Office 365 = ransomware?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by rexone, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. rexone macrumors regular

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    Oct 4, 2007
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    Lake Weyba on the sub-tropical Sunshine Coast :)
    #1
    I've just spent days locked out of my copy of Office '11.
    The reason? A lapsed subscription to Office 365.
    I've owned Office '11 pretty much since its release.
    4-years back I subscribed to 365 as I needed it for work at the time.
    When Office '16 became available I trialled it but found it was more beta than market ready & deleted it continuing to use Office '11.
    I hadn't used any of the features of 365 for over 2-years so when the subscription came due I didn't bother renewing.
    Prior to the sub lapsing I had been receiving an alert saying something about not being able to access apps if I didn't renew so I checked with MS & they assured me that it was just in relation to 365.
    So I open Office '11 after the 365 expiry date & guess what? An alert pops-up saying pay us for a new subscription if you want to access your files.
    Basically 365 had overridden my fully-licensed copy of '11 and was locking me out.
    One option was to put in my original serial # but I couldn't locate it anywhere.
    Microsoft support said... we can't help you access your serial unless... your have your serial to prove that you have the right to access your serial. Or that I could just buy Office '16 or re-subscribe to access my files.
    I thought it was just the Russian hacking mafia that used ransomware tactics...
    Anyway... after immense amounts of time wasted & zero help from Microsoft I eventually deleted all MS apps, 'found' a disc image of the install app, reinstalled, rebooted & guess what... my serial was back by itself & Office worked again.
    So... just a warning...
    If you use a fully-purchased copy of Office and plan to cancel a 365 sub make sure you have all of your serials & install files available otherwise you may not be getting your files back without paying for them...
     
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #2
    Most likely, the disc image you "found" is a volume license installer that doesn't require a serial number.
     
  3. rexone thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Possibly, however when the start-up splash screen shows it has my name & serial back where it is supposed to be.
     
  4. bopajuice Suspended

    bopajuice

    Joined:
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    #4
    Thanks for the warning. I guess the moral of the story is keep serial numbers safe. All of this could have been avoided.
     
  5. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

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    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #5
    If you wish to continue using Office 2011 you might not want to upgrade to the next version of macOS as it will no longer support 32 bit apps according to Apple. Office 2011 is a 32 bit app whereas Office 2016 is 64 bit.
     
  6. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Location:
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    #6
    Well, maybe and maybe not. Apple is being very foxy about what exactly happens after High Sierra as far as 32 bit apps are concerned. They don't go as far as to say that they stop working, they just use some weasel-worded phrase that appears to say that 32 bit apps may not be completely functional. Although I've asked about what this really means in a number of threads I've yet to find anyone who knows just what's going to happen.
     
  7. rexone thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Agree 100%.
    I was sure I had kept the original e-mail as a PDF (I electronically ordered the product originally) but of-course can you find it when you need it?...
    --- Post Merged, Apr 8, 2018 ---
    Yes, Apple can be very frustrating like that.
    Without digressing too much it's like the whole iPhoto debacle. Photos is an inadequate replacement of iPhoto, feature poor in all the wrong places & designed primarily for cloud & iOS users, so I've not switched to it as I've relied on iPhoto for managing our library for nearly 15-years.
    Apple refuse to say how long they will 'support' iPhoto for but each new OS update seems to hobble it more & more.
    Once they've forced everyone onto Photos they'll then proudly announce how successful they've been with the new app because of the high level of user uptake...
    --- Post Merged, Apr 8, 2018 ---
    I looked at '16 shortly after it's release & honestly it was appalling, so many basic features missing - you couldn't customise toolbars, PowerPoint wouldn't see anything but the first page of multi-page PDFs etc etc. so I ditched it.
    I'd love to switch to Pages etc but I deal with too many corporates & can't afford 'translation' problems.
     
  8. throAU macrumors 603

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #8
    A better alternative would be to migrate to a different office suite and keep your platform up to date and secure.

    i know, it sucks, but if microsoft's terms are unacceptable to you, the path forward is to get off their software. Not upgrading your OS is just putting off the inevitable, and preventing you from securing your machine, to boot.
     
  9. rexone thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Ummm... Respectfully but I think you've the gist of things.

    It's nothing to do with Microsoft's terms.
    I let my 365 subscription lapse & that then locked me out of my fully-licensed copy of Office 2011.
    That is an unacceptable 'bug'.

    I keep the OS on all of our machines totally up-to-date so not sure where that came from.
     
  10. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    #10
    If you use 1Password you can save all that info there. Every time I so an install of some software that has keys or some other info I may need at some later time I make a Software record and attach screenshots and suchlike there. That's saved my proverbial bacon on several occasions.
     
  11. sracer macrumors 604

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #11
    @throAU was responding to @chscag 's comment regarding keeping your macOS version at it's current version and not upgrading to a newer version of macOS that won't support Office 2011.

    The next version of macOS will no longer support 32-bit apps. Office 2011 is a 32-bit app. If you update to that next version of macOS, you will not be able to continue to use Office 2011. That was chscag's point. he is correct. ThroAU was saying that it isn't wise to be backlevel on your OS. THAT I don't agree with.

    That aside, Microsoft is absolutely sloppy when it comes to handling Office 365 subscriptions. Not only do they clobber perpetual licenses (as you discovered the hard way), but they'll also clobber family subscription accounts if you activate the personal account that often comes preloaded on some low-end systems. I bought a cyber-Monday 14" Dell Inspiron ($120) that had a 1 year personal subscription to Office 365, and when I was going through the activation process it told me that it would disable the family subscription and replace it with a personal one.
     
  12. jasnw macrumors 6502a

    jasnw

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    Nov 15, 2013
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    #12
    As I posted above, we don't really know what will happen RE 32-bit apps post-HS. SOMETHING will happen, but that something seems to be short of "32-bit apps won't work at all." Apple isn't making a clear statement about this. If they have, I'd like to see a link to an official Apple post about exactly what's going to happen.
     
  13. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

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    Fort Worth, Texas
    #13
    I believe Apple used the word "compromises" in its statement about 32 bit apps running in the next version of macOS. Whenever I read that from Apple, I interpret to mean "the app won't work right". It's really not a big thing for me as I no longer exchange documents with other users. I find the new version of Pages to be all I need. I especialy like the new layout where you can have two pages of a document open side by side. Very convenient.
     
  14. sgtaylor5 macrumors member

    sgtaylor5

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    Aug 6, 2017
    Location:
    Cheney, WA, USA
    #14
    If you want to get away from Microsoft Office, you might want to try SoftMaker Office for Mac 2018. Not an affiliate, just a satisfied user. In light of your subscription problems, I wouldn't get the Universal version, as it is a subscription as well.
     
  15. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

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    #15
    Looks like a nice office suite. Do you know if SoftMaker Office is a 64 bit app?
     
  16. throAU macrumors 603

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #16
    Yes that was my point.

    Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying upgrade to a new OS on day one. However, staying on an older version of macOS indefinitely is not a viable long term solution (at least if you care in any way about security, future hardware/software support, etc.).

    If newer versions of Office are unacceptable to you (e.g., 365) then you need to figure out a path forward.

    Staying on macOS version x.y is an interim measure until you work out what to do, not a long term solution. At some point, you need to upgrade macOS to maintain security update support, hardware support, etc.

    That point may be 1, 2, 5 or however many years in future when your current plaform goes EOL. But it WILL happen, and you need to start figuring out a plan for that at some point. It may as well be now, because long term the situation isn't going to be reverse. Start looking for a long term solution now, and hopefully by the time your support runs out, you've migrated.

    Otherwise you're going to kick the can down the road until suddenly support is gone, you need a path forward and you're boned because you don't have one.
     
  17. nnoble macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    #17
    This is a timely thread. I no longer need 365 and will probably not renew the subscription. I do have Office 2008 installion disc and 5 licence numbers bought at an Apple Store. Since I have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro, I just need to ensure I don't upgrade the OS beyond 32 bit capability. Thanks again for the heads-up.
     

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