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Home Security Cameras and What Has Been Caught on Tape

by Cassie July 30, 2015

Today’s home security cameras are pretty amazing. They can see hundreds of feet. They can pan and rotate. They’re motion activated. They have night vision. They can connect to WiFi, upload to the cloud, and text you with alerts.

And they can capture some pretty amazing video, too.

You guys, we just can’t even. These videos are hilarious, terrifying and awe-inspiring. And what’s even more incredible is that they were all caught by security cameras. Here are 6 of our favorites:

1. A Thief, Caught in the Act

Just try not to laugh. A man’s home security system catches a woman stealing an Amazon delivery right off his porch. Don’t worry; he gets his revenge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWO3zKqm_KI

2. Wind, Rain or Shine… or Hurricane

We may huddle inside during a serious storm, but security cameras are always on duty. This incredible footage captured a boat in North Carolina, torn from its moorings – and then flung skyward – during Hurricane Irene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUFh9XtJoDM

3. A Cacophonous Lightening Strike

And speaking of storms, CCTV cameras once again prove to be fearless. This time, a camera catches lightening in the act. Turn down your volume, folks – this one’s going to be loud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98w55RAleZ0

4. Delivery Gone Wrong

We’ll bet you’ve already seen this classic video, which details a UPS deliveryman stealing an iPad. Makes you think about all those items lost in the mail, doesn’t it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqCzxTB5xto

5. Poor Criminal

This one’s funny enough to almost make you feel bad for the would-be burglar. Almost. Watch as a man not only fails at robbing a building society, but can’t find his way back out to escape. Oops.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgstON22SbY

6. Skirting the Law

A peculiarly skilled criminal in Costa Rica casually walks away with a TV… up her skirt. Despite her slick moves, this security footage was instrumental in catching the thief and her accomplice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_FSZFC4I1c

7. Doing What They Do Best

A North Carolina couple originally installed their cameras to check on their pets, but what they caught on video during a holiday vacation was something else entirely: three thieves, who weren’t aware that their faces had been caught on candid camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxx8YZRhVz4

 

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The Weekly Roundup 7.24 Edition

by Cassie July 24, 2015

 

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Uber Expands Service for Seniors and People with Disabilities

If you’ve ever experienced the misfortune of breaking an ankle or foot, you know how challenging it can be to get around. Particularly if a cast or crutches prohibits your ability to drive. The start-up cab service, Uber, understands those struggles too. uberASSIST, a niche division, recently introduced new vehicles, with specially trained drivers, prepared to handle disabled or injured passengers who require assistance with crutches, walkers, scooters or wheelchairs. Currently operating in limited areas, uberASSIST intends to expand its service in the near future.

For the original article on Mashable.com, click here

Tweet an Emoji and Get a Sandwich Delivered, Hot and Fresh

When you’re home, and hungry, and just want to eat, delivery is the next best thing to take out. But the ordering process can often be long and laborious, pouring over lengthy online menus with too many options and choices. Introducing Fooji, a creative new way to order food fast, through your Twitter account and a simple emoji selection. Food choices are grouped into basic categories; pizza, burgers, pasta, for example. Simply select and tweet the category emoji you’re hungry for, and let Fooji do the rest. WARNING: For adventurous eaters only.

For the original article in Mashable.com, click here

5 Home Security Tips for Frequent Travelers

With more than two million home burglaries in the United States each year, it’s important to secure your home from invasion. Here are five steps you can take to protect your home if you plan to be away:

  1. Monitor your home
  • Install security cameras or invest in a monitoring service with a trusted security company.
  1. Make it look like you are home
  • Precautions such as stopping your mail, keeping up with yard work, and automating your lights will make it appear that you are home.
  1. Keep your travel plans to yourself
  • Don’t tweet or post your travel plans; you never know who is looking at your social accounts.
  1. Pull the plug on electronics
  • This not only reduces the risk of fire, but makes it harder for burglars to mess with your stuff.
  1. Prepare for the worst
  • Check in with a neighbor while you’re away, and make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date.

For the original article in Mashable.com, click here

Computer Chip Made of Wood Works as Well as the One in Your Phone

As mobile phone use continues to increase, so too, does electronic waste. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, however, may have found a viable alternative to the often toxic, semi-conducting plastics found within electronic devices. The new invention, called nanocellulose paper, is a high performing, wood derived material that is both efficient and biodegradable. Phone chips manufactured from nanocellulose paper show early promise, but don’t expect them in your smartphone any time soon. Professor Ma, head of the research group, believes it will take strong environmental pressure before electronic manufacturers adopt this new material. With that in mind, one thing is clear: at the rate consumers are disposing of old cellphones and upgrading to new ones, the sooner an environmentally friendly production solution is necessary.

For the original article on Mashable.com, click here

 

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The History of Home Automation

by Cassie July 23, 2015


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If you think home automation is a new invention, you’re only partly right.

Science fiction that has fixated on smart home technology (remember Rosie from The Jetsons?) since, well, the beginning of science fiction – but it’s not just that. For centuries, the world’s greatest minds and most innovative inventors have been working toward technology that can almost think for itself. Here are a few of our favorite highlights:

1785: Less than a decade after the U.S. declared independence from England, Nikola Tesla invented the first remote control (to remotely control a boat).

Early 1900s: Fast-forward a few centuries, and the Industrial Revolution has paved the way for the invention of the first home appliances. Granted, they weren’t smart but they were absolute game-changers for early 20th century folks – at least, the wealthy ones. 1901 saw the introduction of the first vacuum cleaner, and over the next few decades, the world’s minds rolled out the washing machine, clothes dryer, clothes iron, home refrigerator, electric dishwasher, garbage disposal, and many other home appliances that today we take for granted.

1930s: By the 1930s, inventors had already turned their imagination to home automation. Although the technology was still many decades off, the World’s Fair introduced the concept of automated home and smart appliances. Spectators were, unsurprisingly, fascinated with the idea.

1950: Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce invent the computer chip – the building block for today’s smart home technology.

1951: UNIVAC I, the world’s first commercially available computer, is introduced to market. Consider UNIVAC I the great-great-great-great granddaddy of today’s smart controls, which are all, essentially, mini computers.

1964: The Uniscope 300, one of the first computer monitors, hits shelves. And what would computers, smart hubs, and smart device controls today be without digital displays?

1966: Though never commercially sold, ECHO IV was the world’s first home automation system. Invented by Jim Sutherland, the “Electronic Computing Home Operator” (hence, ECHO) could store recipes, relay messages, control a home’s temperature, churn out a grocery list, and turn appliances on or off.

1969: DARPA introduces ARPAnet, the world’s first network – the precursor to the modern Internet and with it, all our Internet of Things (IoT) smart technologies.

1981: A precursor to today’s wireless (802.11) technology is invented.

1980s: Home automation becomes commonplace, in the form of garage doors, home security systems, motion-sensing lights, fiber optics, thermostat controls, and other technology.

1991: Ad van Berlo pioneers the field of gerontechnology – technology to improve the lives of senior citizens and the infirm. (Remember the 90s-era commercials, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”?) These early technologies form a firm base for the smart, life-enhancing features we love about today’s smart systems.

1998-2000s: Smart homes became a thing. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, smart technologies emerged, with gadgets and devices becoming more common and more affordable.

The future: Only time will tell, but experts predict that soon, smart homes won’t be so far from The Jetsons as we once thought!

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The Weekly Roundup 7.17 Edition

by Cassie July 17, 2015
Nature Valley Ad Validates Current Generation Addicted to Technology

Nature Valley, a granola bar company, is urging customers to get back in touch with nature. Their new ad asks three generations of families what they most liked to do when they were children. The first two generations fondly remember outdoor activities like fishing, picking blueberries and playing baseball. The third generation recalls vastly different activities; texting, surfing the web, playing video games and watching TV are commonplace. One little girl went as far as to say she would “die without her tablet.” After watching the ad, new questions arise; is too much technology a bad thing? And if so, how will this affect future generations.
For the original article on Mashable.com, click here 

Home Security Camera Helps Catch Alleged Burglar in Cedar Grove

This week is yet another win for home security systems. A motion-activated security camera assisted police in catching a burglar in Cedar Grove, NJ. A vacationing homeowner was alerted by her system that something was amiss, and promptly called 911. Upon arrival of the police, the suspect was apprehended and charged with attempted burglary.

For the original article in Patch.com, click here

New York City Asks Google Maps to Discourage Left Turns

New York City’s department of transportation is urging Google to alter their popular app, Google Maps, in an effort to make their city safer. According to data pulled from NPR, 25% of all vehicle crashes involving pedestrians happened when those vehicles were turning left. Google and New York DOT are jointly discussing the development of an advanced feature that would reduce the number of left-hand turn options the navigation app currently provides.

For the original article in Mashable.com, click here

Home Security Video Captures Burglar Inside Upper East Side Apartment

A burglar made the mistake of robbing an Upper East Side apartment which was equipped with a hidden security camera. After targeting one complex and breaking into two apartments, it was during a third break-in that the burglar was caught on camera, stealing jewelry and other valuables. Although the crime is still being investigated, police are optimistic that the advantage of having video surveillance footage will help bring swift justice.

For the original article on nbcnewyork.com, click here

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5 Things About Having a Smart Home That Your Husband Would Love To Know

by Cassie July 16, 2015

Wife Telling Husband About Home Automation

So you want to upgrade to a smart home, but your husband’s not convinced. Maybe it’s the cost. Maybe it’s the complication. Maybe it’s just the perceived hurdle of learning a new system.

Ladies, we’re with you. Smart homes (and smart security) are the future. They’re the present, in fact. They’re how you know your kids are home safe from school. They’re how you protect your family not only from break-ins, but also from fire, flood and other disasters. They’re how you never, ever get locked out again (and how you finally, FINALLY say goodbye to the hide-a-key poorly camouflaged in plastic dog poop).

But back to the point: your husband’s not on board. Yet. But he will be, once you run these 5 awesome facts by him:

1. It Can Save You Big Bucks
We like to start with this one, because it’s such a convincing reason to go smart: Automate your energy – thermostat, A/C, lights, etc. – and you can save big on your electricity bill (and save our planet in the process).

You can easily program your system for energy savings, by turning the a/c up or the heat down while you’re out, always turning off the lights, etc., but it goes beyond that: with new IFTTT (if this, then that) controls, you can also tell your smart home to automatically adjust the a/c up if the outside temperature goes down. And that translates to savings, every month.

2. You’ll Never Get Locked Out
Anyone who has ever waited for someone to deliver an extra key (or worse, had to wait for – and then pay – an emergency locksmith) will love smart locks. With just a tap of your smartphone, you’ll be able to lock and unlock your doors at will. Even when you’re not there, so if your kiddo forgets her key, you won’t have to rush home, either.

3. You’ll Never Panic Again (at least, not about house stuff)
Has your husband ever had that horrible, panicked moment of, “Did I lock the front door?” “Did I turn off the stove?” “Is the garage door closed?”

Yeah, so have we. And so had the people who invented smart homes, so they did something about it. Now, smart locks and smart appliances/outlets make it easy to remotely access your home, to double-check that your doors and appliances are locked, turned off, and completely safe.

4. You Can Keep Your Kids Safer
A smart home not only makes life easier, but also makes life safer. Today’s greatest systems can send you text alerts for almost anything, like letting you know your kids have gotten home from school. But beyond that, your smart system can warn you if a child opens a cleaning cabinet, medicine case, or other do-not-open door. Program your home to fit your lifestyle (and concerns).

5. Can You Say, Sports Night?
This is the cherry on top of the smart home package: preset functions. With the push of a button – or, in the newest and techiest systems, a simple voice command – you can activate a world of presets, for example, auto-locking your doors, closing the garage, and turning off the lights when you go to work.

But that’s not all. Now, you can also set some pretty sweet entertainment presets. Teach your system to go low on lighting and auto-play some romantic tunes for an evening in, or turn up the lights and blare the speakers when your favorite team (or movie) is on. You can even couple your entertainment presets with basic security, like locking all the doors, so you can enjoy your downtime with nary a care in the world.

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The Weekly Roundup 7.10 Edition

by Cassie July 10, 2015

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NBA Player Blames Elbow Injury on His iPhone 6 Plus

Could it be that technology is literally causing us physical pain? With technology following the Texas philosophy of “bigger is better,” devices are literally hard to handle. New smart phones like the Apple iPhone 6 Plus are frustrating consumers by forcing them to overreach. “It was a strain to use [the iPhone 6 Plus], you have to stretch further to hit the buttons,” said NBA player Matt Bonner. Bonner developed an injury from his Apple device and has since complained about the popular smartphone to the press. In response to the negative feedback Apple produced iOS 8, which has a special software feature called Reachability. The app allows the screen to slide down so the top row of app icons is easier to reach.

For the original article on Mashable.com, click here

 

Does Your Security Sign Make You Vulnerable?

Yard signs are helpful in deterring criminal activity by repelling burglars, but they may attract scammers. Each year, thousands of homeowners are scammed into switching their service to another provider. These deceitful scams work by having a sales person of another security company trick a homeowner into “upgrading” their service. Unknowingly, the homeowner then ends up canceling their current service and gets locked into a lengthy and expensive contract. The best advice to avoid scams is to ask to see an ID and follow up with a call to your current provider before purchasing or upgrading your system.

For the original article in ABC7News.com, click here

 

Olympus Air Crams a Mirrorless Camera Into a Smartphone-Controlled Lens

Attention all Instagram lovers! Step up your selfie game by purchasing Olympus’ latest mirror-less camera. The Olympus Air A01 is a handheld interchangeable lens camera that is controlled using a smartphone. The camera itself is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, making it easy for consumers to swap out lenses while their smartphones acts as a controller. The release of this new smart lens is yet another step forward in the technology automation market.

For the original article in Mashable.com, click here

 

Home Security: Landscape Advice

When people think of home security they rarely consider their home’s landscape. Unkempt bushes or trees give burglars the opportunity to conceal themselves without getting noticed. In an effort to educate homeowners on the importance of proper external home safety, Officer Brent Forgey with the Nixa Police Department shared these three important tips:

  1. Utilize hostile landscaping by planting rose bushes or thorns underneath windows and along your home’s walls.
  2. Trim your bushes or shrubs regularly and keep them below the window line at all times.
  3. If you are unable to remove a tree or bush that could be a potential safety hazard, make sure to keep your blinds down and windows locked.

For the original article on KY3.com, click here

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The Future’s So Bright, We Should All Wear Shades

by Cassie July 9, 2015

UV Awareness Month

July is UV Safety Month, which makes sense: the sun is out in full force, and we’re out in full force to enjoy it!

Of course, all those sun hours require some precautions – and protection. We’re sure you’ve already slathered on the sunblock and grabbed your favorite hat, but did you know that the right sunglasses can be just as important as the right sunscreen? That’s because sunglasses are sunscreen for your eyes – for corneas and retinas, and all that other good stuff that allows us to see.

So today, we’re talking sunglasses. Specifically, how to choose the right sunglasses for you (and the whole family):

1. Function over Form (though preferably both)
We’re going to let you in on a little secret: size matters. With sunglasses, that is. When you spend time in the sun, and especially when you’re in the sun at high altitudes or near water, where UV rays are stronger and reflect back at you, you need sunglasses that really cover your eyes.

And when we say cover, we mean cover. If your fashion sense can stand it, grab a pair of wraparound shades – ones that cover your entire eye, extending above and below the actual eye and wrapping around your temples to provide full coverage. If you can’t quite stomach that, then at least go big: choose large sunglasses that will help block UV rays from filtering in to damage your eyes. Jackie O knew what she was doing.

2. Look for UV Protection
A lot of sunglasses are advertised as providing UVA/UVB protection, but what you’re really looking for is a pair that provides 99% or higher UV block. Your chosen lenses should also meet ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements (defined by the American National Standards Institute) and offer UV 400 protection, meaning that your eyes are fully protected from even the smallest (in terms of wavelength) UV rays.

3. Consider Your Lifestyle
Great shades come in various colors and styles. If you drive often, opt for brown, green or gray lenses, which minimize color distortion – at traffic lights, for example. If you spend a lot of time at the beach or on the water, select polarized sunglasses, which help reduce glare off slick surfaces.

4. Try Them On
Your sunglasses should be comfortable, since you’ll likely be wearing them for hours on end. Choose a pair that fits snugly without rubbing or chafing your nose, ears or temples. Be sure your favorite pair doesn’t pinch either, as extended wear can cause severe headaches. Additionally, make sure the lens falls close to your eyes (to protect against UV penetration) without being so close as to touch your eyelashes.

Your eyes are precious. Protecting them is always in style!

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The Weekly Roundup 7.3 Edition

by Cassie July 3, 2015

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Cloud Computing Set to Transform Home Security

With the growing array of functions smartphones can perform, it’s no surprise that these devices can now be used to enhance personal safety. More and more, home automation is becoming the cornerstone of home security. Manufacturers are adding innovative home automation functionality to their security panels to coincide with demand. Some developers have gone as far as adding cloud-computing capabilities to their products and equipment, giving homeowners complete control over all aspects of their home security systems. This trend will no doubt continue to evolve as more consumers seek to adopt services that bring home safety solutions to their mobile devices.

For the original article on Sourceable.net, click here

 

Robots Could One Day Give Factory Workers Super Strength

Teams of engineers from European universities and research facilities have discovered the key to super strength! Their solution, however, is not based on comic bookish physical mutations, but rather, relies on complex machinery. Introducing, Robo-Mate, a robotic exoskeleton designed to help factory workers lift heavy equipment and become up to 10 times stronger. This new technology has the potential to revolutionize job capabilities for factory workers and limit the physical strains they incur every day. While we are still a ways off from mass manufacturing Robo-Mate, the new product should be available for public purchase in just over a year.

For the original article in Mashable.com, click here

 

Millennials Are Key to Home Automation Growth

Millennials are the most tech savvy of generations; thus, it is no surprise they have spurred the growth of the home automation market. One quarter of millennials have already installed at least one product in their residences, and another 40 percent have expressed their desire to purchase smart-home products. As a group, they are twice as likely to have a smart home product compared to the general population. With more security companies adding home automation solutions, millennials will be at the forefront of early technology adoption, and instrumental in educating the broader consumer market.

For the original article in Mediapost.com, click here

 

Alarm.com Files to Raise $75 Million Through Initial Public Offering

Alarm.com, a leading security and home automation company, has filed to raise up to $75 million through an initial public offering. The company, founded in 2000, is positioning to be a top player in the industry by aligning with service providers to offer products that allow users to control their locks and appliances remotely. Alarm.com now claims 2.3 million subscribers compared to rival Xfinity Home, with 500,000 customers. The move to file publicly means that Alarm.com has beaten other industry power players to market. Still, with new security products from Apple and Google looming on the horizon, it is too early to tell how Alarm.com will fare in the in the future.

For the original article on Fortune.com, click here

 

 

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Have a Fun and SAFE Independence Day

by Cassie July 1, 2015

Fireworks Safety from My Alarm Center

Every year, we look forward to the Fourth of July. It’s one of the best holidays, don’t you think? Not only is there that little matter of patriotism, but Independence Day is a time for family, for barbecues, for fireworks and for a paid holiday off work. The weather is gorgeous. Everyone’s smiling. There’s much fun to be had.

This year, make sure your Fourth of July is both fun and safe. Take a few precautions, and have a great day!

1. Be Careful with Fireworks

If fireworks are legal in your state, follow safety protocols. Light fireworks one at a time, and immediately back away as soon as one is lit. If a firework does not go off, or if the fuse goes out, immediately douse with water. Do not try to reuse.

Fireworks should always be handled with care, by responsible (and sober) adults. Never let children play with fireworks, and always supervise “kid-safe” sparklers and other festive additions.

2. Fill Your Bucket

Keep a bucket of water close, to douse any fires caused by grilling, fireworks, or other celebrations. Better to be prepared!

3. Hold the Mayo (Or Keep it Cold)

Picnics and the 4th go hand-in-hand, but remember that the sun and certain foods do not. If you’ll be picnicking at a park, the lake, or even a backyard, hold the egg and dairy products in order to prevent food poisoning and other food-borne illness. And if your famous egg salad just isn’t complete without mayo, keep the mayonnaise in a cooler until it’s time for lunch.

4. Keep an Eye on the Kids

The Fourth of July usually means swimming or parades or other festivities. The goal should be to have a great time, but don’t forget to exercise a little caution in the process. For example, pool parties can spell danger for younger kids and weak swimmers, so insist kiddos wear life jackets and always supervise your kid when swimming. Likewise, parades are often crowded so try to keep children close, and arm them with contact info in case you get separated.

5. Practice Safe Grilling

What’s Independence Day without a few hamburgers and hotdogs, fresh off the grill? (Answer: It wouldn’t be Independence Day!) As you char up the next batch, be sure to practice safe grilling: keep your grill away from the house and other structures; keep the grill and surrounds clear of grease and other flammables; steer kids and pets away from the grilling area; and always keep water and a fire extinguisher close.

Happy Fourth, everyone! May yours be one of laughter, fun and sun.

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The Weekly Roundup 6.26 Edition

by Cassie June 26, 2015

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Samsung Attaches Screen to Semi-Truck to Show the Road Ahead

In the coming weeks, Samsung is expected to launch the Safety Truck, a semi-truck with the goal to reduce head-on collisions. By installing a front-mounted camera on the front of each truck, Samsung’s vehicles will give drivers behind the truck a clear view of the road ahead. Additionally, to make passing safer, drivers will be able to see any obstacles that could impede their progress. This will reduce the need for emergency braking and give drivers more time to react. With back-up cameras already standard in most new vehicles, this innovation by Samsung may signal an up-and-coming technology trend in the trucking industry.

For the original article on Mashable.com, click here

 

Home Security Steps Help Ensure Happy Endings to Vacations

According to Modesto police, the most impenetrable layer of security is a strong network of neighbors. Officers suggest joining a Neighborhood Watch or downloading a private social network such as Nextdoor, to help make your home more secure. In addition to having a community of vigilant neighbors, police also suggest the following safety tips:

  • Secure side doors and garages
  • Keep curtains open at all times to give the illusion you are home
  • Install an alarm even if you can’t afford the monitoring; the noise will most likely scare off any intruder
  • Add screw-on stoppers to all windows and replace any aluminum frames

For the original article in Modbee.com, click here

 

Just in Time for Summer, N.J. Police Provide Home Safety Tips

Whether you are leaving Philadelphia for a day at the beach, or a lengthy vacation, below are some tips from the New Jersey State Police to help make your summer as safe as possible.

  • Always lock windows and doors, set the alarm, and place security signs in plain sight.
  • If you have an extra vehicle, park it in front of your house to make it look like someone is home.
  • Take photos of valuables and record serial numbers of firearms, and keep them locked in a safe place.
  • Secure outdoor property such as lawn chairs, equipment and bikes.
  • Have a neighbor watch over your home while you are out of town.

For the original article in NJ.com, click here

 

Security Checklist for Your Employees

When it comes to enforcing data security in the workplace, employees are often the worst offenders. For businesses, this can have significant economic implications. Early establishment of best practices and tips can help an employer protect a company’s digital property from employee slip-ups.

Authentication:

  • Use a password manager like 1Password and make sure all passwords are secured and backed up.

Software:

  • Install an ad block on all browsers, make plug-ins click-to-play and use HTTPS at all times.

Antivirus:

  • Turn your firewalls on, turn off sharing & Bluetooth and avoid using public or free WiFi.

Mobile Phone:

  • Always use a passcode, turn off Bluetooth, turn off WiFi and make sure to download a Find My Phone application.

For the original article on Business2community.com, click here

 

 

 

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