OneDrive, Outlook, Other Office Products Get New Security Features

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Cloud, Office 365, OneDrive, with 29 Comments

Microsoft is introducing a roster of new security features for Office 365. The company is adding new security features to Office 365’s flagship services, OneDrive and Outlook, for all Home and Personal subscribers.

OneDrive is getting a new File Restore feature that’ll allow users to easily restore files from the last 30 days. This feature–previously only available to business subscribers–will be incredibly useful for those who may get affected by a potential ransomware attack and lose their files — but using OneDrive’s new File Restore feature, they’d easily be able to restore the files without losing any of their data. Microsoft is also bringing ransomware detection to OneDrive, and the service will now automatically inform users when signs of ransomware are detected in their files. And lastly, OneDrive is getting the ability to password-protect shared links, which means you will be able to now give users with a password to access your files or folders within OneDrive.

The more “interesting” features part of the latest Office 365 updates are for In the coming weeks, Microsoft will start rolling out an improved end-to-end encryption feature for emails which will ensure your emails are completely encrypted regardless of what email client an email’s recipients might be using. Microsoft will give users with a one-time passcode that will allow them to read the encrypted outside of their default client — but that’s only if they aren’t already using Outlook. The encryption feature is getting a new “prevent forwarding” functionality that’ll prevent recipients from forwarding your encrypted email.

Microsoft’s bringing a key security feature to its Office apps later this year as well. The company’s real-time advanced link checking feature will be coming to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications later this year which will automatically check links within your documents, spreadsheets, or presentations are safe and warn you for threats like a malware download page, or phishing scams.

The new security features are only available to paid Office 365 subscribers, highlighting Microsoft’s commitment towards the service. Microsoft’s Office business has been growing rapidly along with its Cloud business, and with Office 2019 launching soon, two of Microsoft’s core businesses will be coming closer together than ever before.

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Comments (32)

32 responses to “OneDrive, Outlook, Other Office Products Get New Security Features”

  1. Igor Engelen

    What would be really cool, but I'm not sure how hard it is to implement, is if they could capture encryption attempts and ask for confirmation with the authenticator app.

  2. harmjr

    This make my love of OneDrive more important!

  3. ashonline

    No mention of the fact that data on the consumer edition of OneDrive is not encrypted at rest, unlike Google Drive and Dropbox. Correct me if I'm wrong!

  4. TrevorL

    I guess I'll be checking each day to see when I get it. Can't wait.

  5. Waethorn

    What's really disturbing is that OneDrive now seems to be filtering files that contain content that relates to news and information sources that Microsoft & Friends like the DNC, SnopesCat, and various Soros-related orgs like don't agree with.

      • Waethorn

        In reply to lvthunder:

        According to their new terms of service, documents with specific content can be filtered (read: censored) if it doesn't comply with Microsoft and/or their friends' political views (such as those in the DNC whom they've been buddy-buddy with). Some users have found that conservative political views, such as those of making government smaller or to criticize hypocrisy over liberal stances and the people and organizations that propagate them, have already been censored. Of course, this mirrors everything that is being done in China, which employs a repressive regime with a history of spying, censorship, and human rights violations. Microsoft is compliance with that there. And liberal law makers are dictating a lot of the same here against anyone that voices dissent against it. If someone claims that you offend them whether you do or not, or if someone at Microsoft thinks you might be (or the "algo" looks for some keywords), you can be monitored (and documents read), censored, or banned from Microsoft services under their new Terms of Service. YouTubers, whom many are Xbox gamers or OneDrive or Skype users, are reporting on this already.

  6. thalter

    These are all great value add features. The OneDrive 30-day file versioning is particularly useful, and brings OneDrive closer to feature parity with DropBox (which has had 30-day file history almost since day one).

  7. George Perry

    Great to know they are moving forward on these things and not sideways. Thanks for the write-up

  8. jeffrye

    I use OneDrive and I back up my files using Cloudberry. One of the main reasons I back up my files is that OneDrive won't help me if my files become corrupted (like a ransom ware attack).

    Does this new feature mean I don't need to back up my files anymore? Will OneDrive do the whole job for me? This sounds pretty awesome!

    • Jeremy Petzold

      In reply to jeffrye:

      I won't say you don't have to back up anymore, but you can use OneDrive as a means to recover files that become corrupted now.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to jeffrye:

      OneDrive does provide historical file versions, so they kinda do protect you against ransomware that corrupts files. Any decent storage service should provide that, and should lock out third-party software from modifying the contents of previous file versions. Software should do the same. The best software to do that would create encrypted backups, but it's always a good idea to have some kind of unencrypted backup as well. It's better to use a separate device from your computer though since it's far less likely that you would ever get malware on a headless server or NAS device that operates through network shares or web access only, especially if it's Linux-based, which most NAS's are. Likewise, it's less likely that any other disk software on your own computer would have direct disk access (unless you use iSCSI) that would corrupt meta-copies of previous file versions, and a lot of NAS software doesn't provide external access to that data outside of their own file history restoration features.

  9. ponsaelius

    Its about time that email encryption just becomes "normal".

  10. jchampeau

    No one will ever be affected by a potential ransomware attack. Only an actual ransomware attack.

    • peterh_oz

      In reply to jchampeau:

      You yourself have been affected by a potential ransomware attack. Without the potential of a ransomeware attack, it would not have been mentioned in the article, and you then would not have commented. I also have been affected, as I wouldn't have read your comment and replied to it with this correction. The last 3 minutes of my life would have been different, and I wonder what sort of "butterfly effect" such alleged non existent (but now proven as an incorrect allegation) potential ransomware attack will have on the universe. Now it is 4 minutes!

    • DaddyBrownJr

      In reply to jchampeau:

      But they could potentially be affected by a potential ransomware attack.

  11. Daekar

    These features sound like just the ticket! They are ALL things that I can immediately think of instances where I will use them. I am especially glad to hear about the ransomware protection, that is about the only thing that keeps me up at night about our current backup solution.

    I would love to see an audit of the end-to-end encryption of Outlook mail too. It sounds a lot like ProtonMail.

  12. karlinhigh

    That "prevent forwarding" feature... I suppose the mail recipient could still copy/paste or screen-capture the message after they open it? I must be misunderstanding the threat model that this is supposed to defend against.

  13. eitex

    I think the File and particularly Folder Restore is a massive advantage. Users simply don't give backup enough consideration. In fact I do not believe that data should not be in any one place, or with any one provider, this is why I wrote about the importance of cloud-to-cloud backup at the Eitex Blog

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