(San Diego, CA: October 1, 2014) The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to the understanding of identity theft and related issues, announced today that Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, will serve on its Board of Directors. Siciliano, with more than 30 years of experience in this field, will bring his vast knowledge to the ITRC Board and will help to heighten awareness on current trends and pro-active measures consumers and victims can take to protect themselves.
The ITRC, founded in 1999, is a non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. It is the on-going mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem and related issues.
“The ITRC is the single most comprehensive resource for victims dealing with identity theft,” said Siciliano. “For the past 15 years victims have been coming to me for help and my immediate response is to point them right to ITRC. There isn’t another non-profit on the planet that has as much experience in dealing with this horrible crime,” Siciliano added.
As an identity theft expert and frequent speaker, Siciliano is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His “tell it like it is” style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace.
“Robert’s expansive expertise in the areas of data security and online safety will help the ITRC in serving the thousands of consumers who reach out to the ITRC call center year after year,” said Julie Fergerson, ITRC Board Chair. “His research efforts in these areas have allowed him to forge ahead as a nationally renowned industry leader in identity theft, internet best practices and technological advances being made in this space every day,” Fergerson added.
About the ITRC
Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization which provides victim assistance and consumer education through its toll-free call center, website and highly visible social media efforts. It is the mission of the ITRC to: provide best-in-class victim assistance at no charge to consumers throughout the United States; educate consumers, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations on best practices for fraud and identity theft detection, reduction and mitigation; and, serve as a relevant national resource on consumer issues related to cybersecurity, data breaches, social media, fraud, scams, and other issues.Filed Under: identity theft expert
You were taught to share your toys as a young child, but this doesn’t apply to letting others use your Wi-Fi. The difference between sharing the plastic shovel and sharing the wireless connection is that with the latter, who’s to say that the “thief” won’t eventually crash in on your private information? And don’t forget that not only will this sharing possibly slow down your connection, but there could be legal repercussions if this moocher uses your connection for bad deeds.
- Log into your computer’s router’s administrative console: Type its IP address straight into the browser address bar. Don’t know the router’s default address? Go to (Start > Run/Search for cmd) and then enter ipconfig.
- The address you want will be next to Default Gateway, under Local Area Connection.
- Mac users can locate the address by going to System Preferences, then beneath that, Network. If you’re using Ethernet it’ll be next to “Router:” and if you’re using Wi-Fi, click on “Advanced…” and go to “TCP/IP.”
- Point browser to the address; enter your login details. If you’ve never changed the default settings, the login should be a combination of “password” and “admin” or blank fields.
- Locate a section for wireless status or connected devices. Here you’ll find a table with details including the IP and MAC address of all devices currently connected to the router.
- To find moochers, check that list against your gear.
- To find the MAC/IP address of your computer, go to the Command Prompt and enter ipconfig /all. The MAC address will show as the physical address.
How to Help Prevent Mooching
- Implement a strong password; use WPA2 or WPA, not WEP.
- Turn off the SSID broadcast.
- An alternative to the prior point is to set a filter up for blocked or allowed devices by MAC address.
- Whenever on free public WiFi use Hotspot Shield to mask and encrypt all your data as it fly’s through the air.
If you want to find out just who is getting a free ride on your wireless, use MoocherHunter. This tool will locate the source within two meters of accuracy. Tracking down the culprit will prove handy if the moocher has been getting you in trouble by using your network for illegal activities.
On the other hand, if the lectures about sharing your toys still ring loud in your head, why not make lemonade out of this lemon by using a third-party firmware alternative to run a public hotspot? You can then offer for-pay Internet access points that come from your consumer router. Another option is to get a Fonera router. If you share some of your home WiFi, the Fonera router will grant you free roaming at Fon Spots all over the world.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.Filed Under: wifi WiFi hacking
That little thing that you stick in your computer to store or transfer data can also mean very bad news.
The USB device or “flash drive” can be reconfigured to work like a little thief, for instance, being made to mimic a keyboard and take instructions from the master thief to rip off data or install malware. It can be made to secrete a virus before the operating system boots up, or be programmed to alter the computer’s DNS setting to reroute traffic.
There’s no good defense for these kinds of attacks. The firmware on the USB devices can’t be detected by malware scanners. Biometrics are out because when the firmware changes, it simply passes as the user plugging in a new flash drive.
Cleaning up the aftermath is no picnic, either. Reinstalling the operating system doesn’t resolve the problem because the USB device, from which installation occurs, may already be infected. So may be other USB components inside one’s computer.
Whitelisting USB drives is pointless because not all have unique serial numbers. Plus, operating systems lack effective whitelisting mechanisms. Also, Malicious firmware can pass for legitimate firmware.
To prevent a bad USB from infesting a computer, the controller firmware must be locked down, unchangeable by an unauthorized user. USB storage devices must be able to prevent a cybercriminal from reading or altering the firmware. It must make sure that the firmware is digitally signed, so that in the event it does become altered, the device will not interface with the altered firmware.
- Watch your USB drive – don’t set it down and make sure you keep track of it so it’s not lost or stolen.
- Disable auto-run – Turn off auto-run on your computer so that if a USB drive has malware, then it won’t automatically be transferred to your machine.
- Be careful who you share your USB drives with – Be careful what computers you place your USB drive in and who you let borrow your USB drive.
- Use comprehensive security software – make sure your security software not only scans your computer for threats, but also any drives that are attached.
Tags: college scam, online privacy, online safety, online scams, online security, scammer
The last group of college students has headed off to school for another semester of dorm rooms, late-night library sessions, and the occasional college party. For many students, college is the first time they’ve lived away from home. They are young, open to new things, and sometimes, naïve. These traits make them prime targets for scams.
- Fake College Websites
Here’s how this works. Scammers copy a college’s website but use a fictitious name on the site (in essence creating a spoofed site). They use this site to collect application fees and gather personal information. They even go so far as to send out rejection letters to applicants to try and “maintain” their credibility. But all this application will get you is financial loss and the potential to be victim for future phishing scams.
- Diploma Mills
These are unaccredited colleges or universities that provide illegal degrees and diplomas for money. Many spoofed college websites are also used as diploma mills. Though some diploma mills may require students to buy books, do homework and even take tests, the student will be passed no matter what. In some cases, users get a diploma simply by purchasing it. In any case, you’re out of money and have no valid diploma.
- Fake Scholarships
Let’s face it. College is not cheap. Therefore, many students look for scholarships to help ease the financial cost. Scammers profit on this need by creating fake scholarships, which require you to submit a fee when applying for the money. You never see a dime and you’ve lost that application fee as well as given up some of your personal info.
- Wi-Fi Scams
Computers are an essential part of the college experience and wi-fi connectivity is a necessity. So while you may not want to pay or can’t afford to pay for wi-fi connectivity, you need to be careful when using free wi-fi as hackers can easily intercept your communications.
So while college is a time to learn and experience new things, you also want to avoid getting scammed. So here’s some tips on how to make sure you don’t get taken by one of these scams:
- To protect yourself, develop the habit of not giving personal information to strangers and double check the authenticity of the organization.
- Before sending in any online application, double check the accreditation for any college or university. In the United States, you can do that on the Department of Education site.
- Verify that a scholarship is valid, by checking with an organization like FinAid.org.
- Avoid doing any sensitive transactions like shopping or banking when using free wi-fi connections.
Yes, there are plenty of scams out there. But with common sense and a willingness to double-check, students can avoid being lured in.
Have a great school year!
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.Filed Under: scams
How did a burglar know that Theresa Roemer had a 3,000 square foot, three-level closet that was crammed full of very pricey items including jewels and furs? Well, apparently, he caught wind of the “she cave” on TV, then perhaps Google Earthed it and (believe it or not) the evening he decided to bust in, the house alarm wasn’t on. And the closet wasn’t locked.
While she was out dining with her husband, the thief filled three handbags with loot, and each handbag is worth $60,000. This was like a young kid in a candy factory.
Nobody really knows why the alarm was turned off.
Roemer has hosted many parties for charity inside the closet, which also includes a champagne bar. In addition to the handbags, furs and jewels are rows of shoes, boots, hats, clothes and beauty products. If you saw the move “Bling Ring” which was based on real events and often filmed in what was supposed to be Paris Hiltons closet, then you’d get the idea.
Roemer stated that she really doesn’t care about the replaceable items and refers to these as “crap.” She has expressed angst that some of the stolen items are heirlooms. Most people who lose stuff in a fire feel the same way.
The mansion’s surveillance cameras recorded the burglar, and it’s only a matter of time before the thief is identified. And even if the surveillance cameras eventually lead to an arrest and conviction, nobody wants to experience coming home to find that it’s been invaded and that valuable items have been stolen.
If you’re going to bother with having surveillance cameras, then also bother turning on the alarm when you’re gone and even when you’re home. But let’s not also forget that Roemer revealed her closet of riches on TV…a big mistake.Filed Under: burglary
Tags: card fraud, credit card breach, Credit card fraud, identity fraud, identity protection
One out of 2,900 seems very small, but when there’s a total of 105 million…then this percentage stacks up in the end. It represents the frequency of calls from fraudsters made to call centers in an attempt to get customer account details so they could steal.
Many times these crooks will succeed by conning phone operators into altering personal details. The thieves will then commit ID theft, gaining access to customer information and even changing customer contact information so that the victims cannot receive alerts.
These clever cons spoofed their phone numbers to avoid detection, and used software to alter their voices, even the gender sound.
Research into the 105 million calls also unveiled that the fraudsters keyed in stolen Social Security numbers in succession until they got a bull’s-eye: a valid entry for an unnamed bank. They then tricked the victim into revealing personal data.
One expert says that if contact phone channels were monitored, this could predict criminal behavior two weeks prior to actual attacks. Many companies also believe that most attacks result from malware rather than social engineering: the tricking of victims into revealing sensitive data. The targets include the staff of the call centers, who are often conned into allowing these smooth-talking worms to get under any door.
When businesses focus on the theory that most of these problems are from malicious software, this opens up a huge door for the fraudsters to swagger their way in.
The crooks’ job is made even easier when companies assign fraud detection to a department that fails to effectively communicate with other departments.
Consumers would be smart to check in with various credit card and bank accounts “posing” as themselves to see just how easy or difficult it might be to gain access with what kind of “easy to guess” or ”easily found on social” information/questions that may be used to authenticate the caller. Then change those “out of wallet” or “knowledge based questions”Filed Under: Identity Theft
Burglars are opportunists. They seek out opportunity often to support a drug habit or other uncivil reasons for turning your stuff into cash. Burglaries and burglars come in different flavors, here’s a taste.
- Simple burglary: The act of entering any type of structure without permission (regardless if the entry is unlocked) with the intention of stealing something inside. A conviction will net prison time up to 12 years.
- Aggravated burglary: The structure that the criminal gains unauthorized entry into contains a person, or, the intruder has a dangerous weapon, or, the burglar commits harm to that individual. The punishment is up to 30 years in the slammer.
- Home invasion. Unlike aggravated burglary, in which the burglar doesn’t know that the structure is inhabited at the time of the crime, the home invader knows in advance that at least one person is inside, and premeditates using violence or force against that person. Or, the intent is to damage or deface the interior. Punishment goes up to 20 years and includes hard labor.
- The looter takes advantage of an establishment, dwelling or vehicle that’s unprotected due to a hurricane or other disaster, or due to mass rioting. Prison time goes up to 15 years. If the crime occurs during a declared state of emergency, the convict will get hard labor that may exceed 15 years.
Type of Burglars
The common & simple. This thief seeks out easy fast targets, such as open windows and unlocked doors. Since the ease of the crime is the driving force rather than advanced knowledge of valuables, this burglar often ends up with “stuff” that can be exchanged for cash.
The hunter. The burglary is based on premeditation, scouting around neighborhoods for valuables. They’ll take advantage of unlocked doors and windows, but are willing to be careless and will smash through windows or bash down doors, then grab anything that they can stuff into pockets or a rucksack.
The prowler. This smarter type operates with more finesse, targeting structures where they know the valuable can be swiftly sold on the black market. Often, the prowler is a former hunter who developed savviness and efficiency along the way.
The specialist. This is the top fight burglar, concentrating on wealthy estates, selecting targets very carefully, usually working within a crime ring. Only high-value items will suffice, and thus specialist burglars may also target businesses and warehouses.
Now you know. So get a home security system.Filed Under: burglary
Can you hack cleaning up the mess a hacker makes after infiltrating your computer? Would you even know the first thing to do? And yes, YOU’RE computer CAN be hacked.
Next, this portal must be disconnected/uninstalled from the Internet to prevent it from getting into other systems. Look at your Task Manager or Activity Viewer for any suspicious activity. The CPU usage must be checked too. If it goes way up, you’ll have a better chance of detecting fraudulent activity. It helps to know how your computer runs so that you know what’s typical and what’s atypical.
Otherwise head over to Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool page here: http://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/malware-removal.aspx
After severing ties with the hacker or hackers, take inventory of their destruction.
- Make sure that your anti-malware and antivirus systems are up to date, and enabled. Do a full system scan with both systems.
- If something looks odd, get rid of it. Malware will continue downloading if there’s a browser extension or plugin. Inspect every downloaded item.
- Change every password and make it unique and long.
- Log out of all your accounts after changing the passwords.
- Clear the cookies, cache and history in your browser.
- Be on the alert for strange goings-on, and do not open suspicious e-mails, let alone click on links inside them.
- If things are still acting strange, wipe your hard drive. Reinstall the operating system. But not before you back up all your data.
Preventing an Attack
- Have a properly configured firewall.
- As mentioned, never click links inside of e-mails, even if they seem to be from people you know. In fact, delete without opening any e-mails with melodramatic subject lines like “You Won!”
- Have both anti-malware and antivirus systems, and keep them up to date.
- Use long, unique passwords.
- Never let your computer out of sight in public.
- If, however, your device is stolen, it should have a remote wipe feature.
- Give your data routine backups.
- Be very cautious what you click on, since links promising you a spectacular video can actually be a trap to download a virus into your computer.
- Use Hotspot Shield when you’re on public Wi-Fi to scramble your communications.
Many of us are familiar with the Jetson’s TV cartoon that showed the life of a family in 2026 and how technology is a part of their everyday life. If you’re like me, some of the gadgets that George and his family had are probably things you thought were cool or would be convenient to have, especially the automatic meals that could be selected and then delivered with the push of a button or the flying cars. While we’re not quite at the level of George Jetson, technology advancements are only going to continue.
With that in mind, McAfee commissioned MSI for a study, “Safeguarding the Future of Digital America in 2025,” that looks at how far technology will be in 10 years. And also looking at how all this technology and interconnectedness affects our privacy and security—something George Jetson never had to worry about with Rosie (his robot maid), or while he video chatted.
What is interesting to see from the study is what people believe will be prevalent in 2025 (some of which are Jetson-esque) such as:
- 60% believe that sooner or later, robots and artificial intelligence will be assisting with their job duties
- 30% believe they’ll be using fingerprints or biometrics to make purchases
- 69% foresee accessing work data via voice or facial recognition
- 59% of people plan to have been to a house that speaks or reads to them.
There’s no reason to doubt all of these advances won’t soon be reality, but there will also be new considerations for consumers to be aware of. The more “connected” you are, the more you’re at risk. But while consumers seem to be embracing these new conveniences, 68% of them are worried about cybersecurity so it’s imperative that all of us know how to protect ourselves today and into the future.
How can you protect yourself?
- Read customer reviews. There’s hardly a product on the market that doesn’t have some kind of rating or customer feedback online. This unsolicited advice can help you determine if this is a device you want to own.
- Password protect all of your devices. Stop putting this off. Don’t use the default passwords that come with the device or short, easy ones. Make sure they’re unique, long and use a combination of numbers, letters and symbols. Complex passwords can also be a pain to remember, that’s why using a password manager tool, like the one provided by McAfee LiveSafe™ service is a good idea.
- Don’t have a clicker finger. Be discriminating before you click any links, including those in emails, texts and social media posts. Consider using web protection like McAfee® SiteAdvisor® that protects your from risky links.
- Be careful when using free Wi-Fi or public hot spots. This connection isn’t secure so make sure you aren’t sending personal information or doing any banking or shopping online when using this type of connection.
- Protect all your devices and data. McAfee LiveSafe service you can secure your computers, smartphones and tablets, as well as your data and guard yourself from viruses and other online threats.
Make sure you’re not like George calling out to his wife Jane saying “Jane…stop this crazy thing!” as he’s ready to fall off his electronic dog walker that’s gone out of control! Stay safe online!
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.Filed Under: internet security
Tags: facebook, facebook hacking, Facebook privacy, facebook safety tips, facebook scam
Twenty percent of the world’s population is “on” Facebook—that’s well over a billion people.
Profile visitor stats. It’s all about vanity. It doesn’t take long for any new Facebook user to see an ad offering to reveal how many people are viewing your profile. You can even find out who’s viewing. It must make a lot of FB users feel validated to know how many people are viewing them and just whom, because this scam comes in at the top.
Is it really that important to know how many people are viewing your profile? Even if your self-worth depends on this information, Facebook can’t provide it. These ads are scams by hackers.
- Rihanna sex tape. What a sorry life someone must be leading to be lured into clicking a link that promises a video of a recording star having sex. Don’t click on any Rihanna sex tape link, because the only intimacy you’ll ultimately witness is a hacker getting into your computer.
- Change your profile color. Don’t click on anything that relates to changing your FB profile color. Facebook is blue. Get over it. You’ll never get red, purple, pink, black, grey, white, red, orange or brownish-magenta. Forget it. Deal. If you see this offering in your news feed, ignore it. It’s a scam.
- Free Facebook tee shirt. Though this offering seems quite innocuous, anyone who never rushes to click things will realize that this can’t possibly be legitimate. Do you realize how much a billion tee shirts cost? Even if you don’t know that one-fifth the world’s population uses Facebook, you should know that an enormous number of people use it and they aren’t getting a t-shirt.
- Where would Facebook get the money to 1) produce all those tee shirts (even if one-tenth of FB users wanted one, that’s still a LOT of money), and 2) mail the shirts out, and 3) pay reams of people to package the shirts and address the packages? People, THINK before you click!
- See your top 10 Facebook stalkers. This is just so funny, how can anyone take it seriously and be lured into clicking it?
- Free giveaways. It’s cliché time: Nothing’s free in this world—certainly not on Facebook. End of story.
- See if a friend has deleted you. This, too, sounds suspicious. And besides, is it really that important if a “friend” has deleted you? Do you even personally know every individual who has ever friended you? This feature does not exist. You’re better off pretending that nobody would ever want to delete you because you’re so special! But actually, there are plug-ins available that perform this function, but still, stay away.
- Find out who viewed your profile. Again, here’s a scam that works well on people who have too much time on their hands. This function doesn’t exist on Facebook.
- Just changed my Facebook theme and it’s rad! Ignore this at all costs.
- Tragedy of the day. Whenever there is something horrific going on such as Mother Nature getting all murderous or some manmade disaster or even a celebrity dying, you can be sure Facebook scammers are on top of the breaking news with a “video” or “photo” that simply isn’t. Just don’t click it.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.Filed Under: Facebook scams