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How to Monitor a Cell Phone

Do you fancy yourself a spy and wondering how you can monitor someone else’s cell phone? You won’t get that information here, but there is some good info on cell phone monitoring if you keep reading:

The Legalities of Tracking Cell Phones

Generally, it is not legal to monitor a cell phone that does not belong to you. However, generally speaking, and THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, if the account is under your name or if you have written permission from the person who owns the phone, you can track it.

Why Monitor a Cell Phone?

There are some situations where it is perfectly legal, and even useful, to monitor a cell phone. One good reason is to monitor your family. This is especially the case if you have a tween or teenager who has some freedom.

Another reason you might consider monitoring a cell phone is if you have an elderly family member, like a parent, who uses a cell phone. If your loved one has dementia, you certainly should track their phone.

Businesses also often track company issued cell phones. The main reasons to do this is to locate a device if it is ever lost or stolen and to monitor employee communications.

The Main Ways to Track a Cell Phone

There are three different ways that people track cell phones:

  • Through the Cell Phone Carrier – Most major cell phone carriers offer a feature that allows a person to track a cell phone that is on their account. There is a fee for this service, it is totally legal, and it’s a great way to track family members.
  • Through a Smartphone or Computer– If you have a smart phone that runs iOS or Android, you can use features like Find My iPhone, or you can use apps like Find My Friends. Just keep in mind that the phones must have GPS enabled for these to work.
  • Though a Third-Party App – To trace a phone through an app, you usually have to have access to the phone you want to track AND own it and/or written permission from the phone’s owner. Typically, both devices must have the app loaded for these apps to work. Some of these apps are free for limited features. Others come with a one-time or monthly payment for the service.
  • Through an Infected email or Text Link – This is pretty much illegal and might get you stint in the klink. Pulling this off requires special malware or spyware which can be obtained on the dark web for a price. That will mean you’d got from being legal to the seedy world of Blackhats. And as they say, once you go black, you never go back. You would then officially be a criminal.

In most cases, it is not legal to trace or track a cell phone unless you have permission from the owner. However, each state has their own laws, so it’s very important that you understand the laws in the state you live. This way, you can avoid any repercussions.

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.

How to Block Spammy Scammy Telemarketing Calls

Are you getting a lot of scammy, spammy telemarketing calls? If you are, you know how annoying they are. Fortunately, there are some apps out there that can help. Here are a few apps worth looking into:

CallApp

You can use CallApp to lookup numbers, and then decide if you want to answer it or not. It collects data from users, and then gives you this information when a call comes in. You can get CallApp Crawler for Android phones.

Call Control

This app offers reverse look up, call blocking, and it can even blacklist any unwanted texts, too. It is very easy to use, and it relies on the community to collect spam numbers and submit them to the company. You can get Call Control on iOS and Android phones.

Calls Blacklist

You can use Calls Blacklist to block calls, but there are also other features like scheduling ability or filtering by number prefix. This means you can block numbers that start with a certain combination of numbers, i.e. 803. This app is only available for those with Android phones.

Hiya

Hiya used to be just a reverse look up method, but now it also blocks calls and offers caller ID. This app has access to more than three billion records, but like TrueCaller, your number also goes onto that list. You can get Hiya for both iPhone and Android phones.

Norton Mobile Security

Norton Mobile Security is not necessarily a call blocking app. Instead, it’s a security app that has call blocking as one of its features. This app is perfect for anyone who wants a full security suite on their mobile phone. You can get this app for both iOS and Android.

Safest Call Blocker 

Though Safest Call Blocker is simple, it is quite effective at blocking any unwanted numbers coming from robots or telemarketers. Currently, this app is only available for those who use an Android phone.

Should I Answer?

This app blocks calls, looks up numbers, and then categorizes them for easy filtering. It tracks about 500,000 numbers and is available for both iPhone and Android.

TrueCaller

TrueCaller is a popular app, and it holds more than two billion phone numbers. This makes it great at identifying a spammy number. The one caveat of TrueCaller is that it adds your number to the list of numbers it tracks. You can get it for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry.

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.

Mobile Phone Numbers Are as Sensitive as Your Social Security Number

All of us have cell phones these days, and if you are like the vast majority of the population, you access everything from social media to banking information right from your mobile phone. However, if you do this, which everyone does, you are putting yourself in the position to get hacked. With only your mobile phone number and a couple other pieces of information, a hacker can get into these accounts and your life could drastically change.

How does this work? If a hacker already has your mobile phone number, they can get other information, such as you address, birthday, or even the last four digits of your Social Security number, through social engineering schemes via email or on social. Once they have this information, it’s like handing your phone over to them and letting them do as they please, including accessing your accounts.

The scam may not even begin with you, it may begin with the mobile phone companies themselves. There have been many incidents where the carriers are scammed into handing over troves of personal identifying information to scammers posing as the victim. In many cases the phone companies are even allowing the scammers to get phones with the actual victims phone number by transferring everything to a new phone the perpetrator charges to the victims account.

Here are some things that you can do to keep your mobile phone number safe:

Use Your Passcode – You can and should put a passcode on your phone, you should definitely do it. This isn’t totally foolproof, but does give you an extra level of protection.

Add a Passcode – Your mobile carriers online account should have an additional second passcode to make any changes to your account. This additional passcodes works with both the web and calling customer service. Nothing happens unless this additional passcode is presented.

Disable Online Access to Any Mobile Phone Account – This is frustrating, of course, but it certainly can protect you. If you need to change your account, you should go to the store or call your provider.

Use Google Voice – Google Voice is an excellent choice for many, and you can even forward your current number to your Google Voice number. This helps to mask any call you make, which means no one can have access to your real number.

Access Your Cell Phone Account with a Carrier-Specific Email Address – Most of us use our email addresses and phone numbers to access our online accounts. However, you should really have three separate emails. One should be your primary email address, one should be only for sensitive accounts, like your bank or social media accounts, and one for your mobile phone carrier. This means, even if your main email is hacked, the hackers cannot get into your other accounts.

Talk to Your Carrier – Consider asking your carrier to make a note in your account to require a photo ID and special passcode before any changes are made. Though it’s possible that a hacker could pose as you with a fake ID, the chances are quite low that this would happen.

Use Complex Passwords – One of the best ways to protect online accounts is to use complex passwords. Or at least a different password for every account. You should also use a password manager. If you don’t, make sure your passwords are very random and very difficult to guess like “58&hg#Sr4.”

Do Not Be Truthful – You also might want to lie when answering your security questions. These are easy to guess or discover. For instance, it’s probably easy to find out your mother’s maiden name. So, make it up…just make sure you remember it!

Don’t Use Your Phone Number for Important Accounts – Also, make sure that you aren’t using your phone number for any important account. Instead, use that Google Voice number. 

Use a Password Generator – This is part of two factor authentication. Protect yourself by using a one time password generator, as part of a two-factor authentication process. It may be your mobile or they look like keyfobs and produce a new password very frequently. The only way to get the password is to access the generator or your mobile.

Use a Physical Security Key – You should also think about using a physical security key. To use one, you must enter your password into the computer, and then enter a device into the computer’s USB port. This proves that you are the account owner. So, even if a hacker gets your password, they must also have the physical security key to access the account.

Think About Biometrics – Finally, to really protect your accounts, when available, use biometrics. You can buy biometric scanners that read your fingerprints, your iris, or even recognize your voice. When you use these, you cannot access any account until you scan your finger, eye, or speak.

Yes, it’s true that some of these seem time consuming, it is much more time consuming to have to deal with getting hacked or a stolen identity. So, take these steps to remain as safe as possible.

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.

Eight ways to secure your employees’ mobile devices

Between half and three quarters of all employees have downloaded personal apps to company tablets and phones, according to surveys. At the same time, people are increasingly using use personal phones for work purposes like email, document-sharing and the list goes on.

2DWhat does it all mean? Companies must take extra precautions to ensure that sensitive data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Protecting your data

Fortunately, there are several steps that a business owner can take to protect the information on employees’ mobile devices. Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure all devices are password protected.
  2. Require all employees to use an “erase data” function after a certain number of failed password attempts.
  3. Make sure all devices used for business purposes have a “wipe” ability. This allows you to wipe the information on the phone remotely in case it is stolen.
  4. Make sure your staff installs any security patches or updates that become available. These are often published due to security vulnerabilities.
  5. Employees should only download software from approved application providers with solid reputations.
  6. Antivirus protection must be a requirement for Androids.
  7. Make sure employees are discerning about the websites they visit and the links they click on. Too many clicks may lead them to a malicious site that could put data at risk. This also applies to e-mail and text messages.
  8. Employees should know that Wi-Fi is not secure. This is especially true of public Wi-Fi connections. To help guard their information, consider using a virtual private network service.

It doesn’t take much to secure the info your staff needs to do their jobs. A few simple strategies can provide a protective shield that will keep your company’s information safe, no matter where employees find themselves.

Consultant Robert Siciliano is an expert in personal privacy, security and identity theft prevention. Learn more about Carbonite’s cloud and hybrid backup solutions for small and midsize businesses. Disclosures.

Removing Location data from Mobile Pics

Those cutesy photos in your phone of your puppy can reveal your location because the images leave footprints leading straight to your home. The trace data is called EXIF: exchangeable image file format. It may contain GPS coordinates of where you took the photos.

6WApple’s and Google’s smartphones ask owners if it’s okay to access their location. Click “okay,” and this means every photo you take gets tagged with GPS coordinates. Thieves look for this information, which remains with images that are uploaded to Flickr, Photobucket, etc. (Facebook strips EXIF.) Crooks or pervs can then use Google Maps to get your exact location.

Prevent Geotagging: Six Steps

  • For social media applications, turn off the location services.
  • For iPhone, go to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, and turn off the location services.
  • For Android, go to Settings, Location Services, and turn off the location services.
  • There are apps such as Pixelgarde that wipe geotags from existing online photos.
  • For computers, Windows can strip out the EXIF; just right click the image, click Properties, then in the “details” tab, hit the Remove Properties and Personal Information.
  • Mac users can use XnView, but this bulk-stripper works also for Windows.
  • Run Hotspot Shield which masks your IP address creating an incomplete profile of location data.

Many people don’t even know that photos store location information. You’re a walking map unless you take certain steps to protect your privacy. With those pictures you take with a smartphone camera, you also record all sorts of goodies like shutter speed, type of camera, date the image was taken, and of course…GPS coordinates. Here are the details for protecting your privacy:

Windows Phones

  • Select photos in Windows Explorer.
  • Right-click them, hit Properties.
  • Beneath the Details tab, click “Remove Properties and Personal Information.”
  • A window will pop up; hit Okay.
  • You’ll see a copy of each right-clicked photo in that same folder. The copied images are safe to upload.

Mac OS X

  • Use an app called SmallImage. Download the file.
  • Open the app; drag photos into its window.
  • Uncheck the box called “Recompress at quality.”
  • Click “Process,” and the copied photos will appear in the folder.
  • To replace the original photos rather than make duplicates, uncheck the “Add Suffix” box.

Linux

  • You’ll need a tool, EXIFTool. Install it on Ubuntu by running this command: sudo apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl.
  • Next, to create clean copies of your photos, cd to their folder, then run: exiftool -all= *.jpg.
  • It will then generate copies of the photos

There exist a number of other programs for removing location data from your mobile phone, but the steps described here are among the easiest.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. 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.

United Airlines Passport Scanning Mobile App: is it safe?

https://safr.me/webinar/  | Robert Siciliano is the #1 Security Expert in the United States with over 25 years of experience! He is here to help you become more aware of the risks and strategies to help protect yourself, your family, your business, and your entire life. Robert brings identity theft, personal security, fraud prevention and cyber security to light so that criminals can no longer hide in the dark. You need to be smarter than criminals yesterday so that they don’t take advantage of you today! If you would like to learn more about Security Awareness, then sign up for Robert’s latest webinar!

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How much easier international travel is for United Airlines fliers: They can now use their iOS or Android device to scan their passports.

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If a customer checks in with United’s mobile application for international flights, they can access the passport-scanning feature. One can check in within 24 hours of departure. Fliers will get an option to confirm their stored passport data or to scan their passport.

If a customer chooses the scan, the app will use the smartphone’s camera to capture passport information. United says this is “similar to a mobile banking deposit.” The flier can retrieve the boarding pass after the passport scan is verified.

United says that their passport scanning feature is very time-saving and gives fliers more control.

Since it’s launch, Ive been asked by multiple outlets in regards to its security and the safety of this application, as it pertains to possible data breaches. The company who created the apps backbone is “Jumio” and by all accounts, they seem top notch.

It’s important consumers never blindly download or use any application without doing some due diligence. This is what I found;

Jumio states: “Jumio is PCI Level 1 compliant and regularly conducts security audits, vulnerability scans and penetration tests to ensure compliance with security best practices and standards. To demonstrate PCI compliance a yearly on-site validation assessment by a QSA is carried out. Jumio carries the security controls established to achieve PCI compliance over to PII data which is of comparable sensitivity and has extended the scope of such controls to cover and protect all systems used to transmit/process/store PII data. Doing so, provides Jumio with a coherent and independently tested set of security policies/processes/controls and enables Jumio’s customers to gain confidence that their data – be it credit card or PII – is handled in a secure manner throughout its lifetime.”

This is great. Now let’s hope my airline, Delta, signs on too!

And again, know what you’re getting into with any app because the Wall Street Journal ran a report in 2010 warning people of app developers’ missing transparency. And yes, we’ve come a long way in 4 years but 101 popular applications for iPhone and Android were examined. It turned out that 56 actually transmitted the mobile device’s unique ID to other companies. This was done without the user’s consent or even awareness.

Forty-seven of the apps transmitted the device’s location. Five of the applications sent gender, age and other personal data to outsiders.

This shows how intent that online-tracking companies are at collecting private information on people. Kind of makes you think of that song, “Every Breath You Take,” by the Police, especially the part that goes, “I’ll be watching you.”

Trackers know what apps the user is downloading, how often they’re used and for how long, the whole works. And there’s been no meaningful action taken to curb this. It’s all about money. (Isn’t everything?)

The more “they” know about the user, the more targeted ads will come the user’s way. If they know you love shoes, ads about shoes will pop up. However, all this “transmitted” personal information can also be used for ID theft and other criminal purposes.

Solution:

Be aware. Don’t just blindly downloads and use an application. Do your research, read the terms and conditions and/or terms of service.

The user must weigh the risks and benefits when downloading the next application. In addition, download only from a reputable app store—after you’ve read user reviews and the app’s privacy policy regarding how much personal information it will get into and share.

Other tips include avoiding conducting smartphone transactions over unsecured Wi-Fi connections and keeping the software current in your smartphone: keeping up to date on its operating system, security software and browser.

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.

This Earth Day, “Clean” Your Device Before You Recycle It

One man’s trash is another man’s new identity?Yes, because that “junk mail” you toss in the garbage contains valuable data about yourself. A crook bent on identity theft can potentially have a field day with your discarded pre-approved credit card applications, bank statements, etc. Using a paper shredder before throwing out letters and documents such as these will help protect you and your family.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-keyboard-recycle-button-green-white-icon-image35645776You should take this same vigilant approach when recycling your devices, whether that be your computer,external hard drive, mobile phone or tablet. This ensures no matter where your recycled device ends up, you can feel secure knowing it contains zero data about  you—and a factory reset will not necessarily achieve this.

Here’s how to “clean” the data on your mobile device:

  1. Do a factory reset. Every mobile phone contains software to do this.
    1. To reset Android: Menu > Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset.
    2. To reset Blackberry: Options > Security Options > General Settings > Menu > Wipe Handheld.
    3. To reset iPhone: Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.
    4. For other phones, you can find out how to reset by doing an online search using the appropriate keywords, including the model number.
  2. Get rid of data that is on external media, like SIM or SD cards. Your best bet is to cut them in half.
  3. You can use a mobile security product, like McAfee® Mobile Security, to wipe your mobile clean of all its apps and data.

How to “clean” the data on your computer:Before you get rid of your computer, you must make sure that it’s impossible to recover the data on the hard drive. Simply putting things in the trash can and deleting them is not enough. If someone is skilled enough, they can almost always retrieve data left over on a hard drive. It’s your choice on how tough you make it for your computer’s new owner to do that.So don’t rely on these tasks.

Use a utility designed for wiping or erasing. This tool will overwrite everything with binary 1’s and 0’s. In fact, these tools meet government security standards and will overwrite each sector in your hard drive multiple times.McAfee Shredder, in which is included with McAfee LiveSafe™ service, is one of these tools. It will permanently wipe everything off your PC to protect your privacy.

This Earth Day, join the movement and demonstrate support for environmental protection. Just make sure to protect yourself first!

7 Safety tips on the Mobile Internet

It’s time to know all the ways you can make sure you’re safe when in mobile space to prevent identity theft.
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  1. It’s 10 pm; do know where the malware is? Malware is stealthy and hides in places you least expect, like search engines, tech-related sites, entertainment sites and web ads. Malware can even be waiting for you when you download what seems to be an innocent app for your favorite game. In fact, gaming and gambling sites are common targets, as are search engines—and these threats aren’t going to disappear too soon. Install antivirus especially on Android phones.
  2. Beware of peeping toms. That is, someone peering over your shoulder to catch you typing in a password. Mobile devices don’t mask passwords with those big dots like a laptop or desktop will. That snooping thief is hoping to get a glimpse of your password. Consider sitting against a wall when using your mobile in public. Cover your device with your other hand when entering PINs
  3. Click with discretion. The mobile webscape is replete with juicy-looking items to click: promotions, ads, weblinks…and it’s pretty much impossible to tell the legit ones from the fraudulent ones. Even the URL can’t indicate this. Scam offers can look legit and trick you into clicks. Don’t let the menagerie of all that stuff to click on overwhelm you. Don’t visit anyplace you’re not sure of.
  4. Don’t get reeled in by phishing e-mails. What should you do if you get an e-mail from eBay or something like that, requesting you click a link to update your credit card information because suspension of your account is imminent? Don’t open. Delete.
  5. Credit card companies, the IRS, banks, etc., will never contact you via e-mail and request your private information. Other scams take the form of announcements you’ve won money, your password has been compromised, or some other emotional message. Make a habit of never even opening these.
  6. Stay with app stores. The mobile webscape is cluttered with enticing offers of free downloads. A minority are fraudulent and it’s impossible to tell which are which. Never download from mobile-only sites or those crammed with ads. Download only from app stores you trust.
  7. No “Jailbreaking or “rooting”. These terms refer to installing software that will break down the walled gardens of your iPhone or Android. Once you do this you oprn the devices up to malware.

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.

Avoid Risky Web Searching on a Mobile Device

The mobile web can be a minefield of malicious links luring you to click so bad guys can infect your device. Search engines do their best to filter out these sites, but nefarious criminals have found ways to get their scammy pages to the top of search results through a process called black hat search engine optimization.

Criminals create fake websites and then use the same techniques as legitimate online businesses do regarding search engine optimization, marketing and online advertising. They use keywords to boost rankings on internet search engines, causing their fake websites to appear alongside legitimate ones.

It is also much harder to tell if a URL is legitimate since due to the limited screen space, mobile browsers especially often truncate web addresses. Also, if you’re clicking on a link to a site from an email you received, it’s hard to see the full sender’s email address; this makes it hard for you to know whether it’s coming from a fake person or company. Finally, the “hover over” option that many of us use to preview URLs on computers doesn’t work yet on most touch screen mobile devices.

Wireless internet also contributes to risky web searching. Unsecured, unprotected, unencrypted and sometimes shared wireless internet communications over WiFi in your home, office or any publicly connected WiFi (such as at a coffee shop, airport or hotel) are vulnerable to sniffers.

On wireless connections that aren’t properly secured—such as public ones—your best line of defense is to use a virtual private network software that protects your identity by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads) are secured through HTTPS. Hotspot Shield VPN is a good one to use. It’s secure, free to you (supported by ads) and available for PC, Mac, iPhone and Android.

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.

How do I shop with my mobile securely?

To stay safe while mobile shopping:

Go big. Do your online business with major retailers, or those you already know, like, and trust. The chances of a major online retailer stiffing you, or of their database being compromised, are slimmer than those of an unknown.

Do your homework. If you search for a particular product and wind up at an unfamiliar website, do some research on the retailer before putting down your credit card number. Search for the company’s name and web address to see if there have been complaints.

Don’t give out more personal data than necessary. Many retailers require your name, address, phone number, and credit card information. This is normal. But if you are asked for anything beyond that, like bank account numbers or your Social Security number, run hard and fast.

Vary your passwords. Often, online retailers will ask you to register with their website when you make your first purchase. Never register using the same password you’ve already used for another website. Otherwise, if one website is hacked, your password could be used to infiltrate your other accounts.

Use HTTPS sites. Websites that have a secure checkout process—with “https://” in the web address (as opposed to “http://”)—are safer because they encrypt the transaction against interception by thieves.

Keep mobile security software current. The latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Automate software updates. Many software programs can update automatically to defend against known risks. If this is an available option, be sure to turn it on.

Use a free VPN for Wi-Fi security like Hotspot Shield. Itcreates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone and our Internet gateway. 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