We’ve all been there. You're scrolling through your Facebook feed, and an ad pops up promising to help you grow your business with some AI-powered software…
Sounds tempting, doesn't it? Without giving it much thought, you click to see what it’s about.
Bad news: This is a big 🚩
Cybercriminals have been found creating Facebook ads that promise to supercharge your productivity and revenue. But when you click, there's a catch.
The software they ask you to install is actually malware (malicious software).
And when it’s on your computer it can give the criminals access to your Facebook data, including your ad budget.
You might think, "Who'd fall for such an obvious trick?"
But let's be real. When you're a small business owner juggling a million things at once, it's easy to take the bait. And these hackers are smart. They know how to make their phony offers look legit, and how to hide the malware on your computer so it’s hard to spot.
How do you stay safe? First, be skeptical of offers that seem too good to be true, because they often are. You can verify ads by Googling the advertiser before clicking on them.
And above all, take steps to secure your Facebook account. Use two-factor authentication, where you use a second device to prove it’s really you logging in.
Remember, these cyber criminals might be sneaky, but they're not infallible. For instance, the researchers who uncovered this scheme found several Vietnamese keywords in the malicious script.
This is another stark reminder of the importance of good cyber security. Yes, running a business is a juggling act, and adding another ball to the mix might feel overwhelming.
But think of it this way: Would you rather spend a little time now securing your account or a lot of time later dealing with the fall out of a breach?
As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure." So, stay safe, stay alert, and protect what you've worked so hard to build. If you need some help doing that, get in touch.
Ever been tempted to download the beta version of your favorite app, ready to test out all the cool new features before everyone else?
The FBI has some news that might just make you think twice.
Cyber criminals have come up with a brand new trick to lure us into their lair. They’re hiding malicious code in fake beta versions of popular apps, turning unsuspecting people’s mobiles into their personal piggy banks.
Now, don't get us wrong, we love innovation as much as the next team of tech enthusiasts. But whilst beta versions have a certain allure, they haven't gone through the rigorous security checks that apps in the official app stores must pass.
Criminals send fake emails pretending to be the developers of popular apps, offering early access to new beta versions.
But of course they’re fake too. Once installed, they can do all sorts of bad things, including accessing data from your finance apps and even taking over your mobile
If your staff download them onto company devices, could your business be compromised?
There’s a moral to our story. And it's a simple one: Patience is a virtue.
Hold off on downloading beta versions of apps. Wait until they're stable and officially released in app stores. Good things come to those who wait, and that includes secure apps.
If you have downloaded beta versions in the past, keep an eye out for red flags like faster battery drain, poor performance, persistent pop-up ads, and apps asking for unnecessary permissions.
In this digital age, we must be as smart and savvy as the technology we use. So, before you hit download, take a moment to think: is this app worth the risk?
Train your staff to think the same way. And if you do give them business mobiles, consider a Mobile Device Management solution to control what they can do with them.
We can help keep all your devices better protected. Get in touch.
You may think that cyber-attacks only happen to large corporations. But unfortunately, that's not the case.
According to a recent report, almost two-thirds of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) suffered at least one cyber attack over the past year. That's a staggering number, and it should serve as a wake-up call for businesses everywhere.
But it gets worse.
More and more businesses are also experiencing repeat attacks, with 87% reporting at least two successful attacks over the past year. And on average, a company suffers almost five successful cyber incidents.
The question is, why are these attacks happening, and what can you do to prevent them?
The most common types of cyber-attacks that businesses face are malware and ransomware.
Malware is malicious software. It invades your system and can cause all sorts of problems, from slowing down your operations to stealing your data.
Ransomware is even more dangerous as it encrypts your data, making it impossible for you to access it unless you pay a ransom fee. This can be devastating for any business and can lead to significant losses and downtime.
What factors are contributing to more successful attacks?
One reason is the rise in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This means employees using their personal devices to access company information, which can be risky.
Another factor is the explosion of productivity apps, which can create security vulnerabilities if not properly secured.
Finally, the number of devices we're using now means there are more entry points for cybercriminals to exploit.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your business. Here are five solid security steps you can take.
- Use strong passwords: Passwords are your first line of defense, so make sure they're strong and unique. Better yet, use a password manager that can create and remember randomly generated passwords
- Keep software up to date: Software updates often contain security fixes, so make sure you're always running the latest version. This applies to both your operating system and all applications you use
- Train your staff: Educate your employees on how to identify phishing emails and other scams. You can also run regular security awareness training sessions to keep everyone up to date
- Backup your data: Doing this means if you do suffer a cyber attack, you can restore your systems quickly and with less disruption
- Use antivirus software: This can help protect your systems from malware and other threats. Make sure you're running a reputable and up-to-date solution
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Take action today to help you stay protected.
And if that seems like a lot of extra work, let us help. Get in touch today.
UPDATE: This controversial image enhancement feature now seems to have been removed by Microsoft, following privacy concerns.
Don't be mistaken, we love Microsoft Edge (and think you will too), but lately, something has come to our attention that we wanted to share.
It's always a good idea to be aware of what your browser is doing behind the scenes. And there’s an Edge setting that you might be interested to learn about. It’s one that sends the images you view online to Microsoft.
While this might not seem like a big deal on the surface - it’s done to enhance the images - some business owners might be concerned about the privacy implications. After all, you never know who might be looking at your browsing history.
The good news is that it's easy to disable this setting if you're concerned about it. Here's how:
- Open Microsoft Edge and click on the three dots ("More actions") in the upper-right corner of the screen
- Select "Settings" from the drop-down menu
- Scroll down and click on "Privacy, search, and services"
- Under the "Services" section, turn off the toggle switch next to "Improve your web experience by allowing Microsoft to use information about websites you browse to improve search suggestions or to show you more relevant advertising"
That's it! With just a few clicks, you've disabled the feature that sends images to Microsoft.
Of course, there are other settings in Edge that you might want to explore as well. Like the ones that control your data collection preferences, or the ones that limit pop-ups and redirects.
Why should you take a few minutes to check out your browser settings? Well, for one thing, it can help protect your privacy and security online. By being aware of what your browser is doing, you can make informed decisions about what data to share (and what to keep private).
Plus, exploring your browser settings can be a fun and educational experience in its own right. You might discover new features or hidden gems you never knew existed.
And don't worry, you don't have to be a tech expert to understand these settings. In fact, Microsoft has done a great job of making them simple and straightforward, with clear explanations and helpful tips along the way.
If you ever get stuck, our team is happy to help. Get in touch.
Are you tired of wasting precious time in meetings, only to leave feeling confused and disorganized?
Do you struggle to keep track of all the action items and follow-up tasks that come out of these meetings?
Microsoft Teams has launched a new feature that could solve your problems and boost productivity.
Meeting Recap is an AI-based intelligent meeting recap feature, available exclusively to Teams Premium subscribers. This innovative feature harnesses the latest in artificial intelligence technology to generate comprehensive summaries of your meetings.
That means no more tedious recaps… but hello to accurate and efficient summaries that capture all the key points from your meetings.
The Meeting Recap feature doesn't stop there. It automatically identifies action items and follow-up tasks, assigns them to team members, and even sets deadlines for completion. This means that everyone involved in the meeting knows exactly what they need to do and when it needs to be done. A great way to improve communication and collaboration within your team.
But it's not just about efficiency. The meeting recap feature also offers customizable options to tailor the feature to your specific needs. Choose what information is included in the summary to ensure that you receive the most relevant and useful information possible.
If you’re not a Teams Premium subscriber, are there benefits of investing in this new feature?
Yes! For starters, it streamlines your workflow, saving you both time and money.
You don’t have to waste hours trying to decipher meeting notes and action items. Instead, you'll have access to a clear and concise summary that you can refer back to at any time.
Additionally, it improves organization and accountability within your team. With assigned action items and deadlines, everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.
Don't underestimate the power of this new Meeting Recap – it's a game-changer for businesses that want to increase productivity.
Don’t wait. If you need help upgrading to Teams Premium, we’re here for you. Get in touch.
When you replace old computers or external drives, do you delete data and then just… get rid of them?
You could be putting your sensitive data at risk.
A new study by a data recovery specialist shows that millions of deleted files can be recovered from improperly wiped hard drives that are sold online.
It’s not just buyers who can access your old files. Cybercriminals often buy used hard drives and attempt to recover data from them. This could include anything from confidential business information to client details.
It’s easy to forget about old data when you’re excited about shiny new technology. However, it’s important to consider what’s on that old drive before selling it or disposing of it.
Even if the drive is encrypted, it’s still possible for data to be recovered. And if the drive is damaged, there’s a chance that some of the data is still salvageable. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sensitive information.
Think about it this way: Would you leave important documents lying around for anyone to see? Of course not! Your digital information deserves the same level of protection.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
Don’t let your old hard drives become a liability. Take the time to have them properly wiped or destroyed before disposal. If you’re upgrading hardware, consider hiring a professional to handle the data transfer and ensure that your old devices are wiped clean.
This isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting your employees, clients, and anyone else whose personal information you may have stored on that old drive.
It’s a small investment to make for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your data is safe from prying eyes.
Don’t take chances with your data – take action to protect it:
- Properly wipe or destroy old hard drives
- Bring in a professional for your hardware upgrades
- Upgrade your overall security practices
Microsoft has announced that the current version of Windows 10, released in 2022, will be its final release.
If you're currently using Windows 10, you might wonder what this means for your day-to-day operations.
The good news is that your computers won’t suddenly stop working. The current updates and security patches for Windows 10 won’t disappear anytime soon either.
However, you may want to consider upgrading to Windows 11 sooner rather than later. Microsoft has made it clear that it will be devoting all its attention to the new operating system from now on, so future developments and innovation will be focused on Windows 11.
Upgrading can be a daunting task, but moving to Windows 11 has so many benefits:
Windows 11 has been designed to maximize efficiency and performance across all types of devices, making it a no-brainer for businesses looking for faster and more efficient technology.
Improved user experience
The interface has been updated with a more modern look, making it easier to navigate and customize.
Windows 11 comes with Microsoft's most advanced security features, making it harder for cybercriminals to breach your system.
Better integration with cloud services
Windows 11 gives you access to a range of cloud-based services, making it easier to collaborate with other team members and enhance your business' productivity.
If you're still hesitant about upgrading, keep in mind that Microsoft will eventually stop releasing security updates for Windows 10. We’re expecting it to be in late 2025. This means staying with Windows 10 for too long could put your business at risk of security threats.
The sooner you upgrade, the better your protection against these threats, and the more significant the benefits you'll be able to reap from Windows 11.
Like any big project, making the move to Windows 11 needs to be planned and implemented properly. Your hardware needs to meet certain requirements and, of course, you’ll need to make sure it’s done without affecting day-to-day operations.
If you’d like help making the transition with as little disruption as possible, get in touch.
Microsoft has just announced an option for people to trial new features before their general release in Windows 11.
This isn’t about fixes to security flaws – everyone gets those at the same time.
This is an opportunity for businesses to jump the queue to receive new features and updates first.
Worth the risk?
Patience is a virtue!
Sure, it may be tempting to give in to the tantalizing prospect of new features… nobody ever wants to wait. But jumping aboard any trial phase comes with risks.
Bugs, errors, and other stumbling blocks could have a significant impact on your operations, potentially causing chaos in your daily workflow.
Waiting until features have completed a thorough trial process gives you the advantage of other people’s experience. They’ve already dealt with the complexities so, by the time you get the new features, they’ll be polished and dependable. And isn’t that more important for the smooth running of your business?
Trust us, the safe road is the smart road, especially when your business systems are involved. The benefits of being an early adopter may seem enticing, but you don't want to end up being the guinea pig.
Remember the old adage… good things come to those who wait!
We’re all for keeping up with the latest technology and software updates, but there is a time to exercise caution, and this is one of those times. Don't be tempted by the shiny new features.
- Be patient
- Stay safe
- And ensure that when the time comes, you're getting something that’s proven to work
Microsoft already has a lot of (tested and approved) features that can boost productivity and make your work processes smoother. We spend a lot of time helping businesses find the right ones for them. If we can do the same for you, get in touch.
Productivity tools are supposed to make you more, well… productive.
But if they’re not embedded properly within your business, tasks can actually end up taking longer than they should. That’s frustrating for employees and you. It wastes time, and it costs money – which is the opposite of being productive.
So how can this happen?
Often a lack of consistent training means everyone is using tools differently, or finding their own workarounds. Maybe the tools haven’t been properly integrated with other apps, creating additional work. Or perhaps employees simply don’t find some tools useful and give up on them.
Bringing new technology into your business can be a big step – so big that lots of owners try to avoid it completely. That might be because of understandable risk aversion, or because they simply don’t have enough information to choose the right solution from the thousands of available options. It doesn’t help that nearly all tools work differently and offer different advantages.
What most business owners need is expert help. It’s easy to say you plan to introduce new productivity tools to keep employees happy and to gain a competitive advantage, but in practice, it’s a lot more involved.
One thing’s for sure. As AI solutions become more and more integrated into new solutions – and others in your industry start to benefit from the new tech landscape – businesses that don’t keep up, risk being left behind.
Working with professionals can not only help to identify the most suitable tools for your business…
But also to help get the most from them by ensuring all your people are fully trained.
That means you’ll not only be getting all the productivity benefits you hoped for from your investment, you’ll also have a more engaged, better-skilled, and more productive workforce.
This is something we help businesses with all the time. Get in touch if you’d like us to do the same for you.
Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.
The whole world is suddenly talking about Artificial Intelligence.
From Alexa in your kitchen to Siri on your phone, AI is already all around us, but new names like ChatGPT, Dall-E, Jasper, and more feel like they’ve blown up the internet.
These new concepts take things WAY further, helping us to write articles, search the web with natural conversation, generate images, create code, and introduce new ways to make our daily lives even easier.
But emerging technology nearly always launches in a blizzard of geek-speak before it settles into everyday life. Early PC users might remember the ‘DOS prompt’. And when did you ever have to ‘defrag’ your phone?
Experts believe that these new AI tools will become the building blocks of a whole new world of tech, redefining the way we interact with computers and machines.
So let’s help you decode some of the terms you’ll hear this year.
Chatbot Starting with the basics, a chatbot is an app that mimics human-to-human contact. Just type or speak normally, and the chatbot will respond the same way. ChatGPT is a chatbot. If you haven’t tried it out yet, give it a go.
Deep learning This is the technique that’s used to imitate the human brain, by learning from data. Current search tools and systems use pre-programmed algorithms to respond to requests. AI tools are trained on concepts and conversations in the real world and learn as they go to provide human-like responses.
Machine intelligence The umbrella term for machine learning, deep learning, and conventional algorithms. “Will machine intelligence surpass human ingenuity?”
Natural Language Understanding (NLU) helps machines understand the meaning of what we say, even if we make grammatical errors or speak with different regional accents.
Weak AI is the most common form of AI in use right now. Weak AI is non-sentient and typically focuses on a single or small range of activities – for instance writing, or repurposing video content. Strong AI, on the other hand, has the goal of producing systems that are as intelligent and skilled as the human mind. Just not yet.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but trust us – you’re going to be hearing a lot more about AI in the months and years to come.
If you’d like more help to understand how AI might form part of your business, just get in touch.