Windows 10 Creators Updates Includes New Security Features

Today's topics include the new security features in Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators update, the Dynamics 365 update that includes customer Relationship Insights, Verizon’s plan to sell 24 of its data centers to Equinix and Cisco Talos and Flashpoint’s exposure of the Floki bot malware.

Although aimed at creative professionals and virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts, the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10 will also contain features for security-conscious IT administrators, Microsoft announced.

And it comes not a moment too soon. Windows 10 adoption among enterprise customers is picking up, said Microsoft's Rob Lefferts, director of program Management at Windows Enterprise and Security.

Over the past six months, there has been a three-fold increase in deployments of Microsoft's latest desktop operating system (OS) among enterprises, he claimed.

Now that the OS is showing up in more businesses, the Redmond, Wash., software giant is focusing on improving its defenses against malware and other threats. Microsoft is starting with the Windows Security Center, first introduced in this past summer's Anniversary Update.

The portal will soon link to the Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection service, allowing IT personnel to track attacks as they attempt to wend their way across client systems and email inboxes.

Relationship Insights is now available in preview as part of the December 2016 update to Dynamics 365, Microsoft's unified customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud service.

Ostensibly, the Relationship Insights capability is intended to help "salespeople work more effectively while nurturing and enhancing their business relationships," the software giant asserts in its online documentation.

In practice, it may help keep sales staff tasks from falling through the cracks and preventing an oversight or two from becoming a deal-breaker.

"Relationship Insights leverages the data-integration and artificial-intelligence capabilities built into Azure to combine and analyze your Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Outlook data," wrote the Microsoft Dynamics 365 group in a Dec. 5 blog post.

"It uses the insights derived from this analysis to surface features that help guide your daily work, find critical opportunities, manage email communications, identify actionable email messages, and propose the best path forward.”

Verizon Communications Inc. on Dec. 7 announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell 24 data center sites to Redwood City, Calif.-based Equinix in a transaction valued at $3.6 billion.

Equinix will own and manage 24 Verizon customer-facing data sites consisting of 29 data center buildings in the United States and Latin America.

The deal is expected to close by mid-2017. The transaction aligns with Verizon's strategy to focus on driving digital transformation for enterprise customers, not running data centers.

Floki Bot malware is an emerging threat and is based on source code that originally came from the Zeus trojan, according to research published Dec. 7 by Cisco Talos and Flashpoint.

The two security research groups worked together to analyze the Floki Bot malware which was created by a threat adversary that uses the alias flokibot.

Cisco Talos Threat Researcher Edmund Brumaghin commented that collaboration is extremely important when it comes to identifying and disrupting the activities of cybercriminals. "Adversaries frequently work together in their attempt to monetize their malicious activities,"

Brumaghin told eWEEK. "By collaborating with Flashpoint, Talos was able to quickly gain important insight into the operation behind Floki Bot which allowed us to more effectively protect our customers and the general public."

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