Microsoft Edge now alerts you if any of your online passwords are leaked!

Password Dialogue Screen

Let’s face it – all of us re-use our passwords across different systems, and most use one password for pretty much everything they online – and whilst these may be secure (and yes, some sites may enforce MFA – that’s something at least), if just one of these sites/company’s get’s breached – then your password is out there!!!

Microsoft are trying to help prevent this – well, at least make sure you know so you can do something about it quickly…

Whilst anyone running Beta or Dev version of Edge have had this for a while, the latest “stable” update to roll out this week, has introduced / released probably of the most important feature to help users (everyone) understand anywhere where their password may have been breached/compromised – not just on their Office 365 or laptop credentials but across any (and i mean) any web site or SaaS service they use in Edge.

Introducing Password Monitor in Edge

Microsoft have released a new feature called Password Monitor (which is included in Edge build 88 and later), which notifies users if any of their saved passwords have been found in a third-party breach.

Edge Password Monitor Graphic

This is done by using password hash comparison (so Microsoft doesn’t actually learn or store passwords anywhere), so users can be assured that neither Microsoft nor any other party can learn the user’s passwords while they are being monitored for breach.

When you turn on Password Monitor, Edge  starts periodically (you can force it too) checking the passwords you’ve saved in the browser against a huuuuuuge database of known leaked passwords that are stored in the cloud. If any of your passwords match those in the database, they’ll appear on the Password Monitor page in Microsoft Edge Settings. and you also get a pop-up notification if new ones are found. What this is basically telling you is that “any passwords listed there are no longer safe to use” and you should change them immediately – pretty damn useful advice for anyone!
 

Why this so important

Each year, hundreds of millions of usernames and passwords are exposed online when websites or apps become the target of data leaks and as i mentioned at the start, whilst the public are regularly cautioned against reusing the same username and password combination for more than one online account, it’s a common practice, which leaves them vulnerable on multiple sites when even one passwords gets leaked. Even if your password is complex – it only takes one site to be leaked and your password and username is out there – its like leaving the front door of your house wide-open.

Leaked usernames and passwords often end up for sale on the online black market, commonly referred to as the Dark Web. Hackers use automated scripts to try different stolen username and password combinations to hijack people’s accounts. If one of your accounts is taken over, you can be the victim of fraudulent transactions, identity theft, illegal fund transfers, or other illegal activities and bear in mind many of these sites allow you to save or store payment information, address information, family information on them – perfect for an identity theft!

Password Monitor helps protect your online accounts in Microsoft Edge by informing you when any of your passwords have been compromised, so you can update them. Changing passwords immediately is the best way to prevent your account from being hijacked.

Enabling Password Monitor

This new feature is not enabled by default. In order to active this, you need to carry out these simple steps

  1. Sign in to Microsoft Edge using your Microsoft account or your work or school account.
  2. Navigate to Settings and more > Settings > Profiles > Passwords.
  3. Turn on Show alerts when passwords are found in an online leak.
  4. Any unsafe passwords will then be displayed on the Password Monitor page.

Screenshot of settings in Edge

If you are signed in and syncing your passwords, Password Monitor is automatically enabled in your browsers – auto enablement

When you first enable Password Monitor for the first time, all your passwords will be checked to see if any of them have been compromised. If any of your passwords match those in the list of known leaked passwords, a notification appears:

 

This notification appears only once each time a new password is found to be unsafe. Microsoft give you two options at this point:  – view the details or dismiss the notification – its ok you can come back to them later. 

 

Responding to notifications

If Edge informs you that a user / password combination has been breached / therefore is no longer safe, can go here to learn more :

Settings and more > Settings > Profiles > Passwords > Password Monitor.

Here you will see a list of all the unsafe passwords Microsoft has found, and then for each account listed on the page you can be redirected to that site to allow you to update and change your password.  If an entry in the list of compromised passwords is no longer relevant (you may have deleted your account for example), you can click ignore – remember though, if just one site is breached and you use that account elsewhere – change it!

Microsoft have provided a nice Q&A and support page for this here: Password Monitor support page.

 

Read More about how Password Monitor works

Password Monitor will be made available to Edge users on a rolling basis so it will not be immediately visible to everyone.

You can read more about how this works and why is such a vital step forward for privacy, security and control of your online life here: Password Monitor: Safeguarding passwords in Microsoft Edge – Microsoft Research

How to try out the new redesigned Microsoft Teams “public preview” design.

Since #MicrosoftTeams first launched back in 2017, the core design of the interface hasn’t really changed visually as Microsoft Teams hasn’t really seen a lot of visual or design changes with the familiar “grey and purple” coloured side-navigation bars, and the purple title bar.

Screenshot of Teams Dark mode
Screenshot of Current Microsoft Teams Desktop in dark-mode

A Fresh Lick of Paint

Back in October 2020, Microsoft announced some changes for Teams, including the introduction of new “Fluent icons” and subtle colour changes to Teams both for the light (default) mode and the more popular dark mode in which the changes are much more obvious.

Microsoft recently made it possible to users (if enabled by the Teams Global Admin) to test out some of “coming soon” changes to Teams through a new public preview feature. This new fluent design update is the latest to show itself in the preview. I’m enabled within our corporate environment to try these out, which I have done – and here’s the new fresher view that is coming to everyone soon. 

As you can see below, the dark is much more dark (just compare to your own Teams client), and the icons on the left pane are refreshed a much more modern looking and, well just cleaner. Screenshot of Teams desktop showing Fluent Design

Ooooh…so how do I try the new Teams design?

Great question and it’s really easy to do so long as your company Microsoft Teams / Office 365 admin has enabled the ability for users to “opt in” from the Teams Admin Center. 

Screenshot showing how to enable Teams preview in Teams Admin Centre

One this is done (ask them), you (as a user), need to “enroll” your Teams app into the public preview program to get the preview features.

To do this, simply click on your profile picture at the top, click “about”, and then enable the “public preview” option, as shown below. You will get a notification which will alert you that you are about to switch to the public preview version of the Teams Client. At this point you will be signed out (if you aren’t you need to manually sign-out) and will then need to sign back in.

Enabling Teams Preview in the Teams client

What else is in Preview?

Microsoft publish the features of all release and preview versions of their Office 365 apps here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/officeupdates/current-channel-preview

Additionally, any user can give feedback to Microsoft on Teams by going to the
Help > Give Feedback within the Teams client.

Finally, Microsoft has a Microsoft Teams Public Preview space on their Tech Community Site which can be found here: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-public-preview/bd-p/MicrosoftTeamsPublicPreview

Can I switch back?

Yep – simply follow the steps above but untick the option for the public preview, sign-out and back in again. 

Say Hello to the SurfacePro 7+

Surface Promo

Microsoft today have announced some subtle but important updates to their Surface family which I wanted to share with you quickly.

As always, I welcome any comments and thoughts – are you a fan or always on Surface range? What’s your thoughts on Hub 2S?

Surface Pro 7+ (not the “Pro 8”) Launched

The Surface Pro 5 shipped with an LTE variant which was and remained popular but neither the Pro 6 nor Pro 7 included an LTE variant which was extremely frustrating for organisations that wanted always on Surface Devices. Until now the only way to that was to move to the ARM based Surface Pro X or the baby Surface Go LTE...until now that is!

Announcing -the Surface Pro 7+ (yes, not sure why it’s not the Pro 8)

Image of Surface Pro 7+
Image of the Surface Pro 7 plus (courtesy Microsoft)

 

The Pro 7+ includes the following key updates to last year’s Surface Pro 7:

  • 11th Gen Processor options
    • Dual-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i3-1115G4 Processor (Wi-Fi)
    • Quad-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 Processor (Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi AND LTE)
    • Quad-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1165G7 Processor (Wi-Fi)
  • Same form factor as Pro 7
  • 2.1x faster than the Pro 7 (10th Gen) 
  • Optional LTE Support on select models
  • Battery is bigger and longer with 4.5x better than the Pro 5 LTE
  • Now includes removable SSD – like the Surface ProX

 

Surface Hub 2S 85”

The latest news here is that shipping of the latest giant 85″ Surface Hub has started shipping with US, UK and other shipping this month (existing orders) and EU following in early Feb followed by other regions such as Asia-Pac / India etc by March 2021.

Surface Hub 2S 85"

Surface Hub2S 85″ (courtesy Microsoft)

Microsoft spent a bit of time focusing on the huge achievements they have made here, not just on getting the device ready, but getting it ready for shipment and fulfilment globally – which given the pressures on manufacturing due to COVID-19 and Microsoft’s previous “challenges” in getting Surface Hub v1 into market this was well called out!

For those not familiar, Hub 2 S 85″ is a beast but a thing of beauty. If builds on the gorgeous look and familiar Surface family feel but also provides a nice upgrade to the (now 5-year-old) Surface Hub V1 84″. It’s still heavy at 85kgs but won’t require 4 of the “world’s strongest man contestants” at least to move into position and wall mount it. There’s also of course the familiar Steelcase wall mounts and roam stands available.

You can see the full spec’s in the image below

Surface Hub 2S 85" Specs

 

 

 

New Windows 10 Insider build 21286 brings integrated news and interests feed into the taskbar

Microsoft is looking at making the Windows 10 taskbar more useful and interactive by brining your common interests, news a d weather into a neat interactive task bar applet that is designed to keep you productive by not having to open an app or browser to check the latest news, weather or sports results score.

Rolling out in the latest #WindowsInsiders dev build (21286), Microsoft has adding a customisable and collapsible news and interests feed directly to the Windows 10 taskbar.

The collapsible news and interests feed in action (Image (C) Microsoft)

The news feed can be fully personalised to show you news headlines, sports, weather information, and more. Microsoft says the feed can be populated with content from over 4,500 international publications that include the likes of Sky, BBC etc.

Using it seems simple and natural… when you click on an article, it opens in a ‘streamlined reading view’ that dusht get in the way of your apps… And if you don’t like it you can turn it off!

Check it oot if you are a #windowsinsider sna renege to feed back using the feedback hub!