Lost Wallet = Chaos

Have you ever lost your wallet? Whether or not it was stolen, your life is thrown upside down as you try to remember all of its contents. Right?

Honestly, who really remembers EVERYTHING you have tucked away in all of those convenient spaces?  Not me! That’s why I empty my wallet every 6 months and make color copies of everything. By copying both sides, I have a record of each card’s numbers, expiration dates, and the CSC or CVC numbers, as well as the equally important phone numbers to call to report the missing cards.

I also make copies of membership, discount, and gift cards so I can have them replaced. It’s surprising to me each time I make these copies how many ridiculous things I stash away. Going through the cards often reminds me of debit cards and gift certificates I need to use before their expiration dates. After making these copies, I place one in my bank’s safe deposit box, one in my locked filing cabinet, and one on Google Drive. This way, no matter where I am when I lose my wallet, I can quickly make calls to prevent fraud and begin the arduous task of replacing all of the contents.

Who Wears the Cyber Pants In Your Family?

I am shocked when I hear about parents giving their children “privacy” and “personal rights” when it comes to their social media interactions and passwords.  Children, and even teens, don’t have the maturity to make good decisions on their own, and can become victims of cyber prowlers. When kids know their parents are actively involved and looking at their social media posts, they’ll stay out of trouble.  And parents should know all of their children’s passwords and check their accounts to protect them from fraudulent activities.

Parents, you are NOT your children’s best friends.  Plain and simple: you are their parents.  By keeping all of their passwords in a safe and secure location, you’ll be a great resource to them when they forget the passwords.  And, most importantly, you can check their accounts periodically and talk to them about their activities.  Be a part of their lives – both at home and in cyberspace.


Fingerprint Security

I’m a klutz when I text.  My girls laugh at me when I type with one finger on my phone because they have the magical touch and can type 80 words a minute using the sides of their thumbs. I don’t get it.  That’s why when the fingerprint scanner first came out, I had them installed on all of our computers and I bought one of the first Android phones that came with the fingerprint sensor. But now, researchers at New York University and Michigan State University say that fake fingerprints can fool fingerprint sensors 65% of the time.

Now I’m worried.  Considering that I do my banking, financials, and other personal things on my phone and computers, I want to make sure that everything is as secure as possible. I thought that because every fingerprint is unique, there would be no way that anyone could replicate my fingerprint.  I was wrong.

When you set up your fingerprint security on your phone or computer, you usually take about 8-10 images per finger.  This makes it easier for the device to identify the print.  While security is the goal, users want the device to be able to accurately see their fingerprints within the first few swipes.  Nobody wants to have to swipe a dozen times to open their phones.

So, the security verdict is still out on fingerprint pads.  More tests need to be conducted on a variety of cell phones and developers need to improve anti-spoofing techniques to detect the presence of a real finger vs a fake one.

In the meantime, Dr. Boehnen, the federal government’s Odin program, says you can protect yourself by turning off fingerprint authentication for your most sensitive apps, such as mobile payments.  That’s sound advice. In a world of ever-changing technology, I make paper copies of important documents and put them in my safe deposit box.  I guess that’s old fashioned, but it gives me peace of mind. 

Keeping Our Kids Safe in the Apple World

Last week I blogged about Android apps to keep our little ones from accidentally getting into our personal programs on our phones and tablets.  Today, let’s look at the Apple world.  The good news is that iOS has all kinds of kid-proofing devices that are easy to use.  We all use our iPhones and iPads to entertain our kids when we’re in a pinch so let’s be sure that our kids can’t end up in the wrong places on our devices.

Forget about passwords to get into your device.  If they’re already using it, they’ve got access to everything! But there are some smart things you can do to keep your kids safe.  Use Guided Access to prevent your kids from leaving a particular app.  This means that you can set your iPhone or iPad to have one app open and lock it for the kids to play with it. They won’t be able to use any other programs on your phone or tablet until you unlock it.  You can also set parental controls in the Restrictions menu in Settings.  You can block access to Siri and FaceTime, prevent apps from being installed or deleted, and place age restrictions on music and movies in iTunes.  In Safari, parental controls can filter website to block adult content or limit searches to pre-approved websites.

With a little planning, you can keep your kids safe and out of your private zones.


Online Safety Tips From Google

I write a lot about privacy and online safety.  Today I'm letting Google do the talking, though.  They've released a great set of online safety video tips that are both helpful and easy to understand.  

"Easy to understand" is good because experts tend to use a lot of incomprehensible jargon and acronyms that make your eyes glaze over, and that's never a good way to learn.

These videos are easy to watch, they're under 2 minutes each, and they're all aimed at young people.

Here are direct links to the videos:

Think Before You Share

Protect Your Stuff

Know & Use Your Settings

Avoid Scams

Be Positive

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