Protecting Yourself and Your Family – What you need to know.
While the article below is 3 years old it was never really publicized. Aside from that it demonstrates how real and dangerous the Dark Web is.
TOR and the Dark Web
- Cover criminals tracks and take over your accounts,
- Distribute pornography.
- Human Trafficking.
- Drug Rings.
- Voter Fraud.
- and many more.
Basically it is bad guys doing bad things.
This is why it is so important you are aware and take every precaution to protect your loved ones. That means you need to make sure that those bothersome system and security updates and patches are installed as soon as they become available.
We have become complacent with our use of technology. Because is it so much a part of our everyday lives we fail to recognize the dangers of it.
Just like driving our cars. Most people just jump in, turn on the key and off we go to wherever it may be. We occasionally glance at the gauges often without regard to what they are telling us. We only really take notice when an alarm sounds or a light flashes. Those are important but they are really minor issues because they do have alarms to warn us of impending failure. But as we are driving along what else is going on. It may not be you, but the vast majority of people in other cars are not paying attention. They are texting. That is a behavior that does not come with a warning light or buzzer. Maybe they have been drinking or using drugs.
The dangerous activities that take place behind the wheel of a car can have an immediate and devastating consequence on many people and families. We have created laws to curb the activities but there are still people who do them.
Everyone knows they need to install updates and patches but so few do because they are inconvenient and bothersome. Because the damage that can be done is often unknown for months or even years, we all have a superman complex feeling it could never happen to ME.
Then, when something does happen, we are surprised, angry and blame it on every possible thing and person except the one who had the way and opportunity to prevent it from happening in the first place. OURSELVES!
In most cases it is completely avoidable and preventable. There are times it is not. Being safe and aware with technology is like anything else, repetition creates habit. We know this. There were times in the not too distant past that using seat belts was not seen as necessary. With the advent of higher safety standards, laws were passed that made using seat belts mandatory for all occupants/passengers of a moving motor vehicle on any public road in America. Now we don’t consider not wearing them when we get in the car. It is the first thing we do. Repetition has made it second nature. This has made many accidents that would once be deadly, survivable. Often victims will walk away without injury.
This same principle of repetition can also keep you, your family and your business safe while using the technology that has become to be so relied upon in our day to day lives,
Technology is here to stay and the advances that continue to make our lives better through its use will continue as well. We must also remember that crime is here to stay and cybercrime is the fastest growing industry on the planet. If we ignore this glaring fact its kinda like removing your seat belts and disabling the brakes then going for a joy ride on the highway at rush hour. It will not end well for any person who may be involved.
Just because the seat belt will not save every life does not mean they should not be used. The chances that a serious automobile accident will be fatal are staggering if you decide not to use them. When you leave your home or when you go to bed at night you lock the doors for protection against invasion and robbery even though you live in a safe community and there is a low crime rate. You must take the same care and precautions when using technology and allowing your loved ones to use it as well.
Even after people have seen the video included in the article I mentioned above – How Safe if Your Personal Info they still do not take cybersecurity seriously. For some reason the ‘It won’t happen to me’ or ‘I don’t have anything worth stealing’ attitude prevails. Both of those thoughts could not be further from the truth.
Maybe I can explain it in a different way.
Let’s just think for a minute about this. You are a tech savvy person. You have a decent job and are able to live comfortably. You like how much easier technology makes your life. You just tell Alexa to turn lights on, play your favorite music and even change the channel on your TV. You can even tell her to do things while you are not at home. You just tell Portal to call your parents so you can all see each other and they can enjoy the grand-kids too. The Fridge lets you know when you need milk and can even send a shopping list to you when you go to the store. Your car is connected and you can even tell it to plan a route for you, get the best gas prices and avoid traffic on your way home.
Life is good. Technology is serving you well.
Except for one little thing you did not know about.
Your robot vacuum cleaner had a vulnerability and it was compromised last year.
That opened your WIFI connection to a hacker. Since then they have had full access to all of your connected devices. Your vacuum robot, Fridge, Alexa, Portal, work laptop, Office computer, you and your wife’s cell phones, the teenage daughters cell phone, all accounts that you or your family have ever accessed on any of those devices. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Because you connect your cell phone to your car stereo/entertainment/gps system that has been compromised as well. Because you love and communicate with your parents, friends and relatives so freely with portal their systems have also been compromised. (By the way, your Antivirus software, firewall and security protected internet connection will not discover this internal activity.)
A night out with friends
Now, because you have not yet been informed that your technology has been compromised, you have not taken any action. One evening you are out with your friends at your favorite eatery. You take a few pics and share them on Facebook. All your friends are giving hearts, likes and saying how much they wished they were there.
It was a good meal with great friends. The first night out in more than a month with the wife and friends. Now its time to go home so you say good-byes and head home. You are talking with your wife about how fun the evening was. You round the corner to your street…
Half a dozed Police cars and an ambulance are on the street in front of your home. You park the car and you both run to the house. Where is your daughter? She was home alone. Where is she? you shout as you blow past the police officers on the front walk.You break through the crowd at the door screaming your daughters name…
and fortunately she runs into your arms. She is safe.
But what happened?
Apparently two men tried to break in. They knew you were out because you posted those pictures on facebook. They also knew your daughter was home alone because Alexa was listening to her talking to her friend on the phone – the bad guys were listening through Alexa.
Fortunately a neighbor was walking his dog and noticed an unfamiliar car in your driveway and two men getting out. As he got closer he saw they were acting odd and called the police. When they went around the back of the house he started yelling and with his Doberman started running toward the house. He went straight to the front door. Banging yelling for your daughter to come to the front door immediately. His well trained Doberman ran around the back and attacked the men. The one who was not being attacked by the dog jumped the neighbors fence and ran back to his car, and drove off in a hurry. The other one is in police custody and being treated by the EMT’s for the dog bites to his arms.
You may be thinking I am writing this just to scare you. To a point that is true. But the real purpose is to make you aware that all the amazing technology we use in our every day lives needs to be secured so we do not become cyber crime victims. You may think the example is extreme. I believe the dangers presented are accurate and it has been proven that your smart home and car can all be compromised and even controlled quite easily with little or no advanced training or knowledge. If you watched the video you would see how easily a device can be compromised. I pray this will at least stay in the back of your mind and that you begin to take steps that can prevent such a situation.
Here are a few TIPS you can use to help you ensure you are doing all you can to protect yourself, your family and your business while using technology in your day to day life.
- Monitor the Dark Web so you can learn of compromises in real time.(Subscribe to Service)
- Subscribe to Credit monitoring service.
- Enable screen savers and screen time out on all devices with password required to wake or use.
- Enable 2FA or Multi-Factor-Authentication.
- Make sure you use strong passwords and use a Password Manager tool.
- Do not play the silly ‘Find your Pirate Name’ games on social media.
- Install security software, AntiVirus and Realtime Web Protection on ALL DEVICES!
- Turn OFF Location on your cell phone except when using GPS. Then turn it off after use.
- Do not check in on social media.
- Do not post vacation pics while you are on vacation. Wait till you get home if you must.
- Turn off WPS on your home WIFI.
- Use a Strong Password for home WIFI access.
- Turn OFF broadcasting home WIFI name(SSID).
- Restrict access to home WIFI.
- Do not allow non-family members to access your home WIFI.
- NEVER ENABLE WEP securty/encryption on wireless devices. It takes about 2 minutes to break.
- ONLY use WPA2 or better for WIFI Security.
- Lock down ALL mobile devices.
- Install parental Controls on children’s devices and make sure you monitor their activity.
- Turn off Facebook tracking.
- Turn off Automatic Picture/Image download on mobile devices and email.
- Think before you click and teach every one email/hyperlink safety.
- Do Not scan qr codes to ‘like’ something if you do not know the source.(remember the video).
And just in case you didn’t know. The Ethiopian Prince does not know your email address and does not really want to give you $5 million dollars. Hopefully you know that. But also know while that same phishing email has been going around for over 5 years there are still people who get infected with malware by opening that email. Sometimes you don’t even need to click.
If you have any questions, want some advice or would like to find our if your information is available on the dark web please feel free to reach out. I will gladly help in any way I can.
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