Ethics in Social Media – Why the Secret Service had to Apologize for a Twitter feed…Wonder how Fox feels about this?

May 23, 2011

Every choice has a consequence!  I open all my ethics presentations with that statement…yet, when it comes to the Secret Service – well I suspect the consequence is “secret”!

A CNN report stated the following:

The Secret Service is apologizing Wednesday after an employee’s personal dislike for Fox News landed in an official tweet.

The message, posted Wednesday on the @SecretService Twitter account read, “Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can’t. Deal. With. The. Blathering.”

According to the agency, the tweet was “immediately removed” and an “internal follow-up” is underway.

“An employee with access to the Secret Service’s Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet,” read a statement from the U.S. Secret Service. “We apologize for this mistake, and the user no longer has access to our official account. Policies and practices which would have prevented this were not followed and will be reinforced for all account users.”

The Secret Service newly joined Twitter with its first official tweet from @SecretService on May 9, 2011.

Wonder how the folks at the Secret Service felt about their gaff?  Wonder if the person who posted this on Twitter is still employed with the Secret Service…oh…it’s secret!

This is a perfect example of how important it is to monitor your postings before you hit ENTER!  And, I have to wonder if I publish this…will I now be on the Secret Service’s radar?  Naw…I’m not that significant…

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME…

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Fraud Prevention and Passwords – sometimes the best offense is the easiest defense!

May 31, 2010

As a business ethics and fraud prevention speaker and author, I find that, nearly every week, someone connected with me has their account hacked and the messages that are sent – well let’s put it this way – they aren’t what they would send.  Adult Friend Finder, Viagra, Canadian drug stores – you name it – the hackers seem to be enamored with using someone else’s Facebook account or email to promote their product or service using your good name.

As an Apple computer user the following was shared related to the common hacking problem that many face.  Take a read and let’s understand the benefit of simple information that can protect your account and your Facebook friends!

Reader Deb Ward is the victim of an increasingly common scam. She writes:

I have a MobileMe account that I believe was hacked. First a message was sent to everyone in my .mac email address book that I was in the UK, held up at gun point, stranded, and to please send money. Then, the hacker was able to get into my .mac account and have my emails forwarded to a Yahoo account! How can this happen? How do I protect my email accounts? And how do I protect the rest of the information on my computers?

While this kind of thing isn’t as common as advance fee fraud (typical of the Nigerian royalty wheeze that’s been around for years), it’s a scam that’s become popular in the past few months. It works this way:

The scammers obtain account addresses (not just from the MobileMe service but other providers as well such as Hotmail, Google, and AOL). They then use computer scripts to generate passwords—using words commonly found in the dictionary—and work through these passwords in the hope of finding one that lets them in. When a working password is found, they go about the nefarious business of grabbing your contacts from the host service and sending out the kind of message that your contacts received. Depending on the service, they can also have messages forwarded to a different account.

COMMENT: I can’t begin to tell you how many FB friends have fallen prey to this “London robbing” scam.  Facts are – when you receive a chat comment or email from a friend announcing their robbery – the initial damage is done.  Now if this come via Facebook chat – my recommendation is (1) keep the chat going.  Express your concern and keep a dialogue while (2) opening another browser and going to Facebook to report the activity.  I have found in doing that – that the folks at Facebook are quick to disable the account thereby eliminating the perpetrator from continuing to scam friends who might be shocked into monetary submission.

Your best hope is that those you associate with are smart enough to ignore this obvious bit of phoniness or, at the very least, check with you to be sure that the message is legitimate. On the other hand, those who do pungle up the dough can be counted as extra special (though pretty gullible) friends. Please treat them gently.

As for protection, Protection Tip Number One is to use a password that can’t be easily guessed. If it’s in the dictionary, it’s a bad password. If it’s in the dictionary and you’ve appended a couple of significant numbers after it—your birthday or age—it’s still a bad password. If it’s a pattern of characters on your keyboard—adgjl’, for example, it’s a bad password. If it’s eight characters or less, it’s possibly an okay password, but not a great one.

Protection Tip Number Two is to not use the same password for everything you do. If you unlock your e-mail, Apple ID, Amazon account, Mac administrator’s password, and bank account with that single password, imagine the havoc that results when it’s cracked.

COMMENT:  Excellent suggestion.  While I admit I like to keep the passwords simple for me to remember, it makes sense to have three or so that you use so that in the worst of circumstances one password does not open your entire world up to hackers!

There are a variety of strategies for creating and remembering passwords. People often substitute characters for letters—$ for S, @ for A, and ! for L. Others remove vowels—grtbllsffre1957, for a Jerry Lee Lewis fan, for example. Others still write random strings of nonsense, write down those strings, plunk the passwords into their Mac’s keychain, and lock the written passwords in a safe place should they need them. (These are people who have complete control over their computer—the one in their home, not in the office.)

Because I have a brain like a sieve, I use Agile Web Solutions’ $40 1Password. Not only can it keep track of all the passwords in your life, it can also generate them. Like so:

1Password’s password generator

When you come to a website you need a password for, select the password field, click and hold on the 1Password button that appears in your browser, and choose Strong Password Generator. In the sheet that appears the title of the site should appear along with its location. Use the Length slider to choose a length for your password (the longer the better) and click Fill. 1Password will fill in the password field with the password it just generated. It will later prompt you to save the login information for that site—your username and password. When you next visit, you can ask 1Password to fill in this information for you.

If you lack the inspiration to create a password for some other kind of account—your e-mail account, for example—1Password can help there too. Just launch the program, choose Go -> Generated Passwords, click the Plus (+) button at the bottom of the second column, and use a procedure similar to the one I just described to create a new password. 1Password will remember this one as well.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If creating a simple but effective password can save your bank account, credit card information, Facebook account and email – then it makes sense to take the steps necessary to protect yourself.  After all the best defense is a good offense and creating an effective password is OFFENSIVE RULE #1.


Business Ethics Daily Roundup – January 13, 2010

January 13, 2010

As a business ethics speaker and author, as you can imagine, I work daily to keep up with what’s happening.  My wife asked me the other day, “well…how do you share that?”  It dawned on me, I don’t – except in my presentations and more formal writings.  So – from that simple question was birthed the idea of a daily roundup.

Here goes…and I hope it helps.

Aerospace and Defense Industry Commit to New Global Principals of Ethical Conduct – The first International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the Aerospace and Defence Industry (IFBEC) took place today in Berlin.  The forum strengthened exchange between industrial, institutional and state players within these key sectors, encouraging them to participate in the development of fair competition rules. It demonstrated the commitment of the aerospace and defence industry to business ethics.  Full story here.

Scrutiny of White Collar Crime Grows – About 25 embezzlers met their downfall last year in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, particularly in Butler County, when they were busted in cases totaling $2.2 million – a record-high for the county, officials believe. Full story here.

Should ‘The Office’ Be Used In HR Training? (this is a really cool story)The Office, a comedy about a jumble of oddball workers trying to get along in a claustrophobic environment, is a phenomenon of our times, a period when the American workforce is more diverse than it has ever been.  The question is – should this quirky comedy be used to illustrate sensitive points when doing HR training?  Full story here.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: An Overview – Corruption poses a significant legal and economic risk for corporations doing business around the world, particularly in developing and transitioning countries.  Because of this increased enforcement activity, managers and directors who run multinational corporations are rightfully concerned about their compliance efforts.  Full story here.

More to come tomorrow.  Meanwhile, for more ethics information and discussion – join me on Facebook – link here.


Prospective employers checking you out on Facebook not ethical? Get over it.

November 8, 2009

Is it ethical for a company to use what you freely post on a social networking site as part of their decision making process?

I posed that question the other day to a group of students at Queen’s Business School in Kingston, Ontario.  The answers I got were interesting; they generally saw sites like Facebook as just that: a social networking tool. And they didn’t generally connect that a prospective employer has an ethical right to base their hiring decision on what a candidate posts online in their off hours.

But here’s the thing: Regardless of the ethical questions at play, what you post online will likely be found, in one form or another, by prospective employers. A recent study found that 45 percent of employers surveyed use social networks to screen job candidates.

So, here’s a question for all business students: At a time when unemployment is at a 26-year high, and competition for jobs is fiercer than ever, what are you currently doing with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to expand, find, or grow your career? Are you taking advantage of what’s free in a way that allows you to take those steps?


Facebook – Nude Student Photos and a College IT Administrator: Robert T. DeCampos, Jr. – Dumb and Dumber!

March 6, 2009

I never cease to be amazed at the stupidity of what people will do with social networking.  Dumb – don’t put nude pictures on your facebook account!  That most would say that is common sense, but it seems that “common sense” goes out the window with some folks when it comes to their Facebook or MySpace pages.

Perhaps someone will get a clue – these are public and can be found!

ADVICE:  Don’t put anything on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or any other site that you wouldn’t want your mother or boss to see.  If you feel that you could be fired or severely scolded for your entries – don’t put it on the site.

Enough Said!  facebook-logo

CRIMINAL ACTIVITY:

According to SouthCoasttoday.com – Robert T. DeCampos Jr., 30, a Dartmouth resident, and computer administrator, faces charges that he illegally obtained nude and semi-nude photos of about 16 female students by hacking into their UMass e-mail accounts and Facebook files.

What did he allegedly do and how?  According to published reports:

His first step, according to court documents, was to search Facebook for female UMass Dartmouth students. Next, he checked the names with the campus Web site.

Then he would use his administrative authority to access their e-mail, where he would attempt to log into their personal Facebook accounts. When that failed because he lacked their Facebook passwords, he would have Facebook send a link for a new password back to their e-mail. The hacker would then open the e-mail to reset the password, then enter Facebook with all the privileges and access of the student.

At that point he could view all of the students’ photographs, including private ones, and do further searches for their friends.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The university fired Mr. DeCampos last fall after police searched his home and found a portable flash drive containing the photos. Mr. DeCampos, who was released on his own recognizance after the arraignment, is being charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and $13,000 in fines. He is also being charged with one count of felony larceny, which could mean up to a five-year jail term and a $25,000 fine.

The Boston Herald also reported:  “Robert T. DeCampos Jr. also attempted to snap “upskirt” images of shoppers at an electronics store in Dartmouth, authorities said yesterday, following a four-month probe into the alleged cyber snooping, according to the New Bedford Standard-Times.”

THOUGHTS:

It appears obvious that DeCampos (while innocent until proven guilty) is experiencing the consequences of his choices.  As an ethics speaker, there is little doubt that DeCampos will likely serve time in prison for his actions.  But there is another question that deserves attention: why would someone put nude or partially nude photos on Facebook?  Is there really a thougth that Facebook is private – that there are no consequences of the student’s actions?

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?


Facebook – Internet Scam! Free Grant Money – Yea Right! Scam Alert by Chuck Gallagher Fraud Prevention Speaker

February 26, 2009

Now…don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of Facebook and social media / networking.  I may be 51, but I am learning quickly the benefits of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  But with every great tool comes someone who will use it for – well lets say – not so noble uses. As a fraud prevention speaker, I am alert to things that – well, just don’t smell right.

In Facebook on the right side of your home page or profile are those pesky little ads that help make Facebook run and make it free to use.  Rarely – if ever do I click on them.  Mostly cause I’m not interested and secondly, I don’t want to get sucked into something I don’t want, don’t need or don’t understand.

But, I’ve got to be honest.  For weeks now I’ve been seeing this ad – over and over again – touting getting your stimulus check.  Now, I’m smart enough to know that there is NO Twelve Thousand Dollar stimulus check coming to ole Chuck!  Yet, I’ve been tempted to click on the ad and just see what it is all about.  Several times I dragged my cursor over the ad and stated to click.  I didn’t!

Today, however, I notice a great article written by Chadwick Matlin and posted on MSNBC.  The full article can be found here.

The article begins as follows:

Meet Kevin Hoeffer. Kevin is an altruistic man who just received $12,759.62 from the federal government. He wants all of the readers of his blog to be able to do the same. So he points the way to a free grant kit (plus $1.99 shipping and handling) to use to apply for a government handout. Once you do that, you’ll get your $12,000. It’s that simple. He even provides a copy of his official Treasury grant check to prove its legitimacy.

grant-check2-kevinhoeffercopyhmediumNow it is clear from the photo from the article that what is represented sure looks real.  But, that’s all part of the fraud.  When a person is scammed three things generally take place and the photo above shows the simplicity of creating the second part of the three part scam – ILLUSION.

I was contacted by an organization asking about legislation to protect people (especially Senior Citizens) against fraud – like what Bernie Madoff pulled off.  I responded in a way that I suspect they didn’t like.  You cannot legislate out fraud.  There has and will always be those who would take advantage of others.  That, unfortunately, is the nature of some people.  Likewise, there will always be some people who want to believe (in the tooth fairy) that something can be had for nothing – that they will fall for even the dumbest of scams.

HERE’S HOW THIS ONE WORKS:

Per Mr. Matlin in his article:


These people are the faces of a new, pervasive scam that’s piggybacking on Washington’s stimulus agenda. All of the blogs tell you to use the free software to get the $12,000 grants. To order that software, the blogs link off-site to a variety of Web sites filled with testimonials about how great their free grant-finding software is. What they don’t say is that if you fail to cancel your subscription — a subscription the sites don’t reveal exists outside — they’ll charge your credit card until you discover their scheme and tell them to stop. (The going rate seems to be $50-$70.) It’s a devious system whose ads are proliferating across the Internet and has embarrassed Facebook into pulling them down. A close read of the scams’ semiotics offers an insight not just to our weakness for get-rich-quick schemes, but also our current economic moment.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:stimuli-adsstandard

Not everyone is subject to a big case of the dummies.  Many folks complained and Facebook figured that the revenue wasn’t worth ticking off the Facebook community so they pulled the ads.  By the way the Ads look like this.  I have taken the time to show them here so that if you see them you’ll know exactly what a scam looks like.

ANATOMY OF A FRAUD OR SCAM:

Being defrauded is easy.  The fraudster just sucks you into the PIT.  Now for those of you who follow my blog, I have reported on this before in entries related to Bernie Madoff.  But if you have not read those let me help you with understanding the PIT.

The first part of most any financial fraud starts with the PROMISE ( P ).  In the case of this scam the promise is a big fat $12,000 from the government.  Why?  Well, of course newly elected President Obama wants you to have it.  It is part of the big ole stimulus package – RIGHT!

So POINT OF ADVICE:  If you wish to avoid being scammed, understand – if it sounds to good to be true – it LIKELY ISN’T TRUE!

The second part of the fraud triangle is the ILLUSION ( I ).  That is obvious as well…you get to see a pretty picture of a (what must be real) check from the government!

A great ILLUSIONIST should be able to fool you.  But with electronics these days you can make any thing any way you want it.  Remember the movie – “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN” – what if he’d had photoshop?

That leads to the third and final component of fraud – TRUST ( T ).  In order to effectively pull a fraud off, someone has to trust the fraudster.  Now, having been a fraudster (not something I am proud of), I understand the mentality.  It is much easier to defraud someone who is close to you and trusts you than it is to defraud a stranger.  But if the need is great enough – like the failing economic situation we’re in now – and the population of folks to defraud is large enough – well even a blind squirrel can find an acorn.

SCAM AVOIDANCE:

Don’t believe everything you hear.  Don’t believe everything you see.  Don’t trust everyone who wishes to take or (invest) your money.  Use common sense and you’ll avoid the need for an attorney to help you get out of the scam mess that can ensnare folks.

COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!


Students – It’s Time to Think of Facebook in a Different Light! Comments by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

February 16, 2009

Facebook – on of the fastest growing social networking sites can be awesome or can be a curse. Started by a young man who wanted to keep up with his friends, Facebook has become an outstanding tool. Likewise, like any tool, how you use it determines whether it will serve you or hurt you.

As a business ethics speaker I talk to college groups all around the country about effective uses of Facebook and other social networking sites. The creative application of Facebook could make the difference in whether you get that first job (the one you really want) or don’t. The question is – “Is Facebook a tool for business or a public garbage dump for how you feel at the moment?” facebook-logo

Here’s a garbage dump example:

A Calvin College student has been suspended for one year over a lewd Facebook message he allegedly posted about an ex-girlfriend.

According to an article in The Grand Rapids Press, a message about an ex was posted from Tony Harris’s account in November that “referred to the woman in two slang terms and referenced sexuality.” Calvin officials did not return calls from The Chronicle, but the newspaper reported that the college cited Mr. Harris, a sophomore, for violating technology and conduct codes at the institution, which refers to itself as “distinctively Christian.”

The acceptable-use policy on the college’s Web site prohibits “communication that degrades or harasses individuals or groups.”

Mr. Harris, who not respond to requests for comment from The Chronicle, has insisted that the ex-girlfriend, who he said knew his Facebook password, logged in to his account and sent the message herself, presumably to frame him, the newspaper reports. Calvin officials were apparently unconvinced.

In order to resume his studies at Calvin in a year, Mr. Harris will need to re-apply to the college and recant the Facebook message, according to report. —Steve Kolowich

Now, ethically speaking, Mr. Harris used Facebook as a public garbage dump for how he felt about his ex-girlfriend. Not only was that less than honorable, but it had repercussions far greater than Mr. Harris would have expected when he posted his thoughts or feelings.

Every choice has a consequence.

The Consequence: Kicked out of school! Not allowed to return without reapplying and who knows what other repercussions he is experiencing from his ex-girlfriend and parents. In fact, one might wonder how many girl would now want to be his girlfriend since he has demonstrated that he might not honor them when they part?

There’s a saying – “garbage in — garbage out.”

While Facebook may have been started as a social networking site, it is rapidly becoming a “product/person differentiation site”. In other words, with Facebook being public and searchable, people of all ages who use it should consider that it is nothing more than a personal web site. What you put on there is your advertisement of yourself. If you want to sell yourself, you need to consider what you say and how you position yourself.

Facebook is a powerful tool – use it to your advantage!

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