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Burglars steal Computers, Jewelry and Puppy!

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If ever there were a heartless robber, it’s the one (or two/three?) who stole a little dog named Pepper, a schnauzer-poodle mix, as part of their burglary in New Jersey.

Barbara August, the homeowner, said, “I’m devastated—I keep thinking I’m seeing her.” She wonders why the burglars didn’t just put Pepper in her crate and then do the ransacking. August also explained that the burglars got in through a back door that was not locked due to a defect.

But this story has a happy ending: A few days later August and her husband were reunited with their “schnoodle.”

2BHere’s how to prevent home thefts:

  1. Keep your home’s exterior well-lit, and use timers on indoor lights so nobody thinks the house is vacant.
  1. Have an alarm system and one that sets off a sound (when you’re home) and shrieking alarm (when you’re not) whenever a door or window is opened.
  1. Lock your doors and windows! If something’s broken, waste no time getting it fixed. Hollywood likes to perpetuate the idea that burglars typically use elaborate tricks to get into a home or simply whack a window with a sledgehammer to get in. But the reality is that many just traipse right through an unlocked door or crawl through an open or unlocked window.
  1. As for burglars who get past a locked door, a solid core door will be very difficult to bust through. Use heavy deadbolts—ones that go deep into the jamb that have 3-4 inch screws. A sliding glass door can be guarded with a wooden dowel that prevents it from being opened from outside.
  1. Wooden dowels should be installed on top of windows as well. Windows should have films over the glass that prevent breaking. Top everything off with a glass-break sensor anyways.
  1. Get an alarm system AND security cameras. Today’s surveillance cameras are more affordable and easier to install than ever.
  1. Get to work now on your security system; don’t wait till you’re victimized.

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

Filed Under: burglary

SEC comes down on Breached Companies

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If you’re wondering if businesses, who’ve been targets of cybercrime, have been properly handling the fallout, you have company: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

1SThe SEC is investigating this very issue. Key Questions Include:

  • Did the businesses adequately protect data?
  • Were investors properly notified about the breach’s impact?

One of the companies being investigated is Target Corp.

The SEC, historically, has concentrated on giving guidance to companies regarding disclosure of data-breach risks, and the SEC has traditionally also assisted with ensuring that financial companies were well-equipped against hackers.

But the SEC doesn’t like when there seems to be incomplete disclosures of the data breaches or some kind of perceived misleading information.

For example, Target didn’t disclose its breach until the day after it was first reported—by renowned security blogger Brian Krebs.

Just how much should companies say about breaches? This is being debated among regulators, corporate attorneys and activist investors.

Nevertheless, public companies owe it to investors to inform them of material compromises that could affect the investors’ decisions to sell or buy shares. A material attack, says the SEC, includes one that makes a company greatly boost what it spends on defenses, and one in which intellectual property is stolen.

Businesses in general would rather keep silent about breaches to avoid negative fallout. At the same time, it’s not easy to come up with evidence that a business should have disclosed more about a data breach than it actually did. A stolen trade secret, even, won’t necessarily be harmful to a big company’s growth or profits. The interpretation here varies almost as much as the different kinds of cyber attacks do.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

Filed Under: Data Breaches

Post-Data Breach Reputation Building

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You WILL be hacked. Remember that mantra if you’re a business. Business leaders need to realize the effect that a data breach would have on customers and clients—an aftermath of distrust which can take a lot of time and money to rebuild.

4HInteractions is a customer experience marketing group that released a study called “Retail’s Reality: Shopping Behavior After Security Breaches.” One of the findings is that 45 percent of shoppers don’t trust retailers with their personal information. Following a data breach, 12 percent of faithful shoppers cease shopping at that store, and 36 percent shop there less. And 79 percent of those who’d continue shopping there would more likely use cash—which means buying less.

So that’s a retailer’s worst nightmare: Non-trusting customers who are spending less (not to mention the ones who quit shopping there altogether).

This leaves retailers with two options: prevent all data breaches (not an attainable goal) or devise a plan to minimize the disastrous aftermath.

Communication and transparency with customers is crucial in the aftermath of a breach. Customers want to know that a company will rise to the occasion in the event of a breach and are more interested in how the retailer will deal with the fallout, rather than how a retailer will prevent it. After all, consumers tend to realize that hacking these days is just a part of life.

Companies should not wait till a breach occurs to figure out how to retain customer trust; they should plan ahead. Companies should be able to assess the risk related to the data they collect and have a breach response plan in place prior to a data breach.

The IT department is often on center stage following a breach, but marketing, customer service, and HR departments are also very important.

The departments should pool together to come up with a plan to reassure customers that their security is the top priority and that should a breach occur, they will do everything possible to protect their customers and restore any and all accounts that are compromised as a result.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

Filed Under: Data Breaches

Home Security in a “Blink”

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Home monitoring, and home security, traditionally target a very specific type of customer: the homeowner who isn’t intimidated by complex set-up, has the resources to pay for installation, and who’s comfortable with monthly or annual fees. In short, a relatively small portion of the population. Blink is a unique entry into the home monitoring space: a wire-free HD home monitoring and alert system that aims to make smartphone-based home insight easy and affordable for the masses–whether they rent or own. How? By building a product around three tenets that translate into real-life benefits for its rapidly-growing community.

2BMake it easy to set up. Blink offers simple, DIY set-up that requires little technical or toolbox know-how. Its battery-powered, wire-free design makes it uniquely appealing, in that users can truly place it anywhere–on a bookshelf or desk, flush on the wall, or in a corner–without having to worry about the nearest outlet, or unsightly wires draped across their home or apartment.

Make it easy to customize and manage. Blink allows users to create a system that suits their lifestyle. Want to make sure your garage is safe? Arm Blink’s motion detection, and receive an alert and video clip if a door or window opens. Prefer to check in on your furry friend a few times a day? Activate Live View for a glimpse of what’s happening at home. Worried about a break-in? Add the optional, 105db alarm unit to ward off intruders. Temperature and status alerts round out a rich feature set that’s scheduled to expand further in 2015.

Make it affordable. With no monthly fees and systems ranging from $69 to $269, users can create a whole-house system for far less than the cost of traditional home monitoring and security products, with the flexibility to affordably expand their system as necessary.

With this user-centric approach, Blink has quickly built a community of more than 5,000 supporters and garnered over $800,000 in pre-order pledges, as well as introduced several new features–including an open API and optional alarm unit–that mark the beginning of an integrated ecosystem.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/505428730/blink-wire-free-hd-home-monitoring-and-alert-syste

Filed Under: home security

Majority of Executives believe Attackers will overcome Corporate Defenses

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Many technology executives don’t have a favorable outlook on their ability to sideswipe cybercriminals, according to research conducted by McKinsey and World Economic Forum.

2DThe research also shows that both big and small businesses lack the ability to make sturdy decisions, and struggle to quantify the effect of risk and resolution plans. As the report authors state, “Much of the damage results from an inadequate response to a breach rather than the breach itself”.

These results come from interviews with more than 200 business leaders such as chief information officers, policy makers, regulators, law enforcement officials and technology vendors spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Cybercrimes are extremely costly and the cost can hit the trillions of dollars mark.

Several concerning trends regarding how decision makers in the business world perceive cyber risks, attacks and their fallouts were apparent in the research findings:

  • Over 50 percent of all respondents, and 70 percent of financial institution executives, think that cybersecurity is a big risk. Some executives believe that threats from employees equal those from external sources.
  • A majority of executives envision that cyber criminals will continue being a step ahead of corporate defenses. 60 percent believe that the gap between cyber crooks and corporate defense will increase, with, of course, the crooks in the lead.
  • The leaking of proprietary knowledge is a big concern for companies selling products to consumers and businesses.
  • Service companies, though, are more worried about the leaking of their customers’ private information and of disruptions in service.
  • Large organizations, says ongoing McKinsey research, reported cross-sector gaps in risk-management competency.
  • Some companies spend a lot but don’t have much sophistication in risk-management capabilities, while other companies spend little but are relatively good at making risk-management decisions. Even large companies can stand to improve their risk management capabilities substantially.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

Filed Under: cyber crime

Family Identity Theft is Ugly

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Identity theft isn’t just the stuff of exciting movie and TV dramas; this happens in real life—and often. In fact, that Target breach that made headlines, Neiman Marcus, those 1. 2 Billion records the Russian cyber gang hacked: all identity theft.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-identity-theft-red-words-binary-code-computer-monitor-image39907813In 2012, according to one research firm, 12.6 million people in the U.S. alone were victims of ID fraud. This translates to this crime occurring every three seconds. If that isn’t bad enough, it’s estimated that one-third of ID theft is committed against the thieves’ own family members.

Sometimes a person learns this when requesting a copy of their credit report. Expecting to see a high score, they instead see pages and pages of fraudulent credit card activity—and a very damaged credit. The thief can even be the victim’s own mother. Or spouse. Or daughter, son, sister, brother.

As appalling as this is, it’s not the least bit unusual. It’s easy, for instance, for a parent to access their child’s name and Social Security number, then open up a phony account—even if the victim is literally a child. Most companies don’t check the ages, so that’s why this crime can go undetected for years.

The victim may not even learn of the crime until adulthood when they apply for their first credit card or student loan. Learning that the thief is a family member, particularly a parent, delivers a particularly hard blow, for obvious reasons. At least there’s no emotional impact when the thief is a stranger or even someone outside the family whom you know.

It can take quite some time to restore damaged credit. The Federal Trade Commission has an online guide that will help victims recover from the crime of identity theft.

Children can’t protect themselves, so adults need to do it for them. That often requires an investment of time and money.

Credit freezes or fraud alerts aren’t available to children until their identity is stolen.

Applying for a fraud alert every quarter to 6 months and being denied means no credit has been established.

Identity theft protection in many cases will help prevent child identity theft. However not all services offer this option. The good news is that child identity theft protection is generally less than $50.00 a year per child when the parent invests in a family plan.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Filed Under: Identity Theft

10 Huge Home Security Mistakes

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There are some mistakes you don’t get to avoid the second time around because you’re dead because of them. This applies to home security errors.

3B#1. Unlocked doors. It takes two seconds to lock a door. This should be a habit, whether you’ve just arrived home at midnight or are stepping back into your house at 2:00 in the afternoon after watering the flowers.

A burglar will commonly ring a bell, then jiggle the doorknob if there’s no answer. If the door opens, he’ll waltz right in and ransack…whether you answer the door or not. This same principle applies to keeping windows locked, even on a 90 degree day, when you’re not home. When you’re home, try to keep only second-story windows open if you don’t have A/C.

#2. Disabled alarm. Don’t assume that home intrusions occur only when the occupants are gone. An intruder high on crack doesn’t care if you’re home or not. Keep the alarm on even when you’re home, and disable it when you must momentarily step outside, but turn it back on when you return.

#3. Being cheap. Don’t use cheap locks. You’ll get what you pay for. Spend the money, the difference between a $20 lock and a $60 lock is dramatic.

#4. Ladder in yard. Wow, what a great way to make a burglar’s (or rapist’s) job easier. When you’re done, put the ladder away. Don’t say, “I’ll do it later.”

#5. Hidden keys. Come on, even the world’s dumbest criminals know to look under a plastic-looking rock and the welcome mat, check the flower pot, under the dog bowl, etc. Invest in a keyless lock.

#6. Valuables on display. Be careful where you decide to put valuable items as far as how well they can be seen through your window. If choices are limited, keep your shades down, at least when it begins getting dark.

#7. Unlocked garage. Don’t just keep the garage closed; keep it locked.

#8. Dark spaces. A dark house and dark yard tell burglars you’re not home. Another clue you’re gone—and not coming back in an hour— use timed interior and exterior lighting. Put a TV on and a radio to give your home a lived in look.

#9 Unattended growth and deliveries. An accumulation of newspapers and mail lets everyone know you aren’t home. Put your deliveries on vacation hold and stop your mail. Have your lawn mowed and even have someone park their car in and out of your driveway.

#10. Trash treasure. No, not finding something valuable in your trash, but your trash advertising you have valuables in the house: an empty flat-screen TV box and Xbox box with the rest of your trash. Burglars will know you have some cool stuff.

And one more!!!!!

#11. Social media. Don’t post what you’re doing while you’re on vacation. Save it all for after you get home. Remember, burglars read your posts, too.

Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert to SecurityOptions.com discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

Filed Under: home security

Sandra Bullock stalked and burglarized

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Gee, even the rich and famous can be burglarized. Recently a man apparently broke into the West Los Angeles home of Sandra Bullock; he’d also been stalking her. He pleaded not guilty to the charges which include weapons possession—one of the weapons was a machine gun—all found in his home.

1SDAll in all, bail was set for $2 million, and it has yet to be determined if there’s enough evidence for him to go to trial.

HE got onto Bullock’s property in the wee hours of the morning by climbing a fence. Bullock locked herself in a room once she became aware that someone was on the premises. A call to 9-1-1 was made from inside the house, and he was arrested at the scene.

Whether you’re a wealthy movie star or an average Joe or Jane with an average income, there are security measures you should take. After all, you don’t have to be famous to be the target of an intruder.

  • A surveillance system should be set up inside your house, complete with an ear-piercing alarm.
  • A home security system will also contact the police should you not be there or be rendered incapacitated by the intruder.
  • A would-be intruder will think twice before trying to penetrate your home upon sighting the security company’s decals and signs on your property.
  • Have a surveillance system protect the entire perimeter of your property.
  • Imagine you’re away from home and your smartphone alerts you that there’s an intruder on your property. This technology exists. Security cameras, upon detecting motion, can send an alert to your mobile device. The cameras can also set off a siren or lighting that would send an intruder running.
  • Not only can your smartphone receive an alert, but there are apps that allow you to view your home through your mobile.
  • If you have the money, or are resourceful, build a “panic room” aka “safe room”. Google it.

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

Filed Under: burglary

Best Way to Destroy a Computer Virus

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Computer viruses are here to stay, which means users need to know the best way to eradicate them the moment they attack. Like disease viruses, computer viruses evolve and get “smarter.” The many different kinds of computer viruses (such as worms, Trojans, spyware) are called malware: malicious software.

4HIn general, security software comes with instructions for getting rid of or containing malware.

For Windows users, Microsoft provides tools that get rid of malware. Between your operating system and antivirus software, you will have the basic tools for fighting off most viruses.

Tips for Protecting Your Computer

  • Every day, run a quick scan of all of your devices. But in addition, run a weekly deep scan. Either type of scan can be manually set up or set on an automatic timer (which is actually a lot better since you wont have to remember to do it).
  • Your e-mail program should be set to alert you before you download any graphics or executable files. If you can, set your e-mail to display only text, and to alert you before loading any graphics or links.
  • If you don’t recognize an e-mail sender, and the message includes a link, never click on the link. If the link has you curious, then visit the associated website via outside the e-mail, or, manually type the link’s web address into your browser. In fact, don’t even click on links in e-mails that are supposedly from a familiar sender. Fraudsters can make it look as though the sender is someone you know. Never mind how they do this; it happens.

You can outwit cybercriminals. You just have to be a little smarter than they are and never think, “It can’t happen to MY computer.” There’s nothing special about your computer that makes it intrinsically immune to cyber threats. You must be proactive and take measures to prevent malware attacks.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to TheBestCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Filed Under: computer virus

Puppy Scams lure in Pet Lovers

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Wow, a dog that normally sells for at least a thousand bucks is being given away for free, and it’s young and healthy. Hmmm. The ad is on Facebook, too. Double hmmm.

7WIn Lorain, Ohio, Jessica was that person who saw the Facebook ad—for a free English bulldog puppy. Free! But she had to pay shipping costs. Then she had to pay for shots and medical bills. Jessica ended up paying $6,500 for a free puppy. Amazingly, only e-mail was used for correspondence with the alleged puppy’s owner.

Would Jessica have had to spend this kind of money in a legitimate transaction for an English bulldog puppy? Maybe to some extent. Except in this case, she never got the puppy. And she never got her money back. She ended up in the doghouse.

How to Prevent These Scams

  • Don’t pay for a puppy you’ve never held in your hands. Easier said than done, but there’s no breed out there that’s so rare that you can’t visit up close and personal. This way you can meet the owner, know that the puppy actually exists, and have a firmer grasp on the seller.
  • Don’t be fooled by glorious photos of animals on websites. It’s so easy to lift photos from legitimate sources and put them up on a phony site that a third grader could do it.
  • Be very careful about whom you send money to. Don’t wire it or use prepaid cards.
  • An ad with misspellings and grammatical errors is suspect, but even a crook can have good writing skills. But if an ad is cluttered with poor English, this is a bright red flag since many pet scams come from overseas.
  • Watch out for sob stories such as needing to find a home for “Roxie” because her owner is being deployed to a war zone.
  • Make sure the puppy has “papers.” This means that the breeder can provide documentation that the puppy’s parents have been registered with the appropriate kennel club. This means that the dog is a legitimately pure-bred. And once you receive it, you should register it with the appropriate kennel club.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Filed Under: scams
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