Category Archives: Microsoft Office

Microsoft releases urgent Exchange Server security updates

Microsoft released several urgent security updates for Exchange Server based on cyber attacks believed to be from HAFNIUM and other groups starting March 2, 2021.    This includes Microsoft Exchange Server 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010, but not Exchange Online.  Microsoft recommends installation of security updates and running tests to see if Exchange servers have already been compromised.

The U.S. Justice Department has also executed a court-authorized operation to copy and remove malicious web shells from hundreds of vulnerable computers in the United States in relation to this security issue.   The FBI will attempting to provide notice of the court-authorized operation to all owners or operators of these computers.

Microsoft Office app combines Excel, Word and PowerPoint in one app

The newly released Microsoft Office app combines Excel, Word and PowerPoint into a single app that requires less storage space to install.  New features include converting images into editable Office documents, scanning and signing PDFs, scanning QR codes, and transferring files between devices.

The Office app is now available for Apple iOS and Android and is free to download.

Downdetector shows outage information for websites and services

Downdetector shows outage information and status for widely used websites and services such as  mobile and internet service providers, social media sites, banking and financial services, etc.    This includes:

Microsoft Office free apps for smartphones and tablets with 10.1 inch or smaller screen

Microsoft Office apps such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are available as free downloads for iOS , Android and Windows smartphones and tablets that have a screen size of 10.1 inches or smallerUsers can view, edit and create new Office format files with these free apps once they login with a Microsoft user account, but they must subscribe to Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) to unlock all app functionality.  Free web brower versions of Office apps are also available for users logged into OneDrive.

Students and teachers with a valid school email address are also eligible for the free Office 365 Education version.

Apple device users can run the iWork productivity apps, which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

Office Apps for Windows 10 Mobile will no longer be supported by Microsoft as of January 12, 2021.

End of support for Windows 7 and other Microsoft products

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 after January 14th 2020 and will no longer provide security updates.  For volume license customers, Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for a fee through January 2023. A future option may be Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) for Windows 7, which was announced in 2018 but not yet available in Preview mode.

Update: paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for businesses of all sizes through January 2023.

Office 2010 will no longer be supported as of October 13th 2020.   Microsoft is also ending support for Windows 10 Mobile OS for smartphones on December 10th 2019 and recommends that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device.

Internet Explorer 11 will be the last release, and Microsoft has released more information at its Internet Explorer FAQ page.

Support life cycle dates for Microsoft products can be found at support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search.

Excel XLSX files and Word DOCX files are Zip files of XML data

Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint create files in Open XML formats by default.   The file extensions for OpenXML format include XLSX (Excel), DOCX (Word), and PPTX (PowerPoint).

Files with names that end with “.xlsx” ,”.docx” or “.pptx” can be renamed to “.zip”.  These ZIP files can be uncompressed to reveal multiple files and folders.

Information on how to read the contents of the Open XML format for Microsoft Office may be found at docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/open-xml/understanding-the-open-xml-file-formats.

Adobe issues update to fix Flash Player using Office files to download malware

Adobe issued Security Bulletin APSB18-19 on June 7th 2018 regarding the Flash Player issue where Microsoft Office files used Flash Player to download malware.  Users should download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player at https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.

Microsoft also issued Security Advisory ADV180014 regarding the same issue.