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  • Geebo 9:22 am on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , crime, Safety   

    Triple digit murders highlight craigslist’s lack of safety 

    Triple digit murders highlight craigslist's lack of safety

    Last year, The Washington Post ran an article entitled “Think twice before answering that ad: 101 murders have been linked to Craigslist”. That number was provided by the AIM Group who maintain a public list of victims on the Craigslist Killings – Craigslist Safety blog. Since that article was published, there have been nine more victims added to the list bringing the number up to 110.

    The article also goes on to mention Aim Group’s SafeTrade initiative to turn police stations into safe zones for craigslist transactions. That should tell you volumes right there on how unsafe craigslist really is. If a major industry watchdog group and numerous police departments across the country are urging you to use police stations to do business on craigslist then it really isn’t all that safe.

    Craigslist has such a low barrier to entry that they don’t even require a valid phone number for anyone to place ads. This allows anyone with a criminal intent to place an ad for whatever reason. The crimes on craigslist run the gamut from fake check scams to robbery to sexual assault, all the way up to murder. If history is any indicator, craigslist will probably not enact any additional safety features to the anemic ones that they barely have. Craigslist hasn’t even publicly commented on user safety in seven years, according to The Post.

    Craigslist has always prided itself on having a minimum number of employees. In the past they have stated that there are only about two dozen employees to help run a global classifieds empire. What it really comes down to is that craigslist seems to covet their profit margins so much, that they would rather sacrifice user safety than having new safety measures eat into their bank account. Craigslist may have been founded on Bay Area principles of community and sharing, but today they are nothing more than an international bastion of greed whose only real concern is the bottom line.

     
  • Geebo 11:01 am on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , pseudonym, Safety   

    Using real names vs. pseudonyms online 

    Using real names vs. pseudonyms online

    During the early days of the internet it was almost universally recommended to use a screen name rather than your real name in order to protect your privacy. That practice was almost universally abandoned when service like Facebook came along. Not only did using your real name make in easier to find your friends but Facebook’s own policy has almost killed off the online pseudonym. While this practice is more convenient is it better?

    Facebook argues that when people use their real names online there is less chance of online harassment. One could argue that if you go to any comment section that uses Facebook comments, you’ll not only see online harassment but you’ll see people being harassed because they used real their name. Whether it’s sexist, ethnic or some other prejudice, some people will use just that information to not only harass someone but in some cases take their harassment into the real world. This isn’t even mention those who have been victims of domestic abuse who are trying to remain hidden from their attackers.

    Real names do not equal automatic respect and kindness online. As a matter of fact research shows that it’s just the opposite. Too many people are proud to be jerks online and have no fear of using their real names to belittle others.

     
  • Geebo 11:01 am on January 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: California, , , Safety   

    California seriously cracks down on cell phones in cars 

    California seriously cracks down on cell phones in cars

    We’re all guilty of it. We’ve all used our cell phones while driving. Whether it’s quickly checking a text message or changing a song, we’ve all taken our eyes off the road for just a second to fiddle with our phones. While we think we can handle it, it really is extremely dangerous to do so. California believes so too, and believes it so much they have instituted some of the toughest laws against driving and using your phone.

    While California has only allowed hands free calling for years, as of January 1st of 2017 California has made it illegal to use your phone while driving unless it’s in a cradle on your dashboard. Part of the law even states that the cradle can’t be on the center of the windshield. Not only that, but the law states that you can only use one finger to swipe anything on your phone while it’s in the cradle. Whether or not this will actually decrease incidents involving distracted driving remains to be seen. For example, can the law requiring only one finger swipes be enforced in reality? Will the fines, running from $20 to $50 be enough to discourage this kind of behavior? Or is this just a cash grab by the always financially addled Golden State?

    California is one of the most visited states by tourists. How many of them will be aware of the new law when they go to visit California? How many of them will be stopped by the California Highway Patrol for having their cell phones in their hands? While California has always had the toughest cell phone laws in the country, these new laws seem to be on par with the red light cameras that plague our cities, meaning that they generate more money for governments than they prevent actual accidents.

     
  • Geebo 10:58 am on December 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Safety, ,   

    Keeping your kids safe on their new devices 

    Keeping your kids safe on their new devices

    With Christmas fast approaching many children will be receiving new devices this year, whether they’re tablets or smart phones. With these new toys come new responsibilities, not only for the children but for parents as well. In the age we live in you can’t just hand your children one of these devices and send them on their merry way and expect no problems. Unfortunately, in our society not only are there the predators that we’re all concerned about but there are financial predators as well who want to take advantage of your kids disguised as apps and data caps.

    Many games for children on these devices have what they call ‘in app purchases’ which means that the players of the game can buy in-game items with real world money. Not only that, but many of these games use data from your cellular providers data plan and can either run up quite the data bill or burn through your allotted data rather quickly.

    To help you and your children avoid these pitfalls we’ve found two good resources on how to protect your children and your wallet while using these new devices. iOS devices, which are the ones made by Apple, are relatively simple to enable safety and financial restrictions. Android devices on the other hand, the ones made by companies like Samsung and various other manufacturers, are a little more difficult to restrict, but can be done.

    Just look at setting up your child’s new device as the modern equivalent of having to assemble the toys that our parents did on Christmas Eve for years, except now not only are you keeping your children engaged but you’re keeping them safe as well.

     
  • Geebo 11:04 am on November 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Safety, Thanksgiving   

    Stay safe this Thanksgiving 

    Stay safe this Thanksgiving

    According to AAA, 48.7 million people will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving season. Unfortunately, a number of these people might be under the influence of alcohol. Starting today, a number of people will start celebrating with the favorite spirits in what’s been referred to as Blackout Wednesday. Combine that with the Thanksgiving holiday itself and you have a rate of alcohol related crashes that rivals New Years Eve.

    Another aspect of safety for the holiday you may not think of is food safety. The USDA has some recommendations to help prevent an emergency room visit for food poisoning. One tip that they did not include is that if you’re going to deep fry a turkey, make sure it’s thawed first. If you don’t, the cooking oil and the extra moisture can cause the hot oil to geyser out of the fryer which can cause not only burns to anyone standing around, and has caused multiple house fires.

    So please, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving this year and many more.

     
  • Geebo 11:30 am on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , package delivery, Safety   

    Don’t let your holiday packages get stolen 

    Don't let your holiday packages get stolen

    With the holiday season upon us and with many of us foregoing brick and mortar stores for online shopping, we still have to deal with the analog world problem of making sure our deliveries don’t get stolen. There’s an entire criminal enterprise that revolves around the theft of packages from our doorsteps. Here are some steps to prevent some Grinches from stealing your Christmas.

    You can request the delivery service to only deliver the package when someone is there to sign it. Look for an option that says ‘Signature Delivery Option’. You can also arrange to have your packages held at your local delivery services branch, this way you can pick it up there rather than having unattended packages left at your door. Also consider having your packages sent to a friend or relative’s house who you know is normally home during delivery hours. Also, don’t forget that you can track your package using the delivery services tracking numbers to see where the package is in the delivery process.

    While no tip is perfect, these tips should help insure that your loved ones receive the gifts that you worked hard to get them for the holidays.

     
  • Geebo 9:51 am on October 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kim Kardashian, Safety, ,   

    What Kim Kardashian can teach you about social media security 

    What Kim Kardashian can teach you about social media security

    One of the bigger entertainment stories last week was the armed robbery of reality TV presence Kim Kardashian. She was said to have been robbed of $10 million in jewelry while in her Paris hotel room. Some reports have alleged that the perpetrators may have used her ubiquitous presence on social media to plan the heist. The truth is that you don’t have to be famous to have your social media betray you like that.

    Apps like Twitter and Instagram are constantly trying to get you to post your location. If you’re out in public and away from home this can present a number of problems for your real world security. Mashable, has a great blog post about how to disable your location in several apps. Another safety issue is with check in apps that announce where you may be such as a restaurant or concert. Instead of checking in as soon as you get there you may want to wait until after you leave before checking in.

    The biggest security flaw that has come back to bite social media mavens is being on vacation. It’s become common place to announce your vacation plans on social media before documenting the entire trip. This has the potential to let one of your followers know that you may not be home for a while which has led to burglaries in the past.

    Instead of documenting every moment of your life on social media as it happens, maybe put some time aside at the end of the day to do more of a ‘day in review’ type of update. Your safety and security is not worth a handful of likes and emojis.

     
  • Geebo 9:52 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Houseparty, Meerkat, Safety   

    Is Houseparty an app that parents need to be aware of? 

    Is Houseparty an app that parents need to be aware of?

    You remember Meerkat don’t you? It was the livestreaming app that everyone used for a day before Periscope came along and ate its lunch. Now from the makers of Meerkat comes an app called Houseparty that allows its users to engage in video group chats on their Android or iOS devices. Like most of these type of apps, it’s geared towards teens, so should parents be concerned about the app? Maybe.

    Houseparty is generally used for a group of friends to have group chats with and is intended to be more private than a livestream. In order to join a chat a user needs to know the other users’ phone number or username. That seems to limit the ability of random people to join in the chats. The app itself seems pretty innocuous, however with most social apps parents should be aware but not over-reactionary.

    While Houseparty seems to have its act together when it comes to security of its users it only takes one bad apple to start the abuse of the app. Since the group chats depend on who is hosting the chat, friends of friends can join the chat of the host allows. It’s those friends of friends that could be a predators way in to a conversation with your child.

    So as is with most apps Houseparty is just a tool that’s used to communicate in this social and digital era. It’s up to parents to make sure that the tool isn’t being used the wrong way against your children.

     
  • Geebo 9:51 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Safety, school,   

    Do you know how your kids’ school monitors them online? 

    Do you know how your kids' school monitors them online?

    These days a number of schools issue Chromebooks or iPads to their students to in order to assist the students with online learning. These programs are also often seen as a boon to families who may not necessarily be able to afford to provide their kids with electronic devices for school. But did you know that the schools can access those computers at almost any time?

    Usually when a school checks a child’s activity on a school issued device, it’s either to make sure the device isn’t being used improperly, or to make sure a student isn’t getting behind in their work. However, there have been incidents of abuse in the past where schools have used the devices’ cameras to allegedly spy on students in their homes.

    So what kind of privacy can you and your kids expect on these school issued devices. Well, according to TechCrunch, virtually none and the schools aren’t exactly forthcoming with that information. However this lack of privacy can be used as a teaching opportunity for your kids and how to behave online. It can teach them that their online activities can have real world repercussions and can prepare them to protect their own privacy for when they become adults.

     
  • Geebo 11:28 am on September 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ATM, atm skimmer, , , Safety,   

    New type of ATM skimmers appear in US 

    New type of ATM skimmers appear in US

    In case you’ve never heard of an ATM Skimmer it’s normally a device that a suspect will insert into the card reader of an ATM. This device will read all the information off your ATM card,including your PIN. It’s not just ATMs though, these skimmers can also be attached to gas pumps and any other stand alone machine that accepts debit cards. These type of skimmers can be usually thwarted by firmly pulling on the slot where the card is inserted, If a part slides out, it’s probably not safe to use that ATM or other machine.

    Recently, the Secret Service released an announcement to financial institutions that a new type of skimmer has shown up in the US and isn’t as easy to spot. The skimmer, called a periscope, is a piece of hardware that is installed inside the ATM. According to the announcement, the suspects access the ATM from the top in order to install the skimmer. The Krebs on Security blog post that’s been linked to recommends that you should only use ATMs that are embedded into the bank’s walls and can’t be accessed from the top.

    Unfortunately, there’s no absolute way to always protect yourself from ATM and debit card fraud. However, you can avoid problems by just using some common sense and if a ATM machine or any other card reading machine feels shady or unreliable just pass it by.

     
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