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March 18th, 2014

GoogleApps_Mar17_CThere are a number of useful Google apps available to businesses. One is Google Drive, with its cloud storage and built in office productivity apps, it's a great alternative to Microsoft Office. While the apps like Docs and Sheets offer businesses all the common office suite features, there are some missing. In an effort to expand the functionality of Docs and Sheets Google has recently released a new feature - Add-ons.

What are add-ons?

Add-ons are extra features that have been developed by Google and developers who have partnered with Google to extend, or add-on to, the capabilities of both Docs and Sheets. They can be accessed on all new Google Docs and new versions of Sheets, and can be enabled by:
  1. Opening a new Google Doc or Sheet.
  2. Clicking on Add-ons from the menu bar below the document's title.
  3. Selecting Get add-ons…
  4. Finding the add-on you would like to use, hovering over it and clicking the plus sign to install it.
The add-on will be installed to Drive and be available for use in either Docs or Sheets. For those who had used the add-ons that were available in the Chrome App store, you will notice that the apps are similar. The only difference is that these apps are strictly for Google Docs and Sheets. Most of them are free, but they will require you to grant them permission before they can be used.

Looking through the add-ons, there are a number of useful ones that small to medium business users can leverage in order to increase the overall functionality of Docs and Sheets. Here are five.

1. Table of Contents

If you are producing longer documents like reports, you will likely need a Table of Contents. This add-on allows you to add a Table of Contents to the side of the document with sections that users can click on in order to be taken to that section.

2. ProWritingAid

Are you in charge of content development for your website, or writing for a picky audience? What ProWritingAid does is it checks your writing for consistency, grammar, plagiarism, cliches and more. There is a free version that you can try, and all of the features can be unlocked with the Premium package which costs USD$35 per year, per user.

3. Template Gallery

If you are looking for templates that can help you make more professional documents and spreadsheets, this add-on could be a great tool. With templates for invoices, reports, financial calculations, letters, timesheets and more, there is a good chance that you can save some time in creating your next professional document.

4. Highlighting tools

Do you have documents or large reports where you would like to group information together or highlight it? This add-on allows you to do exactly that. With different colors available, you can highlight content which is then pulled together based on the color allowing you to view all similarly highlighted content with ease.

The app is free with a 30 day trial, but then you will need to purchase it, which can be done through the add-on. The amount will vary depending on the license you choose along with the number of users.

5. Letter Feed Workflows

This add-on is great for those who collaborate on documents that need to be approved. Once you have finished with a Doc or Sheet you can ask people to approve it. There will be a bar on the right of the document where you can view who has approved your document.

If you are looking for the apps, open the Add-ons window search for them in the box that opens. And, if you are looking to learn more about how Google Apps can be used in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 12th, 2014

Facebook_Mar10_CFor businesses, the Facebook Page is an important aspect of their overall online presence. In order to ensure that Facebook is used properly, the company set user guidelines. Businesses should pay attention to the Page guidelines, largely because they dictate how businesses should use the platform. The thing with this and many other guidelines is that Facebook does change the from time-to-time. In the past months, the company has changed the guidelines related to Promotions that you should be aware of.

Background on Facebook Promotions

Business that have Facebook profiles orient the majority of their activity around their Page. Much like a user's profile this is where all the content and information about and from the business is posted. When business Pages were first launched many companies started to join and run promotions, often to the point of spamming or at least annoying users.

To curb this, Facebook implemented a series of regulations as to how companies can run promotions. Break these regulations and you could see your posts and content punished in the form of showing up lower on user's News Feeds, or not at all. This is obviously something many companies don't want, so it would be a good idea to keep up with the rules supporting how you can use the platform for promotions.

The problem with this is that it's easier said than done especially since Facebook is known to change regulations on a regular basis, often making it hard for businesses to know whether the promotion they are running meets regulations or not. In recent months, Facebook has actually changed their Page guidelines around promotions, actually eliminating some that you should be aware of. Below are four of the old guidelines along with the recent changes made.

Old guideline 1: Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

This guideline meant that if you wanted to run a promotion, you had to use an app from facebook.com, usually on your Page. Facebook dropped this rule in the summer of 2013, and now allows businesses to use third party apps (not developed by Facebook) to host a promotion on their Timeline.

Old guideline 2: You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.

This guideline stated that you could not have a promotion where people can enter by using Facebook features, for example liking a post or commenting on it. With the removal of this guideline, you can now encourage people to enter a promotion by liking a post or commenting on it.

You can't however ask your fans to enter a contest by sharing the promotion on their timeline.

Old guideline 3: You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

In conjunction with the change above, Facebook had to also allow users to vote using the established features. The most common example of this is a promotion that encourages users to comment which counts as an entry. Then others vote on the comment they like by pressing Like. The comment with the most likes at the end of the promotion wins.

Old guideline 4: You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

This has been removed and Facebook is now allowing businesses to contact promotion winners through a status update or a direct message. You can also use other methods such as direct email, an update on a blog or even another social media service like Twitter.

While Facebook has removed some of the guidelines, they didn't get rid of all of them. It would be a good idea to read their guidelines for Facebook Pages which cover not only how to use promotions but your Page properly.

If you are looking to learn more about using Facebook as a part of your marketing strategy or to represent your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 11th, 2014

Office365_Mar10_CMore than just avoiding the most common presentation mistakes, you need to have a firm understanding of what techniques to use when creating an effective PowerPoint presentation. If that’s what you’re looking to do, then you’re definitely in the right place. The 5 tips we’ll be sharing in this article will help you create a PowerPoint presentation that will get you results you desire.

Choose a font size and style that can be seen by your audience from a distance

There is no point in creating a PowerPoint presentation if your audience can’t even see or understand what’s on your slide. One of the best ways to ensure that your audience does in fact understand what’s written is for you to use the proper font size and a simple font style.

You have to consider how far back your audience might be sitting when watching your presentation along with the technology you will be presenting on. For example, if you are in a theater using older projection technology, it may be hard to read certain types of font, colors, etc. So it is better to use a larger font size and contrasting colors.

If you can, try to practice the presentation ahead of time and sit at the back to see whether your slides can be seen and read.

Emphasize on the information and not the look of your slides

Don’t ever compromise how your information is presented for the sake of how the slides look. Remember that the point of doing the presentation is to convince your audience to act and not to impress them with a beautifully made presentation.

In order to do this simply create your presentation with only the information your audience needs. Leave out any visuals and focus on outlying the information first. Once you have the information on the slides, then you can add the effects and visuals, being sure to keep them minimal so the information shines and is highlighted.

Avoid handing out printouts of your presentation

One of Seth Godin’s - a marketing and presentation guru - tips for avoiding a really terrible PowerPoint presentations that focus on selling products or services, is to have a maximum of 6 words or lines per slide. The slides are more for points that you will talk about and expand upon. Anymore than that is less than ideal.

Now imagine what would happen if you give your audience a print out of your presentation. They probably won’t be able to make out what your message is since there are only a maximum of 6 words per slide. Beyond that, note packages often lead to people reading ahead and paying attention to the notes in front of them, rather than you, the speaker. Plus, the rustling of paper when people flip pages can also be distracting for the audience and presenter alike.

What we suggest is instead at the beginning of the presentation note that you will make the presentation available online after the presentation is over and providing scrap paper or notebooks for people who wish to take notes. That being said, if the presentation you are giving in educational, notes with a copy of the slides would be a good idea, but be sure to keep the content of the actual slides minimal, more just talking points.

Be consistent

Whether we’re talking about the message that you’re trying to convey, the theme of your slides or the tone/pacing of your presentation, you have to be consistent.

The more consistent you are, the more focused your audience will be. This is because consistency helps establish and give clarity to your message, making sure that it doesn’t fall through the cracks.

Phrase your points in a way that it talks directly about the benefits

We all like to be on the receiving end of something good right? If you focus on telling your audience about the benefits that they can acquire, chances are they’ll be very attentive because your presentation is all about their benefits.

These PowerPoint presentation tips can help you get more results out of your presentations. If you are looking to learn more about how you can leverage PowerPoint for better presentations, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 11th, 2014

GoogleApps_Mar10_CAn unruly inbox, with unorganized messages can make it hard to keep things straight, let alone manage. Managing your email doesn’t have to be a horrifying experience, especially if you are a Gmail user. With Gmail’s nested labels, organizing your emails is going to be a cinch and a pain free experience. This article will help boost your efficiency in handling your emails.

What exactly are nested labels?

Labels are an important part of Gmail, functioning like folders on a desktop or in other email clients. By attaching labels to email messages you can easily sort your inbox and find previous messages of a similar nature. For example, if a large percentage of your client communication is done via email, you can create a label for each client and apply it to their messages. Much like you would put messages in a traditional folder.

The interesting thing about labels is that unlike folders, which only allow a message or item to be in one folder at a time, labels can be applied to any number of emails. For example if you have labels for sales requests and it comes from an established client, you can attach both the client label and the sales request label to the same message. It will show up under both labels.

To go one step further, you can create several top-level labels or parent labels and add sub labels under them. These sub labels are what Google calls nested labels.

So in your business’s case, you can create a top-level label and name it as Client List and create other labels with your client’s actual names and nest them under the Client List label.

Once you click the Client List label, all the nested labels that you created (where you used your client’s name) will then appear under it.

How do I create labels and nested labels?

While there are several methods of creating nested labels, this method is one of the easiest ways of going about it.
  1. Open your Gmail
  2. Click More on the left-hand vertical bar beside your email messages. It should be located under your existing labels.
  3. Click the Create new label option and add the name of your label (as an example, let’s use Client List as your label’s name). You can then hit Create to create the parent label.
  4. Click More again followed by Create new label.
  5. Name this one John (a sample name for your client).
  6. Tick the Nest label under: box and select Client List.
  7. Click the Create button and your label John should now be nested under your parent label Client List.
If you want to see your nested labels, you can click the small arrow on the left side of your parent label, which can be found in the left-hand vertical bar beside your email messages, and all the nested labels should appear under it.

Creating a nested label for your projects should help you make sure that your emails aren’t all over the place. Through this feature, you should be able to see all the correspondence that you’ve had on a per project basis removing a lot of distraction.

The best part is, you can also create different levels of nested labels, allowing you to be as granular as you can be when sorting out your emails.

If you are looking to learn more about using labels or any other Gmail feature, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 6th, 2014

Security_May03_CAs a business owner or manager you face important security issues on a daily basis to look after business computers and systems. From malware to bugs in software, there is almost always a security issue to be dealt with and it can be an uphill battle dealing with them. But, knowledge is power and knowing about security threats can help you battle them more effectively. One of the latest threats to come to light is a bug in Apple's software that all Apple users should know about.

About the bug

News broke on many security websites mid-February about a potentially critical security flaw in Apple's systems following the company releasing an update to their mobile operating system, iOS.

The update notes released by Apple noted that the patch "provides a fix for SSL connection verification." This is a fairly common update as it is aimed at improving the security of communications between websites and the device. However, security experts found out that without the update attackers who can connect to a network are able to capture sensitive information being sent in banking sessions, email messages, and even chat messages using what's called an SSL/TSL session.

What exactly is SSL/TSL?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TSL) are used in networks to essentially establish an encrypted link between a server and your computer. They are most commonly used to secure websites and the transmission of data. Take a look at some websites and you may see a padlock on the URL bar, or https:// in the URL. This indicates that the website is using SSL or TSL encryption to protect the data that is being transmitted e.g., your bank account information on a website.

In other words, SSL and TSL are used to ensure that information is exchanged securely over the Internet.

What was the problem and what software was affected?

It was found that there was a bug in the code Apple's software uses to establish a SSL connection which causes the whole SSL system to fail, potentially exposing data that should have been encrypted to anyone connected to the network with the right tools.

According to security experts, this bug has been found to affect devices running older versions of iOS 7, OS X 10.8 and newer, Apple TV, and possibly iOS 6. It is important to note that the bug is only found in Apple's SSL technology. Any app that uses Apple's version of SSL could be affected.

Has Apple solved this?

Luckily, Apple has released updates to all of their devices that should solve this security exploit. If you have not updated your device or computer since the middle of February you could be at risk.

How do I prevent my systems from being affected?

The first thing you should do is to update all Apple related apps and devices, including all mobile devices. If you are unsure about whether your apps are secure enough, try using another app, especially another browser. The reason for this is because browsers like Chrome and Firefox all use a different SSL technology and are unaffected by this bug.

You should also remain vigilant and not connect to any open or public Wi-Fi connections or even secured Internet connections that could be easy to break through. Basically, as long as you update you should be fine. However, it may be worthwhile using another browser if you are really worried about whether you have a secure connection.

If you are looking to learn more about this security flaw, or how you can secure your business from threats like this, contact us today. We can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
March 4th, 2014

GoogleApps_Mar03_CGoogle Search is the most widely used search engine in the world. Did you know that there are several Advanced Search queries that you can use to get better results? Spending more time than you'd like to searching the Web, instead of doing actual work, can be extremely damaging to your bottom line if you aren’t careful. Google's Advanced Search queries might be the solution you're looking for.

Searching for all mentions of a word in a site - keyword site:sitename.com

If you are looking for a specific word or phrase on a website, you can enter keyword site:sitename.com in the search bar, and Google will return pages that contain the keyword in the site you listed.

For example, if you’re looking for the word 'business' in the website examiner.com, then your search query would be - business site:examiner.com

Using this search query will show all the pages/posts in examiner.com that mention the word 'business'.

Get exact match results

If you type keywords or phrases as you usually would in the search box, Google won’t give you exact results. For example, if you type in the phrase 'business strategies' (without quotation marks), you’ll get results for both business and strategies. If you want results that contain the exact phrase, then you simply have to add quotation marks around your phrase - "business strategies". You can include as many words as you like, and if Google finds an exact match, you'll see the result.

This is one technique that other writers or webmasters use to see if someone’s plagiarized their content.

Looking for pages that are the same/similar to a URL - related:sitename.com

If you like one website or page and would like to find similar sites you can enter related:sitename.com. This search query is perfect for client prospecting.

For example: If one of your customers was softwaremedia.com and your target market is companies that are selling software, you can just type in related:softwaremedia.com in the search field. Doing this will give you the URLs of sites that are similar to softwaremedia.com.

Searching for words in an article’s title - intitle:keyword

If you enter intitle:keyword, for example intitle:business strategies, in Google's Search bar, you will get results that have the keyword phrase “business strategies” in the title. This can include articles and Web page titles.

Anything you’d like to share?

If you have any questions about how to make your business more efficient, contact us today and our associates will help you.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 4th, 2014

Facebook_Mar03_CFacebook, the most popular social media platform, had a good month in February this year. First off they announced that there are nearly 1.25 billion active users. Next, they celebrated their 10 year anniversary by producing a highlights video for every user. Finally, the company launched a new mobile app - Paper - that drastically changes how users views their profiles.

What is Facebook Paper?

The mobile device is quickly becoming the main way people access their Facebook profiles. While some open the browser on their device and navigate to the website from there, most use the Facebook app. This app is really a smaller version of Facebook that is formatted for mobile devices.

While the app is heavily used, many users are unimpressed with the layout and general functionality of the app as a whole. It's really Facebook minus some functionality and a slight bit clunkier to navigate.

To address this and other issues the company launched a new division called Creative Labs, where teams can develop new ideas and features that could one day be incorporated into Facebook. One of the first major developments to come out of this division is Paper.

Paper is a new app for the iPhone that combines your traditional Facebook News Feed with something like an online newspaper. The whole idea of Paper is essentially Facebook reimagined into something that not only looks better but is easier to use.

How Paper works

When you download and open Paper using your iPhone you see a brief tutorial video of how the app works. Essentially, your Facebook Feed has been broken down into about 20 different categories, including: Headlines, Tech, Cute, Score, About, Photos, etc. Each section contains relevant stories and posts from your News Feed and from popular posts and publicaly shared content on Facebook. The posts are displayed differently and look more visually appealing.

These sections are then individually displayed in a horizontal manner, often with pictures and text, much like a mini article. For example, when you start the app you may be looking at the Headlines section and all relevant content. If you swipe to the left or right a new section will be brought up allowing you to view the content related to that new section.

What's cool about this app is that you are in charge of what categories you see. If you want to see the Headlines section (news headlines from around 40 sites) first, you just have to rearrange the sections. This is interesting because the app allows you to customize how you view Facebook.

Is Paper good for business users?

This app could be great news for businesses, largely because it gives them yet another avenue to have their content seen by users. The creators of the app want it to be content forward. In other words, content displayed in a visually appealing way that draws the eye and potentially increases interest. Businesses creating visually appealing posts will really shine on Paper.

Can I get Paper?

For now, Paper is currently only available for Apple's mobile devices and can be found on the iTunes store for free. Unfortunately, the app is only available to users in the US for the time being.

We are unsure as to when this app will be made available to more countries and devices, largely because the team developing this is small. We will undoubtedly see it come out in more countries and on other platforms but we can't say when.

If you are looking to learn about Facebook and how your business can get more out of it, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 26th, 2014

Office365_Feb24_CMicrosoft Excel continues to be a desktop favorite even in modern business. With its recent introduction into the world of Web apps, it has made productivity-on-the-go possible. The extension of Excel’s reliable functionality to the Web is indeed a great addition to a complete Excel 365 experience. If you are planning to use this program, there are a few tips it's worthwhile knowing about first.

Thumbs up for the ease of familiarity

The basic shortcut keys are pretty much the same across all Microsoft applications, regardless of the platform. If you’re already familiar with the shortcut keys, the Excel Web App is going to be a breeze for you.

Those who need a refresher will find some helpful shortcuts as we go along. Keep in mind that when collaborating on a file, you need to check the share settings and make sure that you have permission to edit that workbook or many of the shortcuts may not work.

Commonly-used shortcuts

The familiar Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V still work for copy and paste respectively. While Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y work for undo and redo. Ctrl + X moves an item from one cell to another.

Remember that when you copy the contents of a cell and paste it into another cell within the same workbook, the characteristics or formatting of the source will also be copied into the destination cell. Whereas, if you paste an item from outside the Excel Web App, the item is inserted as plain text and you will have to apply formatting.

Tables and hyperlinks can also be inserted into Excel. Ctrl + K inserts a hyperlink, while Ctrl + T inserts a table.

The arrow keys remain the same, allowing you to move from cell to cell e.g., right, left, up or down.

There is also no change with the formatting shortcuts such as Ctrl + B for Bold, Ctrl + I for Italics, and Ctrl + U for Underline.

A tip for spreadsheet presenters

If your spreadsheet involves charts and visuals, you might want to consider using the Excel Web App version as the visuals appear sharper. While there isn't a huge difference, even a little boost in visuals can make a huge difference to the overall effectiveness of a presentation.

Using the Web versions of Office programs is a great way to stay on top of your game beyond office hours, as workload necessitates. What can Excel and Office 365 do for your productivity? Get in touch and we'll show you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 25th, 2014

GoogleApps_Feb24_CGoogle is a company known for developing some pretty interesting products, none more so than Google Glass. This wearable computer, first introduced in 2012 and currently being tested by so-named Explorers, has garnered some intense interest from many quarters. While it is still in the testing phase there have been some new updates that point to the fact that the device may soon be available to the public.

A new Google Glass

In late January, Google put a post on their Google+ page with information about new versions of Google Glass. From the outset many Explorers and people in general were wondering how the device would work with prescription glasses. Others were worried that the device simply looked a little too strange for most people to want to use. Others still noted that the device wasn't great for outdoor activities, largely because it didn't fit over sunglasses well.

It appears that Google has been listening and has announced a number of new styles for Glass. The first is the Titanium collection, a set of four (for now) frames that make the device look more stylish. The device now sits above a pair of actual glasses. What's more, these glasses can come with a prescription, which means users won't have to wear a pair of glasses underneath just to be able to see.

For those who don't need glasses but are still looking for style, Google introduced the newest frame for the device. It looks similar to the original offering, kind of like a bulky pair of glasses without the lenses, but now you can snap on different lenses, including tinted ones for outdoor use. There are currently three styles of tinted lenses you can attach, the best looking are perhaps the Classic, with the main glass arm sitting above the right-side of the frame.

There is little doubt that the addition of lenses makes the Glass not only more stylish but also a device that we could envisage people wearing without standing out too much. That being said, wearers will stand out anyway, largely because the device is so different from anything else.

When will Google Glass be available to the public?

With the recent announcement of newer and trendier Google Glass options, it appears that the device is finally nearing a public release. Visit the Google Glass site however and information is still a bit sparse. You can still sign up to be an Explorer and can also view the new options but there isn't a whole lot of other information.

That being said, on the main Google Glass Explorer site - which is kind of like a messaging board for all involved in the Explorer program - a recent article popped up with tips on how an Explorer should use their device.

What this points to is an impending public release, which is likely to happen later in 2014, or possibly early 2015.

What does this mean for businesses?

Well, to be honest, probably not a lot at first because this device is such a radical shift from the norm public acceptance will likely be low. You will likely come across the device shortly after its release if your business focuses on customer-facing services such as a restaurant or retail outlet. With this in mind you should probably try and develop a plan or rule on whether these devices are allowed on your premises. While outright banning likely won't help your business, it might be a good idea to define when and how Glass can be used in your business. It might be advisable to follow the same rules you do with smartphones.

If your employees want to use them, or you want to integrate them into your business, you might want to set rules as to how and when they can be used. For example, if you are using Glass around customers, ask them whether they are happy with the device being used and how, such as taking their picture with them.

Looking to learn more about the Glass or any other Google product? Contact us today to learn about the latest exciting tech developments.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 20th, 2014

Security_Feb17_COne of the most common threats to business and individual systems is phishing. This form of hacking is well known and many users have educated themselves on the more traditional methods used by hackers. This has forced hackers to come up with different phishing techniques, and one of the methods that is causing problems is spear phishing.

What is spear phishing?

Spear phishing is a specialized type of phishing that instead of targeting a mass number of users, as normal phishing attempts, targets specific individuals or groups of individuals with a commonality e.g., an office.

Generally a hacker will first pick a target and then try to learn more about the related people. This could include visiting a website to see what a company does, who they work with, and even the staff. Or they could try hacking a server in order to get information.

Once they have some sort of information, usually a name, position, address, and even information on subscriptions, the hacker will develop an email that looks similar to one that another organization might send e.g., a bank. Some hackers have been known to create fake email accounts and pose as a victim's friend, sending emails from a fake account.

These emails are often similar to official correspondence and will always use personal information such as addressing the email to you directly instead of the usual 'dear sir or madam'. The majority of these emails will request some sort of information or talk about an urgent problem.

Somewhere in the email will be a link to the sender's website which will look almost exactly like the real thing. The site will usually ask you to input personal information e.g., an account number, name, address, or even passwords. If you went ahead and followed this request then this information would be captured by the hacker.

What happens if you are speared?

From previous attack cases and reports, the majority of spear phishing attacks are finance related, in that the hacker wants to gain access to a bank account or credit card. Other cases include hackers posing as help desk agents looking to gain access to business systems.

Should someone fall for this tactic, they will often see personal information captured and accounts drained or even their whole identity stolen. Some spear phishing attacks aren't after your identity or money, instead clicking on the link in the email will install malicious software onto a user's system.

We are actually seeing spear phishing being used increasingly by hackers as a method to gain access to business systems. In other words, spear phishing has become a great way for people to steal trade secrets or sensitive business data.

How do I avoid phishing?

Like most other types of phishing related emails, spear phishing attempts can be easy to block. Here are five tips on how you can avoid falling victim to them.
  • Know the basic rule of business communication - There are many basic rules of communication, but the most important one you should be aware of is that the majority of large organizations, like banks, social media platforms, etc., will not send you emails requesting personal information. If you receive an email from say PayPal asking you to click a link to verify your personal information and password, it's fake and you should delete it.
  • Look carefully at all emails - Many spear phishing emails originate in countries where English is not the main language. There will likely be a spelling mistake or odd wording in the emails, or even the sender's email address. You should look out for this, and if you spot errors then delete the email immediately.
  • Verify before you click - Some emails do have links in them, you can't avoid this. That being said, it is never a good idea to click on these without being sure. If you are unsure, phone the sender and ask. Should the email have a phone number, don't call it. Instead look for a number on a website or previous physical correspondence.
  • Never give personal information out over email - To many this is just plain common sense - you wouldn't give your personal information out to anyone on the street, so why give it out to anyone online? If the sender requires personal information try calling them or even going into their business to provide it.
  • Share only essential information - When signing up for new accounts online, there are fields that are required and others that are optional. Only share required information. This limits how much a hacker can get access to, and could actually tip you off. e.g., they send you an email addressed to Betty D, when your last name is Doe.
  • Keep your eyes out for the latest scams - Pay attention to security websites like those run by the major antivirus providers, or contact us. These sites all have blogs where they post the latest in security threats and more, and keeping up-to-date can go a long way in helping you to spot threats.
If you are looking to learn more about spear phishing or any other type of malware and security threat, get in touch.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security