Is that Chrome extension filled with malware?

If you use Google Chrome in your business, you’re probably familiar with extensions. These useful tools can enhance your browsing experience in countless ways, from blocking annoying ads to reducing distractions.

Extensions are incredibly popular because they can add so much functionality to your browser. But just as you need to be careful when installing new apps on your phone, you must also be cautious when adding new extensions to your browser. That’s because they come with a risk of malware.

It’s short for malicious software – that’s any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or network. Cyber criminals use malware to steal data, hijack systems, and even empty your bank accounts.

Google Chrome holds about 65% of the browser market share worldwide, making it the most popular browser by far. This popularity makes Chrome a prime target for cyber criminals. While cyber attacks sometimes exploit vulnerabilities in the browser itself, there’s an easier way to target Chrome users: Through malicious extensions containing malware.

Although Google keeps a tight watch on its Chrome Web Store, the risk is still there. A recent report claims 280 million people installed a malware-infected Chrome extension between July 2020 and February 2023. That’s a huge number and highlights the importance of being vigilant.

Surprisingly, many malicious extensions remained available for download on the Chrome Web Store for a long time. On average, malware-filled extensions stayed up for 380 days, while those with vulnerable code were available for about 1,248 days. One particularly notorious extension was downloadable for 8 and a half years before being removed.

So, how can you protect yourself and your business from these malicious extensions? Here are five steps we recommend.

  1. External reviews: Since checking ratings and reviews on the Chrome Web Store isn’t always reliable (many malicious extensions don’t have reviews), look for external reviews from trusted tech sites to judge whether an extension is safe.
  2. Permissions: Be cautious if an extension asks for more permissions than it should. If a new extension requests extensive access to your data or system, this could be a red flag.
  3. Security software: Use robust software to catch malware before it can do any harm. This is your last line of defence if you accidentally install a malicious extension.
  4. Necessity: Before installing any new software or browser extensions, consider whether you really need it. Often, you can achieve the same functionality visiting a website.
  5. Trusted sources: Only install extensions from trusted sources or well-known software providers. This significantly reduces the risk of downloading a harmful extension.

Chrome is the most popular browser, which means it will always be a target for cyber criminals. Google’s security team works hard to review every Chrome extension to ensure they are safe, but it’s still crucial to be vigilant.

If you’re unsure whether your extensions are safe or not, or you’d like more advice around keeping your business secure, our team can help. Get in touch.

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Protect your business from a data leak with Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge for Business has just rolled out new data leak control capabilities. And that could be a good thing for keeping your sensitive info safe.

What are data leak control capabilities?

In plain English, they help prevent your sensitive information from getting out to the wrong people. Think of it as having an extra lock on your digital doors, making sure only the right people can access your important data.

Every business handles sensitive information, whether it’s financial records, client details, or proprietary data. If this information leaks, it could mean big trouble: Financial loss, legal headaches, and a hit to your reputation.

This new feature in Microsoft Edge helps keep your data secure by making sure only authorised people can access it. It also stops accidental sharing.

Depending on your industry, you may have strict rules about data protection. These new controls can help you stay on the right side of regulations.

And let’s not forget your customers. They’re more aware than ever about data privacy. Using a browser with strong data leak controls shows you’re serious about protecting their information, which can boost their trust in your business.

Microsoft Edge for Business has added this new feature into an easy-to-use package. You can set policies on how data can be shared – like stopping certain types of data from being copied or emailed to unauthorised recipients. This way, you’re less likely to have accidental leaks.

It uses artificial intelligence to spot potential threats and unusual data movements. Edge can alert you to a potential leak before it happens, giving you a chance to act proactively.

If you’re already using other Microsoft products like 365 or Microsoft Teams, good news: Edge for Business integrates smoothly with them, letting you apply consistent data protection across all your tools.

Ready to give it a spin? Here’s what to do:

1. Update your browser: Make sure all your business’s devices are using the latest version of Microsoft Edge for Business. This makes sure you have all the newest features and security updates.

2. Set your policies: Work with your IT support partner to set up data sharing policies that make sense for your business. Microsoft provides guidelines and templates to help you get started.

3. Train your team: Make sure your employees know about the importance of data security and how to use the new features. A quick training session can do the trick.

4. Monitor and adjust: Keep an eye on how things are working and tweak your policies as needed. You want to find a balance that keeps your data secure without disrupting your workflow.

Better still, why not get our team to just do this for you. Get in touch.

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Ransomware threats are surging – here’s how to protect your business

Imagine waking up one morning, turning on your computer, and finding that all your important files – everything from customer data to financial records – are locked. Tight.

And then a scary message pops up demanding a ransom fee to unlock them.

That’s ransomware in a nutshell. It’s a type of malicious software that hijacks your data and holds it for ransom.

How does it happen?

It usually starts with an innocent-looking email or link. You might get an email that seems legitimate, asking you to click on a link or open an attachment.

This is known as a phishing email, where the sender appears to be genuine but isn’t. Once you click, malicious software is silently installed on your system. From there, the cyber criminals quickly go to work.

They’ll be encrypting your files so you can’t access them. Then, you get that dreaded ransom note, demanding payment in exchange for a decryption key to unlock your files. Paying the ransom is a risky move because there’s no guarantee you’ll get your data back, and it just encourages the attackers to target more victims.

2023 was a particularly bad year for ransomware, with attacks surging after a two-year decline. According to a report, there was a huge increase in ransomware incidents, breaking a six-year record.

One reason for this spike is the rise of something called Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). This model lets cyber criminals “rent” ransomware tools, making it easier than ever for them to launch attacks.

As a result, more businesses are finding themselves posted on data leak sites, with a 75% increase in the number of victims between 2022 and 2023.


And it gets worse. Attackers are getting smarter. They’re developing new variants of old ransomware, sharing resources, and using legitimate tools for malicious purposes.

They’re also working faster, often deploying ransomware within 48 hours of gaining access to a network. And they tend to strike outside of work hours, such as when you’re tucked up in your bed, so they’re less likely to be noticed.

If your business falls victim to a ransomware attack, the consequences can be devastating. You might face significant financial losses, not just from the ransom itself but also from the cost of downtime and recovery.

There’s also the risk of losing critical data if you can’t decrypt your files.

Your reputation could take a hit if customers find out their information was compromised. Oh, and your business operations could be severely disrupted, affecting your ability to serve your clients.

What can you do?

The most important question then: How can you protect your business from this growing threat?

  • Start by educating your team. Make sure everyone knows how to spot phishing emails and avoid suspicious links and attachments
  • Regularly back up your critical data and securely store those backups offline
  • Keep your software and systems up to date with the latest security patches, and invest in strong security tools
  • It’s also important to limit access to your data. Only give employees access to the information they need for their jobs
  • Monitor your network for unusual activity and have a plan in place to respond to incidents quickly

If you do get hit by a ransomware attack, don’t panic. Work with cyber security experts (like us) to resolve the issue.

Remember, it’s best not to pay the ransom, as it only fuels the cyber criminals’ activities.

My team and I help businesses take proactive action to protect their data. If we can help you, get in touch.

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More businesses are proactively investing in cyber security defences

More and more businesses are making the smart decision to be proactive and invest in their cyber security defences. This is fantastic news, especially since stats show that about half of small and medium-sized businesses still have no cyber security measures at all.

If your business falls into that category, it’s time to change.

Cyber security might sound complex, but it starts with a few simple steps. Let’s talk about some basics you can put in place right away.

First, think about encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Encryption is like putting your data in a secure vault. It ensures that even if someone intercepts your information, they can’t read it without the encryption key.

MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to verify your identity using a second device, like your phone, whenever you log in. It’s a bit like needing two keys to open a lock instead of just one.

Another easy step is using a password manager. These generate long, random passwords for every account and remember them for you. Password managers make life easier and your business more secure in one package. Amazing.

Advanced monitoring tools are another great way to protect your business. They’re a little like security cameras for your digital space, always on the lookout for anything suspicious. These tools help detect unusual activity in your systems, giving you a heads-up if something’s not right.

And let’s not forget about protecting your business from phishing scams. These are attempts by criminals to trick you into giving away personal information by pretending to be someone you trust, like a supplier or a bank. Educating your team on how to spot these scams is crucial. If something feels off, it probably is.

Why is investing in cyber security so important?

  • It protects your data
  • Avoids financial loss
  • And builds trust with your customers and partners

Your business data is valuable, and protecting it means safeguarding your business’s operations and reputation.

Cyber attacks can be costly, not just in terms of money but also time and resources. Prevention is ALWAYS cheaper than dealing with the aftermath of a breach. Plus, showing that you take security seriously helps build trust with your customers and partners. They need to know that their information is safe with you.

Investing in cyber security doesn’t have to be daunting. We’re the experts in this field and would love to help you secure your business. Whether you need advice on getting started or want a comprehensive security plan, get in touch.

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Content and DNS Filtering

What is it

  • DNS filtering involves using the DNS to block malicious websites and filter out harmful or inappropriate content.
  • Content filtering is a software-based approach that prevents domains from resolving altogether.

What do they do and why is it important.

Lets start with content filtering. Content filtering prevents websites from being accessed. Most solutions will use website categories that are then either blocked or allowed. But most solutions will allow you to allow certain groups of people to access certain category of website (Marketing could acccess Social Media). However you might also allow everyone to access social media over their lunch break.

By doing this you are achieving 2 things, firstly you are preventing employees from wasting time, doing stuff they shouldn’t. But it is also helping you to protect employees from stuff online they shouldn’t really be accessing.

DNS Filtering, unlike content filtering where websites are blocked based on the categorisation of the content, this is blocking the site, because of the DNS (The Domain Name) for instance with our solution we block all new domains, and restrict access to domains upto 30 days from registration. We do this because it helps prevent phishing attacks. Imagine you receive a phishing email, and you click on the link, but instead of getting a webpage that looks like something you should sign in to, you end up with a blocked page site.

If you want to know more please contact us

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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.

Armour 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 sceptical

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.

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Perimeter and device firewalls

This week, we turn our attention to the subject of firewalls, both at the perimeter and on your local computer.


A perimeter firewall serves as the first line of defence in network security. Acting as a gatekeeper between internal networks and external threats. It scrutinises incoming and outgoing traffic based on predetermined security rules, blocking unauthorised access while allowing legitimate communication. By monitoring for malicious activities, it prevents attacks such as intrusions, hacking, and data breaches. Implementing a robust perimeter firewall is crucial for safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of IT infrastructure, making it an indispensable tool for businesses in the digital age. Its strategic placement on the network edge ensures a secure perimeter, fortifying an organisation’s cyber defences.

Modern perimeter firewalls will also be able to run add on software. To provide a range of additional features. Whilst for many with cloud based email, having anti-spam module enabled is probably a waste of time. Utilising the anti-virus module is always a good idea to try and prevent a virus right at the gateway.

Device firewall

It is important to have a firewall enabled on any device, even if your device is sat behind a perimeter firewall! This is to make sure that it is on if you take your device out and about

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Advanced End Point Security

Advanced End Point Security

Whilst all out packages include Anti-Virus. We are the first to admit Anti-Virus alone is not enough anymore, and will never ever keep you completely safe.

We supplement the Anti-Virus with some advanced end point (Computer) tools.

The first security measure is to make sure you aren’t an administrator on your computer.  Most people when creating their account will select the account to be an administrator account.  This in the main is not needed, and without the administrator permissions, then it is slightly harder for bad actors to do things with your computer.

Secondly we use a tool, that locks down the computer, and the software installed.  Most applications have a wide range of permissions and can do stuff it just doesn’t need to be able to do.  This is then used to make sure any compromise is fully utilised. Bad actors will do this, by making sure they can always access your network (persistence), as well as spread through the network searching for your data.

By locking everything down this should ensure your physical device is safe, and whilst all this means there are a few steps to go through if you want to install something new. The delay is normally less than 10 minutes, we firmly believe this is well worth waiting for. Achieving a safe cyber secure environment.

Of course the biggest issue for most businesses is a compromise of cloud accounts. And so we monitor the log in for unusual behaviour, like:

  • logging in from somewhere you aren’t
  • multiple logins from different locations. 
  • Multiple unsuccessful logins

This along with measures taken to help the computer user, should help keep you safe. But to make sure we also back it up (more to come in few weeks’ time).

For more info give us a call to arrange a complimentry Cyber Security Check

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Is Wi-Fi 7 worth the investment?

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 optimising your current set-up 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.

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Patch management

Patch Management

A lot of the time when systems are compromised in a Cyber Security Attack, it is because something that should have been updated hadn’t been! Patch Management.

So, this week we have a look at the various updates that need to be considered. Is your IT support company doing all of this!

Firstly, we will start with the Operating System.

No matter what flavour of system you are using they all need updating, this should include everything from your server, through to your mobile phone. Although manufacturers will rave about the improvements in updates, the biggest reason we think you should install these updates as soon as you can is that they patch critical security holes.

It is also worth bearing in mind that some of these may not be selected to be installed by default. Or your IT support provider may not automatically install them. On operating system updates one of the biggest things, we see is people not restarting their computer.  These updates if they require a restart, are not fully installed until the restart has happened.


Almost all applications have updates, and a good practice is to make sure these are up to date as well. Especially your web browser, a lot of attacks happen through web browsers this includes a method that bypasses MFA (2FA) So make sure you are updating all of your applications.

If you no longer need an application, then the best thing to do is to uninstall it

Lastly, something you probably have never considered is a piece of software that you won’t normally ever see.


Firmware is software on many devices that control how the hardware operates, these should also be updated. You will find these not only on computers, and servers but switches wifi access points, telephones, printers – The list goes on, and on. You or your IT supplier should make sure these are kept up to date. They are available from the manufacturer, and the systems to keep these up to date have improved over the years. But some are still difficult to know when updates are available.

Whilst looking at the Firmware please remember that when a manufacturer stops updating the firmware this is normally because the device has reached end of life. And even if it is working properly, you should consider changing it,

If you want to make sure you are covered, please get in touch.

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