Your Kids Digital Lives Are in Shambles

If you have a teenager, you probably have a battle in play: do you or do you not manage your teens mobile devices. Though some parents see this as an invasion of their child’s privacy,(which, frankly, is stupid) there are many reasons why you should start managing what they are doing online.

Robert Siciliano Quora BreachSome of these reasons make a lot of sense. Mainly, what your kid does at age 17 and under, is your responsibility, or in essence, your fault if they screw up. If they send a nude photo, that’s child porn, and that will come back to bite YOU and them.

And, the research data is out there, for instance, a teenager who has limits on how long they can sit on their phone will be better prepared to get into the real world because they can focus and unplug. Many people believe and research strongly suggests that too much screen time leads to addiction, which could definitely negatively affect the life of the child. There is also the fact that spending too much time on one activity, such as watching endless YouTube videos, causes other responsibilities to suffer. This leads to poor time management skills.

Time management is crucial for a child to develop in the younger years. Even the CEO of Microsoft believes that people are spending too much time focused on the screen. Microsoft actually did a study that showed the average attention span of a human is only about 8 seconds; shorter than a goldfish.

What does this tell you as a parent? It means that it might be time to teach your kids how to better manage their time and to avoid distractions from their cell phones. The best results start when they are younger, but it could still be worth it trying to enforce this as they get older. If not, you could see that your kids are being passed by others as they get older; others who know how to focus their attention.

Most parents don’t enforce these types of things because they don’t want to fight with their kids over it. They know that there is going to be a battle, and they are probably fighting their kids about other things, too, so they don’t want to add onto that.

If you are thinking about doing this, but having second thoughts, don’t think about it as a punishment for your child. Instead, think about it as time that they will have to focus on other things. You also might want to try it yourself and spend more time with them. Though you might not even realize it, many adults have issues with too much screen time, too, and this change could be positive for your entire family.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Your Real Estate Agent May Have a Gun

If you are thinking of buying a house, and you start going to open houses, you might be surprised to learn an interesting fact: the real estate agent might be carrying a gun. Some of you reading this might have jumped to this article looking for a fight, because in M’erka guns are a controversial subject and why shouldn’t your real estate agent have a gun?

Real estate agents find themselves in precarious situations all of the time. They also might have to travel into neighborhoods that aren’t as safe as your typical bedroom communities. There are wayward dogs to contend with, random robberies, and the chance that a visitor to an open house has malicious thoughts. A real estate agent was killed in Maryland not too long ago and his killer stole his laptop and phone. He was killed for $2,000.00 in hardware by this shithead with the money on his face.

When you think about it this way, it’s no wonder that a real estate agents might feel the need to protect themselves.

The Statistics

Let’s look at some statistics: The National Association of Realtors released a report that states 25% of real estate agents who are male carry guns when on the job. Other real estate agents report that they carry other weapons, too, even if they don’t carry guns. Whether you are a fan of guns or not, you can certainly see why some Realtors feel the need to protect themselves.

The fact that 25% of male Realtors carry a gun is only the tip of the iceberg. The NAR report also says that more than half of all Realtors, both male and female, carry a weapon of some type to every showing. Here’s a brief synopsis:

  • Pepper Spray – 27% of female Realtors and 5% of male Realtors
  • Guns – 12% of female Realtors and 25% of male Realtors
  • Pocket Knife – 5% of female Realtors and 11% of male Realtors
  • Taser – 7% of female Realtors and 2% of male Realtors
  • Baton or Club – 3% of female Realtors and 3% of male Realtors
  • Noisemaker – 3% of female Realtors and 0% of male Realtors

Why are Realtors Afraid?

So, why are so many Realtors afraid enough to carry a weapon? First, there is the fact that approximately 3% of Realtors report being physically attacked when on the job in 2016. Though may that seem like a low number to some (too high for me), you have to understand that the overall rate in the country is about 2%, which means Realtors have a higher chance of being physically assaulted when compared with the average US citizen.

The reasons real estate agents feel the need to protect themselves is even more clear. In fact, many Realtors report that they are fearful of going to work each day. An astounding 44% of female Realtors told the NAR that they were worried about going to open houses in model homes and vacant lots.

Here’s some more stats:

  • 44% of female Realtors were afraid at some point in 2017 when on the job
  • 25% of male Realtors were afraid at some point in 2017 when on the job
  • 38% of all Realtors were afraid when in a small town
  • 35% of all Realtors were afraid when in a rural area
  • 39% of all Realtors were afraid when in an urban area
  • 40% of all Realtors were afraid when in a suburb

Knowing this, it’s certainly not surprising that a Realtor would carry a gun. HOWEVER, the problem with all this gun slinging is most people, regardless of their profession aren’t properly trained to “fight” with a gun. That means being trained to use a firearm under duress. I’m not talking about gun safety or target shooting, I’m talking about if you are being attacked, do you know how to respond with a gun if someone is coming after you? So to my Real Estate Agent friends and all others, seek out “Stress Response Training” and Firearm and get properly trained.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Serial Killer Claims 90 Lives

This story is entirely messed up. A man was recently convicted of three murders in California, and he is suspected of being involved in several more. He claims that he has been involved in killing 90 people across the county over almost 40 years.

Siciliano Maryland Agent DeathThis man, Samuel Little, is now 78-years old, and was booked into jail after being indicted in the death of a Texas woman in 1994. He was brought to Texas from California to face charges. While in Texas, investigators from across the county have come to talk to Little about other murders. Though he claims 90 murders, right now, investigators can connect him to about 30.

If he truly has killed 90 people, it would make him one of the most, if not the most, prolific serial killer in United States history. Even Ted Bundy’s and John Wayne Gacy’s killings were numbered in the 30s.

There are links from Little to murders in Kentucky, Florida, Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas.

The Texas Rangers are now focused on the case and say that Little has admitted to about a dozen killings in Texas. They are holding Little in a Texas jail on murder charges, and he has a court hearing scheduled for November 26th.

Interestingly enough, Little got away with these murders for decades. It wasn’t until DNA evidence was collected from old crime scenes did investigators start to connect the dots. He was first convicted in 2014 for killing three women in California. Local Los Angeles detectives believed that Little was, indeed, a serial killer at that time, but he had previously only been convicted of other crimes, including armed robbery, drug violations, burglary, and assault. Until the DNA evidence was available, they could not connect him to the crimes.

Little focused on both men and women victims but had a common method of killing the women. He would knock them out by punching them, and then begin strangling them to death while pleasuring himself. WTF! When the women were dead, he would dump the bodies and immediately leave town.

He has lived a life of crime. He was raised by his grandmother, and his first arrest, which was for burglary, occurred when he was 16-years old. Though he has had many convictions for crimes since then, he has always denied killing anyone…until now. Investigators believe that Little figures he has nothing to lose at this point, since he is already serving a life sentence in California. Since there will probably be more charges coming to Little, hopefully investigators will find out the truth of his crimes.

Some people just cone out their momma BAD.

So what to do? Recognizing risk begins with “recognizing risk”. In other words, it can happen to you and you should be proactive and do something about it opposed to saying “it can’t happen to me.” Once you engage in the fundamentals of personal security, your risk is reduced.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

The Master List of 2018 Breaches

The Master List of 2018 Breaches

2017 was a record setting year for data breaches, but we might have to call 2018 “The Year of the Breach.”

According to Verizon, there have been more than 2200 data breaches across the globe, and about 68 percent of these breaches were not detected for months. This is not good news for any business or organization.

Here are some of the major breaches of 2018:

Facebook

Facebook is part of the list of 2018 breaches but NOT because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Instead, it’s because of the breach that occurred in late September, when about 50 million people had their data exposed. This hack took advantage of vulnerabilities in Facebook’s code, and hackers were able to control the accounts of
users.

Department Store Hacks

Several department stores were also hacked this year including Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, which were hacked in April. These stores had their customer payment cards compromised. Macy’s also was hacked. This time, it was the names and passwords of its customers that hackers obtained.

The Master List of 2018 Data Breaches Hacks Robert Siciliano Safr.me

Fitness Hacks

There were also hacks against fitness companies like Adidas and Under Armour. In the case of Adidas, hackers accessed the data of several million customers. In the case of Under Armour, the hackers targeted the brand’s app, MyFitnessPal, and were able to access the information from about 150 million users. In neither case were Social Security numbers, payment information, nor driver’s license numbers accessed.

Exactis Hack

The biggest hack of the year was also the one that most people don’t even know about. You probably don’t even recognize the name Exactis, but it is a marketing and data aggregation firm. In June, the company leaked the data of more than 340 million Americans. In this case, the company did not secure its database, and this left records
open to anyone who wanted them. Not only were people affected here, but so were businesses. Phone numbers, emails, addresses, and even interests of these people were exposed.

Marriott

Marriott also makes the list of the major breaches of 2018 (but it originated as early as 2014), and in this case, about 500 million people were affected. This hack was done through the Starwood Hotels guest database. It was later realized that the hackers who did this were very likely working for the Chinese government, which was trying to gather intelligence. China has denied being involved in the hack, but experts claim that the methods used in the hack and evidence found all point towards the Chinese government.

Google

There were a few other hacks that are worth mentioning too. Google, for instance, though not technically hacked, did expose data of its users thanks to a security bug. In this case, about 50 million accounts were compromised.

We hope, of course, that lessons were learned in 2018 so that 2019 looks a bit more promising, but as most security professionals know, hackers like to stay one step ahead. So keep your data as safe as possible.

What can you do? Move to Montana, find a cave, live in it. Toss your mobile, PC and credit cards and eat off the land.

Or…

Should You Worry About Contactless Credit Card NFC Skimming

If you have a contactless card, you might have worries about skimming. A contactless card or “frictionless” or “tap and go” is a card that has technology in it that allows payment over secure wireless like Apple Pay, Android Pay etc. Basically, this is where a criminal literally digitally pickpockets you by scanning things like your debit card or passport. What’s scary about this is that anyone can get an app for their phone that will allow them to skim. Is there protection for this? Maybe.

But before you freak out, you probably don’t even have a contactless card. Very few cards deployed in the USA are contactless, so that sleeve you use doesn’t protect you from anything. Now if you are overseas or even in Canada, then look at your card and if there is a WiFi looking logo on there, you have contactless.

The way that the bad guys skim this information is by using RFID, or radio-frequency identification. There are RFID signal jammers out there, but the question is this: do they work and are they necessary?

RFID Signal Blockers

If you put some time into it, you will find a number of RFID signal blockers on the market. Some of these are small and slip right into your wallet. Others are passport sized. There are also RFID signal blocker wallets on the market.

The Test

A blogger recently put these RFID signal blockers to the test…on the London Underground, one of the most crowded places in the world, especially during rush hour. He set up the test by asking one person to place a debit card in their pocket, and then another person used a mobile phone with an RFID signal scanner. The result was that the phone could scan and record the number on the debit card and the expiration date, simply by holding the phone really close to the pocket.

The blogger took the test a step further and tried to block these signals with RFID blocking technology. Even though the experiment was very unscientific, the blogger found that the blocker stopped the skimming.

Protecting Yourself

There are some things you can do to protect yourself from this. First, check your passport. It should have a chip in it. This chip is in all US passport that have been released since 2007. Now, someone can still take information from your passport using RFID skimming, but they have to actually be on the page where the photo is, and it’s pretty rare that they would have access to that.

You can also use a shielding device. They can certainly work, and some people have even found great results by using tinfoil. This will further help to protect your accounts.

Finally, even if you are using an RFID shielding device, make sure that you are checking your statements for anything suspicious. This is especially the case if you often find yourself in crowded places, like the subway.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Murder is a Reminder for Real Estate Agent Safety

911 calls are always chilling, but the one that came from a model home in Maryland recently was extremely distressing.

Instead of the caller speaking into the phone, all the 911 operator heard was heavy breathing. The operator asked what was wrong but got no response…then, a far-off voice said, “Where is the money? Who are you talking to?” This call, which was just made public, lead police to a man who was shot to death and, eventually, to the man accused of his murder.

The body of Steven B. Wilson, a real estate professional, was found in the home, and the suspect, 18-year-old Dillon Augustyniak, was charged with several crimes including murder, theft, armed robbery and the use of a firearm in a violent crime.

Steven B. Wilson Safr.me Maryland Agent Death

Steven Wilson, washingtonpost.com

At this time, Timothy J. Altomare, the Anne Arundel Police Chief, says that he believes robbery was the motive and that the suspect had taken the victim’s laptop and cell phone. Though it is not known how Augustyniak entered the model home, police also said that he only lived about a half mile from the scene.

Local authorities believe that Wilson was placed the 911 call after being shot by teenager Dillon Nicholas Augustyniak. When the operator heard the voice from the background, presumably Augustyniak’s, police and an ambulance were dispatched. There was security footage from the scene that shows the suspect holding a long gun. It was also revealed that Augustyniak had not only stolen Wilson’s cellphone but had given it to another person.

Witnesses also say that Augustyniak was trying to sell his gun, which they believe is the same one that he used to shoot Wilson.

Dillon Nicholas Augustyniak, safr.me

Dillon Augustyniak, wmar2news.com

Police later found an identical firearm in Augustyniak’s home. They also found Wilson’s laptop and cellphone. Augustyniak was taken into custody and is now off the streets, but this does open the opportunity for discussion about real estate agent safety.

It is imperative that agents remain vigilant at all times although there are no specific threats towards them. Though this crime might have been a crime of opportunity, it is certainly not uncommon for criminals to target open houses and other real estate events.

For agents out there, you might want to start thinking seriously about your surroundings when showing houses, and come up with a plan to protect yourself if necessary. This type of crime isn’t extremely common, but it does happen; since most real estate agents work alone, it is important to know what you are up against.

More information here on protection as a real estate agent.