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  • 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, ,   

    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.

  • Geebo 12:22 pm on September 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety, ,   

    When did we give up our privacy? 

    When did we give up our privacy?

    Tech blog Mashable recently posted a listicle entitled “6 ways you’re being too open online”. It has some good tips like not accessing sensitive information over public wifi and the mandatory tip about keeping strong passwords. One tip they share is one that not too many people seem to want to follow and that’s “Posting too freely on social media.”

    Services like Facebook and Instagram seem anathema to not only privacy advocates but they fly in the face of most if not all security protocols. Back in the days of the early web in the late 90s, most tech experts would say not to post any personal information online. Then somewhere in the mid 2000s with the advent of social media, we all started posting our personal information online so we could reconnect with old friends. Then it got to the point where we document our daily lives online with endless selfies and detailed descriptions of our daily minutia. It has become so accepted that we don’t even think twice about it anymore.

    A lot of the information that we share openly online can be used by bad actors to socially engineer their way into your personal accounts. Facebook tells everyone when your birthday is, and your birthday is often used an identifier to access your accounts. When you post pictures on Instagram of being at a party or on vacation people can tell when your home is left unprotected. Even posting pictures of your kids at their soccer game or whatever activity they enjoy can give predators information on how to approach your children.

    Have we become so narcissistic as a society the we crave likes and follows so much that we disregard our own safety? If so, maybe it’s time that we started re-thinking our safety priorities.

  • Geebo 9:58 am on September 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , epipen, , , Safety   

    Online Epipen sales could be dangerous 

    Online Epipen sales could be dangerous

    I’m sure by now that most of you have heard about the controversy surrounding the pharmaceutical company Mylan and how they’ve been accused of price gouging for the life saving Epipens. For those who may not know, Epipens are injections that contain the drug epinephrine which is used to save the lives of those who suffer from extreme allergies like those to food or bees. It prevents the patient from going into what’s known as anaphylactic shock. The injectors used to be affordable but recently, Mylan has increased the price of the life saving medication to the point where it’s become too expensive for many of those with the sensitive allergies.

    Unfortunately, when crises like this arise, there are always those who try to take advantage of the situation. Epipens have started appearing online for sale on less than scrupulous marketplaces. This is not only illegal, it’s also dangerous. Let’s not forget that Epipens are a drug and should only be prescribed by a doctor. If you were to buy any Epipens online you could be risking the health of the patient if it’s not the right prescription for the patient. That’s not even mentioning that there could be fake Epipens being sold that could contain no medicine or some substance that’s either harmful or ineffective, much like the products sold by overseas pharmaceutical mills.

    While Mylan’s alleged price gouging may be seen as detestable, it’s not worth risking your own life by bypassing your doctor.

  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lifestage, Safety, ,   

    Facebook announces new app aimed at teens 

    Facebook announces new app 4aimed at teens

    Over the weekend, Facebook announced a new standalone app aimed at teens called Lifestage. Not only is it meant to be a competitor to Snapchat, but it’s also said to return to Facebook’s roots. Facebook’s first incarnation was a social network geared specifically toward college students. Lifestage, which so far has only been released for iPhone, is geared towards users that are 21 and under and is supposed to help you get to know the classmates at your school as the app is very school-centric.

    As is the norm with most apps geared towards kids and teens, there are some security concerns. The first is that there is no actual age verification system for Lifestage, so it has the potential to be abused by offenders. Another issue is that Facebook doesn’t say what the under in 21 and under is. The closest to an age limit that I’ve found was the rating on the Apple app store which says that app is rated 12+. Lastly, since the app is so focused on schools it has the potential to be used for cyberbullying.

    This is not to say that Lifestage doesn’t have its advantages. For example, a user can only list their school once. This prevents potential offenders from changing schools to in order to target new victims at a different school. Lifestage also has a feature where someone can be blocked with a single swipe.

    However, like most apps Lifestage is just a tool. While most apps have security concerns or features, the only true defense between potential predators and kids are parents that are actively engaged with their child and their social network use.

  • Geebo 9:58 am on July 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , alcohol, , , Safety   

    Off Topic Friday: The 4th of July is the deadliest holiday 

    Off Topic Friday: The 4th of July is the deadliest holiday

    Fireworks notwithstanding, the Fourth of July is the most dangerous American holiday of the year when it comes to vehicular incidents. One might think that it would be New Year’s or St. Patrick’s Day due to the amount of alcohol consumption that is synonymous with those holidays however, the National Safety Council has dubbed the Fourth of July the most dangerous holiday of the year.

    If you plan on doing any traveling this weekend please buckle up and it should go without saying not to drink and drive. If you do plan on celebrating the holiday with a drink or two and find yourself incapable of driving, arrange alternative methods of transportation like Uber or Lyft or even a taxi. Also as always, alcohol and fireworks are never a good mix, leave the fireworks to the professionals.

    On behalf of Geebo, have a safe and fun holiday weekend. We want to see you back here on Monday.

  • Geebo 9:50 am on June 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety   

    Deadly illegal fireworks appear online 

    Deadly illegal fireworks appear online

    With the 4th of July fast approaching, a number of ads for illegal fireworks are appearing on some of the less than reputable online marketplaces. While many states allow the purchase of consumer fireworks many do not. Even then there are many local laws regarding the use of fireworks. For example, California has varying laws regarding fireworks and in Sacramento County, California, fireworks are banned altogether and with good reason. In 2014, a massive fire that caused hundreds of residents to be evacuated was caused by the illegal use of fireworks.

    In the hands of professionals fireworks can be a breathtaking experience, in careless hands they can be quite dangerous. If you insist on purchasing and using fireworks this year please consult your local laws regarding their use and please try to use them safely. Also, if you are in the market for purchasing fireworks please purchase them from an authorized dealer because would you really trust the safety of fireworks when they’re purchased through a site that generally disregards the safety of its users? I know I wouldn’t.

  • Geebo 10:41 am on June 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Safety,   

    Just hang up 

    Just hang up

    Even with the advent of the internet, phone scams are still as prevalent as ever. Whether it’s someone posing as the IRS, your bank or credit card company, or winning sweepstakes company they’re all looking for the same thing. They’re all looking for just the smallest bit of personal information to use to try to steal your money. Now you may think that you’re clever enough on how to deal with these scammers but you may be inadvertently providing them with the exact information that they’re looking for.

    This article from Forbes by tax attorney Kelly Phillips Erb advises not to engage in any way with these scammers. She says that your best bet is to just hangup on them. She goes on to say that of you engage them in any way you may be providing them with just enough information for them to try to either steal your identity or your money. She goes into detail about a number of the possible outcomes that could happen when engaging a scammer.

    Much like our post about being careful of your reflection it only takes just a tiny crumb of information for scammers to be able to overturn your life.

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