I headed up to San Francisco with my blogger gal pals to see a Staples Security Seminar titled "Help Safeguard Your Life" with NBC Today Show and Dateline NBC personal security expert Wild Bill Stanton. Staples' press release dated Feb. 13 2008 explained their effort to Identify top at-risk behaviors for security threats, and relates to their Security by Staples initiative. Their security center has information on shredders, software, digital storage and a learning center with security related articles including child and teen internet safety.
Pictured left to right, Stefania, Lia, Nicole, Wild Bill, Beth, Sheila, Glennia
(all of whom blog for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog - except for Wild
Bill of course). On the far right side we were so happy to meet Cat!
Utilizing his background as a New York City Police Officer, Bill Stanton shared his perspective on personal security with us including hotel, car, home,and children. He started out by saying "Analyze Risk , don't be paranoid - be prepared. Be proactive - don't become a victim".
Some of the background facts provided were:
Individual victims of identify suffer approximately $500 in
loss, which goes up to appr. $1200 if the their sets up a new account.
Businesses bear the brunt of lesses - approx $48 million for all types
of ID theft in one year.... Male identify theft victims lose more
then female victims. Men lose $1.86 for ever $1 lost by women...
Stanton gave us a warning to protect and dispose of anything with our personal information on it to protect from identity theft. He discussed that even a hotel key has personal information on that strip, such as credit card which can get a thief access to social security numbers. During one of his stings for The Today Show, he went through a garbage can at a personal residence in New York City to see what personal information he could get. Within a few minutes he found documents with the resident's personal account numbers. Identity theft is an important issue - on the low
tech side thieves just steal credit cards (not the whole wallet) and charge it up in
one hour.. More sophisticated is that they assume your identify, open
an account and get credit cards. Organized crime take databases with
hundred of thousand of names.
The other recommendation was not to give personal information away
while talking on a cellphone - you never know who is listening.
TIP 1: SHRED ALL PERSONAL DOCUMENTS BEFORE DISPOSING
Stanton said that ripping documents in half - or (what many parents do)
putting documents in the trash with a diaper is not secure. He
recommended that shredding documents is the only secure way to dispose
of personal documents. Some of the shredders can even handle CDs/DVDs and credit cards.
TIP 2: LOCK OFFICE DESKS AND USE LOCKS FOR LAPTOPS
Stanton also recommended not to leave items such as checkbooks and
other personal items at the office unattended. Even laptops should be
locked (with a laptop lock) to a desk before leaving for a break, lunch
or for the day. With a recent rash of local robberies at my town, I
added to the discussion that locking laptops at home is a good idea. Another attendee mentioned the issue of laptops being stolen at cafe's while the owner walked up to get their coffee.
TIP 3: BACK UP COMPUTERS REGULARLY
With a room full of bloggers/online writers the thought of computer crashing was a sore spot. We discussed that data loss was a big issue. Along with data files, digital photos are important to consider when backing up. We discussed using using hard drives, portable drives or USB drives for backing up. For those running a business, a data protection policy that includes a back-up policy should be put in place.
TIP 4: PROTECT THE DATA ON YOUR COMPUTER FROM INTERNET SECURITY THREATS
The top internet security threats include hackers, viruses, spyware and phishing scams. We discussed that it is important for all computers to have internet security software - not only installed - but regularly and automatically updated. Vendor websites should be checked for upgrades, patches and security advisories. The internet security software modules should stay active while the computer is running to immediately detect intrusions.
TIP 5: EDUCATE YOUR KIDS ON PERSONAL SAFETY (KIDS SHOULD BE "RUDE" AT THE RIGHT TIMES)
All the moms in the room were really interested to hear about this thoughts on protecting children from predictors. Stanton discussed that preditors study up on what kids are interested. One sting he went on was with a couple of girls and boys (with permission of parents) playing in
col-de-sac to test if they would protect themselves. He told the kids they can play with puppy - and asked them to please put puppy in
trunk of car - three boys come over to the car near the trunk and pet
the dog. He tapped them on the back meaning he had control. One kid
had a scooter - Stanton tested him by starting to chat with him and asked if the boy went to a local school. The boy, not wanting to be rude, answered. He told us to tell your kids it is important to be rude at times! He also tested a brother and sister by riding up on a scooter and falling on purpose right in front of the house to see what would happen. The girl acted correctly when she told Stanton that they needed to go in and grabbed her brother and went inside her house... Stanton explained that there is no cure all answer... you need to make them aware...
After we had our security chat, we all had the opportunity to take an online quiz to analyze our security and look at some of the product recommendations. I listed some of the products below: