Mobile Security: Tips for Using Personal Devices at Work

Businesses in all forms operate under numerous business regulations. Small businesses such as finance healthcare, or one where a fine might be imposed if a data breach occurred need to recognize mobile security as a fundamental layer of yours or your company’s information security process.

Mobiles are smartphones and used for ecommerce for consumers and they are used for business tasks as Point of Sales to process credit cards or make payments.

A hospital is a perfect example: Many nurses have mobile phones and many more have tablets for work related purposes. They must be concerned about Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act also known as *HIPAA: The rule under HIPPA requires health plans, health care providers, and others required by HIPAA to notify individuals (patients) of any breaches of their medical data.

Overall routine patient information is gathered for all hospital patients, such as the patient’s Social Security number, name, address, D.O.B, gender and other data that helps them authenticate the patient’s identity and insurance coverage data.

So if you as an employee of a hospital use your personal device at work and also use it outside of work and it gets lost or stolen, then YES, you and the hospital would be in a great deal of hot water in the event that mobile device was lost.

This is where a BYOD or Bring Your Own Device policy comes into place.  Cozy up to your IT manager and find out what that mobile security policy states. Sometimes they are so restrictive you may not want to use your own device.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

Travel Safety – Part 3: 10 Must-Know Airplane Safety Tips

Since 9/11 we have all learned by example that coming together as a physical force we can overpower hijackers or air-raggers. Anyone becoming aware of a potential threat has a responsibility to make other passengers aware of the situation. Here are some basic airplane safety tips you should implement the next time you travel.

  1. 1.     Store your carry-on luggage across the aisle instead of over your head. You want to keep an eye on it. Otherwise someone can easily go into the overhead bin and remove your belongings. Never put a pocketbook under the seat. The person behind you can remove a credit card and you might not know it for a couple of days.
  2. 2.     Pay close attention to flight attendant instructions when aboard an aircraft.
  3. 3.     In the event of recognizing potential danger, first security steps include making the airplane crew aware, one on one.
  4. 4.     Depending on the volatility of the situation, it could be necessary to quickly bring attention to the cause by rallying passengers first.
  5. 5.     Use caution to avoid unnecessarily alarming others. For your personal safety, trust your gut and be careful to not escalate what could already be a volatile situation.
  6. 6.     Request window seats in a plane’s coach section. Hijackers often take hostages from first-class aisle seats.
  7. 7.     Request a seat next to the plane’s emergency exit. Each time you get on a plane review the instructions for opening the door. However, anyone who does not feel he or she could prevent a disgruntled passenger from opening an emergency exit during flight should not sit in these rows.
  8. 8.     If your plane is hijacked, do NOT make eye contact with the hijackers, which can increase the chances that you will be singled out for attention. Stay calm, follow directions, don’t argue, and don’t attempt heroics—at least not yet. These are desperate people.
  9. 9.     Don’t tell a stranger your plans. The accomplices of hijackers often disguise themselves as passengers.
  10. 10.  Even with security as tight as it is and all the security camera systems, be aware of potential weapons that can still be smuggled onto an airplane: explosives, pepper spray, razor blades, knives, and even guns made of metal or plastic. Undetectable by a metal detector, plastic, wood, and glass can all be shaped into sharp, lethal devices. In addition, plenty of items that belong on an airplane could be used as weapons, including hot water or coffee, serving carts, bags, blankets, headset cords, shoes, pens, batteries, and keys. Even the blunt end of a rolled-up magazine can be used to jab.

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

4 Best Practices for BYOD Policies

People love their mobile devices and don’t want to leave home without them. When they bring their digital device to work we call this Bring Your Own Device or BYOD.  The day after you get your new mobile phone or iPad, you’ll probably take it to work and have the IT department set it up with your email and access to the company IT network. And as more and more companies agree to this, they are also requiring you to agree to their BYOD policies as well.

  1.     There should be an acceptable mobile usage policy. These are set up by the companies CIO and telling you what you can and can’t do on your mobile device.Read the BYOD policy carefully because once you sign it your job will be on the line if you don’t abide by it.
  2.     For IT security purposes, an application will run on the mobile device that needs to be downloaded and installed. This security application will have a certificate authenticating the device with terms and conditions to connect to the company network and run yours and the companies programs.
  3.     The mobile management application will provide the enterprise the ability to remotely control your mobile and wipe data. Don’t do this if you don’t plan on agreeing to the BYOD policies
  4.     Expect the security application to have the ability to locate your mobile if it’s lost or stolen via the phones GPS, lock your phone locally within 1-5 minutes.  It will also wipe your mobile, having encryption, antivirus and a firewall to protect company data.

Bringing your own device is not a right but a privilege. If your employer doesn’t allow it there is generally a good reason. Data breaches cost thousands and in some cases millions. So if you are lucky enough to be privileged, protect that mobile device with the guidance of the IT department.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

Travel Safety – Part 2: How to Protect your Luggage in Airports

Unfortunately, more and more airport security reports are coming in that the baggage handlers themselves are actually slicing open your luggage with razor blades and removing your valuables. For your travel safety, follow these security tips to protect your luggage in airports:

  1.  Follow FAA guidelines for what to pack, what you can’t pack and how much you can pack. What a passenger can and cannot take on a plane is listed on and no exceptions are made.
  2.  If you must check your luggage, wait to see it go into the “chute” after it is taken from you.
  3. When riding in a shuttle bus, don’t let your luggage leave your side no matter what. The rear compartment can be opened while the bus is stopped at a traffic light. People are constantly getting on and off the bus at different stops just to steal luggage.
  4. Because tags fall off or get ripped off, put photocopies of your passport, ID, and itinerary in your luggage. In case a bag gets lost, someone who recovers it will be able to forward it to you.
  5. Place any baggage, laptops, or briefcases on the counter in front of you when you stand at rental car, hotel, and airport ticket counters. If you put these at your feet to the left, right, or behind you, you become a prime target for distraction thieves. For example: a very emotional person walks up to you while you are waiting for the clerk at the counter, asks you how to get to the Alamo, and then starts to cry. In the confusion, an accomplice sneaks up behind you and removes the laptop that you placed on the floor next to you.
  6. Don’t take your eyes off your belongings while they are going through security or screening checkpoints. This is a prime location for distraction thieves to steal laptops, pocketbooks, and briefcases. Once you put your belongings on the movable belt, one thief distracts you from immediately going through the metal detector by either dropping a handful of change, causing a scene, clipping a metal object to the back of your coat that will cause a delay, or saying, “Hey, don’t I know you?”— anything to keep you from going through the metal detector for 30 seconds while the accomplice walks through clean and picks up your belongings. If you become distracted for an instant your valuables are gone! With security as tight as it is and all the security camera systems, this crime is harder to commit but still being done.
  7.  Never leave your bags unattended. They can be stolen. It happens every day. Do not overstuff your luggage. It can pop open easily. In addition, stuffed luggage looks to a thief as if there might be something of value in it.
  8.  Don’t use fancy, expensive luggage. It’s a red flag to a thief.
  9.  Put all electronics, cash, jewelry, medicine, and important papers in your carry-on luggage.
  10.  Trust your gut. Instincts play a huge role in your personal security.

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

Mobile Device Security in a BYOD World

In the real world there is little difference between an employer’s issued device and a personal mobile device. The most important difference should be that a digital device issued by your employer requires and should have a “company mobile liability policy”. Businesses generally provide and pay for employee mobile devices, and also strictly dictate what you can or cannot do on the device. For IT security reasons, the employer may have remote capabilities to monitor activity and in the event of loss or employee termination wipe the data.

Mobile device security policies” are for the BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device” employees. The employee may pay for the device and its monthly plan and has also imposed security restrictions and limitations on employees who use their personal devices at work.  If you choose to use your personal device for employment purposes at any time for any reason then your employer may take control over that device to protect themselves. In a company mobile liability policy, the employer often has remote capabilities to monitor activity and in the event of loss or employee termination wipe the data.

A recent study shows less than 10% of people BYOD employees auto lock their tablets and people were more security-savvy about their smartphones, with 25% locking.

Most employee issued mobile management software will require the device to be locked and the password to be changed quarterly. These mobile device security programs tell you in the terms and conditions that the contents on the device is subject to being monitored and at any time the device can be wiped by the employer.

The employer is liable for potentially lost data on your mobile. So, to maintain security in a BYOD world, plan on giving up some liberties.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

IT Security – Get a BYOD Policy Now!

Your companies IT person is tasked with managing numerous digital devices like mobile phones, tablets and any other portable device that communicates. Small businesses and IT managers must have IT security policies to manage devices attached to the network. Start looking at security vendors who provide solutions to keep track of, lock down, and secure your small business devices.

Consumers have at best a basic knowledge of IT. Consumers like gadgets and want to know how they work and at work they need to use technology to use it. This process is how the majority gets up to speed on technology and learn personal technologies they acquired for home use to make their work lives better than even the technology their workplace provides them. This is the consumerization of IT.

The issues of “BYOD” or Bring Your Own Device to work is a huge problem for IT managers at small businesses everywhere. Most IT managers have a pretty good handle on the company laptops desktops, and mobiles, but they are quickly losing control when employees bring their new Android mobile device and connect it to the corporate network.  Now they have to worry if that last application that was downloaded is infected and will infect the network when plugged you into a company PC to update or sync something.

Help the IT manager protect your small business network by:

  • Check to see if your business has a BYOD policy
  • Lock down your mobile device in case it’s lost or stolen
  • Install a “lost/locate/wipe” software on your device
  • Never leave your device exposed/unattended in an automobile.

 Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist toADT Small Business Security discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures


Travel Safety – Part 1: Top Airport Security Tips

Airports are another haven for criminals. In the parking lot lurks the car thief and the mugger. Throughout the terminal are the scam artists and the pickpockets. In the baggage claim area are the baggage thieves. The 9-11 tragedy was a humbling event that has made all passengers much more accommodating to security personnel and their screening methods.Follow these top airport security tips to keep your travel experience simple:

  1.  Follow FAA guidelines. Dos and don’ts for travel safety and airport security have been implemented and revised since the 9-11 tragedy. There is no flexibility in these rules.
  2. During security screening be alert to anyone around you who is nervous, perspiring, impatient, or argumentative. With the new FAA orders in place, it’s common knowledge that screening will take a while. So anyone not complying with the new rules to any degree should raise a red flag.
  3. If you must check your luggage, wait to see it go into the “chute” after it is taken from you.
  4.  When booking your reservation, get a seat at the front of the plane so you can get to baggage claim quickly. That’s because luggage is either carried on, lost, or stolen, or—if you are lucky—waiting at baggage claim.
  5. Never accept anything from strangers and watch your luggage. Someone may be looking for the opportunity could hide bombs or drugs in your bags. Terrorists can conceal plastic explosives or other lethal weapons in articles that someone would ordinarily purchase at the terminal newsstand, such as a book, soda can, candy bar, or magazine. Such devices can be wired with components from cell phones, and when called from the ground moments after takeoff can trigger an explosion.
  6.  Ignore other people arguing and strangers who are overly friendly. These could be staged distractions to make it easier for a thief or pickpocket to rob you.
  7. Be alert to anyone in the baggage claim area paying undue attention to you.
  8. Don’t let anyone help you with your airport locker (if you can even find one nowadays). Someone might insert quarters for you to appear helpful but then give you a different key without your knowledge.
  9. Be aware of any contact with others, even if it is a good deed they are doing. They could be setting you up.
  10. Trust your gut. Instincts play a huge role in your personal safety.

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

Household Safety: It’s Mold Awareness Month!

House mold is no joke. Mold makes you sick, makes your house sick and ruins properties if left untreated. Keeping mold under control is critical for household safety.

The Department of Health in New York defines mold as “Molds are microscopic organisms that live on plant or animal matter. They aid in the breakdown of dead material and recycle nutrients in the environment. Present virtually everywhere, they can be found growing on organic material such as soil, foods, and plant matter. In order to reproduce, molds produce spores, which spread through air, water, or by insects. These spores act like seeds and can form new mold growth if the conditions are right.”

Mold gets into your house as a result of moisture. That moisture can come from a flood, leaky roof, plumbing leaks, cooking steam, heating steam, humidifiers, wet clothes drying inside a home, or condensation accumulating inside crawlspaces from any of the above.

For your family safety, here are the most important things you should know about mold, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ten Things You Should Know About House Mold

  • Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  • There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • Fix the source of the water problem or install a water leak detector to prevent mold growth.
  • Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  • Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  • Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.


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

Investment Fraud: How to Avoid Ponzi Schemes

In response to National Fraud Awareness Week it’s important to bring attention to the biggest and worst investment fraud of all: the Ponzi Scheme.

Wikipedia defines a Ponzi scheme as fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going.”

The SEC has some advice for those concerned they might get hooked into a Ponzi scheme: Whether you’re a first-time investor or have been investing for many years, there are some basic questions you should always ask before you commit your hard-earned money to an investment.

The SEC sees too many investors who might have avoided trouble and losses if they had asked questions from the start and verified the answers with information from independent sources.

Whether you are concerned with identity theft or considering your next investment opportunity, start with these five questions:

Is the seller licensed?

Is the investment registered?

How do the risks compare with the potential rewards?

Do I understand the investment?

Where can I turn for help?

For more information, read Investing Smart from the Start: Five Questions to Ask Before You Invest

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

Top Security Tips against Home Invasions

In one of the worst publically known home invasions of the 21st century both defendants received the death penalty. Joshua Komisarjevsky, confessed to the attack on the home and family of Dr. William Petit, and the murders of his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and girls Michaela Petit, 11 and Hayley Petit, 17.

His partner in this horrendous crime convicted killer and home invader on death row Steven Hayes wrote letters confessing to up to 17 murders of women over the course of his life. The New Haven register reported a while back he noted “Yes, I’ve killed before,” Hayes bragged. “I have 17 kills throughout the Northeast United States. Perfect victims and well executed, controlled endeavors.”

In an AP interview with Komisarjevsky when asked about his death sentence he responded “I don’t think I’ll be executed against my will, I think if I volunteer, the state will execute me.”

Here are some home security tips to protect yourself and family:

Get armed: Having a non-lethal weapon in the form of a Taser or a Pepper spray in close proximity to your bed or front door can debilitate your attacker before they gain control. But realize these can be used against you.

Have your mobile handy: Consider a second line or a cell phone in your bedroom. Burglars sometimes cut phone lines and often remove a telephone from the receiver when they enter a home.

Get alarmed: An alarm system activated while you are sleeping will prevent a burglar from getting too far without you knowing it. And keep it on 24/7/365. With a home alarm systemon, when someone knocks on the door, a conscious decision has to be made to turn off the alarm. Most people will keep it on.

Locks: Call a qualified locksmith to take a physical security survey to help you determine the most efficient way to lock up. Many products on the market are a false sense of security. A qualified locksmith should be a professional associated with well-known manufacturers.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures