2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 2 - Phishing, Whaling and Mobile Threats

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 2 - Phishing, Whaling and Mobile Threats

To read  'Episode 1 - Understanding Ransomware' click here

Further to the threat of 'Ransomware,' another massive area for concern when it comes to company cyber security is phishing and whaling. Phishing is a term you may have heard about before, it is simply described as when hackers send out fraudulent e-mails from accounts disguised as e-mail adresses the user would generally trust, e.g. a customer, colleague, or authoritative account like the government etc. 

Phishing and Whaling

The malicious e-mail’s goal is to incite the user into clicking a link within the e-mail. If the recipient clicks the link, it will activate the malware stealing all accessible data from that user, and in some cases can spam your e-mail contacts also.

It goes without saying that the hackers are definitely to blame when it comes to phishing, they are the the creators and distributers of malicious e-mails, but we the users aren’t completely blameless, part of the reason why phishing is on the rise is down to ‘overconfident users.’ In a study by Dr. Zinaida Benenson, 78% of participants filled out a questionnaire in her study stating they were aware that clicking on links from unknown sources could be detrimental. This number, on the surface, was reflected in the first study where 20% of people reported clicking a link from an unknown search, when in reality actually 45% of people clicked a potentially malicious link. This is down to overconfidence on what people perceive to be a malicious link, and what they in reality can be delivered as.

Whaling takes phishing one step further, generally phishing targets the general public attempting to gain their personal details, whereas whaling targets high level individuals in organisations, such as bankers, government officials and other powerful executives. From these high level users it attempts to steal a wider range of sensitive data, like personal and bank details for all the employees, or other sensitive company information.

Mobile SecurityEveryone knows computers are vulnerable, we see it all the time in the news and media, but what most people don’t realise is that their smartphones and smart devices are vulnerable to malicious hacking also. In fact any device with a microphone or a camera, you need to be wary that these devices can be hacked, baby monitors, games consoles etc. Hackers find vulnerability in the system, whether it’s through a non-secure wireless transmission or a root through the internet, and once in can not only access your private files, but live access to devices like cameras, speakers and microphones.

This is not a new phenomenon, but through the introduction of devices that talk to each other, hackers can use that communication channel to find their way into your network. This is definitely an evident threat for home users, but this threat can spread the moment an infected own device logs onto a corporate network. When an infected device lawfully accesses the corporate network, as innocent as this connection is, it can be extremely detrimental to a company, as not only will it find its way onto the network, but will spread to every computer on the network.

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Understanding Ransomware

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 1 - Understanding Ransomware

2017 definitely has seen its fair share of cyber security news stories, this current day and age we live in is filled with a plethora of cyber security threats, from uncountable sources. It is partly because of these malicious threats that saw the need for an update in the ways company store and process data, hence the introduction next year of GDPR (to learn more about GDPR contact us to recieve our GDPR Whitepaper)

Just to give you a starting point statistic, according to a report from pandalabs, in Q3 of 2016 18,000,000 new malware samples were captured in that quarter alone, averaging out at approximately 200,000 a day. The scary part is this is the statistic only for the malware that was captured by one single company; the totality of malicious malware that bypasses the system is unknown, and continuously growing on a daily basis, which is why it’s harder and harder for companies to combat it.

Have you heard about the concept of ransomware? Ransomware is now the number one security concern for organisations across the world. It is a sophisticated malicious attack which unlawfully gains access to devices and files, it blocks access to them by encrypting them and displays message on the user’s screen to pay X amount to regain access to those encrypted files. It spawned in Russia between 2005 and 2006, and during its early years of conception mainly targeted smaller files like images and word documents,

To give you an example of a wide scale ransomware attack, it happened very recently. A cyber-attack known as ‘WannaCry’ caused an incredible amount of havoc across the NHS in May, which not only led to patients not being seen, but also caused for urgent operations to be cancelled. Within just 3 days ‘WannaCry’ had targeted around 200,000 organisations across the world. The hackers found a flaw in Microsoft software, and used this to spread across networks encrypting all the files.

Another enormous area for concern when it comes to company cyber security is phishing and whaling. We will discuss these areas in next weeks blog episode!

BTC Buzz: Top 5 of the Most British Promotional Products

 British Promotional Products


Our very first BTC Buzz provides a good-humoured tip of the hat to the promotional products in our industry that just emanate a sense of British-ness. Hopefully you’ll agree that our product selection is far from a damp squib, and definitely would be considered as the bee’s knees!

1)      Bone China Mug

Following a survey known as the ‘Britishness Audit’ when asked what should be the British national emblem, the grand majority of people answered with a ‘cup of tea.’ Not many things in this world get can be considered more British than sipping some of the finest Earl Grey from a luxurious bone china tea set. Promotional bone china mugs are a definitely a popular selection for those who are after a bit of quali-tea

Promotional Weather Station

2)      Multifunction Weather Station

Did you know almost 70 percent of the British population check the weather forecast at least once a day? But what is our obsession with the weather? Is it its pure unpredictability? 1 in 4 people use the weather as a way to start polite conversation with the general public, discussing what we in England like to call the ‘niceties’. Whatever the reason is, a multifunction weather station should definitely be a staple hold on every British desk, providing you with, not just the time or today’s weather, but a plethora of ice breaker subjects such as wind speed, humidity, cloud coverage etc.

Promotional Umbrella

3)      Promotional Umbrella

Nothing says welcome to the great British summer like the absolute need for an umbrella when you’re leaving your house! It is this chaotic rainy nature that makes the UK world renowned for being land of the drizzle. Don’t get us wrong, we do sometimes have gorgeous summer days but it does seem to rain a tad more than average in jolly Great Britain. But every grey cloud does have a silver lining, giving us a new and innovative ways to promote our businesses! Promotional umbrellas work because the branding area is large enough to see from a distance, and when in use, is always at eye level. All you need to do now is put your branding on a red, white and blue panelled umbrella, and Bob’s your uncle British branding at its finest

Red Bus Tin

4)      Red Bus Tin Filled with British Confectionary

When you picture the old British high street, you always imagine the little old sweet shop, where you’d spend all your hard earned pocket money on a handful of sweets you’d take to the park and devour. The United Kingdom is world renowned for having amazing confectionary choices, now if you combine this with the iconic London red bus, how much more British can you get?

Promotional Christmas Jumpers

5)      Christmas Jumper

Its funny how new trends find their way onto the market, and then out of nowhere become a fundamental part of everyday British life. Although it may not be every day, but during the most wonderful time of the year, you cannot escape the Christmas jumper! For many years the Christmas jumper was shunned and considered a terrible present generally given by an older relative, but in recent years the Christmas jumper has become a bold fashion statement, the wackier the better! Now in the promotional industry we are seeing more and more companies wanting Christmas jumpers for their staff as they are a great way to show your festive spirit, and show a human side to your company!

This is just a small selection of what merry old Great Britain has to offer, we also offer a great amount of Promotional Products manufactuered in the UK, if you have interest in any of these products, please give us a call and let us know!

Mid-Year Tech Trends Review part 2

Mid-Year Tech Review Part 2   

AR Painting

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is another fantastic example of content being the key indicator on how popular it can become. With last year’s introduction of a mainstream mobile game that introduced VR to the general public, the general feeling from tech experts was that augmented reality will play a large role in this year’s technology trend. Although there have been some great developments within the AR industry this year, it still hasn’t completely reached the point where AR is a part of our daily lives, which I do thoroughly believe one day it will! In terms of the promotional market there are some great indicators that AR could work well in our industry, with some promotional product suppliers beginning to integrate AR products into their offering, branding the physical product and the software the drives it.

Wireless Headphones

Wireless EarphonesOut of the 5 trends I predicted would be popular this year, I definitely think that wireless headphones have become the most established in the consumer market. With another large smartphone manufacturer dropping the headphone jack, more and more emphasis is being placed on Bluetooth wireless headphones. All of the top headphone producers have released wireless headphones at all different price points, making them not only increasingly popular, but financially accessible too. Wireless headphones aren’t only popular and affordable in the consumer market; they are incredibly popular in the promotional market also. One of the predications I made in my blog at the beginning of the year was the introduction of ‘airpod’ style products into the promotional market. It didn’t take long for before my prediction to be true, within days of releasing that blog, we had a supplier visit, who showed us they had three products, in that styling due to hit the promotional market later on in the year.

Smarter Technology

SpeakerIn the time since writing my original blog, I have personally purchased several smart home assistants for my own use at home and as presents, simply because they provide that wow factor you want when giving a great gift. Whilst keeping up to date with all the latest technology I noticed a great trend beginning in the world of smart assistants, I have notice more and more products are being released with the incorporation of the smart assistant technology. One area of technology we are seeing this working incredibly well is with Bluetooth speakers. Bluetooth speakers are incredibly popular in the promotional product world, we sell Bluetooth speakers at all different price levels, and the thought of selling a branded Bluetooth speaker with the added unique selling point that it contains digital personal assistant software is amazing.  A trend we may not see this year, but is definitely one we could see in the years to come is personalised assistants, with voices, start up sounds and software integration all targeted to specific companies takes the personalised branding experience to the next level. 

Mid-Year Tech Trends Review part 1

Mid-Year Tech Trends Review part 1

At the beginning of the year you may have seen my blog series on the tech trends; at the beginning of each year what I like to do is research and evaluate what I think will trend in the world of technology in the coming year technology, not only in the world of consumers, but in the promotional world also. After completing my research, I then combine my findings with the knowledge and judgement from the viewpoint of a self-proclaimed ‘techie’ (aka myself), and then from this derives my top 5 trends. Now we have reached August, with over half the year over, we can revisit just how influential those technology trends have been so far…

USB Type C

USB Type CWith one of the biggest smartphone companies releasing their flagship device with USB Type C charger in April, it is safe to say USB Type C is definitely here to stay. Other large smartphone manufacturers have either already made the transition or will make the transition with their next release. More and more people are learning about USB Type C and its benefits and could easily reach mainstream adoption by the end of the year. We are also seeing an influx of USB Type C products in the promotional merchandise industry too, from multi charging cables that include USB Type C, to Type C only flash drives and Powerbanks.

360 Video

360 CameraIt was interesting to see after the excitement of VR goggles and 360 video from the early adopters, how popular it may have become. The buzz around virtual reality, although not as prominent, still exists, I would say, although it hasn’t quite reached main stream adoption, it is slowly but surely on the right track. In the same manner as marketing, the important element is content… when it comes to 360 video, this is not a fast process, like all great things, it will take time. One element that has sped up this process is the fact that many large technology companies, famed for their smartphones are also creating and selling 360 degree cameras. Whether they are bought stand alone, or as an accessory with new phones, these 360 cameras are providing people with the technology to speedily create the said content we mentioned earlier. A great example of this gaining traction is the fact that you can now upload and view 360 video on the biggest social network in the world. We have also seen 360 video used in experiential marketing for movies, with one of our staff given, a promotional viewer in association with a new movie release. It is this area of 360 video where the promotional product industry will definitely benefit, VR viewers are not only popular on the promotional market, but they are also becoming more and more affordable.

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