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Week Ending: 5th February - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Headlines this week have been dominated by COVID-19 vaccine news, social media bans and revamps. So, we look to the Tech and I.T. industry to bring us some interesting developments.

From NHS moving their mailboxes to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, to modern cloud-based apps helping companies progress through the pandemic to the latest BEC phishing scams.

Let’s bring you up to date.

NHS moves millions of mailboxes to Microsoft’s Azure cloud

The NHS has been under immense pressure this past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, not only having to deal with COVID-19 patients but also regular patients.

Within the NHS, the email service they use for sharing patient identifiable and sensitive information is called NHSmail. However, it was announced this week that the mailboxes are being moved to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, the first step in the Government’s vision for a cloud-first health service.

Around 22,000 accounts have been moved to Microsoft’s secure Exchange Online platform every weekday since August, rising to around 83,000 every weekend.

Sarah Wilkinson, NHS Digital’s Chief Executive commented

“The migration of NHSmail to Exchange Online has enabled us to provide staff across the NHS with a mail system which is functionally richer, more secure and lower cost, we have also deployed a Microsoft Hybrid implementation of Office 365 to the NHSmail platform, which is allowing NHS organisations to provision O365 services much faster, integrate with the existing NHSmail identity, and collaborate more easily.”

Incorporating Office365 services allows the NHS to communicate more efficiently. It also allows for the deployment of Microsoft Teams, which was rolled-out at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently used to send almost 1 million messages across the NHS every day. Staff are now able to communicate more effectively and have access to the information, applications, and services they need, reducing administrative burdens and improving patient safety.

Explore more here.

Better apps are the key to your business surviving the pandemic

Research has shown that modern, cloud-native apps have helped organisations remain agile and reliable during the pandemic.

A poll by VMware on 5,000 business decision makers, IT decision makers and app developers, revealed this week that the reason some businesses have been able to remain agile is down to modern applications.

VMware reports that modern, cloud-native apps have helped end-user experience, increased app and software performance and increased business efficiency. Sumit Dhawan, SVP and Chief Customer Experience Officer at VMware commented

“Businesses need to do more than transform capabilities to deliver digital experiences for customers and for employees. Ultimately, it is about cultivating software-minded leadership, driving alignment among app developers, IT, and the business, and adopting strategic technology platforms to thrive.”

Whether this is the answer to businesses success during the pandemic we can’t be certain, however, with the way that businesses are heading, it may help to have a more secure and cloud-based approach to the apps used.

Find out more here.

Microsoft 365 becomes haven for BEC Innovation

Phishing tactics have been evolving at a rapid rate, with new types of cyberattacks popping up almost every day. This week two fresh business email compromise (BEC) tactics have emerged onto the phishing scene, involving the manipulation of Microsoft 365 automated email responses to evade email security filters.

The hackers have been able to manipulate Microsoft 365’s automated email responses to evade email security filters. One of the ways they target victims is by redirecting legitimate out-of-office (OOO) replies from an employee to themselves. The scammer will create a BEC email that impersonates someone inside the organisation, then the attacker will manipulate the Reply-To email header so that if the target has an OOO message turned on, that OOO notification which includes the original text will be directed to another individual in the organisation.

The other way is the manipulation of read-receipts, the scammer will create an extortion email and influence the Disposition-Notification-To email header to generate a read-receipt notification from Microsoft 365 to the recipient. Regardless of whether the malicious email itself gets trapped by email security the read receipt is sent to the target anyway, including the text of the original email.

Both these tactics are being used more prominently in the U.S around December, the most popular holiday times.

BEC emails are designed to scam companies out of money, by impersonating an employee, supplier or customer in an email or mobile message. By staying vigilant in employee training to spot these types of attacks will limit the amount of success the hackers will have, but also upgrading security software to make sure they detect these types of attacks.

Discover more here.

Those were just some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: