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ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of www.IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.

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GPS Locator for a Person or Vehicle

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We live in a time where you can track a car, a driver and even speed by using GPS tracking. This is a technology that is in huge demand, and it is not just because of higher rates of theft; but also due to technological advances and frankly, people “just want to know”.

vectuFBI reports show that in 2014, approximately 700,000 vehicles were stolen in the United States. This equates to a vehicle being stolen about every 46 seconds. Additionally, estimates from the U.S. Department of Justice show that approximately 2,000 children are reported missing each day. However, if you could track your vehicles and your children with one cheap, inconspicuous device, we can all change these statistics.

Tracking Devices are Available and Affordable

Fortunately, companies such as Aspenta’s Vectu Portable Vehicle Tracker have created a comprehensive range of products that include vehicle and personal tracking, and these products offer a high level peace of mind at an affordable price. People such as parents who have students abroad, the caretakers of children or the elderly, or even those who want to monitor their motor vehicles locally or far away, all can stay connected when using Vectu.

Today, your peace of mind is more affordable than ever, and these devices are some of the best portable GPS/GSM vehicle tracking systems. The issue with most of the tracking systems available is that they come with expensive monitoring fees. This is not the case, however, with the Vectu system.

Details About the Vectu Vehicle Tracking System

 The Vectu system is quite affordable, and there is never any monthly fee. The first annual service fee is included in the cost of the device, and after that, the cost is only $36 each year. This system has the following features:

  • Service fee includes free roaming and worldwide coverage.
  • Live vehicle tracking with updates every minute when the person, vehicle or luggage is in motion.
  • Small tracker that can be concealed when necessary. It is smaller than a smartphone.
  • Has an arm feature that creates an alert instantly should the vehicle move from where it was left.
  • The ability to connect several devices to your account with no limit.
  • Instant phone and email alerts for up to five people.
  • Alerts to notify you if excessive speed is discovered.
  • Easy to set up. This system works with both Android and Apple devices.

This is one of; if not the most cost effective GPS locators I’ve seen. It’s easy to set up, intuitive and it definitely works well.

Filed Under: gps stalking

Parents: do You know your Teen’s Social Media Platforms?

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With all the apps out there that individualize communication preferences among teens, such as limiting “sharing,” parents should still hold their breath. Face it, parents: times have changed. It’s your duty to discuss these applications with your kids. And parents should also familiarize themselves with the so-called temporary apps.14D

  • Temporary messages do not vanish forever.
  • Are anonymous applications really anonymous?
  • How temporary is “temporary”?

Kik Messenger

  • Users can stay anonymous and conduct all sorts of communication.
  • Has perks, like seeing if someone read your message.
  • Has drawbacks, such as accidentally sending content to more people than the user intended.
  • Easy to end up communicating with anonymous strangers.
  • Involves ads disguised as communication.

Ask.fm

  • Kids anonymously ask questions, e.g., “How do I conceal my eating disorder from my parents?” This question is benign compared to others on the site, though many users are innocent teens just hanging out.
  • This kind of site, though, promotes cyberbullying.

Whisper

  • Intended for adults, this app is where you post what’s eating you.
  • Some posts are uplifting and inspirational, while others are examples of human depravity.
  • Replete with references to drugs, liquor and lewd behavior—mixed in with the innocent, often humorous content.

Yik Yak

  • For users wanting to exchange texts and images to nearby users—hence having a unique appeal to teens.
  • And it’s anonymous. Users have made anonymous threats of violence via Yik Yak.
  • Due to the bond of communicating with local users and the anonymity, this medium is steeped in nasty communication.
  • Threats of violence will grab the attention of law enforcement who can turn “anonymous” into “identified.”

Omegle

  • This anonymous chat forum is full of really bad language, sexual content, violence, etc.
  • The app’s objective is to pair teens up with strangers (creepy!).
  • Yes, assume that many users are adult men—and you know why.
  • Primarily for sexual chat and not for teens, but teens use it.

Line

  • Texting, sending videos, games, group chats and lots of other teeny features like thousands of emoticons.
  • The Hidden Chat feature allows users to set a self-destruct time of two seconds to a week for their messages.
  • For the most part it’s an innocent teen hub, but can snare teens into paying for some of the features.

Burn Note

  • Text messages are deleted after a set time period.
  • Texts appear one word at a time.
  • Burn Note can promote cyberbullying—for obvious reasons.

Snapchat

  • Users put a time limit on imagery content before it’s erased. So you can imagine what some of the imagery might be.
  • And images aren’t truly deleted, e.g., Snapsaved (unrelated to Snapchat) can dig up any Snapchatted image, or, the recipient can screenshot that nude image of your teen daughter—immortalizing it.

REPEAT: Face it, parents: times have changed. It’s your duty to discuss these applications with your kids. And parents should also familiarize themselves with the so-called temporary apps.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Filed Under: child identity theft child internet safety cybersecurity social media privacy

Yes, Macs Can get Malware

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So Macs can be infected with malware. Who would have ever thought? The malware at issue here is the dreaded ransomware. Ransomware scrambles up your files, and the hacker at the helm says he’ll give you the cyber “key” in exchange for a handsome payment.

6DRansomware historically has primarily impacted Windows users, but recently it got into OS X—its latest version, Transmission.

  • The virus cyber-incubates for three days.
  • Then with a Tor client, it connects to an Internet server and locks vulnerable files.
  • The cyber key costs $400.
  • Nevertheless, this attack, which doesn’t happen as easily as, say, being lured into clicking a malicious video, is easily spotted.
  • Apple quickly mitigated the problem before anyone’s data had a chance to get encrypted by the virus and held hostage for the bitcoin payment.
  • In summary, Macs are not immune to ransomware, but the circumstances under which the user is victimized are unique and rigid.
  • To avoid the crush of a ransomware attack, regularly back up your data!

It’s time to take precautionary measures, while at the same time, not allowing anxiety to creep in every time you use your device.

  • Be careful when downloading applications.
  • Never run apps that are unfamiliar to Apple. Go to System Preferences, then Security and Privacy, then General.
  • You will see three safety levels. Now, you should never download an app from a third-party vendor. One of the safety levels is called Mac App Store. If you choose this one, all the apps you get will only come from the Mac app store, meaning they will have been given the green light by Apple.
  • To widen the app selection, you can choose Mac App Store with identified developers. This will allow you to get applications created by developers whom Apple has endorsed. However, this doesn’t mean it’s as secure as the Mac App Store choice, because the identified developers’ product was not tested for security by Apple—but at least Apple will block it if it’s infected.

Updates

  • Never put off tomorrow what you can update today. Download updates the moment you are cued to do so.
  • Go into the App Store, hit Updates and then Update All to make sure you’re caught up on updates.
  • To avoid this hassle in the future, put your settings on automatic updates: System Preferences, App Store, Download newly available updates in the background.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

Filed Under: malware

Why You should file your Tax Return Yesterday

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Someone else might file your taxes if you don’t get to it. And they won’t be doing it as a favor; they’ll be doing it to steal your identity.

9DHere’s how it works:

  • Cyber thieves send fraudulent e-mails to a business’s employees.
  • The e-mails are designed to look like they came from the big wigs at the company.
  • As a result, the targeted employees are tricked into revealing sensitive data about the company’s employees.
  • The crooks end up with all this valuable data—enough to file phony tax returns.
  • This ploy, called spear phishing, has already occurred to major companies.

Recently, the Mansueto Ventures company was hit by a spear phishing attack that singled out the employee payroll data. The hacker/s got ahold of the following employee information: Social Security number, name, address and income.

Employees have been notified, but how many of those employees have not yet filed their income tax returns? Of those, how many will be victims of identity theft because a hacker filed a tax return in their name as a result of obtaining the payroll data?

Again, get to your tax preparer ASAP, or if you normally file the return yourself, what are you waiting for?

Seagate is another company that got spear phished. The W-2 forms of its employees got into the hands of the thief or thieves. Apparently, the data of several thousand employees was stolen.

All it takes is one employee to get suckered into clicking the wrong e-mail. It’s possible for these e-mails to really, truly look like they came from a major decision maker from inside the company. A skilled hacker will carefully construct an e-mail that mimics company e-mail, complete with logo and company colors, and even the full name of the person he’s pretending to be. The e-mail may even address its recipient by name.

How does the thief get this information? It may all begin with the information he finds on a LinkedIn profile. Other bits and pieces may have been gathered off of Facebook or an online article about the person he’s impersonating, right down to that person’s nickname, making the fake e-mail look even more authentic, signing off with that person’s odd nickname.

Have you filed your tax return yet?

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

Filed Under: Financial

What’s the best Antivirus for You

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There are so many things to consider when it’s time to purchase antivirus software, but don’t let all the options overwhelm you. Take your time and don’t get too fixated on every little detail. Some systems will definitely conform more to your needs than others. But many people simply go with what seems to be the most popular or reputable antivirus company.

6DKnow this: A reputable company will have a warranty and offer refunds, and will also include with the service a phone-based technical support.

That said, if you have kids, you’ll want a software that provides parental monitoring. Such software can do many things including tracking the websites your kids are visiting.

Or, if you’re leery of anything related to “the cloud,” you’ll want the so-called installation software rather than cloud-based: You download this, install it and it goes to work. BUT, the clouds fine. Stop worrying.

Another variable is if you’re looking to protect a business network rather than a home network, as some antivirus plans are designed more for one or the other. Yes, there’s a difference.

For instance, a program that’s designed for a business will respond very quickly to data breaches at any time. Another program might be formulated more to fit the individual who deals with large amounts of very sensitive data, whether at the workplace or at home.

Another factor to consider is the type of device you want protected. Is it a Mac? A PC? A cell phone? In the world of antivirus software, one size does not fit all.

There’s really a lot of companies out there providing antivirus software. Before you commit to any one particular service, make sure you’ve already drawn up what your specific needs are for cyber protection. For instance, you may need a service that provides the entire gamut: You have children; you run a business out of your home; you deal daily with very sensitive data.

Cybersecurity is relatively inexpensive, and payment plans are flexible. A common plan is to pay a yearly subscription. Others are a one-time payment. Some companies offer different packages at different prices.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to TheBestCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention.

Filed Under: Anti-virus protection

Posting Kids’ Photos online is illegal?

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In France, anything is possible. Like getting tossed in jail for posting your children’s photos on Facebook.

12DYes indeed, it’s true. People in France might be put behind bars for putting their kids’ pictures on Facebook. Or, they may face heavy fines. This is because the French authorities deem posting kids’ photos online threatens their security.

Parents are being warned about the consequences of this violation. The authorities believe that posting images of one’s kids online can lead to some pretty nasty things:

  • Photo-napping, particularly by pedophiles
  • Stealing the images and posting them on adoption sites
  • Kids, when grown, suing their parents for emotional damage that they think resulted from photos of their younger selves being posted online
  • Parents may even sue each other if photos of their kids go up after a divorce.

France’s privacy laws are a force to be reckoned with. How does a year in prison and a fine of almost $50,000 sound for posting children’s photos? Wow, French parents really better watch out when posting that photo of the family reunion or company picnic with kids in the background.

If you’re poo-pooing France right now, save your poo-poos for Germany as well. German police are urging parents to stop posting their kids’ images—especially because a lot of people are putting up images of their kids naked in the context of water activities.

Maybe if fewer parents got off on posting pictures of their naked toddlers and even older children (one can only guess what these parents are hoping to accomplish), the police wouldn’t be so rigid.

Still think the police are over-reacting? And maybe they are, but consider this: According to The Parent Zone, the average person posts nearly 1,000 images of their child online by the time that child blows on five birthday candles. Now maybe The Parent Zone isn’t the gospel, but we all know people who seem to have 8,000 pictures up of their children on social media.

What’s even more staggering, says The Parent Zone, is that 17 percent of these parents have never bothered to set their Facebook privacy settings. And 46 percent checked the settings only one or two times. This all means that these parents absolutely are in denial that some weirdo isn’t drooling over their naked preschooler in the backyard baby pool.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Filed Under: online harassment online safety online security

Three Quarters of a Billion Records breached

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Last year, says the security firm Gemalto, over 700 million records were breached. Or, to put it another way, this translates to two million stolen or lost records every day.

3D2015 Breach Level Report

  • 1,673 hacking incidents
  • 398 were triggered from the inside of the attacked company: employees and even IT staff who were tricked (social engineering) by hackers into clicking on malicious links or attachments
  • Government agencies suffered the greatest data leaks.
  • Following that were nation states and healthcare enterprises (remember the big Anthem breach?)

Gemalto also says that the U.S. is the leading target of cyber attacks, with the UK, Canada and Australia following behind in that order. But don’t let Australia’s fourth place standing fool you. It reports only 42 publically reported incidents, while the U.S. has reportedly had 1,222.

How can you tell your computer has been compromised by an attack?

  • Your computer is running slowly; you’re not simply being impatient—the device really is moving at a crawl. This is a possible sign the computer is infected.
  • Another possible sign of infection: Programs open up without you making them, as though they have a mind of their own.

Protecting Your Computer

  • First and foremost, businesses need to rigorously put their employees through training. This includes staged phishing attacks to see if any employees can be tricked into revealing sensitive company information. Training for workers must be ongoing, not just some annual seminar. A company could have the best security software and smartest IT staff, but all it takes is one less-than-mindful employee to let in the Trojan horse.
  • If you receive an e-mail with a link or attachment, never rush to open them. Pause. Take a few breaths. Count to 10. No matter what the subject line says, there is always plenty of time to make sure an e-mail is from a legitimate sender before opening any attachments or clicking any links.
  • Use firewall and anti-virus software and keep them updated.
  • Use a virtual private network to scramble your online activities when you’re using public Wi-Fi so that cyber snoopers see only scrambling.
  • Use the most recent version of your OS and browser.
  • Regularly back up your data.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

Filed Under: Data Breaches data theft internet security online security

Security Appreciation lacking

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What’s it gonna take for companies to crack down on their cybersecurity? What’s holding them back? Why do we keep hearing about one company data breach after another?

1SWell, there’s just not enough IT talent going around. The irony is that most company higher-ups admit that cybersecurity is very important and can even name specific situations that could compromise security, such as

having multiple vendors vs. only a single vendor; not having quality-level encryption in place; allowing employees to bring their own mobile devices to work and use them there for business; and having employees use cloud services for business.

Many even admit that they lack confidence in preventing a sophisticated malware onslaught and are worried about spear phishing attacks.

So as you can see, the understanding is out there, but then it kind of fizzles after that point: Businesses are not investing enough in beefing up their cybersecurity structure.

Let’s first begin with signs that a computer has been infected with malware:

  • It runs ridiculously slow.
  • Messages being sent from your e-mail—behind your back by some unknown entity.
  • Programs opening and closing on their own.

What can businesses (and people at home or traveling) do to enhance cybersecurity?

  • Regularly back up all data.
  • All devices should have security software and a firewall, and these should be regularly updated.
  • Got an e-mail from your boss or company SEO with instructions to open an attachment or click a link? Check with that person first—by phone—to verify they sent you the attachment or link. Otherwise, this may be a spear phishing attempt: The hacker is posing as someone you normally defer to, to get you to reveal sensitive information.
  • Mandate ongoing security training for employees. Include staged phishing e-mails to see who bites the bait. Find out why they bit and retrain them.
  • Never open e-mails with subject lines telling you an account has been suspended; that you won a prize; inherited money; your shipment failed; you owe the IRS; etc. Scammers use dramatic subject lines to get people to open these e-mails and then click on malicious links or open attachments that download viruses.
  • Install a virtual private network before you use public Wi-Fi.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to TheBestCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention.

Filed Under: cybersecurity online security Phishing

How to safely travel in a Car

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Before embarking on a road trip with a car full of kids, make sure everything about the vehicle is in top working condition, including the windshield wipers, A/C, heat, fluid levels, seatbelts and lights (exterior and interior).

Hopefully you’ll have a GPS; make sure that works, too; they’ve been known to malfunction. Have a backup mobile GPS app too.

While on the road you may hear a lot of “Are we there yet”s. Feel free to announce, “Next one who asks are we there yet will have to do 20 pushups.” Just kidding, but seriously, come up some way to discourage any nagging if it bugs you enough. Kids iPads loaded with family moves and a good headset are the best tool ever invented for parents. My Aunt used to have a yard stick on the dash. Us kids still have scars from it. I wish we had iPads!

  • If you’ll be driving in a foreign country, make sure you have everything you need in the car that the country requires.
  • Have emergency supplies: first aid kit, nutrition bars, flares, flashlight, pepper spray (check laws), blankets, water, motion sickness tablets, etc.
  • Don’t load the kids empty-handed; give them coloring books, crossword puzzles and other age-appropriate word games, 3D puzzles that will keep them occupied for extended periods trying to figure them out, etc.
  • Give older kids (8-10) a long word that you can make a ton of words out of, such as “Transportation.” Arm them with a pencil and paper on a clipboard and give them a command to “Go” once you’re on the road. Who will have formed the most words by the time you get to your first rest stop? Every word formed gets them a dime. This will pretty much guarantee stillness and quiet among the participants.
  • Do not tolerate resistance to seatbelts. “The car won’t start till everyone’s buckled up.”
  • Pack snacks such as raisins, bananas, apples and nuts.
  • Take a rest stop at least every hour to 90 minutes. Not only do the kids need to get out and move, but remaining cramped in a car for extended periods can lead to a blood clot in the adults’ legs!
  • Sing-alongs? I don’t know. Not my thing.
  • Avoid loud music; the driver needs to hear sirens and honking horns. Unless it’s Led Zeppelin.
  • Forbid screaming, yelling and hitting. Such can cause you to lose control of the car or miss an exit. Issue all the rules before you even get the vehicle out of the driveway.
  • And last but not least, everyone must relieve themselves prior to traveling whether they feel a need or not…before getting into the car.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Filed Under: Google street view gps stalking safety tips

Preplan for a Safe Vacation

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Traveling is fun, exciting, tiring and depending on your destination, generally safe. But bad things can happen. The best thing you can do before you go, is prepare.

5HSafety Tips

  • Blend in on your vacation. Before you leave for your trip, plan out your arrival. Dress like the locals. Preparing to blend into the ambience before you leave ensures you won’t be accosted the second you get off the plane. Don’t stick out like a sore thumb dressed in Western attire while you roam around a city where most women are wearing robes or the men are wearing turbans. If wearing a kimono means reducing your odds of being mugged (tourists are known for carrying a lot of cash) or abducted, then do just that.
  • Try not to “play it by ear.” Have a plan in action for every day—and develop it either the night before or early in the morning.
  • Plan. figure out where you’re going to have breakfast; figure out how much time you need in the morning to do anything related to the day’s events (e.g., get tickets, arrange transportation, bring enough diapers for the toddler).
  • Have your young kids wear those sneakers that light up with each step; this will help you know where they are.
  • Before you departed for the trip, you created something to put on your children’s person that contains vital information about them, in case they got lost, right? There are numerous GPS devices that can help you locate them is something happens.
  • And your kids already know how to swim, right? An infant can learn to swim.
  • And you’ve already taught your kids about stranger danger, right? Don’t wait till you’re on vacation to do this.
  • And speaking of young kids…forbid them from dashing ahead of you, especially in crowded areas, especially in a foreign land. You just never know what could happen (e.g., someone swiping your child; your child accidentally ramming into someone and getting injured or inadvertently knocking over a frail elder). Really, I’ve seen kids bolting ahead of their parents like a freight train, including when the parents are not paying attention.
  • Every morning, review instructions for emergencies. This includes instructing your kids to yell, “This man’s not my dad!” if they’re being abducted, rather than just wildly screaming.
  • Before you left for the trip, you packed/uploaded/took headshots of every family member, right? In case someone goes missing?
  • Every morning, make sure everyone has a headshot of everyone on their person. This way, if your young child approaches a woman (because they were taught to approach only a woman if lost), they can show that woman a photo of you and say, “I need your help. I can’t find my patrents.”
  • You’re outside, eager to sightsee. But not before you get key landmarks squared away with everyone in your party.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Filed Under: home invasion home security
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