SPECIAL ISSUE: Smartphone bandits
CYBER CRIMES TARGETING MOBILE DEVICES ARE ON THE RISE. OUR TOWN TEMPLE TALKS TO A SECURITY SPECIALIST TO GET THE LATEST ADVICE FOR PROTECTING DATA.
FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2021
“People use their smart devices to pay bills, check bank accounts, shop and conduct daily business on the fly. It’s important to understand how to protect yourself when connecting on the go.”
Agent: Reboot provides protection against mobile device data theft
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
Smart devices such as phones, tablets and watches allow the average person to get online from anywhere, and cyber security experts say criminals are using these tools to steal your money, your information and your identity.
According to Michael McCarthy, an agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, more than 56 percent of U.S. adults — and many children — are carrying smart devices.
“People use their smart devices to pay bills, check bank accounts, shop and conduct daily business on the fly,” McCarthy told Our Town Temple on Thursday. “It’s important to understand how to protect yourself when connecting on the go.”
One of the most simple — and effective — precautions a smart-device user can take to protect personal data is to turn off your device for 30 seconds at least once a week, McCarthy said.
“A daily reboot would be great,” he said, “but once a week certainly helps,”
Turning a device off, then back on again, can stop hackers from stealing your information.
McCarthy said hackers typically install malicious software to a computer’s root file system. But, manufacturers such as Apple and Google have strong security that blocks malware from core operating systems.
“That encourages hackers to opt for ‘in-memory’ payloads that are harder to detect and trace,” he said. “But, such hacks can’t survive a reboot. Unfortunately, though, many folks rarely turn their phones off.”
While simple reboots often can thwart a cyber crime against your data, McCarthy said there are many other methods of keeping your information safe.
“First of all, use strong passwords,” he said. “Your passwords should be difficult for anyone to guess. Use different passwords for different programs, and do not choose options that allow your device to remember passwords.”
Keeping software up to date prevents attackers from being able to take advantage of known vulnerabilities that are frequently eliminated in the update process, he said.
“If you are not using Bluetooth, turn it off,” McCarthy said. “Criminals can use Bluetooth to connect to your devices.”
The agent recommends not posting photos to Facebook or other social sites as soon as you take them.
“Wait to post photos from trips and events so people do not know where you are,” he said. “Posting where your area — checking in — lets others know that your house is empty.”
McCarthy also said deleting unused apps from your smart device increases your security because some apps may track your location.
“Almost all Americans, regardless of age, are using mobile devices,” McCarthy said. “Often, these devices are used for sensitive activities such as banking, online shopping and social networking.”
“Some of these activities require users to provide personal information such as their names, account numbers, addresses and passwords,” he said. “Also, apps routinely ask for access to information stored on devices, including location information.”
McCarthy said the use of unsecured, public Wi-Fi hotspots has increased dramatically over the past few years. These networks are accessible on airplanes, in coffee shops, shopping malls and at sporting events. While continued access provides us with more flexibility and convenience to stay connected no matter where we are, it can also make us more susceptible to exposure.
“The more we travel and access the Internet on the go, the more risks we face on our mobile devices,” he said. “Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi hotspot, be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate.”
“It’s important to understand how to protect yourself,” McCarthy said.
The Temple Police Department provided several additional tips for mobile device safety:
Make sure you have a screen lock feature enabled such as passcode, fingerprint, or facial recognition.
Never open any suspicious emails or download a suspicious app or links found in unfamiliar text messages.
Periodically review your app permissions
Do not store any passwords on your phone.
WILSONART HONORED BY MAGAZINE READERS
Temple’s Wilsonart has been named a winner of Kitchen & Bath Business magazine’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards.
In its ninth year, the awards celebrate the best kitchen and bath brands in 25 categories. Based on input from the magazine’s design-savvy followers, Wilsonart earned top honors for its kitchen countertops.
“The readers of Kitchen & Bath Business are discriminating design leaders and industry professionals, and that makes this honor particularly rewarding,” said Danielle Mikesell, global vice president of marketing and design at Wilsonart.
Our Town Classifieds
HEY, REAL ESTATE AGENTS — Here’s a perfect place for your newest listing!
BODY SOLID HOME GYM EXM-1500x: Great condition. $500. Call/Text 254-654-0548 if interested. Can send pictures. Comes with floor pads.
LARGE DESK WITH CHAIR: Great condition. $250. Dark brown in color. Approx 55 inches long, 35.5 inches wide, 35 inches tall. Sides of desk act as bookshelves. Call/Text 254-654-0548 if interested. Can send pictures.
SELLING YOUR CAR? Post it right here!
RAGE FITNESS — 40-pound soft-sided medicine ball. Great for Atlas drills. Like new. $40. (254) 624-4010
VITAMIX — Great condition. Comes with two pitchers. Great for salsas and smoothies. $200. (254) 624-4010
LIFE SPAN TREADMILL DESK: Great condition. Desk and treadmill come as set. $500. Call/Text 254-654-0548 if interested. Can send pictures.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING? HAVE SOMETHING TO SELL? List it here!
PLYO BOX: Soft-sided, 20x24x30 plyometric box. Great condition. $40. (254) 624-4010
Subscribers get FREE classifieds up to 25 words. Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com
Our Town Deals
FREE COFFEE WITH PURCHASE OF ANY BREAKFAST ITEM — Easy As Pie, 1217 S 1st St A, Temple.
To list your business in Our Town Deals, call (254) 624-4010
What’s Happening, Temple?
July 30, Friday - Love Song Speed Dating, (254) 258-2234, Corky’s, 8 p.m.
July 30, Friday - 4-hour Temple Brew Trail, Tour Temple, 13 S. 2nd Street, 8 p.m.
July 30, Friday - Summer Sizzle at Santa Fe Plaza. Job fair, food trucks, outdoor market and live music featuring Three4One.
July 30, Friday - Bell County Cutting Horse Show, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
July 30, Friday - Justin Hewitt. O’Briens Irish Pub. 9 p.m.
July 30, Friday - Mixed Martial Arts. LFA heavyweight title fight Lewis vs. Petersen. Seven big fights on card. 5:30 p.m.
July 30, Friday - Scooter Dubec and Sterling Country. Bo’s Barn Dance Hall. 8 p.m.
July 31, Saturday - Billy Holt, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 9 p.m.
July 31, Saturday - 4-hour Wine Trail Tour, Tour Temple, 13 S. 2nd Street, 3 p.m.
July 31, Saturday - Bell County Cutting Horse Show, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
July 31, Saturday - Adult Night at Summer Fun Water Park, Belton, 8 p.m.
July 31, Saturday - Live Comedy Showcase, Corky’s, 8 p.m.
August 1, Sunday - Bell County Cutting Horse Show, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 6, Friday - Lilly Milford of Lilly & The Implements joins Bryon White of The Damn Quails for a special performance. O’Briens Irish Pub. 9 p.m.
August 6, Friday - Family Night at Summer Fun Water Park, Belton, 7 p.m.
August 6, Friday - Branded Heart, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 8 p.m.
August 7, Saturday - Dave Jorgenson, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 9 p.m.
August 7, Saturday - Bell County Comic Con is a family friendly event for those interested in comics, pop culture, wrestling, gaming, movies and fantasy. Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
August 7, Saturday - Dig It! Family Day. Will include a sand pit for unearthing treasures. Learn what it’s like to be an archeologist or a paleontologist and the difference between the two fields of science. Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum. 10 a.m.
August 7, Saturday - American Bucking Bull, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 8, Sunday - Bell County Comic Con is a family friendly event for those interested in comics, pop culture, wrestling, gaming, movies and fantasy. Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
August 13, Friday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo Center.
August 13, Friday - Hyway Traveler, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 8 p.m.
August 13, Friday - Bell County Cutting Horse Show, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 14, Saturday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo Center.
August 14, Saturday - Texas Senior Pro Rodeo, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
August 15, Sunday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo Center.
August 15, Sunday - Texas Senior Pro Rodeo, Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex.
Have an event you would like to promote? Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.