Tag Archives: Microsoft 365

Why Microsoft Teams Suffered Such A Massive Outage!

Microsoft Teams has finally been restored after suffering a massive outage that lasted many hours!

Here was what happened…

 

Microsoft Teams Suffers Massive Outage!

On Wednesday, 20 July 2022, thousands of users were unable to access Microsoft Teams, and it continued into Thursdays, 21 July 2022.

This was a big problem, because Teams had become an integral part of daily operations for many businesses that had adapted to a hybrid work pattern during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams users relied on the service to organise their workflow and communicate internally like making calls and messaging each other.

The MS Teams problem also affected other services downstream, with some users reporting issues with Microsoft Office 365 as well.

Microsoft acknowledged the downstream impact to multiple Office 365 services with Teams integration, like Microsoft Word, Office Online and SharePoint Online.

 

Why Microsoft Teams Suffered Such A Massive Outage!

After 1.5 hours after Teams went down, Microsoft announced that they found the root cause – “a recent deployment contained a broken connection to an internal storage device, which result in impact“.

That’s tech-speak for “we installed a system upgrade that pointed to a storage device that does not exist, so MS Teams stopped working“.

They quickly redirected traffic to “a healthy service to mitigate impact“, which have allowed unaffected users to continue using MS Teams, but it did not seem to help those who lost access.

Although they identified the root cause, restoration appears to be taking time. Two hours later, they could only report that “Microsoft Teams functionality is beginning to recover“, which they repeated two hours later.

In the meantime, affected MS Teams users are creatively expressing their “frustration” on social media…

Update @ 3:56 PM (GMT+8) : The Microsoft 365 team announced that Teams availability has “mostly recovered“, but “a few service features” still required attention.

 

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Chinese Netizens Explode Over WPS Office Censorship!

Chinese netizens are incensed over evidence that WPS Office was monitoring and deleting their files!

Find out what’s going on, and what it means for the digital privacy of WPS Office users!

 

Chinese Netizens : WPS Office Is Monitoring + Blocking Our Documents!

Chinese company, Kingsoft, is under fire for claims that its productivity suite WPS Office is actively monitoring and deleting user documents that might displease Beijing!

At the heart of this issue is the WPS Cloud platform that works like Microsoft 365, allowing users to store their documents in the cloud, or locally.

Chinese netizens are alleging that WPS Office was actively monitoring their documents, and even deleting those that were detected to contain content that might displease the Chinese authorities.

One novelist who goes by the pseudonym Mitu, claimed that she was unable to access her unpublished 1.3 million character document. Not only was it blocked in her cloud storage, she couldn’t access the local copy using the desktop WPS client.

She was told that “the file may contain sensitive content and access has been disabled“.

Mitu shared her experience on Lkong – an online Chinese literature forum, and the social media platform Xiaohongshu, in late June 2022; and it only began trending in Weibo in early July after an influencer reposted her complaint.

A Weibo post on her complaint appears to have been deleted, but fortunately a screenshot was captured. This was the post in Chinese, machine translated into English :

Simply put, WPS seems to have some kind of sensitive word harmony function, Then after being detected, not only the ones stored on the cloud disk will be harmonized

According to the victim’s complaint, it is not only on the cloud, but also on local files. It’s hard to escape a harmony.

At present, according to some netizens, it may be checked after being saved.Sensitive words are detected and then determined to be files that may contain sensitive information,

Directly blocked, or it may be directly locked after being remotely detected by the background server local files There is no other way but to appeal (and it will be fixed in time) but this Is it remote from the server?

Now there is a lot of panic in the online literature circle, for fear that hundreds of thousands of words of manuscripts will be blocked overnight. Asking both online and offline harmony, many people re-use ms and writing pads write file

Mitu said she reported the problem to Kingsoft, which eventually apologised and restored access to the file within two days. The company admitted that “the file was not problematic”.

However, her story spurred other Chinese netizens to come forward with their own stories. A writer in Guangzhou who goes by the pseudonym Liu Hai also said that his WPS Office document of nearly 10,000 words was similarly blocked on July 1, 2022.

These incidents have sparked concerns about privacy in China. While the Chinese government routinely monitors and censors social media content, monitoring and blocking of personal documents would represent a new level of censorship in China.

 

WPS Office Admits Blocking File Access

After the online furore over claims that WPS Office deleted user files, the software developer issued a terse public statement on July 11, 2022.

It said that WPS Office does not delete the “user’s local files”, and that it was a misunderstanding. They only deleted the “online document link”, and blocked “others from access the link according to the law”.

Here is the Weibo post in Chinese, machine translated into English :

Statement on the exposure of online transmission #WPS will delete the user’s local files

A recent online document link shared by a user is suspected of violating the law, and we have prohibited others from accessing the link according to law. This has been misrepresented as #WPS delete user local files.

To this end, we specifically declare: WPS, as an office software developed for more than 30 years, has always put user experience and user privacy protection first.

WPS Office cleverly claims that it never “censors, locks or delete users’ local files”, which is technically correct but as Mitu and Liu Hai described, WPS Office blocks access to their users’ local files.

It was discovered that the files can still be opened by other software, like Microsoft Word or Tencent Docs. But the blocked files cannot be opened by WPS Office, even if they are stored locally (in the user’s computer).

It should be noted that Mitu never shared her file online. So WPS Office’s claim that they only blocked “others” from accessing the file is misleading.

 

WPS Office Not The Only Cloud Provider Monitoring Content

To be fair to WPS Office and Kingsoft, they are not the only ones monitoring content uploaded to the cloud. They just took things one step further by blocking access to local files.

By default, traffic to and from cloud-based productivity services like Google Docs, Microsoft 365 and WPS Office are not end-to-end encrypted.

That means they can and most likely are reading / monitoring EVERYTHING you type or upload. This includes files uploaded and stored in cloud-based storage services like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.

That is the right of cloud service providers, because you are using their servers to store your content.

Google, for example, lists content that can be automatically removed and could even lead to a ban :

  • Account hijacking
  • Account inactivity
  • Child sexual abuse and exploitation
  • Circumvention
  • Dangerous and illegal activities
  • Harassment, bullying, and threats
  • Hate speech
  • Impersonation and misrepresentation
  • Malware and similar malicious content
  • Misleading content
  • Non-consensual explicit imagery
  • Personal and confidential information
  • Phishing
  • Regulated goods and services
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Spam
  • System interference and abuse
  • Unauthorized images of minors
  • Violence and gore
  • Violent organizations and movements

People need to be aware of this, and stop assuming that they have privacy on such cloud services, even if they paid to use them.

So it is not surprising that WPS Office monitors everything its users do. If they stopped at blocking access to the online files that contravened local laws, no one would bat an eye.

What is unusual though is that it also blocked access to the users’ local files! That means that their desktop and mobile apps were specifically designed to enforce a list of blocked files issued by WPS Office / Kingsoft.

If WPS Office / Kingsoft goes to that extent, does it mean that they would also alert the Chinese authorities about users producing content that displease them?

That is something everyone should think about, not just Chinese netizens who are justifiably concerned about WPS Office.

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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The 2019 Microsoft – Dell Partnership : All You Need To Know!

One of the biggest stories from Dell Technologies World 2019 was the new Microsoft – Dell partnership. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella himself joined Michael Dell to talk about it!

 

The 2019 Microsoft – Dell Partnership

Dell Technologies and Microsoft have been partners for a long time now, but at Dell Technologies World 2019, they announced that they were expanding their partnership in a number of digital transformation solutions.

Let’s take a look at what the components of the 2019 Microsoft – Dell partnership…

 

Azure VMware Solutions – VMware On Azure!

For the first time ever, Microsoft will offer VMware on Azure! The new Azure VMware Solutions are built on VMware Cloud Foundation, and deployed in Azure.

This would allow companies to capitalise on VMware’s trusted cloud infrastructure and the mission-critical performance of Microsoft Azure.

Hybrid Cloud Connectivity

With Azure VMware Solutions, customers will be able to seamlessly migrate, extend and run existing VMware workloads from on-premises environments to Microsoft Azure without the need to re-architect applications or retool operations.

They will also be able to build, run, manage, and secure new and existing applications across VMware environments and Microsoft Azure, while extending a single model for operations based on established tools, skills and processes as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.

Tapping Into Azure Capabilities

Azure VMware Solutions enable organisations to tap into Azure’s scale, security and fast provisioning cycles to innovate and modernise applications while also improving performance.

By integrating with native Azure services, customers can easily infuse advanced capabilities like AI, Machine Learning, and IoT into their applications enabling new, intelligent experiences.

Metal-as-a-Service

Azure VMware Solutions are first-party services from Microsoft developed in collaboration with VMware Cloud Verified partners CloudSimple and Virtustream (a Dell Technologies company).

Both CloudSimple and Virtustream run the latest VMware software-defined data center technology.

This ensures that customers enjoy the same benefits of a consistent infrastructure and consistent operations in the cloud as they achieve in their own physical data center, while allowing customers to also access the capabilities of Microsoft Azure.

 

New Microsoft – Dell Workspace Solutions

The 2019 Microsoft – Dell partnership also sees a collaboration in digital workspace solutions between Microsoft and both Dell Technologies and VMware.

Microsoft 365 + VMware Workspace ONE

Customers who use both Microsoft 365 and VMware Workspace ONE will now be able to leverage both solutions to maximise their investments.

Specifically, they will be able to use Workspace ONE to manage and secure Office 365 across devices through cloud-based integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory.

Dell Provisioning Services Integration

Through the new Dell Technologies Unified Workspace, customers can leverage the integration of Microsoft Windows Autopilot and Dell Device Provisioning and Deployment Services, like Dell ProDeploy – all enabled by the integration of Microsoft 365, Workspace ONE, and Dell Provisioning Services.

Windows Virtual Desktop

Microsoft also announced Windows Virtual Desktop, the only service that delivers a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimisations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktops and apps.

As a part of this agreement, VMware will extend the capabilities of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop to enable customers to further accelerate their cloud initiatives, leveraging VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.

Initial capabilities are expected to be available as a tech preview by the end of calendar year 2019.

VMware + Azure Integration

Microsoft and VMware are also exploring initiatives to drive further integration between VMware infrastructure and Azure such as integration of VMware NSX with Azure Networking and integration of specific Azure services with VMware management solutions.

They will also be exploring bringing specific Azure services to the VMware on-premises customers. Through this collaboration, the companies aim to give customers a more seamless experience across VMware and Azure environments.

 

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