Robert Siciliano

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      Robert Siciliano
    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Identity Theft Expert
    • Organization:IDTheftSecurity.com
    • Area of Expertise:
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    • Member:ProfNet

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    Beware of Rogue Cell Phone Charging Stations

    Thursday, December 6, 2018, 10:13 AM [General]
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    Humans have evolved a new body part: the cell phone. One day it will be part of anatomical illustrations of the body in health and medical books probably an appendage on your head. I’m not a Dr. so don’t quote me.

    For now, we have to figure out a way to keep this appendage juiced up without being lured into a data-sucking battery-charge station.

    There’s even a name for this kind of crime: juice jacking. The kiosk is designed to appear like a legitimate battery charging station, when in fact, it will steal your phone’s data while it’s hooked up.

    Worse yet, sometimes the thief will set the station to deposit malware into your phone. The crook will then have access to all the sensitive information and images that you have on the device.

    These fraudulent stations are often set up at locations where users would be in a rush and won’t have time to check around for signs of suspicion or even think about the possibility of getting their personal life transferred out of their phone and into the hands of a stranger.

    Are these thieves smart or what?

    But you can be smarter.

    Prevent Juice Jacking

    • Before leaving your house, make sure your phone is fully charged if possible.
    • Buy a second charger that stays with you or in your car at all times, and make a habit of keeping your phone charged while you drive.
    • Of course, there will be times when you’re out and about, and before you realize it, your device has gotten low on power. And it’s time to hunt for a public charging station.
    • Have a cord with you at all times. This will enable you to use a wall socket.
    • Turn off your phone to save batt. But for many people, this will not happen, so don’t just rely only on that tactic.
    • Plug your phone directly into a public socket whenever you can.
    • If you end up using the USB attachment at the station, make a point of viewing the power source. A hidden power source is suspicious.
    • If bringing a cord with you everywhere is too much of a hassle, did you know you can buy a power-only USB cord on which it’s impossible for any data to be transferred?
    • Another option is an external battery pack. This will supply an addition of power to your device.
    • External batteries, like the power-only USB cord, do not have data transfer ability, and thus can be used at any kiosk without the possibility of a data breach.
    • Search “optimize battery settings” iPhone or Android and get to work.

    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.

    Protect Yourself From Gift Card Scams

    Thursday, December 6, 2018, 10:11 AM [General]
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    So maybe Christmas now means the very predictable gift card swap, but hey, who can’t use a gift card? But beware, there are a ton of scams. This includes physical, not just digital, gift cards.

    Regardless of who gave you the card, you should always practice security measures. Below are two common ways that fraudsters operate.

    Transform Gift Card to Cash Twice.

    If someone gives you a $200 gift card to an electronics store and then it’s stolen, you technically have lost money, as this is the same as someone stealing a wad of cash from your pocket.

    Nevertheless, you’ll feel the loss just as much. Crooks who steal gift cards have numerous ways of using them.

    • Joe Thief has plans on buying a $200 item with your stolen gift card from your gym locker.
    • But first he places an ad for the card online, pricing it at a big discount of $130 saying he doesn’t need anything, he just needs money.
    • Someone out there spots this deal and sends Joe the money via PayPal or Venmo.
    • Joe then uses the $200 gift card to buy an item and sells it on eBay
    • And he just netted $130 on selling a stolen gift card that he never shipped.

    Infiltration of Online Gift Card Accounts

    Joe Thief might also use a computer program called a botnet to get into an online gift card account.

    • You must log into your gift card account with characters.
    • Botnets also log into these accounts. Botnets are sent by Joe Thief to randomly guess your login characters with a brute force attack: a computerized creation of different permutations of numbers and letters – by the millions in a single attack.
    • The botnet just might get a hit – yours.

    Here’s How to Protect Yourself

    • Be leery of deals posted online, in magazines or in person that seem too good to be true and are not advertised by reputable retailers.
    • Buy gift cards straight from the source.
    • Don’t buy gift cards at high traffic locations, at which it’s easier for Joe to conceal his tampering.
    • Change the card’s security code.
    • Create long and jumbled usernames and passwords to lessen the chance of a brute force hit.
    • The moment you suspect fraudulent activity, report it to the retailer.
    • Spend the card right away.

    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.

    Here's What Crazy Mass Shooters Look Like

    Thursday, November 29, 2018, 8:52 AM [General]
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    Mass shootings. They happen so often these days, they are hardly making headlines, and when they do, they are soon pushed out of the news cycle thanks to what’s going on in the White House or in Russia. There are many red flags that show what crazy mass shooters look like.

    Look at this:

    According to reports, the Thousand Oaks shooter assaulted his track coach. The Florida high school shooter was accused of threatening, abusing, and stalking people he knew. People say that the Las Vegas shooter was verbally abusing his girlfriend while in public. What do you see here? A pattern.

    The FBI is on the case here, but that’s hardly comforting due to the sheer volume of unstable people out there. Earlier this year, the FBI released a report that shows the “pre-attack behaviors” of people accused of or convicted of mass shootings. Here’s another takeaway: 63 percent of them were white, and 94 percent of them were male. The report concludes with a takeaway that shows a very troubling and complex view of the people who have failed to positively handle the stressors in lives. In addition, they all display several concerning behaviors, they plan and prepare, and they often share their intent to attack with others.

    It often takes several people to spot every red flag that a potential mass shooter displays, according to the FBI. These flags often include violent behavior, abuse, bullying, and harassment. To get even closer to what a mass shooter looks like, take a look at the following stats:

    • 57% of shooters have shown “concerning” behaviors
    • 48% of shooters have talked about suicide
    • 35% of shooters have made threats
    • 33% of shooters have a history of physical aggression
    • 33% of shooters have anger issues
    • 21% of shooters have used firearms inappropriately
    • 16% of shooters have used violence against their partners
    • 11% of shooters have been accused of stalking

    The FBI report also shows that most shooters spent at least a week planning their attacks, and they often give their family and friends some type of “preview” of what’s to come. If people do become concerned about a future mass shooter’s behavior, it’s rare for them to go to the police, and they often become targets of the shooter, themselves.

    It’s easy to make a report, however, so if you feel that someone you know might have the makings to be a mass shooter and made threats, you can report this to the FBI online. Finally, there are 13 states where “red flag” gun laws are in place. This means that a person’s guns could be removed if they are showing a high risk of violent behavior. These states are:

    • California
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Indiana
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Washington

    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 Protect You Frequent Flier Miles NOW

    Thursday, November 29, 2018, 8:50 AM [General]
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    Social Security numbers and credit card numbers are not the only types of data that hackers are after. Now, they are looking at frequent flyer accounts, and they are stealing reward miles, and then selling them online.

    How do Hackers Steal Frequent Flyer Miles?

    As with other types of ID theft, hackers use info that they have illegally obtained to access frequent flyer accounts. With more data breaches happening than ever before, hundreds of millions of records are exposed, and thus, hackers have great access to the personal info they need to get into these accounts.

    What do Hackers Do with Frequent Flyer Miles?

    It is hard for hackers to use these miles on their own because often, the travel has to be booked in the name of the owner. However, it is very easy to transfer these miles to other accounts or to use the miles to purchase other rewards. Usually, no ID is needed for a transfer like this. This is also difficult to track because hackers use the dark web and VPNs to remain anonymous.

    Hackers also sell these miles, and they catch a pretty penny. For airlines like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Delta, they can get hundreds, or even thousands of dollars for their work.

    In addition to transferring these miles from one account to another, hackers are also selling the account’s login information. Once someone buys this, they can now get into the owner’s account and do what they want with the miles.

    Protecting Your Frequent Flyer Miles

    There are some things that you can do to protect your frequent flyer miles. You should check your frequent flyer accounts regularly using your airlines mobile app. Change all your airline passwords and never re-use passwords and set up a different password for each account.

    Other things that you can do include the following:

    • Protect your personal information by making sure every online account has a unique and difficult to guess password.
    • Use a dark web scan. This will show you if any personal information is out on the dark web.
    • If you do find that your miles have been stolen, it also is probable that your personal information has been compromised, too. Monitor your credit report and check it often for anything that looks odd. This is a big sign of an issue.

    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 Your Username Can Be used to Track You

    Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 2:36 PM [General]
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    You probably have a few usernames, or you might have just one that you use for every site. Either way, your user names can be used not just to identify you online, but it can also be used to track you and find out information about you. How do people track you based on your user name? They do the following:

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    They Start with a Google Search

    The first thing people do to track your username is do a Google search. You will be amazed by all of the information that is out there. However, Google is not the only game in town, so the best scammers will search on other search engines, too, including Bing,  USA.gov, various information broker sites and within social media.

    They Then Move on to Social Networks

    With so many people on social networks, it is a good possibility that a scammer can find you there, too, especially if they know the username that you use over and over again. It’s easy to find someone on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, and in many cases, this is a gold mine of information for them.  Once they find your account, they can do any number of things like save your profile image, and then do a reverse image source. This often helps them find even more information.

    Don’t Forget the Blogs

    Savvy searchers will also do searches of a username on blogging sites like Tumblr, Blogger, and LiveJournal. Unless your blog is locked down, and most are not, they can read them.

    Do a General Sweep of Username Searches

    There are other sites, too, that allow people to search by username. For example, you can search for a username on Spotify. This could tell them what types of music you like. They also might look on a site like Reddit, and they can see any comments you have made. They aren’t done yet, though…you can even search for usernames on sites like Amazon.com and eBay. As you can imagine, once they go through all of these steps, they can know a ton about you.

    You might think that this is an invasion of privacy, but all of this information is totally legal, totally available, and totally free.

    And many of you are TOTALLY putting it ALL out there!

    If you put your information out there, it is there for anyone to look at and use as they will. So, consider changing up your usernames, and while you are at it, take a look at your accounts and content to make sure nothing there’s going to get you in trouble, and beef up the security options.

    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.


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