Defense Against Crime

12/10/2017

Cyber Security Tips and Tricks


cyber-security-month-oct-2017

Unless you have been living in a cave, you should know by now that the credit reporting firm Equifax was hacked and your personal data may have been stolen.  First, let me rant this.  At no time that I am aware of did I give Equifax, Transunion, or Experian permission, or contract with, to collect or control my credit or personal information. Did you?  Who did? What gave them this ability and why was it never challenged?  I think this in and of itself should be grounds for a law suit. I think that anyone who wants to have credit has to sign a contract to have these services.  Now the really, really sad point, with all these warning that other firms and entities have been hacked in the recent past like Yahoo (more than once),Target, Ashley Madison, Ebay, Home Depot, Sony Pictures and others Equifax should have done its due diligence to make sure they were secure.  They didn’t.  They were also warned months ago that they had a security weakness in their system. Still they did nothing. End of rant.

As hacks, data breaches, and other cyber-enabled crime become increasingly commonplace, this year’s incidents is an important reminder of the need to take steps to protect yourself and your family when using the Internet. When these breaches happen, there is very little you can do once data is breached, there are a few things you can so to limit your access to your personal information. However, companies like Equifax has all the information a person needs to open credit, get a loan, buy a timeshare, etc. using your identities.

Since October is National Cybersecurity Security Awareness Month brings to light what you already know – cruising the internet and filling out web forms can be harmful if you don’t follow best security practices. The good news is you don’t need to be a cybersecurity professional to employ smart online safety habits that can go a long way in guarding against online crime.

Cybersecurity best practices make up an expansive list of things to do, but for the individual user, the few tips below will be the ultimate steps you can take to protect your data.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Limit the amount of real information you have on your social media profile. Do you have your real birth year on your profile? What about the real town where you live? How about all the schools that you went to.  Are you providing all the information for someone to fake, being you?   What will happen when those databases are hacked…the thieves will have this information, and you provided it. Personally, I have two Social Media IDs real one and a fake one.
  • In general, be cautious with social media networking. Don’t post pictures or texts that reveal any personal information like home addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, or places you and your family regularly attend, such as schools or recreational complexes.I saw a demo where a cop was able to track a girl just from her photos. She was a cheerleader, and posted a pic.  So, he knew where she was going to school Other info she posted led him to her front door. Just as a lesson on how much information she was giving away. Someone with ill intent could use that information to harm you or your children. Don’t use the check-in feature on Facebook or the like. You don’t know who is getting that info, or are you really sure their security is working. (So did all those companies that were hacked).  When in doubt, remove it. Never accept connections from people you don’t know, and be sure you have your profile set to private so only those you trust can see your information.  See tip #1
  • Did I mention securing your Social Media, banking and other internet logins with two factor authentications? (There are articles on this blog about how to do this!)
  • Now is the time to purchase Identity theft insurance. Please note I said insurance, not a monitoring service. When South Carolina had a data breach. The state gave the people who filed state income taxes free credit monitoring. All a monitoring service does not prevent identity theft, and can only alert you of suspicious activity. If your identity is stolen, it is up to you to fix it, which can take hours, and hours, and hours.  A good identity theft insurance policy assigns someone to fix the issue for you.  This is the feature you need to shop for.

 

  • Think of download ‘free software’ or ‘free versions of expensive software’ like having sex with a prostitute. You may end up picking up something that can cause your computer great harm. So don’t do it. Even some web videos can contain viruses… you’ve been warned.

 

  • If you happen to find a USB Drive on the ground, DO NOT STICK IT IN your home or work computer. This is a common method that hackers use to upload a virus to systems that either allow them to secretly install spyware, or viruses.

 

  • Consider encrypting your computer. Recent versions of Microsoft Windows provide support for Bitlocker, a program that comes with Windows that will encrypt everything on your hard drive. You could also use third party encryption products. If your computer becomes lost or stolen, encryption can prevent prying eyes from seeing and using your personal data.

 

  • Worse than stolen data is unusable data. Aside from data breaches, we have also seen the rapid spread of hi-jacked data through the use of ransom-ware. You are wise to back up your data on a non-networked device. Also know that any data you have on connected cloud drives are also vulnerable. So be sure to discount these when you are not using them
  • Take time to learn about the IC3 (www.ic3.gov)—and use it if you’re ever an id theft or internet crime or internet scam victim. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism for citizens to submit complaints about Internet crime and scams to the FBI. The IC3 uses the information from public complaints to refer cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and identify trends
    .
  • Practice good cyber hygiene. This is the establishment and maintenance of an individual’s online safety. It encapsulates the daily routines, occasional checks and general behaviors required to maintain a user’s online “health” (security). This task entails A person knowing how select and maintain high quality passwords, install and maintain security software on the digital devices, keep their virus definitions up-to-date, run regular security scans on their digital devices, adhere to cyber security policies, protect their personal data, and avoid potential sources of infection. This is included at work and at home on all your connected devices.
  • Use computer/electronic protection products. A comprehensive host-based security suite provides support for anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-malware, safe browsing, Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), and firewall capabilities. These services provide a layered defense against most common threats, and you can enable the automated updates to keep software up-to-date. Think of it as adding a security guard, guard dogs, and electric fence around your residence.

 

  • Keep ALL application software updated. Since many software programs don’t have an automated update feature, attackers frequently target those programs to gain unauthorized access to a computer. Several software products will let you know what applications installed on your PC are vulnerable to attack and need to be updated. It would be wise to Install an automated software update monitoring manager such as Secunia Personal Software Inspector, FileHippo App Manager, ManageEngine or others.
  • Know the risks of the Internet of Things (IOT). Cyber security goes beyond your computer, digital devices and cell phone. Many homes are now filled with Internet-connected devices, such as home security systems, connected baby monitors, smart appliances, personal assistants (Echo, Google Home, etc) and Internet-connected medical devices. All of these devices present opportunities for hackers to spy on you and get your personal information. Using strong passwords and purchasing IOT devices from companies with a good security track record are just a few of the things you can do to protect your family and home.Keep an inventory of anything in your home that connects to the Internet. This includes video gaming systems, smart televisions, programmable thermostats, tablet, smart appliances and video security cameras, electronic locks. These devices are vulnerable to attack due to their limited ability to update their software. If a vulnerability is found in the software, there could be no way to update it to a safer version. Always change the default passwords for these devices. When possible, segment them from your home and work networks, and unplug them when they aren’t in use. Review and learn their various privacy configurations, and set them to the highest possible privacy setting. After all, do you want to have your home hacked?

 

  • Update your operating system in a timely fashion. This would be within a year of being released. If you are using MS Office, also keep that updated.  If you’re using Windows, bite the bullet and upgrade to the latest edition for the latest security preventions. For example, Windows 10 Home can push to your PC patches immediately upon their release. Microsoft Office 2016 can block macros from loading in certain high-risk scenarios. Macros are a set of commands intended to automate specific functions, and are often used by attackers to run malicious software on a victim’s computer. Make sure you either use auto update, or apply updates on a regular schedule.

 

  • If you are an Apple person, it is wise to create two accounts for your Mac. The first account created when configuring a Mac for the first time is the local administrator account. You should also create a non-privileged “user” account and use it for the majority of activities on your computer. Your administrator account should only be used to install updates or software, or to reconfigure the computer as needed. Browsing the web or reading email as an administrator provides a path for an attacker to gain unauthorized access to your computer.

 

  • Never ever ever ever  tamper with your smartphone base config. This is often referred t to as “jailbreaking” or “rooting” your devices. Those terms refer to hacking the software on your phone or tablet. Users sometimes hack the software on the phone to allow it to do something it was not originally intended by the manufacturer. Hacking the software can cause vulnerabilities and can void the phone warranty and open you up to bigger issues. Word you remove the lock from your house to allow easy access?

 

  • If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware of some of the type of Exercise caution when opening emails. Beware of emails with attachments or links urging immediate action, especially those purportedly from a delivery service or bank. Some malicious emails seem to come from popular businesses, but the attachments or links in them may surreptitiously download malware. When you open any email, even one from a friend, be cautious about clicking on any links or attachments. If your friend’s email account has been hacked, you could easily receive an email that purportedly comes from your friend, when in reality, it comes from the attacker.

 

  • Be careful when using FREE Wi-Fi hotspots. Free public Wi-Fi may cost you. When you connect to Wi-Fi, your communications may not be private unless you’re using a Virtual Private Network. A VPN allows you to send and receive data across a public network as if you were actually on a private network, so anyone intruding on the Wi-Fi connection cannot see or capture your data or login credentials. Attackers often set up “open” Wi-Fi access points with names similar to the name of the establishment. This fools users into using the attackers’ “open” network, allowing them to capture your keystrokes and spy on your communication. For example, at O’Hare Airport, there could be a fake network called Chicago Airport and an authentic network called OHare-Public. If there are no signs telling you the name and password of the authentic network, you won’t know unless you ask.

 

  • Be vigilant regarding common fraud and theft tactics. Look for credit/debit card skimmers at gas pumps and ATM machines. Usually hidden, skimmers are small devices that can scan and store data from the magnetic strips on the back of credit and debit cards. Pull on the card reader to be sure it is part of the permanent fixture. If it is movable, report it to an attendant and don’t use it.Scammers often attach what looks like a genuine piece of the machine over the top of the slot where you insert your card. That piece copies your card number. On ATM machines, in addition to installing skimmers, thieves often install a tiny spy camera that records a digital video of you typing in your PIN. Use a magazine, or at least your hand, to hide your PIN from prying eyes. Jiggle the part of the machine where you insert your card to see if it comes loose. If it does, don’t use the machine.

    Beware that some new cards with RFID can easily be read by someone with an RDIF reader walking next to you.

 

  • Use Bluetooth sparingly. Although Bluetooth is useful for connecting headsets, hands-free speakerphones, and speakers to your cellular phone, it can also be a hidden door for unwanted devices and malware. If possible please, keep your Bluetooth disabled until you need to connect to a device.

 

  • Backup your data. Backup your data regularly with an offline device. If you become a victim of ransomware and you only have a cloud-based backup service, your files in the cloud will also become encrypted. This includes Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Apple Drive and many others.

 

  • Oversee your children’s computer usage. Children should use a computer in a common area of the home so parents can ensure their children aren’t communicating with people or sites that could cause harm. Many different devices have internet connectivity, so monitor children using cell phones, tablets, e-readers, gaming devices and laptops. Know all the passwords for your children’s devices in case your child becomes endangered by someone online and authorities need to conduct an investigation into your child’s online communication. Know your children’s social networking connections and the people they play online games with. Keep computer webcams covered with painter’s tape or a sticky note when they aren’t being used to communicate with family members and friends. Attackers who have access to your computer can remotely turn the cameras on without a user’s knowledge. Regularly talk to you children about online safety, but keep the tone informal.

 

 

Internet thieves are becoming more and more clever, and it is difficult to know all the latest and greatest hacks, and trips. But if you just stick with the basics and treat your computer like a living entity you should be relatively safe.
PepperEyes.com Self-Defense Products is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable self-defense products, survival and safety products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for protection, home security, business security, purchase our high-quality discount self-defense products. Survival kits and arm yourself with the knowledge about self-defense and security products and information of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society, being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

 

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18/09/2017

Domestic Violence Resources


We were contacted by Jackie Cortez of the thepreventioncoalition.org and she provided

Prevention is Possible

Prevention is Possible

the following resources for domestic violence. We are sharing this with you.

It seems that the issue of domestic violence has become such a national crisis that nearly everyone has been personally affected by it in some way. In my line of work, I see cases of abuse pretty frequently. It’s heartbreaking, but there are a lot of resources available for those who need help.

I noticed you already have some really wonderful resources on this important topic (like on this page: http://www.peppereyes.com/links), and I’d like to help contribute in some small way.

Addiction And Domestic Violence: A Look At The Connections
http://www.drugrehab.org/addiction-domestic-violence/

Talking to a Child Who Has Been Abused
https://www.extension.purdue.edu/providerparent/parent-provider%20relationships/Talking_Child_Been_Abused.htm

How to Stop Bullying in Schools
http://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-bullying

When It’s Time to Go
https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/faq/when-it-s-time-to-go-part-i

Domestic violence against men: Know the signs
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/domestic-violence-against-men/art-20045149

Staying safe before and after leaving abuse
http://nprdap.org/safety-planning/

12 Steps to Protect Your Finances When Leaving an Abusive Relationship
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/life/leaving-an-abusive-relationship/

PepperEyes.com Self-Defense Products is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable self-defense products, survival and safety products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for protection, home security, business security, purchase our high quality discount self-defense products. Survival kits  and arm yourself with the knowledge about self-defense and security products and information of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society, being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

27/08/2017

You’ve been hit by A smooth criminal


As he came into the window
It was the sound of a crescendo090610_webcamthieves
He came into her apartment
He left the bloodstains on the carpet
She ran underneath the table
He could see she was unable
So she ran into the bedroom
She was struck down, it was her doom

Or so the famous Michael Jackson song goes….

Many criminals are smart and crafty as the following examples will show you.

I used to tell ladies that if they went to have their cars services, to never give their whole set of keys to the mechanic. It would be easy for a dishonest one to make a copy of your house keys, and since they probably have your address and phone number on record. They can call you to see if you are home, or sit and wait to see you leave, and then have access to your house.  You may have heard this advice as well.

(You’ve been struck by A smooth criminal)

LONG TERM PARKING:

A citizen left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people’s home in Pebble Beach and robbed it.

TIP: if you are going to leave the car in long-term parking, you should NOT leave the any documentation that will indicate where you live, or any other valuables. Also, never leave your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

GPS:

A Sports fan had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard for anyone to see. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.

(You’ve been struck by A smooth criminal)

Something to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it… Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.  How many times do we have to tell you not to leave valuables in your car, and just think how valuable a home alarm system would have been.

CELL PHONES:

This young lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her unlocked cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone (they still have these?) telling him what had happened, hubby says, “I received your text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.” When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text “hubby” in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

(You’ve been struck by A smooth criminal)

Moral of the lesson:

  1. Most many modern cell phones have many means to secure your phone, use them.
  2. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.
  3. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
  4. Also, when you’re being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet “family and friends” who text you.

 

PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART SCAM:

A lady went grocery-shopping at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children’s seat of the cart while she reached something off a shelf… wait till you read the WHOLE story! Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the Store Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.

(You’ve been struck by A smooth criminal)

 

Many criminals are highly intelligent and know how to seize opportunities given to them. All you can do it do everything in your power not to make it easy for them.

  1. Don’t display your valuables in your car.
  2. Use car and home alarms.
  3. Trust but verify, don’t trust text and e-mails without voice confirmation.

 
PepperEyes.com Self-Defense Products is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable self-defense products, survival and safety products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for protection, home security, business security, purchase our high quality discount self-defense products. Survival kits  and arm yourself with the knowledge about self-defense and security products and information of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society, being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

30/07/2017

Crime Do Happen On and Around Campus


According to RAINN.org Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault,

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Before your leave her at college, prepare her to survive

some of these are college age females like your daughter.

One in five female undergraduates have experienced some kind of sexual assault while in college, according to a new study of students at nine institutions by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  These numbers have been floating around for decades. Politicians will argue over them, the victims don’t. Under the Clery Act and Title IX schools must report all known criminal activity on their campus. I wonder how many students and parent even bother to look past the pretty ivy to see what the criminal culture is on and around campus.  They are available on the college web site. Be honest did you look?

Just as crimes do happen in and around your subdivision, crimes do happen in and around college campuses. You can actually do an internet search to confirm this.

You should take an active role in increasing your safety or the safety of those you care about. While there’s no way to completely eliminate the chance that something may happen, there are strategies that may reduce your risk or give you the confidence to step in to prevent a sexual assault or other crimes.

Now on the positive site, many campuses put in various systems and educational programs that can help your young adult reduce their chances on being a sexual assault victim.  The have free rides, campus escorts to walk students back to their dorms, self-defense classes like RAD and many more. But these programs are worthless if the student decides to be stupid.

Some  of the campus police officers I spoke to at the College of Charleston and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  said the biggest factor in sexual assaults is alcohol.  Once these young adult leave home they want to try new things often  in unsafe environments. This is when things can go bad. There was an incident that happened off campus that involved drugs and a young woman being gang raped. If you search this blog you can see similar campus crime stories that we posted. If you search the internet, you can see a lot more.

Just last week  in South Carolina, a college female was abducted and managed to escape her abductors.  However, it is not only females that are victims, four USC male college students who were moving into their apartments were robbed at gun point, forced to give up their wallets and cell phones and taken to an ATM and forced to withdraw cash, assaulted and dumped on a highway.

The point of all that I have written above is to make you aware that crime happens on and off college campuses and it’s up to your young person to arm themselves with the knowledge and tools that will reduce their chances of being part of a campus crime statistic.

I have made a point to write college safety tips in this blog and I will link to some of them below.

Here are some basic ones.

  • Trust your instincts, if it does not feel right…leave
  • Always beware of your surroundings don’t walk and text, and try to avoid dark places or areas you’re not familiar with.
  • If possible try not to be alone. Most criminals seek out single victims.
  • If you find yourself in an unfamiliar place you should plan an escape route in case something does happen. Know where the exits are or places you can hide
  • If you feel you have an opportunity to escape, take it, or be thinking about ways you can get away.
  • Self-Defense knowledge and Self-Defense products can make all the difference.
  • Each situation is different, and this is where knowledge, and training can increase your chances. When you go out, think about what could happen and how you can get away.

RESOURCES

Facts about Alcohol and College Sexual Assaults – https://peppereyes.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/facts-about-alcohol-and-college-sexual-assaults/

Sexual Assaults do happen to College Girls

https://peppereyes.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/sexual-assaults-do-happen-to-college-girls/

Enroll in RAD and Become Safer

https://peppereyes.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/enroll-in-rad-and-become-safer/

College Safety Tips

https://peppereyes.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/college-safety-tips/

Safety Apps

https://peppereyes.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/a-cool-app-that-can-save-your-life/

PepperEyes.com Self-Defense Products is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable self-defense products, survival and safety products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for protection, home security, business security, purchase our high quality discount self-defense products. Survival kits  and arm yourself with the knowledge about self-defense and security products and information of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society, being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

14/07/2017

Before you send her off to College…


Ready4College_26Recent campus safety statistics show an increased danger for mostly female students—with up to 1 in 5 college women experiencing and reporting sexual assault and nearly 10,000 students each year enduring aggravated assaults and robberies during their time in college. These facts are gathered by the Government Crime Data.

PEPPEREYES – SELF DEFENCE PRODUCTS is working to enhance awareness of the safety steps students need to take when they get to campus or go off campus. However, we also want to encourage students to take every opportunity to learn the programs their campus offers to help keep them safe.

Here are a few things Students should do

  • Before unpacking your boxes, students should check out what free safe ride or the campus offers walking services.
  • Students should take every safety seminar or attend a self-defense class (like RAD). Many colleges offer student free or for credit, and the techniques and strategies can be lifesaving.
  • For students moving from dorms to apartments, a personal alarm, door Alarm provides portable security. Compact options of a Dorm/Apartment hidden safes for keeping personal belongings safe are also available.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Listening to music through headphones or looking down at a cell phone can impede your ability to be alert.
  • Prepare themselves with pepper sprays or other legal products—one of the most effective ways to deter or distract an attacker, and permitted on most campuses. PEPPEREYES – SELF DEFENCE PRODUCTS has the most potent and reliable options on the market.
  • Stick together—there is safety in numbers, so stay close to friends when going out or coming home late from parties.

 

Additional Tips is available in these articles

College Safety Tips

10 Back-to-School Safety Tips for College Females

Parents:

You baby is living home in their journey to adulthood. This can be exciting or stressful, just make sure you do your part in making them prepared for the new world and about choices and consequences. Remember most of the sexual assaults involve excessive alcohol. If you search this blog we provide different resources for you to use.

PepperEyes.com is hoping to give your peace of mind by teaching your offspring how to stay safe both on and off campus.

PepperEyes.com Self-Defense Products is dedicated to providing you with the best and most affordable self-defense products, survival and safety products on the market to meet the security needs of you, your family members or your business, by assisting anyone who is unwilling to become a victim of crime.  If you want to take personal responsibility for protection, home security, business security, purchase our high quality discount self-defense products. Survival kits  and arm yourself with the knowledge about self-defense and security products and information of the best way to stay secure in an ever-increasing violent world. In today’s society, being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

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