7 tips to stay cyber safe this summer

Posted: July 21, 2017 by Wendy Zamora

You’ve probably already seen the back-to-school ads on TV and rolled your eyes a little bit. We’re with you: There’s still plenty of summer left. That’s why we want to remind you about some of the cybersecurity pitfalls you might encounter during the remainder of the summer season.

Whether you’re home with the kids or heading out on vacation, here are some ways you can tighten up your security profile and avoid spending the rest of the summer reclaiming your identity or filing credit card insurance claims.

1. Monitor your children’s Internet habits during summer break.

Without homework and extracurricular activities for young students, summer days and nights are often spent lounging around on a tablet, cell phone, or laptop, browsing the Internet for funny cat videos or swapping faces on social media platforms. Parents may already enforce safe surfing habits during the school year, but with a more lax schedule may come a more lax attitude.

Be sure to set limits for Internet usage, whether that’s hours spent, sites visited, or apps and video games allowed. It’s also important to discuss online predatory behaviors, from cyberbullying to sexual exploitation (with an age-appropriate audience). Don’t just send your kids off to a room to Internet with abandon. Give them the skills (or possibly the parental controls) to navigate the online world safely.

2. Beware of fraudulent hotel booking sites.

Planning a trip to cap off an incredible summer? Make sure you’re using reputable booking sites for travel. A 2015 study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that about 15 million hotel bookings are impacted by rogue travel scams each year. Fraudulent websites or call centers often pretend to have an affiliation with certain hotels, when in fact they have none. This can result in being charged for hidden fees, losing rewards points, incorrect accommodations, fake reservations, and more.

The safest way to avoid being scammed is to book directly through a hotel’s website. Use third-party sites as resources to see available options. If you do want to consider a third-party site, call up the hotel directly to inquire if they are, in fact, affiliated. In addition, be wary of sites that urge you to book one of the last remaining rooms or don’t allow you to see a breakdown of fees.

3. Research hotels’ security policies before you book.

According to cybersecurity expert Matt Suiche, hotels are being targeted more frequently by criminals. Guest credit cards are kept on file for room charges and opportunities for additional spending at spas, restaurants, bars, and shops on premise make these properties attractive targets. In April 2017, InterContinental said that 1,200 of its franchise hotels in the United States, including the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, were victims of a three-month cyberattack aimed at stealing customer payment card data. Also this year, 14 Trump hotels were targeted by hackers raiding personal data such as credit card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes, as well as some phone numbers and addresses of hotel customers.

When booking your hotel, you can ask about privacy and security policies in place for protecting customer data. Does the hotel have cybersecurity software? Is data stored in a secure computer/network? Who has access to it? Their policy should cover this information and more.

4. Watch out for public wifi in airports and hotels.

Yes, free wifi is a wonderful thing. How else would you stream Netflix in your hotel room instead of watching the room service menu options on your TV? However, free wifi is also public, which means that any person in the hotel or airport can access that account with (or without) a simple password. Wifi that isn’t password-protected is especially vulnerable. Add thousands of people accessing it daily and you’ve got a recipe for data breach.

So what to do? Use up your mobile data? That’s one (expensive) way to deal with it. What we recommend, for the layperson, is to avoid sites where you need to login, sites with sensitive info (banking, healthcare, etc.), and especially stay away from making purchases over an unsecured connection. If you absolutely need to access sensitive info on this summer trip—perhaps it’s for business rather than pleasure—you’ll want to look into using a virtual private network, or VPN. In fact, if you are traveling for business and staying at a luxury hotel, you might be vulnerable to a spear-phishing campaign called DarkHotel if you use the in-house wifi network. Better get that VPN cracking.

5. Don’t announce to the world that you’ll be away from your house on vacation.

The lead-up to the vacation is almost as good as the vacation itself, no? It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement and jump on Facebook to tell all your friends about your upcoming trip. Problem is, unless you are ruthlessly private about what you share (and social media platforms are constantly updating their policies, making it easier for people to find your information that you didn’t intend to), people who aren’t your friends will see that announcement, too. And really, how well do you know that girl you passed in the hallway in high school 30 years ago?

Discussing your travel plans (specifically the dates you’ll be gone) opens you up to a physical security issue. Criminals are known to watch social media in order to target homes they know will be vacant for robbery. So best to wait until you get back until you start posting those trip photos.

6. Look closely at ATM scanners and gas pumps.

Heading to a concert and need to gas up? Hitting up an ice cream truck at the beach and forgot your cash? Be extra careful when stopping at gas pumps or ATMs, especially those unaffiliated with a bank. ATMs and gas pumps are targets for cybercriminals, who might attach skimmers in order to pilfer bank account or credit card data (and eventually drain those accounts).

Before you swipe your card, give the card reader a good tug. If there’s a skimmer attached, it’ll likely pop right off the top. In addition, take a look around the ATM or gas pump for small cameras (smaller than your typical surveillance camera). They’d be pointing down at the keypad in order to capture your zip code or pin number.

7. Avoid credit card fraud.

Easier said than done, we know. This one is extra tricky when traveling abroad. Pick-pocketers steal wallets or credit cards might be accidentally left behind and lo and behold: someone’s charging $2,537.45 worth of train tickets. While many card companies can track fraud and refund you the charges, the hassle of reporting and waiting, especially when overseas, is probably the last thing you want to deal with while sunning yourself in Phuket.

A few ground rules for traveling with credit cards: don’t take them all. Select one or two with high credit limits and low foreign transaction fees. Make copies of the credit cards you’re bringing with you so you can see the numbers and customer service phone number. Leave one copy with a friend and bring another with you. (Just don’t store it in the same place as your credit cards.) And finally, make sure you alert your credit card company of your travel plans so they don’t freeze your account.

Summer is a time to kick back and enjoy. So don’t spend it on the phone with your bank and the IRS. Take these precautions and you can be sure to end this easy-breezy season on a light and carefree note.

Apple Watch Back Cover Issue

Apple has determined the under certain conditions on some Apple Watch (1st generation) devices the back cover may separate from the watch case.  Apple will service eligible devices free of charge.

Apple will authorize coverage for three years from date of purchase.

 This repair program covers all makes of the first-generation Apple  Watch, including the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch  Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition.   Apple recommends  that you back up your Apple Watch before bringing it in.  At CapMac we can facilitate a mail-in repair/replacement.

 If you’ve paid Apple to repair this issue contact AppleCare to see about a refund.

Apple has launched its Back to School promotion

  This promotion will run from July 12th, through September 25th.

Offer details: Get Beats headphones when you buy an eligible Mac or iPad for college. And save on a Mac or iPad with Apple education pricing. Eligible products include: Mac – MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro iPad – iPad Pro

For Mac purchases, eligible orders receive Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones. For iPad Pro purchases, eligible orders receive BeatsX Wireless Earphones. Take me to the Apple BTS landing page.
Apple offers students and educators special pricing for Mac and iPad. For Mac, students and educators save up to $300 on a new Mac. For iPad, students and educator save up to $20 on a new iPad.

iOS Tip 180 - Airdrop for Everyone?

AirDrop, has been a part of Apple’s mobile operating system since iOS 7.  It gives you the option to share (and receive) files with other devices that are nearby -  whichmay be everybody or just contacts depending on your settings.

The ability to see other devices (or be seen yourself) is in the Share menu. To get to the AirDrop settings, swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center panel.

    •    Tap the AirDrop button in the Control Center. In the default setting, AirDrop makes your device visible to others in the Share menu to “Contacts Only,” meaning just the people listed in your Contacts app.
    •    However, if you have “Everyone” selected in the settings instead, anybody within range can see your device in their own Share menu and request to send you a file. As one might expect, the opportunity to harass with unwanted images is a temptation some cannot resist - leaving you prone to “cyber flashing”.  
    •    To disable AirDrop — and your phone’s visibility — select “Receiving Off” in the Control Center’s AirDrop settings.

For further security measures, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (which AirDrop needs to function) in the Control Center when you are not using them, and change the name of your iPhone to something vague and less personal.

iOS Tip 179 - Enable Night Shift For Healthier Sleep

Too much exposure to artificial blue light before heading off to bed has been shown to adversely affect our chances at getting a good night’s sleep, but reducing that blue light glow to a warmer color can yield great results.

A new addition to macOS Sierra, 10.12.14, was Night Shift. When enabled, Night Shift will adjust colors of your display to the warmer, less intense colors on the spectrum when the sun goes down. Night Shift can also be found on your iOS devices, assuming you are updated to at least iOS 9.3. (Note: not all devices running the prerequisite iOS/OS are capable of running Night Shift) The shift in warmer colors has been shown to lessen the exposure and intensity of the artificial blue light and it’s also is more in-sync with our circadian rhythm, which governs the natural sleep cycle.

To enable Night Shift in iOS:

1 Open the ‘Settings’ app in iOS and go to “Display & Brightness”

2 Tap on the “Night Shift” option underneath the Brightness section

3 Now in the ‘Night Shift’ settings, flip the switch for “Scheduled” to the ON position

4 In the “From / To” section, choose “Sunset to Sunrise” (or set a custom schedule as well if desired)

5 Return back to the Night Shift screen, and, optionally but highly recommended, set the “Color Temperature” to the “More Warm” setting furthest on the righ
6 Exit Settings and enjoy your automatic Night Shifting display

If supported on your Mac:
1 Open System Preferences
2 Click on Displays
3 Click on the Night Shift Tab
4 You can create a custom schedule or choose “sunset to sunrise”


Now when sunset or sunrise comes, the iPhone / iPad display will automatically shift to be warmer, or back to the regular blue-light heavy display.

Sign PDFs right in Mail

 If you are emailed a PDF to sign, you don't have toprint it, sign it, then scan it back in:  you can actually sign it right in Mail.
Drag the PDF into the email you're sending, hover over it then at the top right you'll see a little button appear; click it, and you get a range of Markup options, including one for signing documents. Best of all, you can either add your signature by holding a signed piece of paper up to the webcam on your Mac – and it does a great job of cutting it out of the background – or by drawing on your trackpad.
Got an iPad stylus? Try using that instead of your finger!

iOS Tip 178 - Prepare for iOS 11

Get ready for the coming iOS 11 'appocalypse'.  The end is near for all 32-bit iOS apps, so if you're still relying on older apps, it's time to find alternatives.

To check for app compatibility use the built-in checker tool (you need to be running iOS 10.3 or later for this to work). Go to Settings > General > About > Applications:

You'll see a list of all the 32-bit apps on your iPhone or iPad that won't run on iOS 11. If you're lucky, you won't have any apps listed, or the apps that are listed will be old stuff that you forgot you had installed and no longer use.

However, if an app that you are relying on is listed, then you need to get ready for its demise.
The first thing to do is check to see if there's an updated app; sometimes developers release a new app rather than update the old app. If getting a replacement is that simple, then you're in luck.
But if there isn't an update, then you need to start preparing now for the app to stop working as soon as you update to iOS 11. You might be able to put off upgrading for a while, but the idea of holding back on an upgrade that will contain security updates for any length of time in untenable.
If the app is a game or something you use for entertainment, then its loss won't be all that critical, but if it's something that you rely on for work, then its demise has the potential to be a significant productivity speed bump.
So here's what you'll need to do:
    •    If the app holds any of you data, you need to look at how to get your data out of the app. This may be easy, or it may be horribly difficult. Hopefully, it's not impossible. If the app stores its data in the cloud using a provider such as Dropbox, then this might make getting your hands on it easier.
    •    You need to find a replacement app. This means firing up the App Store app and spending time doing research.
    •    You may need to get your existing data into the new app. Again, this may be easy, or it may be horribly difficult.
    •    You will need to test to see whether the replacement app.

 

iOS Tip 177 - See every photo and video you've sent


Do you ever look back over the photos and videos you've texted someone? We all have. After all, no one takes more meaningful pictures about your life than you. Or, maybe you'd love to look through the collection of photos that someone has texted you.
You may not realize there's a really simple way to take a look back at all the photos and videos you've sent someone. It's like a scrolling timeline that'll make you laugh and bring a tear to your eyes.
Here's how: From Messages, open the message thread with that person >> press the Details (small “i”) icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. From there you can view all the photo attachments sent to and from that person.

8 Things to Teach Your Kids Never to Give Out Online


Thanks to Kirk McElhearn for this article

June is National Internet Safety Month. Dedicated to raising awareness for better online safety practices, June offers a unique opportunity for parents and kids to become more cyber aware, and to become better educated about potentially harmful online content and activities.
Children sometimes say the darnedest things. And that's fine, if they're at home, at school, or hanging out with friends. But if they're online—on social media, in chat rooms, in online multiplayer apps—then the things they say can have consequences.
When kids are chatting with others on the Internet, they may mention personal information that shouldn't be shared. They may talk about where they are, or where they're planning to be. They may mention that their parents aren't home, or that they're working late. And they may give out their address, phone number, or more. All of these things can be very dangerous.
Parents need to explain to children what things they should never give out online, and kids need to understand why. In this article, here are 8 things that kids should never mention online. If you're a parent, take some time to talk to your children and explain why these bits of seemingly innocuous information can lead to danger.
    1    Passwords: The most obvious thing that kids should never mention online - or even share with their friends - is their passwords. Leaking a password can allow strangers to access their accounts, such as Facebook, their gaming account, or even their email. This, in turn, can lead to people attempting to scam children, or even scam others, sending email or messages from these kids' accounts. Passwords are like keys to a house, and children need to learn how valuable they are.
    2    Address: Children should never post their address online, anywhere. Sharing their address can be dangerous, as people who prey on children might use an address like that to lurk around someone's house. They should also not mention the name of their school, church, or other location where they participate in activities.
    3    Phone number: Like an address, a phone number is something to not share. Not only can it lead to nuisance calls, but there are ways of finding an address when you have a phone number. Kids can give their phone number to their friends, but should never post it publicly.
    4    Personal information: There is some personal information that shouldn't ever be given out, as it can be used as an identifier on some forms, or for security to verify someone's identity. A Social Security number, if a child has one; their middle names; their mothers' maiden names; etc. Also, some web services have security questions that they use to provide access if someone is locked out of their account, asking, for example, the name of the user's first pet, the first concert they attended, the street they grew up on, the first beach they went to, etc. It's hard to know what to worry about, but all this personal information may end up being used against a child or their account at some point.
    5    Location: While this isn't as sensitive as giving out an address, it can actually be more dangerous. Sharing a location - whether intentionally, or by using an app that collects locations and tags posts or photos with them - lets people know that a child is not home. And if people do know where that child lives, it could be an invitation to a burglary. Naturally, it's impossible to not share a location from time to time: a kid may share a photo from a concert, or from a theme park, while they're in attendance, but it's best to tell your children not to do so in real time, but to wait until they get home. Kids should also never mention their vacation plans, because potential burglars could use this to try to find out where the kids live, knowing that the house might be empty.
    6    Home alone: A child should never tell anyone - other than their best friends - that they're home alone. This could lead predators to attempt to convince the child to let them come over to their house, or even go out and meet them. These predators could pretend to be a friend they haven't seen in a while, such as from a previous school, in order to lure children to dangerous situations.
    7    Email address: Just as posting an address is dangerous, so is posting an email address. Children are much more likely to be deceived by fake emails, perhaps from people saying they are a friend the child met at camp, or at a friend's party, which may in reality be predators trying to set up a meet with the child.
    8    Any information about their parents: Kids like to brag about things their parents do. Some may want to tell others about the great job their mother has; or the fancy camera their father just bought; or even their parents' income level. They should never do this, since this information may be correlated with other information about the child to lead predators or criminals to target their households. Also, it's possible that a school may ask an adult coming to pick up a child for some information about the family, to make sure this person is legitimate, and any such tidbits can help a predator sound convincing.
It's not easy to get kids to learn about all this information that they should keep to themselves. It's important to discuss this with your children, so they understand the potential gravity of sharing what may seem like banal bits of information to them and their families.

iOS Tip 176: Avoid paying tolls on this summer’s road trips

Turn on Avoid Toll Roads in Apple Maps
    1    Open the Settings app on your iOS device.
    2    Tap the “Maps” menu option.
    3    Tap the “Driving & Navigation” menu option.
    4    In the “AVOID” section of the menu, tap the “Tolls” toggle button to turn it on.

From now on, any time you plan a route, Apple Maps will by default always offer you a route with no tolls. It may take you a little bit out of the way, so it’s up to you to weigh whether the new route is worth taking the time to travel.

iOS Tip 175 - Searching Web Pages

Using Safari on your iOS device, tap the “Share” icon on the edge of the screen; the icon looks like a box with an arrow sprouting out of it. When the screen of icons appears, swipe along the bottom row until you see the “Find on Page” icon with the magnifying glass icon.
Tap the icon and use the keyboard to enter your search terms. The Safari browser automatically takes you to the first time the word appears on the page. Tap the down or up arrows next to the search bar to advance to the next occurrence of the word or to go back to the previous place it appeared.
If you’re using Chrome (iOS or Android)   tap the menu icon in the upper-right corner of the window; the menu looks like three dots stacked up. When the menu opens, select “Find in Page” option and type in your search words with the keyboard. The browser highlights each instance on the page where the keywords appear. Tap the arrow icon in the search box to jump to each highlighted word.

iOS Tip 174 - Collaborate With Notes

Collaborate with others in Notes; it’s great for personal use or for work. You can share notes and other people can make changes, add information, and insert pictures — all in real time. If you’ve been using other iOS note-taking apps, then it might be time to take a look at Apple’s Notes app again.

It’s so simple to start collaborating on a project with the Notes app in iOS 10. All you have to do is add people to the note. They'll open the note on their devices, and start editing.  Here are the steps:

        Open the Notes app, and select a note or make a new note.
        Tap the Add People icon in the top right corner.
        You will see many ways to send an invitation. For this example, we will use Message.
        Type the name of the person you would like to share the note with and send it, just like you would any message.
        The recipient will tap Open to open the note and begin editing.
        
Everyone you add to the note will see it on their device, just like any other note, so they can come back to it anytime they want to.

Editing is done in real time. When you or others add information to the note, you will see the new information highlighted on your screen, and they will see the same.

If you have many people working on the same note, this can get a bit confusing, because Notes doesn’t track the person making the change. For best results, coordinate who will work on what, or add things to the note. It takes a couple of seconds to sync the changes via iCloud, so you can see how this can get confusing if many people are editing the same block of text at the same time.

Others will have full access to the note, just like they would if they had made the note on their own device. This means they will be able to make checklists, insert photos, and sketch (Tip 104) in real time.

If you are collaborating with multiple people, and you need to remove one or more, follow these steps:
        Open the note that you are sharing.
        Tap the Add People icon on the top right corner.
        Swipe left, and tap Remove, or tap the person’s name, and select Remove Access.
        
Once the work is done, as the owner, you can stop sharing your note. To do so, follow these steps:
        Open the note that you are sharing.
        Tap the Add People icon in the top right corner.
        Tap Stop Sharing at the bottom.
        
When you stop sharing a note, it will remain on your device, but it will be removed from all other devices. For people who had access before, the note will no longer appear in their Notes app

iOS Tip 173 - Using Emergency Bypass

Do Not Disturb mode is a great feature for iPhone users who like to enjoy some peace and quiet, but since it mutes all sounds, alerts, and notifications on the iPhone it’s possible to miss a truly important call or alert when the feature is enabled. Emergency Bypass allows specified contacts to bypass Do Not Disturb mode and have sounds, alerts, and vibrations from that specified contact get through to the iPhone even if Do Not Disturb is on.

Emergency Bypass is set on a per-contact basis and must be toggled on for each specific contact you want to grant Emergency Bypass abilities to. The feature requiresversion10.0 or later
To Setup Emergency Bypass
    1.    Open the “Contacts” app or the phone app and locate a contact you want to grant Emergency Bypass access to so they can bypass Do Not Disturb Mode
    2.    Tap on “Edit” in the corner
    3.    Tap on “Ringtone” within the contact information
    4.    At the top of the Ringtone section, toggle the switch for “Emergency Bypass”, then tap “Done”
    5.    Repeat with other contacts as desired to grant them Emergency Bypass permission on your iPhone

Don't forget:  this allows specified contacts to have their attempts at reaching you get through even if Do Not Disturb mode is on. This means the iPhone will ring, alert, or vibrate as if the Do Not Disturb feature was not enabled at all.

The Best Prescription Pill App


It’s not sexy but this App could save lives andcan be very helpful and useful to any of the millions of people with multiple prescriptions.  My thanks to David Pogue for doing the research on the over 40 pill taking Apps out there. 

You can read and hear the article here:  https://yhoo.it/2o178wW

or cut to the chase:  the winner, by a wide margin, is called Medisafe.

How Private Is Your "Voice Assistant" Device?

The following is an article from Scientific American.

It might be instructive to know what, exactly, the privacy policies are for all of today’s voice assistants: Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Google Now and Cortana (Microsoft). Here’s what they found.
AMAZON ECHO
When the Echo hears you say its name (the “wake word”), it sends audio to Amazon’s servers. “The audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed,” says the company’s FAQs page. “You’ll know when data is being sent, because “the light ring around the top of your Amazon Echo turns blue.”
In the app’s settings, you can turn on an option that also makes the Echo beep every time it hears its name, and again after it’s finished transmitting—even more cues to help you understand when the Echo is transmitting audio.
You can also turn off the Echo’s microphones entirely when you need super-duper privacy; just press the microphone on/off button on the top.
Finally, Amazon says, “we keep the voice recordings associated with your account to improve the accuracy of the results provided to you and to improve our services.” But you can, in the Alexa app, delete some or all of these stored recordings.
OK GOOGLE AND GOOGLE HOME
In general, Google’s policies are identical to Amazon’s. No audio is transmitted until you say “ okay Google”; recordings are stored on Google’s servers forever unless you delete them, which can be done at any time (at myactivity.google.com); and the lights on the Google Home (Google’s Amazon Echo copycat device) glow when it’s transmitting.
SIRI
As with Alexa, no recordings are made or transmitted until you say “Hey Siri” or trigger her using a key or a button on an Apple iOS device. Even then, Apple says it doesn’t associate the command with you; it assigns you a random number that’s associated with your request.
After six months, even that number is deleted. Apple keeps the actual, anonymized recording around for up to two years for testing.
If you turn off Siri at any point, all of your identifies and recordings are permanently deleted.
CORTANA
Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant gives you by far the most control. For example, she can perform many tasks even when you haven’t logged in with your Microsoft account: getting answers from the Web, translating phrases, performing calculations, setting alarms and so on. These queries have no association to you.
If Cortana needs access to any of your personal information, she asks first. At any time, you can open her settings and turn off whichever info-bits you’ve shared with her (for example: your location, your calendar and e-mail info, your sports team or restaurant preferences).
Microsoft doesn’t say how long it stores your recordings on its servers, but once again, you can delete them at any time.

iOS Tip 171 - Announce Callers

Have your phoneannounce, out loud, who’s calling.  It’s cool, because if you’re making dinner or watching TV or something, you know whether it’s worth answering. “Call from Google Map,” it’ll say — a telemarketer — and you can ignore it. “Call from Capitol Macintosh” and, of course, you’dleap to answer.
The iPhone can do this too.
Open Settings > Phone >Announce Calls.  Here, you get to choose when the phone announces the caller’s name when it rings: Always, Never, Headphones Only, or Headphones & Car.