150310-Anthem-Data-Breach

Unfortunately, we live in a time when data breaches are not terribly uncommon. While we can’t alert you to every single time a business loses data, a recent breach to a health insurer could affect many of our members, and poses some significant risks due to the type of data that was stolen. The tips we provide below will be useful in this situation, but could be useful if you are the victim of any data breach. Continue reading

141219-Android-Security

As I pointed out a few weeks ago, Android accounts for more than 97% of malware; and Apple, Blackberry and Windows phones together account for less than 1% of all malware. In fact, according to network security firm Fortinet, there have been only three cases of a malware-infected app making it into the Apple App Store since its launch in mid-2008. Those apps were removed from the app store once they were discovered. Given that there are around 1.2 million apps in the Apple App Store, having only three rogue apps slip through in six years is pretty amazing.

The article also points out is that there have been an additional eight malware sightings on jailbroken iPhones—devices on which Apple’s security features have been removed in order to download third-party apps. This means that, regardless of the few instances of malware that have been found in the App Store, iPhones are not 100% safe from malware. Continue reading

141219-Android-Security

Did you know that your mobile phone could make you vulnerable to malware attacks or identity theft? Because Apple and Android approach security differently, I am going to touch on each device type separately to discuss risks and how to protect yourself. Here, we will focus on Android phones and tablets.

According to F-Secure, in 2013 Android devices accounted for 97% of all mobile malware. With nearly 85% of smartphones worldwide running Android, it is understandable why malware creators would focus on it. Continue reading

141107-Building-Credit

A good credit score is one of the most valuable commodities a consumer can have. After all, your credit standing not only dictates the loan terms you’re offered and the insurance premiums you pay but also affects your ability to rent an apartment, buy a car, or find a job that requires either a security clearance or the handling of money. Heck, it could even have an impact your marital status, since financial irresponsibility is a major red flag for some people.

When all is said and done, your credit standing will either save or cost you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars – not to mention countless opportunities – over the course of your lifetime. It’s therefore a good idea to make an investment in your credit here and now. But how can you build and maintain a good credit score? Here are some tips: Continue reading

140826-Overspending

Worksheet: Track Your Spending

Financial stability isn’t measured by the size of your paycheck; it’s about what you do with it. Knowing exactly where your money is spent each pay period and making sure you’re leaving room for saving is crucial to becoming financially independent. Do any of these thoughts ever cross your mind? If so, you may want to take a look at your budget and reconsider some of your spending. Continue reading

140506-Teens-Credit-Cards

Americans owe $854.2 billion in credit card debt, with the average household carrying a balance of $15,191 on their credit cards. As a parent, you don’t want your teen to contribute to that statistic. That’s why offering savvy credit management advice early on is especially important. Informed teens understand the risks associated with abusing their credit card, so be sure to cover the following five topics before you sign up for that card.

1. Communicate who will foot the bill

It’s tough to watch your child struggle to pay off debt, especially when you can cover their expenses. However, bailing them out will prevent them from learning how to spend wisely. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling advises you not to bail them out, but to take them to a credit counselor to encourage them to ask for help when they need it. By setting boundaries and pointing them to experts who can help, you enable them to independently find solutions that will get them out of debt. Continue reading

140327-Windows-XP-Screen

If this is the screen you see when you boot up your computer (nearly a quarter of computer users do), April 8, 2014, is a very important date for you. The image above is from Windows XP, which Microsoft released with much fanfare in October 2001. They tried to replace it with Windows Vista in January 2007, but due to problems and bad initial reviews, most people did not upgrade. So, 12 years after its release, over 29% of computers are still running Windows XP. By comparison, only about 3% of all computers are using Vista even though it was released five years more recently. Continue reading