Thursday, January 17, 2019

The biggest cyber security risk

So we read all these articles and look into ways to protect our computers and networks form possible security threats. We invest in antivirus protection, firewalls and come up with crazy passwords. While all these measures are all good the biggest problem is the end user.  We are the biggest problem in exposing ourselves to any cyber-attack.  This is why companies train their employee over and over again on best practices when using the internet.  So we must develop safe internet habits as well to protect our home computers and networks.

When you decide to check out a website you should check for the HTTPS in the beginning of the web page or Hypertext Transfer Protocol the last S stand for secure. This is the protocol for sending data between your browser and the website. On the far left on the top of your screen you should see the secure with a lock on it to further give you an indication of how secure the website is. If the lock is missing then leave the site.

Your email is the worst place and how most viruses enter your computer. So you need to have a plan in place what I normally do is any emails I do not know I delete them immediately and black them. When I get a notification about one of my accounts I will not use the link provided I will delete the email as well then visit the website I was contacted about and check it directly. I do not open any attachments unless I am expecting some type of document and if I do have to download anything I download it to an external file first run a virus scan then review it.

If you are not creative in making a hard to decipher password then I would invest in a password generator or check out my article on passphrases which in my opinion are much better to use and easier to remember then just creating an easy or hard to remember password.  I would highly recommend a 2 layer password method as well.

This is a simple plan to use when you are home.

I hope this helps as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fake Instagram followers

We all would like to boost our profile on Instagram especially if you own a business or are an influencer.  However, there are fake accounts which are created by bots to follow your account. This could lead to a fraudster attempting to steal your user name, password or picture to use to gain access to your other personal accounts. Thankfully Instagram is aware of these fake accounts and has taken steps to remove them from Instagram. So here a few signs to look for when you are accepting followers on Instagram.

When someone sets up an Instagram the share something about themselves, so you should be able to see a picture and something about the person in the description. So, the first thing to look for is a profile picture and a short bio. So, no picture then you may want to delete the follower request.
Another sign to be aware of is no Instagram post. This is another tell sign that this account may be fake. I don’t care who you are you will post something about yourself for example a day at the park or your favorite sports team etc. something that says this is your likes and interest.

I do not accept private profile follower request unless I l know the person. This is simple if a person wants to follow me it would be because of my content or we share similar interest if a profile is private there is no way for me to know if we should even follower each other so why the request?
This is not a good idea to accept follower request that are from provide users.

The last thing I look for is the level of engagement. Anyone of is an active Instagram user will reply to comments with other users.  This is important for any influencers who are trying to build an audience. You want to communicate with your followers as much as you can even if you are just liking a post but low or no engagement then you may not want this person following you.

I hope this help as always please leave a comment.

Mark Carbajal

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Shopping during the holidays security tips

I am sure you are already out there checking your list of gifts you need to purchase. When possible, I would highly recommend shopping for your gifts online. This way you can avoid the long lines and traffic and what is better than shopping from the safety and security of your home. However, there may be some of us who may have to run out get that last-minute item on your list.  Then you are at the mercy of the brick and mortar store in other words shopping the old fashion way.   So here are a few tips you can use to keep yourself safe when shopping in the malls or store.

So, when you go shopping is just as important as where so If at all possible shop during the day this would be better than late at night. If you are lucky enough to do your shopping during the day, there would be less traffic as well. Do not wear expensive jewelry or look lost when you are out in the shopping centers have a plan. Before you go to the store you must decide where you are going and what time you want to go. A person who is appears to be lost when shopping will be more of a target.

 What you are wearing is important as well my advice is dress comfortable. Do not carry your purse or any extra baggage if you need cash it should be in the front pocket of your pants. The most you would need now is your card and driver license to make purchases anyway.

You want to have clear visibility no distraction and hands free. This is the time of year when strangers will approach you to ask for money or donations beware as this is a con artist time of year to try and distract you.

AI hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas lights safety tips

So, I was putting up lights around my home over the weekend and thought about this topic. Admittedly I don’t think about how safe the lights are before I put them up, so I thought this would be some interesting research. There are a few things to consider when putting up your Christmas lights for the holiday and yes, I know you the last thing you think about is safety.

A broken Christmas light can lead to shocks, fire and cuts. So, before you decide to put you your light check all the bulbs make sure they are not broken. You also want to check the wire make sure it is not frayed and free of any damage. In most cases you are given an extra set of Christmas bulbs with your lights so if see any damage replace your bulbs before you put up your lights.

You want to make sure when you are putting up lights in your home or outside your home there is a difference between indoor and outdoor Christmas lights they are clearly marked on the packages. However, when you put the light away for next year make sure you keep indoor and outdoor lights together so there no mix up for next year.  The same goes for any weather proof Christmas lights.
All Christmas light you use must have the UL seal on the package. This means the lights meet the American National Standards.

The cords or more importantly the connections where your light cord and extension cord should not sit on the ground where water can gather to create a puddle, snow or ice.

Understand the Christmas lights themselves will not start a fire. It would be a damaged cord or overloaded outlet and extension cords which could start a fire so please make sure you do not overload your outlets.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Monday, November 26, 2018

How to secure the exterior or your home?

We are going into the holiday season and this is when families are busy and spending money. So you may not have the time or the money to invest in protecting your property. There are a few inexpensive ways you can protect your property which take a very little time and are very simple to complete.  I often post things you do to protect your home or apartment so check here often. I hope you can use the very common steps to protect your home.

The first is very simple secure your doors and windows this is where most burglars will check first.  They will test the doors and windows to see if they are secured. You want to make sure they are in working order when the weather changes wood and locks. This can be affect how they function and secure your property. You can invest in front doors security bars and window security bars to add a layer of protection for your entry points.

Please resist the urge to post on any social media outlet that new TV or furniture you just got for Christmas. When you place a post online you may have your settings on friends only but trust me when I tell you people talk and unfortunately, they may tell the wrong person about the new items you have in your home.  This will make your home more attractive to burglars especially if they think there is a big pay out for their effort.  I would also recommend any expensive items should not be visible from outside your home. 

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Walking to your car at night security

The seasons are changing its colder and the sun is sets early. So chances are if you are a college student or a person who works later you will be walking to your vehicle when it is dark. This is also the time when people start to get busy for the holidays traveling more. You must to take steps to keep yourself safe when walking to your car or when waiting for transportation such as Uber or mass transit.

The number one advice to stay safe is to be alert when walking to your destination. So stay off the cell phones!! When you are getting ready to walk to your car get your things together take time to get your keys in your hand pack your things if you are holding a bag or purse make sure to hold the item securely.  When you are walking to your car you should walk tall and stay the course if you appear to look weak or walk slowly you will make yourself a target.  Stay away from using headphones or wearing clothing that may limit your vision such as wearing a hood for example.

When you are at work if possible leave together when I leave my office at night I always try to leave with others I work with or students.  The path from your location to your care should be well lit so you should make a note of light poles in your parking area. When you enter your car make sure to lock the door and turn on the headlight immediately this will allow you to see anyone near your vehicle.

Lastly you should invest in a personal alarm such as an alarm key ring or a whistle. This way you could alert anyone around you if you are in trouble.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How to avoid the ATM skimming

The ATM skimmers are always a hot topic fraudsters show up when with their skimming device just before the start of the traveling season or the busy holiday season. So a while ago I wrote about what the ATM skimmer is and how it works. This is a post on how to avoid and identify an ATM that may have been tampered with. There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself from one of these devices from gaining access to your account.

The actual skimmer device is very flimsy so when you walk up to the ATM take a few moments to check the machine for anything out of the ordinary.  Look for marks such as glue or tape marks around the insert device and check for scratches. Sometimes they don’t get the color correct on the fake skimmer so look to make sure the card insert is the same color as the actual ATM. You can use the ATM next to the one you are about to use as a color guide.  Lastly pull on the card insert device if it comes loose that is not an ATM you want to use.

Once you have completed your check of the ATM then look for a box above the keyboard. Unfortunately wireless cameras have gotten smaller over the years and work very well so the camera can be almost anywhere on the ATM. You want to look for a small box or a hole in the ATM if you see a hole above the ATM keyboard chances are there is a camera and you do not want to use that ATM.

When selecting an ATM do not use an ATM that is rarely used.  For example if you have a bank that is off to the side that has very little traffic no very visible  or monitored daily you may want to avoid this ATM.  What the thieves look for is an ATM that is out of sight this way they can install the device and leave it for a period of time over the weekend. Once they have gathered some account information they will remove the device before Monday morning. Chances are your bank will not know they were a victim of the Skimming device until the start of the new week. 

So take some time to check the ATM before you use it

I hope this is helpful and please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal