Tech Tip – Managing Background Apps

If you’re connecting via a mobile device, information, notifications and updates going to and from apps that run in the background can sap your battery power and your data.  Here’s how to control which apps are running in the background:

– Go to Settings > Privacy > Background app.

– To stop all apps from running in the background, toggle ‘Let apps run in the background’ to ‘Off’. Be aware that some background app updates serve a useful purpose.

– To stop individual apps from running in the background, scroll down the list and switch to ‘Off’ as required.

Tech Tip – The 2nd Start Menu

In addition to the main Start menu that you can access by clicking on the Windows symbol (bottom left), Windows 10 has a 2nd start menu that gives you fast access to features like PowerShell, Device Manager, Task Manager and File Explorer.  Here’s how to launch it:

– Click on the Windows key + X or right-click on the Windows icon (bottom left).

– This will launch the 2nd Start menu.

Tech Tip – Ransomware Protection in Windows 10

Ransomware is still a common threat to businesses, but you may not know that Windows 10 already has a ransomware protection features built-in to Windows Defender which is usually disabled by default.  Here’s how to enable ransomware protection:

N.B. If you already have third-party antivirus software installed and Windows Defender’s real-time protection is disabled, the Ransomware Protection features screen and Controlled Folder Access feature won’t be accessible to you. You’ll find this out when you follow these instructions:

– Click on the Start menu.

– Type Windows Security and select the search result, or go to the Settings app, then to Update & Security > Windows Security.

– Open Windows Security and click on the Virus & Threat Protection option

– Scroll down to Ransomware Protection and click on the Manage ransomware protection option.

– Next page, you will see a description of Controlled folder access – toggle to enable it.

– To enable Ransomware Protection, turn on Controlled Folder Access and log in to OneDrive.

– This will allow you to configure Controlled Folder Access and choose which folder you want to monitor and block from malicious programs.

Tech Tip – Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature in Windows 10 allows you to look back over the timeline of activity (in the Windows apps that are supported in the feature) so that you can stay organised, save time in finding things, and pick up where you left off.

To see your Windows Timeline:

– Press the Windows Key + Tab or click on the ‘Task View’ button in the taskbar.

– Click on any of the documents to open them.

– Click on ‘Esc’ to get out of the Timeline screen.

Tech Tip – Weather App In Windows 10

For this week’s topical tech tip, with weather conditions causing so much disruption and damage in the UK, Windows 10 provides personalised weather content to you via a desktop app:

– Type ‘weather’ in the search box (bottom left) and select ‘MSN Weather’.

– Select whether you want the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit and allow the app to find your exact location.

– Click ‘Start’ to see a 10-day forecast for your area or use the search box for a forecast in other areas.

Growth in Threats To Apple Compared To Windows Machines

In a trend that appears contrary to popular perceptions, the latest Malwarebytes (annual) State of malware report has revealed that the growth in attacks on Apple endpoints is outpacing the threats targeting Windows machines.

11 Threats Per Mac Endpoint

The report shows Mac threats were up (2019) four-fold year on year with 11 threats per Mac endpoint on average for Apple compared with only 5.8 threats per Windows endpoint.  An ‘endpoint’ refers to an Internet-capable computer hardware device on a TCP/IP network e.g. desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, printers etc.

Why?

It is likely that the growth in the average number of threats to Apple machines isn’t just down to the fact that there are now more Apple users, but also because Apple may not be taking enough measures that are tough enough to tackle adware and pups (potentially unwanted programmes) compared to efforts made to tackle more traditional malware.

Kaspersky Figures

Figures from Kaspersky this month also show increasing dangers for Mac users as it reports that two years on from its detection, Shlayer Trojan malware attacks one in ten macOS users, and it accounts for almost 30% of all detections for the macOS.

Criminals More Creative and Persistent

As well as the increasing danger for Mac users, in the report, Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski highlights how adware, pre-installed malware and multi-vector attacks all show how cybercriminals appear to be heading in a direction where they are “more creative and increasingly persistent with their campaigns”.

Even though threats to Apple endpoints are growing at a faster rate, it is still Windows and Android devices that face the most threats from annoying and hard to uninstall adware and malware (including ransomware).

Business-Focused

The report highlighted the 13 per cent rise in global business threats last year, and how Trojan-turned-botnets Emotet and TrickBot have been targeting businesses and organisations with ransomware new families, like Ryuk, Sodinokibi and Phobos. Also, businesses are facing new risks from hack tools and registry key disablers.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

As pointed out in the report, those in the online security industry are having to work hard to protect users and businesses from programs that violate user privacy, infect devices, or turn their own infrastructure against them. Businesses and organisations, whether they use Apple or Microsoft Operating Systems need to be acutely aware of (and make sure they are protected against) the threats outlined in the report (malware, ransomware, adware, credit card skimmers and skimmer scripts), as well as phishing and the increasing use of social engineering in attacks.

Mac users may want to check the advice on Apple’s website about features (found in System Preferences) that help protect Macs and the personal information of users from malicious software/malware e.g. protection from malware embedded in harmless-looking apps.  See: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mh40596/mac

Also, Apple advises that MacOS users should exercise caution when accessing scripts, web archives and Java archives, which all pose potential threats.

Tech Tip – Deleting Your Personal Metadata From Microsoft Documents

If you really want to make sure that you fully protect your data and identity, one thing you may not know is that Microsoft Office documents store metadata which (although largely useful) could be linked back to you.  There is an easy way to stop this from happening – here’s how:

For Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint:

– Click on ‘File’ (top left).

– On the Info page, click on ‘Check for Issues’.

– Click on ‘Inspect Document’ (which opens the Inspector window).

– Make sure all the checkboxes in the Document Inspector are checked.

– Click the ‘Inspect’ button.

– A green checkmark in a circle indicates that no data of that type has been found. A red exclamation mark means it found data of this type.

– Next to that data type’s description, click the ‘Remove All’ button.

– You can also click the ‘Reinspect’ button to make sure that nothing was missed.

Tech Tip – Automatic Back-Up

Keeping a back up of your important folders is vital and you can easily set OneDrive in Windows 10 to make automatic back-ups.  Here’s how:

– On the right-hand side of the taskbar, select OneDrive > More > Settings.

– On the AutoSave tab, select ‘Update Folders’ and select the folders that you’d like to automatically back up (sync).

– Remember, if you’re working on an important file in Word, for example, you can use the toggle switch (top left) to set AutoSave to ‘On’ so it will be automatically saved to OneDrive.

Tech Tip – Clipboard History

If you’d like to see the history of all the things you’ve attached to your clipboard in Windows 10 there’s a fast and easy way to do it. To see and to manage your clipboard items:

– Hold down the Windows key + V.  This brings up the scrollable clipboard panel listing all the items you’ve copied.

– Click on an item to paste it into your current document.

– Click on the cross symbol to permanently delete an item from the clipboard.

– Click on the pin symbol to keep an item even when you clear your clipboard history (there is a link to clear the history) or when you restart your PC.

– This feature also allows syncing across other devices so you can paste items from your clipboard to your other devices when you sign in with a Microsoft or work account.

Want A Walkie-Talkie? Now You Can Use Your Phone and MS Teams

Microsoft has announced that it is introducing a “push-to-talk experience” to its ‘Teams’ collaborative platform that turns employee or company-owned smartphones and tablets into walkie-talkies.

No Crosstalk or Eavesdropping

The new ‘Walkie Talkie’ feature will offer clear, instant and secure voice communication over the cloud.  This means that it will not be at risk from traditional analogue (unsecured network) walkie-talkie problems such as crosstalk or eavesdropping, and Microsoft says that because Walkie Talkie works over Wi-Fi or cellular data, it can also be used across geographic locations. 

Teams Mobile App

The Walkie Talkie feature can be accessed in private preview in Teams in the first half of this year and will be available in the Teams mobile app.  Microsoft says that Walkie Talkie will also integrate with Samsung’s new Galaxy XCover Pro enterprise-ready smartphone for business.

Benefits

The main benefits of Walkie Talkie are making it easier for firstline workers to communicate and manage tasks as well as reducing the number of devices employees must carry and lowering IT costs.

One Better Than Slack

Walkie Talkie also gives Teams another advantage over its increasingly distant rival Slack, which doesn’t currently have its own Walkie Talkie-style feature, although things like spontaneous voice chat can be added to Slack with Switchboard.

Last month, Microsoft announced that its Teams product had reached the 20 million daily active users (and growing) mark, thereby sending Slack’s share price downwards. 

Slack, which has 12 million users (a number which has increased by 2 million since January 2019) appears to be falling well into second place in terms of user numbers to Teams in the $3.5 billion chat-based collaborative working software market.  However, some tech commentators have noted that Slack has stickiness and strong user engagement and that its main challenge is that although large companies in the US use it and like it, they currently have a free version, so Slack will have to convince them to upgrade to the paid-for version if it wants to start catching up with Teams

Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie App

Apple Watch users (Series 1 or later with watch OS 5.3 or later, not in all countries though) have been able to use a ‘Walkie-Talkie’ app since October last year.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

For businesses using Microsoft Teams, the new Walkie Talkie feature could be a cost-saving and convenient tool for firstline workers, and the fact that it integrates Samsung’s new Galaxy XCover Pro will give it even more value for businesses.

For Microsoft, the new Walkie Talkie feature, along with 7 other recently announced new tools for Teams focused firmly on communication and task management for firstline workers are more ways that Teams can gain a competitive advantage over rival Slack, and increase the value of Office 365 to valuable business customers.