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Rainbow Six Siege is coming to Xbox Game Pass on consoles and Android via cloud
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Ubisoft games are rather rare additions to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription, but another one is coming soon. It was announced today that the popular tactical shooter title Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege will be introduced to the service later this week.
The game won't be available on every Game Pass service Microsoft offers, however, as only the console and Android cloud gaming variant will receive it. Unfortunately, the PC version was not mentioned in the announcement, not even as a coming soon. This is to be expected considering Ubisoft has a rival service of its own to Game Pass, Uplay+, that offers the title on PC.
Currently in its fifth year of support and played by over 60 million players, the Ubisoft-developed first-person shooter offers a highly tactical five versus five experience. The title is known for its destructive levels and the multitude of operators with their own gadgets and abilities that players can choose to gain an edge over opposing teams.
A free next-gen upgrade is also planned for taking Rainbow Six Siege forwards into Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. Obviously, those enjoying the game through Xbox Game Pass will also receive the upgrade when it drops.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege goes live on October 22 on Xbox Game Pass for Console as well as Android via game streaming for those subscribed to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft is also bringing in three classic LucasArts titles among other games to Xbox Game Pass this month.
By Abhishek Baxi
Microsoft is the most imitated brand by hackers according to a report
by Abhishek Baxi
Check Point Research, a cyber threat intelligence company, has highlighted the brands that hackers have imitated the most to lure people into giving up their personal data or payment credentials in its quarterly brand phishing report.
According to the report, for the period of June-July-August 2020, Microsoft was the brand most frequently targeted brand by cybercriminals. Microsoft soared from the fifth place in the second quarter to the first place in the third quarter for brand phishing attacks, making up 19% of all global phishing attacks in the period (from 7% in Q2).
Microsoft is followed by DHL and Google – both accounted for 9% of all brand phishing attempts globally each. Others in the top ten include PayPal, Netflix, Facebook, Apple, WhatsApp, Amazon, and Instagram.
During the period, email was the top attack vector making up 44% of all phishing attacks, closely followed by web phishing (43%). The top phishing brands exploited by email phishing attacks were Microsoft, DHL, and Apple in that order and those exploited by web phishing attacks were Microsoft, Google, and PayPal.
For example, in mid-August, Check Point researchers witnessed a malicious phishing email trying to steal credentials of Microsoft accounts by luring the victim to click on a malicious link which redirects the user to a fraudulent Microsoft login page.
The spurt in phishing attempts by imitating Microsoft is to capitalize on large numbers of employees working remotely because of the pandemic, many for the first time ever.
Source: Check Point
Microsoft Weekly: Xbox Series optimized, better productivity, and updated builds
by Florin Bodnarescu
The second full week of the month brought with it Patch Tuesday, a number of updates to Office and other Microsoft productivity apps across platforms, as well as Double Fine remastered classics to Game Pass. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of October 11 - 17.
Xbox Series optimized
With the launch of the next-gen Xbox consoles less than a month away, Microsoft has started rounding off its list of games optimized for the Series X and Series S. Older games will get improvements simply due to the newer and better hardware, but a number of games will be specifically optimized for next-gen and available day one. Among them are the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, DiRT 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Observer: System Redux, and Sea of Thieves, to name just a few.
On the console operating system front, a sleeker and faster UI with an improved sign-in experience has made its way to the current Xbox consoles, courtesy of the October update. This experience will of course be similar across both the Xbox One and Xbox Series family of devices, although it’ll obviously run best on the newest hardware.
While we’re on the subject, an update was also pushed out to Microsoft Flight Simulator, bumping it up to version 220.127.116.11 and fixing a number of issues, as was an updated warranty for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. The latter was extended from 90 days to a year due to “a small percentage” of customers experiencing “drifting” joysticks on the $179.99 controller. This issue itself was also subject to a class-action lawsuit, though the lawsuit itself is not limited to just the Elite Series 2.
In case you understandably do not want to spend too much on games, there are always Deals with Gold to browse through, freebies to claim if you have Xbox Live Gold – like Maid of Sker and Costume Quest -, and of course the ever-growing Game Pass library.
For one, if you’re a subscriber, you can now play Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse, and Heave Ho on PC, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition on PC and console, as well as Katana Zero across PC, Xbox, and Android via xCloud. If you’re on console, you’ll be able to play ScourgeBringer starting October 21, plus Cricket 19 and Supraland starting October 22.
It's worth noting that as of October 15, Felix the Reaper, Metro 2033 Redux, and Minit will be leaving the subscription across PC and console, with the same date also seeing the removal of Saints Row IV Re-Elected and State of Mind from the PC subscription.
On October 30, The Red Strings Club will be removed from the PC subscription, with After Party, LEGO Star Wars III, as well as Rise & Shine being removed from the console subscription. Last but not least, Tacoma and The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game will also be removed on October 30, this time from both the PC and console subscriptions.
To not end on a gloomy note though, it was announced that remastered versions of classic Double Fine point-and-click adventure titles Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango will be making their way onto Windows 10 and Xbox, as well as being added to Game Pass come October 29. These will also be available for the Xbox Series S and X once those consoles launch on November 10.
Another bit of news that surfaced this week was in regards to Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media. The $7.5B acquisition is the second largest in gaming history, and folks were understandably curious about what would happen to traditionally multi-platform releases like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series now that ZeniMax is under the Xbox Game Studios wing.
In no uncertain terms, Xbox head Phil Spencer specified that since the company has xCloud, PC, Game Pass, and the console base, it doesn’t have to ship these titles on any other platforms to recoup the investment.
Last but not least on the subject of investment, Microsoft clearly thought Halo Infinite could benefit from a bit more time in the oven and some more polish. However, what if the game was to be released in parts? Feel free to discuss this topic in the comments section of the relevant article.
Given the recent developments in this particular category, I think it’s best that we give the productivity side at least one major section this week.
For folks making use of Azure Lab Services and Microsoft Teams, you’ll be happy to know that the integration between the two services is now generally available. On the other hand, folks with Windows on ARM devices are now finally able to make use of a native Teams app for the platform.
In case you’re an Office Insider on Windows, the newest monthly update has added a theme awareness to Office apps, whereby the apps will switch their theme depending on your system setting. Improvements have been made to Excel and its Data Visualizer add-in, as well as the ability to save shapes as images (available in all Office apps). A built-in translator in Outlook, the ability to sync email signatures through the cloud, and a number of other features were also included in this month’s update.
Switching over to Apple’s platforms, Microsoft To Do for iOS now has support for auto-saving, with Office 2011 and Office 2016 for Mac reaching End of Life status.
To nobody’s surprise by now, the second Tuesday of the month brought with it the ever-expected Patch Tuesday updates. If you’re on Windows 10, these updates are:
May 2020 Update / 20H2 (2004 / 20H2): KB4579311, build 19041.572 / 109042.572 – improvements to Office and basic Windows operation security, as well as updates to verifying usernames and passwords. Known issues: Users of the Microsoft IME for Japanese or Chinese might experience issues with input, including inability to enter text, as well as receiving of unexpected results after input; When installing a third-party driver, you may receive the error “Windows can’t verify the publisher of this driver software” or “No signature was present in the subject” when attempting to view the signature properties via File Explorer. May 2019 Update / November 2019 Update (1903/1909): KB4577671, build 18363.1139/18362.1139 – identical changelog to the version above, with the addition of updates for storing and managing files. Known issues: When updating to v1903 or v1909 from any previous version, you may receive a compatibility report dialog with “What needs your attention” at the top of the error. “Continuing with the installation of Windows will remove some optional features. You may need to add them back in Settings after installation completes. Additionally, a compatibility warning might also be received when Local System accounts are blocked in a firewall from accessing the internet via HTTP. This is cause by the Windows 10 Setup Dynamic Update (DU) being unable to download the required packages; When installing a third-party driver, you may receive the error “Windows can’t verify the publisher of this driver software” or “No signature was present in the subject” when attempting to view the signature properties via File Explorer. October 2018 Update (1809): KB4577668, build 17763.1518 – identical changelog to the versions above. Known issues: After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive the error “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”; When installing a third-party driver, you may receive the error “Windows can’t verify the publisher of this driver software” or “No signature was present in the subject” when attempting to view the signature properties via File Explorer. April 2018 Update (1803) Enterprise, Education: KB4580330, build 17134.1792. Fall Creators Update (1709) Enterprise, Education: KB4580328, build 16299.2166. Creators Update (1703) for Surface Hub: KB4580370, build 15063.572. Anniversary Update (1607) LTSB: KB4580346, build 14393.3986. Windows 10 RTM (1507) LTSB: KB4580327, build 10240.18725. Folks still running older versions of the OS, like Windows 8.1, have also gotten some updates, as did businesses running Windows 7 that have signed up to receive ESUs (Extended Security Updates). As such, here’s what you need to look for if you’re on any of these operating systems:
Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2: KB4580347, KB4580358 (security-only) – corrects DST in 2021 for the Fiji Islands, adds a notification to IE11 that Flash will reach EOL in December, as well as addressing an issue which caused Group Policy to recursively delete critical files when the “Delete local user profile policy” was enabled. Known issues: Operations like rename, that are performed on files or folders on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL(0xC00000A5). This occurs when the action is performed on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privilege; When installing a third-party driver, you may receive the error “Windows can’t verify the publisher of this driver software” or “No signature was present in the subject” when attempting to view the signature properties via File Explorer. Windows 7 SP1, Server 2008 R2 SP1: KB4580345, KB4580387 (security-only) – includes the same Group Policy fix from above, as well as security enhancements, in addition to fixing an issue with the Graphics Device Interface (GDI). Known issue: Operations like rename, that are performed on files or folders on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL(0xC00000A5). This occurs when the action is performed on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privilege. With Patch Tuesday out of the way, it’s worth pointing out that build 20236 of the Windows 10 vNext branch made its way to the Dev channel over on the Insider side.
The only notable change in this build is the better placement of the refresh rate setting in the Settings app. Instead of going through a bunch of screens, you’ll now find it under System > Display > Advanced display settings.
There was of course a list of accompanying fixes, and a rather long one compared to previous builds. The list of known issues remains pretty much identical, that is unless you’re running build 20236.1005, which added two more known issues.
PowerToys experimental v0.24 is out now, adding fixes to the ‘Video Conferencing Mute’ tool. Microsoft is set to add improvements to the favorites menu in Edge, with Edge Dev 87.0.664.8 now being available and showcasing said improvements. A fix for a LinkedIn bug preventing users from cancelling subscription is being worked on by Microsoft. As per Microsoft, its image captioning system is more accurate than humans. The Bing app is now available for Xbox. Microsoft has announced the Zero Trust Deployment Center. The Redmond software giant has urged companies to ensure data privacy instead of relying on state laws. Logging off
To end the column, we take a look at the latest hardware to come out of the Redmond giant.
First off, for folks who haven’t been able to pre-order either the new Surface Pro X or the Surface Laptop Go, both devices are now available to buy outright. If you were among the lucky folks who pre-order, a shipment notification should’ve already been dispatched.
In case you’re on the fence about exactly which model to get, if you’re in the market for a such a device, we have a handy Specs Appeal for you to check out, as well as a full review of the Surface Laptop Go.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
By Rich Woods
HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: The best mainstream business laptop
by Rich Woods
HP's EliteBook 840 G7 has quickly become one of my favorite laptops. There's one big reason for that, which is that it's strikingly similar to the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 that I reviewed in February 2019, albeit without a convertible hinge. It's no surprise though, since the mainstream EliteBook 800 series is all about bringing down features from the premium EliteBook 1000 series.
Compared to the EliteBook 840 G5 that I reviewed in mid-2018, it's much thinner and lighter. In fact, just about everything about it has been upgraded. The keyboard has been vastly improved to be similar to the ones found on the 1000 series, and that's definitely a good thing. It's also got Intel's 10th-generation processors; in the model that HP sent me, it's the hexa-core vPro Core i7-10810U.
CPU Intel Core i7-10810U Processor, 1.1GHz, up to 4.9GHz with Intel Turbo Boost technology, 12MB cache, 6 cores Graphics Intel UHD Graphics Display 35.56 cm (14.0 in) diagonal FHD IPS eDP and PSR anti-glare WLED-backlit bent with Ambient Light Sensor for HD and IR camera and WWAN, 400 nits, 72% NTSC (1920 x 1080) Body 32.36x21.46x1.78cm (12.74x8.45x0.70in), 1.34kg (2.95lbs) RAM 16GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM Storage 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD Ports (2) USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt support
(2) USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port (1 charging)
(1) HDMI 1.4 (cable sold separately)
(1) Headphone/microphone combo jack
(1) AC power input port
(1) Nano SIM card slot
(1) Smartcard reader
(1) Nano security lock slot
Audio Audio by Bang & Olufsen
(2) Integrated stereo speakers
Integrated 3 Multi-array Microphone
Camera 720p HD and IR camera Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5 combo
Intel XMM 7560 LTE-Advanced Pro Cat 16 Keyboard HP Premium keyboard Spill resistant
Optional backlit keyboard and DuraKeys
Pointing device Glass clickpad with multi-touch gestures enabled (taps enabled as default)
Microsoft Precision Touchpad default gestures supported
Battery HP Long Life 3-cell, 53Wh Li-ion, Supports fast charging, 65W Slim USB Type-C adapter Material Aluminum OS Windows 10 Pro Price $2,199
All of HP's mainstream to premium EliteBooks are made of aluminum these days. Well, that's not counting the magnesium Elite Dragonfly, which is sort of in a different class. All of those aluminum laptops come in the plain old Natural Silver color, presumably because as business laptops, they're not meant to be too flashy like HP's stunning Spectre x360 PCs.
One thing that I want to focus on is how much has changed. HP says that the G7 is 9% smaller than its predecessor. This is evident if you look back at my review of the EliteBook 840 G5. That thing was well over a half-pound heavier than the G7. I started this off saying that this is reminiscent of the premium EliteBook x360 1040, but guess what; this is actually 0.03 pounds lighter than that machine.
I really have to say, I haven't reviewed HP's latest EliteBook 1000 laptops, but they must be amazing. That EliteBook x360 1040 is already one of my favorite laptops around. To see so much of it in the 800 series kind of blows me away.
Another thing that's changed about the design is that it has a tapered edge in the front. Rather than being flat, you can now very easily open the machine with one hand. I think it makes the machine a little more stylish as well. It also has the angled edges on the back along the hinge.
On the sides, there are plenty of ports. On the left side is where you'll find the two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, which will get you speeds of 5Gbps. Toward the front, there's also an optional Smart Card reader.
On the right side are both Thunderbolt 3 ports. The ports can support a 4K display on either one. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to run two 4K displays off of a single port, as HP used to brag about always using "full" Thunderbolt 3 ports. For a little background there, the minimum Thunderbolt 3 spec supports one 4K display, but if it uses all four lanes, it can support two 4K displays or one 5K display on a single port, and it supports 40Gbps data transfer speeds.
On that side is also a pin charging port, HDMI 1.4, and a nano-SIM slot. If you opted not to get the cellular model, that SIM slot is still there; it's just filled with a slug.
Note that you do have an option in how you want to charge the EliteBook 840 G7. It can come with either the pin charger or a USB Type-C charger. This is meant for backward compatibility. If your business has a bunch of pin chargers lying around, you can use them. If you want to use your own USB Type-C charger, you can do that too.
Display and audio
HP actually gave me a choice between the EliteBook 840 and the 830. The difference between the two is the screen size. The 840 G7 has a 14-inch FHD display, while the 830 has a 13.3-inch screen. Personally, I think that 14 inches is the perfect size for a laptop, so that's what I went with.
There are several display configurations to choose from, all of which are 1080p. The one that HP sent me doesn't support touch, and it gets 400-nit brightness. There's also a 250-nit panel, which I really wouldn't recommend. If you want battery life, just turn the brightness down on the 400-nit panel. There are also options for multi-touch.
And finally, HP has some options with its Sure View privacy screen. It's actually pretty cool. You just hit a button and suddenly no one can see anything if they look at your screen from an angle.
The display on this unit reminds me of the EliteBook x360 1040 that I reviewed, in that I love it. The colors are accurate, and it's actually pleasant to use, something that can't be said of many matte anti-glare displays.
As I mentioned above, the footprint of the laptop is smaller than it was, and that's due to narrow bezels. This machine has an 85% screen-to-body ratio, with a 34% smaller top bezel, a 29% smaller chin, and 19% narrower side bezels. It still maintains the webcam and the IR camera in the top bezel though.
The Bang & Olufsen speakers are placed on either side of the keyboard, and they sound phenomenal. They're both clear and loud, and this something that I really appreciate from HP. The company understands that even though this is a business laptop, there's a good chance that it's your only laptop, and you're taking it home from work. That means that you might be using it for entertainment as well as productivity. It's your everything device, and it's meant to be.
Keyboard and trackpad
The EliteBook 840 G7 has one of the best keyboards on the market. No, really. It's comfortable and it's accurate, and in fact, HP says it's more accurate than the previous generation. This is the thing that made me fall in love with the EliteBook 1040. Not only do the keys feel sturdy with a perfect amount of depth and resistance, but they're quiet too.
If you've been following my reviews for a while, then you know that I used to be a huge fan of Lenovo's ThinkPad keyboards, but HP swayed me with the EliteBook x360 1040. It was the first time I was willing to entertain the idea that a keyboard could be better than on a ThinkPad. I'm really pleased to see that HP brought this keyboard down to the 800 series, because with Lenovo's PCs, you don't have to buy premium to get a great keyboard. I do hope that HP brings this keyboard to all of its tiers of both consumer and business laptops.
Right in the middle of the keyboard between the G, H, and B keys is a black nub for controlling the pointer. This is something that's not available at all on the 1000 series, and it was included on the EliteBook 840 G5. These exist from most OEMs in one or more models, and they're a relic from a time when Windows PC trackpads weren't very good. Obviously, some people still use them though.
The clickable trackpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, so it's fast, responsive, and it supports all of the gestures that you're used to. Above it are two physical buttons, which are meant to be used with the nub on the keyboard, although I prefer the physical buttons with the trackpad.
Performance and battery life
The model that HP sent me is top-end, including an Intel Core i7-10810U and 16GB RAM. The Core i7-10810U is the vPro version of the Core i7-10710U, a 15W hexa-core CPU with 12 threads. It's from the Comet Lake family, as are all CPUs in business laptops that have Intel 10th-gen processors.
Some of the leading competitors to the EliteBook 840, such as Lenovo's ThinkPad T14 and T14s, aren't offered with this CPU. Those only go up to the Core i7-10610U, which is quad-core. Indeed, if you're looking for top-end Intel parts in a mainstream business laptop, the EliteBook 840 G7 is one of few choices.
Battery life is also weirdly good, although maybe I shouldn't feel like it's so weird because I know that this is something that HP focuses on. With my usual usage of the power slider being one notch above battery saver and the screen at 50% brightness, I got close to 10 hours of regular usage. I'm not talking about streaming Netflix or local video; I'm talking about actual work. If you're heading out for an eight-hour day, you can leave the charger at home.
For benchmarks, I used my usual PCMark 8 and PCMark 10.
EliteBook 840 G7
Intel Core i7-10810U Lenovo ThinkPad T14s
AMD Ryzen 7 4750U Dell Latitude 7310
Core i7-10610U Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga
Core i5-10310U HP EliteBook 840 G5
Intel Core i7-8650U and AMD Radeon RX 540 PCMark 8: Home 3,717 4,298 3,639 3,335 3,874 PCMark 8: Creative 3,814 4,568 3,693 3,455 3,905 PCMark 8: Work 3,593 3,857 3,845 3,436 3,649 PCMark 10 3,909 4,963 4,253 3,819
I did include an AMD Ryzen score, because AMD's Ryzen 4000 processors are legit. But the Core i7-10810U is the best you can get from Intel right now in a business PC.
The EliteBook 840 G7 might just be my absolute favorite PC. That's easy for me to say, because I said it about the EliteBook x360 1040 and these are so similar. It's got one of the best keyboards of any laptop, and it's thin and light. With the previous generation, it was a great all-around PC, but thin and light wasn't how I would have described it.
Also, this model has 4G LTE, a must-have feature for me. Honestly, in 2020, everything should just be able to connect to the internet all the time. I shouldn't have to worry about ending up on the Starbucks mailing list because I wanted to use the Wi-Fi in one of its locations, and I shouldn't have to wander around an airport lounge to find the Wi-Fi password. 4G LTE is a must.
My only complaint is that the Thunderbolt 3 ports aren't 'full' Thunderbolt 3 ports, meaning that you can't use a single port to power dual 4K displays. It was an easy enough issue to work around though. I simply unplugged one of my 4K monitors from the Thunderbolt 3 dock and plugged it into the second Thunderbolt 3 port.
But all-in-all, this thing is nearly perfect. It has great speakers, an amazing keyboard, a solid anti-glare display, and a thin and light chassis. This model comes in at $2,199. You can find the EliteBook 840 G7 on HP.com here.
By News Staff
Learn Microsoft Office 2019 ($17.99 Value) - free eBook download
by Steven Parker
Claim your complimentary copy (worth $17.99) for free, before the offer expires on October 28.
What's it about?
Learn Microsoft Office 2019 provides a comprehensive introduction to the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. With the help of illustrated explanations, this Microsoft Office book will take you through the updated Office 2019 applications and guide you through implementing them using practical examples.
You'll start by exploring the Word 2019 interface and creating professional Word documents using elements such as citations and cover pages, tracking changes, and performing mail merge. You'll then learn how to create impressive PowerPoint presentations and advance to performing calculations and setting up workbooks in Excel 2019, along with discovering its data analysis features. Later chapters will focus on Access 2019, assisting you in everything from organizing a database to constructing advanced queries. You'll then get up to speed with Outlook, covering how to create and manage tasks, as well as how to handle your mail and contacts effortlessly. Finally, you'll find solutions to commonly encountered issues and best practices for streamlining various workplace tasks.
By the end of this book, you'll have learned the essentials of Office business apps and be ready to work with them to boost your productivity.
This free offer expires on October 28.
How to get it
Please ensure you read the terms and conditions to claim this offer. Complete and verifiable information is required in order to receive this free offer. If you have previously made use of these free offers, you will not need to re-register. While supplies last!
>> Learn Microsoft Office 2019 ($17.99 Value) - free download <<
Offered by Packt Publishing, view their other free resources. Expires 28 Oct 2020.
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