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.
How many times have you been in the middle of an urgent email, attaching a critical file, only to be met with the dreaded notification – "file too large to send"?
Frustrating, isn't it?
Well, Microsoft has heard our collective sighs of exasperation. They've announced an update that promises to banish the 'file too large' issue once and for all.
And this is one of those rare times where something that feels too good to be true is actually true!
In an official post on the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the tech giant’s revealed its plan to integrate Outlook with Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage platform.
It means when you hit that attachment size limit, Outlook will ask you to upload your file to OneDrive, so your document still reaches the intended recipient.
Clever, don't you think?
Android devices get this new feature first, but for everyone else, the rollout is due this month. We don't have long to wait.
Soon you’ll no longer need to compress, resize, or even abandon your large files. Or turn to third-party services (which can be a security risk). Microsoft is paving the way for a smoother, more efficient email experience.
If you’d like a hand getting more from your Microsoft 365 subscription, get in touch.
You’ve checked your pockets, your bag, under pillows … and then it hits you. You left your work phone on the table at the coffee shop.
It's not the device itself that’s got you worried, but all the sensitive business information stored on it. If that mobile ends up in the wrong hands, you’re facing a nightmare.
But that worry could be over. Microsoft and Samsung are joining forces to make your work mobiles safer. This month, they’re launching a groundbreaking solution to help protect anyone who uses a Samsung Galaxy device in the workplace.
With something called on-device attestation. It lets companies see if mobile devices have been compromised, even at their deepest components. Think of it as a security guard for your cell phone.
Samsung brings its software and hardware innovations to the table, whilst Microsoft provides its endpoint management expertise.
And whilst other device attestation tools require a network connection and access to cloud services, this solution works reliably regardless of network connectivity or device ownership model.
This solution will be released alongside Microsoft Intune (previously known as Windows Intune), a unified endpoint management service for both corporate devices and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). And it will be available to select Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, especially those "Secured by Knox".
So, whether you're working from the office, a busy coffee shop, or a remote cabin in the woods, you can rest assured your device is safe.
In business, your mobile is more than just a communication device. It's a vault of sensitive (and valuable) information. And with Microsoft and Samsung on the case, that vault just got a lot safer.
If we can help you keep any of your devices more secure, get in touch.
You’re no stranger to the endless threats lurking in your email inbox. But have you ever considered that an email that seems to be from Microsoft could end up being your worst nightmare?
Microsoft, the tech giant we all know and trust, has become the most imitated brand when it comes to phishing attacks. That’s where cybercriminals send you an email that contains a malicious link or file. They’re trying to steal your data.
And while Microsoft isn't to blame for this, you and your employees need to be on high alert for anything that seems suspicious.
During the second quarter of 2023, Microsoft soared to the top spot of brands imitated by criminals, accounting for a whopping 29% of brand phishing attempts.
This places it well ahead of Google in second place (at 19.5%) and Apple in third place (at 5.2%). Together, these three tech titans account for more than half of the observed brand imitator attacks.
But what does this mean for your business?
Despite a clear surge in fake emails targeting millions of Windows and Microsoft 365 customers worldwide, careful observation can help protect you from identity theft and fraud attacks.
Whilst the most imitated brands change from quarter to quarter, cyber criminals are less likely to change their tactics.
They use legitimate-looking logos, colors, and fonts. Phishing scams frequently use domains or URLs that are similar to the real deal. But a careful scan of these, along with the content of any messages, will often expose typos and errors – the tell-tale signs of a phishing attack.
One of the latest attacks claims there has been unusual Microsoft account sign-in activity on your account, directing you to a malicious link. These links are designed to steal everything from login credentials to payment details.
And whilst tech firms continue to be popular scam subjects, many cybercriminals have turned to financial services like online banking, gift cards, and online shopping orders. Wells Fargo and Amazon both rounded up the top five during Q2 2023, accounting for 4.2% and 4% of brand phishing attempts respectively.
What can you do to protect your business?
The answer is simpler than you might think. The best course of action when it comes to phishing is to slow down, observe, and analyze. Check for discrepancies in URLs, domains, and message text.
If we can help you keep your team aware of the risks, get in touch.
Have you heard about the latest productivity update from our friends at Google?
They've just added a little feature to Google Calendar that could make your life a whole lot easier – especially if you’re a hybrid worker.
Remember back in 2021 when they first introduced the option to share your working location with your colleagues? They've taken it up a notch.
Now, you can set up multiple locations for any given day on your calendar. So whether you're splitting your time between the office and home, or out and about as a mobile worker, Google’s got you covered.
Picture this: you're only in the office for half a day before you head off to a client meeting. With this new feature, your colleagues will know exactly when and where to find you.
Google is all about helping us work smarter, not harder. They know that loads of us are still working remotely, or juggling a mix of office and remote work. This update is specially designed for hybrid workers.
It's only available to those with a Workspace account, including:
- Google Workspace Business Standard/Plus
- Enterprise Standard/Plus
- Education Fundamentals/Standard/Plus
- The Teaching and Learning Upgrade
Unfortunately, personal accounts won't have access just yet.
The working location feature will be switched on by default. But if you prefer that your colleagues can’t find you (we’re not judging… we all get distracted at work) you can easily disable it.
If we can help you get the most out of everyday applications like calendars and email, get in touch.
In the fast-evolving world of technology, business owners and managers like you are always on the lookout for the next big thing to give them a competitive edge.
Have you considered how AI tools might be able to help?
ChatGPT – or Generative Pretrained Transformer, if you want to get technical – has been making big waves all year. It’s an AI model developed by OpenAI that’s designed to generate human-like text based on the prompts it's given. Think of it like having a professional writer at your beck and call, ready to generate content, answer queries, or even draft emails whenever you need.
Lots of other AI models have also been released, including one from Google called Bard. Unlike ChatGPT, Bard can browse the web for its answers (you can do this in ChatGPT, but you must be a paying Plus subscriber and have switched on web browsing in the settings).
Some businesses already use AI tools, mainly for customer service and content creation. That’s like buying a Ferrari just to drive to the grocery store. They can do so much more!
Here are three of the other ways an AI tool can turbocharge your business…
- Stay ahead with trend detection: Remember the feeling when you realized too late that the last ‘big thing’ could’ve been a gold mine? With an AI tool, you'll be the one setting the trends, not following them. Simply ask it to "Provide a short analysis of the latest [insert your industry] trends", and you're armed with powerful knowledge.
- Enhance productivity with keystone habits: Increased productivity is the holy grail for any business owner. With an AI tool, you can tap into cutting-edge research to supercharge your work habits. Just ask for the "top 5 latest ways to [improve a specific area]". We bet you spot a new idea you’d never thought of.
- Make better decisions with summaries of complex events: Ask your tool to explain [something complex] to a 12 year old… that’s a clever way to get a summary anyone can understand.
ChatGPT, Bard and all the others are more than just AI writing assistants… they’re your secret weapon in the business world. It's time to stop using your Ferrari just for the grocery runs and start taking it for a real spin.
If we can help you use AI more in your business, 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.
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Check out our latest BlueCastle IT Tech Tip Video.
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