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Review Your Security and Privacy Settings in Microsoft Office

Use Microsoft Office? You should check out the suite’s security and privacy settings, if only to be aware of them. Microsoft Office has always been susceptible to viruses and other malware, often delivered through macros in Word. As a response, Microsoft Office disables macros by default when you open documents that you receive from others. But even without macros enabled, Word users can still be exposed. A nasty zero-day vulnerability recently documented by McAfee and since patched by Microsoft could have infected your system if you opened the wrong file attachment. However, this piece of malware would not have unleashed its payload if you had enabled Protected View, which opens documents in read-only mode. Office users should also be on the lookout for potential privacy issues. Through a feature called Intelligent Services, Microsoft can gather the contents of your Office files in an attempt to offer ideas and help improve your writing. This feature is turned off by default, so fortunately you don’t have to hunt around to disable it. But it’s still a feature that exists and that you may want to keep disabled. So, between these two issues, Office users need to check their security and privacy settings … Read More »

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Windows 10: Meet the Feature That Will Save Your Battery Life

Earlier this month, Microsoft made available to mainstream users the third major feature update for Windows 10, known as the Creators Update. Normally the Windows team at Microsoft will take a couple of weeks after releasing the latest feature update to get their new development branch builds in place. It’s a breather for everyone before launching into the next round of work on the next major feature update. However, in the case of the next feature build, Redstone 3, the developers have already released three PC testing builds to Windows Insiders. That is a faster pace than testing build releases following the initial release, November Update, and Anniversary Update of Windows 10. What’s notable: The major feature/under the hood enhancement around which these initial builds have been focused is a new option called Power Throttling. (Note that this may not be the feature’s final name.) Technically, this is not a new thing for Windows 10; in the late development stages of the Creators Update, Microsoft tested a power slider feature that would allow a user to set their system anywhere between “best battery life” or “best performance.” The data collected from that testing shows users wrung out an 11% battery savings. Although … Read More »