Rihanna’s Home Targeted by Burglars

Chances are, if you own a $12 million home like Rihanna, someone with bad intentions is going to want a piece of it (or something in it). But you don’t need to be rich to be the target of a burglary. Millions of less extravagant homes are burglarized every year.

BET reports, “The singer’s Cali mansion, valued at $12 million, is equipped with a security system, including cameras along the private road leading up to it (and a sign that reads, ‘Smile, you’re on camera.’). The intruders were caught on tape, and although they were successful in trespassing, the would-be burglary was cut short when the break-in sounded off the alarm. The noise caused them to flee.”

“Equipped with a security system…the noise caused them to flee.” That statement warms the cockles of my heart.

Famous people are no strangers to home break-ins. Celebrities are targeted because of their notoriety and vast wealth. They also travel quite a bit, so their homes are often unoccupied. There’s even a movie about it, inspired by real events that took place in the Los Angeles area over five recent years. The Bling Ring is about a bunch of L.A. kids who rob celebrities’ homes. It started as a group of fame-obsessed teens who used social media to track celebrities’ everyday activities, such as when they were home and not home. They also determined what they wanted to steal from the celebs’ homes based on photos of their stuff the celebs posted on their social pages. When the Bling Ring (that’s the name they gave themselves) knew the celebs were out, that’s when they burglarized their homes.

I’ll guarantee you that the security systems the majority of celebrities have aren’t much more advanced than ones for everyday people; the technology is pretty much the same, and maybe because the owners have a bit more money the systems have a few more bells and whistles. So…be like a celebrity and get a home security system.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

The Legal Right to Delete Stupidity

Anyone who is online and has ever posted something or sent something or liked something has a regret or two. And if you don’t have a regret, you’re arrogant and pompous and think way too highly of yourself and your musings.

Anyway, recalling a digital boner isn’t always easy. And now, when you hit enter or send, it’s pretty much a lost cause. But a new California law aims to make it a tad easier…but honestly, I think it will be a false fix and make people think they have more control while again, they don’t.

Ars Technica reports, “California has put into place the first state law that requires companies, websites and app developers to give kids under the age of 18 the option to delete a post. The law (SB 568), which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown [and] takes effect on January 1, 2015, imposes onto web companies and app makers this new requirement.” The article goes on to quote the law, including what those firms will be required to do: “Provide clear instructions to a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s internet website, online service, online application or mobile application on how the user may remove or, if the operator prefers, request and obtain the removal of content or information posted on the operator’s internet website, online service, online application or mobile application.”

It’s a mouthful, but here’s the deal: digital is forever; digital is repeatable; digital can be copied and pasted; and digital is subject to screenshots, shares and forwards. Digital begins with you, but it never ends.

Deleting stupidity is like killing mosquitoes: It’s just a matter of time until you get bitten again. Being aware, smart and conscious about what you post online is using your noggin and playing it safe. Never post in anger or under the influence of mind-altering substances, as nothing you post in that state of mind ever reads right sober. Trust me on that one.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Good Heavens! Churches are Big Targets for Burglars

Is nothing sacred? Well, no. Not even churches. Really, especially churches. The problem with churches, like any public place, is that by design, they are open for anyone to come in and worship at any time. But in the case of a burglary, they are open for a bad guy to scope the place out. And it’s no secret that churches collect money—and lots of it.

In Pennsylvania, the Titusville Herald reports three state police agencies are investigating suspected burglaries at more than six churches after several local churches were struck by a rash of burglaries over one weekend—and most of the burglaries happened without any forced entry.

Investigators believe more than one person was involved due the weight of the items stolen, including a big, heavy safe. All of the burglaries included some kind of lockbox or safe being stolen. Some were at night, and some were in the day. No security alarms were activated. The article doesn’t mention the presence of any security cameras on site, either.

It’s pretty simple: If you are an establishment that is open to the public and you have cash in a safe or lockbox or have valuables on hand that can be sold or fenced on the black market (or even metal of any kind that can be sold at a scrap yard), then you need to beef up your security and stop thinking, “It can’t happen to us.”

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Scammers Use Online Calendars to Phish Victims

You’ve been here before: You’re at work, you get a notification via a popup, then an email, then a text reminding you of an appointment on your calendar. For most busy professionals, this is pretty normal because you know you need multiple points of contact to remind you of your schedule so you don’t look like a fool and miss an appointment. Online calendars rock, and they beat the heck out of paper calendars.

But this particular appointment that just popped is unfamiliar, you don’t recall making it, and you wonder if maybe it’s a mistake or you had too many Scotches last night. It shows up in your calendar like this:

When: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11am – 12pm Eastern Time

Calendar For Robert Siciliano

Dear Robert,

Writing with humanitarian heart, my name is Mrs. Rita Kennedy, and I was married to Mr. Kennedy director of MWB Industries Cote d’Ivoire. We were married for years with only one child, who was 11 years old, our only daughter Grace. My husband died after a Cardiac Arteries Operation and left both me and little Grace.

Recently when I went for medical examination my doctor told me that I might not last for the next Eight months due to my cancer at this advanced stage (cancer of the liver and partial stroke). Before my husband died last year, there is this sum of ($6.4 Million US Dollars) that my late husband deposited with a Bank here In Ivory Coast. Presently this fund is still in the Vault of the Bank.

Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to any good God fearing brother or sister that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. Going by my health unstable state, I am only worried about little daughter Grace and what will her life be if I die, this is why I am looking for any God fearing whom I will entrust both Grace and the money and secure her future. I prayed for one who will use this money according to the desire of my late husband to make sure that Grace is given the best and is being looked after the way we would have done for her if we were alive.

I want you to always remember me in your daily prayers because of my up coming surgery, and please after reading this letter, indicate on what you could do to help.

Hoping to read from you ASAP
Mrs. Rita Kennedy

SOOOOOOOOOOO…. Now while this particular calendar appointment is an obvious Nigerian 419 scam, not all are this obvious. So beware.

The goal here is for the victim to respond, engage with and ultimately pull money out of one’s pocket in an “advanced fee” scam. But really, all you need to do is ignore and delete.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Apple Makes Life Harder for iPhone Thieves

You probably know that iPhones are high on the wish list of thieves all over the country—so much so that data from the New York City Police Department reveals that iPhone and iPad thefts have soared 40 percent compared with the same period last year, according to CNET. A total of 11,447 cases of stolen Apple devices were reported to the city’s police, an increase of 3,280 over the last year.

Apple has been paying attention, and the new iOS7 has made it difficult for a thief to sell or reuse that stolen phone. This is because of a feature that prevents a wiping/resetting of the phone without the user’s Apple ID.

Here’s how: iPhone users who upgrade receive an email explaining how the new theft deterrent works, along with information on what to do in the event someone sells or transfers an iPhone to another party. It looks like this:

Dear Apple iPhone Customer:

Congratulations on your update to iOS 7. As an iCloud user, part of your upgrade includes new features built into Find My iPhone that make it harder for anyone else to use or sell your device if it is ever lost or stolen.

With Find My iPhone turned on in iOS 7, your Apple ID (email@xxxx.com) and password will always be required before anyone can:

•           Turn off Find My iPhone on your device.

•           Erase your device.

•           Reactivate and use your device.

There is nothing you need to do except to keep Find My iPhone turned on and remember your Apple ID and password. For more information, read the FAQ.

Note: As always, if you plan to give your device to someone else, make sure to erase all content and settings before transferring it to the new owner. This will remove the device from your account and allow the new owner to activate it. For more information, read What to do before transferring ownership of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

How to Protect Your Information Online

5DEvery week I receive emails from people asking how they can protect their privacy online. It seems like there have been more and more data security breaches, and therefore awareness about the potential to have our information exposed is growing. In fact half of us worry about the amount of personal information about us that is available online compared to only 33% who were concerned about this in 2009.

recent Pew survey found that 86% of Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email. And while most of us would like to be anonymous online, most of know that this is not always possible. Some other startling facts from the study:

21% of Internet users have had an email or social networking account hijacked, and 11% have had vital information like their Social Security number, bank account data or credit cards stolen

13% of Internet users have experienced trouble in a relationship between them and a family member or friend because of something the user posted online

6% have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online and 4% have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online

Yet even though we want to keep our information private, most of us still knowingly post information online. The study found that half of us knew that our birth date was available online, and a whopping 30% knew that their home address was available online. And what else was revealing was that 26% of us didn’t’ feel that it was that important if people knew our location when we were online.

So while we may be concerned with privacy, there’s also a discrepancy in terms of what we have posted online or what we consider private or personal. Of course, this is a personal choice, but we should all be aware of things we can do to protect our information online, especially since it is not always in our control.

Be careful what you share online: Do what you can to control what information you reveal about yourself online. You should think about the Internet as akin to writing in permanent pen…once it’s there, it’s there forever.

Be cautious about where you give your information to: In today’s world a lot of information about us that is available online is not something that we posted ourselves. So think twice when giving your information, even if that’s in paper form since most employers, medical offices, etc, keep your information in electronic format and also what information you actually give out.

Lock down your privacy settings: Make sure you know how to use the privacy settings on social media sites, email, and other online applications and don’t connect with anyone you don’t know in the offline world.

Be careful what you download: Know what you are downloading, whether that be a photo from a friend or that fun new app for your smartphone. Many apps access information on your mobile device that you may not know about so make sure you check the permission it is accessing.

Keep your devices clean: Use comprehensive security on all your devices (not just your PCs) like McAfee LiveSafe™ service  and keep your devices’ operating systems and browsers up-to-date to protect your information online.

Use tools to help keep protect your privacy: You can use things like browsing in “incognito” mode or clearing your cookies. You should also make sure that you don’t have your browser set to “remember me” or your apps set to automatically log you in. That way if anyone else uses your computer or gets a hold of your mobile device, they can’t access that information.

While we can’t control everything about us that is online, we can be proactive about what information we post online about ourselves and what information we give out.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.

Selling Your Smartphone? Beware of Stowaway Data

5WUpgrading your mobile device? It has become standard practice to upgrade to a newer device every one to three years. And when doing so, people often sell, donate or discard the old one. The goal is often to sell the old one to make up the difference in cost for the new one.

However, I conducted a test in which I purchased a bunch of used devices off of Craigslist and eBay to see if I could still find personal data on them. I found a startling amount of personal data, including photos, phone numbers, addresses, emails, text messages and even passwords.

While most of us would think we are safe if we do a factory reset on our mobile device, this is not always the case. On some Android phones, even though some of the phones’ owners had done a factory reset, I was still able to find data on them. Here’s how to get your devices squeaky clean:

  • Wipe your phone: For mobile phones, you want to do a factory reset. The software to do this is built into the phone.
    • Android factory reset: Menu > Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset.
    • iPhone factory reset: Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.
    • Blackberry factory reset: Options > Security Options > General Settings > Menu > Wipe Handheld.
    • Windows 7 phone factory reset: Settings > About > Reset Phone.
    • On any other operating systems or Symbian-based phones, you will need to do a search on your phone online, such as, “Phone Name, Model Number, Carrier, Factory Reset.”
    • Remember to remove or wipe any media, like SD cards or SIM cards. These are so cheap, it’s better to cut them in half with a scissors or reuse them.
    • Still unsure if you’ve gotten all your data off? Get a drill and poke lots of holes in the device and its hard drive, or hit it with a sledgehammer. This may be lots of fun, but it also may make it less saleable. J

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

6 Tips on Securing Your Home From Those You ‘Trust’

5HThere are going to be times in your life when you will need to simply trust people who you let into your home for various reasons. People such as:

House cleaners: House cleaners get in the nooks and crannies of your home and have to be trustworthy. They see everything, they touch everything, and if they find your grandmother’s ring wedged behind the couch pillows, you want to trust that they will bring it to your attention.

Contractors: When bringing in a plumber to make a repair or install an appliance, or a carpenter, painter, electrician or anyone else, know that someone in one of these crews will be looking at your stuff as a week’s pay.

Babysitters or nannies: You not only trust them to come into your home, but you also are trusting them with your kids. Anyone you trust your kids’ safety with can do the most damage because they are SO trusted they think you aren’t paying attention at all.

Roommates: Living with someone requires the utmost trust. But what makes you think that dude you found on Craigslist is actually 100 percent honest and upfront with you?

The New York Post reports, “A real-estate agent sold an Upper West Side town house to the owner of an art gallery—then allegedly looted the home of more than $500,000 in high-end goods when the victim and her family were away in the Hamptons.” One source reported, “He has a drug and gambling problem.”

Well, there you go. Drugs make nice people bad people. Drugs make honest people liars. And some people just come out of their mamas as liars and bad guys.

So what does a trusting person do?

  1. Background checks: Before letting anyone into your home, make sure the employer has done a background check and you do one on a roommate or nanny. But just because the person has a clean record doesn’t mean his or she isn’t smoking a little crack here and there. So…
  2. Drug testing: Insist on drug testing for anyone who enters your home—especially if that person is taking care of your kids. But people can scam a drug test, and some people who don’t do drugs are just plain liars. So…
  3. Get a safe: Put all your valuables into a safe that is bolted to the floor. You can also remove your valuables and/or put them into a safety deposit box. Insure everything, too. But it’s not always convenient, practical or possible to remove everything. So…
  4. Install security cameras: Security cameras tied into a home security system that can be monitored from your mobile device allow you to keep an eye on things. You can even point to the cameras when you leave and joke with the contractor and do the dual finger point and say in your best Robert DeNiro voice, “I’m watching you, Focker.” But cameras don’t always “prevent” someone from stealing something, but they do act as a deterrent. So…
  5. Lock off certain rooms: Installing interior door locks will prevent someone from simply walking into a bedroom or office and rummaging through your stuff. But anyone with a leg and a foot can easily kick in a bedroom door. So…
  6. Cross your fingers, hope and trust: You should do all of the above to add multiple layers of security to your home, even when protecting your stuff from those you trust. Trust is overrated; we do it too much. But still, we wouldn’t be able to function in an interdependent society without it. Just sayin’.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Celebrate Cybersecurity with Intel and McAfee Lifehacks

During National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), Intel and McAfee are reaching out to digital citizens to come up with and share their favorite lifehacks. Lifehacks are tips and tricks to make life easier, more productive, interesting and just plain fun. Lifehacks are usually cheap or free and sometimes put money in your pocket. Best of all lifehacks are creative and often inspirational.

To celebrate NCSAM, Intel and McAfee are providing digital security lifehacks to get you on the fast track to online security.

Here’s a lifehack example: To get the best pricing when searching for airfare prices online, use the private browsing mode. Why?  I’m told that when searching online for airfare prices that the websites place tracking codes (known as cookies) on our computers or mobile devices so when we revisit those sites again to check if prices have changed, those sites already know the original prices we were quoted.

Here’s another one: Use single-use credit cards online. Why? When shopping online, you could be exposed to credit card theft if your computer is compromised or the site you are shopping on is not safe. A one-time use credit card is just that—it only works the one time you use it. It’s perfect for online shopping—even if someone hacks that credit card number, it won’t be valid any other time.

If your online privacy is important to you, why not take this month to share what you’ve learned with those you care about. To get involved and enter to win a free Ultrabook™ and McAfee LiveSafe™ subscriptions, go to mcafee.com/lifehacks to find more lifehacks to share.

This October, stay proactive in protecting yourself from the hackers, or you just might find scary things happening at your own computer, smartphone or tablet. To join the conversation, follow #HackYourLife on Twitter for more tips and updates.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.


5 rules for using coffee shop WiFi

In order to compete with the likes of the chain coffee shops and now fast food joints, just about every coffee shop or small restaurant is supplying its clients with free WiFi. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t understand the rules of life as far as “give and take” in that you’ve got to give a little to get a little; they, unfortunately just take. They’re WiFi-sucking vampires who have no class and sit there for five hours and buy nothing.

You can’t walk into a coffee shop today and not see some guy taking up a table for four hours. He invariably has a laptop, tablet, mobile phone and even a mini printer all plugged into a power strip that he brought and plugged into one of few outlets in the shop. He and everyone like him are bad, shameless people.

Here’s how to play by the rules and not get dirty:

Remember that nothing is free. Paid WiFi anywhere is a minimum of 10 bucks a day. The coffee shop is a business supported by its customers. If everyone sat down and took and didn’t give, the shop would fold. Give back and spend at least five or 10 bucks for every mealtime you are there.

Minimize your impact. You are one person and should take up one chair, and maybe a small table. Bags go on the floor, not on chairs. Don’t hog bandwidth by downloading torrents.

Share. Only use an outlet if you absolutely need it. If you plug into an outlet, then precede that plug with a three-way power splitter with open receptacles, and don’t use an obnoxious power strip. When you see people looking to plug in, be kind enough to allow them to piggyback. They won’t ask, so offer.

Be quiet. Turn the sound off of your devices. Put your mobile on vibrate. When calls come in, speak softly as possible (really, just shut up; you’re very, very annoying). Better yet, suggest your would-be callers IM you instead. I’d tell you to walk outside, but…(see tip #5).

Think security. While you may become comfortable in your environment over time, don’t get up and leave any devices unattended while you go to the lav. They WILL be stolen. Know that free WiFi is unprotected WiFi, and your data is visible to anyone within 500 feet of the establishment. Use a virtual private networking application to encrypt your wireless communications.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.