Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top 10 safety tips on data privacy

HARTFORD – Protecting personal information has never been more important for consumers and businesses and there are simple things that can be done to help keep it safe, said Attorney General George Jepsen, who offered “top 10” tips for data security.

“Smart communications technology has made it simple for anyone to access information. But easy access also raises the threat of identity theft and other security problems when personally identifiable information falls into the wrong hands,” Attorney General Jepsen said in a recent press release.

In recognition of National Data Privacy Day, Jepsen reminded consumers who provide personally identifiable information and businesses that collect it about problems that may result if information is not protected from improper disclosure.

Top 10 Tips for Consumers:

1. 1. Stop and think before posting any information online. Using Facebook or Twitter to let the world know you are "on vacation" may also be an open-door invitation to criminals.

2. Pay attention when enabling location services on your phone or other mobile device. When enabled, your location can be determined in posts to sites like Facebook and embedded in digital photographs.

3. Monitor and strengthen your security settings on social media. It can help with early detection of any account breaches/unauthorized access. For example, on Facebook, controls can be changed under Settings à Security to require login approvals from devices you haven’t previously authorized; notification when your account is being accessed, and check/end active sessions of your Facebook account (helpful if you forgot to log-out in public place, etc.)

4. 4. Carefully read a business’ or website’s privacy policy. Determine whether they sell your information to other parties before sharing any information.

5. 5. Avoid using public computers to access personal or private information. The connection may not be secured and information may be tracked or logged.

6. 6. Never provide sensitive information, such as your Social Security Number, unless there is a legitimate purpose, such as for employment or health care reasons. Always ask what the information is being used for.

7. 7. Never give out any personal information, such as Social Security or credit card number, in response to an unsolicited e-mail or telephone call. If the e-mail or call claims to be from a company you do business with, call them first to confirm the contact is legitimate. If not, do not provide information or click on links within the suspect e-mail.

8. 8. Encrypt your wireless router. Also, following the manufacturer’s instructions, change the password and turn off the feature that openly broadcasts your network's SSID.
9. Encrypt any private or secret information sent through e-mail.

10. 10. Protect your information and identity off-line: Review your credit reports and report all inaccuracies. (You are entitled to one free report from each of the three major credit rating bureaus annually. ); shred personal letters and bills before discarding; review credit card and bank statements for any fraudulent charges.

Top 10 Tips for Business:

1. Encrypt sensitive information on your network and servers, as well as in any communication that is sent electronically.

2. Install security updates, patches and anti-virus programs on your computers and firewalls on your networks to prevent outsiders from hacking your system or exploiting known vulnerabilities.

3. Educate your employees about data security, data breach prevention and the data breach response plan. Make sure everyone with access, not just information technology staff, knows how to keep information safe and to respond to data security incidents.

4. Restrict sensitive information to a “need to know” basis.

5. Collect and keep data only when absolutely necessary to the work you are performing and dispose of it properly. Old data is dangerous.

6. Develop and implement a social media policy. Instruct employees about its use and potential risks in the workplace.

7. Have a data breach response plan in place and update it regularly. Waiting until you need it will be too late.

If you can’t protect it, don’t collect it. Connecticut law requires sensitive customer information and personally identifiable information to be protected from improper disclosure and made unreadable prior to disposal.
Conduct periodic, detailed security assessments to identify and resolve vulnerabilities and account for newly developed threats.

10. Have a formalized password protection policy that is enforced, regularly reviewed and updated.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of identity theft or a data privacy breach, or who needs answers about data privacy protection, is encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection department at 860-808-5400.
More information about National Data Privacy Day is available at If you would like to share information about Data Privacy Day through Twitter, use the hashtag #DPD2012; or, you can “like” the Data Privacy Day Facebook page at

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Top 10 News Stories That Actually Are Not News Stories

By Ivan Lajara, The Daily Freeman

Every so often, when there is a slow news day, newspeople panic because they’re trying to figure out what to cover. (It’s not like there’s an economic crisis or anything, after all.)

This important process is done by the editor by canvassing the area and sources for news stories. This is also known as playing “Solitaire.”

Once that process is completed by getting bored, the editor figures out that the best way to pretend to do one’s job is to write a completely useless, time-wasting article and passing it off as an important news story.

The writing devices used to accomplish this are invariable and, as a service to the community, we’ve piled up the usual suspects so that the next time you run into one of these aberrations, you can properly ignore it and/or post it in your Facebook wall.

So, without further ado, here are The Top 10 News Stories That Actually Are Not News Stories:

1. Articles that tell you there’s a new study that shows you the food you’ve been eating all your life will kill you. Bonus points go to television programs that have ads earlier in the day saying something like “there’s something in your fridge that might endanger your life right now. Details at 10 p.m.” These articles are usually rewrites of other’s people studies in which the conclusion shows that eggs are bad. You are doomed.

2. Articles that tell you that a new study shows that the last study was wrong. Eggs are good again. They’ll be bad next month.

3. Anything with cute kittens or babies or sexy ladies. Serious news organization know that cats, babies and sexy ladies are important news beats that can’t be ignored. Although media have yet to figure out how to create sections devoted to sexy ladies shooting guns while holding babies and kittens, there has been much progress. The New York Times, for instance, has a science section online completely devoted to cats. That’s right, all the news that’s fit to purr.

4. Trend stories. News organizations like to keep up with the times, which is why they’re always on the lookout for what people are doing, like popular activities such as not reading newspapers. This is why media companies keep up with the pulse of their communities by writing important stories about disturbing activities like teenagers hugging, people falling asleep on the subway and people wanting lots of Christmas presents. All these examples, we should note, actually have been investigated by the New York Times.

5. Investigations that are not investigations. News budgets are tight, and organizations lucky enough to have investigative teams have to carefully choose the subjects they cover. This is why an NBC affiliate in Rhode Island prioritized their investigations to cover what really matters. Here’s a real quote: “There’s a new drinking game that’s raising eyebrows with law enforcement. NBC 10’s I-Team hidden camera revealed a potentially dangerous drinking game called beer pong.” Welcome to the 1960s.

6. Articles based on the current popular movie or television shows. Riding the popularity of a movie and writing an article about a topic is the parasite of news stories. However, there are times when this is necessary. For instance, on a recent Fox Business channel segment, under the banner, “Are Liberals Trying To Brainwash Your Kids Against Capitalism?” the host and guest discussed the dangers posed to America by the socialist movie “The Muppets.”

7. Articles about anything being the cool new thing. This is worse when the new thing is not new. A Google search shows that there are currently 3,040 new news articles about “Angry Birds,” the popular breakout game sensation. Of 2009. Unfortunately, companies know that you only have to put a “2.0” next to your old product and it becomes new.

8. Anniversary stories. These stories usually contain a variation of this sentence, “Where were you when (insert news story) happened?” As years go by, the sentence turns into, ““Where were you when the 50th anniversary of (insert news story) happened?”

9. Reaction stories. These news stories will inform you that people have feelings about things that happen. The worse part is that we’re total suckers for “how do you feel” stories, unless that question is asked of a guy who just got run over by a car.

10. Listicles. Any article that contains “The Top 10” of anything is pure garba...oh, shucks!

Ivan Lajara is Life section editor of the Daily Freeman in Kingston, N.Y. He can be reached by calling (845) 331-5000, ext. 502, and by email at Read his blog at Follow him on Twitter at and ‘like’ him on Facebook at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top 10 Breaking Animal News Stories of 2011

Camp Bow Wow, a doggy daycare and overnight camp based in Colorado, has compiled a list of the Top 10 Breaking Animal News Stories of 2011. From a blind Great Dane Lily and her trusted companion and guide dog, Maddison, to the story of Jack the Cat who started a social media revolution, this past year has been filled with standout animals.

1. Humane Society Rescues 1,673 Puppy Mill Dogs in 2011
This past year, The Animal Rescue Team of the Humane Society has saved 1,673 dogs from horrific puppy mills.

2. Fallen Soldier’s Family Brings Dog They Named “Hero” Home from Iraq
“I felt that if I could hold one of the puppies that he had held, it would bring bring a little bit of him back to me,” she said. Carey Neesley understands that. The social worker in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., went to herculean lengths to get her brother’s two pet dogs out of Iraq after he died in December 2008. He had saved the stray Labrador and her pup from Baghdad’s mean streets, where dogs are unloved and short-lived.

3. Blind Great Dane Lily in Need of a Home with Space for Her Huge Guide Dog, Maddison
When illness forced vets to remove Great Dane Lily’s eyes, the prospects of a fulfilling life didn’t look good. But then no one had reckoned on her pal Maddison stepping in to turn guide dog. The pair have been inseparable for years but now find themselves looking for a new home because their owner could no longer cope. The catch for anyone interested is that the Great Danes come as a package. They have been waiting at the Dogs Trust re-homing centre in Shrewsbury since July.

4. Jack the Cat is Missing at JFK and a Virtual World is Watching
Ms. Pascoe’s nightmare has turned into something of one for American Airlines, as pet lovers and sympathizers have seized upon Jack’s cause. As Jack remains at large, the wall on the American Airlines Facebook page has been besieged by impassioned pleas for the airline to do more to find him, and provide more frequent updates to those around the country who are anxiously awaiting word of Jack’s whereabouts.

5. Cat Found 5 Years , 1,800 Miles and One Microchip Later
Willow disappeared from her home in Boulder, Colo., five years ago. Her owners thought she had been killed by coyotes and had moved on. And Willow, apparently, just moved. She turned up this week in Manhattan, 1,800 miles from where she was last seen. A microchip implanted when she was a kitten helped track down her owners, according to The Associated Press.

6. Banned by Many Airlines, These Bulldogs Fly Private
When Louie York flew cross country on Sept. 15, his route from New York was anything but direct. First came a stop in Chicago and then one in Omaha, where he endured a six-hour layover. Next were Denver, Phoenix and, finally, Los Angeles, 18 hours later. The capper: a seven-hour drive home to the San Francisco Bay Area. Such is life for travelers like Louie, a French bulldog whose breed has been banned from most commercial airlines — not for the dogs’ bark or bite, but because so many have died in flight.

7. Police Kill Dozens of Animals Freed from Ohio Preserve
Both the woman and the operator seemed surprisingly calm considering that it was not merely a bear and a lion but 56 exotic creatures — a fierce menagerie that included wolves, monkeys and 18 Bengal tigers, an endangered species whose numbers total less than 3,000 in the wild — that had fled their cages on a 73-acre private reserve. Friends described the couple who ran it as animal lovers, but they also had a history of run-ins with the authorities.

8. A New Level of Fraud: Pets Are Getting Killed for the Insurance Money
Insurance fraud has reached a new low in the U.K., where authorities have discovered a rise in claims on pet insurance policies. According to the Association of British Insurers, last year £1,929,900 ($3 million) was collected in pet insurance compared to £420,000 ($667, 842) in 2009, the Telegraph reports. In 2010, 2.3 million cats and dogs were insured, and since almost any type of animal can be insured, experts are bracing for an even bigger influx in dishonest claims.

9. Mating Turtles Shut Down Runway at JFK
Love is in the air at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. More than 150 turtles crossed over an active runway and disrupted air traffic on Wednesday so that they could continue their mating season. The diamondback terrapins were trying to get to an ideal location to lay their eggs. That's a sandy area that happens to be across Runway 4, according to Carol Bannerman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The turtles were primarily female, and the fertilization of their eggs occurs in the water, she said.

10. Tsunami Dog Found After 3 Weeks at Sea Near Japan
In the tragic aftermath of Japan's disaster, this heart-warming story surfaces. A full 3 weeks after a devasting earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan, coast guards spotted a dog on a floating roof a little over a mile and a half out to sea. The canine had been washed out to sea, floating on the island of debris off the coast of Kesennuma in northern Japan, according to the Telegraph.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Top 10 Area Fairs

The end of the Summer brings fair season. Here are the Top 10 Local Fairs:

  1. THE BIG E: While technically not "local" this popular fair in Springfield MASS is easily the most popular choice for Connecticut fair goers.
  2. DURHAM FAIR - Sept. 23-25. Held at 24 Town House Road, Durham.
  3. PORTLAND AGRICULTURAL FAIR - Oct. 7-9. Route 17A, Portland.
  4. CHESTER FAIR - Aug. 26-28. Middlesex Turnpike, Chester.
  5. 100th HADDAM NECK FAIR - Sept. 2-5. 6 Quarry Hill Road, Haddam Neck.
  6. HEBRON HARVEST FAIR - Sept. 8-11. 347 Gilead St., Hebron.
  7. BERLIN FAIR - Sept. 30-Oct 1. 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin.
  8. MERIDEN GRANGE FAIR - Sept. 10. 504 Broad St., Meriden.
  9. CHESHIRE GRANGE COMMUNITY FAIR - Sept. 24, 25. 44 Wallingford Road, Cheshire.
  10. WALLINGFORD GRANGE FAIR - Sept. 17. 586 Center St., Wallingford.
For more information on these fairs or events state wide, visit

10 Best Movies Of The Summer

August is half over. Come mid-August, students are preparing to return to college while parents are using up that last bit of vacation time and going away or taking the kiddies back to school shopping. Regardless of the reason, movie attendance is traditionally down come August. Because of the shrinking audience numbers, it is a time of year when studios dump films they have little faith in, hoping that they will fade quietly and find a new life on DVD or basic cable. As a result of that trend, the "Summer Movie Season" tends to run from the first weekend in May to the first or second weekend in August. That being said, The Summer of 2011 was indeed an exciting one for a movie lover like myself. Below I've listed my 10 Favorite Films of the past four months.

  1. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 - The Potter franchise came to an exciting, satisfying close while staying pretty faithful to the book.
  2. SUPER 8 - A little bit of E.T. mixed with The Goonies and Stand By Me.
  3. RISE OF THE APES - This was a surprise for me. I didn't expect to love this movie about a brilliant chimp leading an ape revolution but I did! 4.
  4. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS: The story of how a bunch of teenagers and young adults became the X-Men did its job; washed out the bad taste left by X-Men 3 and Wolverine.
  5. BRIDESMAIDES - It was funnier than The Hangover 2. 'Nuff said.
  6. THOR - A worthy entry into the Marvel movie universe.
  7. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS - A small movie with big ideas, directed by Woody Allen and put out during the summer amongst big-budget blockbusters. Made for a fraction of the cost but just as enjoyable as any action or comedy put out this season.
  8. CAPTAIN AMERICA - The previews looked really cheesy but the film was actually well done. Captain America plays the perfect hero fighting against the world's most perfect villains - The Nazis.
  9. COWBOYS & ALIENS - This film worked for me. I love westerns and alien films so I was definitely interested in the product. I'd classify it as a 3.5 star western weighted down by a 2.5 star alien film making for a 3 star movie. Lots of fun.
  10. HANGOVER 2 - Just because The Hangover 2 was not the funniest film of the summer and not even close to as funny as part one, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I laughed out loud and had a good time. That's all I ask of these types of films.
Did I leave out your favorite summer movie? Do you disagree with my choices? Feel free to comment below or e-mail

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Top 10 workout songs from 2011 - so far

By Chris Lawhorn of Run Hundred

Most top ten lists tend to appear around New Year's, looking back and taking stock. For workout music, though, there might not be a better time than the summer, when folks are getting back outdoors and back in shape.

As you might expect, the most popular songs in the gym from the first half of 2011 err in favor of pop hits and dance tracks. But, as always, there are a few exceptions. The most interesting developments, perhaps, are Adele's omnipresence — even in the gym — and the continued crossover between dance and pop music.

Here's the full list, sorted by beats per minute, based on the 15,000 votes cast in 2011 by subscribers from—a workout music blog:

105 BPM - Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Jamie XX Shuffle)
122 BPM - Jason Derulo - Don’t Wanna Go Home
125 BPM - Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Kaskade Remix)
127 BPM - Deadmau5 - Sofi Needs A Ladder
128 BPM - Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger
129 BPM - Cee Lo Green - F**k You (Le Castle Vania Remix)
129 BPM - LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
129 BPM - Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer – Give Me Everything
130 BPM - Tiesto, Diplo & Busta Rhymes - C’mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise)
150 BPM - Avril Lavigne - What The Hell

To find more workout songs-and hear next month's contenders—folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era-to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Top 10 Hot Dog Stands in Connecticut according to 'A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour'

Local film maker Mark Kotlinski recently embarked on a hot dog tour to discover some of the most unique hot dog eateries in the state. This list will be featured in his documentary film 'A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour,' airing July 2, at 8 p.m. on the Documentary Channel. For more information about the stands and Kotlinski visit and to read the story on The Middletown Press website.

Here is the list in no particular order:

1) Rawley's Drive-In in Fairfield
2) Glenwood Drive-In in Hamden
3) Wieners on Water in East Haddam
4) Bobby's Place in Old Lyme
5) Frankie's in Waterbury
6) Blackie's Hot Dog Stand in Cheshire
7) Top Dog Hot Dog in Portland
8) Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield
9) The Dawg House in New Britain
10) Capital Lunch in New Britain

If you think a popular CT hot dog stand has been left out, please comment and let us know!