Unlock Your Microsoft Office 365 Subscription

Power On Computing is pleased to announce the introduction of a new eBook series, delivered free to your inbox – Unlock your Office 365 Subscription. This recurring eBook series will focus on helping you learn more about the many features your Office 365 business subscription has to offer by teaching you what you need to know to begin using Office 365 to its fullest potential.

We begin this series by showcasing Microsoft Forms.

Microsoft Forms is a simple, lightweight app that lets you easily create surveys, quizzes, and polls. In educational institutions, it can be used to create quizzes, collect feedback from teachers and parents, or plan class and staff activities. In business organizations, it can be used to collect customer feedback, measure employee satisfaction, improve your product or business, or organize company events.

Microsoft Forms is free to use for anyone with the following:

Office 365 Education licenses

  • Office 365 Education
  • Office 365 A1 Plus
  • Office 365 A5
  • Existing customers who purchased Office 365 Education E3 prior to its retirement

Office 365 Commercial licenses

  • Office 365 Business Essentials
  • Office 365 Business Premium
  • Office 365 Business
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, and E5 plans
  • Existing Office 365 Enterprise E4 customers who purchased E4 before its retirement

U.S. Government Community Cloud: GCC and GCC High environments

  • Office 365 GCC and GCC-High G1, G3, and G5

Microsoft personal account

Complete the form below to request your free copy of the first eBook in this series. A valid email address is required to receive your free eBook.

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Windows 7 End Of Life is coming soon, are you ready?

Windows 7, and it’s server counterpart Windows Server 2008 R2 have had a great run over the years. When these platforms were released in 2009, Microsoft committed to providing 10 years of product support for their shiny new Operating System and Server platforms. Once this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 product support.

The exact date Microsoft has pegged for ending this support cycle is January 14th, 2020. After this time, Microsoft will no longer release technical and security patches for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. This means that if a security vulnerability is found that affects these systems, there will be no patch from Microsoft to mitigate these security concerns. Microsoft is strongly recommending that it’s users migrate to newer systems or upgrade existing systems to Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 before this time period to avoid a situation where you are unable to receive necessary security patches for your outdated systems.

We can help you navigate through the process of updating and upgrading your aging systems to make sure you’re ready for the next phase of your business product life-cycle. Contact us today at (308) 221-1159 or email info@poweroncomp.com to learn how we can help your business!

Top 3 AntiVirus Software To Protect Your Computer

Our friends over at Techcoffees have updated their yearly AntiVirus comparisons to bring to you their picks for the top 3 AntiVirus software you can use to protect your computer today. With so many choices available to you, it can be hard to find a solution that fits your needs. Is your system protected?

Read more from Techcoffees here – https://www.techcoffees.com/top-3-antivirus-software-to-protect-your-computer/

Meltdown and Spectre – Bugs in modern computers leak passwords and sensitive data.

Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. These hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. While programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, a malicious program can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs. This might include your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your personal photos, emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents.

Meltdown and Spectre work on personal computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Depending on the cloud provider’s infrastructure, it might be possible to steal data from other customers.


Read More Below:

Meltdown and Spectre

Every WiFi connection at risk of new “KRACK” WiFi hacking attack

The first new WiFi security vulnerability to be found in 14 years is real a doozey!  


The WPA2 encryption protocol which is widely used to secure WiFi traffic is at risk from multiple vulnerabilities, collectively known as “KRACK Attacks”, or Key Reinstallation AttACKs, that were publicly disclosed on October 16, 2017. Every single WiFi connection currently in use is potentially at risk of being hacked security researchers disclosed in a recently released research paper.  These vulnerabilities effect both WiFi Access Points or Routers as well as WiFi enabled devices such as Phones, Laptops, Cameras and any devices connected to and communicating over a WiFi network.

The attacks, which cannot be carried out remotely, allow a malicious individual to replace, or reinstall, one of the security keys used to encrypt the communications on a WiFi network with a key of the attacker’s choosing.  This allows an attacker to gain access to otherwise encrypted data.  This could allow them to view your passwords, credit card numbers, photos and snoop on all traffic sent over the WiFi network.  If your home or business uses a single network for Wired and Wireless communication, as most off-the-shelf routers do, this could even include communications to wired devices as well.  While the attack is not technically easy to complete for all devices, tools are likely to be made available shortly that will allow less technically savvy people to carry out the attack.

As of this time, the only way to fix this flaw would be to manually replace or patch every WiFi device in existence currently, no small feat.  Given that the publication of these vulnerabilities has been withheld, a fix is likely already in the works — or already completed — from major device vendors, but this will only affect those devices that are currently receiving software updates.  Older, abandoned devices, will likely remain vulnerable to these attacks.

Full details on the attacks with P.O.C. demonstrations and further news are available on the following website:


KRACK Attacks: Breaking WPA2

CCleaner 5.33 hacked to deliver malware

CCleaner 5.33 users take note:


Cisco Talos Intelligence labs has recently became aware of a supply chain attack against CCleaner v 5.33.  Talos recently observed that the legitimate download servers used by CCleaner were leveraged to deliver malware to unsuspecting victims.  For an unknown period of time, the legitimate, signed version of CCleaner v5.33, being distributed by Avast, also included a multi-stage malware payload that rode on top of the installation of CCleaner.  Given the potential for damage that could be caused by a network of infected computers even a tiny fraction of the size of CCleaner’s installed user base, Talos decided to move quickly.  On September 13, 2017 Cisco Talos immediately notified Avast of their findings so they could initiate appropriate response measures.

It is believed that attackers gained a foothold inside one or more development or build environments and leveraged that access to insert malware into the CCleaner build that was released between August 15th 2017 to September 12th, 2017.  If you downloaded CCleaner or your system updated to the newest build during this time, it is highly advised that you remove this program from your system and take measures to clean it immediately.

Contact POCC today to ensure your system has not been compromised!

Read the blog post from Cisco Talos to learn more about this discovery:

Dozens of online file converter websites may have been compromised


Recently, a security researcher made an alarming discovery when it was found that a server hosting several popular file conversion web sites had been hacked.  The researcher, who asked not to be named for fear of legal repercussions, recently told ZDNet that the attacker behind the hack had obtained “full root access” to the server and it’s contents.

The researcher claimed the level of access would allow an attacker to quietly copy any file uploaded to the sites, but said it was “impossible to tell” what the root shells were being used for, or if they were even in active use.

The Paris-based server hosted sites including combinepdf.com, imagetopdf.com, jpg2pdf.com and many others.  These sites allow users to convert files and documents to other formats.  While they are hardly the most popular sites in the world, it is estimated that thousands of people use the sites every day, based on various traffic metrics and statistics sites.

The server was found by the researcher to be vulnerable to a year-old set of bugs found in the ImageMagick library, a commonly used tool to convert images. The bugs, known collectively as “ImageTragick,” are extremely easy to exploit — in one case, as simple as uploading an image file containing four lines of code to the server. The bug is so serious that Facebook paid a record bug bounty to a researcher who found that the social network was vulnerable, and Yahoo stopped using the software altogether. Countless servers and websites remain unpatched to this day.

As soon as an exploit file is uploaded to a vulnerable server, the code runs.  This opens a bind shell on the server which listens for commands or code from the attacker.  According to the researcher, there were 3 other bind shells open on this server.  Exactly who was using them or what they were doing remains unknown.

“The impact of this incident is concerning to me,” said the security researcher. “All data going in or out of the server was being tampered with for months on end without the server owner noticing it.”

The full list of affected domains includes:


Read the full article below:

Spotted in the Wild: Fake Facebook messages spreading malicious content

There is a new malware campaign on the rise which has recently been spotted spreading via Facebook private messages.  While the idea behind the campaign is not new, using instant messaging to spread links to malware hosting web pages, the length to which the malware authors have gone to target their victims is not something we typically see in a fly-by-night malware campaign.

The links in the message take you to a Google Docs document page.  The document has already taken a picture from the victim’s Facebook page and created a dynamic landing page which looks like a playable movie. When the victim clicks on the fake playable movie, the malware redirects them to a set of websites which enumerate their browser, operating system and other vital information. Depending on their operating system they are directed to other websites.

It has been a while since I saw these adware campaigns using Facebook, and its pretty unique that it also uses Google Docs, with customized landing pages. As far as I can see no actual malware (Trojans, exploits) are being downloaded but the people behind this are most likely making a lot of money in ads and getting access to a lot of Facebook accounts.

Please make sure that you don’t click on these links, and please update your antivirus!


Read more on this threat below:

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d!

Bill Burr’s 2003 report recommended using numbers, obscure characters and capital letters and updating regularly—he regrets the error

The man who wrote the book on password management has a confession to make: He blew it.

Back in 2003, as a midlevel manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Bill Burr was the author of “NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A.” The 8-page primer advised people to protect their accounts by inventing awkward new words rife with obscure characters, capital letters and numbers—and to change them regularly.

The document became a sort of Hammurabi Code of passwords, the go-to guide for federal agencies, universities and large companies looking for a set of password-setting rules to follow.

The problem is the advice ended up largely incorrect, Mr. Burr says. Change your password every 90 days? Most people make minor changes that are easy to guess, he laments. Changing Pa55word!1 to Pa55word!2 doesn’t keep the hackers at bay.

Read More