Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: What’s new?

Microsoft is releasing the Fall Creators Update in September that promises an even better array of features. Windows 10 users can expect improvements to OneDrive file management, battery usage, ransomware protection, and more. We have rounded up some of the new and noteworthy features for business users.

Files on-demand in OneDrive

‘OneDrive Files On-Demand’ solves syncing problems often encountered by those who don’t want all their files synced to all their devices. This feature will give users the option to choose the folders that will be downloaded to the device they’re using, which helps save storage space and bandwidth, and gives users more flexibility.

Greater protection from ransomware

Microsoft beefs up Windows 10 security by introducing ‘Controlled folder access,’ a welcome feature in an era of rampant ransomware outbreaks such as WannaCry and Petya. This security enhancement enables users to assign a ‘switch’ to applications. When the switch is turned on, users are alerted any time unauthorized applications attempt to access or modify files in protected Desktop, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos folders.

Enterprise-level threat prevention

The Fall Creators update will also feature ‘Windows Defender Exploit Guard,’ a threat prevention system that, in Microsoft’s own words, ‘helps make vulnerabilities dramatically more difficult to exploit.’ The platform is primarily intended to recognize and safeguard against brand new malware that has not been cataloged or analyzed by security professionals.

Microsoft will also introduce ‘Windows Defender Application Guard,’ a program that protects Windows 10 users by isolating and containing threats and malware within the Edge browser. For now, it will be available only to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition and Hyper-V users.

Both ‘guards’ will complement firewalls and antivirus software to provide comprehensive protection to data, programs, devices, and networks.

Easier to reach contacts

Windows 10 subscribers will also benefit from the ‘My People’ feature, which will enhance collaboration. This new feature will let users pin contacts from their contact list to the Start Bar for quick access to email, instant messaging, or video calling. To activate, launch the People program and click on the icon found in the taskbar’s notifications area. Contacts can be pinned only if they have the Windows 10 App open in their system.

Other essential enhancements

The Fall Creators Update will also introduce small yet essential enhancements that will prove highly advantageous to businesses, one of which is a bandwidth limiting capability. Using this feature, network administrators can limit the amount of bandwidth allocated for Windows updates, allowing them to manage the updates for all devices across an entire network.

To do this:

  • Go to Deliver Optimization > Advanced options
  • Tick any of the three sliders
  • Adjust download and upload settings: limiting bandwidth for downloading updates; uploading updates to other PCS on the internet; and adjusting monthly upload limit

A battery-saving function will also be introduced to the new Windows 10 via ‘Power Throttling,’ which determines the activities that the system should prioritize based on a user’s activity. For example, if a user has multiple apps open but is actively using only a photo-editing tool, the system will allot greater power resources to the most actively used app and minimal resources to inactive ones.

Are you maximizing your Windows-powered computers’ features and capabilities? Get in touch with our experts to explore what Microsoft products can do for your business.

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Useful business features in Windows 10

The Windows Fall Creators Update released in April introduced many useful and interesting features, including a decluttered Start menu, more control over Windows updates, and an enhanced Microsoft Edge browser. Five months later, Microsoft follows up on all those enhancements with a new set of features. Here’s everything business users should get excited about.

Files on-demand in OneDrive

‘OneDrive Files On-Demand’ solves syncing problems often encountered by those who don’t want all their files synced to all their devices. This feature will give users the option to choose the folders that will be downloaded to the device they’re using, which helps save storage space and bandwidth, and gives users more flexibility.

Greater protection from ransomware

Microsoft beefs up Windows 10 security by introducing ‘Controlled folder access,’ a welcome feature in an era of rampant ransomware outbreaks such as WannaCry and Petya. This security enhancement enables users to assign a ‘switch’ to applications. When the switch is turned on, users are alerted any time unauthorized applications attempt to access or modify files in protected Desktop, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos folders.

Enterprise-level threat prevention

The Fall Creators update will also feature ‘Windows Defender Exploit Guard,’ a threat prevention system that, in Microsoft’s own words, ‘helps make vulnerabilities dramatically more difficult to exploit.’ The platform is primarily intended to recognize and safeguard against brand new malware that has not been cataloged or analyzed by security professionals.

Microsoft will also introduce ‘Windows Defender Application Guard,’ a program that protects Windows 10 users by isolating and containing threats and malware within the Edge browser. For now, it will be available only to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition and Hyper-V users.

Both ‘guards’ will complement firewalls and antivirus software to provide comprehensive protection to data, programs, devices, and networks.

Easier to reach contacts

Windows 10 subscribers will also benefit from the ‘My People’ feature, which will enhance collaboration. This new feature will let users pin contacts from their contact list to the Start Bar for quick access to email, instant messaging, or video calling. To activate, launch the People program and click on the icon found in the taskbar’s notifications area. Contacts can be pinned only if they have the Windows 10 App open in their system.

Other essential enhancements

The Fall Creators Update will also introduce small yet essential enhancements that will prove highly advantageous to businesses, one of which is a bandwidth limiting capability. Using this feature, network administrators can limit the amount of bandwidth allocated for Windows updates, allowing them to manage the updates for all devices across an entire network.

To do this:

  • Go to Deliver Optimization > Advanced options
  • Tick any of the three sliders
  • Adjust download and upload settings: limiting bandwidth for downloading updates; uploading updates to other PCS on the internet; and adjusting monthly upload limit

A battery-saving function will also be introduced to the new Windows 10 via ‘Power Throttling,’ which determines the activities that the system should prioritize based on a user’s activity. For example, if a user has multiple apps open but is actively using only a photo-editing tool, the system will allot greater power resources to the most actively used app and minimal resources to inactive ones.

Are you maximizing your Windows-powered computers’ features and capabilities? Get in touch with our experts to explore what Microsoft products can do for your business.

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It’s time to redefine the word “hacker”

What do you call someone who hunts for security gaps in computer hardware and software? A hacker, right? What about someone who takes their findings to vendors to help them improve the quality of their products? There is more than one type of hacker, and understanding the difference is important.

A complicated history

Since all the way back in the 1950s, the term hacker has been vaguely defined. As computers and the people who worked with them became more accessible, the word was used to describe someone who explored the details and limits of technology by testing them from a variety of angles.

But by the 1980s, hackers became associated with teenagers who were being caught breaking into government computer systems. Partially because that is what they called themselves, and partially because the word hacker has an inherently aggressive ring to it.

Today, several of those pioneering hackers run multimillion-dollar cyber security consulting businesses. So what should you call someone who uses their knowledge for good?

“White hat” hackers

Sometimes referred to as ethical hackers, or plain old network security specialists, these are the good guys. Whether it’s selling what they find to hardware and software vendors in “bug bounty” programs or working as full-time technicians, white hat hackers are just interested in making an honest buck.

Linus Torvalds is a great example of a white hat hacker. After years of experimenting with the operating system on his computer, he finally released Linux, a secure open-source operating system.

“Black hat” hackers

Closer to the definition that most people outside the IT world know and use, black hat hackers create programs and campaigns solely for causing damage. This may be anything from financial harm in the form of ransomware to digital vandalism.

Albert Gonzalez is one of the many poster children for black hat hacking. In 2005, he organized a group of individuals to compromise poorly secured wireless networks and steal information. He is most famous for stealing over 90 million credit and debit card numbers from TJ Maxx over the course of two years.

“Gray hat” hackers

Whether someone is a security specialist or a cyber criminal, the majority of their work is usually conducted over the internet. This anonymity affords them opportunities to try their hand at both white hat and black hat hacking.

Today, there are quite a few headlines making the rounds describing Marcus Hutchins as a gray hat hacker. Hutchins became an overnight superstar earlier this year when he poked and prodded the WannaCry ransomware until he found a way to stop it.

During the day, Hutchins works for the Kryptos Logic cybersecurity firm, but the US government believes he spent his free time creating the Kronos banking malware. He has been arrested and branded a “gray hat” hacker.

The world of cyber security is far more complicated than the stylized hacking in Hollywood movies. Internet-based warfare is not as simple as good guys vs. bad guys, and it certainly doesn’t give small businesses a pass. If you need a team of experienced professionals to help you tackle the complexities of modern cyber security, call us today.

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Are all hackers out to do harm? Not so fast

Newspaper headlines and Hollywood movies have influenced our understanding of computer hackers, but in the real world it’s not so simple. Some hackers are making tremendous contributions to the field of cyber security, it just depends on which hat they’re wearing that day. Take a few minutes to learn about white, black and gray hat hackers.

A complicated history

Since all the way back in the 1950s, the term hacker has been vaguely defined. As computers and the people who worked with them became more accessible, the word was used to describe someone who explored the details and limits of technology by testing them from a variety of angles.

But by the 1980s, hackers became associated with teenagers who were being caught breaking into government computer systems. Partially because that is what they called themselves, and partially because the word hacker has an inherently aggressive ring to it.

Today, several of those pioneering hackers run multimillion-dollar cyber security consulting businesses. So what should you call someone who uses their knowledge for good?

“White hat” hackers

Sometimes referred to as ethical hackers, or plain old network security specialists, these are the good guys. Whether it’s selling what they find to hardware and software vendors in “bug bounty” programs or working as full-time technicians, white hat hackers are just interested in making an honest buck.

Linus Torvalds is a great example of a white hat hacker. After years of experimenting with the operating system on his computer, he finally released Linux, a secure open-source operating system.

“Black hat” hackers

Closer to the definition that most people outside the IT world know and use, black hat hackers create programs and campaigns solely for causing damage. This may be anything from financial harm in the form of ransomware to digital vandalism.

Albert Gonzalez is one of the many poster children for black hat hacking. In 2005, he organized a group of individuals to compromise poorly secured wireless networks and steal information. He is most famous for stealing over 90 million credit and debit card numbers from TJ Maxx over the course of two years.

“Gray hat” hackers

Whether someone is a security specialist or a cyber criminal, the majority of their work is usually conducted over the internet. This anonymity affords them opportunities to try their hand at both white hat and black hat hacking.

Today, there are quite a few headlines making the rounds describing Marcus Hutchins as a gray hat hacker. Hutchins became an overnight superstar earlier this year when he poked and prodded the WannaCry ransomware until he found a way to stop it.

During the day, Hutchins works for the Kryptos Logic cybersecurity firm, but the US government believes he spent his free time creating the Kronos banking malware. He has been arrested and branded a “gray hat” hacker.

The world of cyber security is far more complicated than the stylized hacking in Hollywood movies. Internet-based warfare is not as simple as good guys vs. bad guys, and it certainly doesn’t give small businesses a pass. If you need a team of experienced professionals to help you tackle the complexities of modern cyber security, call us today.

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Black and white: Not all hackers are bad

When a cyber security researcher stopped the spread of WannaCry, the headlines praised him as a savior. But just a few short months later he was in handcuffs for allegedly creating a piece of malware that steals banking information. Even if he is innocent, it’s important to understand the difference between white hat, black hat and even gray hat hackers.

A complicated history

Since all the way back in the 1950s, the term hacker has been vaguely defined. As computers and the people who worked with them became more accessible, the word was used to describe someone who explored the details and limits of technology by testing them from a variety of angles.

But by the 1980s, hackers became associated with teenagers who were being caught breaking into government computer systems. Partially because that is what they called themselves, and partially because the word hacker has an inherently aggressive ring to it.

Today, several of those pioneering hackers run multimillion-dollar cyber security consulting businesses. So what should you call someone who uses their knowledge for good?

“White hat” hackers

Sometimes referred to as ethical hackers, or plain old network security specialists, these are the good guys. Whether it’s selling what they find to hardware and software vendors in “bug bounty” programs or working as full-time technicians, white hat hackers are just interested in making an honest buck.

Linus Torvalds is a great example of a white hat hacker. After years of experimenting with the operating system on his computer, he finally released Linux, a secure open-source operating system.

“Black hat” hackers

Closer to the definition that most people outside the IT world know and use, black hat hackers create programs and campaigns solely for causing damage. This may be anything from financial harm in the form of ransomware to digital vandalism.

Albert Gonzalez is one of the many poster children for black hat hacking. In 2005, he organized a group of individuals to compromise poorly secured wireless networks and steal information. He is most famous for stealing over 90 million credit and debit card numbers from TJ Maxx over the course of two years.

“Gray hat” hackers

Whether someone is a security specialist or a cyber criminal, the majority of their work is usually conducted over the internet. This anonymity affords them opportunities to try their hand at both white hat and black hat hacking.

Today, there are quite a few headlines making the rounds describing Marcus Hutchins as a gray hat hacker. Hutchins became an overnight superstar earlier this year when he poked and prodded the WannaCry ransomware until he found a way to stop it.

During the day, Hutchins works for the Kryptos Logic cybersecurity firm, but the US government believes he spent his free time creating the Kronos banking malware. He has been arrested and branded a “gray hat” hacker.

The world of cyber security is far more complicated than the stylized hacking in Hollywood movies. Internet-based warfare is not as simple as good guys vs. bad guys, and it certainly doesn’t give small businesses a pass. If you need a team of experienced professionals to help you tackle the complexities of modern cyber security, call us today.

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Best Mac tips and shortcuts

Mac operating systems are known for their intuitive user interface with minimal learning curve. But did you know that over the years, Macs have been equipped with a bunch of new shortcuts and hidden features? Here are our picks of the ones guaranteed to make life easier.

Use Siri to change your Mac’s system settings

Rather than going through your computer’s System Preferences menus to find the setting you require, you can use Siri to quickly make these changes. Simply activate Siri by pressing command + spacebar and then say out loud the changes you want, such as “increase brightness” or “turn on bluetooth”.

You can even ask how much hard drive space is left to determine your computer’s available storage.

Copy and paste between devices

Universal Clipboard is an extension feature that was first introduced in the Mac OS X El Capitan and has now made its way to macOS Sierra. With this time-saving tool, you can cut and copy items on your macOS and iOS devices, and paste them onto other devices. These include text, images, and even videos without having to use AirDrop or email.

To enable Universal Clipboard, simply turn on Bluetooth on your Mac and iPhone and make sure both devices are logged in using the same Apple ID. Then press Control + C on your Mac and then hold down and select Paste on your iPhone, or vice versa.

Sync Desktops on multiple Macs

Another new feature in the macOS Sierra syncs desktops across iCloud. This means you can go to your iCloud Drive on any device and access the files and folders on your desktop. You can also access your Documents folder on your desktops too. All this depends on is the amount of storage space you have on your iCloud.

To sync your Desktop, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Make sure the iCloud Drive is selected at the top and click on Options. From there, select Desktop & Documents to share those files. iCloud will then upload these files to the cloud, allowing you to access them on other Macs from anywhere with an internet connection. Just go to iCloud.com, log on, and open the Desktop folder there.

Autocap and full stop on your Mac

The Sierra operating system features the auto capitalization of the first word of a sentence as well as the auto-added full stop when you press space twice, a feature that many iPhone users rely on. To activate it, head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, and select: ‘Capitalize words automatically’, and ‘Add period with double-space’.

Once these two options are ticked, the necessary capitals and full stops will automatically be added in TextEdit, Pages, and other relevant apps.

Use your trackpad to sign things

Thanks to the magical feature of trackpad, you can now sign PDFs within Preview. Just open the PDF you need to sign and click on the toolbox icon at the top right of the Preview toolbar. Then click the signature icon that looks like a squiggle beneath it, make sure the Trackpad tab is selected, and click Create Signature.

Once done, you can select the signature from the menu and drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

Quickly free up space

macOS Sierra features a number of options available to help you free up storage space. Start by clicking on the Apple logo on the top left of your screen, then click About This Mac > Storage > Manage.

You can choose to store files and photos in iCloud and only keep recently opened files and optimized photos on your Mac as required. You can also choose Optimized Storage, which helps you save space by removing iTunes movies and TV shows and only keeps your recent email attachments. Last but not least, you can choose for your trash to be emptied periodically.

Save battery

The latest macOS Sierra can warn you if your display brightness is too high so you can make adjustments to save battery life. If you click on the battery icon in the top menu bar, you’ll be greeted by a drop down menu that shows your current power source and highlights apps that are draining your computer’s battery. From there, you can choose whether to cut down on those apps or not.

These are some of the tips and hidden features that Mac operating systems have to offer. As always, if you’d like to learn about how Apple products can drive value for your business, or have any questions at all, just give us a call.

 

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Best Mac tips and features

If you’re only using command + c, command + v, and command + q, you’re not enjoying the efficiency of a Mac to its full extent. Among the numerous shortcuts and hidden features Apple has introduced over the years, here are our top timesaving picks.

Use Siri to change your Mac’s system settings

Rather than going through your computer’s System Preferences menus to find the setting you require, you can use Siri to quickly make these changes. Simply activate Siri by pressing command + spacebar and then say out loud the changes you want, such as “increase brightness” or “turn on bluetooth”.

You can even ask how much hard drive space is left to determine your computer’s available storage.

Copy and paste between devices

Universal Clipboard is an extension feature that was first introduced in the Mac OS X El Capitan and has now made its way to macOS Sierra. With this time-saving tool, you can cut and copy items on your macOS and iOS devices, and paste them onto other devices. These include text, images, and even videos without having to use AirDrop or email.

To enable Universal Clipboard, simply turn on Bluetooth on your Mac and iPhone and make sure both devices are logged in using the same Apple ID. Then press Control + C on your Mac and then hold down and select Paste on your iPhone, or vice versa.

Sync Desktops on multiple Macs

Another new feature in the macOS Sierra syncs desktops across iCloud. This means you can go to your iCloud Drive on any device and access the files and folders on your desktop. You can also access your Documents folder on your desktops too. All this depends on is the amount of storage space you have on your iCloud.

To sync your Desktop, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Make sure the iCloud Drive is selected at the top and click on Options. From there, select Desktop & Documents to share those files. iCloud will then upload these files to the cloud, allowing you to access them on other Macs from anywhere with an internet connection. Just go to iCloud.com, log on, and open the Desktop folder there.

Autocap and full stop on your Mac

The Sierra operating system features the auto capitalization of the first word of a sentence as well as the auto-added full stop when you press space twice, a feature that many iPhone users rely on. To activate it, head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, and select: ‘Capitalize words automatically’, and ‘Add period with double-space’.

Once these two options are ticked, the necessary capitals and full stops will automatically be added in TextEdit, Pages, and other relevant apps.

Use your trackpad to sign things

Thanks to the magical feature of trackpad, you can now sign PDFs within Preview. Just open the PDF you need to sign and click on the toolbox icon at the top right of the Preview toolbar. Then click the signature icon that looks like a squiggle beneath it, make sure the Trackpad tab is selected, and click Create Signature.

Once done, you can select the signature from the menu and drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

Quickly free up space

macOS Sierra features a number of options available to help you free up storage space. Start by clicking on the Apple logo on the top left of your screen, then click About This Mac > Storage > Manage.

You can choose to store files and photos in iCloud and only keep recently opened files and optimized photos on your Mac as required. You can also choose Optimized Storage, which helps you save space by removing iTunes movies and TV shows and only keeps your recent email attachments. Last but not least, you can choose for your trash to be emptied periodically.

Save battery

The latest macOS Sierra can warn you if your display brightness is too high so you can make adjustments to save battery life. If you click on the battery icon in the top menu bar, you’ll be greeted by a drop down menu that shows your current power source and highlights apps that are draining your computer’s battery. From there, you can choose whether to cut down on those apps or not.

These are some of the tips and hidden features that Mac operating systems have to offer. As always, if you’d like to learn about how Apple products can drive value for your business, or have any questions at all, just give us a call.

 

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Best Mac timesavers

One of Mac’s selling points is its powerful, highly intuitive, and user-friendly operating system. In fact, most companies using Macs today do so to save time and increase productivity. But you can take your Mac computer a step further with these tips and shortcuts.

Use Siri to change your Mac’s system settings

Rather than going through your computer’s System Preferences menus to find the setting you require, you can use Siri to quickly make these changes. Simply activate Siri by pressing command + spacebar and then say out loud the changes you want, such as “increase brightness” or “turn on bluetooth”.

You can even ask how much hard drive space is left to determine your computer’s available storage.

Copy and paste between devices

Universal Clipboard is an extension feature that was first introduced in the Mac OS X El Capitan and has now made its way to macOS Sierra. With this time-saving tool, you can cut and copy items on your macOS and iOS devices, and paste them onto other devices. These include text, images, and even videos without having to use AirDrop or email.

To enable Universal Clipboard, simply turn on Bluetooth on your Mac and iPhone and make sure both devices are logged in using the same Apple ID. Then press Control + C on your Mac and then hold down and select Paste on your iPhone, or vice versa.

Sync Desktops on multiple Macs

Another new feature in the macOS Sierra syncs desktops across iCloud. This means you can go to your iCloud Drive on any device and access the files and folders on your desktop. You can also access your Documents folder on your desktops too. All this depends on is the amount of storage space you have on your iCloud.

To sync your Desktop, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Make sure the iCloud Drive is selected at the top and click on Options. From there, select Desktop & Documents to share those files. iCloud will then upload these files to the cloud, allowing you to access them on other Macs from anywhere with an internet connection. Just go to iCloud.com, log on, and open the Desktop folder there.

Autocap and full stop on your Mac

The Sierra operating system features the auto capitalization of the first word of a sentence as well as the auto-added full stop when you press space twice, a feature that many iPhone users rely on. To activate it, head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, and select: ‘Capitalize words automatically’, and ‘Add period with double-space’.

Once these two options are ticked, the necessary capitals and full stops will automatically be added in TextEdit, Pages, and other relevant apps.

Use your trackpad to sign things

Thanks to the magical feature of trackpad, you can now sign PDFs within Preview. Just open the PDF you need to sign and click on the toolbox icon at the top right of the Preview toolbar. Then click the signature icon that looks like a squiggle beneath it, make sure the Trackpad tab is selected, and click Create Signature.

Once done, you can select the signature from the menu and drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

Quickly free up space

macOS Sierra features a number of options available to help you free up storage space. Start by clicking on the Apple logo on the top left of your screen, then click About This Mac > Storage > Manage.

You can choose to store files and photos in iCloud and only keep recently opened files and optimized photos on your Mac as required. You can also choose Optimized Storage, which helps you save space by removing iTunes movies and TV shows and only keeps your recent email attachments. Last but not least, you can choose for your trash to be emptied periodically.

Save battery

The latest macOS Sierra can warn you if your display brightness is too high so you can make adjustments to save battery life. If you click on the battery icon in the top menu bar, you’ll be greeted by a drop down menu that shows your current power source and highlights apps that are draining your computer’s battery. From there, you can choose whether to cut down on those apps or not.

These are some of the tips and hidden features that Mac operating systems have to offer. As always, if you’d like to learn about how Apple products can drive value for your business, or have any questions at all, just give us a call.

 

Posted in Apple, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Google’s preferred sign-in method

Last year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology removed SMS two-factor authentication from its list of preferred authentication methods. Since then, Google has encouraged users to use prompts-based 2-Step Verification (2-SV) methods instead. Find out why:

Security was the main concern. According to Google, “This is being done because SMS text-message verifications are one-time codes that are more susceptible to phishing attempts.” Hackers can dupe network operators into redirecting the message to their phone. Even worse, there are numerous Android apps that can be used to capture SMS codes sent from banks to customers.

To defend against these threats, Google introduced 2-Step Verification in user accounts. If a user tries to log in to an account, Google will send a phone alert prompting that person to confirm his or her identity. Prompts-based 2-Step Verification (2-SV) sign-in is safer because the entire process occurs over an encrypted connection. In February 2017, Google improved the existing 2-SV prompts with additional information on the device, location and time of attempted sign-ins.

Google hasn’t confirmed ending support for SMS authentication but has already sent invitations urging 2-SV-SMS to switch to the prompts-based version. Users will be given the option of whether they want to retain the prompt-based sign-in. However, users who refuse to switch will receive follow-up notifications after six months.

Android users will enjoy a seamless transition because they will receive prompts without having to download an additional app. However, iOS users who rely on SMS for 2-Step Verification are required to install the Google Search app on their phone.

For any questions, get in touch with us. We’ll help you stay on top of the latest IT management and technology news.

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Google’s 2-Step Verification sign-in

Google wants users to use a prompts-based 2-Step Verification sign-in instead of the SMS two-factor authentication. This is partly because the National Institute of Standards and Technology disqualified the latter from its list of preferred authentication methods. Curious why?

Security was the main concern. According to Google, “This is being done because SMS text-message verifications are one-time codes that are more susceptible to phishing attempts.” Hackers can dupe network operators into redirecting the message to their phone. Even worse, there are numerous Android apps that can be used to capture SMS codes sent from banks to customers.

To defend against these threats, Google introduced 2-Step Verification in user accounts. If a user tries to log in to an account, Google will send a phone alert prompting that person to confirm his or her identity. Prompts-based 2-Step Verification (2-SV) sign-in is safer because the entire process occurs over an encrypted connection. In February 2017, Google improved the existing 2-SV prompts with additional information on the device, location and time of attempted sign-ins.

Google hasn’t confirmed ending support for SMS authentication but has already sent invitations urging 2-SV-SMS to switch to the prompts-based version. Users will be given the option of whether they want to retain the prompt-based sign-in. However, users who refuse to switch will receive follow-up notifications after six months.

Android users will enjoy a seamless transition because they will receive prompts without having to download an additional app. However, iOS users who rely on SMS for 2-Step Verification are required to install the Google Search app on their phone.

For any questions, get in touch with us. We’ll help you stay on top of the latest IT management and technology news.

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