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

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Gang Awareness



I wanted to write this post for some time but since the gang climate is always changing its hard to identify certain aspects of gangs. We all know there is gang activity in the local areas and in most cases gangs are not segregated to the urban areas. There is a growing concern of gang activity all over America and the gang focus outside of the prison system is our children. They will target them early in the school system. The conversation about gangs with your children must occur often and early.

You want as a parent to look for early identifiers of gang influence in your home and on your child.
So we all know we must be aware of the colors however since the gangs know law enforcement is always on the lookout for colors the use of colors is reduced.  So you have to see the little things such as bandanas, beads, belts, hats jeweler etc. the little things. Some symbols and numbers the larger gangs use a five or six pointed star or crowns, the three dots triangle and numbers etc. The social media is something you should monitor when you can here is where you will be able to see what types of friends your child has and what music or movies are influence them. If you see a change in behavior such as a withdrawing from family activities or staying out late without a reason an unusual desire for secrecy.  A sudden negative attitude about law enforcement or a negative change in viewpoint about school or church A disconnect from long time friendships.   There are much more but this is some of the warning signs there might be something you want to look into.

So how can you help and prevent your child from being influenced by any gang. It is important to communicate early what your feelings are about gangs. You should always make an effort to get to know your children’s friends and their parents. Always check and be familiar with internet activity a good way to do this is keeping all devices in a common area this way you can monitor the online activity at any time. Provide guidance on peer pressure for your children and set limits and firm consequences for any misbehavior.  Always plan family time together this is important.

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Water safety for kids



I was watching the news and saw a video of a toddler who climbed a closed pool latter with little difficulty.  After some research I found that according to the CDC children age one or under drown in a bathtub or toilet, children between the ages 1 -4 drown in swimming pools or hot tubs. All other children such as teenagers drown in natural water settings i.e lakes or pools. I wanted focus on pool safety first since this is the one that prompted this post. I was very unaware of how often accidental drowning occur every year in the United States. 

So when you have a pool or a hot tub that a great luxury but a tremendous responsibility especially when you have a toddler at home. So know this there are some basic guidelines you must follow when you have a pool or hot tub at home furthermore this is not just restricted to pools or hot tubs you have to be aware of tall buckets, bathtubs, toilets and kiddie pools.

The kiddie pools and buckets are easy when you store them they should be stored empty and upside down so they could not contain any water inside. Close toilet seats and use toilet seat locks to prevent accidental drowning. The best way would be to keep bathrooms secured and off limits for toddlers. Any home pools or hot tube should have a fence around the area so that no one could access the pool. Any pool ladders should be locked and secured although as I saw on the news this is not a sure way to keep your children safe from an accidental drowning.

The best and only way to prevent this type of accident is to watch your kids!  Keep an eye on them without being distracted they should be at arm’s reach at all times around water.

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

Mark Carbajal

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Facebook Bug



In June of this year it was reported that a bug affected over 800,000 users.  This bug caused to unblock users on your blocked list without your knowledge for a temporary period of time. The ability to block someone is very important for many reasons but more importantly to add a layer of protection for your privacy. Since the bug was discovered according to published reports the bug was discovered and repaired.  This brought to mind how important it is to review all your social media accounts security settings from time to time.

We have to be proactive in protecting our information on all social media platforms. We must take time to review our security settings periodically to make sure all blocked persons and settings have not been changed Facebook once again demonstrates how little they focus on protection of our personal information.

First enable a multi-level authentication this should be implemented for not only all your social media platforms but for all your internet enabled devices. This is a layer of protection often overlooked by many end users especially with the ease of clicking your profile picture and accessing your account.

Your passwords for all your accounts must not be the same. I would highly recommend using passphrases instead of passwords. You would have an easier time remembering a passphrase then a password. I wrote about how to create a passphrase in a previous post. 

The one thing all social media platform do well is provide us with many ways to secure your account. You can customize how and who can view your profile. I would take the time to check all your security setting to make sure they are set to your preference and functioning as you want them too.

Lastly clean out your friends list. This is very important all your friends, followers or connection must be reviewed to make sure they should be on your list. Having a person who should not be on your list of contacts could have the potential to be damaging to your personal life and professional life. The more persons you have on your list the more access you allow to fraudsters or to compromise your accounts.

I hope this is helpful to you as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Utility scam



So we are in the summer months and this is when utility scams are common occurrence. What is more upsetting is the target tends to be the elderly.  You are home, you see a nice well dress person at your door they may even be dressed in a uniform. When you answer the door they want to see your utility bill to review it because your bill is either over charged or they just want to save you money by switching over to their company.  Your best bet is to answer the door, don’t open it and if they have any information they should leave it at the door or better yet email you any information they think might be helpful to you don’t give them your email address.  In some cases they are trying to get your account or personal information so they can use it for whatever purposes. Here are a few tips to be on the lookout for when a scammer may be at your door.  

First never assume a person with a uniform or who is well dressed is from the company. Always ask for identification. This is the only sure way to know they are from the company I would talk with them through the locked and closed door as well. Let them know you are home if you do not have a window or peep hole to check identification I would tell them to leave any information in your mailbox you will review it later. Just be clear you are not opening the door until they leave.

They may ask to see your last utility bill just to review it let be clear on this do not show them your bill. You have to protect your information beside if they are from the company they claim to be they should already have this information.  This person may be from another provider who might want to review your bill again I would not show them anything. I would recommend you become familiar with the local energy providers in your areas as well.

Anyone who you feel should not be at your door contact the local authorizes immediately. Remember if you see something say something

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal

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