Matt Reitz, Author at CusterAgency

Windows 10 Spying – Find Out What Data You Give Away

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Anytime a software platform updates you really should read the small print. The private investigators in Boise suggest that with all programs but are most concerned about the new Windows 10 and what it has been designed to do inside your computer. There is no doubt that Microsoft intends to protect all of its data and programming. However, it also means in order for them to do that, they need data to do this with.

What The Small Print Says

In a nutshell, the Windows 10 Privacy Statement says a whole lot about what the world of computer programming has become. One section in the statement says that, “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data…” This includes you content. Microsoft explains that the content of your computer (e-mails, other forms of private communication, files and private folders) all fall under this category. Sure, they say it is to protect you from breaches in security but if you didn’t say Microsoft could do this, is that considered a breach?

What The Private Investigators In Boise Suggest

When you upgraded your computer, you basically gave Microsoft permission to load your system with the software that allows them to gather your personal data. In other words, you’ve already opted in. The good news is that you can actually opt out. The private investigators in Boise say this is a good thing if you don’t want your computer to be spying on you and your online activities.

The Four Steps To Opting Out

There are just four steps you have to follow in order to opt out of the extra bonus features of Windows 10. Here there are and what you need to do with each of them:

Step 1 – Privacy

Your first step is to open the Settings section and click on Privacy. You will need to go through a total of 13 different screens where you can disable just about anything that gets you a bit twitchy. The General tab will be a key location to visit.

Step 2 – Cortana

The voice-driven assistant known as Cortana is a new feature with Windows 10. Unfortunately, Cortana does not appear to take protection of your data as seriously as you do. The solution is to uninstall Cortana. It will be worth it in the long run.

Step 3 – Disable Ad Tracking

The next step will involve visiting the ‘net and Microsoft’s new Edge browser. In it set both advertising options (personalized ads in this browser and personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account) to off. This stops Microsoft’s ad tracking features from following you around.

Step 4 – Removing Your Account

This final step is required in order to completely opt out of Windows 10. You will need to remove your existing Microsoft account from Windows 10. You can create a local account to use instead. What this does, according to the private investigators in Boise, is that it stops Microsoft from latching onto your data and syncing it across machines.

Trust the Private Investigators In Boise

For any information regarding cyber security, contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency. They can help you protect yourself and those you love from any kind of cyber attack.

2017 Latest – Hackers Getting Smarter by Going Old School

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You’ve heard the phrase that everything eventually cycles back to where it started, right? Well, the private investigators in Boise want to tell you that although technology does not appear to be cycling back, the ways in which hackers operate has taken a trip back to simpler technology. The incredible thing is that the ‘retro’ approach has become very successful for hackers.

Here’s How It Works

Hackers continue to become sophisticated in how they steal the information they use. In fact, because they continue to increase their abilities, security designers are no longer leading the way, in most cases they are just catching up to where the hackers are. But now hackers have combined new and old in order to steal your information. A typical scenario may look like this:

1 – No More Blanket E-Mails

Hackers are aware that corporate e-mail filters can spot a generic and unprompted e-mail from miles away. So they have dropped that tactic opting for something more personal in nature.

2 – Personalization

The average hacker knows how to search for specific data. The private investigators in Boise say this is where they excel. By locating some small nugget of information from a social media site a target can be identified. This leads to a person to make contact with. The hacker has a credible ruse already in place and makes a call. It could be for general information about the company or just about any other item that would sound like a normal, ordinary inquiry.

3 – Follow-Up E-Mail

During the telephone conversation the hacker makes reference to a follow-up e-mail which will be related to the conversation. The e-mail is sent and passes through the corporate e-mail filters as it is an expected piece of mail. The e-mail would include an attached Word doc that would be expected from the telephone conversation.

4 – Opening The E-Mail

As the e-mail is expected, the target has no fear and goes ahead and opens the attachment. However, in order to do that he or she must disable macros on their computer. The private investigators in Boise say this request should be your red flag. Once the macros are disabled a batch script is executed and the hacker’s malware gets downloaded.

How To Protect Yourself From This Happening To You

The private investigators in Boise point to online and e-mail security measures as being a good first line of defense. However, these systems work only if they are used. People are often the weakest link and therefore staff and management need to stay diligent in the war against cyber crime. To find out how to better protect your e-mail system or how to train your staff to watch for signs that may lead to a breach in security contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

USPS Informed Delivery – What It Is And Why You Should Avoid It

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The private investigators in Boise want to bring your attention to a relatively new postal service. It is called Informed Delivery and has been around in a limited manner in several states since 2014. It has since expanded and now contains over 6.3-million accounts.

How It Works

Eligible residents can sign up by creating a free account online at USPS.com. The requirements are basic and include your name, address and an email address. The final step in the process is to validate your account with the use of a series of four questions. The question process is known as “knowledge-based authentication” and once you are signed up, you can view scanned images of what is on the front of each incoming piece of mail to your address prior to it arriving there. For many on the system, this is a great way of knowing what mail is coming, especially if you are expecting something and have been tracking it.

Why You Should Avoid It

The use of knowledge-based authentication or KBA is the main problem according to the private investigators in Boise. They point to this method as being an unreliable way to authenticate someone’s identity simply because the answers are easy to farm from other online sources, including social media. In other words, KBA is a weak system. More secure methods exist using what is known as multi-channel authentication. In fact, multi-channel authentication is quickly becoming the norm used online because it poses less risk.

What Informed Delivery Can Do

On the positive side, USPS says Informed Delivery will reduce mail theft. However, the private investigators in Boise also point to the KBA system as being an aid to identity thieves. As to why USPS won’t upgrade the authentication process, with the technology already in existence to protect customers is unclear. They do say that each household resident should have their own personal account to prevent someone in the same home from accessing an existing account. That still does not address the potential risk coming from security breaches and identity thieves.

Stay Safe When Using Online Programs

Informed Delivery is a great program if it was to be used only in the way it was designed. But with a weak authentication system, it creates a potential mine of personal information that could easily be used in a much more negative way. The private investigators in Boise say you should steer clear of this program until USPS tightens up the security features. For more information on cyber security, contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

Cyber Body Language

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The private investigators in Boise are well trained in reading human body language. But did you know that your computer and handheld devices say a lot more about you than you think? It’s called cyber body language and it includes some very interesting information that is gathered from any and all of your sessions spent online.

What Information Is Gathered

Your digital body language, according to the private investigators in Boise, includes your web browsing history, the history of anything you download from the internet, web searches you conduct and web communication. This includes email and messenger platforms. In other words, whatever you do from when you go online until you shut down your device is being monitored.

The majority of this data on your online behavior is collected and used to determine your shopping habits and location of where you are and where you go. Have you ever wondered how advertising you see online can be so much related to what you have recently been doing online? If you haven’t paid some attention to the sites you visit, some will pop up in future advertising.

Why Is This Information Of Interest?

The private investigators in Boise see value in the data that is being collected as part of your cyber body language. On one hand it allows online businesses to better target their advertising and promotional efforts to potential customers who meet criteria based on their online habits. In fact, from a marketing standpoint, digital footprints often lead to better advertising results.

Online marketing efforts are highly successful thanks to the ability of software programs to gather cyber body language information. However, the private investigators in Boise see another side to this situation. With so much specific data collected on an individual based on their online activities, it can easily be used against you by cyber criminals who may hack into the data.

How You Can Protect Yourself

There are software programs that will assist you in hiding some of your online tracks but the only real way to eliminate your digital habits is to never use the internet again. For many, that is not a practical solution. However, you can be more aware of what you do online and can change your habits accordingly. Protecting your personal information is paramount.

Custer Agency Can Help

Remember, some of your online behavior has actually assisted software developers in enhancing their online programs and products making them more user friendly. At the same time, there has been a loss of privacy as a result with advertising following you around wherever you go online. For assistance in dealing with cyber issues, the private investigators in Boise can help. You can reach them by calling Custer Agency today.

Are You Vulnerable To IT Security Threats?

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Information stored on any kind of computer technology is not completely secure. The private investigators in Boise say that while external threats are important to protect yourself from, there is another source of risk. Internal threats also exist and can be as dangerous, or even more dangerous than hackers and malware finding their way into your personal data.

Internal data leaks are a form of cyber sabotage which typically is the result of a negative work-related incident. Someone being fired, losing a job due to downsizing, a dispute, transfer to another department or location or a demotion can trigger an attack on a data system from within. Sometimes the hacker worked on developing the very software programming to protect it.

Examples of Internal Data Leaks

You have heard about them probably more often than you know. The private investigators in Boise remind you of just a few examples of data leaks in recent years. The Red Cross Blood Service had over half a million blood donor records go public in 2016. That was apparently an accident. In 2015 the world leaders attending the G20 summit in Australia suddenly became vulnerable when data about the participants was accidently released. In 2013 data on two million customers of Vodaphone was stolen by an IT contractor. Customer data seems to get lost, shared, borrowed and exposed on a regular basis these days.

How To Protect Yourself

According to the private investigators in Boise there are ways to counter the threats associated with internal data leaks. They include training and implementing secure computer technology and putting both of these tools together to complement each other. Let’s look a bit deeper into each of these parts of the equation.

Training

With a properly trained staff, where everyone understands the importance of protecting the data and how to deal with breaches, this is a crucial first step. This includes recognizing the many formats an IT threat can be disguised as and taking security, passwords and all related items seriously.

Computer Technology

Learning tech exists now that will recognize abnormal behavior by employees and will record suspicious activities creating solid evidence for later use by the private investigators in Boise. The tools are there to protect you and by utilizing them to support human observations, the risk of a security breach from the inside is greatly reduced.

Human Observation

It is also important to create an office culture where staff takes care of other members of the team by identifying problems before they can get out of hand. Unhappy, frustrated and angry employees present a risk if their concerns are not treated in a manner that resolves a potential issue.

The Private Investigators In Boise Are Here To Help

Personal data needs to be protected from threats on the outside as well as those on the inside. Fortunately there are tools available to take care of both. For more advice on IT threats contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

10 Tips For Protecting Your Identity Both Online and Offline

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The private investigators in Boise say identity theft continues to be an active crime. With thanks to new technology and tech savvy thieves, it is becoming more important daily to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. The good news is that you can take several steps to reduce the risk of your personal information getting into the wrong hands. Here are a few:

1 – Shred It, Don’t Throw It Away

Important documents that you no longer need should not be crumbled up and tossed with the trash. Although thieves don’t typically root through garbage anymore, you do risk having personal information gathered. A good way to avoid this is with a personal shredder, which will destroy the paperwork before you dispose of it.

2 – Lock Your Mailbox

If you have mail delivered to a box at the end of your driveway or sidewalk, replace your mailbox with one that can be locked. Check your mail frequently and for letters containing sensitive data, opt for those to be delivered to a post office so you can pick them up personally.

3 – Leave Government Documents At Home

The private investigators in Boise say passports, birth certificates and social security cards should not be with you unless you require them for that day. For the rest of the time these important identity documents should be stored in a secure location in your home.

4 – Use Antivirus And Spyware Software

With computer use increasing daily one of the best ways to protect your online information is by using antivirus and spyware programs. Even if you have to pay a small annual fee it is worth it to protect your data from hackers.

5 – Passwords

The private investigators in Boise suggest changing your passwords often. This will give you a layer of security if you keep changing them every six months. Just be sure to not use the same password for all your online accounts.

6 – Watch Where You Shop

If you spend a fair amount of time online shopping, keep your shopping habits to sites that are secure. You can tell when one is if a small ‘padlock’ icon appears in the address window at the top of your computer screen. If you don’t see the padlock, do not offer personal information including your credit card.

7 – Cool It On Social Media

Another timely tip from the private investigators in Boise is to reduce the amount of personal information you share in social media sites. There’s nothing wrong with sharing and posting it’s just that you need to be aware of what you share. Posting photos of credit cards, driver’s licenses and such is not a good idea.

8 – Wifi Security

Public wifi signals are all around us but are they secure? Even if you use public wifi on a regular basis, it is wise to not submit passwords, personal information or login data when using a public signal. This is where many hackers lurk.

9 – Monitor Accounts

One more way to protect yourself, according to the private investigators in Boise is to keep regular checks on your online accounts. Banks and online companies are getting better at blocking unauthorized sign ins but you must remember to sign out of programs to prevent someone from gaining access just by picking up one of your devices and walking away with it.

10 – Contact the Private Investigators In Boise

At Custer Agency we can give you advice on how to better protect your identity online and off. We can provide you with information on what sources to use and which ones to avoid. Let the experience our private investigators in Boise have work in your favor and give you peace of mind.

How Technology Has Changed The Way Private Investigators Work

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How Technology Has Changed The Way Private Investigators Work

The private investigators in Boise have always concentrated on field work which puts a detective out of the office and tracking information leads. However, thanks to new technology such as the internet, many investigators conduct their searches online. But if you had to guess what the split was between field work and online investigations, what would you think it would be?

Well, there are several variables but basically speaking, the average detective will spend half of his time in the field and the rest online. This does depend on the kind of investigation being conducted. An example where technology has shifted the workload is in record checks. Now that the majority of records accessed for investigative purposes are online, libraries and dark, dingy storage facilities housing decades of paper files are not necessarily where a PI will spend days.

For a better picture of the kinds of work the private investigators in Boise do, let’s break it down into two different categories.

Online Investigations

An online investigation for the purpose of this example is anything that a detective would have once done in person but can accomplish now through the internet. The top three online investigation types in 2016 were:

1 – Record Checks and Retrieval – up to 87% of this work was conducted online

2 – Background Investigations (Personal, Financial) – up to 79% online

3 – Locate A Person (Missing, Lost Relative, etc.) – up to 76% online

On Location Investigations

An on location investigation would be a case where a detective is conducting work in the field, away from the office and not on a computer. The top three on location investigation types in 2016 were:

1 – Infidelity (requiring personal interviews, photography, etc.) – up to 87% in the field

2 – Post-Relationship (Custody, Alimony) – up to 73% conducted on location

3 – Harassment – up to 63% on location

Trust The Private Investigators In Boise

Of course, there are crimes that have developed as a result of the new technology that require almost exclusive online investigative techniques such as catfishing and social media investigations. On the other hand, security and witness interviewing would be almost exclusively field work. Regardless of what your requirements are, Custer Agency can help. Contact the private investigators in Boise today for more information.

 

Tips on Keeping Your Smartphone Secure

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Although a smartphone is a great convenience, if it ends up in the wrong hands, it could become a convenient tool to be used against you. That is why the private investigators in Boise have put together this list of tips to help you keep you data and information secure. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself from hackers.

1 – Don’t Share Your Cell Number

This may seem harmless but you really should be careful who knows your cell number. It is something you should guard in much the same manner you do your social insurance number. The data and information stored on your smartphone equates to providing someone with access to your home, your activities and your life.

2 – Be Careful With Text Messages

Not all text messages are dangerous but you do need to be aware of the fact that not all sources are legitimate. The private investigators in Boise say that if you receive one from a number you do not recognize, do not open it or click on links contained in the message. The ones to pay particular attention to are ones announcing you have been selected as a winner of a prize.

3 – Update It Frequently

One way to build a wall between your cell phone information and a hacker is if you keep the operating system current. You will receive a notice telling you that an update is available and if you download this, you are actually protecting yourself because operating system updates usually include improved software protection.

4 – Use A Passcode

The private investigators in Boise point to having a passcode on your phone as a great first line of defense. Essentially this prevents anyone from picking up your device and using it at random. If you set a passcode, the device can’t be used until the correct passcode is entered to ‘unlock’ the device.

5 – Use The Tracker Option

Your smartphone will contain a ‘tracker’ program that you can activate. What this does is allows you to remotely find your phone with GPS technology should it go missing. Also, you can activate an option that will allow you to erase all data on the phone remotely so if someone does take your device, you can locate it and destroy information before it can be used.

The Private Investigators in Boise Are On Your Side

If you take these steps to protect yourself and the private information you have stored on your smartphone, you are controlling your risk. By doing this, you greatly reduce the chance of giving a hacker an open book to you and your life. For more information contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency today.

Certified Fraud Examiners: Who They Are and What They Do

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A person professionally training in detecting, investigating and resolving fraud cases is a Certified Fraud Examiner or CFE. A private investigator in Boise with a CFE certification would have received it from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners which is the largest anti-fraud organization in the world. The ACFE provides training and education on the topic. CFE’s typically come from backgrounds related to criminology, law, accounting or auditing.

Not just anyone can become a CFE, either. You must first have a bachelor’s degree and several years of professional experience and pass a CFE exam. All CFE’s are expected to follow a code of ethics as laid out by the ACFE and must be able to prove they are of high moral character with appropriate references.

The Work Of A CFE

The complicated intricacies of corporate fraud require a lot of different skills and they vary differently from investigations related to other kinds of crimes such as theft or murder. You could say that a Certified Fraud Examiner can take a ledger or box of papers, accounting data and electronic spreadsheets and discover something wrong that may slip by the average person.

It is this attention to detail and thoroughness that sets a CFE apart from other crime investigators. The responsibility of a CFE is huge and often they are the people responsible in uncovering some of the largest corporate scandals. However, with this kind of expertise a CFE brings a lot to the table of any size fraud investigation.

Can A PI Be A CFE?

While it is possible, not all detectives are Certified Fraud Examiners. However, it is not uncommon for a private investigator in Boise to work with a CFE on fraud cases. The roles of each may differ from case to case but a CFE would likely examine the evidence gathered by the PI rather than the other way around.

That being said, insurance fraud is a common field of investigation that a detective will be hired to gather evidence on. This would entail long days of surveillance, photographic and video evidence gathering and witness interviews. For more complex, multi-layered corporate fraud investigations a CFE would be a likely choice.

Do You Need A Private Investigator In Boise?

Custer Agency handles all kinds of fraud investigations and works with Certified Fraud Examiners when the occasion arises. If you need a private investigator in Boise for fraud investigation, contact Custer Agency today.

What Does An Accident Investigator Do?

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Investigations at accident scenes have one goal to reach: determining what caused the accident. A private investigator in Boise will tell you that this is a specialized field of investigative work. The results from an accident scene investigation are used in insurance claims, court cases and to assist with preventing similar accidents from occurring.

Accident investigation techniques require methodic and scientifically rigorous practices as the conclusions that result from them often become court evidence. Investigators who focus on accident scene work can come from many different fields of expertise and include engineers, health and safety supervisors and forensic scientists.

The Process Used In Accident Scene Investigation

There are four main techniques used in accident investigations. They include causal analysis where principles of causation are used to put together the series of events leading to the accident and expert analysis. This is where a private investigator in Boise would use their own expertise and knowledge to piece together the events prior to the accident.

The third technique is known as organizational analysis which follows the train of thought that with everything working in good order, there would be no accident. Experiments are then conducted to see how an element would be altered from the perfect state and play a role in the accident.

The final technique, advanced accident analysis, resulted from digital photography. With it an investigator can construct a 3D model of the accident scene and with computer programs, can ‘run’ various scenarios into the process of determining cause.

The Steps Accident Scene Investigation Follows

1 – Fact Gathering

This is the first step and involves collecting data through speaking to witnesses, taking notes of observations and taking photos of the scene. Samples may also be collected for further analysis. Once all of this information is together, the investigator will examine it, perform scientific calculations, tests and more to draw conclusions.

2 – Countermeasures

Depending on the nature of the accident, the report submitted by a private investigator in Boise may include recommendations related to safety issues. The accident report may end up a key factor used in changing vehicle design or other engineering tasks related to transportation.

Custer Agency Can Help

If you are in need of a profession private investigator in Boise with accident scene investigation experience, look no further. The detectives at Custer Agency can provide the expert analysis required to determine causes of accidents and other injury claims involving vehicles. Call them today for details.