The KEY to Your Vacation and Facebook

Hello from the Cyber Trenches,

Our belief is that we have a moral and ethical obligation to deliver this Cyber Security Check bulletin for your protection, especially for your vacation and Facebook!

A quick story.

Wine Country Vacation and FacebookGrowing up in a small Midwestern town, we rarely locked the doors to our houses or autos. You see, we didn’t even have air-conditioning, so leaving the windows open was a necessity. There wasn’t much concern about security – we knew everyone in town. I’m pretty sure the only building in town that had a security system was the bank!

Times and people have changed so much.

Today, you can download a smart phone app called  If you take a picture of your house or business key, it sends the calibrated photo over the internet to a kiosk for immediate key duplication. Just go pick up your new key at the local Rite Aid. Seriously.  This is NOT a joke.

Check out the site and see for yourself. Sure, it sounds incredibly convenient to order a duplicate key of your own.  But criminals can easily use this system too!

Always secure your house, office and car keys. A video surveillance system can be easily hacked and used to capture high-resolution images of your keys, credit card number, and more. Never leave your keys laying out in public places such as restaurants, coffee shops, or your local brew pub.

Yesterday I was helping a client. He asked why I thought his MAC would have crashed. He qualified his question by stating that he never visits questionable websites. I knew what he meant, but sadly he probably does visit questionable sites all the time without even realizing it!  One of the most popular websites today can be dangerous.

Did you guess Facebook? You are right!  Facebook is the number one internet platform on the planet. In addition, every operating system platform (Windows PC’s, tablets, Apple phones, tablets, Mac, Linux) on every electronic internet-connected device you own can connect to the Facebook platform. So… it stands to reason that Facebook is the number one Global Attack Platform (GAP) in security. (I just coined that acronym – what do you think?)

So, now you may be thinking I’m bashing Facebook. No – not really.  Well, maybe just a little.  But justifiably so.  Every hacker out there is working to use Facebook as a vehicle for their evil ways.

Ranchers love Facebook, too!

Let me use a rancher analogy. If you have a flat, treeless 2 acre plot of land on which you raise a few sheep, it’s not too difficult to build a fence which will keep the sheep in and the wolves out. You can add a sheep dog or a Llama to keep watch. No big deal, right?

What if that piece of land was a thousand acres with rolling hills, forest, creeks, cliffs and valleys?  Now, keeping those same few sheep safe becomes a total nightmare and quite cost prohibitive!

The question is, how would you handle securing your thousand acre ranch to keep the predators out?

Answer: you would probably hire an expert – someone who has a refined system and approach to securing the “attack surface” (ranch) from all the would-be attackers. You might even consider making the attack surface (ranch) smaller, only allowing the sheep to roam on a portion of the ranch that is most secure, keeping them from going to where all the other “wild” sheep go on YOUR ranch.  Ok, I digress.

Protect your Sheep – at home and at the Office

The internet is a vast virtual ranch with many predators. With more than 15 BILLION DEVICES connected (both targets and threats), it’s truly crazy out there.

The obvious point here is, while Facebook is not your only problem, it is a big one.  While you may have trouble limiting your teenager’s Facebook time, you should absolutely limit Facebook access in your office.  It’s a no-brainer. This change alone reduces the risk of a security breach. Further, constrain yourself from posting your vacation on Facebook till you return home.

Beach vacation and facebookWhile no single technology solution or security setting is a silver bullet, creating an culture of security awareness among your staff and family is one of the best ways to combat cyber crime.

Ask us about security awareness training and other ways you can protect your critical business and personal assets from theft.

Going on vacation with Facebook?  You should reconsider.  DO NOT POST YOUR ITINERARY, arrival, departure, or PICS from your vacation spot until you return.  Any two-bit hacker can target your home while you are away especially if they know when you’ll be gone!

Sincerely acting in your best interest,

 Eric Engebretson