Staying Cyber Safe During Your Vacations


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June is Online Safety Awareness Month – good timing since we are approaching peak vacation season, it’s worth setting aside a few minutes to take stock of your mobile computing safety. As you travel, every place from coffee shops to hotels will compete for your business by touting the availability of free WiFi and high-speed internet access – a benefit that is great anywhere, but that is particularly valuable when you leave the country. But when using those networks, have you ever stopped to think about how secure those connections are? And even if you are on a secure network — one that requires a log in — you may still be exposed to others who are using that same network. Could that teen sitting near you be practicing hacking skills? Could the surfer at the corner table be looking to steal your identity? Others on the same network can access readily available tools to intercept unencrypted data that is passing over networks. Your session could even be hijacked. On a public network, you must use precautions when transmitting any information that is personal, financial, or confidential in nature.
Even people who take every precaution on home and work computers can be fairly cavalier when it comes to mobile devices – it’s easy to forget that our phones and tablets are really computers and subject to the same security risks. Lifehacker has a good article on how to stay safe on public wi-fi networks – explaining how to turn off Sharing and enable your firewall on various devices, and how to automate your public WiFi security settings. It also suggests using SSL whenever possible and explains what this means and how to do it. Another suggestion is to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). ArsTechnica talks more about VPNs and other security issues at public WiFi hotspot.
Here are more tips from experts:
Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks – from On Guard Online
Four safety tips for using Wi-Fi from Microsoft
Security Using High-Speed Internet at Hotels
Identity Protection Tips for the Summer Traveler

New England expects torrential rain from ‘Andrea’


Tropical Storm Andrea is expected to drench the East Coast this afternoon through Saturday – some areas should anticipate torrential rain and pockets of flash flooding. Follow an hour-by-hour forecast map from WCVB.
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There are flood watches for this afternoon through tomorrow in all New England states except Vermont at this time. These can be found at National Weather Service Watches, Warnings & Advisories pages
Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Learn about what you can do before, during and after floods. With he potential for flash flooding, be particularly careful about driving. Ready.gov offers these safety tips.
Flash flood Driving Safety
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
  • Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

New England expects torrential rain from ‘Andrea’


According to the National Weather Service, May 26 through June 1 is Hurricane Preparedness Week. The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30. If forecasters are right, this year is shaping up to be an active one, well above seasonal averages.

“For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.”

The Insurance Information Institute offers tips for ways you can prepare now to protect yourself, your family, your property and your business. You can find more resources in our 2012 Tool kit: Preparation, tracking & insurance resources, which we issued in anticipation of Superstorm Sandy.
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