This is Why it’s so Important to Choose a Credible Locksmith

this-is-why-its-so-important-to-choose-a-credible-locksmithWith city inhabitants relying on locksmiths to help them get out of dire situations, these locksmiths need to be reputable. But recently, the residents of Minnesota have had unsettling and potentially dangerous encounters with the head locksmith from Metro Lockout.

When Sue Heroff called Todd Shiber of the otherwise trusted company to fix her car tire, he demanded she stay inside as he completed the task, going so far as to prod her with his jack handle. Heroff grew fearful very quickly, afraid Shiber would hurt her.

Another customer, Zach DuBois, recently had a similar experience with Shiber, whom he called to unlock his vehicle. Shiber reportedly removed his headlight and swung it around to the point where it flew off and hit the ground. Luckily, DuBois’s neighbours helped put a stop to Shiber’s outrageous behaviours.

There were two more notable occurrences in which Shiber argued with a customer and intentionally crashed his van into the car, damaging the front of it, and in which Shiber pointed his screwdriver towards his customer and yelled at him.

These events, in addition to a few others, have earned Shiber criminal charges, and his case is to be taken to court. Though this situation may seem shocking to outsiders, it wasn’t all that unpredictable, considering that Minnesota has not put license requirements into place for locksmiths.

Even if your area doesn’t make locksmith licensing mandatory, it’s extremely important to do as much research as possible before phoning up just any company. You may be in a state of emergency, but taking the extra time to find a credible locksmith is well worth keeping yourself safe.



Full House Lottery Suffers its Third Security Mishap this Year

full-house-lottery-suffers-its-third-security-mishap-this-yearThe 23,000 customers who purchased digital lottery tickets from Edmonton’s Full House Lottery from February 23rd to May 2nd are being warned that the names and addresses on their credit cards may have been stolen by hackers who infiltrated the website.

Not only are these ticket buyers affected, but the over 5000 that purchased house raffle tickets are also at risk. This occurrence followed a similar credit card information exposure on February 22nd, and nearly one month before that, a separate incident allowed hackers to see a digital list of past ticket buyers.

Taking preventive measures, Full House Lottery temporarily stopped their digital ticket counter and transferred the transactions to a safe server. Soon afterward, the police force got involved, and all customers received apology emails.

It’s possible that hackers collected all information from several cards, including each code and expiration date. Buyers who have detected suspicious activity related to their bank accounts should notify their branch as soon as possible to prevent further financial abuse.

Most affected consumers were patient and understanding upon discovering their personal information had been compromised, though lottery officials are wondering how it will affect ticket sales, the money from which is donated to health organizations in need.

Full House Lottery and its loyalists should exercise caution going forward, and the foundation should look into protecting both itself and the people it serves.


Tablet Vs. Smartphone Security

tablet-vs-smartphone-securityWhen we think mobile security, we think smartphones. Since these mini computers have become such an essential part of our everyday lives, it’s no wonder that personal security, in relation to these devices, has become such a major concern. Recent news even revealed that Android has officially beat out Windows as the most used system in relation to Internet use!

Tablets have also taken on a greater role in many people’s homes and/or businesses. Since we still don’t use tablets as much as our smartphones, we often don’t pay enough attention to their security features and we would all do well to brush up on the cybersecurity elements of these devices.

We’ll walk you through some steps you can take to up your tablet’s security so that no matter where you are, hackers and cyber criminals will be kept away.

Apps – Be careful as to what apps you’re downloading. Only download reputable apps from official app stores so you don’t expose your device to malware.

Secure your device – Choose a hard-to-guess password and be sure to change it every once in a while. If you sometimes use your device at the office or in any other public spot, be sure that the auto lock function is on and will activate in a short time-frame.

Add a security feature that’s unique to your device – Apply a security solution that is specific to your tablet or system. Features include geo-tracking, locking remotely, being able to wipe your device remotely and so much more.

Wi-Fi – It’s best not to automatically connect to public Wi-Fi. This might be a bit of a hassle at times but it is truly worth it as you’ll have full power over your tablet’s security.

Be on the lookout – Whether you’re surfing the net, shopping online, or banking from your tablet, always be on the lookout! Ignore emails you don’t recognize, prompting you to click on a short link as these can easily be viruses. Another red flag is friends sending you texts or even messages through social media messenger apps asking you to check out a promotion or sale that sounds fake.

We hope these tips were helpful with regards to you being more cyber-aware about your tablet!


Home Security could be Forever Changed with an all-seeing Box

home-security-could-be-forever-changed-with-an-all-seeing-boxCognitive Systems, a Waterloo-based security company founded in 2014, has recently developed something that could revolutionize the way we protect our homes. The device is called Aura, and it detects intruders by monitoring the movements of the beings inside the house.

Before this, only cameras, sensors, and a few microphones were available to the public for domicile security, but they need to be strategically placed, and even the newest ones aren’t all that advanced. What separates Aura from other products is the way in which it senses motion. You can install it in your bathroom and have no privacy concerns.

Developing a product that wirelessly picks up movement has been an ongoing process for several firms. While some of these products get a glimpse behind opaque walls and respond to voice commands, Cognitive Systems’ Aura is made of two stationaries, one main and one collaborator. The collaborator alerts the homeowner through an app about any movement in the house and the frequency of that movement.

Categorizing motion is an accomplishment Aura has yet to achieve, though it is programmed to filter out inanimate objects falling or swaying in the wind as well as pet movement. The device also struggles with converting movement into visual information, settling for a line graph setup for the time being.

Because Aura has not yet been tested in a home, it’s hard to say whether or not it’s ideal for the safety-conscious homeowner. Considering it’s equipped with a radio chip that can detect signals up to 4Ghz and can separate exterior movements from interior ones, Cognitive Systems expects Aura to aid in both home security and spectrum.

The importance of spectrum in particular is growing at a rapid rate, meaning Aura’s chip could contribute to the wireless network market as well. For now, the device will tackle home security only, selling for $684.77 CAD.

Although the product is expensive and the target audience is small, Cognitive Systems is confident that Aura will appeal to both homeowners and associate companies willing to pay the price.


Home Safety for Senior Citizens

home-safety-for-senior-citizensSenior citizens often prefer to maintain their independence for as long as possible, but living alone can put them in a dangerous spot if an emergency occurs. A great way to ensure your senior family member’s safety is to set up an automatic security system for their home.

Some security systems can detect empty rooms and switch off lights or running devices, keeping the residence safe and energy-conservative. They can also notify homeowners when there are potential threats outside the house or when guests exit the building.

Surveillance cameras are extremely useful for checking on the home, inside and out. They can be connected to your smartphone so you can see the footage remotely and ensure the seniors in your life are safe.

Certain home security systems can call 9-1-1 in emergency situations, as the home’s senior residents may not be able to do so. Additionally, if a break-and-enter is attempted on the home, the alarms go off and the security company receives an automatic update. Better yet, if your senior family member wishes to move into a new home, most security companies will aid in transporting the system to the designated location.

With simple ways of keeping your senior family member safe while still granting them their autonomy, home security systems are the way to go. Feel free to contact us to learn about our various available options!


How to Lock your Bike the Right Way

how-to-lock-your-bike-the-right-wayThe majority of bike thefts unsurprisingly occur in public places, and you could be the next victim. To protect your bike, follow these locking tips to ensure your bike’s security every time.

Register your bike with your city as soon as you can. You’ll receive a labelled sticker to attach to the frame, which helps ward off potential thieves and distinguish your bike from others if it ever goes missing.

When you go to park your bike, choose a safe location with good lighting; bike racks and grounded posts near stores are good options. Make sure to bring the bike’s frame the nearest it can get to the post you’re locking it to. Secure your bike with at least two locks, preferably a cable lock and a small U-lock, for added protection. Picking one lock is hard enough, so it’s unlikely someone will try to pick two.

Station and lock your bike correctly. Feed your U-lock through the triangular part of the frame, the back wheel, and the section of the post you’re locking it to before clamping it shut. Remove and store any easily stolen saddles, lights, or bags. Now you’re good to go.

Whenever you need to lock your bike, avoid securing any single part of the bike on its own. Locking only your frame leaves your wheels up for grabs, just as securing only your wheels leaves your frame unprotected. Don’t lock just your seat, either – it can be removed and left behind with the lock, releasing your bike from its previously secured position.

If your bike still goes missing despite following these rules, notify your local police station immediately. But if you’re playing it safe, there’s no need to worry.


Beloved Locksmith and Practical Joker Dies at 83

beloved-locksmith-and-practical-joker-dies-at-83After decades of cracking codes and cracking jokes, Phil “Drill Bits” Hobbs died in his hometown of Meriden. He dedicated his life to picking locks, making people smile, and teaching them about religion, having started Phil’s Lockshop and joining the First Assembly of God.

Born in the town of Maine, he went to Farmington High School and broke the state’s pole vault record, maintaining his status for over a decade. He wasn’t limited to just track and field, however, playing football and softball before eventually serving in the army. Post-war, Hobbs finally turned his focus to locksmithing.

Hobbs opened many a vault during his lifetime, including a notoriously tricky one dubbed the Mosler Monster in a loan services location. When he wasn’t dealing with locks, he enjoyed using humourous devices like false needles, jumpscare pop-up books, and coins nailed to the floor that confused unsuspecting victims.

Additionally, Hobbs began a Royal Rangers program for boys of the Assembly of God churches, reaching out to all corners of Southern New England. He had many roles with the church, and even helped construct the building upon his arrival to the city.

Phil Hobbs is survived by his wife Barbara, along with their children and grandchildren. The Hobbs family has maintained ownership of Phil’s Lockshop, and are still running the store today.