Scan URL’s from unknown sources

Got an email asking you to click a link? Not all lead to reputable site but Security Plus have came up with a good answer.

Using there browser extension it provides free checking of urls for viruses. It uses up to 64 different antivirus products and scan engines to check for viruses, or to verify against any false positives.

Features:
Powered by VirusTotal online service
Analyzes suspicious URLs with more than 64 different antivirus products
Facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware

 

Home page

For Chrome

For Firefox

For Opera

Excellent for when you have some clickbait – but aren’t sure to take it or not.

IT assistance on your schedule

Good Windows Habits To Have

A computer is a lot like a car, in that to get the best out of it you need to maintain it properly. You do not need to be a mechanic or expert to get the best life out your car. Similarly there are some simple checks and tweaks to get the best life out your computer.

Windows Updates.

Updates are essential to maintain your device and it’s software. These should be installed as soon as they are available or whitelisted for install. By leaving these languishing you increase your downtime when these pile up to be installed. Thus it’s better to schedule these in for times you don’t use the machine that let them pile up for when you really need it.

Driver Updates

Driver updates are usually not required if your machine is fairly new. However, in older machines that are discontinued models it can be necessary to keep the machine working. Programs like Driver Booster can help automate the task of finding and updating drivers.

Software Updates

After windows updates software updates tend to be the biggest pain. Going through all your installed software to find updates can take a lot of time. But there are easier ways to do this. Programs like Ninite, Secunia PSI and App manager can scan your software and ensure you have the latest versions installed.

Backups.

This is probably the least maintained task of all. However it’s essential if you don’t want to lose everything to a digital disaster. Windows 8 and above have a a feature called File History which like Apple Time Machine can automate this.
You can even backup online using OneDrive if you have a fast internet connection.

Mindful installing of software

I cannot count the number of times dodgy software downloads have caused a security or performance issue. While yes an AV is there to safeguard you against malicious threats, but it’s up to the user to be aware as well. Use reputable sites to download and scan attachments before downloading. Also, if installing software, read the windows carefully in case you’re installing bloatware with it.

Do not use default admin accounts

This can be a bad habit for some people. But unless you’re constantly doing admin work, you should setup your computer with a lower privilege account for everyday use. This will also prevent your whole system being compromised if the worse should happen.

Clear up clutter.

Internet Search history, caches, temp files… there is a whole plethora of files that are created by the system. Some need to be gutted out every so often to help speed up your system but also to save space. CCleaner is quick and efficient in this task and free as well. Clearing up all those shortcuts from your desktop too will speedup the computer. You may also find most of those programs can be uninstalled or moved to archive too.

Restart your machine more often.

You wouldn’t leave a car running all day even when you’re not using it. Similarly leaving a computer on standby does not do it many favours. You should turn off your machine when not in use or at least restart it once in a while.

What good habits do you like you like to give users on using their machines?

 

 

The Cicret Bracelet: Is This The End of Smart Phones?

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I think we can all agree that 2015 was the year of wearable technology. We had the Fitbit that everyone wanted. There was Apple’s smart watch and other similar, yet equally unnecessary, copies. The one wearable technology that stood out the most was the Cicret bracelet. This simple band is basically a compact version of a projector which can turn your arm into a touch screen! It has been less than 50 years since the first mobile phone and 24 years since the first touch screen phone. Now we have this device which threatens to eliminate the need for a phone!

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So how does it work? The band, which has a tiny projector built-in, projects images onto the wearer’s arm. Eight long-range, proximity sensors detect every time the user swipes, pinches and even taps. Additionally, the bracelet also contains a USB port. The Cicret bracelet also comes with LED lights for notifications. The bracelet allows users to send and receive emails, surf the internet and play games. Users can even pair the device with their phones and use it to answer calls via their phone’s speakerphone.

Personally, this seems like a neat bit of technology and I cannot wait to able to try it out!

Click here to watch a demonstration of the prototype!

Want to get on the waiting list? Click here!

EVERYDAY _ ALL DAY LONG

 

Are your Christmas lights slowing down your Wi-Fi?

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They say if you want to test someone’s patience, give them a slow internet connection! Slow internet is the mother of all evils! Especially when there are photos of Christmas trees, ginger bread cookies and mugs of hot chocolate to Instagram!

Ofcom has warned Brits that their precious Christmas decorations might be interfering with the Wi-Fi! Couple this with the arrival of family members and their gadgets, and your Wi-Fi could come to a halt altogether. But let’s face it, we are rarely ever happy with the pace of our Wi-Fi and the blame cannot solely be placed on Christmas decorations.

Ofcom has recently released a new app which checks your Wi-Fi signals to test whether the signals are flowing uninterrupted from your routers to your devices! Furthermore, the app also helps the user pin-point the culprit behind slow Wi-Fi. Electronic appliances such as baby monitors, microwaves, and fridges could be interfering with the signals.

Tip: Ideally, your router should be placed in a central location and on top of a table instead of the floor. Keep your router at least 10 ft (3 meters) away from any electrical devices that can interfere with the radio signals. Tangled cords can also interfere with Wi-Fi signals, slowing down your connection. Make sure that your Wi-Fi is password protected to keep your neighbors from using it. Try to keep your Wi-Fi away from metal objects and excessively hot or cold environments. Furthermore, you can also try to buy a booster antenna to improve your connection.

The app is free and can be found on Google Play and the Apple Store.

To download from Google Play, click here.

To download from Apple Store, click here.

Already have the app? Leave your review in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

The Psychology of Marketing

 

 

 

The world's First Website Turns 25!

 

 

Every year companies throw away millions of dollars asking questions that consumers have no idea how to answer. In the US, a measly 2 out of 10 product launches succeed because initial market research is often wrong. Humans as consumers make a majority of their choices unconsciously; these dec

isions might seem clear to cognitive scientists but marketers are often left stumped by consumer decisions. Knowing this, Steve Jobs went in a totally different direction. He famously said “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want” and skipped all market research for the iPad. Apple is one of the most successful and valuable businesses today which means, Steve Jobs had to have known what he was doing.
One very important aspect of marketing is to understand why they think and act in certain ways instead of asking ‘why’. If you don’t know what appeals to your target customer, you cannot create an appealing marketing campaign. Most marketers are not professional psychologists but the imagessmart ones know that a successful marketing strategy will have an element of psychology in it.
In order to attract and retain customers, you should learn the following lessons from psychology.

Emotional appeals

Studies have proven that emotional and psychological appeals pull more favor from consumers than features and functions do. In advertisements, benefits, lined with psychological reasoning, outshines advertisements that focus on the features of a product.
For example, most consumers will respond more to how a laptop will make the customer’s life easier rather than explaining how the computer works.

Reciprocate

The concept of ‘Reciprocating’ is very straightforward; when someone does something for you, good or bad, you want to do something for them. According to Cialdini, we are trained culturally to not take something without giving in return, be it a simple a reply to a greeting or a helping hand in time of need. One of the most common forms of reciprocity in business is tipping your waiter at a restaurant or the bell man at a hotel.
Amazingly enough, psychologists have been able to measure the effects of this rule in all types of situations. Waiters who delivered the bill without a mint got tipped what the customer deemed acceptable. However, if the bill was delivered with a mint, tips increased by 3.3%!

Exclusivity

Self-esteem is the second highest need in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs; customers want to feel important and special, like they know a secret that no one else does.
One example of exclusivity is membership. Any club that offers special privileges to its members automatically becomes the most coveted. This is why nightclubs have long lines of people just waiting to get in.
When YouTube announced YouTube Red, a paid version of YouTube, they knew that their subscribers would not sign up for a service they were already getting for free. This is one of the reasons they announced that YouTube Red would feature exclusive and original content from popular users such as Lilly Singh and PewDiePie.
When customers are offered services they know not everyone will get, they jump at the chance to be a part of the ‘special few’. However, these promises need to be fulfilled or this strategy can be quite counterproductive.

Scarcity

This tactic applies the rules of and supply and demand: the rarer a product or service is the more valuable it seems. Beside every product on eBay, is a small box showcasing how much stock is left of a certain product. That is a scarcity tactic applied by the sellers!
However, this is a tricky concept to employ. If you market a product or service in a way that shows that there used to be a ton of the product but popular demand has almost finished off the stock, customers will be receptive. On the other hand, if you show that there are only a few pieces of the product to start with so buy it now, this approach will not be as effective .

Anchoring

Anchoring is the principle of basing decisions on the first piece of information supplied. This principle is usually used in sales and explains why we can never resist a sale. If you see that a retail store is selling shoes that have been marked down to £30 from £50, you even think twice before buying them. However, if they take the original price away and only state the sale price £30, you might be as compelled to buy them. Stating the original price right before the sale price lets the customer calculate the difference and justify their purchase.

What other psychological marketing traits have you come upon? Share your answer in the comment below!

 

EVERYDAY _ ALL DAY LONG

We Are The Tech-Savvy Generation

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The other day, I was browsing through Refinery 29’s Snapchat and I came to an article titled “Selfie-Friendly Make Is A Thing”. Big name brands such as Dior, Avon and Laura Mercier have designed and released Instagram-ready products within the last year. Cover girl released its Outlast Stay Luminous Foundation this summer which had been tested using the iPhone 5 & 6. And it’s not just foundations; according to The New York Times, make up brands are working to formulate products which will “play with light, offering photo finishes or airbrush effects that claim to make wearers camera-ready”. Reading that article made me realize just how integrated technology is with our lives. I mean, the word ‘selfie’ itself has its own song and it’s even been added to Webster’s dictionary. It seems that more and more ‘Tech-lingo’ is making its way into our daily lives without us even realizing it. Take ‘404’ for example. It used to mean that the URL entered was not found (a message all of us dreaded seeing). These days however, it’s used to signal clueless-ness.

For example: “Do you know when our next class is?” “No clue man, I’m so 404 today”download

When I hear the word technology, I immediately picture big, intimidating Transformers-like machines made of metal and wires. What most of us forget is that technology is anything that makes life easier for us. For example, when man first discovered how to make fire from rubbing two sticks together, it was a technological innovation. Later on, the wheel was invented and it was just a small step towards future technological innovations and inventions. Historical inventions such as the light bulb, the phone, the printing press and the internet have enabled us to function and communicate better as a society. But these influences are not just for the common man; technology plays a very important part in the success and failure of businesses.

Technology has enabled businesses to become more productive and profitable. Man has created machines that have saved time, cut down mistakes, increased production and reduced labor costs. Advancements in technology have not only filled market gaps but also created new markets for products that we as customers did not even realize we needed or even wanted. It’s a vicious circle; our needs drive technology which in turn drives our consumerism.

It’s apparent that technology has helped us advance beyond our imagination but whether it has more downsides than benefits is an age-old debate that will be covered in next week’s blog. Stay tuned!

The Importance of Cyber Security and How ESET Can Help.

images (1)Ever since computers have existed, so have hackers, often causing irreparable damage and getting away scot-free. Vladimir Levin hacked Citibank’s computers and stole $10 million, Albert Gonzalez was incarcerated for 20 years after confessing to stealing 170 million credit card numbers and Gary McKinnon was able to access 97 American military networks in a quest to prove the existence of UFOs. Most recently, a 15 year old Irish boy was apprehended after he allegedly hacked into Talk Talk’s database and stole customer information.

The threats that hackers pose has led to the need for better security and protection against all unwanted threats. Statistically, Britain is a target of approximately 1000 cyber attacks every hour and one in five UK citizens have been a victim of a cyber attack.  Now you may be thinking “hackers usually target well known brands, what would anyone have to gain from hacking into the databases of small businesses?” Small businesses are not immune to cyber attacks; in fact, they are more attractive to hackers as SMEs, especially new start ups, might not have the proper security systems in place. A cyber attack can cost SMEs anywhere between £65,000 and £115,000. Hackers can do a myriad of things if they gain access to any business’s system; they can steal confidential information, customer details such as addresses, and bank details, spread viruses and even cause damage to hard drives.

It is better to proactively invest in security and ahead of hackers and cyber attacks rather than invest time and money in responding to incidents. One way SMEs can protect themselves against harm is to carry out risk assessments when it comes to both employees and vendors. SMEs should make sure that everyone involved in their business is complying with privacy policies and are meeting the set security standards. Another more necessary precaution is to shut the door and lock the bolts so that no criminal intent on hacking your system can gain access to your pool of confidential information. This is where antivirus systems come in.

 

One of the best antivirus programs right now is ESET®. Below are overviews of the antivirus systems designed to protect your computer and sanity.

ESET is currently used by more than 100,000,000 users and 180 countries globally.

ESET NOD32® Antivirus

With the NOD32®, you can browse the internet both freely and safely. Compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac, NOD32® comes equipped with:

 

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The NOD32® will block all fake websites while making sure not to slow down your system. To try out the new user-friendly design, contact us.

ESET delivers everything you need in an anti-malware package: great detection rates, small footprint and centralised management. This, combined with the expert support and training the company provides, makes ESET our chosen supplier for protecting our customers’ systems.
– Andy Miller, Managing Director of Miller Solutions, UK

ESET Smart Security

ESET Smart Security is your all in one internet security package which is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac OS

In addition to the features of NOD32®, ESET Smart Security comes equipped with

  • Banking and payment protection
  • Parental control
  • Antispam
  • Enhanced Botnet Protection
  • Vulnerability shield

Its Anti-Theft system will help you locate your laptop if lost/stolen. In addition, ESET Smart Security also includes a personal firewall so you can connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot all the while protecting your information.

The biggest thing that stands out is its strong technical advantage over other products in the marketplace. This is where ESET really excels and it stands on its own.
– Fiona Garland, Business Analyst, Mercury Engineering, Ireland

ESET Multi Device Security         windows maccy linuxpclaptop

This system gives you all the benefits of the previous described packages while also allowing you to protect 3 or 5 devices of your choosing. You can split the protection between your pc, laptop, tablet and phone and even transfer the license from an old device to a new one.

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**Some features may not be available on devices that do not support calling or messaging.

 

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*With ESET Unilicense, you can transfer your single product license to any other device running an operating system supported by ESET but please note that only one device can be protected at a time.

 

Companies that swear by ESET:

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YouTube Red, Yay or Nay?

 

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This past week brought a sudden announcement from YouTube; the release of an ads-free version of YouTube. YouTube Red, as it will be called, is an ads-free (hooray!) subscription service costing $9.99 a month (booo!). Initially only available in the US starting from today, this video hosting platform will also feature exclusive and original content from popular users such as Lilly Singh, PewDiePie and Rooster Teeth.

Now YouTube Red is pretty compatible and can be logged on from any browsers, smart phones and even Smart TVs and if you’re already paying for Google Play Music, you will automatically receive the app. Along with access to exclusive content from popular users, new subscribers will be offered a subscription to YouTube Gaming, a new video hosting site where gamers will upload clips and hold live play sessions.

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In theory, YouTube Red sounds great. I, personally, am not a great fan of ads; they interrupt my TV time and have managed to sneak themselves onto the greatest video sharing website of all times (that’s YouTube FYI). But then I discovered AdBlock and all was right in the world again. Many users have merrily announced that they will keep using AdBlock instead of switching over to YouTube Red. Common sense dictates that it would be quite difficult to make billions of users pay for a service they can get for free. It took Hulu 5 years to get their paying subscribers to 9 million when they made the switch, while Netflix which has forever been a subscription based video provider has almost eight times as many! Why? It’s very simple; humans in general are reluctant to pay for things they can get for free. However, with over a billion users, YouTube is set to rake in some serious money even if just a fraction of their subscribers make the switch.

While YouTube Red will make its owners gleefully giggle as they take a dive into their money filled swimming pools, what about YouTube content creators? You know the ones who actually depend on the money they make from ads? So while the old YouTube will still be available to all (phew!), some videos are being blocked in the US with no warning. While majority of companies have signed on to YouTube Red, those that don’t agree to the terms and conditions are watching helplessly as their videos are being blocked until they sign on as well. These mostly include videos covering games released by Japanese companies. However, the complete list of companies blocked by YouTube has not been released leaving content creators in the dark.SADYOUTUBE_4

YouTube’s reasoning behind the launch of this new platform is that they want to produce and publish more original content instead of just being a platform for content created by others. If successful in their goal, they could stand up to rival Netflix which has been producing hit shows such as Orange is The New Black and House of Cards. With YouTube having original shows and documentaries already lined up and ready to go, Netflix might want to watch their back.

Many questions have been left unanswered and little is known about YouTube Red or any of the changes that will be brought on. Lack of communication from YouTube has left many users and content creators confused and furious. Be careful YouTube, you might have a rebellion on your hands.

 

 

 

*No Copy Right Infringement Intended

The Importance of Technology and Cloud Computing for SMEs

plugTechnology is inarguable one of the highest contributing factors in the success of a business. And technology is advancing at an alarmingly fast rate. Although it might seem like large organizations are the ones more inclined to be attached to technology, it is in fact SMEs that need their technology to grow and advance with their business.

Due to the recent downfall in economy, many have turned towards self-employment as a way of income and this has led to the birth of small and medium sized enterprises. 99.3% of the private sector in the UK is comprised of small firms. These firms collectively employ 15.2 million people and account for a turnover of £ 1.5 trillion! Clearly, the recovery and stability of the economy and the future of technological innovation is in the hands of SMEs.

A study done by Oxford Economics of 2,300 SME executives claimed that 60% of the executives believed that technology was a key driver in the success of their business. Over all it was concluded that technology and innovation extended a competitive advantage to SMEs that was critical for business growth.cloud computing

One of the technological innovations that the respondents named as being of high value was cloud computing. Cloud computing is a way of managing, storing and processing data on remote servers instead of a local server. Cloud computing gives SMEs enough weight in the industry that they are able to level the playing field and compete with large enterprises. Cloud computing comes with cost effective and IT-efficient infrastructure which holds many advantages for businesses. This not only cuts costs but also lets executives manage their business strategies instead of spending time on IT. If done properly, cloud computing can help restructure and link key business areas such as marketing, sales, finance and inventory.

Email cloud solutions and file sharing platforms such as ACRONIS and MaxBackup are examples of cloud solutions which aim to expand businesses without the use of new equipment and unnecessary infrastructure.

BBritish-inventionsecause cloud computing is usage based, costs can be effectively anticipated and planned. Besides being cost-effective, cloud computing also offers the benefit of customization; users can configure systems to adapt to the needs of their business. Cloud computing also reduces the need for personnel and users have experienced a drop in IT related overhead.
Cloud solution offers 24/7 access to data from anywhere and any device such as laptop, phone, PC or your tablet. This means more flexibility for the business which leads to efficiency and better standard of performance. Another major advantage of cloud computing is the sophisticated security protocol that makes sure that sensitive data stays out of wrong hands. Security breaches in the cloud are not frequent and users enjoy the peace of mind that their data is safe and secure.

In conclusion, one of the most advancing technologies that SMEs should everything they can to benefit from is cloud computing. ACRONIS and MaxBackup are some of the cloud solutions that will help SMEs save time, money and stress.