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12th Day: Holiday Security Tips All Wrapped up Together

Would you like to give the people you care about some peace on earth during this holiday season? Take a few minutes to pass on our 12 privacy tips that will help them protect their identities, social media, shopping and celebrating over the coming weeks. The more people that take the steps we’ve outlined in the 12 Days of Christmas, the safer we all become, collectively.

Have a wonderful holiday season, regardless of which tradition you celebrate. Now sing (and click) along with us one more time.  

On the 12th Day of Christmas, the experts gave to me: 12 Happy Holidays,

11 Private Emails,

10 Trusted Charities

9 Protected Packages

8 Scam Detectors

7 Fraud Alerts

6 Safe Celebrations

Fiiiiiiiiiiive Facebook Fixes

4 Pay Solutions

3 Stymied Hackers

2 Shopping Tips

And the Keys to Protect My Privacy

John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

WWBD? (What Would Bond Do?) Five Steps to Secure Your Business Data

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I finally got around to watching the latest 007 installment, Skyfall, and it appears even James Bond has entered into the world of Cyber Crime as he tries to protect a computer drive with a list of British agents from falling into the wrong hands.  And like the proverbial victims in a James Bond flick, you and your business data are under assault, even though it may not always be as obvious as getting thrown off a train.  Why?  Because your business data is profitable to would-be thieves. And for many of those thieves, that data is easy to get and the theft can be next to impossible to trace.

Sony PlayStation Network, Citigroup, Lockheed and several others have seen more than 100 million customer records breached, costing billions in recovery costs and reputation damage.  If it can happen to the big boys, it can happen to you.  If you don’t have Bond on your side fighting off the villains, take these steps to take to secure your business data:

Involve your employees. No one in your organization will care about data security until they understand what it has to do with them. So train them to be skeptical. When they’re asked for information, teach them to automatically assume the requestor is a spy. If they didn’t initiate the transfer of information (e.g., someone official approaches them for login credentials), have them stop and think before they share. Empower them to ask aggressive questions. Once employees understand data security from a personal standpoint, it’s a short leap to apply that to your customer databases, physical documents and intellectual property. Start with the personal and expand into the professional. It’s like allowing people to put on their own oxygen masks before taking responsibility for those next to them.

Stop broadcasting your digital data. Wireless data leaks two ways: the weakly encrypted wireless router in your office and the unprotected wireless connection you use to access the Internet in an airport, hotel or café. Have a security pro configure the wireless router in your office for WPA-2 encryption or better and perform a thorough security audit of your network. To protect your data on the road, set up wireless tethering with your mobile phone provider and stop using other people’s hot spots.

Eliminate the inside spy. Perform serious background checks before hiring new employees. The number one predictor of future theft by an employee is past theft. Follow up on the prospect’s references and ask for some that aren’t on the application. Letting prospective hires know in advance that you will be performing a comprehensive background check will discourage them from malfeasance.

Don’t let your mobile data walk away. Up to 50 percent of all major data breach originates with the loss of a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Either carry these on your person (making sure not to set them down in airports, cafes, conferences, etc.), store them in the hotel room safe, or lock them in an office or private room when not using them. Physical security is the most overlooked, most effective form of protection. Also, have the security pro mentioned earlier implement strong passwords, whole disk encryption and remote data-wiping capabilities. Set your screen saver to engage after five minutes of inactivity and check the box that requires you to enter your password upon re-entry.

Spend a day in your dumpster. You may have a shredder, but the problem is no one uses it consistently. Pretend you are your fiercest competitor and sort through outgoing trash for old invoices, credit card receipts, bank statements, customer lists and trade secrets. If employees know you conduct occasional dumpster audits, they’ll think twice about failing to shred the next document.

Take these steps and you begin the process of starving data thieves of the information they literally take to the bank.  It will be a lot easier to sit back and relax- maybe even have a shaken martini- when you know your business is secure.

James Bond martini

John Sileo is an anti-fraud training expert and in-demand speaker on digital reputation, identity theft and online privacy. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, Visa, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is There a Good Side to Facebook?

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AskSileo Episode 5: Is there a good side to Facebook?

There are absolutely good sides to Facebook and social networking. They engage people in ways that they aren’t engaged otherwise. As your children experience that moment of euphoria that comes from these new connections, use their enthusiasm to start a conversation about what is appropriate online and what isn’t. The more you get involved, the safer they will be.

What are your questions? Let me know if the comments box below. Who knows, your question might appear next on AskSileo!
For more tips on privacy, identity and reputation control, subscribe to the AskSileo video series or to the Sileo Blog.

Does Facebook Chemically Addict My Child?

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AskSileo Episode 4: Does Facebook Chemically Addict My Child?

When we talk about ourselves, it is scientifically proven that we get mini hits of a natural drug called dopamine. It makes us feel better and because of that, it is addictive. Facebook, and social media are all about talking about ourselves. Why does Facebook have 1 Billion users? Because they have an addictive business model, and we are it’s test subjects.

What are your questions? Let me know if the comments box below. Who knows, your question might appear next on AskSileo!
For more tips on privacy, identity and reputation control, subscribe to the AskSileo video series or to the Sileo Blog.

How Long Does it Take to Secure Facebook?

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AskSileo Episode 3: How long should I spend setting up Facebook’s privacy and security settings?

If you haven’t spent at least 90 minutes with your child setting up their Facebook account, you can be pretty certain that they are not as protected as they should be. Here are the three most important security steps that will make your child much safer on social media:

  • Read through and customize each Privacy Setting in Facebook
  • Do the same for the Security Settings
  • If your child is old enough (if they are following the 13 and older rule, they are old enough) have them read through Facebook’s Data Use Policy, taking notes on what they learn. There is nothing like reading it for themselves to get them to care about what they are exposing to the world.
What are your questions? Let me know if the comments box below. Who knows, your question might appear next on AskSileo!
For more tips on privacy, identity and reputation control, subscribe to the AskSileo video series or to the Sileo Blog.

Are Your Kids Being Pressured to Use Facebook?

AskSileo Episode 2: Is there Social Pressure to be on Facebook?

Undoubtedly, our kids face social pressure and pay a penalty if they decide to not be on Facebook. They are often accused of not being cool, feel left out of social events and updates that are no longer communicated in person and are looked at differently (out of touch) for choosing to not join the masses.

I want to hear about the social pressures your kids have faced! Share with us in the comments below. 
For more tips on privacy, identity and reputation control, subscribe to the AskSileo video series or to the Sileo Blog.

Oh No! My Kid Wants to Get on Facebook… What Now?

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I’m starting a new video series on my AskSileo YouTube channel to address common questions that parents have about their kid’s safety on Facebook and online privacy in general.

AskSileo Episode 1: Children’s Safety on Facebook and Social Networking (drawing from first-hand experience)

I get this question all of the time: Is my kid safe on Facebook? The answer to that questions depends on three basic factors:

  • The amount of time you have invested in helping your child set up their Facebook account. If you haven’t spent at least 90 minutes in the process, they are in no way safe. It takes at least 1.5 hours to wisely populate their profile, customize privacy and security settings and read through the Facebook Data Use Policy (notice that Facebook no longer refers to it as a privacy policy, because the reality is that you have almost no privacy on Facebook).
  • The amount of time you have spent training your child in an age appropriate way on the risks associated with sharing information on Facebook (stalking, Like-jacking, college admissions background checks, malware loading, identity theft, cyber bullying, social manipulation, digital blackmail, location tracking, surfing behavior analysis, purchase and sale of private information by marketing companies, etc.)
  • The degree to which you engage in Facebook yourself and use it as a tool to communicate and monitor your child’s online behavior. Social media is about conversation, and the most important person you can converse with is your child. In the same way that you would parent them in a restaurant if they used foul language, wore risque clothing or bullied another child, so you must be part of their virtual life. If you are not involved in your child’s online life on a daily basis, they have an identity about which you know nothing.
It’s one thing to talk about privacy as an expert on the topic and another to actually live through it with a child (without killing them). Which is why I have decided to create a video log while helping my 14-year-old daughter get safely onto Facebook. Enough theory, let’s talk practice.
I will admit right up front that I am learning as much as you are during this process, so your comments and feedback below are welcomed and will help educate other parents just trying to figure this thing out.
What are your questions? Let me know if the comments box below. Who knows, your question might appear next on AskSileo!
For more tips on privacy, identity and reputation control, subscribe to the AskSileo video series or to the Sileo Blog.

Cyber Monday Cyber Security in 60 Seconds

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Cyber Thieves are officially out today to steal your credit card information or any other private personal information they can intercept as you shop online during Cyber Monday (and for the rest of the holiday season). In less that 60 seconds, you can know what they are up to and what to watch out for. Only 50 seconds left, so here they are (note: some of the “for more info” links will only become live over the next few weeks in our 12 Days of Christmas series, so please check back):

  1. Be extremely careful when using free Wi-Fi hotspots to shop online, as you are being watched by data sniffers.
  2. Only shop on secure, reputable websites that: A. You know via other means (the press; you shop at their store) B. Look for “https” in the URL, C. The website has a small padlock icon in the bottom right corner of your browser or the URL turns green, signaling a “safe” site.
  3. Shop, online or in person, with a credit card and not a debit card, because debit cards are riskier.
  4. Never offer more personal information to online stores than absolutely necessary (e.g., Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, PINs)
  5. Never use the same password across multiple websites, and do not use your name, pet’s name, birthdate, dictionary word or other easily guessed attribute as a password. Use a combination of letters, symbols and numbers and vary upper and lower case.
  6. Leave suspicious websites immediately (they ask for more information than normal, require you to double enter information or trigger your BS meter).
  7. Log out of your online accounts when you are not actively shopping, and password protect your smartphone, iPad and laptop in case they do go missing.
  8. Use automated account alerts to effortlessly monitor your credit card charges and bank balances, allowing you to catch fraud immediately.
  9. Only cyber shop on a non-public (e.g., not in a library) computer with a secure internet connection, updated anti-virus software and up-to-date operating system.
  10. Only donate to known charities and only when you have initiated the gift. Never send money (via check, cash or electronically) based solely on a wall post, email or phone call.  Respond to such correspondence by contacting the charity on a reputable phone number or website.
  11. (Bonus Tip #1) Resist your curiosity to see that adorable elf dance in an email, wall post or tweet; only open attachments from trusted friends and family. If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t open the holiday greetings, as it is probably malware trying to intercept your shopping credentials.
  12. (Bonus Tip #2) Check out our 12 Days to a Safe Christmas: Prevent Holiday Identity Theft for day by day tips on preventing identity theft while shopping.

If you take these 10 tips to heart, you will not only save yourself the stress of shopping in person, you won’t have to think twice about doing your holiday buying online.

When John Sileo isn’t shopping online for holiday gifts, he’s off speaking at conferences who are looking for highly relevant content delivered with humorous audience interaction. See video clips of John on stage and in the media.

 

ID Theft – Five Tips for Vacation Protection

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Holiday travel brings various levels of challenge and stress. Don’t let identity theft risk add to your anxiety.

Here are five tips to help you to avoid becoming a victim while on vacation:

1. Stop your mail and newspaper. Avoid letting un-invited credit invitations sit in your mail box. You can stop your mail by phone or online at usps.com. Also, ask a trusted neighbor to watch for package & parcel deliveries and to hang on to them until you return. If you receive a daily newspaper, put your subscription on hold. A pile of un-retrieved newspapers in your driveway is a “Welcome” sign to thieves.

2. Don’t advertise that you’re on vacation. Make sure if you are going to post vacation updates on your e-mail, on social networking websites, or on your voice mail greeting, that you post generically, no specifics. Put a few lights on timers so that your home doesn’t look unoccupied for the entire time you’re gone. Replace the front porch light bulb.

3. Enroll in a protection product that safeguards your most valuable asset, your identity. You may think you have all your bases covered, but it can be harder than you think, especially once you need to recover from a theft. One way to make sure you’re protected is by using a product that monitors if you are vulnerable to having your identity stolen. A number of quality service providers offer alerts via text or email of potentially suspicious activity as well as resolution assistance to help you cut through the red tape should you need it.

4. Leave your checkbook & debit card at home. If you don’t want to use cash or credit cards, purchase traveler’s checks instead of bringing your checkbook or debit card. A stolen checkbook has your bank account number and routing number on the checks – valuable tools a thief can use to steal your identity or clean out your bank account. Traveler’s checks require a signature when you purchase them, and then another when you use them at a store or restaurant on your travels. And, usually a photo ID is required when you use them. A thief that steals them will find them much harder to use. A debit card is essentially an immediate cash transaction.

5. Give your credit card company a heads up. This is especially important if you are traveling internationally, because any activity that happens domestically will raise a red flag. If you don’t let them know, they may become concerned when they see overseas transactions and freeze your card, potentially ruining your holiday.

A good measure of common sense and basic precaution can go a long way to protect you and your family.  Taking some of these simple steps can give you the peace of mind you deserve during your hard-earned vacation. Travel safely (and securely)!

John Sileo is an award-winning author and speaks worldwide on the dark art of deception (identity theft, social media privacy, data breach) and it’s polar opposite, the powerful use of trust to achieve success. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which advises teams on how to multiply results and increase positive impact by building a culture of deep trust. His satisfied clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, the FDIC, Homeland Security, Experian UK and Blue Cross. Contact him on 800.258.8076, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, or view his work on YouTube.

Google and Facebook Go Deeper Into Your Privacy

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This post is a summary of an excellent article appearing in USA Today By Byron Acohido, Scott Martin and Jon Swartz.

It’s a heated competition to tap what many experts predict will be the next big Internet gold rush — online advertising — Google and Facebook laid down very big bets, during a week when European regulators are hashing out strict new rules that could prevent much of what the tech giants seek to do.

Google signaled its intent to begin correlating data about its users’ activities across all of its most popular services and across multiple devices. The goal: to deliver those richer behavior profiles to advertisers.

Likewise, Facebook announced it will soon make Timeline the new, more glitzy user interface for its service, mandatory. Timeline is designed to chronologically assemble, automatically display and make globally accessible the preferences, acquaintances and activities for most of Facebook’s 800 million members.

“If they can make the ads more relevant, the logic goes, they can increase the number of advertisers and the price they can charge per click (on each ad),” says Alex Daley, chief investment strategist at Casey Research. “Because the click will be from more qualified leads — customers who are more interested in the product — they can grow the revenue base.”

But security analysts, privacy advocates and technologists say consumers probably should be very concerned. While making richer behavioral data more readily available to advertisers, Google’s new data-correlating practices and Facebook’s new Timeline and Open Graph, a more powerful way to express preferences on third-party websites, also tend to aid and abet more unsavory uses.

Richer personal details are very beneficial to identity thieves and cyberspies, as well as to parties motivated to use such data unfairly against consumers, such as insurance companies, prospective employers, political campaigners and, lately, hacktivists, security analysts say.

“What these unilateral decisions by Google and Facebook demonstrate is a complete disregard for their users’ interests and concerns,” says John Simpson, spokesman for Consumer Watchdog. “It’s an uncommonly arrogant approach not usually seen in business, where these companies believe they can do whatever they want with our data, whenever and however they want to do it.”

The deeper personal data of Timeline — which Facebook users willfully share — are potentially online advertising gold for marketers and advertisers. This is especially crucial, analysts say, as Facebook has finalized it’s initial public stock offering.

John Sileo is an award-winning author and international speaker on the dark art of deception (identity theft, data privacy, social media manipulation) and its polar opposite, the powerful use of trust, to achieve success. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which advises teams on how to multiply performance by building a culture of deep trust. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, the FDIC, and Homeland Security. Sample his Keynote Presentation (he shares how he lost $300,000, 2 years and his business to data breach) or watch him on Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes or Fox Business. 1.800.258.8076.