11 Tips for Cyber Crime Prevention

We’re all more connected and more vulnerable to cyber crime than ever, thanks to the Internet, computers, devices and “smart” everything – like cars, homes, medical devices, even clothes.

Cyber crime feature

From a blackmailer’s nude photos of Miss Teenage America in the privacy of her own bedroom, taken with her own laptop’s camera, which he had hacked, to millions of credit card accounts hacked through Target and other major retailers, to burglars targeting subjects through their social media postings, evidence abounds of our need to be educated about and careful with our use of technology.

Fortunately, experts like Marc Goodman, founder of the Future Crimes Institute, Global Security Advisor and Chair for Policy and Law at Google- and NASA-sponsored Singularity University, are working hard to help society understand and fight such crime. Goodman recently spoke about this topic at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.Marc Goodman, Future Crimes Institute

Goodman’s book, “Future Crimes,” is a must read for anyone connected to the Internet and thoughtful about our future. It includes the following 11 tips for protecting yourself and your family online:

1. Update Frequently.

Hackers and ill-willed others use the bugs that run rampant in everyday software programs. Update your software frequently to guard against this. Particularly vulnerable are operating systems software, apps, browsers, plug-ins and other computer programs.

2.Download Software and Updates Only From Official Sites.

Use Apple’s app store and businesses’ sites. Avoid “free” third-party software and pirated media. Use Windows and Mac operating system settings that allow you to “white list” for their approved software.

3. Update Passwords Frequently Using a Long Mix of Symbols, Numbers, Upper and Lower Case Letters.

Yes, it’s a pain to constantly change and remember the new combinations. But, yes, it’s that important that you do it.images-5

4. Use Administrator Accounts With Care.

Run your computer on a non-administrator account for everyday use. Switch to your administrator account only when absolutely necessary to update from a trusted source.

5. Turn Computers Off When Not In Use.

Don’t rely on sleep mode. Close all the way down to off. You reduce your cyber crime risk by over 33 percent with the simple act of turning your computer off while you sleep.

6. Encrypt Your Digital Life.

Both Windows and Mac have free programs for hard drive encryption (BitLocker and FileVault). Use them and a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your devices and Internet transmissions. Cell phones can and should also be encrypted and password or fingerprint protected.

stop cyber crime7. Use Common Sense With Your Email.

Don’t click on links or open attachments you don’t trust. When in doubt, check with the individual who purportedly sent the message.

8. Back Up Data Frequently.

External hard drives – like Mac’s Time Machine and Windows Backup – are quick and easy to use. If you use the cloud as backup, encrypt this data too.

9. Cover Up or Turn Off Cameras When Not in Use.

Remember that Miss Teen America reference at the beginning of this article? This happens all the time. Hackers take control of digital cameras and take photos. Close your computer, or at least cover up the lens when you aren’t using it. Be just as careful with your cell phone and other digital device cameras too.

stop cyber crime10. Use Only Trusted Devices and Networks Banking, Shopping and Other Sensitive Web Browsing.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, other people’s computers or devices for your confidential online affairs.

11. Think Before You Share on Social Networks.

Stalkers, burglars and other criminals routinely monitor social media for information. Don’t let them learn about your family’s treasures, travel plans or other personal information that could enable them to do harm to you or your loved ones.


Learn more by reading “Future Crimes”, watch his TED Talk here and contact Goodman directly on Twitter @Future Crimes.

Top Ten Social Entrepreneurs of All Time

Looking for inspiration that you can make a difference, make money, make meaning? That is what social entrepreneurs do.  Here are my picks for the 10 Best Social Entrepreneurs of all time.  Hope they inspire you too.

1. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Founding Father, Inventor, Publisher, Statesman

Benjamin Frankline

One of our country’s most influential founders, this prodigious man never patented his inventions – including printing techniques, bifocal lens, lightning rods and the Franklin stove.  He believed “as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours.” But Franklin’s social invention -“paying forward” – is probably his greatest contribution of all. It not only endures, the concept seems more influential than ever.

2. CLARA BARTON, American Red Cross Founder, nurse, educator, first female federal employee (patent office clerk)

A shy child with a calling to help others, the teacher cum civil war nurse developed into a very determined woman, activist and advocate – for the injured and lost, women’s rights and the need for a US version of the International Red Cross.   Ultimately Barton convinced the President and Congress to grant a unique charter that endures and has woven the volunteer disaster relief and aid society into our American fabric – thereby saving society hundreds of millions of dollars a year too.

3. KLAUS SCHWAB, Founder of the World Economic Forum & Schwab Foundation For Social Entrepreneurship, Professor, Connector Extraordinaire,

Klaus Schwab

This German engineer and economist created the World Economic Forum as an nonprofit foundation committed to finding solutions to global problems in 1971. He built it into the foremost community of world leaders in business, government, academia and civil society. An invitation to participate in its’ annual Davos Summit represents the epitome of power. In 1998, Schwab and his wife, Hilde launched the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship to promote entrepreneurial solutions at the grassroots level too.

4. PATRICIA ALBJERG GRAHAM, Historian of Education, Author, Education Advocate & Activist

Graham was probably the first American to advocate that a good education for all children is the best route to a better world and work in powerful positions to accomplish this. She served as President of the National Institute of Education, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (and first female Dean at Harvard), President of global education research funder Spencer Foundation, consistently facilitating policies and programs that led to our current deep civic commitment to education reform efforts now.Pat Graham, social entrepreneur

Graham was probably the first American to advocate that a good education for all children is the best route to a better world and work in powerful positions to accomplish this. She served as President of the National Institute of Education, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (and first female Dean at Harvard), President of global education research funder Spencer Foundation, consistently facilitating policies and programs that led to our current deep civic commitment to education reform efforts now.

5-7. BILL & MELINDA GATES, WARREN BUFFET, Billionaire Founders of “The Giving Pledge”Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

As of January 2015, 128 billionaire individuals or couples have committed to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes. If they all do so with similar thoughtful effort as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Warren Buffet, bill and melinda gateshttp://www.gatesfoundation.org, this pledge could foster greater change for the better than any other initiative in history. Of course, even billionaires are human too…

8.  Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder (and Giving Pledge Signer)

Facebook's Mark Zucke

Even if social ineptness did push Zuckerberg to launch Facebook, he is still the most successful online social entrepreneur in history – connecting 1.4 billion people around the world through a company whose About Us page emphasizes all the ways it helps.

The Jerusalem Post called this 30 year old the World’s Most Influential Jew too.

Because he is only 30 and seems to have married well – wife Priscilla is a daughter of boat refugees, former teacher and recent medical school grad – we should be hopeful that he can accomplish all the good inherent in his Giving Pledge too. The Zuckerbergs already have donated $120 million to help San Francisco’s public schools.

9. BLAKE MYCOSKIE, Founder of TOMS Shoes and Eyeglasses,

Creator of One for One ® Business Model


It might seem a stretch to put the founder of a business that has sold a mere 35 million shoes and even fewer glasses in the same category as founders of our country and other businesses generating billions of whatever. But, Mycoskie’s One for One® economic model seems to be a new iteration of Franklin’s pay it forward capitalism. And it’s working. For every pair of shoes sold, Toms donates another pair to needy children around the world. For every pair of glasses sold, Toms gives the gift of sight.

A growing number of savvy businesses are imitating this too.

10.  ADAM GRANT, Business Professor, Author, Consultant, Social Justice Advocate

Adam Gross, Photo Source: Forbes

Adam Gross, Photo Source: Forbes

The youngest tenured professor in Wharton’s history uses data and rigorous research techniques to prove that the most successful people in business look to help others.  Consequently, most successful businesses are rushing to work with Grant – including Google and Goldman Sachs.  In the process, Grant has become a champion for equality too, as evidenced by his recent NY Times OpEd co-written with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (author of “Lean In”) explaining how men also benefit when women succeed in the boardroom.

Food, finance, fashion, smart females to fete. We’ve come a long way baby!

If you don’t already subscribe to Make It Better’s twice weekly “Better Letter,” you should.  It’s really good – easily scanned, up to the minute articles, tips, trends and recommendations that will make your life better – and easy ways for you to help others, too.

Our recent Better Letter from March 4th really proves my point.  Every article, every recommendation, every Sec in the Suburbswriter – just great!  I’m particular proud to see tv & radio stations working our Val Haller, who launched Val’s List in tandem with makeitbetter.net, and our super talented Sex & The Suburbs columnist Marjie Kileen highlighted in it.  And please note that Val included a video of a band singing about “Making You Better” in her appearance too.  Of course, I enjoyed the CNBCSusan B. Noyes on CNBC Closing Bell opportunity too.

But I also need to give big call-outs to EIC Julie Chernoff for her cooking class with the pros article.  Brilliant idea.  Want to do every one of these classes with family or friends!

And aren’t we all proud to see that our own Maura Flaherty not only remind us of International Women’s Day.  She recommends celebrating it by honoring other smart, inspiring females that have smashed glass ceilings at work, like Crate & Barrel’s Carole Segal and the first female chair of the University Of Chicago’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Department, Angela Olinto.

We’ve come a long way baby.  Women and Make It Better Media.

Please subscribe now for Make It Better Better Letter.

Thank you.

Talk About It, As Graham Moore Did at Oscars: Teen Depression Affects us All

There, but for the grace of God—and many good professionals and others who understand teen depression—go I.

My family could have suffered the same tragedy as Dana Perry winner of best Documentary Short Subject for “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1″ or thoseDana Perry oscars speech on suicide Lake Forest families who lost teens to suicide in 2012.

“We should talk about suicide out loud,” Perry said, also mentioning her own son who committed suicide at the age of 15. I couldn’t agree more. Graham Moore gave his moving acceptance speech as well, and I salute his comment: “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there that feels weird and different … Stay weird.” You can see more on his speech in this article and video.

Depression strikes up to 20 percent of our adolescents, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens. If our society doesn’t get smarter about discussing, identifying and treating teen depression—bust the stigma better and faster—there will be others, too.Graham Moore on suicide

That’s why I was so delighted to hear Perry and Moore plead for more awareness and public discussion about suicide, particularly teen suicide.

Every parent and school faculty member working with students from middle school through college needs to know depression’s symptoms and be brave enough to address them when they appear in an adolescent. The symptoms include: loss of interest in activities, sadness, hopelessness, anger or hostility, changes in eating or sleeping habits, lack of energy and loss of enthusiasm.

However, it can be hard to discern between “normal” erratic teenage behavior and “depressed” behavior, as was the case with our child. It can also be hard to discuss with the teen or with others. As the mother of a depressed teen, I felt weak, beat-up, raw. I didn’t think I had the energy to “fight” with or for my misbehaving child any longer. Fortunately, others did and we established a network of support. Eventually, lots of talking about it helped heal our child and our family.

There are a growing number of excellent resources to help identify and deal with adolescent depression. Barrington High School implemented a curriculum developed by Johns Hopkins Medical School, and recently shared it with Lake Forest. Erika’s Lighthouse offers a program for middle schools, a parent handbook and extensive opportunities for teens. The Balanced Mind Foundation has a growing body of helpful content and connections, and several excellent online sites exist including HelpGuide.org, a nonprofit collaboration with the Harvard Medical School, and the U.S. National Library of Health.

Author Ned Vizzini wrote “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” based on his own hospitalization for depression, and he speaks extensively on the topic to schools. Lake Forest has brought him in at least twice in the past two years.

Currently, professionals believe that only one in five adolescents suffering from depression receive treatment. Those numbers must improve. And the best way for that to happen is for all of us to help bust the stigma and talk about it more. Please also look at our Teen Depression Guide at Make It Better.



Gates Foundation Donation Fuels Women’s Philanthropy Institute

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation just awarded a $375,000 grant to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to increase understanding about how and why women give to charity.

Bill and Melinda GatesAlthough this amount is small compared to what the Gates Foundation spends on issues like polio and Africa’s food supply, it could prove to be their most impactful gift.  Women make the lion’s share of philanthropic spending decisions.  In her book, Giving 2.0, Stanford University professor and philanthropist with a mission to make everyone more impactful givers, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen provides substantial data to prove that women drive most philanthropy. And of course, women just live longer, which means they are more likely to control substantial wealth in their estate planning.  The US Social Security Administration calculates that women live on average 2 years, 3 months longer than men. .

Our own Make It Better research proves that 92% of the women in our audience will change their brand loyalty if they think it will make the world a better place.  92%.  That’s an extraordinarily number.  We think that it proves that philanthropy is somehow innate in female DNA. And how much do you want to bet that Melinda was the first spouse to propose the Foundation to the other?Women Give 2014 Report

For the last few years the IU Women’s Philanthropy Institute have published Women Give reports that put it in the vanguard of building a body of knowledge on women’s leadership in philanthropy, and how women think about and practice their giving.  The Gates Foundation grant will build on that foundation.

Better understand how and why women give, and the world will be changed for the better even faster.  Thank you Melinda and Bill Gates.





“The Mask You Live In” Changing National Dialogue on Masculinity

“Men need to model whole healthy masculinity and women need to value this…

“We saw a few great commercials during the Superbowl that talked about real strength – about men not being physical but rather about them being caring and compassionate, taking care of loved ones.”

       – Jennifer Siebel Newsom, from MIB TV Q&A

She has a Stanford MBA, is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Dove Self Esteem Project and a Commissioner of the Girl Scouts Healthy Media Project. Her husband is California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and – oh yeah – just d
jennifer siebel newsomeclared his candidacy for Governor while she was speaking to a group in my Chicagoland sun room. But, it’s Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s role as a mother of three young children that really drives her.  Newsom is on a mission to forever change damaging stereotypes and our national conversation about gender through the nonprofit she founded – The Representation Project  – and her work as a document
ary filmmaker.

TRP uses film and media content to drive social change. Her first film about female stereotyping – the award-winning “Miss Representation” – sparked passionate national conversation. TRP’s efforts led to change for the better in Superbowl commercials this year. 

The Mask You Live In” is TRP’s newest film.  It’s the male counterpart to “Miss Representation” and premiered nationally to rave reviews at Sundance Film Festival.  It premiered regionally a few days ago through a Family Action Network (FAN) screening.  Please see it. And please be sure to watch it with the males in your life too.  My husband was so moved that he immediately found our son to discuss it with him too.

To learn more about Newsom, The Representation Project and “The Mask You Live In,” please watch our Q&A with Newsom on MIB TV here.

mib TV

Dare2Tri Helps Athletes Overcome Disabilities

“I will be talking about the sports that I do—and I will hopefully change the world.” – Gabi Berthiaume, age 12, born with Spina Bifida.

When she was four months pregnant, doctors told Gretchen Berthiaume that her child would never walk—probably never do anything but sit on a couch. “Never, never, never,” is all she heard. Her daughter Gabbi was born with spina bifida, a condition characterized by the incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord and meninges, which can lead to paralysis.

Berthiaume says she and her husband weren’t going to take “never” for an answer.

“My husband and I said ‘Oh heck no,” Berthiaume says. “We would look for whatever opportunities we could find for our child.”

Flash forward 12 years, and Gabi, or the “energizer bunny” as her mother calls her, can barely find time to stop moving. While confined to a wheelchair she participates in multiple adaptive sports programs her parents have helped her find, including track and field, dance and hockey. She has finished five triathlons.

image (4)

Gabi’s energetic, resilient personality is apparent through our phone conversation.

While participating in her last triathlon in Wauconda, Ill., Gabi crashed and had to be taken off the course in an ambulance. Berthiaume describes the incident as pretty scary, recalling Gabi’s “smooshed and roadrashed” face. Fortunately she didn’t break any bones.

“Mommy, I was fine, OK,” Gabi pipes up from the background. “And at least we got to have ice cream!”

The 12 year-old was not deterred by her accident and she has already signed up for a 3-day triathlon clinic that will take place in May.

Gabi was first invited to participate in a triathlon by Keri Serota, co-founder and executive director of Dare2Tri, an organization that helps people with disabilities participate in triathlons. Gabi first met Serota while Serota was working at the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association in Kenosha. Gabi has been participating in GLASA programs since she was six years old.

“She [Serota] just inspires the kids to do their best, be their best and have fun,” Berthiaume says.

Serota has asked Gabi to speak on a panel of young athletes at Dare2Tri’s Play For All event for the last four years and she will speak again this year. The event will take place at the Chicago Children’s Museum on Feb. 14, and will present a variety of interactive adaptive sports activities as well as the athlete panel.

When asked about what she will say to the audience and her peers at the event, Gabi responds emphatically.

“I will be talking about the sports that I do—and I will hopefully change the world.”

Please see information below for event details.

What: Dare2Tri Play For All day

The Chicago Children’s Museum will open an hour early on Feb. 14 to host families of children and veterans with disabilities.

Dare2Tri will be displaying a variety of hands-on, adaptive sports activities including a See, Touch and Feel prosthetics display, goalball, roller sled hockey, a Pedal and Scoot Triathlon and an athlete panel. The panel will feature triathletes, like Gabi, who were either born with a disability or acquired one later in life. The athletes range from ages 9 to 16 and will share their stories about overcoming adversity. It’s about kids talking to kids, says Keri Serota, Dare2Tri executive director.

Sign up here.

Where: The Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

When: Saturday, Feb. 14

The organization: Dare2Tri works to help people with disabilities train for and participate in triathlons. The idea for the program started in 2010 when three friends and triathletes—Keri Serota, Melissa Stockwell and Dan Tun—were brainstorming ways to get more people with disabilities involved in the sport. Serota, Dare2Tri’s executive director, was working for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) at the time and says Dare2Tri’s original goal was to be another program that organizations like GLASA or park districts could offer to their communities.

The founders initially hoped to serve eight to 10 individuals. The three friends felt they needed more legitimacy as a staff and wrote a grant to the US Olympic committee for the funding to become certified triathlon coaches. Then, in September of 2012, Serota left her position at GLASA to build the Dare2Tri organization full-time. In 2014, Dare2Tri served over 230 athletes ranging from 6 to 71 years old. Their athletes mostly compete in local competitions in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin but their “elite team,” a group of extremely dedicated athletes, competes in national and international competitions.

Written by Maura Flaherty for Make it Better.

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