Keanu Reeves recently had a home intruder: a woman. It was 4:00 am when she got into his home and plopped in a chair. The 40-something nut-job told the movie star she was there to meet with him. He nonchalantly called 911. Police took the woman into custody.
Who’s nuttier: the intruder or the homeowner who leaves a highly valuable home left unlocked overnight, or at least, left in an easy-to-gain-entry state, while the owner sleeps? Maybe this woman is a kook, but it sounds like Reeves doesn’t have both oars in the water when it comes to home safety. She could have been waiting with a gun pointing at his head.
People are always breaking into celebrities’ mansions. How are they getting past security? While Sandra Bullock was sleeping, it happened to her, too—right at her bedroom door. What—no motion detector to sound an alarm? People in middle class neighborhoods have these, but filthy rich movie stars don’t?
Actually, these over-paid movie stars usually DO have security, but don’t use it. Reeves has an alarm system, but it was turned off. What are the odds that this woman just happened to plan her intrusion the night he keeps the alarm off? Well, a better explanation is that Reeves probably never used it much in the first place.
And then another woman traipsed into Reeves’s home a day later—but this time he was out. His cleaning people left a front gate open—and just by chance, this coincided with the intruder’s presence.
This woman was a bit loonier than the first one: She was in his shower nude, then went into his pool (though she’d be crazier if she left her clothes on, right?). She did all this before the cleaning crew caught on; they eventually called Reeves, who dialed 911. This second woman was also hauled away for the customary psych evaluation. Maybe she’ll be roomed with the first woman.Filed Under: home invasion
Cyber storage does not always = secure backup. Users of cloud storage have many potential tools at hand to beef up security. And just because cloud services have some loopholes doesn’t mean you should just throw in the towel, as the saying goes, and figure “What’s the point?”. Here are some ways to beef up cloud storage security and manage your online backup.
- Take inventory of what’s stored in your cloud account. Evaluate how important each data item is. If the cloud service can access your data, you may want to make some adjustments, since some of your data might not be compatible with the service’s terms.
- Consider encrypting your most sensitive data if you don’t want to remove it from the cloud and then back it up locally.
- Don’t put all your data in one basket, either. Suppose all your data is stored in one cloud service, and that service gets hacked or something else happens and you lose your data—or it’s in the hands of thieves. If you use more than one cloud service, then at least if one gets hacked, you’re not totally screwed. Think of this as being like having your precious jewels locked in several small safes throughout your house, rather than in one giant safe. What are the odds that an intruder will find all the safes and get into all of them?
- If your cloud account has any devices, services or applications linked, very carefully inspect and modify their settings to optimize security. Discard useless, old, unused connections so they don’t become portals to your data.
- Use two-factor authentication on every cloud password when available. If the service doesn’t offer two-factor, consider dumping it.
- Make your answers to security questions crazy-nutty, but also memorable.
- Assess your cloud passwords. They should be very different from each other. If you can’t handle memorizing a bunch of long, convoluted passwords (which are the best kind), use a password manager.
“When it’s your time, it’s your time.” NOT. Most accidents, including freak, are avoidable. Here are more preventable deaths, courtesy of popularmechanics.com.
Commotio cordis. An object (baseball, hockey or lacrosse puck) slams into the athlete’s heart between beats and causes the heart to quiver from ventricular fibrillation. Solution: Dodge the ball. Fatality rates have dropped with the presence of defibrillator devices.
EAH. About 30 percent of endurance athletes (runners etc) who keel over during events die from exercise-associated hyponatremia: too much water intake during the activity, which swells up the brain. During intense activity, limit water to 1.5 quarts per hour. Take plenty of salt with it.
Hypothermia. Only 30-50 degrees can be fatal. Avoid wearing cotton, which traps moisture and exacerbates hypothermic conditions. Wear wool or synthetic clothes. Stuff dry leaves into your clothes to conserve heat.
Killer heat. Heat stroke kills about 675 U.S. people every year. Be prepared with plenty of fluids, and conduct your activity in the morning. Never trek in the dessert without someone knowing your whereabouts.
Cutting trees. The victim saws into a leaning tree, which causes it to topple over, crushing him.
Hunting accidents. No, not from getting shot; from careless climbing of tree stands (wooden boards nailed to the trunk, which can also give way). Climb only when tethered via harness to the tree.
Cliffing out. You’re climbing up a cliff and at some point realize the only way out is to climb to the top, not back down. Never scramble up a cliff you don’t know the length of. Always have with you a device that can send a distress call from anywhere.
Carbon monoxide. After natural disasters, people may use a portable generator to replace the lost power. When these machines run overnight, they may leak carbon monoxide gas. The generator should be kept at least 20 feet from the house.
Glissading. Glissading is sliding down an icy hill, usually on your butt. The slide can get out of control and take you over the edge of a cliff. Avoid this activity, or, if you can’t resist, know exactly where the descent leads to, and have with you an ice axe to self-arrest (which you should be skilled in).
Don’t panic. Ocean rip currents may be invisible. If you’re caught in one, let it carry you beyond its flow so you can then swim alongside it. You’ll eventually reach a point where you can turn back and safely head towards shore.Filed Under: Tips
Hackers are hell-bent on busting into the network of their targets. They are persistent—never giving up. When you build your defense against cyber criminals, it must be done with the idea that they WILL succeed. When you operate on this assumption rather than thinking that your anti this and anti that are all you need, you’ll have the best cyber security in place.
Another mistake is to assume that hackers hound only small businesses or weak networks. The cyber criminal doesn’t care so much about vulnerabilities; he wants the goods. It’s like a burglar wanting a million dollars worth of jewels that he knows is stashed inside a mansion surrounded by a moat filled with crocodiles. This won’t stop him. It will only determine the dynamics of how he penetrates.
Yes, less sophisticated hackers will target more vulnerable networks, but there’s a lot of hefty hackers out there who aren’t intimidated by persistence. If cyber thieves want a goal badly enough, they’ll get into every nook and cranny to achieve their mission.
Hackers also determine ahead of time how the victim might respond to an attack. The crime ring will invest time in this, going well-beyond the intended target’s IT tactics. They’ll go as far as learning employees’ after-hour leisure activities. To make it harder for hackers to mine all this information, a company should keep things unpredictable like work routines and not embrace social media.
The hacker creeps around quietly, going undetected while spreading damage. To catch below-the-radar cyber invasions, a business should employ a system that can spot and stamp out these murmurs.
Finally, cyber criminals usually launch a secondary attack as a distraction while the major attack gets underway—kind of like that newsworthy operation of some years ago involving pairs of thieves: One would approach a woman with a baby and tell her the baby was ugly. This distracted her so much that she had no idea that the accomplice was slipping off her purse and scrambling away with it. You must anticipate decoy operations.
Remember, install layers of protection:
- Antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing, firewall
- Set up encryption on your wireless router
- Use a VPN when on free wireless
- Keep your devices software, apps, browser and OS updated
You’d think that servicemen and women would be better protected than civilians from identity theft, but their risk is higher, since their Social Security numbers are used so often and also abroad. In Iraq, it’s painted on their laundry bags!
When a military individual has damaged credit and accumulated debt, they are subjected to disciplinary action. ID theft can delay or cancel a military person’s deployment and lead to revocation of security clearances.
The FTC says that ID theft among service individuals is on the rise. Last year, 22,000 filed complaints of ID theft. In Ohio, this crime jumped 20 percent between 2012 and 2013.
The proposed Ohio bill would raise the penalties for ID theft against active-duty members and their spouses. The bill would also allow the victims to file civil actions against the thieves.
New Jersey is also considering a bill that would increase the penalty for ID theft of veterans. New York and Illinois have already passed stronger penalties. North Carolina bans the release of military discharge documents.
All along, the SSN was printed on a service member’s military ID card, which was used all over the place. In 2008, the Department of Defense began removing the numbers. In 2012, they implemented removal of the SSNs from the card barcodes. These changes won’t be completed till 2017.
What can military personnel do to protect against ID theft?
Two things that service members can do is get active duty alerts and security freezes, but it would be simpler to use these tools one at a time.
The active duty alert, which is free, is done one year at a time after contacting one credit bureau. You can remove this at any time.
The security freeze, once in place, is indefinite unless you decide to remove it. It requires contacting three credit bureaus and is free online to North Carolina residents.Filed Under: Identity Theft
“When it’s your time, it’s your time.” NOT. Most accidents, including freak, are avoidable. Here’s a compilation from popularmechanics.com.
Wild animals. Never run from wildlife, as this will trigger its chase instinct—chase and kill, that is. Every year in the U.S., three to five people die from wild animal attacks, mostly bears and sharks. Avoid shark infested waters. Carry “bear spray” when hiking/camping. Wear bells and make noise when hiking.
Vicious vending machines. Between 1978 and 1995, vending machines killed 37 people who weren’t quick enough to get out of the way when the machine—after it was aggressively handled by the customers—toppled over and crushed them. Solution: You’re not Fonzie; don’t hit vending machines.
Dam it. The dam appears to be a plane of water as the boater approaches going downstream. However a spinning vortex is created by water rushing over the dam, and can trap the boater. If you get trapped after being capsized, curl up, then drop to the bottom, them move downstream.
Electric shock drowning. Even if you swim like Flipper, you can be electrocuted to death if the water contains cords, that are plugged into a dock outlet. If a dock is wired, don’t swim within 100 yards. If you’re not sure, stay on the dock.
ATV accidents. One-third of ATV fatalities occur on paved roads because the tires, which are designed for traction on unstable ground, produce too much traction, making the vehicle flip. If you must take an ATV on pavement, go in a straight line in first gear.
One wrong move. Ladder falls kill over 700 people a year. Half of ladder accidents involve people carrying something while climbing. To carry things use work-belt hooks.
Shallow-water blackout. How many times have you taken a few big breaths, gulped in a lot of air, then went underwater? This can result in a fatal shallow-water blackout, drowning you.
Straight landing. Have your landing spot decided from 100 to 1,000 feet up to avoid swerving to connect with it. The swerve can interfere with the parachute.
Ford ev’ry stream…with much caution. Shallow streams can pack a force that knocks you and all your heavy gear down, potentially incapacitating you, leading to fatal hypothermia. Test the current by tossing a stick into it. If it moves faster than walking pace, don’t go in. Otherwise, cross at a wide, straight portion of water.Filed Under: personal safety
Tags: identity fraud, identity proofing, identity protection, Identity Theft, password, password manager, password security
For anyone who goes online, it’s impossible to hack-proof yourself, but not impossible to make a hacker’s job extremely difficult. Here are three things to almost hack-proof yourself.
Two-factor authentication. Imagine a hacker, who has your password, trying to get into your account upon learning he must enter a unique code that’s sent to your smartphone. He doesn’t have your smartphone. So he’s at a dead-end.
The two-factor authentication means you’ll get a text message containing a six-digit number that’s required to log into your account from someplace in public or elsewhere. This will surely make a hacker quickly give up. You should use banks and e-mail providers that offer two-factor. Two factor in various forms is available on Gmail, iCloud, PayPal, Twitter, Facebook and many other sites.
Don’t recycle passwords. If the service for one of your accounts gets hacked, the exposed passwords will end up in the hands of hackers, who will invariably try those passwords on other sites. If you use this same password for your banker, medical health plan and Facebook…that’s three more places your private information will be invaded.
And in line with this concept of never reusing passwords, don’t make your multiple passwords sound schemed (e.g., Corrie1979, Corry1979, Corree1979) for your various accounts, because a hacker’s penetration tools may figure them out.
Use a password manager. With a password manager, you’ll no longer be able to claim not being able to remember passwords or “figure out” how to create a strong password as excuses for having weak, highly crackable passwords. You’ll only need to know the master password. All of your other passwords will be encrypted, penetrable only with the master password.
A password manager will generate strong passwords for you as well as conduct an audit of your existing passwords.Filed Under: Identity Theft
Selling your house can spell a lot of trouble whether you do it yourself or hire a real estate agent. Agents have little training on safety and security and home owners even less so. Here are safety tips.
- Prior to a showing, get information on the potential buyer. Google their names to see what comes up. They can also complete a buyer’s questionnaire, seek one online, and you can chat with them on the phone.
- Find out if the buyer is bringing along young children. Kids get into everything and are hazard to themselves. See if arrangements can be made otherwise. If this is not possible, try to arrange to have a friend or family member keep an eye on the kids during the showing.
- Make sure the path to your front door is clear of any debris, yard equipment, toys, etc., that can be a tripping hazard. Also make sure that no rugs inside are bunched up, and that the floors and all the steps are clear of any objects that the buyer can trip over. Warn the buyer of any sharp edges, like that from cocktail tables, that they might walk into. Make sure there’s no moisture or slick areas on the floors.
- If you have a dog, keep it locked in a crate during the showing. Don’t wait for the buyer to come over to do this; put the dog in the crate ahead of time, since the buyer might arrive early.
- Show your property only during the daylight.
- Use the buddy system, bring a friend or relative over to assist. Arrange to have someone present in the home during the showing, and visible to the buyer, perhaps a friend in the living room reading.
- Make sure that the door is closed and locked once the buyer enters your home. But at the same time, be closest to the exit in case something goes wrong.
- If another family member is in the home during the showing, and especially if you don’t know where in the house they are at any given moment, knock on any closed doors before entering as you don’t want to startle the other resident by just opening up the door.
- Put away in a safe or completely remove all valuables. If you see someone steal something, do not confront them. Leave quickly (yes, leave your own house with someone still in it) and call the police.
Imagine it. You sit down at your computer about to do your daily perusal of Buzzfeed or check out The Financial Times but your homepage is now some weird search engine you’ve never seen before. Guess what? You’ve been hijacked.
Browser hijacking is when your Internet browser (eg. Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer) settings are modified. Your default home or search page might get changed or you might get a lot of advertisements popping up on your computer. This is done through malicious software (malware) called hijackware. A browser hijacker is usually installed as a part of freeware, but it can also be installed on your computer if you click on an attachment in an email, visit an infected site (also known as a drive-by download), or download something from a file-sharing site.
Once your browser has been hijacked, the cybercriminal can do a lot of damage. The program can change your home page to a malicious website, crash your browser, or install spyware. Browser hijackers impede your ability to surf the web as you please.
Why do criminals use browser hijackers?
Like other malware and scams, hijacked browsers can bring in a good chunk of money for the hacker. For example, one browser hijacker, CoolWebSearch, redirects your homepage to their search page and the search results go to links that the hijacker wants you to see. As you click on these links, the cybercriminal gets paid. They can also use information on your browsing habits to sell to third parties for marketing purposes.
Browser hijackers are annoying and sometimes they can be tough to get rid of. Here are some ways to prevent your browser from getting hijacked:
- Carefully read end user license agreement (EULA)documents when installing software. Often times, mentions of browser hijackware are hidden in the EULA, so when you accept the user agreements, you might be unknowingly accepting malware.
- Be cautious if you download software from free sites. As the old saying goes, free is not always free—you may be getting additional items with your free download.
- Keep your browser software up-to-date.
- Use comprehensive security software, like the McAfee LiveSafe™ service, to keep all your devices protected.
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: hackers
Tags: Facebook privacy, facebook safety tips, facebook scam, kids online safety
Lock this guy up for good. That’s a most fitting motto for Brandon McIntyre, 22, who pretended he was “Katie Thompson” on Facebook and threatened to kill a girl’s family if she refused to go on trips with him.
This New Jersey nutcase made another ridiculous threat (ridiculous, because, how could he think that even young victims could take him seriously?) to a 12-year-old, telling her he was a cop who’d have her expelled from school and sent to state prison for failing to obey a police officer. The “order” was to send him explicit photos of herself.
Posing as a police officer, he even told a woman via texting he’d have her daughter taken away if she refused to go on a date with him. He could get 30 years in federal prison and fines totaling half a million dollars.
The next predator was a bit more convincing, using Facebook to talk a boy into ducking out of his home in the middle of the night to meet him. Adam Brown, 21, was caught by the victim’s mother. Brown got the boy’s confidence first by posting videos of himself and telling jokes. The boy’s mother worked nights and his grandmother watched him and his siblings.
One night she returned to find their dog acting strange; she discovered the boy wasn’t in his bed. She contacted him via cell and he said he was just out walking. She drove out and picked him up, took away his phone and computer, and demanded his passwords. She then gained access to the cyber dialogue between him and Brown. In the dialogue, Brown told the boy that the boy was cute. And the dialogue got worse. The boy actually met Brown, who had threatened suicide if he refused.
His mother told Brown, after contacting him, to cease contact with her son, but he contacted him again and made creepy comments.
- Get full access to your kids social accounts.
- Monitor their device activity without notice.
- Have in-depth detailed conversations about how predators lure kids.
- Read every news report about these issues and discuss with your kid.
- Turn off all wireless and wired internet at night so kids can’t have access.