Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Job Interview Scam

This is not new but reports have been increasing and on a personal note this is the one that makes me sick. You receive a call from a company they inform you that they have a job opportunity in your field and based on your education, certifications and experience.  They would like you to come in for an interview. However in order to complete your application you must pay a fee for certain certifications you will need to go further in the interview process or show up with a certain amount of money to be interviewed. This is a scam in no way should you pay anything for any job interview. A company seeks you out so that you can either save or make them money based on your skills and talent. There are a few warning signs you should be on the lookout for prior to any job interview beside the basic prep you would do for the interview itself.

When you are doing your research for the company aside from the basic information you need to be ready for the position you are interviewing for you should check the company profile. Glassdoor.com is one that I use to check on companies who contact me for interviews here I can see what the average salary is and reviews about the company from former employees. If you notice a high turnover rate then chances are this company is not for you.

The interview process and location itself may provide some red flags as well. Such as the interview is over quickly or the location of the interview is outside of the actual location of the company. You do not meet anyone else on the team during the interview are some signs you may not want to take the interview.

The last two signs this might be a scam and the most important. When you attempt to contact the company prior to the interview and the phone just keeps ringing or no official answering service to take your messages then this is most likely a scam. If they ask you for money at any time either before or after the interview for any reason upfront then leave immediately. Contact your local law enforcement inform them of the scam.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

BBQ/barbecue safety

So it’s that time again time to plan your backyard cookout or BBQ. So I am sure you want to start planning who you will invite when you want to have it and what food you want to cook. In most cases this is the focus however, you want to consider safety measures this will ensure everyone not only enjoys themselves at your cookout but that they are safe as well.  Whenever you have an open flame near a propane tank or near combustibles material like charcoal you need to plan ahead for any emergencies which can occur.  

So grill placement is mostly likely the last thing on your mind but this is important. The recommendation is at least 10 feet away from your home, fence line, garage or porch. Ideally it should be in an open area nothing overhead.  You would have to take into consideration any decorations like umbrellas or baskets which might hang overhead. Before and after cooking on your grill you must keep your grill clean any grease build up would fuel any fire which could occur. 

When you are cleaning your gill this is the perfect opportunity to check of leaks or damage to your grill. The best way to make sure there are no leaks in a hose is by using soapy water. This would be dish soap and water mixed. You would teak the soapy water and rub it on the hose then turn the grill on with the grill lid open. If the soap forms large bubbles it’s time to change the hose I would check the connection as well make sure they are tight.   

You should always have a spray bottle of water ready this would allow you to be prepared for any minor burns which could ignite you could extinguish it quickly. The best standby protection for any open flame is a fire extinguisher. So keep one nearby make sure you know where it is and how to use it. Lastly invest in some PPE gloves and cooking equipment to prevent injury.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Outdoor security cameras for home

In order to protect your home you have a secure perimeter this would include keeping your lawn care up to date, a secure fence and outdoor cameras. When you are making a decision on your outdoor cameras there are a few types I would like to offer. Remember a home burglar happens often mostly during the day so you want to not only have a good alarm system in place but well placed cameras so they can record any activity and deter burglars.

One of the most important things outside of camera placement is night vison. The placement should be in the front entrance or yard, the back yard etc. however, they need to be in working order so you should be periodically checking to make sure they provide a good quality picture at night. The cameras would be equipment with LED infrared lights so at night the camera would provide a good video.

When selecting a camera be certain they are waterproof and weatherproof. The most common damage a camera can suffer is from the weather elements. When they are installed they should be securely fastened to prevent being knocked over. The wireless camera often require security updates so be sure you are up to date with all software updates. Most of the wireless security camera allow you to program alerts for events so be familiar with this options so you would get updates on your phone when you are no home.

You can have the option of choosing a PTZ Pan Tilt Zoom or a fixed camera. The fixed cameras should a wide angle view to capture or cover most of the area you are securing. The PTZ’s tend to be more expansive but would work to monitor a moving target. In my opinion a fixed camera would be enough to help secure your home.

I hope this was helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What apps are safe to download?

There was an article on how some applications on google play were able to sneak pass the security protocols by bypassing some of the security protocols to get themselves published on google play.  Although google play is the best and one of the most secure areas to download apps you may want to also make sure you are using additional methods or be aware of clues to make sure you are downloading safe apps to your phone.  I wrote about some of the easy signs to look for back on March on this blog.  This is not for all app downloaded on other platforms this is just for the google play apps on your android device.  They have corrected the security weakness in their protocols and have an entire department dedicated to making sure you are downloading a safe secure application to use on your device.

The first clue or sign is the comments in the app itself. This is why you need to check the comments on the app very carefully. Do not solely rely on the app rating either you need to scroll read some of the comments about the app you are interested in using for your phone. The comment should be very specific and helpful not simply worded like “great app” or “good”.

The permission requested for the app you are about to download should make sense. If the apps needs access to your personal files, location or contacts to work then chances are this would be an app you really do not need. The question you should ask yourself about the app is does the access the app is asking for really needed for this app to perform properly?

The best advice is when you decide to use an app you should download it from a trusted developer. Large companies or brand name companies spend more time in making sure they are securing the app they are posting on google play. There is a section on the google play store which allows you to see who the developer is and their published apps with contact details. This is a really good sign you are downloading a trusted app.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Which sign should I use Beware of Dog or Alarm system sign?

So a friend of mine purchase a “beware of dog “sign for his home in order to ward off any potential prowlers so he has taken in inexpensive approach to protecting his home. I disagree when it comes to your home, apartment or home network you should invest in some type of alarm system or CCTV system. However when things are hard as first time home buyer you may have to save some money before you can make a major investment in protecting your home so the question is what should you invest in first a sign which states “beware of dog” or a sign which states you have a very expensive alarm system in place.

So there is an argument to be made for having a sign with an alarm system. No burglar likes noise and an alarm system does make noise and contact the police. When a break in occurs if they are not familiar with the home they need time to enter find the master bedroom to take whatever valuables are in the home. Once the alarm is activated the clock starts to tick until local law enforcement can arrive. So a sign from an alarm company is a good deterrent.

However if I was going to use a deterrent sign it would be a “Beware of Dog” sign. This is the one that no burglar would like to test for many reasons. First, dogs are loud they will bark until they leave the area in most cases a burglar would just be by the window or by the door when a dog starts to bark so this is much better than an alarm system. Lastly a dog is unpredictable in their response to a stranger in the home and no burglar wants to find out so chances are they will skip your home.

This is more of an opinion piece the most important thing is you find a way to protect your home. Your home should be a place of peace and security. You want to take the appropriate measure to protect your home.

I hope this was helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to protect your VPN(routers)

A Virtual Private Network allows users to send and receive data in a secure manner. However hackers are always looking for ways to penetrate secure networks.  There was an article which stated hackers have infected at least 500,000 private routers. This is a problem as you want to make sure the information you share while you are home is between you and the intended recipient. It is clear that hardware and software developers cannot protect us from all the threats. So we must take the proper measure to ensure out private home network is secure. 

VPN’s use protocols to communicate with each other such as TLS Transport Layer Security or SSL secure sockets layer. Which is a term which just means a secure method of communication between two parties or devices which ever one is used you have to make sure it is secured. One of the first things you need to do is secure all the devices on your network. 

Your Wi-Fi network password must be changed. This is a simple thing but you have to choose a password which is difficult to figure out but easy for you to remember. I would highly recommend the passphrase method. I wrote post a while back which provides examples on how to use a passphrase.

When you purchase your router it will already have default setting which help you set up your home network but trust me this is already public knowledge especially to hackers so you want to change this. You want to change the default IP address and default log in password.

Lastly this is a simple when you are asked to update your software on any device do not delay the update. The developers are always looking for ways to improve the software of the device, it performance but most importantly the security. I would highly recommend backing up router settings before any update.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Financial Emergency Preparedness

When disaster strikes you always hear about what you should do prior to any emergency or natural disaster. Such as make sure you have plenty of fresh batteries or make sure your cell phone is charged in case of loss of power, having an emergency kit and plan. But you very rarely hear or even consider financial preparedness prior to any emergency.  There are many agencies ready to render assistance after a major disaster or emergency situation but they take time to set up.  So in the meantime it’s all up to you to take the necessary steps to have some temporary finances in place until you are able to get back on your feet. 

The first thing you must do is secure your important documents. I would highly recommend scanning your documents and keeping them on USB drive if not then secure your documents in a safe that you can access. Some documents you want to consider securing are your birth certificate, social security cards, insurance policy, tax statements and photos of all family members. You will need this in order to gain long term access to your finances. You must have a copy of your emergency contact list which should have your bank, health and home insurance providers’ information.

I would highly recommend setting up an emergency savings account strictly for emergencies this way you do not have to use your primary savings account to cover any expenses as a result of an emergency. However in cases of a major natural disaster you want to have cash on hand. So consider having cash secured in a safe at your residence in cases when ATM access or credit card access may not be working. This safe is another area where you could secure other important documents like homeowners/renters insurance, health and life insurance policies as well.

I hope this information is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal