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Got Security?

2015/04/01

SecuritySecurity is a topic that’s on everyone’s minds these days. And there’s a good reasons for it: Security is important. Now, that might sound like a tremendous understatement, but it’s the truth. In fact, the truth is that security is the top concern for most of the world’s businesses. It should be. Every day you read about another significant breach of a major retail chain, of a bank, or even of a government site. Prominent companies are under constant attack from so-called “black hat” or criminal hackers whose sole purpose is to compromise data, steal valuable data, and to expose vulnerabilities in your security.

If you think that you’re safe, for whatever reason that you’ve told yourself, you aren’t. If you’ve ever had a fraud alert from a credit card company or your bank, then you realize how vulnerable you really are.

Unfortunately, as a customer of a restaurant, of a clothing store, of an online vendor, or of your corner market, you’re vulnerable to credit card and, ultimately, identity theft. While the point of this post is to inform you, rather than to scare you, please note that the threats are real and that you should take more care and practice vigilance in the use of your identity, including your credit cards, debit cards, and online accounts.

If you own a business, you owe it to yourself and to your customers to make every effort to prevent breaches of your company information, your personal information, and your customer’s information. It’s not easy to do by yourself. There’s all kinds of advice, good and bad, on the Internet about how to protect yourself, how to recover from identity theft, and how to go on the security offensive for you, your business, and your family.

Bad information is worse than no information at all. You can put yourself at greater risk by listening to alleged experts than you can by playing it smart and hiring a security consultant who can find out exactly what the bad guys can find out about you and your business.

It works something like this: If you want to find out how vulnerable your house is to break-ins, who would you hire–a clean-shaven, upstanding, taxpaying citizen who’s never been arrested for breaking and entering or would you be smarter to hire a reformed bad guy to tell you how it’s really done? If you’re smart, you’ll hire the person with a criminal background who’s gone straight to figure out where you’re vulnerabilities are.

On the same hand, if you want to test your company’s or your personal security, you should hire someone who’s hacked for a living–in the criminal sense.

That’s the service I’m offering you. I have a select group of former black hat hackers as my associates who’ll put your security through its paces. Further, we’ll help you mitigate the flaws we find* and tell you how to fix the problems.

Here is a partial listing of our services:

  • Identity fraud checking/fixing
  • Employee Social Engineering checking/fixing
  • Website Penetration/Vulnerability analysis
  • Company penetration/information grabbing
  • Training and prevention

If you’re not 100 percent sure of how vulnerable you might be, here are some examples:

About four years ago, I bought a cake from a local bakery and used my debit card for the purchase. One of the workers there used my card to buy pizza and some other things that he’d had delivered to his girlfriend’s house. Once I found the fraudulent charges, I tracked him down, via his girlfriend and confronted him. I won’t go into detail, but I did make an impression. The bank investigated and made good on the losses to my account.
That scenario is common, except for the part where you get to confront the perpetrator. Typically, the guilty party is so far away that you’ll never find him. Bad for you, but great for him.

My wife paid my son’s technical school tuition with a credit card only to find later that we’d been charged an additional $1,800 for services that we’d never heard of, much less purchased. We contacted the vendor and explained the situation and they promptly removed the charges.

I receive calls from unknown numbers on a weekly basis, trying to have me answer so that my phone can be charged bogus fees or to verify my number for fraudulent charges. I Google the numbers to verify their legitimacy. So far, all of them have been sources of fraud.

Yes, these things actually happened to me/us. These are only three examples and we’re only one family in 750 million that’s had our accounts or cards compromised. Think about the repercussions of poor security on you, your family, and your business. Your integrity and reputation, not to mention your credit score, are at risk. It’s made us all a lot smarter about how we transact business these days.

So that you realize that we’re trying to help you, I’m going to offer you a free list of 10 things you can do to make yourself more secure today.

  • Google yourself – Contact all of the “public information” carriers/resellers and have them remove your information from their databases.
  • Do Not Call lists – Go to https://www.donotcall.gov/ and register to have your phone numbers removed.
  • Mall survey cards – Never fill out one of those mall survey cards or enter any contest at a mall or other retail establishment.
  • Unrecognized phone numbers – Never answer calls to your cell phone when you don’t recognize the phone number.
  • Use cash – Carry cash with you and avoid using credit/debit cards as much as possible.
  • Email attachments – Don’t open email attachments that don’t make sense and don’t respond to those emails.
  • Nigerian Princes – Never respond to any email from a Nigerian Prince who wants you to deposit money in a bank account for him.
  • Ignore “You’re a Winner!” emails – If you didn’t enter it, you didn’t win it.
  • Passwords/SSNs – Never give your passwords or Social Security Numbers to anyone over the phone.
  • Account-oriented emails – No online service will ever request your password or a login via email.

If you’d like to discuss your security or your security concerns, you may contact me via email at ken@kenhess.com. I’ll be glad to setup a time to call you and discuss your concerns and how we can help you get a handle on your personal or business security. Don’t be a victim. Don’t be a statistic. Learn to fight back by finding out what the bad guys know about you and how to fix it.

*Ask about our 50 percent rebate plan.

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