Archive for March, 2020

Government of India postpones mandatory e-invoicing policies.

March 31st, 2020

The Government of India has postponed mandatory e-invoicing policies. Microsoft will abide by the updated timeline and will inform partners when implementation is due to start.
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Synergy support during lockdown -IT continuity guidance

March 29th, 2020

Despite the necessary lockdown we are still providing support , as best we can using a range of technologies. Microsoft Teams is helping members of practice to collaborate and assist each other.

Other than for emergencies Site visits will cease for this week, however we will be available for screen sharing sessions and conference calls.

We understand these are difficult times. You may be faced with staff absence due to illness due difficulty with travel. Ensure there is a disaster recover/continuity plan in action. Intermittent social distancing approach might be the normal way we live for at least 12-18 months.

Cybercrime is also likely to increase with new scams.

Help us to help you.

Consider shift working or staggered hours or hybrid office and home working as means to social distancing.

What if your available staff was cut by 50% for two weeks, or by 25% for 2 months? Consider if your System Admin is not there and your staff are home working.?

Improve your defences: Get servers, desktops, etc cleaned up of old temp files, update key patches and antivirus, clean down log files, review back up strategy and what is the current state of backups e.g on user laptops.
Write-up a list of your critical business services and applications that are essential to keep your company operating. Record the supplier and what you understand about their availability for remote working, for example:
- Main telephone line
- Email
- Database Applications
- Specialist “Line of Business’ applications (e.g. accountancy, architectural, legal)
- File Share and Documents
-Printers and Copiers.
Do you need additional flash storage to move or to back up data?
Who can give us access rights to dial into your system when needed?.
Who can add and suspend users?
Who can check backups?
Who can check logs?
Are key passwords securely stored?
What will be your procedure for support when your staff work from home?
Can staff take laptops home?
How will they dial into your network?
Data privacy laws
What new tools do you need? e.g.
- remote dial in connectivity e.g. to access a file on a network store
- enhanced security -you may have reduced staff to deal with any attack
- monitoring software
- central mobile network management e.g.to patch a device without needing it to come back to office.

Identify home-workers who are already set-up to work from home
Your business will already have users who regularly work from home. They will have some kind of mobile computer device that can access business cloud services or have secure access (VPN) into the office network to access on-premise services. These individuals are invariably set and ready to work from home.

Identify users that may access some business services available when out of the office (e.g. email on smartphone). These users may access certain business services, such as email, on a smartphone or home PC (webmail). However, is this be enough for them to do their jobs effectively. Identify what services they would need access to be fully productive if they were forced to work from home.

Identify users that have never accessed business technology system from anywhere but at the place of work. These users will likely work from a desktop computer in the office. They also have no remote working facility and may not even have a smartphone or home computer that can access business systems. Confirm that your users have working broadband Internet connection at their home
- Don’t take for granted that your users have broadband Internet at their homes or can get access to a good-quality connection.
- Is it adequate to access your business’ cloud and office systems.
- Confirm that your existing remote-working technology has the capacity to accommodate all of your users working remotely at the same time
- Even if you have the capability for remote working for all of users, have they all worked remotely simultaneously and can your business IT infrastructure handle this?
-Do they need any extra training to work this way?

- Speak to your IT team to ensure the equipment and bandwidth can withstand your entire organisation working from home.
- Speak to your telecoms providers and determine whether you have a cloud-based system. – If you have a cloud-based telecoms system then the likelihood of being able to setup remote extensions to manage your calls is very likely. Alternatively, you should very easily be able to divert your numbers online (via a portal).

If you have a fixed-line system, ask your provider how long it will take to setup a divert at the local telephone exchange and what is the process.

How will you leave policy be affected?

- Will there be return flights?
– What if staff are returning from an infected area?
- how much leave can they bring forward to supervise children off school or care for a sick relative?
How much can they defer because they can;t travel?

Travel Policy?
Airports, railway stations and other busy hubs almost certainly carry a higher risk than working in the office.

It may be a good idea to reduce face to face meetings and use online services like Teams to reduce travel risks.

Medical
Be ready for a rush of insurance claims.

Stop the spread of covid-19 -or else – Dubai gets tough

March 29th, 2020

We are all in this together and we all need to play our part to stop, or at least slow down the spread of the virus. Many find such restrictions onerous , or find it hard to comprehend the seriousness- so the government is enforcing firmly. Fines have drastically reduced deaths from bad driving, this is a much bigger challenge.Simple message: save money and save lives.

The Attorney General, Counselor Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, on March 27, issued resolution No. (38) for the year 2020 following the cabinet decision No. 17 of 2020 regarding implementation of regulations for spreading communicable diseases.

List of violations and penalties

> Dh50,000 fine for not complying with instructions of home quarantine.

> Dh50,000 fine for patients who refuse the mandatory hospitalisation or failing to take the prescribed medicines despite being alerted.

> Dh50,000 fine for violating administrative closure of public places like shopping centers, malls, outdoor markets, gyms, public swimming pools, cinemas, clubs, parks and restaurants dining customers. And Dh500 fine for people caught visiting these public places.

> Dh10,000 fine for organising social gatherings, meetings and public celebrations. And a Dh5,000 fine for people attending the social gatherings and events.

> Dh5,000 fine for not conducting a medical test upon request.

> Dh2,000 fine for violating precautionary measures set by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention by people coming from nations affected by communicable diseases.

> Dh3,000 fine for failure to observe health measures regarding regulation of roads, markets and other public places exempted from temporary closure.

> Dh3,000 for failure to dispose of clothes, luggage or any temporary structures proved to be contaminated and can’t be disinfected by the standard established methods.

> Dh1,000 fine for unnecessary visits to hospitals and other health facilities.

> Dh1,000 fine for allowing more than 3 persons in car.

> Dh1,000 fine for not wearing medical masks indoors and failure to maintain social distancing by persons suffering from chronic disease or having symptoms of flu and cold.

> Dh2,000 fine for leaving home with no important work or a genuine reason.

> Dh3,000 fine for violating provisions of the law when burying or transporting the body of a person who died from a communicable disease.

> Dh5,000 fine for drivers failing to maintain hygiene and following sterilization procedures in public transportation.

> Dh10,000 fine for failure to take precautionary measures failure for the crew of ships from the captain or shipping agent, as the case may be.

Remote and home working

March 25th, 2020

Remote work is ever more popular due to the rapid technological

Organizations that adopt this model must allow their resources to be accessed by employees remotely. I

Benefits of remote work opportunities
This model has opened a range of benefits for both employees and employers. This model provides a suitable work-life balance for employees. The productivity of the employees sometimes increases substantially when they can work within their comfort zone. and are not fatigued with rush hour traffic. Collaborative working is much easier for dispersed groups with solutions like Microsoft Teams.Teams has already sold more than 1 million licences this year, as the coronavirus makes remote working a necessity.

Enabling remote work options to employees, a business can reduce risk of virus spread and shut down offices or skeleton staff and save on infrastructure and utility expenses.

Employees save on commuting expenses and reduce exposure to the virus or risk of transmitting to others. With schools closed for an uncertain period, and flights to and from home countries curtailed, right now it a necessity for many to work from home

Challenges with working remotely
There are a few common concerns with remote work. One of the concerns is the difficulty in managing remote workers and their work, as without direct supervision.

Any communication or access issues to the company application tools and software for remote workers can cause a sense of isolation and frustration for the employees.

Data security is another area of concern when company mission-critical applications are hosted in the Cloud for remote access. In this regard, the virtualization of applications and desktop environments creates easier and safer ways of remote access without the chance of critical data being compromised. However, not every virtualization solution is feature-rich, cost-effective, and at the same time easy to install.

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a cost-effective virtualization software solution to deliver mission-critical virtual applications and desktop environments to end-user devices anywhere in the world.

We offer a FAST TRACK package to enable you to deploy Parallels RAS and extend remote access to any users in your organization,to maintain business continuity. You can quickly:

- Utilize Remote PC functionality in Parallels RAS.

- Use Parallels RAS out-of-the-box with multi-cloud deployments to publish virtual apps and desktops, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

- Leverage on-premises infrastructure to quickly publish applications and desktops using our RD Session Host configuration wizard.

- Intuitive and seamless user experience (UX) on any device, allowing employees to access their workspace from anywhere, on any device, anytime.

- Enhanced data security with tools to help your organization monitor and secure applications, desktops and data in multi-cloud environments.

- Scale your IT infrastructure on-demand - quickly adapt to continuous workplace changes and demands for new applications or desktop types.

Supports multi-cloud deployments by offering fast, scalable, and reliable access to corporate applications from virtually anywhere.

The FAST TRACK package:

- Will not auto-renew unless you want to extend its use
- Will auto-expire at the end of term

A best-in-class user experience on any device—including HTML5 browsers, iOS and Android—retains your workforce productivity even on the go.

Parallels Client provides a local workspace–like experience on any device, keeping employees' productivity high no matter the device they use. Enable employees on the move to use the native touch gestures they know—swipe, drag, tap to click, zoom—with any Windows application on their mobile devices.

Parallels HTML5 Client provides a rich workspace experience, including support for local peripherals and file drag-and-drop. Employees can continue working on active applications and desktops even when switching networks. The HTML5 Client can be customized to fit specific departments or user demands.

Parallels Client permits multiple applications to run on your device. Different files can be kept open, allowing you to switch between them on demand. Functionality such as copy and paste can be used, including native gestures like swiping left or right to switch between applications and files.

Parallels RAS enables printing from any device, utilizing local printers without any configuration needed. The universal printer driver receives the printing job, compresses it and sends it back to the local device. There is no need to install local printer drivers when using Parallels RAS Universal Printing.

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- 24/7 access to your applications and files. Because the unexpected happens all the time.

- One simple tap on your mobile device, and you’re connected reliably to your computer.

- Access it from any other computer through a browser and your secure Parallels account.

- Navigate your hard drive easily to find a file or photo, then copy or open it with a tap.

Test the seamless web access UX on our HTML5 Live Demo.

Contact us now for more information. 009714365589

CO: COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

March 24th, 2020

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the U.K. FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.

Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus [gov.uk]

Covid 19-detection and prevention

March 24th, 2020

We do not profess medical expertise but with limited advice available we hope it will be helpful to share this common sense advice sent to nurses in a U.K. hospital (with our additional comments in italics.)

“At The Princess of Wales hospital. NHS staff have been sent this advice to hospital staff.
It explains the virus and hopefully, how to prevent getting it. Please share with family, friends and work colleagues.

Virus Detection:

The simplest way to distinguish Coronavirus from a Common Cold is that the COVID-19 infection does not cause a cold nose or cough with cold, but it does create a dry and rough cough.

( there are also reports that it may give reduction in sense of taste and smell)

The virus is typically first installed in the throat causing inflammation and a feeling of dryness. This symptom can last between 3 and 4 days.
The virus typically then travels through the moisture present in the airways, goes down to the trachea and installs in the lungs, causing pneumonia that lasts about 5 or 6 days.

Pneumonia manifests with a high fever and difficulty breathing. The Common Cold is not accompanied, but there may be a choking sensation. In this case, the doctor should be called immediately.
(: basically it creates a very sticky mucus that blocks the airways)

Experts suggest doing this simple verification every morning: Breathe in deeply and hold your breath for 10 seconds. If this can be done without coughing, without difficulty, this shows that there is no fibrosis in the lungs, indicating the absence of infection. It is recommended to do this control every morning to help detect infection.

Prevention:
The virus hates heat and dies if it is exposed to temperatures greater than 80°F (27°C). Therefore hot drinks such as infusions, broths or simply hot water should be consumed abundantly during the day. These hot liquids kill the virus and are easy to ingest.
Avoid drinking ice water or drinks with ice cubes.

Ensure that your mouth and throat are always wet, never DRY. You should drink a sip of water at least every 15 minutes. WHY? Even when the virus enters water or other liquids through the mouth, it will get flushed through the oesophagus directly into the stomach where gastric acids destroy the virus. If there is not enough water, the virus can pass into the trachea and from there to the lungs, where it is very dangerous.

For those who can, sunbathe. The Sun’s UV rays kill the virus and the vitamin D is good for you (but don’t overdo it)

The Coronavirus has a large size (diameter of 400-500 nanometers) so face masks can stop it, no special face masks are needed in daily life.
If an infected person sneezes nearby, stay 10 feet (3.3 meters) away to allow the virus fall to the ground and prevent it from falling on you.
When the virus is on hard surfaces, it survives about 12 hours, therefore when hard surfaces such as doors, appliances, railings, etc. are touched, hands should be washed thoroughly and/or disinfected with alcoholic gel The virus can live nested in clothes and tissues between 6 and 12 hours. Common detergents can kill it. Things that cannot be washed should be exposed to the Sun and the virus will die.
The transmission of the virus usually occurs by direct infection, touching fabrics, tissues or materials on which the virus is present.
Washing your hands is essential.
The virus survives on our hands for only about 10 minutes. In that time many things can happen, rubbing the eyes, touching the nose or lips. This allows the virus to enter your throat. Therefore, for your good and the good of all, wash your hands very often and disinfect them.
You can gargle with disinfectant solutions (i.e. Listerine or Hydrogen Peroxide) that eliminate or minimize the amount of virus that can enter the throat. Doing so removes the virus before it goes down to the trachea and then to the lungs.
Disinfect things touched often: mobile phone, keyboard, mouse, car steering wheel, door handles, etc ….

Dynamics 365 re-imagine your business with Synergy Software Systems

March 24th, 2020

Re-imagine your business processes to enable digital transformation within your organizations. This video shows how iMcrosoft Dynamics 3M65 unifies CRM and ERP capabilities into intelligent applications that work seamlessly together across marketing, sales, operations, customer service and field service.

It also shows the seamless integration of Office 365, as well as what is possible for your business when using HoloLens as well as IoT devices with Dynamics 365 – all to help you engage your customers in new ways, empower employees, optimize operations and transform your products and services.

UIPath – Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q4 2019,

March 24th, 2020

UiPath has been recognized as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q4 2019. It achieved the highest possible scores in the Strategy and Market Presence categories, and also the highest position of all evaluated vendors in the Current Offering category.

UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform, responsible for millions of business-critical automations now includes powerful, embedded analytics.

Use UiPath Insights measure, report and align RPA operations with strategic business outcomes.

COVID -19 – Synergy Software Systems

March 23rd, 2020

Its a difficult time for all.
We continue to provide the best support service we can taking into account the safety of our staff, compliance with local health and statutory authorities, and the impacts of travel disruption for consulting assignments outside the U.A,E, or those returning from holiday.

Where possible please engage with us by email and telephone rand fax rather than seek face to face meetings.’

In most case support cases can be dealt with by screen sharing internet sessions. Similarly for training or for virtual meetings.

Any meeting should involve minimal travel, meeting duration, and minimum number of people and ensure appropriate social distancing and dispensing with shaking hands.

Please note that our building management are no longer allowing visitors to our building.

You may find yourself short of staff due to absence, or staff who cannot return from holiday. Consider engaging us to provide a limited set of managed services for essential tasks that can be done remotely e.g checking backups are complete, managing log files, adding new users.

In Lombardy’s northeastern city of Bergamo, 134 family doctors out of 600 – or 22% – had fallen sick or were quarantined, Guido Marinoni, the head of the local association of general practitioners, said….
“…….like fighting a war with a toy gun. I hope the rest of Europe learn from the good things Italy did, but also from our mistakes.”

Dr Hugh Montgomery, chairman of intensive care medicine at University College London, explained why Covid-19 is so infectious and why it’s so important to stop it as early as possible.
“If I get normal flu, I am going to infect on average between 1.3 and 1.4 people. When those 1.3, 1.4 people gave it to the next lot, that is the second time it gets passed on. By the time that is happening 10 times, I’ve been responsible for about 14 cases of flu.

This coronavirus is very, very infectious, so every person passes it on to 3 others.Now that doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but if each of those three passes it to three, and that happens at 10 levels of contact then I have been responsible for infecting 59,000 people.”

Grim and terrifying news – that starkly exposes the seriousness of the problem we all face. A Frontline Doctor For The Mail On Sunday

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/medical/the-look-of-panic-among-medics-patients-failing-to-get-oxygen-in-their-lungs-and-dangerous-under-dressing-of-staff-frontline-nhs-doctor-reveals-how-coronavirus-has-unleashed-terror-in-hospital/ar-BB11w4yB

Stay safe.

U.A.E. National Nutrition Guidelines ask Synergy Software Systems

March 18th, 2020

Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) launched the National Nutrition Guidelines (to serve as a unified national reference on food and nutrition education in the UAE’s community and health institutions. The guideline aims to:

- improve the nutritional status of the UAE’s community and raise awareness about healthy eating behaviour and lifestyle-related diseases
- reduce the prevalence of chronic and malnutrition diseases such as:obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, anemia, osteoporosis and vitamin deficiency
- scale down non-communicable diseases and mortality rates
- encourage individuals to engage in physical activities for better health.

The guidelines consist of six guides. These are:

- to support and promote a healthy living system through healthy food and physical activity
- to maintain healthy food intake at all stages of life
- to reduce calories resulting from high sugar, saturated and trans fats and to reduce salt intake
- to eat variety of diet food and drinks that are rich in nutrients and high in nutritional intensity
- to adopt healthy food patterns
-to achieve food safety.

The National Nutrition Guidelines were developed in collaboration with the U.A.E’s Food Security Office, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gulf Nutrition Committee and the local government bodies across the U.A.E.

If you are involved in food preparation and menu planning and need access to comprehensive nutritional databases and easy to use software then callus and ask about our Nutrition solution.

Coronavirus – crisis and team management for remote workers

March 16th, 2020

Coronavirus is a potent example of major disruption to business flow and continuity. Employees are unable to get to offices or need to self isolate. Offices may be shut down due to physical plant failure or lack of staff or to reduce risk of spread of infection. Consultants can’t travel to projects, supply chains are disrupted but customers still need service and support. Whatever the reason, organizations have to manage such incidents, collaboration and communication are essential to to ensure business continuity.

Microsoft Teams provides a suite of features. We have a ready template to get you started in a few days. The solution combines capabilities of Power Apps, Power Automate, Teams, and SharePoint.

Use on the web, mobile and in Teams.

The Crisis Communication app provides a user-friendly experience to connect end users with information about a crisis. Staff can quickly get updates on:

- internal company news,
- answers to frequently asked questions,
- access to important information like links – add RSS feeds of up-to-date information from reputable sources such as WHO, CDC, Airlines. or a local authority
- emergency contacts specific to different locations..

Create a crisis management team within Microsoft Teams to respond to issues.

Employees can report their work status (e.g., working from home) and make requests.

Managers can coordinate across their teams and helps central response teams to track status across an organization.

Monitor office absences with Power BI.

Once you have the app deployed, and people notify that they will be out of the office for various reasons (such as being sick or working from home) use a Power BI report to track how many. and where those people are located.

The adoption of Microsoft Teams has grown substantially in recentweeks, according to Microsoft, l because of the coronavirus outbreak that forces employees to work from home.

“Microsoft Teams is the only platform with tailored capabilities to connect everyone in your company, from the C-suite to the firstline, in one digital workspace. Our capabilities are built for your customer support staff, IT help desk, store associates, line workers and more,” Microsoft says.

Microsoft itself has not been immune to disruption and has cancelled Ignite Tour events, and to change its mixed reality plans following the cancellation of MWC, and Build 2020. Microsoft said its third quarter finances around Personal Computing will be harmed by the outbreak disrupting supplies.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/effective-strategies-and-tools-for-remote-work-during-coronavirus/

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Ask about out other solutions for access controls, remote monitoring, business risk and continuity planning.

During a time of high illnesses and absences, consider our extended professional support and managed services.

Call 00971433645589

Counterstrike against Necurs, a massive botnet

March 12th, 2020

Microsoft and an international consortium of partners this week launched a counterstrike against Necurs, a massive botnet that Microsoft had been observing and analyzing for nearly eight years.

Botnets are packs of hundreds, thousands or millions of PCs, sometimes called zombies, that have been infected with malware and are under the command and control of malicious actors. Under-patched and out-of-support Windows 7 computer can be infected with a Trojan that enlists that computer in various nefarious schemes. The zombie PC’s owner may notice nothing at all, or sometimes suspect a decline in performance. According to Microsoft, Necurs has had a role in a lot of those nefarious schemes.

Believed to be controlled by criminals in Russia, the botnet is also thought to have been used directly by its owners, as well as rented out as a botnet-as-a-service fy. One of its highest-profile roles was aiding in distribution of the GameOver Zeus banking trojan.

In the years since it first came to the attention of security researchers in 2012, the network has infected as many as 9 million computers globally. It has left its nasty digital fingerprints on pump-and-dump stock scams, fake pharmaceutical spam, Russian dating scams, Internet-based computer attacks, credential theft schemes, data theft attempts, cryptomining and, of course, ransomware. While botnets can be a key component of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and Necurs has DDoS capabilities, Microsoft says that particular use for the botnet has not been documented.

BitSight, a cyber risk management platform provider that worked closely with Microsoft on the Necurs problem. alleged “From 2016 to 2019, it was the most prominent method to deliver spam and malware by criminals and was responsible for 90% of the malware spread by email worldwide,”

Microsoft on March 5 got an order from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to take over the systems inside the United States that are used by Necurs for malware distribution and computer infections.

Microsoft and its partners crafted a sophisticated response built on the technical specifics of the Necurs botnet. Having studied the algorithm that Necurs uses to generate new domains, Microsoft used its considerable technical resources to jump ahead of the botnet .e to accurately predict over six million unique domains that would be created in the next 25 months,”wrote Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president for customer security and trust, in a blog post.

The main counterstrike was launched Tuesday from what a detailed New York Times account described as an “eerily empty Microsoft campus” due to most workers having been ordered home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

” “Microsoft is also taking the additional step of partnering with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others around the world to rid their customers’ computers of malware associated with the Necurs botnet.”

As a concrete step, Microsoft is pointing users to the Microsoft Safety Scanner to help wipe their computers of malware, including Necurs.

Microsoft executives were resigned that any drops in spam, malware and cyberattacks would be temporary at best. In the NYT article, executives described the effort — sadly and accurately — as a game of whack-a-mole.

Cybercriminals are distributing malware using fake security certificate update requests

March 6th, 2020

Cybercriminals are distributing malware using fake security certificate update requests displayed on previously compromised websites, attempting to infect potential victims with backdoors and Trojans using a malicious installer.

The attackers bait their targets with a “NET::ERR_CERT_OUT_OF_DATE” error message presented within an iframe displayed over the site’s actual contents and asking them to install a security certificate that to allow their connection to succeed.

Security certificates (also known as digital certificates or identity certificates) are issued by Certification Authorities (CAs) and used to encrypt the communication between a user’s browser and a website’s server.When digital certificates are out of date and not renewed, web browsers display a notification letting the users know of the decrease in the security of their connection to the website.
Malware campaign active for at least two months

Security researchers at Kaspersky found the earliest signs of this campaign dating from January 16, 2020, with various types of websites being compromised and used to deliver malware to victims, from auto part stores to the site of a zoo.

The alarming notification consists of an iframe — with contents loaded from the third-party resource ldfidfa[.]pw — overlaid on top of the original page, The URL bar still displays the legitimate address.”
The code injected by the operators behind this campaign as a jquery.js script overlays the malicious iframe with the exact same size as the compromised webpage.

The iframe content is loaded from the address https[:]//ldfidfa[.]pw//chrome.html. As a result, instead of the original page, the user sees a seemingly genuine banner urgently prompting to install a certificate update.
If the targets fall for the attackers’ tricks and click the “Install (Recommended)” button under the fake warning message, they will download a Certificate_Update_v02.2020.exe binary that will infect them with malware instead of solving the made-up security certificate error.

Kaspersky discovered while monitoring these attacks that the victims will get infected either with the Buerak Trojan downloader that will download and install more malware onto infected computers. The Mokes backdoor was also spread as a malicious payload during early-January and used by the attackers to download additional malware, to steal the victims’ user credentials, capture keystrokes, records ambient audio every 5 minutes, as well as take screenshots and intercept information entered in the web browser.

Microsoft’s free cloud-to-cloud migration tool, Mover, available to Microsoft 365 customers worldwide,

March 3rd, 2020

Microsoft’s free cloud-to-cloud migration tool, Mover, is “now available to Microsoft 365 customers worldwide,” Microsoft announced earlier this month. Mover is both a tool (a Web app that runs in a browser) and the name of the company based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that Microsoft bought in October. Typically, it’s used to move content and file shares from a cloud service to Microsoft’s OneDrive and SharePoint Online services.

The Mover migration tool can be used by organizations as a “self-service” solution for moving so-called “third-party” (non-Microsoft) cloud-based content to Office 365 services. Mover and Microsoft’s FastTrack partners also offer migration support services for some organizations.

The Mover tool supports other cloud services, as well. Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Google G Suite and Amazon WorkDocs are supported. It’s described by Microsoft as a free tool for all Microsoft 365 customers. Likely, Mover is not a free tool when moving content to non-Microsoft cloud services, though.

Currently, Mover doesn’t have support for Office 365 government cloud moves, according to Microsoft’s announcement.

Microsoft’s FastTrack partner service, offering onboarding and migration support for moves to Microsoft 365 services, uses both the Mover tool and the SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT), . FastTrack can be used by all Microsoft 365 subscribers and by Office 365 subscribers with more than 150 seats, according to this Microsoft FAQ document.

. Mover is just for cloud-to-cloud migrations. SPMT is used for moving SharePoint Server content (on the customer’s servers or “premises”) to SharePoint Online. Currently, the SPMT supports moving SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2010 content. Sometime this year, Microsoft expects to also have support in the SPMT for moving SharePoint Server 2016 and SharePoint Server 2019 content.

Microsoft introduced its Migration Manager tool during the November Ignite talk. Migration Manager, accessible via the SharePoint Admin Center portal, is still at the preview stage.

Currently, Migration Manager “does not support the migration of content from SharePoint Server,” according to the document (although that’s part of Microsoft’s stated roadmap plans). In addition, Migration Manager “currently supports only the migration of file shares.”

Migration Manager is designed to solve the difficulties that organizations have when carrying out SharePoint migrations across multiple machines. It’s used to set up clients and create a list of migration tasks. Migration Manager also has reporting capabilities, and it permits IT pros to monitor the progress of a migration.

Microsoft’s three migration tools — Mover, SPMT and Migration Manager — are somewhat siloed. Microsoft’s general aim is to make large migrations easier for organizations, .

SQL Server 2016 SP2 Cu12 is available

March 1st, 2020

There’s a new feature: the default system health Extended Events session can now store a lot more data and you can edit how much it should hold.

Several hotfixes
• SQL Server can shut down when you hit the max number of sessions
• SQL Server can shut down due to lock conflicts during error message processing
• “SQL Server crashes frequently” when you check a clustered columnstore index for corruption
• AGs may have “interruption”
• Stack dumps when transaction replication has a heavy workload on the publication database
• Stack dumps when you query persisted computed columns
• Stack dumps when you run a batch mode query with multiple joins (that’s columnstore indexes in 2016)
• Scalar functions run slower than they did on SQL Server 2008 R2
• Non-yielding scheduler when the primary AG replica runs low on memory
• AG may think there’s a missing log block when the database isn’t very active
• AG automatic seeding may fail
• AGs with persistent log buffers: “all of the secondaries in the AG become unavailable”
• Change tracking auto cleanup causes access violations and stack dumps
• Access violations when Extended Events tries to capture query text on busy servers
• Error when stored proc in database A pulls data from database B while being audited in database C
• Stack dumps when you alter database-scoped configurations
• Incorrect statistics histograms when they’re updated in parallel – which also means that after you apply this CU, you should probably update your statistics.

Cumulative updates (CU) are now available at the Microsoft Download Center.

Only the most recent CU that was released for SQL Server 2016 SP2 is available at the Download Center. Each new CU contains all the fixes that were included togetrher with the previous CU for the installed version or service pack of SQL Server.
•Microsoft recommends ongoing, proactive installation of CUs as they become available: •SQL Server CUs are certified to the same levels as Service Packs, and should be installed at the same level of confidence.
•Historical data shows that a significant number of support cases involve an issue that has already been addressed in a released CU.
•CUs may contain added value over and above hotfixes. This includes supportability, manageability, and reliability updates.

•Just as for SQL Server service packs, we recommend that you test CUs before you deploy them to production environments.
•We recommend that you upgrade your SQL Server installation to the latest SQL Server 2016 service pack.