Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tips for driving in the snow

First let me say when the weather is bad you should not be on the road. The roads are not safe and the road crew must be able to clear the roads of snow and in most cases they focus on the main roads first before they focus on the side streets. The reason is they want to make a path for emergency vehicles so they can respond to life threating issues. So again if at all possible please stay off the roads not for only your safety but the safety of the snow cleaning road crews as well. However in cases of emergency you may be forced to leave your home because of an emergency in which case you may have to drive in snowy conditions. So this post is only for driving in the snow because in cases of an emergency you may have to leave your home.

There is some prep work you must complete before any report of s snow storm you can call it what you winterizing your vehicle. You should make sure all is in working order your brakes, lights and all fluid level should be full. You should have a full tank of gas prior to the snow storm. Your tire pressure should be at factory recommended standards. Heavy trucks and front wheel drive vehicles will work better in the snow then rear wheel drive vehicles. The weight of the engine allows front wheel drive vehicle to gain better traction.  When you have completed this then you are ready to drive in the snow only if you have too.

By chance should you decide to drive in the snow you must drive slowly. I would say more slowly than you are use too. Please be aware everything takes longer in snow in ice conditions stopping and turning are much more difficult because you have less control of the vehicle. You have to give yourself enough room to maneuver so allow at least eight to ten seconds distance between cars.  You must be familiar with your brakes the best way to stop is by keeping your heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm pressure. Do not apply a full stop if at all possible when at a traffic light you should allow the vehicle to roll slowly enough until the traffic light changes.

You should plan your route from one point to another. When driving try and stay on flat surface roads as you would need a certain amount of acceleration to travel up and down hills and stopping could be a problem on a snow filled road.

Again I can’t stress this enough please stay off the roads this is advice in case you are forced to leave your shelter. The road must be clear for snow clean up to take place

I hope this was helpful please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

NFC security

An NFC or Near Field Communication is the technology which enables your smart device or phone to make wireless payments at the register through your phone. Although this is a very easy and convenient way to make a purchase this is also another access point in which hackers will attempt to penetrate to gain access to your personal and banking information.  The fortunate thing is as long as you use these basic security tips you can protect yourself from outside attacks at the point of sale. On a side note the ease of using NFC is a very secure way of making a payment at the point of sale.

The NFC can be turned on or off so when not in sue you should keep this application on your phone off. Some will allow you to enter a pass code prior to opening up this feature on your phone which will allow you to make a few transactions at a point of sale. So when you turn on the NFC option just make sure you remember to turn it off and keep it off when not in use.

These features are being updated all the time to defend against possible threats of eavesdropping so make sure you keep up with all regular update for your phone. Depending on your cell phone provider if you lose your phone you would have the capability to erase your banking information should your phone fall in the wrong hands. Other services when use a different layer of protection such as you provide your banking information on your application your debit or credit card information is never transmitted at the point of sale. A virtual account is created to represent your account information during the point of sale transaction.

Also remember in order for NFC to transmit the information you have to be very close to the point of sale devices basically centimeters apart so it would be difficult for someone to get that close to you enough to attempt to access your account through and NFC devices.

I hope this was helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Gym Safety

I‘ve always been a gym rat but I recently changed gym locations because they opened up a new gym very close to my house. So I decided to try it out and I can’t help but notice how many new people are going to the gym. I normally see new people in the gym after the holidays after January or February there is an increase in membership. About March there is a slight drop off on membership. I am sure there are reasons for this drop off the weather tends to be nicer so they may choose to work out in the outdoors. Whatever the reason is I think it is important to be safe in the gym to avoid injury. Since joining my new gym I have seen some new person get injured thankfully nothing serious but enough where they would have to give up physical activity for a while until they are healthy.

First, before you begin any fitness program inside a gym or at home you should see your doctor. Just as a rule you should get a yearly checkup anyway but definitely before joining a gym. You want to know if you have any conditions prior to starting any workout also the yearly checkup will let you know if you are on the right track health wise.

Do not skip a warm up or cool down after your workout. This is very important to avoid injury in the gym. Your warm up does not have to be long just 3 to 5 minutes this will allow the blood to flow bring your heart rate up slightly. A very easy warm up would be a walk on a treadmill for 3 minutes you want your muscle fibers to be loose. Also please take time to stretch.

When you are at the gym if you are lifting lighter is better. You want to have good form do not use too much weight in the beginning it better to take your time learn proper form. When you are doing cardio I start with a short period of time and extended the time as you feel more comfortable with the cardio routine.

When in doubt about any workout form or routine see a personal trainer. They will give advice for free most of the time and are happy to help and share their knowledge.

Lastly, keep the gym neat put weights back. I cannot tell you how many times I see people trip over weights left in the middle of the gym floor. Also please wipe down benches and machines, wiping down machines prevent colds or flu from spreading. 

I hope this is helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

How secure is Amazon Echo?

Let be the first to tell you that I love this thing. The Amazon echo is a voice activated device which allows you access to the internet with no need for a computer monitor or keyboard. She is really like a personal assistant she can make calls, store reminders, set timers and even order a pizza. I see this as the wave of the future of completing simple tasks. However just with any Internet of things device I worry about how secure the device is and if we can take the necessary steps to protect our information.

Well in a past post I wrote about the damages of the Mirai malware attack. This is when your wireless home devices is hijacked and used to attack a Domain Name System. So with this in mind I hope that not only amazon but other Internet Of Things devices companies take into account the need for strong security measures to protect all wireless activated the devices. So when your wireless device is in need of a software update to the application keep up with all updates.

The Echo device allows you to take some measures at the device level to protect your privacy. When you are not using the Echo device you can mute the device. This will prevent the Echo from listening to your conversations as the device is always on. When you use the device do not ask it to look into sensitive personal account information or do not connect sensitive accounts to the Echo device. I would eventually connect some simple accounts like Uber but I wouldn’t go any further. Lastly we have the ability to erase all old recordings from the device. You can do this from the Manage my device settings on the Alexa app.

In my opinion if you take these simple steps you will enjoy the Echo devices, the Echo plus comes with a HUB which will enable you to control other wireless devices in your home. I would be selective on what you would decide to connect to the Echo. Simple wireless devices like light bulbs or external plugs but cameras, locks and climate control I would hold off on stick to the old fashion way get up and turn it off or on yourself otherwise enjoy your new Amazon Echo. 

I hope this was helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bitcoin security

The new form of currency is bitcoin although there are many forms of Cryptocurrency Bitcoin seems to be the front runner in this industry. There are many who accept this form of payment for purchase of product so this is just advice on how to secure your bitcoin or any Cryptocurrency should you choose to invest in this form of currency. In my opinion it is growing at a very fast rate other forms are not too far behind Bitcoin whether you believe in it or not Cryptocurrency is here and so far it’s not going away anytime soon I can only provide an opinion on how to protect your investment.

The allure of Bitcoin is the security of the peer to peer transactions so by the nature of the transaction the bitcoin is secured. I will not discuss the Cryptographic protocols which are used to establish the agreement between the peers but just know that this form cuts out many in-between groups we see in a normal transaction such as credit card companies and banks. The Block chain technology verification process is amazing so there are fewer entities involved in the transaction process.

So when is there a chance for loss? It is how and where you decide to keep your bitcoin. There are a few options available to you in order to secure your bitcoin however you need to ask yourself a few questions. This would determine how you would prefer to secure your bitcoin. Do you live in an area where bitcoin is one of the forms of payment? If so then you need to use a mobile device to secure your Cryptocurrency and make purchases. So you would need a mobile wallet.

In my opinion the mobile device is the most secure method of storage. You can do some research on what mobile wallets are available they all work the same method there are paid version and free versions of the wallet. You download the wallet to your phone at which time you are provided a PIN and twelve key words. Should you lose your phone or need to remotely access your wallet you would need to know your PIN and twelve keywords this makes the mobile wallets extremely secure. I would highly recommend keywords be written down on a piece of paper laminated and secured in a safe. 

There are other web based wallets you can use but with all the possible virus laptops and desk to computer face on a daily basis this is not a method I would recommend. You do have the option to use a hardware wallet. This is a great method to secure your bitcoin off line. I would use this to secure my bitcoin if I had a large amount to secure. This would be like my bank in my pocket the hardware wallet look like a USB drive and functions just like an encrypted USB drive. 

So my rule would be use your mobile wallet like you would use as your regular wallet. You don’t keep your life savings in your pocket correct? So I would do the same I would have my much larger amount on my hardware wallet.

I hope this helps as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

What is Smishing ?

Unfortunately there are always new threats which come out daily but more so during the holiday season. The holiday season is a busy time everyone is making food, making purchases or making travel plans to visit loved ones.  This is one of the most wonderful times of the year but it is when most fraudsters will attempt to gain access to your personal accounts information.

So there is a form of fraud called smishing or SMS phishing which is gaining traction because of where the attack is focused. The purpose of the attack is to gain access to your personal banking/credit card account number and access to your PIN. How it works is you will get a text fraudulent text from a bank possibly a bank you are familiar with or well-known informing you that you have been the victim of a breach. In order to address the alleged breach you must contact a toll free number. When you call the perpetrator will ask for your PIN and account information so they can stop the alleged breach. 

Please do not fall victim to this attack, should you receive such a text contact your bank directly do not text or call the number back. 

Another form of smishing would be a text from an unknown number stating something like “we are confirming your sign up for some type of service” with a link attached the text will instruct you to use the same link to unsubscribe from the offer. If you are not sure what the source of the text is you should delete the text and block the text messages.  There are many applications you could download to protect your phone from possible infected SMS messages.

Please be safe from this threat this one is a little different because it targets your phone we all have a bad habit of answering messages immediately this time I ask you to take a moment to carefully monitor all your messages before you decided to open any attached link or respond.

Again I ask you to please to donate to Puerto Rico they still need our help

I hope this helps as always please leave a message

Mark Carbajal 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Crowd Safety Tips

It has become increasing clear we have to be more aware of our surroundings. I write this in the wake of the NYC attacks my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrible attack. We have done what we can to secure main venues from outside attacks but it is the soft gathering areas which have come to the attention of the terrorist. These mostly less secure areas are where they think that can shake our freedom. The NYC attack is a reminder on paying more attention of our surroundings so we can take the appropriate measures to protect ourselves.

When I use the term Crowd Safety Tips I mean “soft targets” or outside gathering areas for example concerts, transportation hubs, hotels, shopping malls and sports venues. Since these gathering areas typically have either no security or very little security at these events it can be a target for terrorist. When you decided to go out to a highly populated area please take a moment to be aware of where you are and who is around. I wrote a post on security steps you can take to protect yourself prior to attending a concert called “concert safety” I encourage you to check it out.

While traveling to work if you happen to uses mass transit take a moment to be aware of your surroundings, know your escape routes know who to contact in case of an emergency. Sometimes it might be a feeling something in your heart in your mind telling you something's not right. The “if you see something say something “campaign discusses this in more detail. 

The smallest thing can make a difference in your safety. If you see something you feel you should report contact your local law enforcement with the following information. What did you see? Who did you see? Where did you see it? Take pictures if you have to do what you must to record the activity. Local law enforcement needs our help to keep us safe.

I hope this helps as always please leave a comment

Mark Carbajal