Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Online Security and You!

I received a question about my cyber security services and personal online security. While these are two very different things, they have a common bond in that a breach can devastate someone's personal credit or business brand! For the purposes to the question I received, tonight's blog tips will deal with personal security online and how to maintain your privacy.

First, let's start with where we are today with "complex" passwords... the concept is a lie! When you hear of hackers, it usually is on a massive level. Your password, no matter how complex, can be guessed using technology that monitors your keystrokes. Yep, you can be in Los Angeles and have your keystrokes determined (to hack your password) from Japan. Below is a great example of this;

The world of cyber-security underwent a game-change last summer, when not one but two top tech writers were spectacularly hacked. Mat Honan, a writer for Wired, was cyber-attacked by a 19-year-old who wanted his highly coveted three-letter Twitter handle @Mat. To get it, the kid (who goes by “Phobia”) and a friend wiped out Honan’s entire digital life — in about an hour. It started with a call to the Apple Help Desk, and Phobia was able to give just enough data to convince the agent that he was Honan. That one password gave him the keys to the castle.

As Honan described in Wired, “First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.” Honan also thought he had lost every picture he had of his one-year-old daughter, since he hadn’t been backing up his hard drive. Ultimately he was able to recover some of his passwords (from his cloud backup,Dropbox, on his wife’s laptop) and then his data. But it was an expensive lesson: He wound up spending $1,690 for the entire recovery.

So, what's my point? Even technology brainiacs get hacked. While there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening, good coders and hackers don't need much to get into your account(s) and then change your passwords to their passwords, often assuming your identity. I tell everyone to forget the password focus and look at what you have online. If the answers to your security questions can be easily guessed by the information you put on LinkedIN- or any other type of social media- then yous shouldn't even bother with having a password. Limit your personal life's details from Google and social media searchers. For now, for the average person and tech geek, this is the best way to avoid getting hacked.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Preparing for Any Disaster

I received a request to deal with home and family issues when it comes to a disaster, not just employment or major issues of national security. I love getting these requests and spent some time this morning putting together the best tips possible to help prepare your family, and your home, for a disaster of any type.

First, know that you need to have 5 master plans. You need a plan for yourself and the adults in the home, a plan for seniors in the home, a plan for children in the home, a plan for pets in the home, and a plan for anyone with disabilities within the home. No, a blanket "one-size fits all" strategy will not work. You do need individual plans.

Each plan needs to have four core elements. These elements include an emergency medical kit. The kit is going to be very different for pets vs. seniors vs. someone with Multiple Sclerosis, etc. Make sure back up medications, general triage items, and written down phone numbers of doctors and allergies are included in each kit.

The next element is being CPR trained. Yes, you and everyone in your home should know how to provide CPR to humans and pets. Your third element is community resources. Do you know what they are in case of a disaster? If not, call your local Red cross and sign up for an emergency maintenance class. The fourth, and final element, is practicing. Don't tell your children or spouse when you are going to practice a disaster alarm. Instead, surprise him or her (or them) really early in the morning when people's defenses are down and they are groggy. This will give you a great indication of what has to be worked on.

I hope this information provides the basics, but please feel free to ask me more questions on Twitter!

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, October 20, 2014

OMG! 'Black Power' Politics & Ebola

For this blog, and my job, I monitor the Google term "Homeland Security" on a daily basis, sometimes even hourly depending on what is happening within the country. Today, however, I am disappointed. I read an article discussing the shortfalls of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in relation to the Ebola "crisis" here in America. What was even more shocking was the context this article took from addressing a serious healthcare issue and the DHS to finger pointing and blatant ethic slander. What am I referring to? Well, this article:

Now, first I had to process the writer's disgusting phrasing, such as "In short, Johnson is an advocate of ‘black power’ politics. Unfortunately he’s not the only one. Michelle Obama based her 1985 Princeton thesis on Carmichael and Hamilton’s book which preached the rejection of assimilation, white middle-class values, nonviolence, and coalition building." Writers often create drama online to get web hits. I wanted to read beyond this and vet the article for its true purpose. As I read on, I became more disappointment. The article ends with, "While Americans scratch their heads in disbelief over this administration’s seeming ineptitude over Ebola, the long-dead communist Carmichael’s dream of sticking it to ‘whitey’ via the White House and its apparatchiks is coming true." WOW!

First, I wasn't aware anyone in this country is still using the phrase "whitey"... Second, the writer's accusations of reverse discrimination are led with what else? Racism! I can't believe at the end of 2014, that this type of thinking still exists- but it does. And thanks to our freedoms, the writer can publish this filth as his opinion. I grew up in a segregated part of Ohio. While time has changed much, I still remember what it is like to be unfairly judged. And, I think this writer is not only unfairly judging the motives of Michelle Obama (and so many others), but he is unfairly treating those who have contracted Ebola and those who may be at risk of contracting it in Africa. This doesn't have to be a race issue. It isn't a race issue. It is a medical issue that has become a concern for the DHS because it involves the overall public welfare of those who live in this country regardless of color, creed or sexual preference. I remember a time when many people believed only "the gays" could get HIV. How wrong, insensitive, and inbred was our thinking back then?!

My point is this.... the longer we use one another's differences to play the blame game, the longer we fail to spearhead the issue at hand. There is always a time and place for politics. There is never a time or place for discrimination. I'm so disappointed that the writer of the mentioned article decided to use his own insecurities and fears to skew the truth and take attention away from a very serious issue.

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, October 17, 2014

Could You Handle A Bomb Scare?

Would you know how to handle a bomb scare at work? Many people don't know what to do or how to react. The topic is so uncomfortable that many don't even want to think about it. Well, let me give you the basics. The best defense is an offense, which means thinking about the uncomfortable and knowing how to handle it.

1. First, if you take the call / threat - call 9-1-1- and then notify your boss.
2. Stay away from any specific area or packages. If a caller notes a certain part of a building on the phone, evacuate that area first.
3. Don't bother the first responders. They will provide information on an "as needed" basis. Make sure you give them all the details of the call or received threat and then take care of yourself and your employees. Don't ask questions or pull people away from their jobs.
4. Don't panic. This is easier said than done, but it is important to remain as calm as possible.

I know it is Friday. I know this topic isn't the easiest and by no means are these four steps (above) meant to cover every aspect of a bomb threat. But, if you can remember these basics, you are a lot better off than the people who don't even want to think about this possibility.

Here's a free checklist in the meantime:

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola, What You DON'T Know!

I was listening to women inline this morning discuss Ebola. Wow! There is a lot of bad information with social circles. Since I covered this topic, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday, I want to expand a bit on what most people don't know , but assume, when it comes to Ebola.

First, a person infected with the deadly virus must be showing symptoms to transmit the infection to others. Someone mentioned kissing today as how it is transmitted, this isn't true!

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it's possible the disease could be spread this way, but WHO said it's "not aware of any studies that actually document this mode of transmission." Also, coughing and sneezing aren't common Ebola symptoms.

Right now, you're more likely to die from the flu vs. Ebola. Yes, you read that right! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1997 to 2007, flu deaths ranged from a low of about 3,500 to a high of 49,000 deaths a year. The flu reached epidemic levels in last year's season. This said, The World Health Organization says West Africa could see 10,000 new Ebola cases a week by December.

We do have to be careful, as a country, about an Ebola outbreak. It is possible but it isn't likely. The DHS is considering a travel ban right now. We have trained professionals working at airports to screen all travelers right now. We're aware and discussing the issue, which is good. The problem is the not knowing and the gossip that I hear on a daily basis. You will always fear what you are not aware or informed about. If you want to learn more about Ebola, please click here:

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Goodbye W. Africa... For Now

The headline out of Detroit today reads as follows; "Congresswoman Candice Miller: Temporarily suspend visas to west African countries impacted by Ebola." Is this move too little, too late? Should this order come from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? Well, yes on both!

I fudged the truth with Congresswoman Miller's statement. You see, she has formally noted a filing with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of State John Kerry to make a temporary suspension come to life. Right now, there are 13,500 visas out there from the three impacted countries plagued with Ebola right now. So, yes- with Ebola now in the USA- it is a little too late and the DHS should have jumped on this sooner rather than assuming we had everything under control.

Either way, do you know what the symptoms of Ebola are? I've listed them below. Keep coming back, however, as I cover this subject more on the day-to-day blog. I'm sure once Congresswoman Miller obtains the suspension, we will have a lot to discuss!

Nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhea (may be bloody)
Red eyes.
Raised rash.
Chest pain and cough.
Stomach pain.
Severe weight loss.
Bleeding, usually from the eyes, and bruising (people near death may bleed from other orifices, such as ears, nose and rectum)

Ebola is usually transmitted from animal meat to the host. From there, infected people typically don't become contagious until they develop symptoms. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives or prepare the dead for burial.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What to do during a national crisis.

I've been discussing emergency management for citizens on this blog over the past two weeks. Today, however, I want to talk about national crisis and terrorist activity. Do you know how to handle yourself and what information to rely upon?

There are 7 key services you need to be in contact with to know exactly what you can and can't do while the country is processing a crisis or disaster. Does this mean you call each one up? No, but you should follow these resources on social media and have your local office numbers written down (not just in your phone) in case of a true emergency. Typically, these agencies will reach out to citizens on the news, but if you don't know something or have to report an incident- you can call them during a disaster.

The mayor is responsible at the administrative level for the smooth running of the response effort.

Fire service
The fire service is the linchpin in disaster response. The fire chief is charged with the operational management of the response effort. Everything that occurs in the disaster area falls under his/her authority.

Regional accident and disaster medical teams
Anyone injured in a disaster will require medical assistance as soon as possible.

The police will ensure that the fire and ambulance services can do their job. They will cordon off the disaster area, manage the traffic, and sometimes set up a safety zone around the disaster area.

The Ministry of Defence can deploy military personnel to respond to a disaster.

Municipal services
Behind the scenes, several municipal services play an important role in disaster response, especially when it comes to the after-effects.

Other services
Which services take part in the response effort will depend on the type of disaster. In the case of flooding caused by burst dykes or heavy rainfall, the water authorities will play a role. If a disaster occurs off the coast, the Coastguard will be involved. But other services will also often take part. The Red Cross cares for the injured in disasters.

Until tomorrow,
Twyla N. Garrett

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