Year In Review: Microsoft in 2015

      Microsoft had an interesting year in 2015. After launching Windows 10 on July 29th, approximately 75 million users adopted the new operating system by the end of the su...
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Year In Review: Microsoft in 2015

by NewsEditor_ on December 21st, 2015 in Industry and Security News.

Microsoft had an interesting year in 2015. After launching Windows 10 on July 29th, approximately 75 million users adopted the new operating system by the end of the summer. Some users were not so quick to adapt, as evidenced by the privacy and security concerns caused by the many users of older versions of Windows as well as Internet Explorer. Some of the new Windows 10 cloud-based features also caused users to think twice about Microsoft's commitment to privacy and security. Here are the top ten posts about Microsoft and its line of products from the Lavasoft blog:

Windows 10 Privacy: Five Important Settings to Change

At the time of the Windows 10 launch, 1.5 billion users worldwide had some version of Windows installed. Users who opted for a free upgrade to Windows 10 would be affected by the new operating system and its privacy policies. This article helps users address the most pressing security and privacy issues in Windows 10. 

Windows 10: New Security Features

Despite the negative publicity regarding privacy and security, Windows 10 shows promise with regards to its access control features. The new Windows Hello application allows users to log in using biometric criteria such as their eye color (retina), facial features, or fingerprints. Additionally, Microsoft's new web browser Edge was tested using a bug bounty program. 

Three Ways to Free Up Space on Your PC

As the holiday season approaches, you’ll need more space on your PC for pictures, videos, and holiday music. Here are three simple methods to clear out disk space on your Windows PC.

CryptoWall Ransomware Cost Users $325 Million in 2015

CryptoWall is one of the most pervasive forms of malware from the past year. A variant of malware known as ransomware, it encrypts a user’s files rendering them inaccessible and demands that a ransom is paid to the perpetrators to regain access. While there are many variations of CryptoWall, it targets Windows computers.

Chrome Discontinues Support for Windows XP: Who still uses XP?

Google has announced that it plans to discontinue support for its Chrome web browser for users of Windows XP and Vista. Starting in April 2016, Google will no longer provide software updates and security patches for Chrome to XP and Vista users, though the browser will continue to function on these operating systems. Windows XP remains a popular operating system for institutions such as the US Navy, which pays Microsoft approximately $9 million a year to keep supporting the program. 

MS Outlook Compromises User Privacy, Targeted by Malware

Cybereason, a network security startup, uncovered an advanced form of malware designed to attack large organizations. The malware targets the Outlook Web Application mail server used by employees to access their inboxes remotely. Additionally, a blogger from Beijing provided evidence that Microsoft’s web applications, including Outlook and OneDrive, were revealing potentially sensitive information about their users. 

Windows 10 Start Menu Phones Home

Soon after its release, news about Windows 10 contacting Microsoft servers for seemingly innocuous user functions made the rounds on news sites and forums. In this example, even after privacy and security settings were optimized, Microsoft’s servers still attempt retrieve information from the user’s computer based on their use of the Start Menu search bar.

Microsoft Discontinues Support for Millions of IE Users

A significant portion of computer users are still using older versions of Internet Explorer, including version 10 (4.37%), 9 (6.57%) and 8 (10.48%), with a smaller contingent still using 7 and 6. Last year Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 11 will be the last version of its popular browser and its official support for previous versions will end in 2016. The company has placed their resources into the development of Internet Explorer’s replacement, the Edge web browser which was packaged with Windows 10 and released earlier this year.

How to Manage Windows 10 WiFi Sense Security Risks

Windows WiFi sense is intended to automatically connect users to open networks, accept a WiFi network’s terms of service automatically, and enable the exchange of password-protected WiFi network access with contacts, providing internet access without revealing one another’s passwords. However, some default aspects of this feature have caused users to be concerned regarding their security and privacy.

Windows 10 Privacy: Microsoft’s Official Statement

Microsoft officially addressed the wide range of privacy concerns that have been reported regarding large-scale data collection in Windows 10. Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, posted to the official blog and reiterated the company’s commitment to listening to customer feedback regarding privacy concerns, though some of the article reads like a public relations exercise. 

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