New Employees Can Be a Cybersecurity Risk. Here Are 5 Simple Practices You Can Teach Them During Onboarding

Employee cybersecurity training is becoming an important best practice for organizations, and for good reason. In fact, more than half of small business owners name employee error as the biggest information security risk to their companies.

Many organizations hold annual security training for their employees, which is an important practice that should remain in place. That said, there’s great value in training new employees on cybersecurity during the onboarding process instead of waiting until an annual security training rolls around. While new employees bring skills and experience to the team, they could also bring significant risk if they were never properly educated on cybersecurity practices at previous jobs.

Including security training as part of the initial employee onboarding process makes it clear to new hires that they play a critical role in maintaining the company’s privacy and security, as well as protecting sensitive customer information. It also educates them on key cybersecurity principles, such as how to recognize and avoid common threats, the importance of strong passwords, and the risks of unsecured devices, such as their personal cell phone.

Since cybersecurity is such a broad topic, you might be wondering what to focus on when training your employees. Here are a few of the most important cybersecurity lessons to communicate to new employees as soon as they join the team.

1. Avoid phishing scams.

Phishing scams are a huge cybersecurity threat to companies, playing a role in 91 percent of all data breaches. That’s why it’s essential to teach new employees how to recognize and avoid possible phishing attacks. Be sure to educate them about spear phishing emails, which appear to come from a trustworthy sender but are actually designed to steal sensitive company data. These emails often come from someone high up at the organization, like the CEO.

Teach employees to be vigilant when checking their emails, and to be cautious if an email from a coworker contains lots of typos or asks for sensitive information. If they receive emails that seem suspicious, instruct them to verify the email address to make sure it originated from the actual sender. In addition, educate your new employees to hover their mouse over any links in emails to see where they will take them.

2. Keep up with security patches and software updates.

Another important lesson to teach your employees is to stay on top of security patches and software updates. While it’s easy to click the “update later button” on software update notifications, ignoring them can put devices – and your company – at risk. Security patches and updates are designed to repair vulnerabilities in your device or software and should be installed immediately. Instruct new employees to check their devices for software updates regularly and to install them right away.

3. Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Be sure to educate your employees about the dangers of unsecured Wi-Fi networks and how to protect their devices when using public Wi-Fi. This is especially important if you let your employees work remotely or set up permissions so they can access work communications outside of the office. Your employees need to understand that bad actors often linger on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, hoping to launch a man-in-the-middle attack and steal their sensitive information. If your employees want to connect to public Wi-Fi, make sure they use a virtual private network (VPN) to secure their connection and protect company data.

4. Stick to company-sponsored apps and tools.

During cybersecurity training, stress the importance of sticking to apps and online tools that are company-approved. If employees avoid using employer-mandated tools and opt for their preferred apps instead, they create risk by spreading sensitive company information on systems outside the company’s control. Teach new employees about the dangers of circumventing company-sponsored apps and provide in-depth training on approved tools so employees don’t feel the need to seek out alternatives.

5. Create strong passwords.

Communicating the importance of using strong passwords is an important step to secure sensitive company data. Creating a strong password by using a password generator or a password manager can help secure accounts and prevent cyberattacks. An important point to make with your employees is not only to focus on using strong passwords, but to ensure they are not using the same password on all of their logins.

Employee cybersecurity education is essential for companies of all sizes. In fact, employee cybersecurity training might be even more important for small businesses, which rarely have access to the resources and sophisticated IT teams that large corporations rely on to protect their organizations.

For this reason, small businesses need to take a proactive approach to educating new employees on cybersecurity best practices. By including cybersecurity training during the onboarding process, you can lay the groundwork for your company and employees’ long-term success.

inc

How to send a WhatsApp chat without saving the contact

WhatsApp is one of the most popular applications. It makes communication as simple as adding the correct number of anyone in the world and voila, that’s it. However, it can be somewhat annoying that in order to message someone, you always have to first add that person in your address book, but there are so many occasions where you just want to communicate with someone for a couple of messages and nothing else.

That’s why many third-party apps take care of this simple task for you. It shouldn’t be that difficult to send messages through WhatsApp without saving the contact. The problem is that these apps can compromise the security and functionality of your smartphone. They might also be incompatible with certain operating systems.

To help you resolve this issue, we’ll show you how to send messages through WhatsApp without having to add the contact to your address book. And best of all, this method doesn’t require that you install other apps and it works for both iOS and Android operating systems.

The Process:

This process may at first glance seem somewhat confusing for users who are not very experienced using their smartphone. But once you complete the process one time, it will be a piece of cake every time after that.

  • Open your preferred browser on your smartphone.
  • Type the following link in the search bar: https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=XXXXXXXXXXX (In place of the Xs type the phone number of the person you want to contact, including the country code, but without the + sign.)
  • That means that if the person has a Nigerian number (with the +234 prefix), it would look something like this: https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=2348038657737
  • Press ‘enter‘ on your smartphone.
  • A WhatsApp window will open asking if you want to send a message to that phone number. Press on ‘send message‘.
  • You will automatically be redirected to WhatsApp with the ‘start chatting‘ window to the person you entered in your phone.

5 new cyberthreats pop up every second, here’s how to protect yourself

The start of 2018 has seen a massive rise in cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking attacks, along with steady numbers of familiar malware and ransomware attacks, according to a Wednesday report from McAfee. On average, five new threat samples arose every second of Q1 2018, with several notable campaigns demonstrating just how sophisticated hackers have become.

“There were new revelations this quarter concerning complex nation-state cyber-attack campaigns targeting users and enterprise systems worldwide,” Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, said in a press release. “Bad actors demonstrated a remarkable level of technical agility and innovation in tools and tactics. Criminals continued to adopt cryptocurrency mining to easily monetize their criminal activity.”

Of particular note was the rapid expansion of cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency mining attacks, in which criminals hijack victim’s browsers or infect their systems to mine for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin—often without their knowledge. Coin miner malware grew a whopping 629% this year, growing from about 400,000 total known samples in Q4 2017 to more than 2.9 million in Q1 2018.

The rapid growth suggests that cybercriminals are drawn to the ease of infecting a user’s system and collecting the payments themselves, without having to rely on another party to monetize their attack, the report said.

“Cybercriminals will gravitate to criminal activity that maximizes their profit,” Steve Grobman, CTO at McAfee, said in the release. “In recent quarters we have seen a shift to ransomware from data-theft, as ransomware is a more efficient crime. With the rise in value of cryptocurrencies, the market forces are driving criminals to crypto-jacking and the theft of cryptocurrency. Cybercrime is a business, and market forces will continue to shape where adversaries focus their efforts.”

However, cryptomining is far from the only cyberthreat that businesses need to keep on their radar and protect against. Here are five campaigns the report identified as wreaking major havoc in Q1.

1. Bitcoin-stealing campaigns

A cybercrime ring called Lazarus launched a sophisticated Bitcoin-stealing phishing campaign called HaoBao this year, targeting global financial institutions and Bitcoin users, the report found. The attack came via malicious email attachments to victims, which, when opened, would implant a tool that scanned for Bitcoin activity and established a connection for ongoing data gathering and cryptomining.

2. Gold Dragon attacks

In January, the Gold Dragon attack targeted organizers of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. The fileless malware attack—executed via a malicious Microsoft Word attachment that contained a hidden PowerShell implant script—encrypted stolen data and sent it to the attackers.

3. GhostSecret and Bankshot attacks

The international cybercrime group known as Hidden Cobra is believed to be associated with Operation GhostSecret, an attack targeting the healthcare, finance, entertainment, and telecommunications sectors and stealing data. The latest variation of the attack, called Bankshot, uses an embedded Adobe Flash exploit to allow hackers to get into victims’ systems.

4. LNK exploits

The amount of malware that exploits LNK capabilities grew 59% from Q4 2017 to Q1 2018, the report found. Meanwhile, PowerShell attacks have slowed.

5. Gandcrab ransomware

Growth in new ransomware slowed by 32% in Q1. However, the Gandcrab strain infected some 50,000 systems in the first three weeks of the quarter alone, taking Locky’s place as the ransomware leader. Gandcrab uses advanced methodologies, such as requesting ransom payments through the Dash cryptocurrency rather than through Bitcoin, to extract more value from their targets.

Tips to protect your business

Despite the rise of new attack types, business leaders can take a number of steps to protect employees and data.

In terms of cryptojacking, the attack is blocked by default in the browser Opera. Mozilla’s Firefox 63, due out in October, will block the attacks as well. Users can also download the minerBlock extension for Chrome and Firefox, as noted by TechRepublic contributor James Sanders.

Businesses can avoid the impact of ransomware by backing up files every day, and by taking other preventative steps.

Employee education remains paramount to any cybersecurity policy. Top ways to train employees to avoid cyberattacks include offering customised examples of threats that are relevant to an employee’s department and role (and particularly what phishing attacks look like), running unscheduling simulations of typical attacks, providing training models that employees can complete at their convenience, and rewarding those who take the proper actions.

Development Standards Technologies Tech Republic

Microsoft Publishes PDF With Every Windows Terminal Command

If you wanted an exhaustive reference for all the windows terminal command line tools and utilities available in Windows, “/h” was as good as it got. Well, that was until last month, when Microsoft published a whopping big PDF with information on every single terminal command the operating system has to offer.

The document, released on April 18, comes in at 4.6MB and 948 pages and covers the following platforms:

  • Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel)
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1

Even though Windows 7 is absent, it’s fair to say a lot of the commands should work on the older OS.

The reference isn’t just limited to commands — it also contains tips for configuring the command prompt window, as well as changes you can make to the Registry to enable and disable features, such as filename / directory completion.

Best of all, hyperlinks embedded in the file for each command jump directly to online documentation, so you can always check out the most up-to-date content.

This does however raise the question: why have a gigantic reference PDF in the age of online documentation?

lifehacker

Learn How to Code with your Phone for Free

Grasshopper

A bunch of Google employees participating in the company’s Area 120 internal incubator have launched Grasshopper, a free mobile app for Android and iOS that teaches you the basics of programming.

It’s beautifully designed and is suitable for just about anyone who can be trusted to use a phone on their own. By solving simple challenges and answering quiz questions, you’ll soon get the hang of basic JavaScript.

The gamified app, named after programming pioneer Grace Hopper, currently includes three sets of lessons, which cover the fundamentals of coding (calling functions, using variables and objects, and so on), as well as animations. The idea is to spend a few minutes a day with it, so you can have the app remind you to hop in daily and take on a few challenges.

When you’re done with the content in Grasshopper, you can move on to recommended Coursera classes to learn more about JavaScript, HTML, CSS, algorithms, and web design for a fee, or simply muck around in Grashopper’s online playground and make your own JS animations. Naturally, you can also explore alternatives for learning to code, such as the courses offered by edX and FreeCodeCamp.

I’ve been meaning to get back to coding for a while now, having ditched my chops when I graduated from high school. The app is fun and easy enough to get through a few challenges when you’re on a commute, and feels like a good alternative to scrolling through social media feeds mindlessly.

Grasshopper is the latest product to emerge from Area 120, which gives Google employees a chance to work full-time on their side projects and bring them to life. It’s previously seen launches like Uptime, which lets you watch YouTube videos in sync with friends elsewhere in the world, and Supersonic, a messaging app for emoji lovers.

thenextweb

Five Apps for Keeping Windows 10 Clean

Nobody likes an operating system that’s full of unnecessary stray files, 20 annoying apps that start up when you fire up your computer, and other crap that slows down your system, makes your desktop feel disorganised, or gives you a headache whenever you’re trying to work (or game). Thankfully, there are a number of free apps that can help you clean your Windows PC.

Disk Cleanup

Disk CleanupOne of the first apps you can try using to get control of a messy Windows PC is Windows’ very own Desk Cleanup app—built right into the operating system and free for you to use at any time. On Windows 10, just pull up the Start Menu and start typing in “Disk,” which should make it easy to load the utility. Pick a drive you want Disk Cleanup to take a look at, likely your system’s primary c:\ drive, and click OK.

Once it’s done scanning, Disk Cleanup will tell you about all the different kinds of files that you can safely remove from your system, including the cache for your Edge browser, anything in your Recycle Bin, temporary files left over from apps or app installations, and file thumbnails you might not need anymore—to name a few. You can also click on the “Clean up system files” option to have the app check for log files Windows created during an OS installation, as well as any previous Windows installations that might be lurking around your hard drive (and taking up gigabytes of space).

Once you’ve made your selections for deletion, click “OK,” and then “Delete Files,” to begin the process.

(You can also use a utility like BleachBit to give your drive a more thorough scrubbing. Just don’t use it to muck with your Windows registry; registry cleaners tend to have little noticeable effect, except for when they completely muck up your system by deleting something they shouldn’t have.)

The PC Decrapifier

The PC Decrapifier

Though this app is more useful for desktop or laptop PCs you just purchased, it’s a great tool for eliminating the more obvious bloatware on your system that, perhaps, you simply forgot about (or never had time to clean).

You don’t have to go through any installation routine once you’ve downloaded the app. Just launch it and let it analyze your system. It’ll split any apps it finds into three categories—apps definitely recommended for deletion, questionable apps that people usually remove from their systems, and all other apps. Each app listing tells you whether its a regular application you load yourself or one what starts when your computer launches, a percent that indicates how many other PC Decrapifier users also removed that app, and occasionally a little question mark icon that takes you to the web to learn more about a particular app.

All you have to do is select what you want to remove, confirm it on the next screen (which also allows you to create a Windows restore point if you’re feeling nervous), and let the app flush your unwanted apps down the digital drain.

AdwCleaner

AdwCleaner

Toolbars, spyware, and other kinds of malware can make your PC a mess. Even if you’re a semi-savvy computer user, however, you’re probably pretty good about avoiding the common traps: apps that solicit you to add crappy third-party items to their regular installation process or websites that cajole you to try out a scammy-sounding app—things like that.

That said, it never hurts to run a quick scan every now and then to make sure there’s nothing on your computer that shouldn’t be there. You probably don’t need to pay for a real-time malware scanning app when you have something like AdwCleaner, a lightweight app that requires no installation to effectively (and efficiently) scan your system for crap.

The company that makes the ever-popular Malwarebytes anti-malware app owns AdwCleaner. While you can always switch up to the former for extra protection, given its reputation, the app feels a little more bloaty and definitely loves to let you know about its Premium services.

Steam Cleaner

Steam Cleaner

This one’s for you, gamers. You might not even know that the major online distribution services—Steam, Origin, Uplay, and GoG—might leave some crap on your hard drive even after you’ve uninstalled a game you’re done playing. Even though this app is called “Steam Cleaner,” it does a great job of scanning through each service’s default installation folders and identifying leftover files from past games that you can safely remove. With some simple scanning, you could save gigabytes of space.

(For regular apps, consider using a program like Revo Uninstaller to ensure that all traces of a program are deleted whenever you want to remove it from your system.)

MiniBin

MiniBinHaving to navigate to your Windows desktop to fiddle with your Recycle Bin is annoying. While it’s easy to delete (or shift-delete) files from File Explorer, it’s always nice to have a trash can at the ready. This tiny utility drops a Recycle Bin directly in your system tray, which makes it much easier to drag-and-drop files to oblivion, empty the trash, and restore that which you accidentally deleted.

lifehacker

Yes Chrome is scanning your Windows PC, but it might be a bug

A few days ago Kelly Shortridge, a product manager at SecurityScorecard detected some unexpected behavior on her PC, as a honeypot Canarytoken reported being accessed by Chrome.exe. That’s not what you’d expect from a web browser normally, except for one thing — Google did add some antivirus-y capabilities to its browser on Windows late last year as an enhancement to its Chrome Cleanup tool that can help reset hijacked settings. Google Chrome security lead Justin Schuh explained how the feature works and pointed to some documentation about it, and that was that —

If you are hitting this issue and you want a fix right now then go to chrome://downloads in your browser, go to the menu in the top right, and select Clear All. That will clear Chrome’s list of downloaded files so that it won’t have any files to existence-check at startup. If you have a large list of downloaded files then this will improve startup time slightly.

It turns out the “AV scanning” wasn’t that at all, and what it was doing could affect you right now. It turns out that Chrome is checking the integrity of downloaded files at startup, and a bug lead it to that particular folder. It relies on the Downloaded History list for this check, and if you have a lot of files in there, it could slow down your computer when you start Chrome. While the dev team is working to skip the check entirely in a future update, users worried about it can fix it by clearing their download history.

711 Million Email Addresses Exposed: How to Protect Yourself

Typically, your spam folder catches a lot of the malware-infected crud sent by the mischievous never-do-wells from the darker corners of the internet. Unfortunately, a newly discovered attack has targeted more than 711 million email accounts.

Fortunately, only some — not all — of the targets’ passwords have been taken.

The Onliner spambot, first discovered by a Paris-based security researcher who goes by the Benkow pseudonym, was confirmed by well-regarded security expert Troy Hunt in an August 30 blog post. Hunt — a Microsoft Regional Director who runs the breach-tracking website Have I Been Pwned — referred to a data dump from Onliner as “a mind-boggling amount of data,” in which he even found his own email address.

How does Onliner do it?

According to a ZDNet report, the hooligans behind the spambot compiled a massive database of 80 million email credentials from a number of other breaches, such as the LinkedIn hack. These logins were then used to spam 630 million email addresses, whose spam filters they jumped right over.

What can you do?

First, check Have I Been Pwned to see if your email account information is in the hack, Onliner may not have much of your information beyond your address. Onliner worked by sending two rounds of emails, as only a fraction of the 711 million targets could actually be infected by its malware.

If Have I Been Pwned says your email address appeared in the Onliner dump, there are three steps you need to take immediately. The first is changing the password to your email account. Second, make sure you’re not using that password in any other online accounts — especially those for banking. Lastly, enable two-factor authentication, so your email address and password alone aren’t enough for your account to be cracked.

The spambot campaign whittled its target list down by placing a difficult-to-see, pixel-sized image in its initial emails, which contained code to send a user’s IP address and system information back to HQ. If the pixel detected its recipient was a Windows PC (Androids, iOS devices and Macs are protected), it would tell the server to send more-targeted emails — which looked like invoices — to the addresses it identified as vulnerable.

Now’s a good time to look into a password manager, which can help you create strong, hard-to-guess passwords. And of course, do your best to avoid opening suspicious-looking emails, especially those that look like invoices for services you don’t pay for.

The secondary wave of emails is smaller for the sake of obscurity, since larger attacks are more likely to draw the attention of law enforcement and security experts. The infectious emails contain a JavaScript file that does all the dirty work, pwning your machine.

tom's guide

6 tips to protect your personal information when using public Wi-Fi

As the Internet has become a crucial part of everyday life, so too has the need to access it virtually anytime, anywhere.

In fact, according to a recent survey completed by Symantec, over 66 per cent of Canadians consider access to public Wi-Fi when making travel or entertainment arrangements.

Based on these numbers – and the risk of using public networks – it’s important to know how to protect yourself. Here are six tips you can use to protect your personal information on public Wi-Fi networks, before and after you connect.

Before you log on

Keep on top of security updates

As the world learned from the WannaCry ransomware attack, which started by delaying a Windows update and went on to affect hundreds of thousands of computers, staying on top of software updates is the most prudent way to protect yourself against hackers and cybercriminals.

According to Forbes, “there’s no magic bullet to data security,” and diligently running updates for your operating system and web browser is one of the primary ways to protect yourself.

Turn off file-sharing and close shared folders on your laptop

While shared folders can be a great way to work collaboratively with colleagues, and share photos amongst family, make sure to close them and turn off file-sharing before logging onto a public network with your laptop or mobile device.

A blog post from the online security company Zone Alert states that once your computer connects to a public Wi-Fi service, those folders can be viewed by anyone else on the network. A public Wi-Fi field guide from Gizmodo concurs with this suggestion.

To avoid any information falling into the wrong hands, users should adjust their privacy settings to ensure they are different for public and private networks.

Enable 2-factor authentication on any accounts that contain personal information

Two-factor authentication is a good option for anyone desiring a second layer of security on their physical electronic devices, including their mobile device and laptop.

Enabling multiple layers of authentication on email, social networking and bank accounts can also act as an additional line of defence against cyber criminals lurking on public networks, reports The Next Web.

Use a VPN (virtual private network)

One of the most effective ways to protect your information while using public Wi-Fi is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Simply download a VPN app on your phone or mobile device and log into your VPN before connecting to the Internet.

A VPN reroutes your traffic through a private, encrypted network. Kevin Haley, director of product management for security response at Symantec, explains exactly why a VPN is so useful.

“What you’re doing is, within a public network, creating a private network that’s just for you, if you will,” Haley says.

“The other way it’s referred to is a tunnel. It’s really just making sure that your communication is surrounded by protection as you talk between where you are and wherever, the website that you’re going to.”

According to PCMag, some of the best VPN services of 2017 include NordVPN and Private Internet Access for Android, or KeepSolid or NordVPN for iPhone.

After you log on

Avoid signing in to accounts that contain personal information, including social media and online banking

Assuming that you’ve taken precautions beforehand, the next step is to be cautious after logging onto a public network. One of the best ways to play it safe is to avoid logging into any accounts that contain personal information, such as social media, work email and especially, online banking.

Haley pointed out that even though a website itself might be reputable, personal information still isn’t secure as long as the network is insecure.

While email remains relatively low-risk, Stephen Neville, founder of the Centre for Advanced Security at the University of Victoria, noted in an email that any financial transactions should never be completed over a public network.

“If you use encrypted transmissions, wireless access points offer reasonable security for low-risk activities, e.g. email, and security, that is more or less on par with a wired connection. But the security is insufficient for any higher-risk things like e-banking,” Neville wrote.

Make sure the URL is encrypted

It’s also helpful for users to know how to identify whether a website has taken steps to protect their information. Users can do this by checking the beginning of a URL to see whether it begins with HTTP or HTTPS.

Haley explained that website URLs containing HTTPS use an SSL encryption to protect visitors to their site. Sites that use HTTPS will also show a small padlock next to the search bar.

“Users just need to look for the little lock that’s in the browser bar, and that tells you that your traffic is being encrypted,” said Haley.

globalnews

3 Things Developers Need to Know about Cross-Marketing

With a limited budget, small businesses should consider partnership with other companies or independent developers who offer related products and try cross-marketing. It consists in combining efforts of two or more companies for achieving the common goal.

Nowadays hundreds of apps a day are being created making the intensely competitive IT industry one of the biggest spenders when it comes to marketing. However, there are many companies that do not have massive budgets for product promotion and, therefore, need to use affordable methods to attract potential customers.

With a limited budget, such small businesses should consider partnership with other companies or independent developers who offer related products and try cross-marketing. It consists in combining efforts of two or more companies for achieving the common goal – improving the sales performance by merging customer bases. Basically, your products get promoted and promote other software.

What are the advantages of cross-marketing?

Cross-marketing is a cost-effective method for breaking through the white noise of advertising and motivating customers to purchase products that they initially have not been after. Moreover, it provides you with a possibility to:

  • Establish your business credibility. By placing your product’s name next to the better-known brand, you develop a positive association in customers’ minds, and gain more trust from them, so they do not treat you like another dark horse. Obviously, it works only if you collaborate with a reputable company.
  • Increase the coverage of the target audience. With a customer base of your partner, you are able to reach more people who are potentially interested in your product. Your product will be shown to
  • Broad your company’s visibility. People tend to opt for products they have already heard about; therefore, you need to get exposure, and cross-marketing lets you do this without spending much.

Rules for choosing the right partner for cross-marketing

To make your cooperation with another company or developer effective and mutually beneficial, you have to consider several things.

The first one is about learning whether a potential partner(s) is your indirect competitor. Your products have to complement each other, but not to offer the same features, even if there are a few of them. Customers may need exactly what you have in common, and the comparison may not be in your favor.

You have probably identified your and your potential partner’s target audiences already. Do they coincide? If no, you will probably fire blanks trying to get exposure among customers who are not interested in your product. For example, if you sell an app for Mac optimization like this one, you should try to reach developers oriented on users who pay much attention to their computers’ maintenance, but want to do it quickly and easy, and whose work is connected with processing of large amounts of information. It could be professional photographers, for example, who use photo editors. It is unlikely for you to benefit from partnering with companies that create apps for kids or low-code development platforms.

One more thing to take into account is how much your partner’s target audience is used to spend on software – you have to be in the same price segment.

You also have to make sure your potential partner would not harm your reputation. Small companies often try to get their name in as many places as possible in the pursuit of money; however, it is not a viable option for businesses that aim to sell quality products. For instance, a free software segment is known for advertising and forced downloads of harmful and unnecessary apps said to be designed for “improving user experience”. In fact, loyal customers are often scared off by such “bonuses” and may stop using your product. Therefore, you should guard against accepting potentially harmful offers and reconsider a monetization model if needed. Devote enough time for studying the company’s history and its products’ reviews before initiating a cooperation.

How to make cross-promotion effective

Before you start working with your partner(s), you should determine:

  • Who will be the main contact from each business?
  • How the billing will be handled?
  • How long your promotion campaigns will last?
  • How the profits will be shared?
  • Who will be in charge of implementing new approaches while cross-promoting products?

This way you can avoid disagreements with your partner(s), which usually significantly reduce the efficacy of collaboration.

It is also worth remembering that barter projects need to be constantly monitored to make sure that both parties are satisfied. Collect statistics of traffic and sales and conduct analysis on a regular basis. It is probable that you will need to change your tactics in order to get better results.

Obviously, there are other ways to promote your product without investing much and you should not rely on cross-marketing only. However, this method like no other can help you to make a big step forward in a very short time.