March 2021

Microsoft announces Windows 10 version 21H1 – no release date yet. Expect it around May.

This will be a minor update for those who are on the current 20H2 or 2004 versions.

Earlier versions of Windows 10 still require an extended updating process because of the changes implemented in Windows 10 version 2004 and beyond.

It appears that Microsoft is indeed switching the two feature update releases of the year by moving the smaller one to the first half of the year and the larger update to the second half.

Changes include an improved clipboard and new device and disk management interfaces.

Windows 10 1909 (November 2019 Update) reaches end of service in May.

All editions of Windows Server, version 1909, will also reach end of service.

Microsoft stops providing technical support and fixes for products that reach their end of service.

Windows Server 2022 is coming. New features focus on security.

Microsoft Office 2021 for Windows and Mac will be released later this year. Microsoft will continue to offer a standalone version of MS Office at premium prices.

Microsoft Office App is now available for the iPadversions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – similar to the phone app.

Microsoft plans to combine SharePoint and OneDrive management into the SharePoint Online admin center.

All 270 Apple Stores in the US are open.

 LastPass announced today that it will make changes to its Free service on March 16, 2021. LastPass Free users will only be able to use one device type (phone or PC). LastPass was purchased by the owner of LogMeIn some time ago.

Adobe, Arm, Intel, and Microsoft form content authenticity coalition

The coalition seeks to address the prevalence of disinformation and online content fraud by creating technical standards for certifying the source and history of media content.

Microsoft also advocates an European Union version of Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code.

 Facebook to Reverse Australian News Ban

Facebook blocked all Australian and international news from the feeds of all Australian users late last week in response to a proposed new mandatory bargaining code that would force tech companies like Facebook and Google to pay for the journalism they display.

 Facebook, Google, Microsoft, TikTok, and Twitter adopt Australian misinformation policy

Walmart is dropping the $35 minimum order requirement for its two-hour “Express” delivery service.

Fry’s Electronics is going out of business

Sterilization Robot

110 pounds and 5-feet tall, Sirius is a high-power sterilization robot that combines atomizer spray disinfection methodology and germicidal UV-C lighting to sterilize both air and surfaces to mitigate the risk of contracting an infection.

Robots helping to tackle coronavirus

A COVID-Inspired Civic Tech Movement.

The European Union is creating a “digital green pass”.  the digital certificate will provide proof that a person has been vaccinated, to facilitate travel across borders.

AT&T announced an agreement with private equity firm TPG that will turn DirecTV into a standalone company. They plan to shift toward streaming services.

Paramount+ streaming service set to launch on March 4 is a rebranded and expanded version of CBS All Access.

2020 National Preparedness Report from FEMA (PDF).

2020 rivaled 2016 for the warmest year in recorded history (140 years).


Microsoft Exchange Server exploit

Microsoft has a released a patch for an active hacking campaign targeting Microsoft Exchange Mail servers which are not hosted by Microsoft. If you have Office 365 email, the mail servers have already been patched and there is nothing you need to do. This does not affect the email clients, such as Outlook, only on-premise servers. Although recently patched, the hacking attempts started in January. If you still have your own Exchange server, contact us for help.

ALEXA skills are not carefully monitored for privacy.

Researchers examined the realities of using Alexa’s tens of thousands of so-called Skills.

For most, you have no idea where your answer comes from or what is done with your question.

SolarWinds Blames Intern for Weak Password That Led to Biggest Attack in 2020

Suspected Chinese hackers used SolarWinds bug to spy on U.S. payroll agency

The software flaw exploited by the suspected Chinese group is separate from the one the United States has accused Russian government operatives of using to compromise up to 18,000 SolarWinds Orion software customers.

Solarwinds is owned in large part by Silver Lake and Thoma Bravo, private-equity firms known for extreme cost-cutting. Cybersecurity is a natural area for a technology company to cut costs because its customers won’t notice unless they are hacked ­–In other words, the risk of a cyberattack can be transferred to the customers.

Silver Sparrow Malware Discovered on 30K Infected Macs.  Details and How to detect it.

Critical Bugs Found in Popular Realtek Wi-Fi Module for Embedded Devices

Another reason to check frequently for updates for your devices.

A cybercrime store is selling access to more than 43,000 hacked servers

The MagBo “marketplace” similar to Amazon or eBay, where hackers register accounts to buy and sell compromised servers and websites.


By Tim Torian

Newsletter Sign-Up

The Torian Group Times Newsletter is a service to our clients, and anyone who finds it useful. Topics include security updates; known problems with recent patches; new and upcoming software and hardware that might affect your business; and information about technology in the Visalia area.  It is free to anyone who wishes to subscribe by providing their name and email address. We will not do anything with this information other than sending the newsletter – no unsolicited marketing of any kind.

Subscribe to our Newsletters