The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

A Security Briefing on Chrome Extensions

A Security Briefing on Chrome Extensions

Did you know that, as of July 2020, 69 percent of global desktop Internet users utilized Google Chrome as their browser of choice? With such a large market share, the security associated with Google Chrome is important to keep in mind. To help increase some of this awareness, we wanted to talk about Chrome’s many extensions and the permissions they are too often granted, with minimal awareness from the user.

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This Chrome Bug Could Affect Billions

This Chrome Bug Could Affect Billions

Data and cybersecurity is hard enough without vulnerabilities coming from one of your most utilized applications. That’s the scenario after a bug was found in some of today’s most popular Internet browsers putting billions of people’s data security at risk. Let’s take a brief look at the vulnerability and how you can ensure that it won’t be a problem for you or your company.

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Tip of the Week: Searching Google More Specifically

Tip of the Week: Searching Google More Specifically

Everyone knows how to do a Google Search, right? Go to the site, type whatever it is you’re looking for into the search bar, and you’re off to the races. Fewer people are aware, however, of the ways that you can help Google narrow its search a bit. Let’s go over a few handy Google cheat codes that can make your search results more precise.

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Not All Threats are External

Not All Threats are External

As much as a business relies on its technology, it relies just as much upon its employees to properly put that technology to use. Unfortunately, this can very easily expose the business to various threats that involve their employees. Understanding these insider threats is crucial for a business, especially given how current events may tempt those who would never have considered them otherwise.

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Tip of the Week: Laptop Battery Best Practices

Tip of the Week: Laptop Battery Best Practices

Nowadays, laptops are the weapon of choice for productivity. They function much like a desktop computer but are mobile enough to go anywhere with. Unfortunately, most laptops chew through their batteries in only a few hours of work and need to be plugged in in order to function. With so many people working from home, many people are using their laptops more like a desktop and keeping them plugged in around the clock. For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss the best practices of a laptop battery. 

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I Didn’t Realize How Much I Needed This: Color-Coded Chrome Tabs

I Didn’t Realize How Much I Needed This: Color-Coded Chrome Tabs

Google Chrome is rolling out a neat little update for everyone over the next week (it may already be out for some users by the time this posts). It’s a feature that I know I’m personally going to love, and I didn’t even realize how badly I needed it until now.

Let’s take a look!

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Google Adding Features to the G Suite

Google Adding Features to the G Suite

It is apparent that Google is deeply invested in the G Suite, as they recently added an assortment of features to make basic processes much simpler and more convenient for their users. Here, we’ll go over a few of these updates, and how they can positively influence your operations.


Search Chips in Gmail

All G Suite subscribers will soon see improved search capabilities within Gmail, as Google’s developers have added an extra feature to help narrow down search results. Once a search is performed within Gmail, contextual options will appear below the search field.

For instance, let’s say you were looking for a specific email from your colleague Brian. Simply searching for “Brian” would bring up a mess of messages, chats, updates, and invites. Search Chips allows you to narrow your search by various filters without manually typing them. So, if you knew that the message from Brian you were looking for had a PDF attached, you can search for emails from Brian with PDFs attached.

Again, while this feature is currently exclusive to the G Suite, all Gmail accounts will soon have this capability built in.

Expanded Out of Office Notifications

Are you planning on being out of the office for an extended amount of time? Google is adding a feature that allows you to present this information in more context to your contacts who have access to your Google calendar. Suppose you have a vacation scheduled in your Google calendar. If Brian wanted to get in touch with you during that time, he would see that you were gone and when to expect you back.

Google Docs Autocorrect and Smart Compose

Google Docs (at least, the online version) is being augmented with the ability to automatically correct a user’s errors as they type – something many users will likely find to be a welcome addition. This feature is slated to be released to select G Suite subscription types. Likewise, select G Suite subscriptions may have noticed Smart Compose predictions appearing in their Google Docs as of late.

Admin Console Improvements

Administrators should be happy to see the assorted improvements that have been made to their Admin consoles, and we’re talking about more than the aesthetic changes. The entire interface’s integration has been improved, with more context provided in the options.

Context Aware Access in G Suite

There are just some things that different levels in an organization need and don’t need, respectively, which means that certain users shouldn’t be able to access certain things.  While admins were once only able to differentiate access control through organizational units, you can now control access via a user’s identity and the context that is inferred by a request. This means more granular control over your data, and by extension, more secure data. However, to use this feature, you have to be a G Suite user of Enterprise, Enterprise for Education, Cloud Identity Premium, or Drive Enterprise.

Which of these additions do you find the most promising? Do you wish any were more widely available? Let us know in the comments!

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Tech Giants Are in on AR

Tech Giants Are in on AR

Augmented reality has been one of the most cited emerging technologies for the past few years. It was the technology that was supposed to fuel Google Glass, the failed attempt at creating a pair of revolutionary smart glasses. Since then, there hasn’t been much press about AR in the mainstream media and not much is known about major tech companies’ attempts to improve AR technology. 

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Google Password Checkup Tool Works to Keep You Secure

Google Password Checkup Tool Works to Keep You Secure

Imagine a world where there wasn’t a singular dishonest being. Passwords would simply vanish from our everyday lives, as we would not be paranoid of a breach or other forms of cybercriminal activity. The harsh reality is this will never become reality. Even worse, the cybercriminals don’t just skim for lack of passwords. Instead, the dishonest criminal goes even further; they take advantage of common or recurring passwords. So how do you know if your password practices are leaving you vulnerable? Google is here to help. 

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Tip of the Week: Some Google Search Tips to Help You

Tip of the Week: Some Google Search Tips to Help You

For many tech-savvy individuals, the expression “Google it” is a well-tested, and approved, method to researching. Are you getting the most out of Google search? Today, we share useful tips on how to better optimize your Google search queries.

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Tip of the Week: Optimize Your Chrome Browser

Tip of the Week: Optimize Your Chrome Browser

Google Chrome is much more than just any old web browser; it’s the most popular web browser in the world, being installed automatically on Android smartphones and the browser of choice for countless desktop users. Today, we want to help you get the most out of your Google Chrome web browser.

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Google Knows Where You Are: Here’s How to Stop Them

Google Knows Where You Are: Here’s How to Stop Them

Late in the summer this past year there were several articles written about how Google would continue to track the location of a person’s smartphone after they had chosen to turn their location settings off. A Princeton researcher corroborated those claims for the Associated Press, traveling through New York and New Jersey with locations services off only to be tracked the entire way. Today, we will discuss this issue, and tell you what you need to know to keep Google from tracking you wherever you go.


Google’s 99 Problems
The perception of Google might be as of a benevolent force in a world full of malevolence to a majority of its users, but over the past few years the problems have been mounting up at the doors of the Googleplex. There has been a laundry list of ongoing legal problems, there has been an employee walkout to protest sexual assault allegations by top executives, and for its continued work as a military contractor. CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before Congress in December to answer lawmakers’ questions about data privacy and company censorship. There has also been a recent dust up with Apple over a violation of Apple App Store policy.

With all these problems on the surface, it would be difficult to assume that Google, or its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. would be raking in dough. That is exactly what has happened. Google took in an astounding $39.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. With every dollar they take in, they take in so much more data. In fact, over the past week, the scrutiny over privacy problems led Google to make the claim that changing their privacy policies--something they will most likely be expected to do--could hurt their company earnings and hinder their ability to create revenue.

So Google Tracks User Data?
Like many of the most utilized services, Google, which owns the Android mobile operating system that powers over 81 percent of all smartphones in the world, tracks data down to an individual level. They contend that they do this to be able to improve their services. The more they know about an individual, the more they know about demographics, and about society as a whole. This gives them the best opportunity to develop, build, and bring to market products and services in line with what people want.

Google has its hands in lots of pies, but its most lucrative, by far, is advertising. In fact, in 2017 Google made $110 billion in profits, $95.4 billion of which came from advertising. In order to be the best they can be at advertising, they need information about consumers (and would-be advertisers).

Google’s tracking tools are numerous.

They have the number one mobile operating system (Android), the number one Internet browser (Chrome), the number one hosted email provider (Gmail), the number one video site (YouTube), the number one search engine (Google Search), and the number one mapping application (Google Maps). This is just a small list of all of Google-owned services as hundreds of millions of people and organizations also use their cloud storage systems, their productivity applications, their virtual assistant, and their news aggregate.

Privacy with Google
With all the services you use tracking every piece of data they can, keeping yourself private with Google around might be harder than you think...or is it? You’d think that you should just be able to go into your Android OS and switch off location settings and they will keep from tracking your whereabouts or your activity. This, of course, is not the case, but there is a relatively simple way to keep your location a secret...even from Google. Throw your phone in a large body of water. If you don’t have a large body of water near you, just run it under the faucet for a couple hours (or long enough for those with that pesky IP68 certification to be proven foolhardy).

We’re just kidding of course. If you want Google to stop tracking you, you will need to find, and toggle off the “Web and App Activity” setting. With this setting turned off, Google will no longer be able to store a snapshot of where you’ve been and won’t have access to browser search metrics either.

This may be annoying to some Google users, as to their understanding once Location History is toggled off, the phone should not be able to track his/her location. Google, defending the miscommunication, stated, “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete, or turn off at any time...we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they (users) do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”

Google’s justifications could make sense, until you consider that a feature called “Web and App Activity” needs to be disengaged in order for Google to stop tracking location, even after you tell the OS to stop tracking location. While the company has a laundry list of valuable services, they continue to try and obtain as much data as they can to drive their ad program’s effectiveness, thus profiting off of consumers’ trust.

Do you think that these major Internet companies reliance on advertising revenue is good for consumers or investors? Who really is profiting? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Prioritize the Protection of Your Google Account

Prioritize the Protection of Your Google Account

Chances are you have a Google account, whether it’s for business or personal use. It’s more accessible today than ever before and provides a solid way to gain access to several important features and accounts. Considering how much can be done with a Google account, users forget that they can put their security and personal data at risk. Here are some ways that your Google account is at risk, as well as what you can do to fix it.


Why Is Your Google Account so Valuable?
The Internet has always been a tool to keep those who use it connected, and data stored on it shared and accessible. However, like any tool that evolves and changes over time, its purposes and uses change with it. The idea for what would become the Internet came from J.C.R. Licklider of MIT in 1962, who intended it to be a system of interconnected computers used to share information and programs across the entire world. This idea would become the World Wide Web with the help of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who had this to say:

“Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.”

These ideals are still retained by today’s Internet; if anything, you might say it’s reached its peak. Social media use and network collaboration is at an all-time high, generally free of control by any central entity. These ideals have led to a demand for the preservation of net neutrality and open-access information, and while these are largely upheld, there are always exceptions to the rule.

While the Internet grew in capability, it also grew in utility. These utilities depend on security and privacy. Since so many people began to use the Internet to deal with confidential information, this increased the importance of security from both the perspective of an everyday user and a business. One of the companies that has helped shape this perspective is Google, a company that offers a plethora of services on both a user level and a business level.

You can’t discredit the importance of Google services for business, such as its G Suite applications and Gmail. Even on a general consumer level, many users find Google services helpful and important to their daily routine, to say the least. With Google security so important, take a moment to ask yourself how many online accounts have access to your Google account. What are you risking if your Google password is stolen by hackers looking to make a quick buck?

What You Risk
You can use your Google account to create other accounts, either by using your associated Gmail address or linking it directly, but what does that mean for security standards? It’s important to remember that this convenience comes at a price; linking an account to your Google account inevitably ties that account’s security to your Google account. This means that if your Google account is compromised, any accounts associated with it could also be at risk.

How Devastating Can It Be?
If you’re reading this on your desktop, you can click here to access your Google account. Under the Security section, you can review all devices that your Google account has been active on, as well as all third-party applications that access your account. You can even see all the websites that are using Google Smart Lock. Take a moment to review this list. Does it contain anything particularly sensitive? How about your bank account? If this is the case, it’s easy for anyone who has access to your Google account to access any accounts associated with your Google account from the simple virtue of being able to recover passwords and usernames for the account.

A Solution
This creates a conflict between two of any technology user’s priorities: convenience and security. Some might even be willing to sacrifice security if it means a little convenience (think using the same password for multiple accounts), but in the professional world, this can be dangerous if mishandled. There isn’t a magical button that will make your Google account secure, so you’ll have to use a collection of best practices and preventative measures to make sure your credentials are properly secured. Be sure to keep an eye out for data breaches and change passwords accordingly, as well as taking into account the following practices:

Passwords and Account Security
The Google account is basically a container of credentials for any account connected to it. This means that you need a strong password or passphrase to protect it. Make sure that your password is long, complex, and doesn’t include any identifiable words that might give it away to someone just guessing at it. Also, be sure to only access your Google account on personal devices rather than public ones, as you could be putting your account at risk this way. Public Wi-Fi is in a similar risk category; only access your account through a private or secured connection.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
One of the better ways you can keep your Google account secure is by making it more difficult to access. A secondary code sent to your mobile device in the form of a text message, generated via Google Authenticator, or a call made to your mobile device, make it so that anyone with your password needs to work a little harder to access your account. Enabling this kind of 2FA decreases the chances that you’ll have problems with a cybercriminal taking over your account, since it’s highly unlikely that they will also have access to your mobile device, too. Google Authenticator is by far the most secure of the options presented for 2FA for your Google account.

Your Google account can be used to access one-time authentication codes that can be printed out and kept on your person, giving you immediate access to your account on the off-chance you don’t have your phone on you at that moment. If you run out of codes or lose the list, you can generate new ones easily enough.

To set up these features, log in to your Google account.

Overall, Google offers great ways to keep your account secure, as long as you take advantage of them. To learn more about how you can keep your accounts secure, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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Clearing Up Some Chromebook Confusion

Clearing Up Some Chromebook Confusion

Chromebooks might be simple, but they aren’t as limited as you might think they are. They might have once been limited, but more recent models are much more capable of accomplishing just as much, if not more, than any of their previous iterations. Here are some of the most common misconceptions that people have about Chromebooks.

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The G Suite Just Got Smarter

The G Suite Just Got Smarter

With the recent overhaul of Google’s G Suite productivity software products comes a new way to keep your business’ data secure. We’ll go over some of the major changes introduced in the updates, including the integration of artificial intelligence.

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Tip of the Week: Managing Gmail with Labels and Filters

Tip of the Week: Managing Gmail with Labels and Filters

Gmail is a great way to take advantage of business email, but do you know all of the ins and outs of how to use some of its finer details? Today’s tip is dedicated to going over some of the more useful features of Gmail, like filters and labels--both of which will be helpful in controlling your inbox.


Labels and Filters
Gmail helps you keep your messages organized through the use of labels and filters. Basically, you can assign rules that will apply to any messages that you receive. By effectively using filters, you can make browsing your inbox more efficient, as well as consolidate similar messages with little effort.

For example, a filter could be used to assign a label to any message that holds “quarterly report” in the subject line. These labels would then be applied to any incoming messages that have that specific criteria.

Creating a Filter
To create a filter in Gmail, just follow these steps:

  • Click the down arrow in the search bar. You can then select specific details that you want to include in your search criteria.
  • Select the criteria that you want your filter to look for. Once you’ve done so, click on Create filter with this search.
  • You’ll then be provided with several options, one of which will automatically mark your conversation as important. Be sure to select the option to Apply the label.
  • Next, select the drop-down menu that’s labeled Choose label. You can then create a new label or one that has already been made.
  • Once the filter has been configured, select the Create Filter button.

Creating a Label
You can also apply labels to your messages, but in order to do so, you first need to make the label. You’ll be able to both apply labels as you receive messages, or apply them to existing messages. We’ll walk you through the process:

  • In Gmail, click on the More option on the left side of the screen.
  • Next, select Create new label.
  • Provide a name for your label and create it.

Now all you have to do is apply the label to your messages.

  • First, open up the message you want to apply the label to.
  • At the top of your screen, select the Label button. You can add a label to any group of messages provided you have selected them all before you click the label button.
  • You must then select each label you want to add. You can also create a new label at this point if you need to.

To learn more about how to take full control of your Gmail inbox, be sure to keep a lookout for similar articles from The Connection, Inc’s blog.

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Google Will No Longer Display Results As You Type--Here’s Why

Google Will No Longer Display Results As You Type--Here’s Why

If you hadn’t yet noticed, there’s been a change made to the Google search engine that will influence how search results are presented to users. Google’s ‘Instant’ feature, introduced in 2010, is no more.


Instant was what would cause results to begin appearing the moment you started to type a query into the search engine’s homepage. This function was different than the search suggestions that users see in a drop-down as they type their search, which will continue to appear.

The elimination of Google Instant is the result of an effort by Google to focus more strongly on how people are searching, given the variety of devices that may now be used. Google’s statement reads:

“We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints.”

In other words, so many people have transitioned from using Google on a desktop to using Google on a mobile device that it is no longer practical for Google to continue supporting Instant. That, combined with the tendency for many to use their browser’s address bar to initiate a search (which Instant wasn’t compatible with), reduced the efficacy of the feature to the point that it wasn’t worth maintaining.

This only shows that all businesses, even those as large as Google, need to adapt their business strategy to suit their customers. Otherwise, they will find an alternative that meets their needs better.

So, what do you think about Google Instant going away? Do you anticipate that its loss will impact your browsing habits? Tell us what you think in the comments, and make sure you subscribe to our blog!

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What's It Mean When Online Traffic is Concentrated to a Handful of Apps?

What's It Mean When Online Traffic is Concentrated to a Handful of Apps?

The Internet is always changing, and anyone who has been using it for a while has experienced this change for themselves. While it might be strange to think about, the latest statistics have proven that the current changes to the Internet are some of the most significant--especially for businesses. “Online business as usual” will be significantly different moving forward.

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Warning: Google Docs Hit With Phishing Attack

Warning: Google Docs Hit With Phishing Attack

On Wednesday, several users found themselves the victim of a convincing phishing attack. The attack was designed to look like an invitation to view and edit a Google Doc, and is designed to steal your Google credentials and spread through your contacts.


Not only does the email look convincing, it’s also often coming from a contact you already know. Even worse, the link takes you to a Google.com URL with a legitimate-looking login screen. However, once you log in with your Google credentials, whoever is behind the attack will have full access to your account.

Once it has them, it sends the same email to your contact list in an attempt to propagate itself. This attack is well-crafted, to the point where the easiest way to catch it before getting snared is to click the small link on the page that Google hosts to check the developer’s information. Since the attack utilizes legitimate Google account functions, however, who would think to check?

Whenever you get an unsolicited email with links or attachments, it’s critical to think before you click!

Fortunately, Google was able to apparently put the kibosh on this attack within an hour of taking action, but there’s still no indication of who was responsible for this attack or if/when they will strike again. Therefore, it is important to understand how to avoid falling victim to emails like this in general.

First, if there’s ever any doubt of an email’s validity, check out some of the indicators that tend to go overlooked. This attack in particular had some oddities--for example, the email was addressed to “.” Secondly, if an email is unexpected, it never hurts to confirm its validity with the sender through an alternate method of communication.

To protect your business, you need to be sure that your staff understands that threats like this could be a major problem. In the meantime, be sure to keep your eyes out for more email-based phishing scams and other threats. If you do come across questionable messages, don’t hesitate to report it immediately, so that everyone on your team becomes cognizant of the threat.

For more information about phishing scams, social engineering tactics, and other attempts to infiltrate your network, contact the IT professionals at The Connection, Inc at (732) 291-5938 today.

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Alert: Was Your Device One of Over a Million Breached By New Android Malware?

Alert: Was Your Device One of Over a Million Breached By New Android Malware?

The branch of malware known as Ghost Push now has a new component, Gooligan, and it certainly lives up to its name. Google was struck by an attack that infected over one million Android users, with over 13,000 additional devices adding to that total on a daily basis.


Gooligan is able to steal the authentication tokens that are required to access data contained in many of Google’s popular offerings, including Drive, Docs, Gmail, and the G Suite.

However, it would seem that, instead of extracting personally identifiable information, the culprits have elected to install malicious Google Play apps to generate fraudulent ad revenue. Reports have said that this modus operandi nets the attackers about $320,000 every month, and that Gooligan may be the biggest recorded breach of Android devices, ever.

This makes it all the more fortunate that Gooligan has, as of yet, shown no signs of stealing any of the data it could potentially have accessed. Google has even gone on record in their belief that, “The motivation… is to promote apps, not steal information.”

While Google has since removed the apps that include Gooligan from the Play Store, there could potentially be countless more similar threats, lurking in wait of their next victim. This means that, should your employees be able to access the Play Store on their work devices, your business could be a potential victim.

Therefore, every member of a business should be informed of the seriousness of clicking around mindlessly when using a business device. Institute a policy of only allowing business-related apps on company devices, and require any BYOD devices to be thoroughly vetted by IT.

Do you have a plan to prevent unauthorized applications from appearing on company devices? Let us know in the comments!

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