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Announcing the Xbox Bounty program

January 30th, 2020 No comments

Announcing the new Xbox Bounty. The Xbox bounty program invites gamers, security researchers, and technologists around the world to help identify security vulnerabilities in the Xbox network and services, and share them with the Microsoft Xbox team through Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure (CVD).

The post Announcing the Xbox Bounty program appeared first on Microsoft Security Response Center.

BlueHat Seattle videos are online!

November 13th, 2019 No comments

Were you unable to attend BlueHat Seattle, or wanted to see a session again? We have good news. If you have been waiting for the videos from BlueHat Seattle last month, the wait is over. All videos which the presenter authorized to be recorded are now online and available to anyone. We are also happy …

BlueHat Seattle videos are online! Read More »

The post BlueHat Seattle videos are online! appeared first on Microsoft Security Response Center.

What is a trusted device?

August 14th, 2014 No comments

When you try to view or edit your credit card details or other sensitive information in your Microsoft account, you might need to enter a security code first, to make sure that only you can get in to your account. But you can designate a computer or other device as a trusted device. On trusted devices, you don’t need to enter a security code each time you try to access sensitive information.

How many trusted devices can I have?

You can trust as many devices as you want. There is no limit. If you don’t sign in to a particular trusted device at least once every two months, it’s automatically removed from your Microsoft account. This safeguard helps keep your account more secure in the event that a trusted device is lost or stolen without you realizing it. You can always trust a device again later.

If you get an error, see how to sign into devices that don’t accept security codes.

Do you know what your children are doing online?

This week in the UK, Microsoft launches the Safer Families program for parents to help their kids stay safer online.

According to recent Microsoft research*:

  • 98 percent of UK parents with children at home agree that protecting their children online is necessary, yet almost 50 percent have not used the family safety settings or functions on the devices their children use.
  • Of these, 50 percent don’t know how to do so, and 50 percent know how, but just haven’t done it yet.

*The survey interviewed 1000 parents in the UK with children at home aged 5-16 years.  

So what can parents do? 

Microsoft makes it easy by providing parental controls that are built into its products and services. The new Safer Families program is designed to help parents remove the feeling of ”parental tech paralysis” and switch on safety settings on your Microsoft technology and devices at home.

Learn more about the Safer Families program and how to turn on parental controls on your Microsoft devices.

HOW TO: Recycle your old computers and devices for Earth Day

April 22nd, 2014 No comments

Today is Earth Day. Show your love for the globe by getting rid of your old technology in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Step 1: Back up files or data you want to keep

Use the backup utilities that are built into Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 to transfer files from your old computer to your new one.

If you’re getting rid of a computer that is running Windows 8, use File History.

Step 2: Remove personal information from your computer or device

If you use a Microsoft Certified Refurbisher, they will help you remove your data and help you donate your equipment to people in need around the world.

If you decide to remove the personal information yourself, wipe your hard drive by using specialized software that is designed to government standards and will overwrite your information (Active@ KillDisk and Softpedia DP Wiper are free downloads). 

Step 3: Find a reputable recycler

If you’ve already used a Microsoft Certified Refurbisher, they can help you find the right place for your old computers and devices. If you’re doing it yourself, you can find a list of Microsoft-sponsored recycling opportunities in your area.

Many places will offer rewards for your recycled technology. If you’re getting rid of old Xbox or Playstation games, you might be able to exchange them for a gift card to buy new games.

For more information, see How to more safely dispose of computers and other devices. If you just want to upgrade your operating system, find out if your current computer can run Windows 8.1 and you might not even need to get rid of it.

10 New Year’s resolutions for your digital devices and your online life

December 31st, 2013 No comments

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to resolve to create healthier habits in our daily lives. But we don’t have to stop at just improving our body, mind, and spirit. It’s also a good idea to resolve to keep our PCs, laptops, smartphones, and social networking sites healthy this year.

1. Keep your software up to date. You can help protect against viruses, fraud, and more by keeping your operating system, antivirus software, antispyware software, web browser, and other software updated. Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Learn how to get security updates automatically.

2. Create strong passwords, keep them secret, and change them regularly. This is particularly important for those passwords that safeguard your computer, important accounts (like email or Facebook), and sensitive information, like financial and health data. Get more information about creating strong passwords and protecting them.

3. Use antivirus software. If your computer is running Windows 8, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to help you detect and get rid of spyware and other malware. If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, Windows Defender removes spyware.

4. Check and adjust your privacy settings. You can participate in the online world and keep your information private. Learn more about how to manage your privacy settings in Windows, Internet Explorer, your Microsoft account, Windows Phone, and more. 

Watch a video about privacy in action (1:19).

5. Teach your children about online safety. Before kids use computers, gaming consoles, or mobile devices, make sure you agree on clear limits, talk about how to keep accounts and passwords secret, and help them stand up to online bullying. If your child got a new device this holiday season, read this checklist for safety tips.

6. Monitor your children’s online behaviors, and continue to talk to them about Internet safety. If your kids are online, it’s important to have regular online safety conversations and to continue to keep track of what they’re doing. For more information, see Age-based guidelines for kids’ Internet use.

7. Upgrade to modern software that provides the latest security technologies and protections. Advanced security technologies in modern operating systems are specifically designed to make it more difficult, more complex, more expensive, and therefore, less appealing to cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. Learn more about how support for Windows XP ends this year.

8. Use SkyDrive to help protect your personal information. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to infiltrate your computer and hold your files (photos, documents, reports, etc.) hostage until you pay the demanded amount of money to a cybercriminal. One of the best ways to protect your files is to back them up using a removable drive or a cloud service like SkyDrive.

9. Explore new tools for PC protection. If you feel comfortable performing more advanced computer tasks, consider downloading the free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), which will make it even more difficult for malicious hackers and cybercriminals to get into your computer.

10. Ignore fake tech support phone calls. Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, all you have to do is hang up. For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

 

Weekend Reading: Dec. 20th Edition–‘Biggest holiday season yet’ for Windows Phone and Windows Store apps

December 20th, 2013 No comments

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the momentum building behind Windows Store and Windows Phone Store app downloads, how Bing broke out of the (search) box in 2013 and a Microsoft researcher who uses data to power his predictions.

Buoyed by new gift cards and other promotions, as well as the “biggest holiday season yet,” app development for the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store is going strong. “We’re already seeing momentum build with the (Windows) Store surpassing 12 million transactions per day and Windows Phone Store surpassing 200,000 apps,” writes Todd Brix on the Windows Phone Developers Blog, who encouraged developers to finish and update apps to meet these demands. “Taking into consideration the Microsoft and partner promotions and consumer purchase of Microsoft and Xbox gift cards in retail locations, we are forecasting over $100 million to be available for consumers to buy apps and games this holiday season across 100 retailers in 41 markets.” Some apps and games we highlighted this week include the NORAD Tracks Santa apps, the Staff App Pick: American Airlines and LiveATC, the Amtrak app, Phriz.be, the Gameloft Games collection, “Girls Like Robots,” “Subway Surfers,” “Nemo’s Reef,” Zinio, “Avengers Alliance,” Viber, “Catan” and “Riptide GP2.” To show that you don’t have to be a professional developer to get in on the action, small business owner Holly Shore created her mobile app within hours with Windows Phone App Studio.

In 2013, Bing broke out of the search box. It evolved to power a wider range of services and devices than ever, from voice search in Xbox One to Siri’s Web search results. In Windows 8.1, you can use the Search Charm to explore your files, Web results and more with a single query. Third-party developers can now benefit from Bing technology, including optical character recognition, translation, maps and voice controls, using the new Bing Developer Center. These are just some of the many ways Bing redefined search in this breakout year. You can also check out this infographic for some surprising 2013 stats.

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Microsoft researcher David Rothschild is legendary for his ability to literally predict the future using a unique and rigorous approach to data analysis. He correctly called the results of the 2012 presidential election in every state but one. He nailed 19 of the 24 Oscar categories this past year. And he’s constantly pushing the boundaries of predictive science through experimental live polling, online prediction games and more. In this interview, David Rothschild tells you what to expect in 2014, breaks down his forecasting philosophy, and explains why you should trust professional gamblers more than cable news pundits.

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On Wednesday, University of Colorado Health (UCHealth), one of the state’s largest healthcare providers, announced its migration to Microsoft Office 365. This decision was made in large part due to Microsoft’s long-standing commitment to data security and privacy and because the company supports HIPAA requirements beyond what other vendors provide. Microsoft was the first major IT cloud provider to offer a comprehensive, peer-reviewed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for all of its customers. The BAA, and its subsequent updates to reflect new product offerings and changes in the law, has been widely accepted within the industry as a best practice, and has helped Microsoft establish itself as a trusted healthcare data steward.

Consumers found big savings on Xbox 360 games, adds-ons, avatars and more with the “Countdown to 2014” daily deals from the Xbox Game Store that began Tuesday, Dec. 17. In addition to those great deals, we saw the debut of the Xbox Video and Xbox Music apps for in the Windows Phone Store. Windows Phone 8 is the only phone that offers Xbox Video support this holiday season, which means you can buy and download favorite movies and TV shows from the Xbox Video service and watch them wherever you go. Use your Xbox Music Pass to stream from a catalog of tens of millions of songs using the Xbox Music service. Also, you can use the Verizon FiOS TV app now on Xbox One and Snap View to watch two programs at the same time.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we helped out last-minute shoppers with eight tech gifts that won’t break the bank and five no-stress downloadable gifts.

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Thanks for stopping by this edition of Weekend Reading. Happy holidays, wherever you are!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Weekend Reading: Dec. 6th Edition – Microsoft stands up for customer privacy

December 6th, 2013 No comments

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s role in protecting customer data, how 150,000 students, administrators and staff members in Canada have started using Office 365 and Microsoft Research’s first Artist in Residence.

Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Microsoft’s Legal & Corporate Affairs, wrote about how “many of our customers have serious concerns about government surveillance of the Internet.” He added, “We share their concerns. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure governments use legal process rather than technological brute force to access customer data. Like many others, we are especially alarmed by recent allegations in the press of a broader and concerted effort by some governments to circumvent online security measures – and in our view, legal processes and protections – in order to surreptitiously collect private customer data.”

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Canada’s second-largest public school board – the Peel District School Board – has deployed Microsoft Office 365 to more than 150,000 students, administrators and staff members. And, in another big boost for educators, schools and universities that use Office 365 ProPlus for faculty and staff can now extend the service to students for free. Small businesses also received more help in setting up Office 365 from the latest video in the Garage Series, as you can see below.

James George is Microsoft Research’s first Artist in Residence, who is as at home amongst algorithms and software code as he is in galleries and behind a camera. For three months, the Idaho native relocated to Redmond from his current home in Brooklyn as the first Microsoft Research Artist in Residence (AiR). And in a way, it was a homecoming for the University of Washington alum, who graduated with a computer science degree. George straddles that border between art and technology, and has no problem blurring those lines in his work. Starting Dec. 3, his art installation, “Instance,” will inhabit the Studio 99 art space in Redmond, right in the heart of Microsoft Research.

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James George, Microsoft Research’s first Artist in Residence

The week after U.S. Thanksgiving continues the holiday gift-giving frenzy, and we gave you some great ideas to make it less crazy for you. For the DIY set, nifty gifts are close at hand with these tech tips and tools. For the voyagers in your life, these holiday gifts brighten and lighten globe-trotters’ travels. And for that ultimate gift-giver – you know, that jolly guy in the sleigh who makes lots of stops around the world – Microsoft has put a fresh spin on the annual tracking of Santa’s journey through the launch of the 3D, touch-optimized NORAD Tracks Santa project.

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The Bing Maps Preview app for Windows 8.1 brings the world to your fingertips – in 3D. It gives you personalized local recommendations via Local Scout and smart notifications, real-time traffic updates and a 3D mapping experience of more than 70 cities (and counting) across the globe. Read more about it on Next at Microsoft and the Bing Search Blog. Bing also released a report of its top searches in 2013 – with lots of familiar names and faces (Beyonce, Tim Tebow and the Dallas Cowboys among them).

The Windows Store and Windows Phone Store gained apps and games that satisfied both adventure seekers, home buyers and many more shoppers. You had a lot of new choices to shop from this week, including the Staff App Pick: Zillow and the App of the Week: (download NOOK and take advantage of special offers in the U.S., the U.K. and Spain). You can also find “Dungeon Hunter 4” for free from the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store and manage personal finances through Mint.com from the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store. A new Lync app for Windows 8.1 now gives you control of a shared screen and other improvements. Yammer – Microsoft’s social networking service for the workplace – just updated all of its apps with an updated design and a long list of handy new features.

If you’re looking for Windows Phone apps, you’ve got a lot to choose from with these deals and new offerings: Super Photo, “Crumble Zone” and “Final Fantasy” (the latest Red Stripe Deals collection in the Windows Phone Store), MyFitnessPal, “Wheel of Fortune” and Cisco WebEx Meetings.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we watched an internationally renowned wedding and lifestyle photographer capture a wedding using a Lumia 1020.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of Weekend Reading, which is heading into the homestretch as we say the long goodbye to 2013. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Parental controls in Xbox One

December 3rd, 2013 No comments

Xbox One is the newest all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft. If you’ve already purchased one, or if you plan to, it’s a good idea to learn more about the built-in privacy and safety parental controls.

Control the content your children play and watch

Customize your children’s access to specifically rated games, movies, TV shows, and music according to their ages. By default, if the child is under 8 years of age, Access to content is set to “off.”

Filter the web

Parental controls let you determine what kinds of websites children can view in the Xbox One Internet Explorer app. 

Manage what your children download and buy

Xbox One enables you to control what kinds of apps each child may download from the Xbox store. The setting options are:

  • Blocked (none)
  • Free apps only
  • Free or paid apps

For more information:

3 steps to safer online gaming with Xbox

October 1st, 2013 No comments

If your kids play games using Xbox 360 or Kinect for Xbox 360, or go on Xbox Live, you might wonder what kind of access they have to other gamers online and whether you can limit that access. Read on to find out how.

1.    Adjust your privacy settings

Xbox offers a number of privacy and safety settings that allow you to choose what information you display about yourself and who can contact you. You can adjust these settings for yourself and create stricter settings to Xbox accounts for children.

To learn more, see Privacy on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.

2.    Use parental controls

Xbox parental controls allow you control things such as:

  • Which games can be played
  • Which movies and TV shows can be watched
  • How long each family member can use the console on a daily or weekly basis

To learn more, watch this video about parental controls.

3.    Understand game ratings

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) uses a standard rating to help you determine whether a video game is appropriate for your child. For example, titles rated E (for “Everyone”) have content appropriate for children ages 6 and up, whereas titles rated M (for “Mature”) have content that might be suitable for ages 17 and up.

Learn about the game ratings that Xbox supports.

Fraud alert: Free “Xbox points”

April 25th, 2013 No comments

Although Microsoft was founded 38 years ago this month, don’t fall for a widespread scam that offers free “Xbox points” for wishing the company a happy birthday. Online offers that seem too good to be true probably are. Learn more about common scams that use the Microsoft name.

One way to recognize a scam is to check for inaccurate spelling or wording. Points used on Xbox LIVE Marketplace are actually called “Microsoft Points” (not “Xbox points”). You can purchase them on your console dashboard at Xbox.com or at a video game retailer. Learn more about Microsoft Points and Xbox LIVE Rewards.

See our Facebook page message about this scam

Top 10 security stories of 2012

December 27th, 2012 No comments

From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year.

Download security update for Internet Explorer. In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer, visit Windows Update to download and install the update and ensure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Update your browserIn February, if you had automatic updating turned on, Windows Update automatically upgraded you to Internet Explorer 9.  Now you can get Internet Explorer 10.

Is my computer up to date? In March, you clicked on this blog entry to learn how to turn on automatic updating and to make sure that your computer had all of the latest updates.

Beware of ransomware. Nearly a year ago, a lot of you stopped by to learn about the resurgence of this scam. It launches a pop-up window warning that illegal material has been found on your computer and then locks you out of your computer unless you pay a fee. It’s still around, and we recently offered new guidance to help you deal with it.

Protect yourself from online tracking. Earlier this year we reported on Tracking Protection, which was a new feature in Internet Explorer 9. Read more about how user privacy protection has evolved and why it is turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10.

Here are five more stories that were popular with you this year:

For more information on the top online safety stories of this year, visit the Trustworthy Computing blog.
 
 

Top 10 security stories of 2012

December 27th, 2012 No comments

From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year.

Download security update for Internet Explorer. In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer, visit Windows Update to download and install the update and ensure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Update your browserIn February, if you had automatic updating turned on, Windows Update automatically upgraded you to Internet Explorer 9.  Now you can get Internet Explorer 10.

Is my computer up to date? In March, you clicked on this blog entry to learn how to turn on automatic updating and to make sure that your computer had all of the latest updates.

Beware of ransomware. Nearly a year ago, a lot of you stopped by to learn about the resurgence of this scam. It launches a pop-up window warning that illegal material has been found on your computer and then locks you out of your computer unless you pay a fee. It’s still around, and we recently offered new guidance to help you deal with it.

Protect yourself from online tracking. Earlier this year we reported on Tracking Protection, which was a new feature in Internet Explorer 9. Read more about how user privacy protection has evolved and why it is turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10.

Here are five more stories that were popular with you this year:

For more information on the top online safety stories of this year, visit the Trustworthy Computing blog.
 
 

Manage your privacy settings in one place

November 20th, 2012 No comments

Online gaming helps senior citizens get fit and have fun

April 5th, 2012 No comments

Seniors in Los Angeles are getting into the social gaming craze. The new “Exergamers Wellness Club” combines exercise, health education, and overall health tracking.

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 serves as the exercise platform and HealthVault helps the seniors store and track their health information online.  The program is sponsored by Microsoft, the City of Los Angeles, the Partners in Care Foundation, and St. Barnabas Senior Services.

For more information, see Online Safety & Wellness for Seniors in L.A.   

No matter what your age, these social networking guidelines can help prevent identity theft when you’re using social gaming platforms or sharing health or other sensitive information online.

  • Share only what you need to.
  • Use strong passwords and keep them secret.
  • Before you enter sensitive data on a website make sure the URL has an “https” (the “s” stands for secure).

Get more tips on social networking safety or download our social networking safety brochure.

Report scams in Hotmail, Xbox, and more

February 21st, 2012 No comments

If you think you’re a target of a phishing scam or other fraud in an email, Xbox instant message, or on a website, you can report it. Most Microsoft products have built-in tools that make this easier.

Hotmail. If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click the check box next to the message in your Hotmail inbox. Click Mark as and then point to Phishing scam.

Xbox 360. If someone is trying to phish you in Xbox 360, bring up the player profile, select File Complaint, select File Complaint again, select Text and Voice Communication and then select Text message to file a complaint, where it will be reviewed by our Enforcement Team.

Internet Explorer. While you are on a suspicious site, click the gear icon () and then point to Safety. Then click Report Unsafe Website and use the web page that is displayed to report the website.

Microsoft Office Outlook. Attach the suspicious email message to a new email message and forward it toreportphishing@antiphishing.org. To learn how to attach an email message to an email message, see Attach a file or other item to an email message.

Get more information about how to report and avoid fraud.

Don’t be fooled by fake Halo 4 beta sites

January 31st, 2012 No comments

Microsoft’s Halo 4 Xbox video game won’t be released until December 2012, but some scammers are already launching fake Halo 4 beta websites designed to trick you into giving away your personal information or installing malicious software.

Don’t be fooled.

Get tips on how to report, recognize, and avoid scams.

New Xbox? Protect your account

December 20th, 2011 No comments

Whether your family is getting a new Xbox this holiday season or you want to upgrade the security on your current Xbox, here are our top tips.

Password protect your Xbox LIVE profile. Use a strong password to protect your profile. This is especially important if you or your family plan to download your Xbox LIVE profile or gamertag at someone else’s house so you can play on their console.

Learn how to control access to your account.

Add additional security proofs to your Windows Live ID. Add a mobile phone number, email address, secret question or other information to your account. If your password is stolen, this extra information can help you reset it. Think of this as making an extra copy of the keys to your house. To do this, go to the Manage security info webpage, and then sign in with your Windows Live ID.

Be alert for phishing scams. Phishing scams are designed to trick you into revealing personal information. One trick that cybercriminals use is to offer you deals that are too good to be true. Microsoft will never ask for your Windows Live ID password in an email or over the phone. Enter your Windows Live ID password only at known Microsoft trusted sites or through the Xbox 360 console. Learn more about phishing and other kinds of fraud.

Get more information

Free downloads for Safer Internet Day

February 8th, 2011 Comments off

This year Microsoft supports Safer Internet Day by offering
free events, research, and downloads to help parents, educators, and caregivers
better understand kids and the video games that they play. To see Microsoft’s
latest online gaming research, visit Safer Internet Day 2011.

Free downloads: Learn
more about online gaming


  • “Play It Safe When Gaming Online” consumer
    brochure – XPS | PDF

  • “Microsoft Tools Help Keep Families Safer
    Online” consumer brochure – XPS | PDF

  • Get Game Smart Family PACT (a printable
    agreement to make it easier for parents and kids agree on media choices) – PDF
  • Xbox 360/Kinect Safer Family Gaming Guide – XPS | PDF 

For more information: Safer Internet Day: It’s More than a Game, it’s Your Life.