IT Brief Asia logo
Technology news for Asia's largest enterprises
Story image

The users most at risk from Microsoft’s mass security step-up

The countdown to end basic authentication is about to start, but too many email users remain unprepared.

A technology change three years in the making is finally about to start taking effect: the phasing out of ‘Basic Authentication’ for Outlook,  Exchange Online and related services, replaced with a decidedly more modern approach to logging into email.

Microsoft will specifically disable Basic Authentication for MAPI, RPC, Offline Address Book (OAB), Exchange Web Services (EWS), POP, IMAP, Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), and Remote PowerShell.

The length of the build-up to this was necessary: Outlook is estimated to have about 400 million users worldwide. Any change to the way they authenticate to their email service is just a massive undertaking. Add to that the anguish caused when users are locked out of their email accounts, and there is a lot riding on the change.

Microsoft is fully cognisant of the risks and challenges. “IT and change can be hard,” it said at the start of the month.

The vendor also made another change of its own. While acknowledging the three years it has spent communicating the authentication switch, it noted there were still some customers that weren’t ready.

“This effort has taken three years from initial communication until now, and even that has not been enough time to ensure that all customers know about this change and take all necessary steps,” it said. “Despite multiple blog posts, Message Center posts, interruptions of service, and coverage via tweets, videos, conference presentations and more, some customers are still unaware this change is coming. There are also many customers aware of the deadline who simply haven’t done the necessary work to avoid an outage.”

The result is a bit of extra leeway to allow customers to make the switch to Modern Authentication, ahead of Microsoft switching off Basic Authentication.

While this might buy some businesses a bit of extra time, it would be undesirable to have to avail oneself of this stopgap measure.

Instead, it should be considered far more preferential to treat this as a last-ditch opportunity to expedite a review of your environment to determine if you have users likely to be impacted by the switch and, if so, to craft a transition strategy that ensures they can continue to communicate over email uninterrupted.

Reasons to upgrade authentication

It’s worth contemplating why Microsoft is so keen to upgrade the authentication mechanisms for Outlook and Exchange Online in the first place.

The answer to that is user security.

Applications have traditionally been connecting to servers, services, and APIs using basic authentication - the practice of verifying the identity of a person connecting to a service or an application with a username and a password. These credentials are frequently saved on the user’s device as well.

As any security-conscious business knows, relying on passwords to protect access to business systems and data is no longer considered best practice. Instead, it opens organisations to a wide range of risks.

Passwords are famous for being easily compromised or broken, and people tend to make errors such as sharing these credentials or using them across many platforms. In addition, managing all those passwords at an organisational level puts the burden on understaffed IT teams.

For would-be attackers, functional username-password combinations are trivial to obtain. Scammers often use phishing to trick users into handing over their basic authentication credentials. They also use sophisticated tools to carry out brute force attacks to create random passwords and determine your login details. Additionally, it is possible to use keyloggers to record each keystroke made on the keyboard.

Once a username and password have been obtained, every transaction conducted with the credentials will be treated as legitimate and valid, even if the credentials are in the wrong hands. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2022 indicates that compromised credentials account for 60% of successful data breaches.

No surprise, then, that Microsoft is keen to enforce a new standard of login security when it comes to email accounts and tenants to raise the bar overall when it comes to user security.

That raised bar is to be delivered through the adoption of Modern Authentication. This will inevitably involve the use of multiple factors but also be more dynamic as well as context-aware.

Multi-factor authentication should be part of a modern authentication approach to protecting every employee. It asks people to authenticate with something they own - a smartphone or hardware authentication device - in addition to username and password.

In addition, instead of blindly trusting an authentication credential that may be used by a malicious actor to impersonate a user, strategies like Zero Trust and risk- and context-based authentication enable informed decisions about who is attempting to access what from where on which device.

Access decisions need to be constantly evaluated against the risk environment to ensure that only the right accounts can gain access to the right resources. Users are given rapid access when security requirements are satisfied. On the other hand, users are requested to increase security by supplying an additional authentication factor when their identity, or reasons for wanting to access a resource, can’t be immediately verified.

If your environment still has elements of Basic Authentication, or you’re unsure, it may be the eleventh hour, but there is still time to analyse your tenant configuration, identify uses of basic authentication, and prepare a migration plan to ensure your organisation is aligned with the latest security requirements.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Security Information and Event Management
LogRhythm announces LogRhythm Axon and new solution enhancements
According to the company, Axon provides an easier way for security teams to achieve better visibility across both cloud and on-prem log sources, helping further establish a foundation for their security practices.
Story image
Virtual Private Network
BT enhances global Cardway portfolio with Mako Networks
BT has announced a significant enhancement to its Cardway portfolio of payment solutions following the signing of a global agreement with Mako Networks.
Story image
Cloud
MYOB provides efficiency boost with new inventory solution 
Premium Inventory is an integrated solution that helps goods-based businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase cashflow.
Story image
Cloud Services
Dell and Wind River transform telecom cloud deployments
Dell’s industry-first co-engineered solution with Wind River speeds the adoption of open, cloud-native network technologies.
Story image
Web Development
Kafkawize joins Aiven to further open source journey
The acquisition signals Aiven's evolution from an open-source contributor to a steward of open-source communities. As part of this transition, Kafkawize has also been renamed Klaw.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
TeamViewer and Hyundai Motor sign new strategic partnership
TeamViewer and Hyundai Motor have signed a strategic partnership with the hopes of accelerating digital innovation within an automotive smart factory.
Story image
Sustainable IT
Adobe surveys sustainability at work in Hong Kong employees
The top three sustainability practices are reducing paper usage (46%), digital document storage and management (43%), and curbing electricity consumption (37%).
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Story image
Databricks
Qlik and Databricks partnership advances cloud analytics
Qlik has announced two significant enhancements to its partnership with Databricks that make it easier for customers to combine Qlik's solutions and Databricks.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Versa announces partnership with Nabiq to deliver 5G services
Versa’s VOS enables a unique approach to 5G edge solutions by combining virtual machines with SASE multi-tenancy to enable 5G UPF data plane
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: Uniphore shares how Conversational AI can be the key to business success
Conversational AI and Automation are vital tools to help further promote organisational cohesion and communication, and Uniphore is leading the charge.
Story image
Tax
BlackLine adds tax hyperautomation capabilities to its solutions
The extension to BlackLine's intercompany solutions comes in response to organisations facing increasing intercompany tax scrutiny globally.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Story image
eCommerce
Customer loyalty drops when brands don't innovate - report
Customers are quick to flee slow-to-innovate brands with lagging commerce experiences, with millennials and Gen Z leading the migration.
Story image
Firewall
Barracuda accelerates growth in its data protection business
Barracuda cloud-to-cloud backup protects against evolving cyber threats, such as ransomware, and is now transactable in the Azure Marketplace.
Story image
Customer Relationship Management
NetSuite introduces CPQ to help organisations simplify sales process
NetSuite CPQ is the only native configure, price and quote solution built on the NetSuite platform. It works with NetSuite ERP, CRM, and eCommerce solutions
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.
Story image
IT infrastructure
Kyndryl launches open solution, powered by co-creation
Kyndryl Vital is led by global teams of designers who work alongside customers and partners to define and solve complex problems with innovation.
Story image
Oracle NetSuite
NetSuite Launches Ship Central to improve warehouse operations
NetSuite WMS and Ship Central offer warehouse operations across SKUs, processes, and locations. NetSuite WMS eliminates manual processes
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Malware
Black Lotus Labs discovers new, multipurpose malware
Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language.
Story image
Cloud
IBM releases Transformation Index to assist cloud innovation
IBM has released its Transformation Index: State of Cloud, commissioned by the company and conducted by an independent research firm.
Story image
Microsoft
UiPath and Microsoft partner to empower best-in-class automation
"Together, we are helping customers realise and achieve the business value of automation at scale. We are excited to deliver substantial, integrated cloud offerings.”
Story image
Cybersecurity
Continuous attack attempts discovered on Atlassian Confluence zero day
Following a coordinated disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability by Volexity in Atlassian Confluence, attackers went wild to exploit it.
Story image
Customer Relationship Management
NetSuite helps Australian bridal boutique to scale operations globally
Grace Loves Lace is now using Oracle NetSuite to create enhanced experiences for brides from Queensland, Australia, to locations worldwide. 
Story image
Workflow Automation
NetSuite announces SuitePeople Workforce Management
Oracle NetSuite has announced NetSuite SuitePeople Workforce Management, a solution created to help organisations manage labour costs and profitability.
Story image
Omnichannel
The need for purpose-built mobility in retail today
Against the backdrop of increasing competition, retailers are increasingly looking for ways in which they can take costs out of their business without sacrificing operational efficiencies.
Story image
Ransomware
Commonwealth tackling rising cybercrime threat in Asia
Ransomware, identity theft, and virtual security attacks identified as growing threats to security and economic growth.
Story image
Sustainable IT
Equinix commits US$50 million to advance digital inclusion
Establishes the Equinix Foundation, an employee-driven charitable organisation, to advance digital inclusion through grants and strategic partnerships.
Story image
IT Automation
Tech job moves - Adobe, Ambit, blueAPACHE, Cue & DC Blox
We round up all job appointments from September 26-,30 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How businesses can stay connected with their clients in a digital environment
Staying connected in a virtual world requires strong communication and collaboration, especially with many workplaces adopting a work-from-anywhere business model.
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Customer Relationship Management
Diagnostic: Does your tech stack up for growth?
It’s common for tech companies to encounter limitations in their tech stack as they experience growth. After all, at first, you only need to invest in systems to support the needs of an early-stage or single-entity business.
Story image
Subscriptions
Denodo targets mid-market with new subscription models
These new subscriptions will help mid-market companies to streamline data integration and accelerate speed to insights.