TechNave NewsBytes 2020 #5 - Samsung Colour Series Grill Microwave ovens, AMD EPYC, Sony Red Dot, Tencent, Celcom, Maxis, SOCAR, Micron, MDEC + KK Fund, TnG, Vivo, Tokenize Xchange, Mondelēz International, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Microsoft
Quite an eclectic mix this time around for TechNave NewsBytes #5 as Samsung weighs in with their stylish and colourful Microwave ovens. AMD reveals their EPYC processors while Sony showcases their 8 Red Dot winners.
Other news comes from Tencent, Celcom, Maxis, SOCAR, Micron, MDEC + KK Fund, TnG, Vivo, Tokenize Xchange, Mondelēz International and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. This time around there’s also a special Best Practices for remote workforces from Microsoft all the way at the bottom.
New Samsung Colour Series Grill Microwave Oven Line-up available in various stylish colours
Samsung Malaysia Electronics recently unveiled its new Colour Series Grill Microwave Ovens in a variety of colours from the chic Pure Black, to trendy and expressive shades including Clean Pink and Clean Mint.
The sleek exterior of the microwave oven blends seamlessly into any modern kitchen setting. Its full glass touch panel and a minimalist user-friendly UX design, allows for intuitive control with the light touch of a finger, while providing the added ease of fuss-free maintenance.
Catering to a variety of kitchen needs, the Colour Series Microwave Ovens aim to change the way meals are prepared, and make home cooking a breeze with its new list of innovative features:
- new Grill Fry function allows for the cooking of fried food in a healthier way without compromising flavour or texture. Food is cooked to a crisp using a combination of microwave and sheath heater technologies based on an optimal algorithm. The microwave ovens also include an easy-to-clean Teflon-coated Crusty Plate that can be heated up to 200°C.
- Defrost frozen food rapidly with Quick Defrost and more than 5 food options.
- The Home Dessert function lets you prepare delicious homemade desserts from a list of pre-set suggestions in a matter of minutes with just one touch – no preheating required!
- The Colour Series Microwave Ovens feature a ceramic enamel interior that can be cleaned without scrubbing and will not discolour over time. Certified to be 99.9% anti-bacterial, the easy-to-clean, non-stick ceramic interior is scratch resistant and is resilient against discolouration. This prevents the growth of bacteria, providing a more hygienic cooking environment.
Samsung’s MW5000T colour Grill Microwave Ovens are available for purchase now at all Samsung authorized outlets at RM599 for the 23L version in clean mint, clean pink and pure black. The 30L version in just pure black is priced at RM749.
2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors power new IBM Cloud Bare Metal servers
Recently, AMD announced that IBM Cloud is enhancing its global infrastructure with 2nd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors to power its latest bare metal servers. With the addition of the AMD EPYC 7642 processor to its cloud portfolio, IBM is engineered to deliver increased computing performance in its bare metal offerings.
Available now, these new bare metal servers are the first 2nd Gen AMD EPYC™ based offering from IBM Cloud and are focused on the computing power and performance required to accelerate modern workloads like data analytics, electronic design automation, artificial intelligence and virtualized and containerized workloads.
The bare metal servers are being made available in IBM Data Centers across the North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific regions. The AMD EPYC 7642 based servers can be ordered via the IBM Cloud global catalogue portal, API or CLI and consumed in a monthly pay-as-you-use model. Visit IBM Cloud to start building a bare metal server configuration with 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors.
The AMD EPYC 7642 based, dual socket bare metal server offering at IBM Cloud includes:
- 96 CPU cores per platform
- Base clock frequency of 2.3GHz with a Max Boost up to 3.3GHz
- 8 memory channels per socket for superior memory bandwidth
- Up to 4TB memory configuration support
- Up to 24 local storage drives
- OS choices of RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu, MS Server
- Monthly, pay-as-you-use billing
- Orderable via the global IBM Cloud Catalogue, API, or CLI
Sony wins 8 Red Dot Award 2020 for product design
Sony recently announced seven products across various categories that have been awarded the prestigious Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020, as well as a product with double wins due to a new metacategory. The Red Dot Award is one of the world’s largest design competitions that is referred to as an international label of outstanding design quality.
The BRAVIA Z8H 8K LED Series received the exceptional Red Dot: Best of the Best, while the following products received the Red Dot: The Xperia 1 flagship smartphone, the WF-1000XM3 truly wireless headphones, the WH-H910N h.ear™ on 3 wireless noise-cancelling headphones, the DUALSHOCK®4Back Button Attachment, and the toio™ hands-on “toy platform”. On top of the Red Dot Award: Product Design, the VENICE digital cinema camera with VENICE Extension System received double recognition under the new metacategory for “Innovative Products”, a special category that focuses on the degree of innovation.
Announced at CES 2020, the BRAVIA Z8H 8K LED comes power packed with the most immersive experience realised yet through enhanced picture quality, slim design and Sound-from-Picture Reality™ with Sony’s new Frame Tweeter technology. Delivering Sony’s super high 8K detail and lifelike picture quality, the Z8H utilises Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate to provide crisp, high contrast, together with a full array LED to bring more realistic peaks of brightness, more accurate shadow detail and deeper blacks than standard LED TVs. Moving into the new decade, Sony Design endeavours to continue pursuing ideals of what a TV can be: A platform for stirring, inspiring visual experiences, the possibilities limitless.
The VENICE digital cinema camera with full-frame sensor, widely embraced by the production community, together with the VENICE Extension System, won in a second entry under a new metacategory “Innovative Product” for its competitiveness and futureproof design, an increasingly important element in the era of digitisation.
Announced in 2018, the lightweight, easy to use tethered VENICE Extension System allows for the camera body to be detached from the image sensor block with no degradation in image quality, offering film producers a highly configurable and portable method of operation. This is a mark of outstanding mobility to create even better imagery, unlocking the future of film cinematography.
Cutting through the mobile market as the world’s first smartphone with a 4K OLED display with 21:9 CinemaWideTM display and HDR remastering technologies, the flagship phone has been designed to bring customers experiences beyond imagination through its pursuit of innovation. Xperia 1 is also the world’s first smartphone with Eye AF incorporating triple lens camera and up to 10 fps burst shooting with AF/AE tracking for precision focus and exposure, inheriting technologies from Sony’s acclaimed Alpha interchangeable lens camera as BIONZ X™ for mobile.
The WF-1000XM3 truly wireless headphones: Launched in July 2019, the WF-1000XM3 truly brings a new generation truly wireless headphones with Sony’s Industry-leading Noise Cancellation. With further improved HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1e chip and Dual Noise Sensor Technology, the WF-1000XM3 delivers exceptional Noise Cancelling performance, enabling users to hear the music and nothing else.
The WH-H910N h.ear on 3 wireless noise-cancelling headphones: Launched in September 2019, the WH-H910N comes in five trendy colour combinations teamed with high quality sound to excite fashion lovers. The WH-H910N comes with Dual Noise Sensor technology to effectively cancel ambient noise around the user to improve the listening experience and Adaptive Sound Control to automatically change the noise cancellation settings anytime, anywhere. Paired with Quick Attention mode, it has never been easier to reduce music volume and temporarily listen to announcements without removing the headphones – stylish.
The DUALSHOCK®4Back Button Attachment: Designed to elevate competitive play, Sony Interactive Entertainment introduced two ergonomically designed rear buttons that are mappable to be paired with the DUALSHOCK® 4 wireless controller, shortening response times so that even more essential in-game actions can be at user’s fingertips.
The toio™ system: Introduced by Sony Interactive Entertainment, toio™ is a robot toy designed to foster children’s creativity, enabling users to put blocks and other items on cubes and move the cubes around with a controller. It provides children with various forms of play, such as battle, racing, sports, art and programming.
Tencent Foundation and Fosun Foundation sends 100,000 masks to Malaysia
Tencent Foundation(腾讯基金会)in partnership with Fosun Foundation (复星基金会) step forward to assist in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia with support from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China. 100,000 surgical and N95 respirator masks arrived in Malaysia over the weekend and will be distributed to the medical front liners.
In a statement by Leon Guo, Chairman of Tencent Foundation, he said, “We hope to be able to play a part in helping and saving those who are suffering from the pandemic. By procuring and delivering the necessary supplies to the front liners, we want to ensure we can help in some ways for them to safely do their job.”
Separately, in response to the global pandemic, Tencent has committed a US$100 million Global Anti- Pandemic Fund to support international efforts against COVID-19. The Fund will initially focus on the sourcing and donation of medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential products, for hospitals and front-line healthcare workers.
Maxis supports hospitals with connectivity needs
As the nation continues its fight against COVID-19, Maxis has committed to support the Ministry of Health through essential connectivity needs for Sungai Buloh Hospital and Hospital Kuala Lumpur. The initiatives include providing Fixed Wireless Broadband and Wireless Broadband at both hospitals, as well as mobile communication including devices to support the additional communication requirements during COVID-19.
In addition, Maxis is also investing to further strengthen the network performance coverage at these hospitals for the benefit of all users at these locations. Maxis remains committed to support its employees, customers and communities in need, and encourage all members of the public to continue to stay safe, healthy and connected.
SOCAR’S RMO / MCO community tips
Under the second phase of the RMO which began on 1st April, the government had implemented the “one person per car” ruling. Now, SOCAR shares some useful community tips that Malaysians can adhere to, for the coming weeks and a promo code for those who REALLY NEED to leave their homes.
Users are also urged to always clean up after themselves after using the cars by wiping the commonly touched areas. We at SOCAR, would also be doing our part to curb the spread of COVID-19 by regularly cleaning and sanitising all our vehicles. Users are urged to contact our support team via our in-app chat function SOCARE Live Chat, should they find any cars that need to be cleaned urgently. Let’s all do our part to flatten the curve!
If you are an existing user that really needs to leave your home from now till 14th April 2020, you can enjoy 50% off (cap at RM50) on your bookings to run to the nearest grocery store and purchase the essentials using SOCAR’s DRIVEAGAIN50 promo code for both normal bookings and the SOCAR-2-YOU service. Don’t worry if you are not an existing user, we have you covered too!
New users would be entitled to a promo that is available under the “My Coupon” tab on the app - 50% off for all bookings (cap at RM100). If you are within the SOCAR-2-YOU 12 major coverage zones, you can continue to opt for the SOCAR-2-YOU service by having it delivered to your doorstep.
To find out more on the coverage area for the SOCAR-2-YOU service, please visit their site.
Celcom maintains and extends connectivity support to returning Malaysians undergoing quarantine with free SIM cards and more
Celcom Axiata Berhad remains committed in supporting Malaysians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of the government’s efforts, Celcom reaches out with the provision of free SIM cards to returning Malaysians who are required to undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Idham Nawawi, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad said Celcom will leave no one behind and is committed to stand together with Malaysians. We are working closely with the authorities to ensure everyone remains connected during these challenging times. This includes returning Malaysians who are doing their part by undergoing quarantine at the respective quarantine centres.
“For returning Malaysians who require connectivity services, they may request for a free SIM pack from the authorities and self-register their SIM via Celcom Life app. To kick start their initial connectivity needs upon their return to Malaysia and get connected to friends and family, these prepaid packs are preloaded with 1GB data and 10GB access to Facebook, Instagram and Games Walla. Furthermore, they can also enjoy other special relief initiatives from Celcom during the Movement Control Order, including free 1GB daily internet, free WhatsApp, and unlimited access to the Ministry of Health's (MOH) website and services. For a minimum reload, available online via our Celcom Life App they can continue enjoying uninterrupted services within the 14 days,” he said.’
“With the nation’s interest and wellbeing close to our heart, Celcom is reaching out as much as possible with the best solutions to help cushion the economic and social impact of our customers, vendors, partners and others within the ecosystem. As we continue to protect and support the wellbeing of our customers during this period, customers can sign up for Aspirasi C-Protect, an affordable insurance plan at only RM1 that includes a coverage of up to RM20,000 and daily financial assistance for COVID-19 cases, via the Celcom Life App.
“We are also extending our support by leveraging on our expertise, innovative digital products and services, as well as business network. Understanding that Micro-SMEs are amongst segments most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Celcom together with Axiata Group Berhad announced a RM150 million micro-financing initiative, Axiata COVID-19 Assistance Program, to help micro-SMEs facing difficulties in cash flow.
“As we see a change of usage behaviour and increased demands, our team strives to ensure that all customers can remain connected with their loved ones and perform their jobs remotely when working from home. We have made necessary arrangements are in place to strengthen our network capabilities,” Idham added.
In an effort to support all Malaysians during the COVID-19 pandemic and the MCO extension, Celcom continues to support consumers who are working from home and staying in, with special relief offers and services:
- FREE 1GB high speed data daily from 8am to 6pm
- Affordable Personal Accident Insurance with COVID-19 Assistance by Aspirasi @RM1 for all Celcom customers.
- FREE unlimited WhatsApp (chat, video, and video call) from 8am - 6pm daily
- FREE unlimited access to Microsoft Office 365 from 8am - 6pm daily
- FREE browsing to latest updates on www.moh.gov.my
- FREE calls to Crisis Preparedness Response Centre (03-88810200) & Movement Control Order Hotline (03-88882010)
- 7-days extension of payment due date for all postpaid bills within the impacted period
In addition, the telco is providing more special offers for all Celcom postpaid and prepaid customers, throughout the MCO period:
- FREE 2GB data for prepaid customers – valid for two days, for every reload of RM30 and above, via Maybank2U. The offer is from 25 March to 30 April 2020.
- 50% off for Celcom MEGA™ postpaid bills for three months – the rebate is offered to new Celcom MEGA™ registrations with any pass; Unlimited M, Unlimited L or Lightning M, L or XL via Celcom Online Shop. The offer is valid until 14 April 2020.
The pandemic is seeing our country being put to the test, where medical facilities are being stretched and affecting the social-economic wellbeing of many individuals. Celcom is working closely with MOH to provide connectivity and various relief initiatives based on their requirements, which include:
- Provided 200 free postpaid SIM cards with 20GB data and unlimited voice calls, to on-ground medical staff in hospitals managing COVID-19 cases nationwide.
- Extended 40 mobile devices and lines to medical staff in Sungai Buloh Hospital.
- Deployed Celcom’s Cellular-On-Wheels in Sungai Buloh Hospital to ensure continuous connectivity within the vicinity.
- Provided Celcom Home Wireless internet access to MOH’s Media Centre in Putrajaya and Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Johor Bahru.
In support of the public outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic, Celcom also leverages on its #StayIn movement together with government communications via multiple digital platforms to extend the awareness outreach.
For more information on the latest updates and offerings from Celcom, customers can visit their site or Celcom’s Facebook and Twitter.
MDEC and KK Fund partner to match 60 global investors with local startups
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and KK Fund Pte. Ltd. today announced a virtual investor-matching initiative for local startups that are seeking capital injection amid the current economic slowdown. Dubbed ‘Meet Your Match Malaysia’, the initiative is a collaboration between Singapore-based KK Fund, Pte. Ltd., a reputable venture capital fund with investment interest in Internet and mobile startups across South East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and MDEC’s Global Growth Acceleration Division.
To date, KK Fund Pte. Ltd. and MDEC have secured nearly 60 global investors who are ready to match virtually with startups in Malaysia that are actively seeking funding but are constrained by the Movement Control Order (MCO) in the country.
‘Meet Your Match Malaysia’ kicks-off today and will run until 17 April 2020. Startups that are keen to be matched with potential investors may submit an application at this site.
All profiles and applications of the startups will be screened by MDEC and KK Fund Pte. Ltd. prior to being shared with the prospective investors. Upon successful matching, a virtual connection will be initiated by the investors to delve in deeper discussions with their chosen startups.
Echoing the findings of a recent COVID-19 survey by the SME Association of Malaysia, Surina Shukri, CEO of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation agreed that local startups face the same fate as many small and medium- sized enterprises in Malaysia that are struggling with sufficient cashflow to sustain until end of April 2020.
Given the extension on the MCO, MDEC has developed a dedicated microsite for its #DigitalVsCovid campaign. Consumers, businesses and investors are advised to regularly visit their site to learn more on MDEC’s initiatives and relief services offered by a wide-range of organisations during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scan to donate quicker during this MCO period with Touch ‘n Go eWallet
With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing lives to a standstill in the entire country, Touch ‘n Go eWallet is extending a helping hand to the underprivileged communities by providing a better solution for the rakyat to offer financial relief directly to local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
As the nation’s choice for cashless transactions, Touch ‘n Go eWallet wants to highlight the plight and needs of those in our network such as Kechara Soup Kitchen, Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation and Yayasan Generasi Gemilang. Proceeds are channeled directly to the NGOs in Malaysia enabling them to better answer the needs of the homeless, vulnerable and low income families in a shorter time thereby cutting out lengthy administrative paperwork.
With so many NGOs requiring aid, this initiative kickstarted on the Touch ’n Go eWallet’s social media platforms, in-app and is also now available on a dedicated web page.
As Malaysians brave through this tough time, it is imperative that as a nation, we band together to help in whatever manner and means possible to help those who may be more severely affected by this unprecedented crisis.
Here’s how to make a contribution:
- Visit the Touch ‘n Go eWallet’s Facebook page for the list of QR codes from the NGO partners. Scan and donate directly if you are using a laptop.
- From your mobile, save the QR code images on your phone (or take a screenshot).
- Open the Touch ‘n Go eWallet app.
- Tap on the “Scan” function in your Touch ‘n Go eWallet
- Tap on “Scan from Gallery”
- Select the QR code
- Key in the amount you wish to donate
Visit their Facebook page and Instagram page for more information. Touch ’n Go eWallet is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Micron Foundation donates 2.6 Million Ringgit
Micron Technology, Inc. recently announced a 2.6 million ringgit donation from its Micron Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund to support the Malaysian community during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will go toward addressing immediate and future needs of those impacted by this health crisis.
Malaysia is one of five countries prioritized to receive grants from Micron Foundation’s global relief fund, which is dedicated to providing financial aid to those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The Micron Foundation will partner with local organizations to disperse the 2.6 million ringgit through donations to three groups most in need. These include front-line workers and hospitals, charitable homes for children and the elderly, and underprivileged families in the communities surrounding Micron’s facilities in Muar and Penang.
Micron is partnering with the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and several other nongovernmental organizations located near its facilities in Muar and Penang to ensure quick and effective deployment of resources. Medical and personal protective equipment such as jumpsuits, face masks, sanitizers and gloves will be distributed to several local government and beneficiary hospitals with critical needs. The aid offers vital protection for front-line staff across the nation, including doctors, nurses, medical assistants and cleaners, by providing gear that is currently in short supply.
Children’s charities and homes for the elderly will receive both financial aid and additional support through food and household items, masks and sanitizers. Micron is also working closely with its employees to identify vulnerable low-income families, those with elderly relatives or single-parent units within their networks to provide supplies and financial funding. Micron has also encouraged its employees to give to COVID-19 causes, matching those gifts to increase their power. In addition, Micron is supporting its own employees by making a one-time assistance payment of 1,300 ringgit to the 94% of its eligible workforce.
Designated as an essential services provider by the Malaysian government, Micron continues to maintain its local operations. Micron products built in Malaysia address multiple needs, which are critical to helping the world effectively cope with the realities of this disease. These include technology for advanced medical devices for treatment, data centers and supercomputers used by scientists to find new solutions, e-learning and videoconferencing capabilities that connect the world during this Movement Control Order period.
Micron established its presence in Muar in 2010 and recently began expanding its presence in Malaysia with a new Center of Excellence for SSD Assembly and Test in Penang. Micron has more than 2,000 team members in Malaysia.
Mondelēz International supports communities during COVID-19 crisis
Mondelēz International Inc. announced it will donate USD 15 million in financial and in-kind support to community partners advancing critical food stability and emergency relief efforts across the world in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The funds will focus on global, local and brand-led initiatives targeted in programmes that promote sustenance to communities and individuals in need, at high-risk COVID-19 locations.
“I am grateful for the dedication and professionalism that I see from our front liner employees who are working to keep our supply chain going, and contributing to the essential role that the food industry can play during this crisis. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, I am proud to share that we are uniting to respond in a significant way, with RM 100,000 worth of Mondelez products distributed to COVID-19 relief centres, including hospitals and foodbanks, said James Kane, Managing Director of Mondelez International Malaysia, regarding the company's commitment to local communities for a healthier lifestyle and additional support for its employees.”
Mondelez International Malaysia remains committed in curbing the further spread of Covid-19 as we unite together by maintaining our distance, and staying home.
Tokenize Xchange granted full approval by the Securities Commission Malaysia Digital Asset Exchange
Digital asset exchange (DAX) operator Tokenize Malaysia has received its full approval by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to operate in Malaysia. As the SC is the statutory body carrying out the responsibility to regulate and develop the Malaysian capital market, this marks Tokenize Xchange’s recognition here in Malaysia as a legally approved and regulated platform. With this, Tokenize Malaysia can now accept clients with its digital asset exchange being recognised as a safe and secure platform.
This comes amidst the first announcement by the Securities Commission in June 2019 that awarded only three digital asset exchanges (DAX) with conditional approval out of 23 digital exchanges who applied. Those awarded include Luno Malaysia Sdn Bhd, SINEGY Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd and Tokenize Technology (M) Sdn Bhd.
The three operators were then given up to nine months to fully comply with all regulatory requirements prior to receiving a full license. Stringent processes were put into place by the Securities Commission to ensure operators would meet its standards and requirements in their role as recognised market operators (RMOs).
“The digital asset industry is by far one of the best equipped and it is business as usual for us as the industry is used to working and communicating effectively across time zones and managing teams remotely.
Founded by Malaysian entrepreneur, Hong Qi Yu, Tokenize Xchange first began its operations in Singapore back in October 2017, with over 100,000 clients to date. It aims to capture both the Malaysian market as well as South East Asia within its expansion plans. As an approved digital asset exchange (DAX), Tokenize Malaysia has a paid up capital of RM5 million.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang professional league Malaysia and Singapore Season 5 resumes
The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) Professional League Malaysia and Singapore Season 5 (MPL-MY/SG S5) is set to resume this 10th April 2020. The remaining Regular Season matches start at 2pm and will be played from 10th to 12th April 2020 and 16th to 19th April 2020. Fans can catch the matches live on MLBB’s official Facebook page.
Fans can also continue to enjoy the MPL-MY/SG S5 mini-series Bangkit, which depicts the ups and downs of a professional MLBB player named Johan as he strives to overcome adversity. Episode 5 of Bangkit airs on Thursday, 2nd April 2020 at 6pm on the MLBB Facebook page, or on eGG Network (Astro CH800). Catch up on previous episodes of Bangkit here.
Vivo maintains Its Sales Growth
No one expected that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic would happen in the beginning of the year in 2020. The sudden outbreak has greatly affected ones’ life, while the smartphone industry is no exception being affected during the pandemic.
At present, vivo's 5G mobile phone market performance has reached and exceeded expectations. As compared to the first quarter in 2019, vivo has achieved incremental sales of 10% in early March this year.
With the "National 5G" strategy, vivo has launched a variety of 5G mobile smartphones in multiple price range. Entering 2020, vivo has continuously released 5G mobile phones such as iQOO 3, vivo Z6 and NEX 3S. As early as 2018, vivo has started 5G strategic planning, making efforts in two aspects of technology reserve and upstream supply chain, adjusting product strategy and inventory management accordingly. For instance, vivo and Samsung jointly developed a 5G SoC platform to accelerate the process of 5G popularisation.
As for the problem of insufficient production, vivo relies on its own factories and has effectively controlled its current situation. At present, the production is in a stable rising stage.
Best practices for maintaining cybersecurity for Your New Remote Workforce
With the widespread threat of COVID-19 around the world, many employees are now working from home and organizations are rushing to embrace technology to allow remote collaboration. While these tools have provided many workplaces with great flexibility, these dramatic changes in how we work, share and collaborate can also greatly affect each organization’s security profile.
Employees in this new remote working situation may be less focused on security as they navigate this new way of managing their tasks and responsibilities. As they figure out how best to stay in touch with colleagues and coworkers, and become more adept at using chat applications and shared documents while replacing planned meetings with conference calls, there is an increased need for reminders on best practices for cybersecurity.
CISOs and admins urgently need to look at new scenarios and models to address new threat vectors as their places of work transform into distributed organizations overnight.
Everyone’s gone phishing
It’s estimated that 91 percent of cyberattacks start with an email, which either leads to malicious links directly or which contains dangerous attachments. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, hackers have ramped up phishing and ransomware attacks by fivefold, according to some estimates. People are stressed and distracted by the constant drumbeat of news and social media posts. In this environment of heightened pressure, employees are more likely to drop their guard and click on a link or headline designed to grab their attention.
To combat this, organizations need strong tools. That’s why Microsoft employs a multi-layered defense system that includes machine learning, detonation and signal-sharing to quickly find and shut down email attacks. If any of these mechanisms detects a malicious email, URL or attachment, the message is blocked even before reaching the inbox. Attachments and links are opened in isolation through virtual machines – in essence, like detonating a bomb in an unpopulated area. On top of that, analysts continuously evaluate user-submitted reports of suspicious emails, which can be used to better understand attacks and to train machine learning models.
Once a file or URL is identified as malicious, the information is shared with other services such as Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to ensure endpoint detection benefits from email detection, and vice versa. Sharing signals across services means that PC users with Windows Defender can be protected even if they’re not using Microsoft email services.
Teaming up and managing logins
Employees are chatting and sharing more than usual during this time, even if there isn’t an official tool provided by IT. That’s why we recommend all employers take advantage of the six months of free premium Microsoft Teams which now has no limit on how many users can join or schedule video calls using the “freemium” version. That way, employees know which channels to use, and CISOs can better manage them securely. For assistance, you can follow these steps for supporting remote work with Teams. Teams can be provisioned to users with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to make downloading easier.
The single best thing you can do to improve security for employees working from home is to turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA): Employ MFA for all of your employees, all of the time. Remember that this works best if you also block legacy authentication protocols that allow users to bypass MFA requirements. If you are unable to distribute hardware security devices, you can also use Windows Hello biometrics and smartphone authentication apps like Microsoft Authenticator.
Lending employees a hand
As more organizations adapt to remote work options, supporting employees will require more than just providing tools and enforcing policies. There’s also the human side of all of this.
Remote workers have access to propriety data and information … and your network. Warn your employees to expect more phishing attempts, including targeted spear phishing aimed at high profile credentials. Now is a good time to be diligent, so be clear on what official communications about business continuity and health and safety should look like and from where they should originate. Have employees watch out for urgent requests that violate company policy, use emotive language and have details that are slightly wrong—and provide guidance on where to report those suspicious messages.
Establishing a clear communications policy also helps employees recognize official messages. For example, video is harder to spoof than email: using an official channel like Microsoft Stream can ensure employees are able to distinguish legitimate communications from phishing, while helping people to feel more connected; and on-demand streaming also helps employees juggling personal responsibilities, like school closures or travel schedule changes.
Contributed By Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Regional Lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia
So, that's it for this episode of TechNave NewsBytes. We'll be looking to do more such special articles at the back of these NewsBytes and covering other tech news in Malaysia, so if you feel your business or news should be here, send us an email. As always, stay tuned to TechNave.com