Tag Archives: security

  • Smartphone Security Measures

    February 24, 2015 - Leave a Comment

    Smartphones have increasingly become our go-to devices for just about everything we do.  Unfortunately, they also are becoming a target for cybercriminals.   We need to take measures to protect ourselves and our devices from spyware.

    “Chains Joint On Smartphone Showing Security Unity” by Stuart Miles  Freedigitalphotos.net “Chains Joint On Smartphone Showing Security Unity” by Stuart Miles

    Natasha Stoke of Techlicious recently outlined  some safety measures that you can take for your device in 9 Steps to Making Your Smartphone Secure.  Some of her recommendations include:

    1. Log out after banking and shopping - Always sign out from banking or shopping sites to protect your personal information in the event your device is hacked.  If possible, use your banks official app.

    2. Only use public Wi-Fi hotspots that require passwords - If you need to use public Wi-Fi be sure to only use secure networks that require a password.  Unsecured networks let hackers see all web traffic including passwords.    If you need to use public Wi-Fi, be sure to use an encryption app such as Freedome. This will  secure your connection to Wi-Fi networks so that your data is unreadable, and blocks tracking while you're surfing the web.

    3. Set a password on your lock screen  Without using an obvious, simple password, you can delay a phone thief long enough so that  you can use your site (Android Device Manager, Find My iPhone, or Windows Phone) to locate and remote-erase your device.

    4. Get a security app - There are free security apps available such as Lookout and Avast Free Mobile Securtiy which scan apps for malware, and if discovered, will remove it.  They also can help you find your smartphone if lost or stolen.

    Be sure to read all of the 9 steps to stay smartphone secure here.

  • New ATM Skimmers Put Consumers at Risk

    December 15, 2014 - Leave a Comment

    Card Skimmers can be anywhere you swipe your credit or debit cards; ATM's, gas stations or even your local post office.  It is important to be observant before you swipe, but unfortunately many of these can be very difficult to detect.  Thieves are now trying  a new type of wiretapping device that can steal your account numbers without needing access to your card’s magnetic stripe.  

    FREE ATM "Young Woman Using Atm Machine" by patrisyu FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Fox Van Allen of Techlicious explains in his article Beware New 'Wiretap' ATM Skimmers, one way that they do this:

    Criminals drill a small hole into the front of an ATM machine where the “insert card” decal is located. They then feed a wire into the machine using a metal rod to tap the ATM’s existing card reader. A new decal is then pasted over the hole, making the crime incredibly difficult to detect.

    Van Allen also describes another device being used called an “insert transmit skimmer.”  Please read his entire article to learn about this threat here.

    Both of these new devices require a hidden camera for thieves to steal your PIN, so always cover your hand when entering your pin.  

  • Public WiFi Networks - Protect Your Privacy

    November 5, 2014 - Leave a Comment

    We are accustomed to always having access to the internet.  Often when we are at the airport, coffee shop, or other "free WiFi" spot, we forget that when on a public WiFi network, we are "public."

    Elizabeth Harper of Techlicious recently  wrote How to Protect Your Privacy on Public WiFi Networks.  She consulted with Con Mallon, a mobility expert with Symantec about the security issues on public Wi-Fi.  


    FREE wifi image "Boxed Free Wifi Internet Symbol Shows Coverage" by Stuart Miles

    Harper describes that using public WiFi can expose your personal information and passwords.  "Honeypots" can be set up by thieves to try to attract individuals to jump onto their sites thereby giving them access to all data that you send.  Hijacking is another potential threat where your open session can be taken over, or your browser cookies (which recognize who you are) can be stolen.   However, if caution is used, you can protect yourself.  Some of the precautions that you can take include:

    • Make sure that your computer, tablet or smartphone does not automatically connect to unknown WiFi networks.
    • Make sure you connect to sites via HTTPS.  This will protect what you send and receive from a website  (check the address bar of your browser)
    • If you want to encrypt all of your data, use a VPN service such as Witopia.net or StronVPN.com.  There is a fee for this service.

    Please read the entire article including the additional safeguards you should take here.

  • Wi-Ex Supports Pro-Consumer Actions taken by the FCC

    April 7, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Wi-Ex, a leading provider of commercial and consumer cell phone signal boosters, announced today its support of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on cell phone signal boosters.

     “Even when reading the introduction to this document, it is clear that the FCC has the consumer’s best interest in mind,” said Lloyd R. Meese, CEO of Wi-Ex.   He continues, “Wi-Ex already complies with preventing interference with the carrier network.  As a leader in cell phone signal boosters, we see firsthand the positive impact of cell phone signal boosters for consumers and businesses. We recognized from the beginning that oscillation could be an issue and developed patented technology as a solution to the problem.  With hundreds of thousands of boosters already helping municipal, state and federal governments, military installations, security agencies, businesses, healthcare facilities and most importantly consumers, today's NPRM is a win for consumers."

    The document starts – “We initiate this proceeding to facilitate the development and deployment of well-designed signal boosters, which hold great potential to empower consumers in rural and underserved areas to improve their wireless coverage in their homes, at their jobs, and when they travel by car, recreational vehicle, or boat.”  It continues later,  “The NPRM proposes a new regulatory framework authorizing individuals and entities to operate “consumer signal boosters”[1] provided the devices comply with:  (1) all applicable technical and radiofrequency (RF) exposure rules, and (2) a set of parameters aimed at preventing and controlling interference and rapidly resolving interference problems should they occur." 

    The document also states: "The public interest is best served by ensuring that consumers have access to well-designed boosters that do not harm wireless networks."   The entire document can be found at   http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/index.do?document=305599

    Poor in-door cell phone signal continues to frustrate today’s mobile consumer. According to the annual zBoost "State of the Cell Signal" Survey, commissioned by Wi-Ex and conducted by Harris Interactive®, nearly 70 percent (66 percent) of cell phone owners consider their cell phone their essential voice and/or data communication tool. The survey also found that 67 percent of cell owners experience problems with their cell phone signal at home including poor quality and 49 percent claim to have done something special to improve signal strength in order to make or receive a call in their home.

     “The FCC has listened to consumers regarding the need for signal boosters.  Our customers send us emails and tell us at consumer-directed tradeshows like MacWorld, how they love and can FINALLY use, their cell phones, iPhones and smartphones, now that they have a zBoost.  I think the carriers are probably happy that their customers are happy, too,” says Sharon D. Cuppett, vice president of product management and marketing at Wi-Ex.  She adds,  “With a 25% or better churn and the number one reason being poor service, zBoost helps the carriers keep their current customers – I’m not releasing numbers, but many consumers use our product and have told us that they would have switched carriers and returned phones, even cool ones like the iPhone, without it. Below are just a couple of examples of happy consumers.”

    Consumer Testimonials from zBoost Customers

    “I am a glassblower in Wells, Vermont where cell service is pretty spotty. Clear reception is essential for running my business and nobody likes getting one of “those static cell phone calls.  Even though the cell phone provider guaranteed me service at my house, I got no bars until I got my zBoost. After adding the zBoost, I went from 0-1 bars to getting full service. Anywhere I previously got 1 bar, I now get full bars. And many, many places where I didn’t have any service I can now make clear calls. Cell service is priceless and buying the zBoost was worth every penny and so much more. If you live in rural America, this is the product for you. It’s quite rare that I’m this ecstatic about a product.  The zBoost is really, probably one of the best products I ever purchased." – Jason

    “I work in corporate communications, and I need to be available at a moment’s notice in situations, where there is news at work that has to be communicated to employees. I work from home on a regular basis, and it’s important to be available to my colleagues pretty much all the time. It was unbelievably frustrating when one of them would try to call me on my cell phone…half the time my phone wouldn’t ring at all, and then two hours later I would see that there was a new voice mail. The signal at my house was just terrible, and when I worked from home, I was on pins and needles that I might be missing an important call… (before I installed my zBoost) I had to go outside to get a signal – in snow, rain, and even hail. It was completely pathetic. I would come in from a call looking like a drowned rat. No more going outside in all kinds of weather to get a signal; no more missed calls from work; no more worrying about missing calls from work – the zBoost is fantastic for keeping me connected to work and for my peace of mind.” -- Lauren M. in Denver

    zBoost: Extending Cell Zones

    There are several reasons why cell phone signal boosters like zBoost are an essential tool for today's mobile lifestyle.

    • With more than 50 percent of cell phone calls made in-doors, a reliable in-door cell phone signal is needed for consumers and businesses to stay connected.
    • As more users take advantage of Internet, messaging and video on their cell phones and smartphones, the signal weakens for all of the users at the same time.
    • With close to 30 percent of Americans without a landline, their cell phone or smartphone is their only phone.
    • Boosters like the zBoost SOHO allows for multiple users with multiple carriers to enjoy the benefits of a strong cell phone signal simultaneously.

    Recent studies found that 72 percent of small businesses use mobile apps in their operations and nearly 40 percent said it would be hard to survive if their mobile apps vanished. Combine this with statistics predicting that half of American's will use a smartphone by the end of 2011 and it becomes clear that a strong cell signal is essential for consumers and business.  The zBoost line allows users to take full advantage of data, voice and Internet services on their iPhones, BlackBerry, DROID, connected devices, smartphones and other mobile devices including 3G high-speed data and video, instant messaging, pictures and more - at home, in their personal workspace or in a corporate office, both in the U.S. and abroad.

    "[1] We (FCC) define the term “consumer signal booster” in this NPRM to include any signal booster operated by (or for the benefit of) consumers on spectrum being used to provide subscriber-based services, e.g., voice communications, texting, using a broadband connection to access e-mail or the Internet."

  • Holiday Travel Tips from ABC News

    November 23, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Seven Tips for Smooth Thanksgiving Travel

    How Long Will Airport Security Take? Can I Bring a Turkey on My Flight?



     Thanksgiving? Expect the roads and airports to be significantly more crowded than last year, thanks in part to an improving economy.

    Roughly 42.2 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their home this holiday, according to AAA. That's 11.4 percent more than last year.

    To help avoid car trouble and unnecessary delays during holiday travel, AAA recommends drivers check their tire treads, tire pressure, wiper blades and battery connections.

    While the vast majority of those travelers will be driving, it's those who take to the skies that often deal with the most headaches and heartache. Sure, nobody likes bumper-to-bumper traffic, but would you rather be stuck in traffic in your car or having airport security do a thorough pat-down of your privates?

    Besides, it seems that every year the rules of the airport change ever so slightly. (Most people drive every day and the rules of the road really don't change.)

    And for fliers, there is some good news: the government is once again opening up some military air space to help speed commercial flights.

    So with all that in mind, we reached out to Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor at Travelocity to answer seven commonly-asked questions about flying during Thanksgiving.


    • #1: May I Bring My Turkey?

    The short answer here is yes, though you might get some strange looks at security. Keep in mind, however, your turkey (or whatever other food you bring on the aircraft) must be part of your carry-on luggage and must not take up more than the free one bag and one carry-on item allotted by every domestic airline except Spirit (which charges for carry-on luggage). Remember, though, that the TSA still allows no more than 3 ounces of liquid in any one container, so your turkey cannot be soaking in brine, getting itself ready for dinner at grandma's house.


    • #2: How Long Do I Really Need to Get Though Security?

    Provided you have checked in online before your flight (see question three), you can arrive at security one hour before your domestic flight and most likely be just fine. But, just to be on the safe side, you might want to leave yourself an extra half-hour during a busy travel weekend like Thanksgiving. If you choose not to check in online, arrive at the airport at least two hours before your departure time to be ready for long lines at the check-in counter, which are in addition to the lines at security. Arrive at the airport two hours before all international flights.

    • #3: How Do I Make Sure I Don't Get Bumped From My Flight?

    There is no guaranteed way to avoid getting bumped, but there are certainly ways to minimize your chances. First and foremost, reserve a seat when you purchase your flight online, rather than letting one be randomly assigned to you at a later date. Next, check in online on your carrier's website up to 24 hours before your flight. Often, when a flight is oversold and no one is willing to give up their seat, the airline will bump the person or people who checked in last. Finally, get to the gate as early as possible (see question two; this is when that extra half-hour might come in handy) and reconfirm your seat with the gate agent.

    • #4: What If I Miss My Connection?

    Typically when you miss a connection, the airline just puts you on the next flight to your destination. During a peak travel period like Thanksgiving, however, that might not be so simple because planes are flying very full and you'll have to wait for a flight with an available seat. The easiest way to not miss a connection is to book a direct flight in the first place. If that's not possible, leave a minimum of two hours to make your connecting flight to protect against any delays on the first leg of your trip.

    If you've already purchased your flight and you're worried the connecting time is too tight, visit your airport's website to see a map of the airport to get a lay of the land. Then ask your flight attendant on your first flight to tell you what gate your next flight is using. This can save you several minutes of searching for your gate. Finally, if you do miss your connection and it looks as if it is going to be a while before the airline finds you an empty seat to your destination, it's time to be flexible. Be willing to travel to airports near your destination -- for example, Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, or Charleston instead of Savannah -- if there are empty seats.

    • #5: What Should I Keep With Me in Case We Get Stranded on   the Tarmac?

    It is very unlikely that you'll get stranded on the tarmac. However, make sure you're prepared for the worst-case scenario over Thanksgiving weekend and every other time you fly. Keep on your person at all times a fully charged cell phone, all medications, water (purchased post-security) and a snack. If you're traveling with children, make sure they have formula (this is an exception to the TSA liquid rule), diapers and activities to keep them amused. Bottom line -- if you can't live without it, don't put it in your checked luggage, because once it's checked you're not going to see it again until you get to your destination.

    • #6: Can I Bring Gifts Along?

    Yes, but be aware that wrapped gifts may be opened at security. Use gift bags or wait until you arrive at your destination before wrapping presents. And of course, anything you carry on the plane counts towards your allotted one carry-on bag and one personal item.

    • #7: How Much Will It Cost My Family to Check Our Bags?

    That, of course, depends on how many bags you check. Most airlines charge $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second on domestic flights. Exceptions are JetBlue, which allows one free checked bag, and Southwest, which allows two. Generally speaking, a family of four, each checking one bag, will pay a total of $200 round-trip in bag charges. Some airlines offer small discounts -- usually $3 per bag -- if you pay online before your flight.

    Your bag must not weigh more than 50 pounds or measure more than 62 inches. Otherwise, it will be subject to overweight and/or oversized bag fees. On international flights, you're often allowed to check one bag free of charge, but check your carrier's website for specifics.

    Keep in mind that every ticketed passenger (including a small child) is entitled to one regulation-size carry-on bag and one personal item for free, except on Spirit. Regulation size is generally 45 linear inches or less; you can figure this number out by adding the width plus the length plus the height.


    Wi-Ex wishes you safe travels this week!

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