I have been using Microsoft Office I think literally the day that came out when I was in college.  Or maybe it came out before then?  I don’t remember.  All I remember was that I started using it when Windows 3.1 came out. In fact, I even remember printing out my first copy on it, which was a cover letter for an internship that I was applying for.  I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, that really looks incredible”.  Not the content of the letter per se (LOL) but just how neat and clean it came out on the laser printer.

Of course, the Microsoft Office has grown and evolved tremendously over the decades since the Windows Oss have been changed and upgraded, and now it is completely available on the Cloud (this, I don’t like too much).  I have purchased maybe 5 or 6 computers in my entire lifetime, and I have always have had the Microsoft Office suite either preinstalled or installed on it.  I have never used the Cloud version yet, although this appears to be now the de facto standard.

With this in mind, and the sophistication of Cyber attacks ever increasing on a daily basis, especially that of Ransomware, Microsoft has announced some new security features in Word, Power Point, and Excel.  These are as follows:

  • File Restore:

“Microsoft Office 365 now allows users to restore entire OneDrive to a previous point in time within the last 30 days. This feature can be used to recover files from an accidental mass delete, file corruption, ransomware, or any catastrophic event.”  (SOURCE:  https://thehackernews.com/2018/04/microsoft-office-ransomware.html).

  • Ransomware Detection:

“Office 365 had also introduced a new security feature that detects ransomware attacks and alerts you through an email, mobile, or desktop notification while helping you restore your OneDrive to a point before the malware compromised files.”  (SOURCE:  https://thehackernews.com/2018/04/microsoft-office-ransomware.html).

  • Sharing links that are password protected:

“This feature allows you to set a password for your shared file and folders, preventing unauthorized access even if your recipient accidentally forwards protected documents to others.”  (SOURCE:  https://thehackernews.com/2018/04/microsoft-office-ransomware.html).

  • E-Mail Encryption:

“This feature allows users to send/receive end-to-end encrypted emails in Outlook over a secure connection, providing additional protection to minimize the threat of being intercepted.”  (SOURCE:  https://thehackernews.com/2018/04/microsoft-office-ransomware.html).

  • Prevent Forwarding:

“Microsoft now enables you to restrict your email recipients from forwarding or copying emails you send to them from Outlook. Besides this, any MS Office document attached to your emails will remain encrypted even after downloading, so if the recipient shares your attachment with others, they will not be able to open it.”  (SOURCE:  https://thehackernews.com/2018/04/microsoft-office-ransomware.html).

Another neat feature which has been incorporated is what is known as “Advanced Link Checking”.  By this, the Office 365 Platform will monitor every link that you click in Word, Excel, or Power Point, and even notify you if it looks suspicious.

Here is a timeline thus far of what is available/soon to come out with these features just described:

  • Features 1-4 should be available right now;
  • The Advanced Link Checking won’t be available until the second half of 2018; but it is already available in the Outlook versions.

It should be noted that Microsoft Office still remains the prime target for the Cyber attacker, just because it so widely used.  Hopefully Microsoft will be on their A Game to make sure that these security features will be upgraded and enhanced over time in order to combat the sophistication level of these types of attacks.