Most Burglarized Cities in the U.S

Surprisingly, burglaries happen more often during the day. Burglars wait for the home owners to leave for work, usually attempting to break in between the hours of 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. The FBI has stated that burglaries were the reason for a loss of $4.8 billion in 2011, meaning that the cost of each burglary at that time was $2,185.

Obviously, there are cities that are more crime-obsessed than others. Here are the top three most burglarized cities in the United States:

Highest Burglary Rates

1. Houston

The humid Texan city is known for many things, including great entertainment and fun, but it also has seen its fair share of crime recently. Houston climbed to the number one spot after seeing an astounding total of 27,459 burglaries in one year alone. Lack of security equipment is one of the biggest issues for burglarized homes.

2. Chicago

Unfortunately, Chicago is no stranger to being in the news and obtaining national media attention for being one of the most dangerous cities in the country. The amount of burglaries the Windy City has seen in one year adds to rough crime stereotype, documenting 26, 420 burglaries.

3. Dallas

The central Texas city, which provides the state with a substantial amount of income, saw a total of 18,727 burglaries in one year. While the total is significantly lower than its fellow Texan city, the amount of money Dallas generates along with the wealth of its residents, leaves the burglars with much to desire and be curious about.

States and individual cities, especially the most crime infested ones, encourage their residents to take measures that help prevent burglaries. One of the ways is home owners receiving discounts on their home owner’s insurance when they add safety features to the home, such as motion detectors. Many of the tips residents are given include always locking your vehicle, making sure you do not leave any valuables such as phones, a GPS or iPad in your vehicle at any time, locking your windows and doors of your house, installing monitoring systems, motion detectors and house alarms. Another great place to get tips is to check home security blogs with reputable authors.

Help decrease the number of burglaries in your city by following the aforementioned tips in order to do what you can to protect your house, family and belongings.

Security System Control Panels & Apps

An electronic home security system can provide peace of mind when it comes to protecting your home and your loved ones.

The nerve center of any home security system is the control panel. It handles all the functions of the system; monitoring the sensors placed on the doors and windows of your home and communicating with the security company if an alarm is triggered. It can also have panic buttons to sound alarms or summon police, the fire department, or emergency medical services. Home security systems can also be outfitted with smoke detectors, water sensors, and carbon monoxide sensors to protect your home against more than just intruders. The panels also have a twenty four hour back-up battery in order to maintain protection of your home even in the event or a power outage. The GE Home Security System control panel, used by security providers in their security systems, can connect to up to forty sensors and perform all of these functions wirelessly. (1)

The security system panels can be programmed with multiple codes for arming and disarming. If your children are expected to get home from school before you do, you can give them their own security code for the alarm system that lets you know when they have entered the house. You can also, if you wish, provide access codes to anyone who might be working in your home, such as a baby sitter or housekeeper. The alarm system’s control panel can also alert you to anytime a door or window is opened, thus keeping anyone from sneaking in or out of the house.

Your security system control panel can also be connected to your homes’ lights, heating and air conditioning, and even appliances. Being able to control all of these functions from one location is what’s known as home automation.

The majority of home security systems today are compatible with free downloadable apps that can control the system remotely. Not only can you arm and disarm the system from anywhere but the app will alert you to any alarms while you are out of the house. If you have provided multiple access codes to your family or people who will be working in your home, the app can alert you to who has entered the home and when. Any home automation features can also be activated with the home security app, allowing you to turn on lights, climate control, and appliances to have your home just the way you like it by the time you get home.

An electronic home security system with a remote control app can offer you peace of mind and protection whether you’re at home or away.

5 Mobile Security Tips

Cybercrime is one of the most lucrative illegal businesses of our time, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Over the last decade, cybercriminals have developed new and increasingly sophisticated ways of capitalizing on the explo­sion of Internet users, and they face little danger of being caught. Meanwhile, consumers are con­fronted with greater risks to their money and information each year.

The proliferation of mobile devices has provided a new opportunity for cybercriminals. With mobile shipments now outpacing PC shipments, there is now a large enough pool for the cybercriminals to start to leverage this base to make money.

Here are 5 quick tips to help you protect your mobile device and your data on the device.

Put a PIN on it – As a first basic step make sure you use a PIN code or password to lock your device and make sure it is set to auto-lock after a period of time.

Think before you click: Being on the go is convenient, but in our rush to respond, we don’t always take the time to look carefully at texts, email and social posts to make sure they are valid. Always be careful when clicking on links that you receive from anyone.

Don’t be app happy: Be careful what apps you download and where you download them from. Most malicious software for mobile devices is distributed through “bad” apps.

Be careful where you search: Double-check a website’s address and make sure that it appears legitimate by reviewing the URL or rather than doing a search for a site, type in the correct address in the URL bar to avoid running into any phony sites.

Secure your device:  Make sure all your mobile devices have comprehensive security software, likeMcAfee Mobile Security or McAfee LiveSafe (for all your devices) that protects you from threats, helps you avoid risky websites and malicious apps, and in the event of loss or theft, lets you remotely backup, lock and if necessary, wipe all the data from your mobile device.

 

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)

Do You Know What Your Kids Are Hiding?

Many of you as parents may think, “not much” when asked this question. But in reality, it’s probably a lot more than you think. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that McAfee’s 2013 study, Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kidswhich examines the online habits and interests of tweens, teens, and young adults, finds there is a significant disconnect between what they do online and what their parents believe they do.

The phrase “liar liar, pants on fire” comes to mind when I hear this topic and the phrase applies to both parents and kids. Parents are lying to themselves if they think they know what their kids are doing online, since 80% said they would not know how to find out what their kids are doing online and 62% do not think that their kids can get into deep trouble online. As for our kids, let’s face it – kids sometimes lie. The study found that 69% of kids say that they know how to hide what they do online from their parents and disturbingly 44% of them cleared their browser history or used private browsing sessions to hide their activity from their parents.

While youth understand the Internet is dangerous, they still engage in risky (and sometimes illegal) behavior. Not only are they hiding this activity from their parents in a variety of ways, but almost half (46%) admit that they would change their behavior if they knew their parents were paying attention.

86% of youth believe that social sites are safe and are aware that sharing personal details online carry risk, yet kids admit to posting personal information such as their email addresses (50%) and phone numbers (32%)

48% have viewed content they know their parents would disapprove of

29% of teens and college aged youth have accessed pirated music or movies online

Adding to this problem is how clueless parents are regarding technology and their kids’ online lives. 54% of kids say their parents don’t have time to check up on the kids’ online behavior and 42% say their parents don’t care what the kids do online. And even worse, only 17% of parents believe that the online world is as dangerous as the offline world and almost 74% of parents just admit defeat and claim that they do not have the time or energy to keep up with their kids and simply hope for the best.

So how do you bridge this divide?
Parents, you must stay in-the-know. Since your kids have grown up in an online world, they may be more online savvy than you, but giving up isn’t an option. You must challenge yourselves to become familiar with the complexities of the online universe and stay educated on the various devices your kids are using to go online.

Here are some things you can do as parents to get more tech savvy:

Get device savvy: Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, Mac, tablet, mobile, wired Internet, wireless, or software, learn it. No excuses. No more, “My kids know more than I do,” or “All I know how to do is push that button-thingy.” Take the time to learn enough about the devices your kids are using.

Get social: One of the best ways to get savvy is to get social. By using your devices to communicate with the people in your life, you inevitably learn the hardware and software. Keep in mind that “getting social” doesn’t entail exposing all your deepest, darkest secrets, or even telling the world you just ate a tuna sandwich, but it is a good way to learn a key method that your kids communicate.

Manage your/their online reputation: Whether you are socially active or not, whether you have a website or not, there are plenty of websites that know who you are, that are either discussing you or listing your information in some fashion. Google yourself and your kids to see what’s being said. Teaching your kids what is and is not appropriate online is a must these days. And as a good rule of thumb, you should teach your kids that things posted online stays there forever.

Get secure: There are more ways to scam people online than ever before. Your security intelligence is constantly being challenged, and your hardware and software are constant targets. Invest in comprehensive security solutions that include antivirus, but also protects your kids, identity and data for ALL your devices like McAfee LiveSafe.

Or you can be like me and tell your kids that once they turn 10 they will be locked in a box in my basement until they turn 30. Just kidding (maybe). But seriously, parents – it’s time to make this a priority, for you and your kids. For more information, click here or follow McAfee on Facebook and on Twitter at @McAfeeConsumer.

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)

Gold Farming A Chinese Full Time Job

Gold farmers play massive multiplayer online games, not for fun, but to accumulate virtual currency, or “gold,” which can then be sold to other players, despite the fact that most game operators explicitly ban the exchange of in-game currency for cash. Gold farming is so lucrative, people in China and other developing nations can support themselves by working full-time operating gold farming rings.

About.com reports “most gold farmers are from developing countries such as China and Vietnam. According to World Bank estimates, there are currently over 100,000 people working as full-time gamers in China. They toil away for 12 or more hours a day in internet cafes, abandoned warehouses, and small offices, making about 25 cents an hour, or roughly $75 a month. There are quotas in place and work performances are heavily evaluated. The workforce is dominantly made up of migrant teenagers and young adults who come to the cities looking for work. These “virtual sweatshops” resemble the thousands of toy and appliance factories that have opened in China in the past several decades to take advantage of China’s abundance of cheap labor.”

Many leading MMOs are finding it increasingly necessary to deploy a layered defense to protect against gold farming, chargebacks and increasingly, account takeovers within gaming environments.  By leveraging the power of device reputation, which looks at the computer, smart phone or tablet connecting to the games, the gaming publisher can easily connect together players working together and shut down entire rings in one sweep.  In one case, a major gaming publisher saw the marvel of Oregon-based iovation’s fraud protection service and took action against 1,000 fraudulent accounts shortly after implementing the SaaS-based service.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

What is mCommerce and how do you keep transactions safe?

mCommerce (or M-commerce) is using a mobile phone to make purchases. Like credit card transactions, your card/device can be either present or not present. In other words, “present” might mean your mobile is equipped with an application that you use to make a purchase in person, such as to buy a cup of coffee or a train ticket. “Not present” could be when you use another application or your mobile browser to make a remote purchase over the Internet or another type of mobile network.

There are several different forms of mobile commerce:

Mobile shopping: You comparison shop or purchase something online using your mobile device (and its browser or a mobile app)

Mobile banking: You interact with your bank account (actions such as check the balance, transfer between accounts, make payments) using your mobile device

Mobile wallet (mobile payments): The mobile device itself is used to authorize payment (via a stored credit card)

Mobile point-of-sale (POS): Specialized card swiping attachments let your mobile device be used to collect payment from a credit card

All of these forms of mobile commerce require a wireless connection to the internet over Wi-Fi or your carrier’s 3/4G connection. Always use a like Hotspot Shield when engaging in mCommerce. Hotspot Shield, which is free to download, creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone and your Internetgateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers and ISPs from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network.

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.

Craigslist Robbery By Appointment

It’s springtime. You put an ad on Craigslist to get rid of some things, clean out your garage and make a few bucks while you are at it. Maybe you have an old diamond ring to sell. Or that truck you are driving isn’t what it used to be, so you decide it’s time to sell. 
The ad goes out, people call and you make the appointments. But, unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, do they?

The Spec reports, The odds of being physically harmed from using an online classified service are not high, but a blend of cybercrime and physical crime is common enough in the U.S. that one police force there has offered consumers the opportunity to conduct online transactions in person at their police station.

“People believe that because it’s there online, and that someone is reaching out, that it must be legitimate … There’s a reason your mom always told you not to talk to strangers.”

Use Craigslist with caution. Don’t think for one second you can’t be robbed, burglarized, scammed or killed. Some people’s homes have been invaded, and it can happen to you too. Be very careful who you contact; you never know who the person is or what his motivation may be.

Get identification details pre-meeting. Make sure to get the full contact details of the other person and call back to verify. A little white lie like, “My brother is a cop and will be here” will make the person you’re dealing think twice about harming you.

Meet at a public location. Coffee shops, malls, police stations—anywhere but your home that involves lots of other people. The more eyeballs, the better.

Trust your instincts. Don’t discount any weird feelings you might have about meeting with this person. If something seems wrong, then it IS wrong. Cancel if you don’t feel right about it.

Enlist a buddy. Strength in numbers makes predators think twice. Predators thrive on isolation. By pairing up, you reduce the chances of being attacked.

Be street smart. Expensive jewelry and provocative clothing can invite an attack. Scarves around your neck give attackers something to grab and choke you with. Wear sneakers that you can run and fight in.

Be on guard. Just like Mom said, there is risk in meeting strangers. Being on guard can keep you from getting into a compromised position.

Stay in communication. Let your spouse, friends, family or coworkers know where you are going, who you will be meeting and when you will be back. Stay in contact on your mobile while you are meeting.

Use your panic alarm. If you are crazy enough to meet the other party at your home, have someone stand guard at your home security alarm’s panic button to summon the police if things go wrong.

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

Graduates: 10 Stupid Things You Don’t on Facebook

You’ve done it. You’ve graduated at last. Your whole life is in front of you. Now is the time to make plans, embrace the world, take responsibility, make a statement, do some good and make this place better than how you found it.

And this should go without saying, but please don’t be stupid.

I’m not preaching here; the fact is I am fully qualified to discuss this topic because every day when I wake up, I tell myself, “Today I’m not going to say something stupid.” But, being human, I often do or say stupid stuff. However, rarely do I make it public online.

Listen. I know it’s hard. I know you can’t help yourself. I know you think you know everything and I know you are telling me to shut up. But in the words of the lovely and talented Fire Marshal Bill: “LET ME TELL YA SOMETHING!”

What you say, do, post, like and even whom you friend on social networks will affect every moment of your life going forward. Social is the new norm, and even adults are guilty of the stupidity of putting something online that gets them busted.

With graduation coming and millions of you getting ready to enter the workforce, you need to be aware of what is and isn’t appropriate in the professional world. While many employers expect that their employees will maintain social media profiles and even support work initiatives via those channels, as a new grad, you need to be aware that your missteps in social media could taint your employer’s image and damage your professional reputation. When people do not use good judgment when posting and share the wrong content with the wrong people, they can jeopardize their careers.

According to McAfee’s Love, Relationships and Technology study, 13.7% of millenials (18-24 year olds) know someone who was fired because of personal images or messages that had been publicly posted and 13% of adults have had their personal content leaked to others without their permission

 GradGraphic_LRT1

It’s time to face the facts.

  1. Don’t deny this fact: YOU ARE BEING JUDGED EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY BY PEOPLE WHO ARE IN A POSITION TO HIRE AND FIRE YOU.
  2. Don’t do that! Learn from other people’s mistakes. When you see someone get in trouble, fired or arrested, DON’T DO THAT.
  3. Don’t friend people you don’t know. You have 3ooo friends? Seriously?
  4. Don’t take or allow others to photograph/video you with alcohol in your hands, drinking, smoking, doing anything illegal, scantily clad (or less) or making those stupid selfie fishy faces. You are an adult now.
  5. Don’t like, share or retweet racist, homophobic or off-color media or comments that make you look like a jerk.
  6. Don’t swear. EVER. It’s OK to say flippin’, freakin’, heck, maybe even effing, and shite. But once you start dropping F bombs, you look like an angry, uncouth juvenile delinquent. And seriously, I swear like cage match fighter—but not online. And I don’t care what your privacy settings are.
  7. Don’t log on while amorous or inebriated. Nothing good can come of that. Revenge porn anyone?
  8. Don’t ever talk about anyone in authority—your boss, coworkers, teachers, students, the president or anyone, for that matter—in a negative tone. Seriously. Unless the person is a serial killer or oppressive dictator, play nice.
  9. Don’t be so public. Lock down your settings. Most social networks have privacy settings that need to be administered at the highest level. Default settings generally leave your networks wide open to attack.
  10. As Howard Stern’s dad used to say to him: “I told you not to be stupid, you moron.”

You have been warned.

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! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

Safety Tips for Online Dating

By Angie Picardo

According to identity theft expert Robert Siciliano, “Millions of people use online dating sites to broaden their networks and meet potential mates, but not everyone on these sites are sincere—some are scammers hoping to lure you in with false affection, with the goal of gaining your trust, and eventually, your money.” When seeking friends or dates via the internet, people often tend to be overly optimistic or trusting, but it is important to remember that some people may take advantage of the your trust. Here are some tips for staying safe while making friends online.

  • Keep your personal information personal. Details about where you live and work, your phone number or email address, or details that would lead someone to you with minimal effort should not be put in an online profile or shared with someone you’ve barely started communicating with. When selecting a profile name, don’t use your first and last name. Instead, choose a nickname or other title for yourself so that potential dates don’t have the key information for looking you up and learning too much about you in advance. If you’ve started talking to someone you feel you would like to exchange personal information, consider offering a secondary email account (email addresses are free and nothing stops you from having more than one) that isn’t directly linked to you or your work.
  • Trust yourself. Use common sense and your instincts to stay away from risky situations. If you feel nervous about someone or something, don’t go; you probably feel that way for a reason. If the person is really interested in you, she or he won’t hate you for rescheduling for a later time. Another part of trusting yourself is knowing what speed feels right for you. Don’t feel obligated to go somewhere private or unfamiliar just because the other person wants to. Again, you know yourself best and you have enough life experience to know when something could end badly: listen to yourself.
  • Meet new people in public. It seems obvious, but you shouldn’t bring total strangers back to your house (nor should you go to theirs). When scheduling a first meeting, plan to go somewhere public where a lot of people will be milling around. A park, restaurant, or museum can be great areas for public first dates not only because they are public, but because they are places where you can actually talk to your date and get to know him or her in person. When you have a first date with someone, make sure that you are in control of your own transportation situation by driving yourself, taking a trusted form of transit, or arranging a ride with a good friend. Don’t rely on your date to take you somewhere. Getting in a car with someone you barely know is not a great idea!
  • Tell somewhere where you are going. In case the worst does happen (it probably won’t, but it never hurts to be prepared), make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to be back. Let a good friend know that you are going on a date with someone new and agree to check in with them by a certain time so that they know you are okay. You might also set up a pick up spot in case you need your friend to pick you up if you need to bail on your date for any reason.

Online dating isn’t all about being cynical and mistrusting, of course, but taking precautions when meeting someone new will make it all the better when you meet someone who you want to get to know better. Anyone who is worth getting to know will be empathetic to your safety concerns and willing to work with you within your comfort zone.

Angie Picardo is a writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you protect and save your money whether in online dating or finding the best options for LAX parking

Take Privacy Seriously When Transferring Money Overseas

According to a study done by the World Bank, money sent home by expatriates last year totaled a staggering £335 billion (about $509 billion) – or three times the amount of global aid budgets. It’s common for workers all over the world to supplement the incomes of their families back home, but the current amount and frequency has also given rise to transfer fraud.

The most common methods are notifications of fake awards, a bogus money inheritance or requests for bank account information (there are countless – often imaginative – stories that fraudsters use to extract this data).

For example, an individual dressed as a policeman may approach you, saying that a relative or friend of yours has been in an accident and then request that you send money immediately for his or her hospital fees. Another example is an email request for proof of funds to make reservations for your holiday accommodation overseas. Thousands of people fall for these scams every year; use these tips to avoid falling foul of wire transfer fraud.

Secure your online banking
Obviously, the easiest way to avoid a scam is to verify the identity of the recipient. If you trade in different countries and pay suppliers all over the world, however, it can be difficult to verify every single party before transactions can be made. One way to secure payments is to work with a bank that’s linked with your home branch and which provides secure online banking. Remember that your bank will never ask you to verify your details via email.

A healthy dose of skepticism
Some of the best-known scams are those that claim you’ve won a prize in a foreign lottery and that you need to send over your bank details to receive it. Similar are the “Nigerian Prince” or “419” scams that offer non-existent rare pets, unclaimed properties – even romance – in exchange for your details and payments. Apply common sense when someone you don’t know contacts you – especially if you haven’t played the lottery in Nigeria recently.

It’s too good to be true
Another common type of financial scam is an offer to sell something at an incredibly attractive price through classified ads. The recipient will accept your money but you won’t receive the item in return. Remember that if an item seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Every day, scam artists are thinking up sneakier ways of scamming you out of your hard-earned cash, but they require a certain amount of trust from you to make a sale or obtain information. As long you remain skeptical and aware that these scams exist, you can avoid most of the common pitfalls. Keep up to date with the latest scams to ensure you don’t fall victim to wire fraud.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud or want to learn more about digital life, you can read more information here.