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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Suspicious package awareness

The bombing in Texas just before the summer are a reminder we must all be vigilant when we see something we must say something and report it to local law enforcement. But what are we looking for? How do we know we have a suspicious package at our doorstep? There are a few signs you want to look out for when you receive a package or see a package at your workplace. Your workplace should have policies and procedures in place to help identify suspicious packages and how to report it.

Some of the signs you want to be on the aware of to help identify you have a possible suspicious mail. There is no return address the letter is sealed with tape, possibly mailed from a foreign country or excessive postage.

The signs you may have a suspicious package are oily stains, discolorations on the wrapper or on the box, excessive tape, a strange odor, if the address or name is incorrect, rigid or bulky on exterior of the package, the corners are lopsided or uneven, protruding wires.

So if you receive a suspicious package or mail at your home or work location first do not handle the package or mail. If you are in a room or office leave it alone do not open it secure the room if possible  to contact your supervisor or contact law enforcement. if you do handle it wash your hands with soap and water and leave the area.

It is my hope that situation like this never happen again but we must always be aware and informed in order to protect ourselves from any dangers.

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

Mark Carbajal 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What is Malvertising ?

I saw a recent article on how Botnets are hidden inside certain banner ads you see on line. What is troublesome is that they are hidden in legitimate website.  This type of malware is very hard to detect because it is covered in the protection of a legitimate website you visit.  So Malvertising is Malicouis advertising this is when malicious code is hidden in the ad.

The ad can take any form it could be a pop up or a banner ad. Once you select the ad the ad will redirect you to another page then your system will be attacked. You network or hardware system will have the malicious code installed. The ease of attaining this type of malicious code is not hard as it is available to anyone on the dark web in a bidding process.

So how do your protect your network from this type of attack? Frist you should make sure your pop up blacker is enabled on whatever browser you are using to surf the web. There is software available you can use such as pop up blocker as well you can use to stop ads from popping up on your device.

 Always update your antivirus software when necessary and lastly use some good web browsing security practices. When you see an ad which might appeal to you the nest protection is do not select the ad to view the item. Just do a web search for the item or product and go directly to the site of the item or product you wish to view. 

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Bathroom safety for seniors

We have to consider when we get older in life your body beings to weaken with age of if you are responsible for elderly parents this does not mean anyone should lose their independence .  We want to be able to care for our loved ones once they hit the golden years and often times planning ahead is never done. We have to remember we and our loved ones will age so we have to make the needed adjustments to ensure the home is equipped with all the safety devices we or they need to prevent injury. In most cases injury will happen in the bathroom of the home so here is a quick list of things to consider for bathroom safety.

You must start to develop some safety habits first such as leaving the bathroom light on at night not something you think would matter but an easy one to remember if a someone wakes up in the middle of the night this will make it much easier to find the bathroom. The faucets in the bathroom should be clearly marked or colored coded example red for hot and blue for cold. This takes the guess work out in the middle of the night when you have to use the faucet aside from clearly marked faucets your water heater temperature should be at a 120 or below this will protect from scalds.

Please make the investment to make the bathroom safe. Some of the items you should look into are skid proof mats with non-slip bottom, a shower chair and wall rails. The wall mounted rails should surround the bath tub and toilet area. The door lock must be locks which secure the door but can be opened from either side.

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

Mark Carbajal

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Small business security tips

As a small business owner I realize that the last thing you want to think about is security. You have so much to think about your sales, your product and bring real value to your customers. However you have to secure all the information you get from your customers and secure your business information as well. This will allow you to continue to provide services to you customer without interruption in anything you are doing to move your build or maintain your business.  The step I recommend or not expensive and focus on very easy things you can do to protect your business information.

The first tip is simple if you have employee makes sure they are aware of the basics when it comes to using the internet. All files related to your customers or vendors should be secured on an off line location. You could either use an external drive that you update weekly or as needed or the old fashion way. You print all documents used and place them in a safe. What is important is that you are securing the information offline.  This is where you should be backing up your file as well on an external device so you can recover any lost information in the event of a cyberattack or natural disaster event such as a fire or flood.

Another minor thing but very important is having employees create strong unique password for any accounts used to conduct business. There are many times when you see employees use easy to remember password to gain access to work computers. If you need help in creating a password please review my blog post on using passphrases instead. They are longer more difficult but very easy to remember.  You should limit access to accounts as needed such as end users and admins.
Always schedule update to all your servers and computers. All companies are looking for ways to secure your devices in most cases aside from a new user interface they always update for pending cyber attacks as well.

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

Mark Carbajal

Friday, September 14, 2018

Facial recognition phone security

There are many way to secure your phone and the latest and greatest is facial recognition. This technology has been available for a while now however now they have been able to ensure the technology will function enough to secure your phone.

Although Facial recognition sound cool let me say on the onset there are many ways which you can use to secure your phone, fingerprint, passcode and patterns. All in my opinion are much more secure then facial recognition. The technology used to check the face is your front facing camera. In order to hack this you would need a way to trick the camera that it is the owner. So think about the technology available today. You have social media account chances with your profile picture on it already printers which continues to improve with every update so this bring be pause on using  any type of Facial recognition to secure anything. However recent test of the facial recognition have indicated this would be near impossible to accomplish.  

So the question is should you use facial recognition to unlock your phone? I always when writing about security recommend a layered approach to securing your device. You keep so much information such as banking, pictures and email accounts on your phone. So I view facial recognition as one layer of security.  So I would use facial recognition as one of the layers of security. So I would use it in combination with the other methods which have proven over time to keep your device secured such as the ones I stated earlier in this opinion piece.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal