Myth: Apple Products Don’t Get Viruses

Have you ever bitten into an apple and found a worm? I have, and it’s yummy! Anyway, how many times have you heard, or even said, “I won’t get that computer virus because I have a Mac”?  While Mac users tend to feel somewhat insulated from viruses, it’s time for anyone who owns an Apple computer, iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device to listen up.

The growing popularity of Apple products has inspired cybercriminals to create viruses that will harm Macs. Until now, Macs have been immune to these threats, but McAfee Labs is seeing the very first wave of fake programs targeted at Mac users. In other words, there are an increased number of programs known as “scareware,” which claim to protect users from viruses, but users who attempt to install the supposed antivirus software are actually downloading malicious software. This malware can damage the user’s computer or compromise personal information, including banking details.

Mac users are also equally susceptible to phishing and other social engineering scams, if not more so, since they may have an inflated sense of security that can lead to riskier behavior.

It’s important for Mac users to be aware of these emerging threats and take the appropriate precautions.

To avoid becoming a victim, download Mac updates as soon as they’re available, so you’re protected from these latest threats.

Never download or click on anything from an unknown source.

When searching the web, use the safe search tool, which tells you if a site is safe to click on or not, right in your search results.

Keep your computer safe by installing security software.

With more than 11 million victims just last year, identity theft is a serious concern. McAfee Identity Protection offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your financial accounts. Educate and protect yourself by visiting

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him explain how to protect yourself from identity theft on (Disclosures)


Dumb Home Invaders Busted Using Victims Mobile

Here is why home security systems are absolutely essential. A homeowner in South Carolina is sleeping when he hears a loud banging noise. He gets out of bed to investigate and comes face to face with a man in his home wearing a ski mask. Question: Do they have snow in South Carolina? Do they ski?

Anyway, the home invader drops the man to his knees and sticks a gun in his ear. Then the victim’s girlfriend get a gun stuck in her ear as they both stayed on their knees at gun point while the home invaders ransacked the house.

The home invaders stole their mobile phones, and their games including Wii, Nintendo, Xbox, two pistols and three shotguns along with cash and jewelry.

Based on the score I bet the victims knew the home invaders. Luckily for the victims the home invaders left without any additional violence.

The home invaders used one of the victims’ cell phones later on that day. What the dumb criminal probably didn’t realize is mobile phones have GPS and location based data that can allow anyone including the police to trace the phone location pretty accurately.

Police staked out the location which was a motel and saw two men who fit the home invaders description then searched their room and found the victims stuff.

Technology is great. It helped catch these criminals, and this wasn’t the first time a cellphone has help police carch a criminal, in Maryland another dumb criminal was caught after leaving behind charging phone.

However technology in the form of a home alarm could be used better to proactively prevent this. While the victim isn’t responsible for getting invaded, they are in the best position to prevent it.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussingADT Pulse on Fox News Live. Disclosures

Doggy Door: Easy Burglar Penetration

Many years back I lived on a peninsula north of Boston in a small ocean view cottage. The band “Talking Heads” apparently lived there years earlier when they were starting out.  There’s a song or two they wrote that references the area. It’s a very cool place. The kind of place people think you can leave the doors unlocked and windows open. It’s famous for “Ipswich Clams” if that rings a bell. I’ve been known to dig a few bushels or pecks.

Anyway regardless of the fact it was off the beaten path and a relative “safe” area I still had a home security alarm system.  I’m not one to take chances. Even though it was “safe” a local kid who develops a drug problem can make a mess of things trying to get his next fix.

While living there I had “Niki”. She was a protective German shepherd Husky mix and probably the sweetest animal that has ever lived and was very very intelligent. Where I lived there was very little auto traffic and she was smart enough to avoid cars so I built her a doggie door to let her come and go.  I’d sometimes get calls when I was at work (her tags had my number) that she had made her way to the beach and was sitting with someone at their lounge chair asking me if they could give her water. She was something else.

One weekend I went away with Niki and came home to a disaster in my house.  Cabinets were opened and stuff pulled out, a small dresser was knocked over there was papers and trash everywhere and then I noticed POOP!

A masked burglar broke in! And pooped! Then I saw paw prints! It was a raccoon! The little bugger spent the weekend at my house and got in through the doggie door. The next night I waited for that burglar, all night, and I caught him. I made a hat. But that’s another story.

The Boston Globe reported a pair of teens were arrested and charged with breaking and entering through a doggie door. Police said the two suspects stole two iPods, prescription pills and $100 cash from the house. The teens were arrested after police arrived at the home following a call from a neighbor.

Obviously a doggie door is easy entry. If you have one you can still have a home security system, but you’d have to turn the motion sensors off if you have a larger dog. Installing security cameras set to alert of an intruder is a good option. Adding outdoor signage would act as another layer of protection.

Niki died 6 years ago. She was 15. She is missed.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussingADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

Financial Institutions Can Protect Their Clients Using “Defense in Depth”

Back in 2005, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) made security recommendations for banks and financial institutions in response to the increase of cybercrime. Since then, banks have implemented most, if not all, of these guidelines, and cyber criminals have responded by challenging each layer of security, by exploiting different technologies or coming up with new hacking techniques.

The latest security recommendations strongly suggest a layered or “defense-in-depth” approach, which the National Security Agency defines as a practical strategy for achieving Information Assurance in today’s highly networked environments. It is a “best practices” strategy in that it relies on the intelligent application of techniques and technologies that exist today. The strategy strikes a balance between the protection capability and cost, performance, and operational considerations.

The FFIEC recommends that financial institutions replace simple device identification with complex device identification, which most banks had already implemented long ago. Therefore, the next evolution of security is device reputation management, incorporating geolocation, velocity, anomalies, proxy busting, browser language, associations, fraud histories, and time zone differences. iovation, an Oregon-based security firm, offers this service and more.

The FFIEC also recommends that financial institutions replace challenge questions, which are often fact-based questions, and can be easy to figure out with the use social networking data, with “Out of Wallet” (OOW) questions that don’t rely on publicly available information.

Challenge questions include, “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” “What’s your Social Security Number?” “What are your kids’ names?” or “When were you born?” OOW questions are generally opinion-based, such as, “What is your favorite vacation spot?” “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?” or “What is your favorite book?”

Keir Breitenfeld, Senior Director of Experian Decision Analytics recently joined Device Reputation pioneer and leader, iovation, for a webinar presentation addressing the FFIEC guidelines.  You can listen to his presentation on applying proportional treatment to risk-based authentication efforts and dynamically managing credit and non-credit data questions to mitigate fraud via the webinar.

Ultimately, financial institutions must implement a layered approach to security. iovation’s device reputation service is a must-have layer that contributes greatly to a defense-in-depth approach, assessing risk throughout multiple points on an institution’s website.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses credit and debit card fraud on CNBC. Disclosures

Beware Of Home Deed Scams

Home property deeds are documents showing home ownership and provided to home buyers and certified by county clerks or registrars after closing on a home purchase.  Deeds are generally public records and available for free or a small fee at the state or country registrar’s office.

There 2 types of deed scams. The first involves the fraudulent sale of deed documents and the second involves the fraudulent sale of actual homes by forging deeds.

In the course of a person’s life they may never own or only own 1-2 homes. After a purchase their deeds may sit in a drawer or at a lawyer’s office or live online never to be seen again. Like an automobile title, we sometimes lose track of property deeds and don’t adequately protect these important documents.

Rogue document sales: Deeds are the perfect document to be used as a tool by scammers. Because of the legal aspect and generally obscurity of a deed, scammers pose as government agencies such as “The U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center” and will send out letters or emails targeting homeowners recommending home owners get official copies of their deed. However only the registrar or clerk’s office can issue a certified copy and these scammy companies often charge as much as 1000% more than what a clerk will charge.

Stealing your home: When criminals “steal your home” they are essentially selling the home to a real buyer who is being defrauded.  Criminals will often break into summer homes or vacant homes and change the locks. They will list the property and go through an official closing. While there are checks and balances in place such as title searches, criminals simply forge documents and tell lots of lies.

To protect yourself from someone stealing your home when traveling for an extended period or from stealing a second home start with installing a home alarm security system. Having a monitored alarm and security cameras is definitely one layer of protection.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Do You Own a Safe? Why Not?

Approximately two million homes are burglarized every year. That’s one home every fifteen seconds or so. Police only catch one out of ten burglars, which means the bad guys do it over and over again. Burglaries result in over $4.5 billion in losses annually, or over $2000 for the average victim.

A safe can be had for under a hundred dollars, or up to several hundred, and can last forever.

You don’t need to be a convenience store, a jewelry store, or a bank to need a safe. If you keep money or credit cards in your house, you need a safe. If you have uninsured or uninsurable jewelry, you need a safe. If you have essential paper documents, like birth certificates, Social Security cards, insurance papers, stocks, bonds, or vehicle titles, you need a safe. Investing in a fireproof safe will also protect cash and valuables and save you the hassle of replacing important documents in case of a fire.

I’ve had four different safes over the past twenty years, because my needs have changed. While living at school and then in a small apartment, I had a portable, fireproof safe for documents and jewelry. (Yes, I wear gold jewelry, but that’s another story.) Then, when I owned a multifamily building, I upgraded to a medium-sized safe. And now that I have a family, I protect our belongings with a larger safe. There’s also a safe specifically for firearms, but we’ll get into that some other time.

I’ve always owned SentrySafe products . There are certain brands whose products always seem to work perfectly, right out of the box. Products that work so well, once you buy one, you’ll never have to replace it. That’s SentrySafe’s line of products.

SentrySafe is a family-owned business that has been making fire-resistant safes for over eighty years. I’m proud to be working with them on a campaign to introduce their new Big Bolt Safe. This little beast is sitting right here, bolted to my floor, as a handy thief repellent.

SentrySafe’s values — “Quality, Loyalty, Growth, and Innovation” — are evident in their products. These are terms I identify and agree with, as I’m German Shepherd-loyal, and innovation is what keeps my kids fed.

As a homeowner or apartment dweller, you know stuff happens. Your first concerns should be theft and fire prevention. You probably have home insurance, but instead of relying on a reactive solution to these issues, wouldn’t it be better to add a layer of protection, actively reducing your risk ahead of time, for a fraction of the cost of insurance? What do you think?

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe. See him Discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.