As summer comes to a close, employees are returning from summer vacations and students are going back to school. Everyone is catching up on what happened while they were gone, but are you catching up on what is new with the world of technology? Getting back into the routine of things can be challenging. In this blog we will go over the things you missed while you were on vacation this summer and what we believe you should be aware of and help you transition back to the daily grind.
Windows 10 release:
Microsoft announced beginning of June the release of Windows 10 as a free upgrade available at the end of July. There are many different updates with the upgraded Operating System, which the tech world has responded to in VAST numbers. Within 24 hours of the release on July 29, Microsoft announced that the new OS was installed on 14 million devices.
This new operating system changed the way several of it’s apps behave and increased several usability flaws that were seen in recent versions. For more details about what all happened in the Windows 10 release, check out our blog post from earlier this summer about the Windows 10 features Orion is most excited about.
Apple Released New Versions of iOS and OSX
At the end of June, Apple released a security advisory that just released iOS 8.4 fixed more than 20 vulnerabilities. One of these vulnerabilities was the notorious Logjam flaw that allows for users to unknowingly find themselves a part of man-in-the-middle attacks. That same day, a security advisory outlining the OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 update was released. Both of these updates addressed Certificate Trust Policy problems. So by all means, if you haven’t taken time to update your Apple system this summer, DO IT NOW.
Tech Updates Summer 2015 – Infrastructure Updates
Windows Server 2003 Decommission
Windows Server 2003 reached End of Life on 7/14/2015. In short – if your company is still operating with Windows Server 2003 as you return from summer vacation, you need to be looking at options for migrations. Any and all versions of Windows Server 2003 will no longer have updates or patches or customer service support available. Migration options include migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365. Learn more about migrating off of Windows Server 2003 here.
We’re Getting Closer to Windows Server 2016
Microsoft announced that it would be releasing it’s newest version of its server product sometime in 2016 very early this year. However, with the release of Windows 10 this summer, we saw the third technical preview for Windows Server 2016 that showed many exciting new features, namely Windows Server Containers.
Tech Updates Summer 2015 – Email and Applications:
Gmail Launches ‘Undo Send” Button
Six years after Google initially floated a trial balloon on the “undo send” button feature, it finally became a standard part of Gmail this summer. Accidentally send an email to the wrong recipient? No problem! Simply go to the little cog icon in the upper right hand corner and select “Settings.” About a third of the way down the page you will see “Undo Send”. You will then have the ability to choose between 5, 10, 20, and 30 second intervals which you can unsend emails.
Then save your changes at the bottom and you are done. Crisis averted.
On July 9th, Microsoft Announced that Office 2016 for Mac was made available in 139 countries and 16 languages to Office 365 users. The update includes many changes to all of the core Office 365 apps, and dramatically improves performance on Apple products for using the systems. As for the full release? Office 2016 will be made available on September 22nd. Get ready!
In April 2010, Steve Jobs wrote his infamous “Thoughts on Flash” post that outlined why Apple doesn’t support Flash on iPhones, iPads, or other Apple products. While this trend has slowly been gaining more and more ground over the years, this summer saw what could easily become the beginning of the end for Adobe Flash. At the beginning of June, Google Chrome announced that it would be releasing an update in September that will hide all content that isn’t essential to the web page in an effort to help viewers save battery life. Similar actions were also taken by Mozilla Firefox who announced that Adobe Flash would be blocked by default on all versions of the web browser. These came as a result of recently discovered vulnerabilities in Flash that were being actively used by cyber criminals. This will have a major effect on publishers who create Flash-based ads on websites, even though many of them have already begun using systems that auto-convert Flash to HTML5.
Tech Updates Summer 2015 – Security News
Breaches, Attacks, and Patches OH MY!
OPM Damage Control
What Happened? As some of you may have heard, the Office of Personnel Management experienced a breach in security this summer. This was the second of two different attacks OMP has faced within the last 2 years. This second attack was discovered in April of 2015. It was determined that personnel data of 4.2 million current and formal Federal government employees had been stolen. This data includes full names, date of birth, home addresses and Social Security Numbers. Upon further investigation in June 2015, it was determined that further information and personal data was compromised. This data included background investigation records of current, former and prospective Federal employees and contractors.
Wondering if your Car can be Hacked? This summer we found out
One of the most shocking things the world of information security saw this summer was the successful hacking of a zero-day exploit on a Jeep Cherokee. In the attack, which was first reported on Wired, the hackers took control of the air conditioning, blasted music from a local station, turned on the windshield wipers, and then displayed themselves on the Jeep’s digital display. Don’t worry! This report was done to a willing subject who wanted to be a dummy in the test to prove whether or not this could be done. However, test instance or not, the instance led to Fiat Chrysler recalling 1.4 million cars in the US.
Android Makers Will Now Push Monthly Security Updates
In April, Joshua Drake of Ziumperium zLabs reported that 6 vulnerabilities left 95% of Google Android phones open to attack that could be delivered through a malware-infected multi media attachment that could be sent via SMS. The real kicker? The attachment doesn’t even have to be opened to infect the phone. This weakness became known as Stagefright. This lead most of Android device manufacturers, including Google and Samsung to announce in August that they will now roll out monthly over-the-air security updates to all of it’s devices.
Tech Updates Summer 2015 – Gadgets
This summer, there were a few notable trends that should be addressed when returning from summer vacation. Wearables from Fitbits to the Apple Watch have gained huge popularity through the summer. CFO Luca Maestri stated that Apple Watch sales were greater in the first nine weeks than either the iPhone or iPad in their first nine week of sales.
Fitbits have continued to experience enormous growth this summer. This growth is hard to pinpoint, as pointed out in NPR’s article “As Fitbit Goes Public, It Will Have To Outrun Competition.”
Wearable technology in the workplace is one aspect that could be attributed to the quick growth. As you are returning to work from summer vacation, look into wearables in the workplace as way to improve work-life balance and implementation of a wellness program.
This hashtag went viral after a 22-year-old platform engineer in San Francisco was asked to participate in a recruiting campaign for her company. This movement challenged stereotypes and what the public’s ideas were about who works in the IT field. The response from Iris’ challenge is overwhelming. Just searching the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer, it is evident that Iris is not alone. The power of social media this summer assisted in battling stereotypes and increased awareness of an issue society faces every day.
Great Looks to the Past
As with every summer, the rise of great stories that educate as well as entertain take over. This summer, several ground changing technologies experienced milestone birthdays! Take a look at some of our favorite looks back from this summer.
Windows ’95 turned 20 years old on August 24, 2015. When it was first release, more than a decade after Bill Gates publically declared his goal to put a PC in every office and home in America, several promotional videos were launched to teach users how to operate the computers. Microsoft accomplished this by hiring Friends stars Jennifer Anniston and Matthew Perry for these videos. Check this one out that we recently found on WIRED.com.
In June, Super Mario Bros. turned 30, which is an impressive milestone in the video game industry. At E3 2015, Nintendo celebrated Mario franchise while also announcing upcoming games that will be released later in 2015 and continuing into 2016.
Summer 2015 is coming to an end, and many changes, need to know news and trends in the IT world occurred. Revisiting the events of the summer will help you ease into your routine and help you help your business grow and flourish when returning from summer vacation. As highlighted above, changes in operating systems, Microsoft software, data security and social media trends and new gadgets have all made their presence known this summer. Let Orion help you with your transition back from summer vacation.