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Break These Holiday Shopping Habits

If you’re like most people, this page isn’t the only tab open in your browser. As you begin your holiday shopping in earnest, you probably have at least eight tabs going at one time. Some are set to the homepage of your favourite online retailer, while the others are open to shopping guides and review pages about your potential gifts.

A recent survey conducted by Ebates.ca Canada revealed 62 percent of Canadian hate the Christmas crowds while shopping for presents. That could explain why 82 percent of those surveyed said they’ll skip the malls by shopping online.

Whether you’re filling in last-minute purchases online or you’re shopping for your full list from the computer, stop what you’re doing. Before you add any more items to your digital shopping cart, our crew wants to make sure you’re properly prepared. We don’t just offer document shredding services in Toronto and the GTA. As an electronic data destruction service, we have an interest in online security.

Now that the countdown to the big day is on, the ticking of the clock can wind you up tighter than a toy soldier. It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re stressed, so our team wants to remind you to break these online habits when you head online.

Don’t visit unusual sites to get a deal

If you like a deal, then you’re probably already searching for the best price on the items on your list. You can find discounts and other great deals if you shop with care, but don’t let a low price deceive you. Sometimes a deal is too good to be true, just like the scam that promises a free iPhone X if you like a Facebook page.

It’s around this time that cyber criminals send emails promising unbelievable prices to get people to click fraudulent links and share personal information. Don’t get sucked in by it. Only follow links when you can verify the sender. Meanwhile, only visit retailer’s official sites and confirm they have SSL (or Secure Socket Layer) encryption before you type in your credit card number.

Retire any passwords that rely on your child’s birthday or pet’s name

Once you get shopping, you’ll notice how retailers will ask you to create a profile before you continue with your purchase. You don’t have to accept this invitation, but it may improve your shopping experience. As a member, you often receive emails notifying you of deals or sharing with you special coupons. If you decide to create an account with your favourite retailers, be careful with the password you use. Your child’s birthday is not a secure password, nor is any other detail of your life that’s easily guessed. Avoid names, phone numbers, and dates, and replace them with a password made up of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Stop letting your browser remember your info

When it seems like every website requires a profile, it can be tricky to remember login credentials for each account. Many of us rely on our computers to remember them for us by authorizing a browser or website to retain your details. While this may save you time typing things in, it can increase your risk of a breach. When credit card numbers, contact information, and passwords are saved on your computer or in your browser, this information can be accessed by anyone who uses your computer or who uses the same network as you.

That’s exactly the kind of data we would destroy when you secure our paper shredding in Richmond Hill, so why would you offer it up to strangers online? Keep your information safe by using a password manager instead. These programs encrypt passwords so only you can access their information. There’s just one caveat: you’ll have to remember your password for this app to get in.

In conclusion

Remember these tips when you start shopping this year, and you’ll strike a perfect balance between being a generous gift-giver and a secured shopper. But don’t let your commitment to security stop there. As your parcels begin to arrive, remember those invoices carry important contact and financial information.

If you live locally, we’re one of the best mobile shredding companies in Oakville, in Barrie, and in the GTA at large, and we can help you destroy these documents safely. Schedule an appointment and you can enjoy the big day without the threat of identity theft. Give us a call now or in the New Year. Until we hear from you, we want to wish you and your family a happy holiday and safe shopping!

Add comment December 28th, 2017

A Gift Idea That Shreds The Competition

The decorations are up, the gingerbread is cooling, and the stockings are hung with care. There’s no mistaking the signs: the holidays are on their way. But there’s still time before the big day is set to arrive. That means two things. One, we’re not too late to wish you and your family season’s greetings. Two, you still have time to cross off the last of your holiday chores.

As your dependable document destruction company in Toronto and the GTA, Absolute has a unique perspective on the season as we help businesses and homeowners shred. With every visit, our team sees how busy people can get around the holidays. You know you can rely on us for secure document and electronic data destruction this December to help free up your schedule, and we’re ready to take on any commercial or residential purges this month and beyond. Whatever you need done, we can coordinate it — even a last-minute gift of security.

Though unorthodox, a gift from Absolute is a surprisingly thoughtful gesture. For those on your list who have a goal in the New Year to become more organized, a one-time residential purge comes with the promise of a clutter-free home. As for the business owner in your life, our regular commercial pick-ups help them create a clean and secure office space.

Whether it’s a singular appointment in Barrie or recurring document shredding services in Richmond Hill, your gift of security comes with the backing of a NAID-certified company. Standing for National Association for Information Destruction, this certification proves that we meet each and every standard for safe document destruction.

Each of our team is fully vetted, bonded, and trained in information destruction standards, and they use state-of-the-art mobile shredding trucks to eliminate paper and digital documents in their entirety. In a world where identity theft and corporate security breaches are on the rise, this kind of security is priceless.

This commitment to our process means you can feel confident about the “Certificate of Destruction” our teams hand out after every job. It’s then paired with a “Guarantee of Recycling”, since our company is committed to eco-friendly practices.

Compare this to other popular gifts left in stockings and deposited under the tree. While many of us have exciting things like the new iPhone X or the Xbox One X on our lists, very few of us get what we want. In reality, these expensive devices are replaced by novelty kitchen appliances that, though interesting during the first use, quickly lose their appeal; practical white tube socks that anyone could buy for themselves; or off-the-mark clothing choices that are set for an immediate return.  These stereotypical gifts can’t match the security, sustainability, or organization shredding promises.

If you already know who could benefit from a gift like this, give us a call. Together we can coordinate an appointment that works for your loved one. Whether we send out our mobile shredders based in Oakville, in Burlington, or in another part of the GTA, there’s a local team ready to get started. So get in touch and give a secure, eco-friendly gift this year.

Add comment December 18th, 2017

3 Basic Tips To Start Your Holiday Shopping Right

With the holidays only about a month away, many of us start our annual pilgrimage to the malls right about now. November plays host to Black Friday, so it’s a good time to start, but when the thought of it leaves you shaking in your boots (and not because of the late November chill), Cyber Monday is a logical alternative. You can snag some of the greatest deals of the year from the comfort of your own home. There’s no need to pause that Stranger Things 2 episode playing in the background or even to change out of your pyjamas. It’s the easier, less crowded, and far more relaxing option.

While you’ll avoid the lines, crowds, and grumpy sales reps, Cyber Monday isn’t without its risks. As one of the most popular online shopping days around the world, criminals will be on the lookout for unsuspecting shoppers. The crew at Absolute Destruction & Recycling Corp. want to remind our readers that no deal is worth sacrificing your online security. That’s why we’ve developed a no-fail guide to your holiday shopping.

Use trusted devices and network

Variety may be the spice of the life, but when it comes to online security, familiarity is safer. You’ll want to apply this rule to every step of your holiday deal-hunting, from the device and Wi-Fi connection you use to locate sales to the retailer and items you buy.

Never use a public computer or unsecure Internet connection. Both habits, performed separately or together, open you up to significant risk, as an untold number of people have access to this device and connection. Each purchase requires you to share personal information like your address and credit card number. If shared on the wrong device or network, it’s easy for criminals to find this data. You may browse all you’d like at Starbucks or the library, but wait until you’re home to make the sale.

Be critical of ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals

As we approach the big day, your inbox will fill up with messages and reminders about Cyber Monday’s greatest deals or a last-chance Christmas Eve sale. Most of these will be legitimate notifications from trusted retailers, but sometimes a fraudulent email will get past your junk filters. You’ll notice them right away, as they’ll promise unbelievable sales like the free iPhone X scam circulating the web right now. At least with this one, it should be obvious a handset otherwise priced over $1,000 wouldn’t be free!

When alarm bells go off, don’t click on any link, but don’t rely on your gut alone. Sometimes seemingly normal emails are scams, so keep an eye on the sender. If you’re ever suspicious, simply google the offer, item, or retailer. If it’s real, you should find other links about the sale than just the one in your email.

Monitor your accounts

Your job isn’t done once you make your purchase and wait for your parcel to arrive. You need to keep track of your finances to make sure none of your Cyber Monday or holiday shopping has compromised your security. You can do everything right in the lead up to the sale, and — due to circumstances out of your control — your personal information gets hacked in a breach targeting the retailer you shopped with.

Check your statements for any unusual purchases you can’t explain. Many of the homeowners who scheduled our document shredding services in Mississauga have secured this service because they found suspicious activity in the accounts. Destroying sensitive invoices and statements is an important step in protecting oneself against identity theft, before or after it happens.

Usually only the GTA’s businesses, government agencies, and multinational corporations need regular shredding services, but individuals can benefit from our one-time residential purges, too. Our uniformed, bonded, and photo I.D.’d customer service representatives can help anyone destroy confidential materials, like old credit card statements, invoices, or even obsolete gadgets used during holiday shoppings of yore.

Give us a call to see what frequency would best fit your needs this November. Until our reps hear from you, we wish you the safest Cyber Monday possible as you begin to shop for the holidays in earnest!

Add comment November 28th, 2017

Yahoo’s Security Breach Is No Halloween Trick

Grocery stores have their seasonal walls of chocolate and candy, your neighbour has his elaborately designed cemetery on his front lawn, and Netflix has their classic horror films on their main menu again. These are just a few of the many signs that Halloween is coming — sooner than you think!

As the GTA is gearing up for the spookiest time of the year, here at Absolute Destruction, we don’t need to wait until the ghosts and ghouls come trick or treating to get a fright. With the latest new reports about majority security breaches, we find real life scary enough!

Let us give you a bit of context. Our regular readers know that, in addition to paper shredding Toronto and the GTA can rely on us for the latest news on identity theft and cybersecurity. As such, we reported on the most recent security breach affecting Equifax customers. The attack impacted an astonishing 145.5 million people — 8,000 of whom are Canadian.

While these numbers are staggering on their own, they aren’t the worst when it comes to security breaches. Equifax’s cybersecurity failures have been overshadowed by the latest new reports from Yahoo.

To refresh your memory, Yahoo was the target of two massive cyberattacks dating back to 2013. The breaches landed a devastating blow to the web services company, as it had to undercut its final sales figure by $350 million when selling its main business to Verizon.

Despite it being several years later, Yahoo’s streak of bad luck is far from over. In what Yahoo is calling “recently obtained new intelligence”, the world has learnt the impact of this fraud is far greater than anyone expected. Initial news reports said over 1 billion of its customers were affected. Now, its ongoing investigation reveals all 3 billion of its accounts were compromised, cementing its title as the largest breach in history.

As with most of these security breaches, poor security is to blame. Account information was protected by out-dated encryption techniques that were simple to hack. While most of the information exposed in the hack didn’t include passwords or any financial information like credit card numbers, the breach did reveal backup email addresses and security questions that could make it easier for criminals to hack additional accounts.

Already facing 41 consumer class-action lawsuits in the US, Yahoo can expect more shareholders and account holders to file against them. Meanwhile Verizon — which has combined its newly owned Yahoo with its AOL subsidiary to create Oath, a new digital media and online advertising company — promises renewed commitment to transparency and online security. As you would expect, the latest news has had negative impact on Oath’s reception.

As with Equifax’s security breach, the attack on Yahoo serves as a reminder of how important effective security is in the fight against identity theft. If you’re ready to beef up your personal or business security efforts this fall, call us anytime. As the GTA’s trusted paper shredding and electronic data destruction experts, we can develop physical security techniques that keep important information safe, even after you don’t need it any more.

Add comment November 20th, 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

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

HBO Offers Hackers A Bounty Payment

Unless you’ve been living under an especially remote rock, you’ll have heard about the latest season of Game of Thrones. Premiering on July 16, the first episode was watched by over 26 million viewers, with another 91 million people pirating a copy. Now several episodes in, the season hasn’t lost any steam, and it remains the hot topic around water coolers in offices around the world.

We’re no strangers to Throne talk here at the Absolute Destruction office, but we’re not just trying to sort out the many callbacks to previous seasons. What’s caught our eye is HBO’s latest security breach.

At the beginning of August, HBO was the target of hackers that stole roughly 1.5 terabytes of data from the TV network. The data included the personal information of the show’s stars, including their phone numbers and home addresses; the email correspondence of HBO’s VP of Film Programming, Leslie Cohen; several financial balance sheets; and two previously unreleased episodes.

So far, the hackers have only released approximately 3.4 gigs of the data they stole, but they threaten to leak the entirety of their bounty if HBO fails to pay an undisclosed ransom. If you recall our post on ransomware in May of 2016, you’ll remember that it’s never a good idea to bow to these demands. It suggests to other hackers that this kind of behaviour will be rewarded, and there’s no guarantee the hackers won’t just take their ransom and release the data anyways.

It’s unlikely HBO will cough up the entirety of the ransom; however, HBO is willing to negotiate — in a way. In an attempt to extend the ransom’s deadline, the TV network offered hackers a bug bounty payment of $250,000 in Bitcoin.

A bounty payment is something that most corporations budget for each year. It’s refers to payment given to those hackers that find the flaws in security on behalf of the corporation. It’s a useful strategy for company’s concerned with finding each hole in its security. And, according to many insiders, HBO is hoping to use it as a delay tactic.

Bitcoin isn’t a currency that’s easily gathered. HBO can use its lengthy acquisition process to find holes and track the hackers. Already there have been four arrests.

As it stands, HBO’s undergoing a strict forensic review to find out the details behind the hack. Jeff Cusson, a spokesperson for the TV network, says the review has yet to reveal any issues with its security or email system, so there’s no reason to believe the hack is part of a bigger problem. It should, however, lead the company to renew its security protocols.

As HBO struggles with its security issues in the limelight for all of the Internet to see, it poses a perfect reminder that your company — small or large — should take the appropriate security measures to protect its confidential information. While a leak affecting your offices may not have the same impact as HBO’s, yours will have significant consequences to your finances and your reputation.

In addition to updating your digital security policies and employee training, electronic data and document destruction is an important part of any commercial defence. Once you ensure your security policy is comprehensive enough to protect your clients and intellectual property, give us a call.

We can be your trusted document shredding company in Aurora, offering shredding and recycling services to those who call the York Region home. But we aren’t bound by city limits like so many of our competitors. As a mobile shredding service, we bring the on site shredding services Aurora business owners trust to the rest of Southern Ontario, allowing us to protect businesses and individuals all around the GTA.

That means we’re a document destruction company in Burlington as well as a variety of cities around the Golden Horseshoe. Check out our landing page to determine if we service your town. If we do, it’s only a matter of a few clicks to schedule a one-time purge or a regular weekly pick-up.

Game of Thrones usually provides a nice escape from reality every Sunday night, but for once the HBO show reminds us of an important lesson. There are significant consequences to data breaches. We must take the appropriate steps in our security if we expect to avoid them. Beef up your digital security policies and call us when you’re ready to start shredding.

Add comment August 22nd, 2017

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