Office 2019 comes with a new feature that office staff and IT admins should be aware of; AutoSave. AutoSave feature automatically saves a user’s document every few seconds to prevent loss of valuable data. However, it gets enabled only when the user’s document lives in SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for business.

In general, saving everything a user does in a document automatically is a good idea – they won’t lose any of their work due to a power outage or any other problem. However, not all users want their documents to be automatically saved. Sometimes users wish to keep their old documents intact. In this post, we’ll show how one can use AutoSave safely.

How to Use AutoSave Safely

Users who wish to use AutoSave without any issues should know that this feature automatically saves every change in their document, even if they only want it to be temporary or if they change their mind and close the document without saving.

If a user wants to use their existing document to work on a new one, they must save the document with a new name before making any changes. If they don’t do this, all the changes they make in the original document will be saved even if they don’t save the document before closing it.

If a user edits a published file while AutoSave is on, any change made on the file will be saved. Therefore, Microsoft recommends users to set the Read-Only Recommend property on the file to ensure that unintentional edits do not get saved.

Microsoft has removed the “File > Save As” command when a file is opened via SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.

Therefore, if users want to keep their original files intact, they should disable AutoSave feature by toggling the switch at the top to “Off” position. Alternatively, they can uncheck the AutoRecover settings from the Options menu.

AutoSave features cannot be permanently disabled in Office. If a user opens a file from the cloud, the AuoSave feature will be on and the user will have to turn it off manually every time. If a user doesn’t turn AutoSave off, all the changes will be saved.

Microsoft recommends users to use “File > Save a Copy” to work on a single copy of the document collaboratively. Instead of creating a file with different names, users can just create a copy of the original file.

People who don’t work with cloud platforms like OneDrive don’t have to worry about AutoSave feature.

Some people think that search engines allow them to access all the websites on the internet. Do you think the same?

Google and other search engines don’t give access to all the websites on the web. They barely allow you to scratch the web’s surface. Below this outer surface lie the internet’s many hidden layers – those that cannot be found through ordinary search. These hidden layers are called the “dark web”. The name sounds intimidating, right? Let’s take a look at what dark web is and what you can find once you access it!

Dark Web

The web is divided into three parts. The first part is called the surface web which includes normal websites that can be found through search engines. The second is the deep web that includes websites that search engines cannot index or present in search results. Online banking sites are examples of deep web websites. The third part is the dark web. Dark web is completely different from the other two parts as it can only be accessed through specialized browsers.

Dark Web Users

Dark web provides complete anonymity to users, which is why it is popular among certain parties who wish to keep their identity hidden. This tool is used for illegal and shady activities like sale of firearms, drugs and child pornography.

Silk Road was the first black market on the dark web. It led to the creation of other black market websites. The authorities shut down Silk Road in 2013. The founder of the website was also arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Many similar websites are still operating on the dark web and authorities haven’t taken any action against them yet.

Dark web isn’t just used for nefarious purposes. It also supports many conscientious actions. For example, Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee and later whistleblower, exposed United States government’s mass-surveillance program by sending information to media outlets and reports through dark web. Dark web is also used by activists and journalists to avoid getting traced by people who would want to cause them harm. In some countries, users aren’t allowed to access specific social media platforms and websites. Dark web can be used to access those restricted websites.

Entering the Dark Side of the Web

Dark web is mostly accessed through a browser called Tor. Tor allows users to access sites on the dark web which have a .onion domain at the end of their web address. These websites are not accessible through normal web browsers.

In addition to Tor other browers like I2P or Freenet can be used to access websites on the dark web. Tor and other browsers enable users to access deep and dark web sites while keeping their identity anonymous. However, it is important to note that Tor won’t protect users from malicious content on websites. Therefore, you should be careful when accessing dark web sites through Tor.

Microsoft introduced the Clutter feature at the end of 2014 as a way to help users focus on their most important messages in their inbox. It uses machine learning to identify lower priority messages and move them out of the inbox into a new Clutter folder. Clutter analyses users’ email habits and past behaviour to determine the messages the user is most likely to ignore and moves them into the Clutter folder. Users can review these messages later when they have time.

If you find an email in the Clutter folder that is important, you can move it to your inbox and Clutter will remember this for next time. You can also select an email from inbox that isn’t important and move it to your Clutter folder; this will enable Clutter to learn your habits quicker. It is recommended that users still check their Clutter folder on a regular basis in case an important email has ended up there and requires immediate action.

How to turn Clutter on

Users need to sign in to Outlook on the web to enable it to work in both Outlook on the web and the Outlook desktop application.

  • Sign in to Outlook on the web
  • Choose the Outlook app launcher
  • Using the navigation bar select Settings > Options > Mail > Automatic Processing > Clutter
  • Select the option ‘Separate items identified as Clutter’ and hit Save

Key Points about Clutter

Clutter can be turned off at any time by selecting ‘Don’t separate items identified as Clutter’.

Clutter will never move message from certain people out of your inbox such as:

  • You
  • Anyone in your management chain, if you’re an Office 365 Business user
  • Your direct reports, if you’re an Office 365 Business user

Clutter will look at various aspects of messages to determine where it should go such as:

  • Who the sender is
  • If you’ve participated in the conversation
  • If you’re the only recipient
  • The importance of the message

The tool gets smarter over time, so it is important to remember to be patient while it is learning your habits and behaviours.

USB drives, also known as thumb drives, flash drives and USB sticks, have become a popular form for storing and transporting files from one computer to another. Their appeal lies in the fact that they are small, readily available, inexpensive, and extremely portable.

With easy storage and portability comes a responsibility to ensure sensitive business data that can be placed on portable devices is safe and secure. However, these same characteristics make them attractive to attackers and also makes them more dangerous than previously thought. It’s not just USB drives that are at risk, any device that plugs into a USB port including electronic picture frames, iPods, and cameras can be used to spread malware.

Embedded within USB devices, from thumb drives thorough keyboards to smartphones, is a controller chip which allows the device and a computer it’s connected to, to send information back and forth. It’s this which means their malware doesn’t sit in flash memory, but rather is hidden away in firmware, undeletable by all but the most technically knowledge. This fundamental design flaw leaves USB devices easily open for an attack.

There are numerous ways for attackers to use USB drives to infect computers. One method is to install malicious code, or malware, on the device that can detect when it is plugged into a computer. When the USB drive is plugged into a computer, the malware infects that computer. Another method is to download sensitive information directly onto a USB drive. The only thing needed to accomplish this is physical access to a computer on the network. Even computers that have been turned off may be vulnerable, because a computer’s memory is still active for several minutes without power. If an attacker can plug a USB drive into the computer during that time, he or she can quickly reboot the system from the USB drive and copy the computer’s memory, including passwords, encryption keys, and other sensitive data, onto the drive.

Possible threats to data

Malware Infection

  • Malware spreads through USB storage devices. Somebody may intentionally sell USB storage devices with malware to track your activities, files, systems and networks.
  • Malware may spread from one device to another device through USB Storage Devices using autorun.exe, which is by default enabled.
  • Somebody may steal your USB Devices for Data.

Unauthorised Usage

Steps to protect your USB’s data

  • Take advantage of security features– Use passwords and encryption on your USB drive to protect your data, and make sure that you have the information backed up in case your drive is lost.
  • Keep personal and business USB drives separate– Do not use personal USB drives on company computers, and do not plug USB drives containing corporate information into your personal computer.
  • Use security software and keep all software up to date– Use a firewall, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware software to make your computer is less vulnerable to attacks, and make sure to keep the virus definitions current.
  • Do not plug an unknown USB drive into your computer– If you find a USB drive, do not plug it into your computer to view the contents or to try to identify the owner.
  • Disable Autorun– The Autorun feature in Windows causes removable media such as CDs, DVDs, and USB drives to open automatically when they are inserted into a drive. By disabling Autorun, you can prevent malicious code on an infected USB drive from opening automatically.
  • Develop and enforce USB drive-related policies– Make sure employees are aware of the dangers associated with USB drives and what your company policy is on the proper use of them.

For many iPhone users, the thought of being a victim to a malware attack doesn’t often cross their mind. That’s because there is a common misconception that Apple operating systems are unable to be hacked. Android users have been vulnerable to malware attacks for years, however recently there has been a hacking campaign that targets iPhone users with data-stealing and location-tracking malware.

The sophisticated mobile malware campaign has been active since August 2015, however the campaign has only come to light recently. 13 iPhones were targeted and it appears the attack was focused on India. The small number of victims has played a role in how this attack was able to fly under the radar for so long. The infected iPhones were using a range of iPhone models and various iOS versions ranging from 10.2.1 to 11.2.6.

The mobile malware gained access to the iPhones by tricking the users to download an open-source mobile device management (MDM) software package. The hackers use the MDM software to take control of the device and gives them the ability to install fake versions of the real apps.

Once the unidentified hackers were in control of the infected devices, they had access to steal various forms of sensitive information including phone number, serial number, location, photos, SMS and Telegram and WhatsApp chat messages.

Research from the campaign suggests that extensive social engineering was used as the MDM enrolment process involves multiple steps and allowing the installation of additional certificates onto the device. Malicious versions of messaging apps such as WhatsApp are pushed onto the devices via fake updates, which are then used to send information to a central command and control server. Researchers also say a certificate was left behind which included a Russian email address to throw investigators off the track.

Even though this campaign only affected a small amount of iPhone users, it acts as an important reminder for users to be mindful when providing permission and access to apps on their smartphones.

Microsoft has released their latest major Windows 10 update for PCs and tablets. Twice a year Microsoft rolls out updates to its Windows 10 features with the latest release also receiving a major name change. This release is known as Windows 10 April 2018, easier for troubleshooting with than the previous Windows 10 Spring Creators Update. Here we take you through the 10 best features of this latest release.

1. Timeline

The only major feature with this latest release, Timeline enhances the Task View button with a history of activities you have previously performed on your computer. Clicking on the Task View button on your taskbar will show you activities from ‘Earlier Today’ as well as previous days underneath your currently open application. The point of this feature is to give you the ability to resume any activities you were previously working on, with the ability to also sync across your devices.

2. Dictation

The dictation tool has had an overhaul in this update making it even easier to use. Simply press the windows key + H keyboard shortcut to launch it and you can begin dictating using any app.

3. Microsoft Edge Tab Muting and PWAs

In its quest to compete with Chrome, Microsoft Edge now has the ability to mute tabs to prevent any loud and annoying websites from playing. Edge has also received a performance and design update, making it feel like a better default browser.

Microsoft has also added support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). PWAs are web applications that are regular web pages or websites, but can appear to the user like traditional apps or mobile apps.

4. Fix Blurry Apps

This latest release has addressed the scaling desktop apps issue that has always annoyed Windows users. It will now detect if an app is blurry because of a monitor change or you docked the laptop and will attempt to scale it better, providing a better overall experience.

5. Audio Preferences Per App

Microsoft has introduced the ability to customise how you receive your audio in Windows 10 based on the applications you are using. For example you can play music through the speakers, while using a headset for your browser audio.

6. Quick Bluetooth Pairing

Bluetooth pairing with accessories has received an update in this latest release. Windows 10 now has the capability to produce a notification to quickly connect a Bluetooth device and pair it. Microsoft is also working with Logitech and other key tech companies to ensure other hardware will support this quick Bluetooth pairing feature.

7. Windows Defender Notification Reduction

If you have had enough of the Windows Defender notifications telling you that Microsoft’s anti-virus just scanned your machine, then you’re in luck with this update. You can now abolish these notifications so you are not informed every time there is a successful scan.

8. Nearby Sharing

Nearby sharing works in a similar way to Apple’s AirDrop feature. You can easily share websites, photos or documents to other nearby Windows 10 devices, making it a handy feature in the workplace.

9. Focus Assist

Previously known as Quiet Hours, Focus Assist has received an update with this latest release. Focus Assist can automatically mute notifications when you’re playing a game or even when you are projecting a presentation to a screen. This update is great for when you are in a meeting and you don’t want notifications to pop up on your screen.

10. Gaming Changes and Xbox Game Bar

Gamers have also been included in the latest release with the ability to now customise graphics performance per game, allowing users to set games to high performance or power saving mode. This can be super useful if you are using a laptop capable of gaming, but you want to conserve battery life. The Xbox game bar has also received a white or black theme update.

Synapse is excited to announce that we are now a Datto Professional Partner. Being part of the Datto Professional Global Partner Program means we can help to protect essential business data for our customers, while delivering uninterrupted access to data on-site, in transit and even in the cloud. This service is an integral part of any Business Continuity plan.

So what is Business Continuity and why is it Important?

Business Continuity is about having a plan to deal with difficult situations that may arise within your business such as flood, fire, theft, cyber attack or hardware failure. It’s important to ensure your organisation can continue to function and is protected with as little disruption as possible when a difficult situation arises. Your plan should help you to:

  • Identify and prevent risks where possible
  • Prepare for risks that you can’t control
  • Respond and recover if an incident or crisis occurs

Make a Plan

A good Business Continuity plan is the first place to start when thinking about BC. You need to ask yourself, how long would your business be down for in case of fire, theft, flood or hardware failure? How much time, data and money would you lose? A plan recognises any potential threats to an organisation and provides an analysis on the impact that threat may have on day-to-day operations of the business. It also provides you with a way to alleviate these possible threats by putting in place a framework to allow key functions of the business to continue operating and re-establish full function as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Key Elements – Resilience, Recovery and Contingency

A Business Continuity plan should have these three key elements:

  • An organisation can increase their resilience by designing critical functions and infrastructures with different disaster possibilities in mind. This can include functions such as staffing rotations, data redundancy and maintaining a surplus or stock or capacity.
  • After a disaster, rapid recovery to restore business functions is vital. Setting recovery time objectives for different systems, networks or applications can help to prioritise which elements need to be recovered first.
  • A good contingency plan should have procedures in place for a variety of external scenarios; these can include a chain of command that distributes responsibilities within the organisation. These particular responsibilities can include hardware replacement, leasing office spaces as well as damage assessment.

For more information on how we can assist you with your Business Continuity plan, please contact Synapse here.

In 2017, it was estimated the amount of Australians using a smartphone was over 16 million people, and the number of users worldwide exceeded 2 billion. With stats like that, its no wonder smartphone manufacturers have spent the time to improve their cameras as they know users don’t want to carry around a camera as well as a phone. As a result, we are starting to see more and more users now creating works of art simply using their smartphones.

Taking great photos on your smartphone generally requires the same things as taking photos on a camera – an eye for creating a scene, good lighting, and an understanding of photographic depth. However, these handy tips will help you to create impressive photos on your smartphone in no time.

Know Your Auto Mode

Taking the time to learn how the automatic shooting mode on your smartphone camera works is the best place to start. Knowing when it uses high ISOs or long shutter speeds will help you to adjust how you take your photos. If you know how the auto mode works, it means you can create your own settings when required.

Override the Defaults

Most smartphones have the ability to adjust the white balance and exposure by simply using a slider to achieve, this will mean you should be able to capture photos that aren’t too bright or too dark. Other manual modes can help you to adjust the ISO and shutter speed which will allow you to choose how much motion blur and grain will be visible in your photos.

Use Good Posture

Smartphone photography experts are now using tripods to ensure perfect stability to take their photos. If you don’t want to go that extreme, then holding your elbows into the sides of your body will give you more stability than holding your arms outstretched or at a distance from your body.

Never use the Digital Zoom

Using the digital zoom feature on your smartphone simply enlarges your photo and crops the output, which reduces the quality of the image and limits your editing capabilities. It’s a much better idea to take the photo without zooming and crop it afterwards.

Don’t Just Take One Shot

With smartphones now having a tonne of storage, you have the ability to take multiple shots of the same thing. This is especially worthwhile when taking photos of moving objects such as cars and people. By taking multiple photos, you don’t have to worry about getting the ‘perfect’ shot. A lot of smartphones also have the ability to capture a burst shot sequence of the one photo allowing you to be able to select which one is the best for you.

Editing

Advancements in smartphones has also resulted in more editing programs for creating professional-looking photos just by using your phone. You can also use editing software on your computer if you want to take it that one step further. Don’t be afraid to play around with different programs to achieve your desired result.

Capture in RAW

If you’re really keen on editing your smartphone photos, capture your images in RAW (unprocessed) instead of JPG capture. Capturing your photos in RAW format, enables you to adjust more details of the image. Just keep in mind that capturing images in RAW are generally large in file size.

Light it Right

If you remember any of our tips on this list, make sure it’s this one. Using the right lighting is the key to successful smartphone photography. Strong artificial lights are the ideal way to achieve better lighting, however as that is not always possible natural light is the next best thing. As with taking a photo on a camera, you should have the sun behind you with the light on the subject. You can transfer this concept to indoors with the subject facing a window and taking the photo with your back to the window.

Install the Google Camera App

If you own an Android smartphone, this tip is for you. Google’s Pixel smartphones have very impressive cameras, so now is your chance to add similar software to your device. The Google Camera app can give you image quality improvements including good performance in low lights.

Use Portrait Mode at the Right Time

Using portrait mode on your smartphone can really enhance the subject of your photos, however it is vital that the conditions are right or you may have blurred areas where you shouldn’t have.  So if you’re looking to take the perfect selfie, make sure you have ideal lighting conditions and your subject is in the right spot for best results.

Microsoft’s personal information manager, Outlook, is currently used by over 400 million people worldwide. With countless tools and features to increase your productivity and efficiency – we’ve compiled our top 4 tricks and just how to unlock them to get the most from your Outlook account.

Top 4 Outlook Tricks
1. Delay Email Deliveries

Outlook’s ‘Delay Delivery’ feature allows you to send an email immediately but schedule its actual delivery for a specific time at a later date. To delay an email’s delivery, go to the Options menu from a new email and choose the Delay Delivery option. You will then need to enter a preferred time and date for the email to be sent.

2. Recall Emails

We’ve all been there – that moment when you realised you’ve sent an email intended for someone else, or forgotten to attach a vital piece of information. Thankfully, there’s now a way to stop the delivery and correct the error, with Outlook’s ability to stop the delivery of an email. To do this, go to Sent Items, then open the message you want to recall. In the Message tab, go to the Move area and click Actions, then Recall This Message. Finally, click ‘Delete unread copies of this message’.

3. Recover Deleted Emails

In the past, hitting the delete button meant an email was gone for good. The email may not have seemed so important at the time, but down the track you may be called upon to access it. Thankfully, Outlook has you covered with its ability to recover a previously deleted email.

To recover a deleted email, go to the Deleted Items folder and open theHome tab. Click on Recover Deleted Items from Server, then go through the list of items and folders that pops up and find the item or folder in question. Select Restore Selected Items and then click OK. The missing item will return to the Deleted Items folder and can be restored to the inbox and dealt with appropriately.

4. Email Autofill

Throughout the working day, you probably find yourself sending numerous emails out a day. Outlook’s ‘Quick Parts’ remembers commonly uses phrases, such as telephone numbers, URLs, postal addresses and more, which then triggers a suggestion whenever you begin to write it.

To activate phrases within Quick Parts, compose a new email and, highlight the specific text you would like to save. From here, choose Insert, Quick Parts and then Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.

The electronic systems used by businesses of all sizes operate with a range of sensitive and confidential data. These systems must be optimally secured, to protect not only your business, but your partners and clients also. Overseeing your data security can be an overwhelming task. We’ve provided a simple airport security analogy to help you understand the 4 stages you need to undertake to implement a comprehensive data protection plan.

1) Luggage Checkpoint & Spam Filter

You’re ready to embark on your trip. The first security step when entering the airport will be carry-on luggage screening to ensure prohibited items are not brought on board. Consider your first line of defense for data protection as your computer’s spam filter.

One careless click and your business could be compromised by a virus or malware. Worse yet, some filters are too aggressive and can cause you to miss important emails. Advanced spam filters will identify and sort incoming website traffic such as links, attachments and emails. Filters then ensure suspicious data is blocked as soon as it’s picked up, before serious damage can be done to your device.

2) Customs & Firewalls

You’re luggage has been cleared by security and you’re next stop is to pass through customs. Here, your passport will be checked and anything dangerous which wasn’t picked up in the luggage security check should be identified. For your businesses data protection, your second line of defence is to install a firewall.

A firewall will provide an added layer of spam filtering, taking a deeper look at the traffic coming through from the internet. Fortinet Fortigate Firewalls will block viruses, worms, spam, phishing attacks and malicious websites without the need for administrative intervention. You can also determine what sites you don’t want employees accessing, to ensure constant protection from the latest threats.

3) Boarding Pass & Antivirus

After passing through customs, you arrive at your gate to present your boarding pass. If information on the boarding pass is invalid, you will be stopped. This means, anything which was not picked up during the first two security checks should be here.

Your third line of defence for your data protection is to install an anti-virus protection software. An anti-virus software will prevent any malicious traffic that has passed the last two stages, and stop it from going any further. Even better, If a virus has infiltrated a device, the antivirus will be there to stop it from running.

4) Seating Allocation & Staff Education

You’ve passed each step! Now you’re ready for the flight attendant to show you to your seat. You’ll be comfortably on your way knowing the numerous security protection processes have kept you safe.

Our final, and often overlooked, data protection line of defence is staff education. Much like a flight attendant being educated of the plane’s seating chart, you must educate your staff about the importance of data security. Knowledge is power, so find engaging ways to convey the value of data, best practices and policies.

Here at Synapse IT Consultants, we offer a variety of services and products to ensure your devices are always protected. If you would like to find out more about how we can help your business, please click here.