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Cyber Security Tips For Cyber Monday

Welcome back after the Thanksgiving weekend! If you’re anything like the crew at Absolute Destruction, then you’re returning to business as usual with a full belly and a full fridge. It can be a challenge getting back into the regular rhythm of the work week after a holiday, so we want to thank you for taking time out of your day to visit our page. If you’re looking for a document shredding company in Toronto, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

Now that we’re back at the grind, we may have had our fill of turkey and cranberry sauce here in the True North, but our neighbors to the south are still looking forward to their Thanksgiving dinners. Timing isn’t the only thing that differentiates our two holidays. American Thanksgiving is quickly followed by two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

They’re as red, white, and blue as NFL football following the Thanksgiving Day feast in November, but after years of being the quintessential American shopping event, things are changing. According to the latest data, roughly 50 percent of Canadians took advantage of these American deals last year.

Though a low loonie means they aren’t hopping the border to shop in-person, many still plan to hit up the Cyber Monday deals online. Before you fill your digital shopping cart, the team at Absolute Destruction wants to remind you of proper online shopping etiquette, so you don’t get burnt this year as you search for amazing deals.

Create a Secure Homebase

Don’t let a pumpkin spice latte and free Wi-Fi fool you, Starbucks is not an ideal place to check out Cyber Monday deals. Neither is the GTA’s library system or their community computers. When you use a public computer and unsecured Wi-Fi, you’re opening yourself to risk. Anyone with a bit of computer knowhow can eavesdrop on your online shopping by tapping into unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Not only will they see your accounts’ log-in information, but they’ll also able to see any financial and contact info you type in to make a purchase.

Take that latte to go, and do your shopping at home on a trusted computer using a secure network. Beef up security by equipping your laptop with a reliable anti-virus software, and you’ll be better protected from malware as you shop.

Be Password Savvy

Most retailers make you create a profile before you can go through with your purchase. Many of us don’t think twice about these log-in credentials, but you should consider them as important as any heavily-guarded account.

If you can choose your username, choose a distinct one for each retailer, and pair them with unique passwords every time. Don’t get lazy. Try using a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers that isn’t immediately recognizable. That means your child’s name and birthdate, followed by an exclamation mark, isn’t good enough. If you aren’t sure how you can develop several individual passwords (without forgetting them!), check out a password manager for help.

Use Trusted Apps Over Web Browsers

Convention says we shop from our desktops and laptops, but things are rapidly changing. In 2016, nearly a third of Cyber Monday shoppers (or 28%) carried out their purchases on mobile devices. If you’re one of the mobile-savvy shoppers, don’t complete your purchase through your web browser. Many retailers have their own mobile apps that give them more control over the security features embedded at every step of the transaction. Go ahead and search for items on the browser, but download the official app before you present your credit card number.

Be a Critical Shopper

Though nothing compared to the extraordinary Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals enjoyed by our neighbors in the south, our sales still offer considerable savings, but don’t get caught up in the season. There’s a limit to what retailers are willing to offer through these deals, and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Cybercriminals will take advantage of our penny-pinching ways, so be wary of any emails, pop-ups, or texts that promise unrealistic savings. They often have links that lead you to scam sites or viruses, so don’t click anything from a sender you don’t trust. Even then, be critical of the content of any email sent, regardless of the sender. If you’re ever suspicious, start googling the deal or the retailer to see if it’s legit.

Review Your Credit & Bank Statements

Keep an eye on credit card statements to ensure there isn’t any suspicious activity on your accounts. You can easily check in on these accounts online, but many people around the GTA still receive their statements through the mail.

If you have paper copies of these statements, use our document destruction services in Mississauga to make sure they’re disposed of correctly. With your contact and financial details recorded on their pages, these invoices are the bread and butter of identity thieves. Keep this critical personal information out of their hands by contacting our local services in Mississauga or any other municipality in the GTA.

We’re also available for electronic data destruction in case you have old devices you once used to store private financial information. Wiping these gadgets before throwing them out or selling them isn’t enough. Hard drives have a permanent memory system that computer scientists can access despite your best efforts to delete files. Only through complete and utter destruction can you ensure data can’t be retrieved.

Give us a call if you want to learn more about our physical or electronic data destruction services. We’re happy to answer your questions this fall, before or after you shop till you drop. Until we hear from you, we hope you take our cyber security advice as you take advantage of Cyber Monday deals.

Add comment October 17th, 2017

US Equifax Website Hacked, Canadians Amongst Millions Affected

If you’re like most Canadians, you check your credit score often. As proof of your creditworthiness, this number is an important financial tool. You need to show it to potential employers, landlords, and lenders to demonstrate you can be trusted to make regular payments on time.

Equifax is one of the most popular credit services Canadians use to check their scores. They input confidential contact and financial information into its website to determine where they stand. The information shared is exactly what paper shredding Toronto businesses aim to destroy with our mobile shredders.

Unfortunately, the credit-monitoring company was victim of a cyberattack in the spring of this year. Equifax discovered the breach at the end of July, and, after internal investigation, it reveals the breach exposed over 143 million Equifax customers’ PI — many of whom are Canadians.

By exploiting a part of the US’ faction’s website, cyber criminals accessed contact details, as well as social security numbers and birthdates of Equifax customers. In some cases, even drivers licence numbers were included in the stolen cache of information.

This information is necessary for Equifax and other credit-monitoring companies to create an accurate profile, so credit reporting is one the rare times you should share this data. As one of the best shredding companies in Vaughan, we recommend sharing PI carefully, as even trusted names can experience a leak. Never share this information with any company or individual unless they have the appropriate security measures in place. Use our shredding services to destroy everything else to ensure it can’t be retrieved and used again you.

According to Avivah Litan, a security analyst for the search and advisory firm, Gartner Inc, this incident is significant. He puts the breach into perspective, saying, “On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 10 in terms of potential identity theft”.

Historically, this breach is one of the biggest ones to occur in the US. With 143 million potential victims, it’s just behind eBay, which suffered a cyberattack that affected 145 million customers in 2014. Both incidences are far behind Yahoo. In 2013, over 1 billion of the web service’s user accounts were compromised.

Though it’s not the worst breach to affect North America, the attack’s fallout is a blow to the company’s credibility. In addition to millions of people now made vulnerable, the company itself is facing consequences. After Equifax announced the breach, its stock dropped by 13 percent. The long-term effects of this breach remain to be seen.

To see if you were one of the people affected, head to equifaxsecurity2017.com. The company developed this website so customers could check the potential impact of the breach. You can also call them at 866-447-7559 to learn more about the attack.

Once you confirm your PI is safe, this is a good time to put in place the right defences against other future attacks. There may be nothing you can do to protect yourself from these large-scale cyberattacks targeting a company as large as Equifax, but you can take the necessary steps to defend your personal information with a call to our offices.

Call us and schedule our paper shredding and  electronic data destruction services to increase the security around your private information. Together, we’ll keep your PI safe from prying eyes.

Add comment October 2nd, 2017

This Autumn, Don’t Fall For A Scam

As the summer heat begins to taper off into fall’s chill, you’re probably focused on what the season means for you and your family. Pumpkins take the spotlight, featured heavily in our porch seasonal displays and our spiced lattes. Soon enough, they’ll be joined by the turning leaves, as the trees lining Toronto’s streets ignite into fiery-bright reds and yellows. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, thoughts of the harvest come to mind, and many of us will take to our kitchens to preserve our gardens’ bounties. You may even be considering what to wear for Halloween!

It’s a very busy time as Mother Nature gears down, and we need to hustle if we expect to match her pace. As we prepare to close the chapter on summer, the team at Absolute Destruction wants to remind you not to let the season overwhelm you. The fall — like the summer and spring before it — brings with it threats to your identity, but the nature of these scams may be different from their fair-weather counterparts.

When it comes to document shredding Toronto relies on the crew from Absolute because the city knows we can be trusted. We’re a NAID-certified company that adheres to internationally recognized standards of security, so we can guarantee destruction and recycling with every job completed.

Part of our success as a shredding service is how we help eliminate the threat of identity theft through education. In addition to our services, this blog helps our readers keep on top of the latest scams to sweep through Toronto, the GTA, and Canada at large. Today, we’re focusing on the scams most likely to occur this fall.

Utility Phone Scams

As Canadians turn on their furnaces, the fall will see a rise in utility-based phone scams. These criminals will call pretending to be your utility company with threats to turn off your service if you don’t pay their bills. Like most phone scammers, the perpetrators use aggression to intimidate their victims into transferring them money.

If you’re on a tight budget and tardy payments happen from time to time, this kind of call is more alarming than if your account is in good standing. If you owe money, then you will be contacted by your service provider, but the method is important to note. Remember utility companies will never threaten to turn off your power after just one overdue payment. Even if you are late with your payment, you’ll receive several notices in the mail to alert you of your outstanding debit.

When the outstanding amount seems unusual, ask to call them back after you’ve checked your account. If you take the time to sign in and check your usage and billing online, you’ll see that everything’s in order.

Fall Maintenance Service Scams

Last year, a couple from Vaughan was scammed out of thousands of dollars when they hired a duct cleaning service through a telemarketer. The service came and cleaned their ducts but at a rate much higher than agreed upon. At the time of the sale, they used a hand-held POS machine without a display to conceal their scam, so the homeowner wasn’t aware of the higher cost until he reviewed his receipt much later.

Since we operate out of the GTA, we provide outstanding on-site document destruction services in Vaughan, so last year’s case is especially dear to our hearts.

If you need your ducts cleaned this fall, be careful how you book this service. Don’t reserve services from a discount duct cleaner who called you, even if they promise a discount price. There are many legit duct cleaning services in Vaughan and the GTA, and they don’t rely on telemarketing sales to find new customers. Instead, look up a company online or check in with friends to find a reliable service to help prepare your house for the oncoming winter.

Whether it’s a threatening call about your utilities or a telemarketing call securing your business, be critical about the conversations you have on your iPhone or Android. You have a lot of power with a phone because you aren’t locked into anything without your consent. You can hang up on the person on the other end any time they make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t forget this fact, no matter how aggressive these scammers get.

Keep this in mind as you prepare for the cooler months of the fall and don’t forget to give us a call. If home for you is Toronto, Vaughan or somewhere else in the GTA entirely, we can help you eliminate the physical risk of identity theft through effective document destruction. Regardless of where you live, our team upholds the same standards at every job. With mobile teams ready to be deployed on-site to your home or business, our paper shredding in Markham provides the same guarantees as our services in any other city.

Give us a call before Thanksgiving and schedule your first-time purge around the holiday. Until then, our team wishes you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving with the hopes of a secure fall to come.

Add comment October 2nd, 2017

In The News: Avro Arrow Found In Lake Ontario

In the next installment of our semi-regular feature, In The News, the team at Absolute Destruction considers the recently recovered Avro Arrow. Found at the bottom of Lake Ontario near Point Petre, the remains of the iconic fighter jet provide an unlikely lesson for our readers.

The Avro Arrow — a supersonic, delta-winged, twin-engined interceptor aircraft designed and prototyped during the Cold War — was supposed to be the crowning achievement of Canada’s aviation industry, but it’s abrupt cancellation in 1959 grounded the jet before it could ever leave the ground. Since then, it’s reached a near mythic reputation as the nation mulls over what once could have been.

In offering document destruction Toronto calls its own, the team at Absolute Destruction isn’t indifferent to the mythos surrounding the Avro. Even nearly 60 years later, the question of ‘what if’ hangs heavy in the air, with some experts suggesting it could have made way for a entirely different Canada — a technologically advanced nation that may have sent a man to the moon.

After 9 models were tested, the Diefenbaker government pulled the plug on the jet, citing mounting costs as their reason for cancellation. With the advantage of time, we can understand a changing political atmosphere was another motive, as cost-effective interceptor missiles superseded expensive fighter jets in the Cold War.

At the time of its cancellation, Ottawa ordered the company to destroy everything related to the Avro project, including any completed jets, but the remains found in Lake Ontario suggest engineers skirted these commands.

OEX Recovery Group, the expedition company responsible for the find, posted a picture capturing the sunken Avro found through its Raise the Arrow project. At the time of this article, only photographs of the free-flight model are available, but there are plans to recover the target so it can be displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

But what does this all have to do with the document shredding experts in Markham? As a prominent shredding service in the GTA, Absolute understands the Avro Arrow represents the potential of Canadian engineers and scientists; however, its recovery acts as a reminder of a completely different sort.

What was supposed to be destroyed was merely dumped, and in the near future, OEX will be able to recover its remains. Though its water-logged hull will never fly, it will reveal key details we thought lost about the Avro.

Without complete destruction, classified information is always retrievable. It takes a lot to sink a model fighter jet. In comparison, dumping paper documents or old gadgets in the garbage is incredibly simple. So easy, in fact, that you may think it a better alternative than hiring a professional shredding service to demolish the evidence.

Unfortunately, when you throw out full sheets of paper containing important personal information or toss computers with financial data saved to their hard drives, the easier route can end up hurting you.

In 2017, the secrets recovered from the Avro will help us see the advances the aviation industry made in the 50s. But any recovery of your PI now will result in identity theft, tanked credit scores, and potential legal troubles for businesses.

As a GTA business owner, you’re responsible by law to properly dispose of any paper or electronic data containing client information. Don’t do what the personnel tasked with “destroying” the Avro Arrow did. Commit to absolute destruction by hiring our mobile shredders in Oakville, Markham, Toronto, or anywhere else in the GTA. We’re only a phone call away, and we’ll make sure what you need destroyed stays that way.

Add comment October 2nd, 2017

Labour Day Checklist: Security On Vacation

As the unofficial end of summer, Labour Day marks the final weekend to enjoy what the season has to offer. With the clock ticking down of what’s left of the summer, the pressure is on. Many of us here in Southern Ontario book last minute day-trips and holidays to get the most out of what remains of the season — even if it is just for a weekend.

As the GTA’s paper shredding experts, we want to remind our readers of the importance of security wherever your Labour Day takes you. Just because you’re planning on relaxing doesn’t mean thieves will. Whether you’re planning on experiencing the Ex’s last weekend, driving up to the cottage, or something completely different, use this guide. We’ll make sure you’ll have an amazing weekend — and a safe one, too!

Be Vigilant & Read the Fine Print

AirBnB makes travel easier for the average globetrotter, but don’t let online convenience fool you. Just because you can find something online doesn’t make it legit. That beach-side resort in the Muskokas costing only $100 on the final weekend of the summer may be too good to be true!

Be wary of the booking site you use. If its URL isn’t something you recognize, research it. If a quick Google search brings up bad reviews or — worse — nothing at all, don’t book with this site. A poor or non-existent online footprint is a warning sign in this day and age.

Put Your Shredding On Hold

While we’re one of the dependable shredding companies in Aurora, we don’t suggest you bring your personal documents along the way to Cottage Country for our Aurora crew to destroy. Our on site shredding services Aurora businesses use are better used for businesses based in town. Transporting sensitive documents or electronic data in anything but our NAID-approved mobile trucks opens you up to risks.

Simply give our offices a call and let us know if you plan to be out of town during our regularly scheduled pick-ups. We can arrange a more convenient time to pick-up your documents once you’re back from the long weekend.

Don’t Overshare Online

Though it’s tempting to tell your followers and Facebook friends your great plans for the weekend, posting your travel plans on social media makes you vulnerable. John Terry, a famous soccer player in the UK, found this out the hard way. After posting several photos of his family vacation abroad, his £5 million mansion was ransacked of thousands of pounds worth of belongings.

Keep your pics to yourself until after you come home — even if you only plan on checking out the ribs at Canada’s Largest Ribfest. Hosted each year in Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park, over 150,000 pounds of BBQ’d ribs are eaten over the Labour Day weekend.

Tell your friends and family your plans, but don’t post specific details about your trip online to accounts that aren’t protected. Leave posting pics and other details until after you return home. Trust our paper shredding Burlington team when we say waiting to post will work to your advantage. Not only will you be in a more secure position, but you’ll catch just how much BBQ sauce is on your face before you post that selfie.

Whether you plan on eating your weight in ribs or sitting by the dock with a cold beer in your hand, remember to stay safe. Security on vacation doesn’t have to be hard work. These tips are simple enough you can add them to your Labour Day without feeling like you’re sacrificing a good time. And we’re always just a phone call away if you have any questions! So enjoy the long weekend and keep your personal information safe.

Add comment August 28th, 2017

Where Will The Civic Holiday Take You?

The Civic Holiday — a lackluster name given to the August long weekend — exceeds the boring reputation that its name implies. Synonymous with British Columbia Day in BC, Heritage Day in Alberta, and Regatta Day in Newfoundland, the Civic Holiday marks the start of the dog days of summer in Ontario, and people all over the country aim to get the most out of the season over this weekend.

Here in the Toronto and the GTA, tradition holds we leave behind the smoggy air and the pot-holed streets of the city for beautiful blue skies and dirt roads of cottage country. Those in need of our document shredding help in Toronto and the surrounding municipalities often postpone or reschedule our services around the holiday. They have plans to lounge dock-side with a cold beer in hand. And we don’t blame them!

Soon enough city-dwellers will stock their cars with meat primed for the grill, craft brews chilled on ice, and pool noodles awaiting the lake. That’s the easy part. The biggest challenge the Civic Holiday poses is where to go. As one of the biggest weekends for cottage country, it can be difficult to enjoy the holiday as you envision it. If your family doesn’t own a vacation rental, you’ll fight with all of the other cottage-less Canadians over the remaining rentals available.

Hopefully, you already secured your place. If not, let Absolute Destruction help you with your holiday hunt for a cottage. Check out our quick guide to cottage country. All options are within driving distance from Toronto.

Muskoka

Chippewa for “not easily turned back in the day of battle”, Muskoka has evolved far from its violent roots. Now known as one of the most famous cottage country locales, the area between Port Carling and Gravenhurst is synonymous with summers spent relaxing at the cottage. We’ve even renamed the Adirondack chair for its ubiquitous presence on Muskoka docks.

It’s made up of 6 municipalities, including Bracebridge, Huntsville, Lake of Bays, Georgian Bay, Gravenhurst, and Muskoka Lakes. There, you can find over 1,600 lakes, and locals aren’t the only ones to find some peace and quiet on their shores. Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Goldie Hawn spend their summers here, too.

Lake Simcoe

It’s only fitting to drive to Lake Simcoe on the Civic Holiday. After all, it also goes by Simcoe Day in Toronto. In the 17th century it was known in Wyandot as “beautiful water”. As the fourth largest lake found entirely within the province, we think it earned that particular name. A popular summer spot, most cottages can be found around the lake itself.

No stranger to our team, Lake Simcoe is a just short drive from the GTA. We offer document shredding in Barrie, which is one of five municipalities that make up the area, including Innisfil, Keswick, Orillia, and Georgina. Though it’s much less famous than Muskoka, it’s still a great place to spend the long weekend.

Kawartha Lakes

It isn’t just known for its ice cream. The Kawartha Lakes are also a destination for cottage goers throughout the year. Just over 100 kilometres northeast of the big city, it marks one of the closest options for those customers who use our document destruction in Markham.

Make sure you play The Tragically Hip’s Bobcaygeon on full blast on your way up. Not only is it a Canadian cottage anthem, Bobcaygeon is just one of the many towns that make up the Kawarthas, including Bolsover, Fenelon Falls, Woodville, Omemee, and Lindsay. Though barely a stone’s throw from the GTA, it promises a tranquil setting for your long weekend.

Whether you choose Muskoka or someplace different, it’s important to start hunting for that rental soon. Cottages go quickly any time during the summer but the Civic Holiday is an especially busy time of year. Blink and they’ll be gone so hop onto AirBnB and other vacation rental websites to find your cottage in time. And don’t forget to call us in case you need to reschedule our services while you’re away.

Happy cottaging!

Add comment July 17th, 2017

6 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

At the beginning of the month, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from The Paris Agreement, making America one of only three countries in the entire world to turn its back on the environmental action plan. It’s a decision that even Kim Jong Un, the notorious leader of North Korea, calls, “the height of egotism”.

But here at Absolute Destruction, we think there may be a silver lining to Trump’s hubris. A number of the state’s largest city mayors have published their cities’ commitment to the goals of the agreement, and Hawaii has become the first state to defy Trump’s rejection of the accord. The president’s choice has also motivated businesses and private individuals to step up where the American government has failed, resulting in innovative answers to the issue of climate change.

It’s another story here in Canada, as Parliament is fully committed to the Paris Accord. But that doesn’t mean we’re wholly unaffected by our neighbours to the south. While American politics affects Canadian policy, we should choose to let those environmentally friendly American mayors, businesses, and individuals inspire us.

Be the change that you want to be. Use this guide to cut your carbon footprint in 6 easy ways.

  1. Get Moving!

If you think nothing of hopping in the car whenever you need to get somewhere, even if it’s just around the corner, it’s time to start! Our cars are responsible for a 26% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. When you choose to walk or bike, you can help cut down on the amount of pollution you personally contribute. As an added bonus, this extra activity is a heart healthy choice.

  1. Use Our Recycling Services

Here at Absolute Destruction, we are committed to the welfare of our natural environment. That’s why we offer recycling services alongside our secure document destruction. Our recycling services include professional pickup of paper, cans, cardboard, and glass bottles. To learn more about how our eco-friendly practices has helped the GTA, check out our Environmental Savings page.

  1. Make it a Meatless Monday

Emerging studies have shown agricultural farming, much of which supports cattle farms used to raise meat, is one of the worst contributors of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UN and WHO suggest we try to limit the amount of red meat we eat in order to help reduce its effects, so try introducing vegetarian meals into your weekly diet.

  1. Support Local

You’ve heard this before. In fact, we’re huge proponents of this shopping method, as we’re one of the local shredding services in the GTA! When you buy groceries, household wares, and clothes produced locally, you’re cutting out the greenhouse gas emissions created in hauling these items on our country’s highways. As a result, your shopping trip won’t have such a high environmental price tag. Luckily, we’re approaching farmer’s market season, so this should be easy to do!

  1. Use Your Water Wisely

Summer is approaching, which means those readers who have green thumbs have already started plotting their gardens. Be wary of how much water you use to water your plants and consider investing in an irrigation system so that they only ever get as much water as they need. Though it’s tempting to water your babies, don’t pull out the hose if your city has called a water ban.

  1. Insulate Your Home

Draughts and air leaks can force your air conditioner and furnace to work harder than they have to in order to maintain the temps in your home. Seal these openings using weather stripping, caulking, or insulation to make sure the air stays where it should be, so you don’t have to use as much energy for your home.

If you want to shave down the size of your carbon footprint, this guide is a good way to start. Give us a call if you have any tips to share or if you’re ready tick of #2 from this list. We’ll send

Add comment June 30th, 2017

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