    Which should you get? Read Hoffman’s analysis. Spot on.

  • Be careful with the Word, Excel and PowerPoint viewers

    Posted on February 27th, 2017 at 07:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Tero Alhonen just tweeted about a new “feature” in the Word, Excel and PowerPoint viewers that I hadn’t noticed before.

    Microsoft has viewers for Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. You can download and use the viewers for free, even if you don’t own Office. Some people prefer using the viewer over running the free Office Online programs.

    If you go to the official Word Viewer download site and click the Download button, you’re given the prechecked option to set MSN as your default home page, and make Bing your default search engine, in all of your web browsers.

    Your system may vary, but on my Win10 1607 system – running Office Pro Plus 2013 – I’m also offered Office 2007 Service Pack 3, the Office compatibility pack (which works with Office 2003, 2000 and XP), the latest MSRT KB 890830 (I have the Feb version installed already), and Internet Explorer 11 (on Win10 – hello?).

    The Excel viewer includes the same checked-by-default offer to change my default homepages and search engines, as does the PowerPoint viewer.

    Permit me to restate that. The official Microsoft Office viewers ship with a browser hijacker enabled by default.

  • iPad smackdown: Microsoft Office vs. Apple iWork vs. Google G Suite

    Posted on February 23rd, 2017 at 16:01 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A meticulous, in-depth comparison of the three Office apps on the iPad – and some real insight into whether an iPad is “good enough” for most Windows users.

    Galen Gruman on InfoWorld.

  • Office 365 vs G Suite

    Posted on February 15th, 2017 at 11:12 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Galen Gruman has an excellent article in InfoWorld detailing the differences between Office 365 and Google’s G Suite. It’s incredibly difficult to explain the differences side-by-side, and Galen’s done it.

    Microsoft Office handily beats G Suite both on the desktop and on mobile devices. Office has long been derided for having too many features that few people use, and there’s truth to that. But for desktop users, it has the features that anyone in your company is likely to need, and they work well.

    If you’re debating about Office vs G-Suite, this is a must-read analysis. Even if you end up with G-Suite!

  • Paul Thurrott nails the Office 365 subscription numbers

    Posted on January 30th, 2017 at 12:57 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    His article on Thurrott.com is behind a paywall, but as I’ve said several times before, the $64/year is well worth it.

    Bottom line: The Office 365 situation isn’t as rosy as you probably think. Paul reported in October that Office 365 had 85 million active users at commercial sites and 25 million active users among consumers. In its most recent financial report, Microsoft said it had 25 million consumer active users – and they didn’t report commercial active users.

    That’s distressing in no small part because Office is widely considered to be the “best” office app for Android and iOS. For example, JRRaphael has a detailed look at the Android story in InfoWorld.

    Office 365 has 100 to 120 million monthly active users. Microsoft has said for years that Office itself has 1.2 billion users.

    You can do the math.

    UPDATE: Better yet, look at Gregg Keizer’s numbers on ComputerWorld. He only has consumer numbers – the only ones Microsoft has released – but the tale is not good.


  • Office 365 Personal licenses can still be used to extend Office 365 Home expiration

    Posted on December 12th, 2016 at 11:59 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Interesting news from Paul Thurrott:

    Many new PCs come with free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. But Microsoft doesn’t let you have two Office 365 subscriptions attached to your Microsoft account. So if you have an existing Office 365 Home subscription, they let you use the Office 365 Personal offer to add 9 months to your existing Home subscription instead.

    That’s very good news if you have an Office 365 Home subscription, and buy a new PC that comes with a free year of Office 365 Personal. Depending on how you value the extension of the Office 365 Home license, that free Office 365 Personal extension offer is worth about $60 to $90 (= $7 or $10 or so x 9).

    You could think of it as an automatic $60 discount on a new Windows PC. Assuming you pay for Office 365 Home, anyway.

    Yes, Office 365 Home is the version that lets you install the major Office apps on up to 5 PCs or Macs + 5 tablets + 5 phones. It also includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.