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VersaTrust has been serving the Texas area since 1997 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Google adds anti-phishing features on Gmail

Cybercriminals have been relentless throughout 2017. In the past couple of months, hackers discovered new malware strains and software vulnerabilities that have overwhelmed thousands of businesses worldwide. But despite these new attacks, hackers still have an old, yet effective trick up their sleeves: phishing scams. To this day, sending fraudulent emails to steal sensitive information or spread a virus is still being used by the most advanced hackers. Luckily Google rolled out some new security features for Gmail users.

Machine learningGoogle is approaching email security the same way they’ve been developing their products, with machine learning technology. Phishing scams usually follow a predictable pattern when you analyze them. Knowing this, Gmail experts developed an algorithm that analyzes phishing and spam patterns and updates Google’s security database in real time.

When the same phishing attempt is made, Gmail flags potentially dangerous messages and sends them through Google’s Safe Browsing feature, where message links and file attachments are tested for malicious activity. According to Google, around 50 to 70 percent of emails that get sent to Gmail accounts are spam and phishing emails, but with the new detection algorithm, Gmail can block 99.9% of them.

Click-time warningsGoogle has also added precautions for suspicious links. When you accidentally click on an unsolicited link in a message, Gmail will redirect you to a security page titled: “Warning -- phishing (web forgery) suspected.”

Although Google does not completely block access to the link (in case of false positives), it advises you to be extremely careful if you do decide to proceed.

External reply warningsAnother enhancement focuses on securing reply messages. The Gmail feature warns users when they are about to send a reply to an address that is not in their contact list or company domain. This small improvement is designed to prevent users from giving away sensitive information to third-parties.

Every Gmail user can take advantage of these new security controls today, but it’s important to keep in mind that these can’t replace security awareness. Even Google has mentioned that these features are complements to existing security systems and best practices. Being able to identify what is or isn’t a scam can go a long way in protecting your business.

Google is adding machine learning technology in almost all of their products. To find out where they’ll apply it to next, get in touch with our experts and stay tuned for more Google-related posts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Machine learning boosts productivity

Did you know that the applications you use learn something new about you every day? If you’re using any of the G Suite applications, their machine learning algorithms -- a set of mechanisms that study usage patterns -- derive data based on your work patterns and frequently used files, and then make sensible suggestions accordingly. Don’t worry about your system’s security, as this is just part of Google’s efforts to enhance the overall user experience.

What ‘machine learning’ does

Like a trustworthy assistant, machine learning anticipates logical next steps to your tasks. For instance, it might suggest Docs or other apps, launch apps, schedule meetings, or manage your email based on your habits.

For example, if you're using Google Sheets to track employee performance, the "+Explore" button in the bottom right of the screen can help reveal subtle trends. The machine learning that powers this function doesn't just analyze written data, it can also help you find the best image layout and settings. Aside from providing you with useful insights, this function also helps format and design your file.

Increased productivity

Working on an office productivity platform that is capable of suggesting apps may not seem like much. But since the average worker allots plenty of time doing routine tasks -- such as launching apps, searching and downloading files, and sorting email -- having a smart tool that makes sensible suggestions never hurts.

The machine learning-enabled Quick Access function predicts the file you want to open based on your recent activities and interactions within the Google environment. Google Drive’s search function is a good way to locate a file you need to work on, but as many users know, searching unsorted files and messy folder structures can cause an inconvenient amount of delay.

Greatly reduced spam

Managing email is a tedious task that demands a couple hours of your day, every day. There are many email management apps you can use, and although they’re worth your money and effort, sometimes all you need is a highly efficient spam detector.

Because of its machine learning capabilities, Gmail spam detection currently has an accuracy rate of 99%. This means virtually no spam in your inbox and a reduced exposure to malware-laden email. Another way Gmail users can save time is through Smart Reply, a feature that suggests possible responses to emails you receive. Google is currently working to improve Smart Reply’s responses so that they’re more accurate and less generic.

Google applications are handy office tools perfect for businesses that require anywhere, anytime access to their files and apps, as well as constant collaboration with colleagues. There’s more to learn about G Suite and similar platforms that might just be what your business needs. Call us today for recommendations.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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The most advanced Gmail phishing scam yet

As the technology that recognizes and thwarts malware becomes more advanced, hackers are finding it much easier to trick overly trusting humans to do their dirty work for them. Known as social engineering, it’s a dangerous trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent. Read on to educate yourself on how to avoid the most recent scam and those that came before it.

Broadly defined, “phishing” is any form of fraud in which an attacker tries to learn information such as login credentials or account information by masquerading as a reputable entity or person in email, IM or other communication channels.

These messages prey on users who click links, images and buttons without thoroughly investigating where they lead to. Sometimes the scam is as simple as an image with a government emblem on it that links to a website containing malware. Just hovering your mouse over the image would be enough to see through it. But some phishing schemes are far more difficult to recognize.

The Google Defender scam

Recently, an email spread to millions of Gmail accounts that almost perfectly imitated a message from Google. The text read:

“Our security system detected several unexpected sign-in attempts on your account. To improve your account safety use our new official application “Google Defender”.

Below that was a button to “Install Google Defender”. What made this scheme so hard to detect is that the button actually links to a totally legitimate site...within Google’s own framework. When third-party app developers create Gmail integrations, Google directs users to an in-house security page that essentially says, “By clicking this you are giving Google Defender access to your entire inbox. Are you sure you want to do this?”

Even to wary users, the original message looks like it came from Google. And the link took them to a legitimate Google security page -- anyone could have fallen for it. The Gmail team immediately began assuring users that they were aware of the scam and working on eradicating it and any potential copycats.

There’s no happy ending to this story. Although vendors and cybersecurity experts were able to respond to the crisis on the same day it was released, millions of accounts were still affected. The best way to prepare your business is with thorough employee training and disaster recovery plans that are prepared to respond to a breach. To find out how we can protect your business, call today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Think your Google history is gone for good?

Like breaking up with past lovers, when deleting something from our browsing history, we all have that lingering feeling that it’s never really gone. Some may even suspect that multinational tech giants such as Google might have been keeping tabs on all the searches you’ve made -- and they’re right. Unless a genie granted you an invisibility cloak for your deleted search items, they remain visible. Fortunately, that is reversible -- here’s how:

It’s estimated that Google currently processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. It begs this question: How does Google manage to keep tabs on such a jaw-dropping amount?

It’s not like Google is a superior being capable of seeing and hearing all. It’s only when you log into your Gmail or Google account that Google will be able to record it all -- removed items included. See your very own search history by using the link: history.google.com/history. In that history page, Google even has its own specific audio page as well as meticulous records of every single place you’ve been to on the Internet.

You can even analyze the information with the handy “search my searches” tool. Image searches and watched YouTube videos are also recorded. Previous Google Maps searches can also be reviewed, and if you feel like it, you can download your entire history and browse through it in your spare time.

For those wishing to delete certain files or certain search records, the Independent advises you on exactly how to do it:
“To delete particular files, you can click the checkbox on the left and then move back to the top of the page and select ‘delete.’ To get rid of everything, you can press the ‘More’ button, select ‘Delete options’ and then ‘Advanced’ and click through. The easiest way to stop Google recording everything is to turn off the virtual assistant and never to use voice search. But that solution also gets at the central problem of much privacy and data use today – doing so cuts off one of the most useful things about having an Android phone or using Google search.”

Another method would be to head over to the top left of the screen where you’ll find a drop-down menu that includes the option “Activity Controls.” Select this and then switch off the slider marked “Web & App Activity.”

Keeping records might come in handy when you want to look back for something, but for those who enjoy their privacy, there are ways to prevent Google from going through your search history. For more information, please give us a call or send us an email. We are more than happy to help in any way we can.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Find the mail you want in Gmail

How many times have you looked through your inbox for a specific email or file and ended up grumpy because you couldn’t find it? With hundreds or thousands of emails plus a certain number of attached files stored up in your inbox these days, sorting through them can be a hassle. Here are 6 search operators from Gmail that will help you locate what you need in no time.

1. Where did I put that file?

Looking for a file your colleagues sent you ages ago? Don't remember the file’s specific name but you do recall some keywords? That’s a good start. Simply type a keyword after filename: to search for a particular file. For example, you can type filename: minutes to search for a file named meeting minutes. Don’t even remember a part of the name but know what type of file it is? Then you can also use the same search operator to search for a file type. For example, type filename: doc to search for document files.

2. CC or BCC

There are times when you want to narrow down the recipients: whether they are direct, carbon copy (cc), or blind carbon copy (bcc) receivers. The basic “To” search boxes are proven to be useless in this case. What you can do to be more specific is to type cc: or bcc: followed by the recipients’ names or email addresses. For example, instead of typing “anna” in the “To” search box, you can type cc: anna to look for email sent to Anna as a carbon copy (cc) only. Note that you won’t be able to find messages that you received on bcc.

3. Search by time period

You don’t have to remember the exact dates to be able to search for a specific email. With the search operators before: or after:, you can just type the period when the email is sent or received. Don’t forget to use the date format yyyy/mm/dd, otherwise, Gmail wouldn’t get it. By typing after: 2016/07/01 before: 2016/07/15, Gmail will look for emails sent or received between July 1, 2016 and July 15, 2016.

4. Search for read, unread, or starred messages

You can search for messages that are read, unread, or starred by using is:read, is:unread, is:starred. By typing is:read is:starred from:Anna you are searching for messages from Anna that have been read and marked with a star. If you have more than one type of stars (or if you don’t, we suggest you learn how to manage your emails with Gmail’s stars option), you can type has:green-star to search for messages marked with that color.

5. Don’t ignore Spam or Trash

Whether using the simple search box or search operators suggested above, both ignore emails that are in Spam or Trash box. And from time to time, important emails can mistakably be thrown into Trash box for some unknown reasons. Use in:anywhere to look everywhere in your inbox, including those two places, to make sure that no important email has slipped through.

6. Look in the chat box too

We all hate it when our colleagues send important files or message via a chat box. That makes it difficult when searching for them later. But by typing is:chat followed by keywords or name of the person you’re communicating with, you can actually search for messages or files in the chat log. Next time you can tell your colleagues to send vital files or information via proper email instead. But if that still doesn’t work, now you know how to help yourself.

When it comes to managing and sorting through confidential emails in your inbox, no one can do it besides you. Yet there are still the matters of database management and security to take into consideration. Why not outsource those issues to us and enjoy a more carefree communication with your colleagues and customers? Call us today to see what our experts can do for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Master your messages with these Gmail hacks

Gmail has become a powerful email option for businesses since it can be attached to your domain. Easy to use, accessible from anywhere and always up-to-date, it has a lot to offer business users. But if you only use Gmail to send and receive emails, you’re barely scratching the surface of its true capabilities and lesser known features. Here we’ve listed some of the most useful Gmail tricks that will help you take full advantage of what Gmail has to offer beyond sending and receiving messages.

Unsend emails

Ever had that moment when you’re in a hurry to type up an email and send it off only to notice a few seconds later there were a couple of mistakes? Maybe you’ve forgotten to attach a file or misspelled a word. Heck, you may have even sent it to the wrong recipient! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. This is the moment where Gmail’s ‘Undo Send’ feature will become your new best friend. You can activate this by clicking on the gear icon on the top right hand corner of Gmail, then go to Settings. Scroll down to Undo Send and hit the Enable box. Now you have up to 30 seconds to click the ‘Undo’ button that will pop up once your email’s been sent.

Create to-do lists

Gmail provides an easy way to create a task list that you can use to keep track of all the things you have to do in a minimizable window. This way you won’t have to send yourself an email and clutter your inbox every time you need to remind yourself to do something. Adding a to-do list is easy; simply click the Mail menu in the upper left corner of the Gmail window and choose Tasks. A small window will appear in the bottom right corner of the page, and here you can type in your tasks and check the boxes once you’ve completed each of them.

Prioritize emails

Some emails are too important to be buried in a crowded inbox. This is where you can use Gmail’s Star feature to your advantage. Adding stars is a way to single out emails that need to be read later or require a follow-up. You might already know that clicking the yellow star beside the email will highlight the line and makes the message easier to find. But there’s a way to take things up a notch. Navigate to Settings and scroll down to the Stars section. Here you can drag the stars from the ‘Not in use’ row up to the ‘In use’ row to make them active. Once you’re done, hit Save. You could use the blue star for emails that need a follow-up, red for problems, question mark for the ones that require clarification and so on.

Use canned responses

Have you ever had to answer the same questions sent by clients over and over again? Well you’re in luck. Gmail has a productive hack that allows you to create and send off repetitive messages in just a few clicks. Activate it by heading over to Settings, Labs and click the Enable button in the Canned Responses tab. Now type up a response email. Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the message box and select Canned responses. You can add common phrases, sentences or email bodies that you find yourself using a lot, whether for marketing inquiries, sales pitches or client requests.

With these Gmail features you can save time, get more things done and become more productive. If you want to learn more about Gmail or any other Google apps, please get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Get to inbox zero with snooze from Streak

Inbox zero is what we all dream of - a serenely empty screen, clear of clutter and immediate demands on our time. It involves cleaning out your inbox of absolutely everything, including filing away messages that need action but which you can’t do anything about right away. But for most of us, inbox zero is nothing but a faraway, whimsical fantasy, right? Wrong. The Streak plugin for Gmail, with its snooze feature, could be your ticket to truly living the dream and breaking free from those email shackles. Here’s why it should be on your download list.

Streak is a full-on customer relationship management tool that allows you to track emails and carry out plenty more tricks to streamline your client engagement workflow - but it’s the snooze feature that has the real potential to get you to that inbox-zero nirvana.

The premise is simple. When you receive an email that you can’t instantly file away forever - as you ought to with the likes of updates and notifications from colleagues and clients, which don’t require a reply - but which you can’t take action on right now, with one click of a button you can snooze it for as long as you need to. The email is stored away in a specially created Gmail folder, and resurfaces at the top of your inbox when the snooze time elapses. You can opt for the snooze period of your choice and even enter it in plain, human-speak text (like “in 30 minutes” or “tomorrow at 11am”), which the ever-intelligent Streak understands.

Additional options include the ability to only activate the snooze alarm if nobody replies to the email thread - making it perfect for getting sales enquiries out of your inbox, by prompting you to follow up if the client doesn’t get back in touch (and if they do, their reply will force the email back into your inbox, and onto your radar, anyway). Any time you need to, you can review a list of the emails you’re holding in snooze mode, and pull back to your inbox any that you’re ready to work on sooner than you had initially expected.

Snooze, along with the rest of the Streak plugin, is simple to understand and easy to use, and has the potential to help you better manage your email - and stop it from managing you instead. If it feels like you’re constantly waging war with a never-ending barrage of messages, this is one more tool you might want to consider adding to your productivity arsenal.

If you’re ready to take on the inbox-zero challenge and regain control of your workday, contact us to find out how Google Apps and other innovative tools could help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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