BCS Provides Computer Network Design, Installation, Troubleshooting, Service and Support Throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region

Say goodbye to video call pop-ups (and Teams meeting blushes)

Picture this: You’re on an important video call with a client, confidently presenting your latest project updates.

Suddenly, a notification pops up on your screen from your significant other, reminding you (not so discreetly) about the damage your child did during their temper tantrum this morning. Or worse, a message from your gym reminding you of your long absence.

Embarrassing, right?

We all know the struggle of trying to maintain professionalism during video calls while secretly battling the fear of embarrassing pop-ups stealing the show. But Microsoft is on it. They’re reportedly working on a much-needed feature that could save us all from these cringeworthy moments.

Imagine being able to hide specific apps entirely while you’re on a Teams call. No more worrying about intrusive notifications stealing your thunder. This means you can say goodbye to awkward interruptions from messaging apps, or reminders that you’d rather keep private.

How does it work? According to reports, Microsoft’s new feature won’t just minimize apps to the taskbar like the current workaround. Instead, it’ll completely hide them from sight, sparing you from any unexpected surprises (and blushes).

And the best part? It’s not just about saving face. This feature could also help boost your device’s performance. By keeping those apps in the background, you free up valuable computing power and resources.

If you’ve ever found yourself frantically closing apps and browser windows to ensure a smooth video stream, this could be the end of that struggle. With the new feature, you can focus on what truly matters during your calls without worrying about technical hiccups or embarrassing distractions.

While we’re excited about the potential of this new feature, we’ll have to wait and see if it becomes a reality. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the official Microsoft 365 roadmap for any updates and will keep you informed.

In the meantime, if we can help make your business’s video calls run more smoothly, get in touch.

1 in 4 people struggle with password overload. Here’s the answer

Are you tired of juggling a multitude of passwords like a circus act? You’re not alone. According to a recent report, around 1 in 4 of us feel the same. But it’s not just the sheer number of passwords that’s causing headaches – it’s the security risks they pose.

Let’s face it, when it comes to setting passwords, most people aren’t cyber security experts. From weak and easily guessable passwords to the cardinal sin of reusing passwords across multiple accounts, human error is everywhere.

Another study revealed that, on average, people use the same password for five different accounts. And don’t get us started on classics like ‘123456’… used on a mind-boggling 23 million breached accounts.

But here’s the thing: Cyber criminals don’t need any extra help. They’re already pros at cracking passwords, and our lax habits are like an open invitation to wreak havoc. And let’s not forget the staggering stats – a projected $434 billion loss to online payment fraud globally between 2024 and 2027, with 90% of data leaks attributed to stolen login details.

So, what’s the solution?

Password managers.

These are essential software tools that take the hassle out of password management by generating and storing complex, unique passwords for each account. No more ‘123456’ disasters. Just robust security.

And the best part? Password managers not only beef up your security defenses but they also streamline your digital life. With one-click logins and autofill features, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one. And with the right password manager, you can rest easy knowing your sensitive data is under lock and key.

A password manager makes your life easier and business safer at the same time. Want to know which one we recommend? Get in touch.

Cyber security training once a year isn’t working

We all know how important it is to keep our people up-to-date on the latest cyber threats. After all, with cyber attacks on the rise, staying one step ahead is crucial to protect your business from potential breaches.

But here’s the thing – annual cyber security training just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Sure, it’s become a routine part of the calendar for many organizations. And it’s great that it’s happening at all. But ask any security leader, and they’ll tell you… employees find it time-consuming and uninspiring. From clicking through slides to skimming through videos at double-speed, it’s usually seen as just another box to check.

And let’s be honest, even for those who do engage with the training, there’s little evidence it leads to real behavior change.

That’s because the traditional approach lacks interactivity and doesn’t connect with employees on a personal level. It’s more about checking boxes than building a culture of cyber security vigilance.

Guess what? There’s a better way. It’s all about small, regular, human-centric interventions. Think of it like the speed signs you see when you’re driving. They remind people to stop and think before they engage in risky behavior. Just as the signs work for driving, this kind of training makes your employees more aware of what they’re clicking.

By nudging employees toward safer decisions in real-time, we can help them develop better cyber hygiene habits without overwhelming them with information overload. It’s about empowering them to make smarter choices every day.

And with the amount of Generative AI and third-party tools we’re surrounded with right now, it’s more important than ever to give employees the guidance they need to navigate potential risks. Whether it’s through real-time coaching or policy reminders, we can help employees understand the importance of safeguarding sensitive data.

So, while there may be a place for annual training, it’s time to think about using a more proactive approach to cyber security education.

This is something we can help you with. If you want to learn more, get in touch.

Uh oh! You’re at greater risk of malware than ever before


Here’s something not-so-fun but incredibly important to talk about: Malware attacks.

And it’s bad news. These scary cyber threats are hitting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) harder than ever before. That means you need to know how you can defend your business.

First things first, what exactly is malware?

Think of it as the digital equivalent of the germs that make you sick. Malware, short for malicious software, is like the flu virus of the cyber world. It’s designed to sneak into your computer systems or network and wreak havoc in all sorts of ways.

So, what kinds of malware are we talking about here?

Well, according to a recent report, there are a few major troublemakers: Information-stealing malware, ransomware, and business email compromise (BEC).

You might be wondering why you should care about malware. Let me set the scene. You’re running your business smoothly, minding your own business, when BAM! A malware attack hits.

Suddenly, your files are encrypted, your systems are locked down, and you’re being held hostage for ransom.

Sounds like a nightmare, right?

That’s the reality for many SMBs facing malware attacks. It’s not just about losing money – it’s about the potential damage to your reputation, your operations, and your customers’ trust.

But there are plenty of ways to fight back against malware and keep your business safe and sound:

Educate your team

Teach your employees to spot phishing emails (an email pretending to be from someone you trust), suspicious links, and other sneaky tactics used by cyber criminals. A little awareness goes a long way.

Armor up your devices

Make sure all your computers and devices are equipped with the best software to prevent attacks.

Back up, back up, back up

Regularly back up your data to secure offsite locations. That way, if you are attacked, you’ll have a backup plan (literally) to restore your files.

Fortify your network

Improve your network security with firewalls, encryption, and other powerful weapons. We can help with all of that.

Stay skeptical

Be cautious of suspicious emails or requests for sensitive information. When in doubt, double-check the sender’s identity and never click on risky links or attachments.

Have a plan

Prepare an incident response plan for dealing with malware attacks. Think of it as your emergency playbook, complete with steps for containing the threat, recovering your data, and reporting the incident.

That’s a lot to take in, but remember, knowledge is power. These are all things we help our clients with, so they don’t have to worry about it. If we can help you too, get in touch.

Is this the most dangerous phishing scam yet?

Picture this: You’re going about your day, checking your emails, when suddenly you see a message from a company you trust.

You think, “Great! That’s safe to read”. But hold on just one minute… this email is not what it seems.

It’s part of yet another scam created by cyber criminals to trick you into clicking malicious links or giving up sensitive info. It’s called “SubdoMailing,” and it’s as dangerous as it sounds.

What’s the deal?

Just like regular phishing attacks, cyber criminals pretend to be trusted brands.

But here’s how it works: These cyber criminals scour the internet for subdomains of reputable companies. You know those extra bits in a web address that come before the main domain? Such as experience.trustedbrand.com. That ‘experience’ bit is the subdomain.

They find a subdomain that the brand is no longer using and is still pointing to an external domain that’s no longer registered.

Then they buy the domain and set up the scam website.

So, you believe you’re clicking on experience.trustedbrand.com… but you have no idea it automatically redirects to scamwebsite.com.

The criminals are sending out five million emails a day targeting people in businesses just like yours.

And because these emails are coming from what seems like a legit source, they often sail right past usual security checks and land in your inbox.

Here’s our advice to keep you and your data safe and sound:

  • Be wary of any emails that seem even remotely suspicious. If something looks fishy, it probably is.
  • Before clicking on any links or downloading any attachments, take a moment to verify the sender. Look for red flags like spelling mistakes or unusual email addresses.
  • Make sure your employees understand the latest phishing tactics and know how to spot a scam. A little knowledge goes a long way in keeping your company safe.
  • Consider investing in top-notch security software to keep the cyber criminals at bay. It might seem like an extra expense, but trust us, it’s worth it.

As always, if you need help with this or any other aspect of your email security, get in touch.

Is Wi-Fi 7 worth the investment?

You know that staying ahead of the technology curve is vital for all businesses in a highly competitive marketplace. One innovation launched earlier this year is Wi-Fi 7, the next generation of wireless connection.

But what exactly does it offer, and is it worth the investment for your business?

— Lightning-fast speeds: No more buffering and lagging. Wi-Fi 7 brings blazing-fast speeds to keep your business running smoothly.
— Rock-solid connections: Forget all about dropped calls or lost connections. Wi-Fi 7 ensures reliable performance, even in busy environments.
— Futureproofing: Wi-Fi 7 is built to handle the demands of tomorrow’s tech. It’s future-proofing your business’s internet.
Now, here’s the million-dollar question: Should you upgrade to Wi-Fi 7? Well, it depends. While Wi-Fi 7 offers some awesome benefits, it can be a bit pricey to upgrade.

The initial investment includes the expense of next-gen routers capable of supporting Wi-Fi 7, which can range from hundreds up to thousands. And there may also be ongoing operational costs, especially if you’re leasing routers from internet service providers.

If you’re not ready to dive into Wi-Fi 7 just yet, that’s ok. There are plenty of other ways to improve your business’s existing Wi-Fi. From optimizing your current setup to adding extenders or mesh networks, there are options to fit every budget.

We’re all about making sure you find the perfect tech solutions for your business to keep you and your team happy. If you’d like to go through your options, get in touch.

Cyber attacks: Stronger, faster and more sophisticated


A new security report has revealed some alarming trends.

First off, cyber attacks are becoming faster than ever. Breakout times (that’s the time it takes for a criminal to move within your network after first getting in) have dropped significantly. We’re talking an average of just 62 minutes compared to 84 minutes last year.

This is not good news.

Not only are these attacks faster, but they’re also becoming more common. The report has identified a whopping 34 new cyber criminal groups, bringing the total to over 230 groups tracked by the company.

And guess what? These cyber criminals aren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They’re getting smarter and more sophisticated. The report highlights a new record breakout time of just two minutes and seven seconds. That’s barely enough time to grab a coffee, let alone mount a defense.

But here’s the real kicker: The human factor is increasingly becoming the main entry point for these cyber attacks.

They will try to get your people to click a link in a phishing email, which will take them to a fake login page. Once your employee enters their real login details, they have inadvertently handed them over.

Or they pretend to be someone your team trusts. This is called social engineering.

So, what can you do to protect your business from these cyber threats?

–Educate your employees
Make sure your team is aware of the latest cyber threats and how to spot them. Regular training sessions can go a long way in preventing costly mistakes.

–Implement strong password policies
Encourage the use of complex random passwords generated and remembered by password managers. Use multi-factor authentication for an added layer of security (this is where you use a second device to confirm it’s really you logging in).

–Keep your systems updated
Make sure all software and systems are up to date with the latest security patches. Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities, so staying current is key.

–Invest in cyber security software
Consider investing in reputable cyber security software that can help detect and mitigate threats in real-time (we can help with this).

–Backup your data
Regularly backup your data and store it in a secure location. In the event of a cyber attack, having backups can help minimize downtime and data loss.

When it comes to cyber security, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If we can help you to stay better prepared, get in touch.

And the award for most common phishing scam goes to…

 

If there’s one thing that’s 100% certain when it comes to protecting your business data, it’s that you need to be aware of phishing emails.

First things first, what exactly is a phishing email? Picture it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, posing as a legitimate communication to deceive unsuspecting recipients. These emails often contain malicious links, attachments, or requests for sensitive data, all disguised as a business or person you already know and trust.

And you know what they say: Knowledge is power. One of the best ways to stay safe is to stay informed. We can do that by looking at the most common phishing emails of last year.

There are three main categories of phishing themes: Major, moderate, and minor.

Major themes

 The biggest category is finance-related phishing emails, making up a huge 54% of attacks. These emails often contain pretend invoices or payment requests, aiming to lure recipients into giving away financial information.

Following closely are notification phishing emails, making up 35% of attacks. These emails prey on urgency, claiming your password is about to expire or you must take some urgent action.

Moderate themes

Document and voicemail scams take center stage here, accounting for 38% and 25% of attacks respectively. These tactics involve deceptive files or messages designed to trick you into compromising your security.

Minor themes

While less common, minor phishing themes still pose a risk to people who don’t know what to look out for. These include emails related to benefits, taxes, job applications, and property.

Why should you be concerned about phishing emails? Falling victim to these scams can have serious consequences, including financial loss, data breaches, and damage to your company’s reputation. It’s essential to educate your employees about the dangers of phishing and put in place robust cyber security measures to protect your business.

Awareness and vigilance are your best defenses against phishing attacks. By staying informed, training your employees, and using strong security protocols, you can safeguard your company’s valuable assets from cyber threats.

We help businesses like yours stay safe. If you’re not 100% sure you’re fully protected… let’s talk.

Before you replace your slow PCs…

You rely on your team to be efficient and productive. But slow and sluggish computers can make it difficult for them to do their work – and could affect you personally too. Which impacts your business’s overall performance.

Before you jump to the (expensive) conclusion that you need to replace your PCs, there are several ways you can increase computer performance on Windows 10 and 11.

Here are just a few…

Restart your computer

Yes, it might be our favorite advice as IT support professionals, but a basic shutdown and restart can work wonders. Restarting your computer clears background processes, applications, and memory data. This often resolves common performance issues, especially if your computer has been running for a while.

Manage startup apps

Many apps register themselves to start automatically with Windows 11, and this can slow down your computer’s startup process. To regain some speed, consider disabling unnecessary startup apps:

— Open Settings
— Click on Apps
— Select the Startup page
— Sort apps by their “Startup impact”
— Turn off the toggle switch for any unnecessary apps
— Restart your computer

This will prevent these apps from launching automatically during startup and save valuable system resources.

Disable restartable apps

Windows 11 has a feature that saves and restarts certain applications when you reboot your computer. While it can be convenient, it may not be ideal for performance. To turn off this feature:

— Open Settings
— Click on Accounts
— Go to the Sign-in options page
— Turn off the “Automatically save my restartable apps and restart them when I sign back in” toggle switch

Disabling this feature can help improve your computer’s speed, especially if you have many applications that you don’t use regularly.

Uninstall unnecessary apps

Unused or unnecessary apps can clutter your system and slow it down. To remove them:

— Open Settings
— Click on Apps
— Select the Installed apps page
— Choose the app you want to uninstall and click the Uninstall option
— Follow the on-screen directions if necessary

By removing apps you don’t need, you’ll free up space and resources for better performance.

Always be cautious about what software you install on your computer. Poorly designed or outdated applications can have a negative impact on performance. Stick to reputable apps (preferably those available in the Microsoft Store) because they have thorough reviews for both security and performance.

Before installing any software, do some online research to check for user experiences and potential issues. Trustworthy sources and well-known companies are your best bet.

Take the time to optimize your existing Windows computers before you consider upgrading your devices. Of course, rather than doing all of this yourself, why not get our team to do it for you. They can check every aspect of your computers and network to look for other hidden problems. Get in touch.

Which ransomware payment option is best? (Hint: none)


Picture this: Your business gets hit by a ransomware attack, and your valuable data is locked away by cyber criminals demanding a huge ransom fee.

You can’t afford to pay it. But there’s a twist – just like those “buy now, pay later” schemes, some ransomware gangs are offering victims payment extension options.

Recent research reveals that ransomware groups are getting creative with their extortion strategies. One group is even offering victims various choices when it comes to their ransom demands. These “choices” include:

Paying to delay the publication of their stolen data, with a standard fee of $10,000… or paying to have their stolen data deleted before it’s made public.

The exact amounts charged are often negotiated with victims, adding a chilling dimension to the whole ordeal.

To increase the pressure on victims, these ransomware groups have added some terrifying features to their web sites. These include countdown timers displaying how much time businesses have before their data is released, view counters, and even tags revealing the victim’s identity and description.

It’s all designed to make victims feel cornered and more likely to give in to the demands.

You might be tempted to pay that ransom to protect your business data. Not so fast. Paying is always a bad idea and here’s why…

Paying doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get your data back or that the cyber criminals won’t demand more money later.

By paying, you’re essentially funding criminal activities, encouraging them to continue their attacks on others.

Paying a ransom might even get you into legal trouble, as some governments have made it illegal to pay cyber criminals.

So, what can you do to safeguard your business from falling victim to ransomware?

  • Ensure you have regular, secure backups of your data. This way, you won’t be at the mercy of cyber criminals.
  • Educate your staff about the risks of ransomware and train them to recognize phishing emails and suspicious links.
  • Invest in robust cyber security software and keep it up to date.
  • Keep your systems and software updated with the latest security patches.
  • Segment your network to limit the spread of ransomware if one device gets infected.
  • Develop a clear incident response plan, so you know exactly what to do if you’re ever hit by a ransomware attack.

Paying cyber criminals rarely makes things better, and we’re seeing businesses that do pay become targets time and time again. Instead, invest in the proactive measures above to help you stay secure. And if we can help you with that, get in touch.