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Microsoft promises more with upgraded Store for Windows 11

Launched originally with Windows 8 in 2012, Microsoft has revealed that Windows 11 is going to provide major upgrades to its Store. Simon Bisson[1] reports on the expected new developments in his piece in Software which is carried in TechRepublic online post.

Bisson confirms that a new version of the Store will be bundled with Windows 11. This will include support for a broader range of application types. Significantly, Microsoft will be removing the requirement for apps to use their own payment and subscription tools. This is a significant feature since it means that Microsoft will no longer share in the transaction fees when payments are made outside of its Store and making it much more viable to those that use cheaper third-party payment services. The new version of Store will enable users to keep using their own content delivery network with a simple endpoint URL and an installer that will support the required silent installs.  

Bisson states that Microsoft will be expanding the Store to all Windows applications and most importantly changing how software is delivered to enterprises. He contends that “Separating out consumer and business application management makes sense, with the increasing importance of Endpoint Manager and other Microsoft 365 tooling to its enterprise strategy, with a cross-platform set of tools for managing not only Windows, but also mobile applications. The new Microsoft Store expands application delivery for consumers and small businesses, with support for a wider selection of installers and payment systems”.

When Microsoft announced the launch of the new Store in June 2021 for both Windows 10 and 11 this was promoted as an initiative to help “users discover and install the best apps, games, movies and even special offers – like unique movie discounts for Xbox Game Pass members. All the content in the Microsoft Store is tested for security, family safety and device compatibility[2]. This was stated by Giorgio Sardo, GM Microsoft Store at the official launch who promised a more open Microsoft Store for developers with support for more types of apps and flexibility and choice of commerce platform.

New Dropbox features to connect hybrid remote workers

Computerworld.com reports that Dropbox has created a video message tool that lets users record and send short clips to colleagues. This is one of the new features Dropbox offers to support connectivity of distributed workers. Finnegan[3] reports that “with Dropbox Capture, users record short films of up to five minutes using their webcam, with options to also record their screen, create a GIF, or send a voice message. The content, which is uploaded to the user’s Dropbox account, can be sent to colleagues via a hyperlink and viewed or accessed on demand”.

He cites Dropbox Capture as another example of asynchronous communication where messages are accessed not in real time, but at whatever time is convenient for the recipient. To many remote workers, this is a welcome communications tool to support their remote work. Remote workers contend with real-time live video and voice meetings. These require real-time responses and dominate time allocations during the day. Working across different time zones further complicates the real-time live communication process.

Finnegan contends that the addition of asynchronous video communications by Dropbox is in line with market developments where various software vendors such as Slack, Cisco, and Zoom have added this feature. Dropbox Capture allows for a broader offering to support the file-sharing and storage options already on offer. This allows it to position itself better to facilitate collaboration between remote office workers and improve team collaboration.

Dropbox’s established market position as a reliable and trustworthy content repository and content management tool allow it to bring asynchronous video directly into users’ workflow. By integrating such functionality on its platform, this avoids the need for employees to switch between communications and collaboration tools.

Dropbox Capture is currently available in beta for customers of Dropbox’s personal and business plans.

Phishing can seriously damage your health!

Oxford Language Dictionary describes Phishing as “the most common yet effective digital weapon that cybercriminals have in their arsenal. Cybercriminals conduct phishing attacks, usually through emails, disguising themselves as a trusted source and tricking recipients into clicking a malicious link or downloading an attachment”[4].

In other words, phishing attacks usually carried out via emails, seek to deceive recipients of their fraudulent purpose and stealthily trick recipients in activating some form of malicious link or code that is to the fraudster’s advantage.

A recent feature by Adams[5] first published in Security and reproduced on TechRepublic outlines various approaches adopted by fraudsters to trick recipients into believing the attacking email is genuine, legitimate, and does not pose a threat. They do this by making their emails as “normal” and standard as possible tricking recipients to not think about the message but automatically click on the link provided. Adams quotes a report published by Expel[6] which confirmed that “phishing was the top threat in July, making up 72% of the incidents their Security Operations Center (SOC) investigated” and of these “nearly 65% of the incidents their SOC investigated in July were Business Email Compromise (BEC) attempts in Microsoft Office365 (O365)”.

The Expel report states that the top listed phishing keywords were designed to mimic legitimate business invoices, namely:- “RE: INVOICE,” “Missing Inv ####; From [Legitimate Business Name] and “INV####.”

The Expel report states that subject lines highlighting newness are frequently used in phishing attempts with examples including “New Message from ####, “New Scanned Fax Doc-Delivery for ####” and “New FaxTransmission from ####.”

This capitalises on the natural tendency of recipients to want to keep up-to-date and informed with legit services and support. By seeming legitimate, these emails give recipients in a false sense of security and trick them into trusting the instructions being provided. Be aware of phishing attempts and always be suspicious of emails that require you to provide details or take actions that do not fit with current practice.

[1] Bisson, Simon; A new Microsoft Store: What does it mean for you and your business? A lot actually, Software, 27 Sept, 2021 A new Microsoft Store: What does it mean for you and your business? A lot, actually – TechRepublic

[2] Sardo, Giorgio; Building a new, open Microsoft Store on Windows 11, 24 June, 2021, Building a new, open Microsoft Store on Windows 11 | Windows Experience Blog

[3] Finnegan, Mathew, “Dropbox’s “Capture” feature embraces async video”, Computerworld, Sep 29, 2021 https://www.computerworld.com/article/3634420/dropboxs-capture-feature-embraces-async-video.html

[4] oxford dictionary – phishing – Bing

[5] Adams, R. Dallon; “The top keywords used in phishing email subject lines”, Security, September 9, 2021,  The top keywords used in phishing email subject lines – TechRepublic

[6] The top phishing keywords in the last 10k+ malicious emails we investigated – Expel