Beware of Holiday Phishing Scams

With the holiday season upon us and many us shopping online, now is a good time to be extra aware of common security issues.  From recognizing fake antiviruses, spyware to phishing attacks via email and social media, due diligence is utmost and paramount.

With any desktop, laptop and mobile device, be sure to BACK UP your data on a regular basis.  With all the back up services and devices available today, there is NO EXCUSE for not taking the time do so.

Areas of concern include:

 Attacks and Threats: This includes bringing about awareness regarding software patches, remote assistance, anti-virus, backup servers and file sharing.  Be aware of possible attached file attachments or clickable links disguised as real companies.  When in question, go directly to the questionable website via your browser for information on upgrades, patches, etc.   If not sure or no one is available to ask, then do nothing.  Your computer or mobile device will function without the upgrade or patch until you have time or can ask someone else if it’s legitimate.  Rule of thumb – when in doubt, don’t.

Another form of threat is rootkits or phishing attacks. Even thought this might not be a direct threat to your computer, it can cause your computer to slow down, or lose control with access to programs or the Internet,  It can also spy and collect information about your activities on the computer, and even hold your computer hostage in order to receive money (which you should NEVER pay.)

What steps can you take to protect yourself?

  • Use an anti-virus software – To project your computer against viruses, you’ll want to install an anti-virus software program.  It will detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage.
  • Use a firewall – By blocking malicious traffic before it can enter your computer, a firewall is designed to prevent different types of infections and limiting the traffic you send.  You may be able to use the firewall that was included with your operating systems , but make sure it is enabled.  Also, there are many different ‘off-the-shelf’ Internet Security programs available from computer stores.
  • Use unique passwords – Attackers will try to gather information from you, then use it to figure out your passwords. For example, your address, phone number, pet or children’s names, date of birth, graduation, or other important names or dates are commonly used as passwords.  Therefore choose passwords that will be difficult for attackers to guess, plus use different passwords for different programs and devices. Do not choose options that allow your computer to remember your passwords.
  • Keep software up to date – An easy way to gain access to your computer is through vulnerabilities and known problems with software programs.  Be sure to update patches and enable automatic updates so that attackers can’t take advantage of these known flaws in program’s security.
  • Practice good security – Initiate proper precautions when using email and web browsers, thereby reducing possible risks.  Many browsers have security levels.  Use high security for children, and medium for everyone else.  You can also set your anti-virus or anti-spyware programs to monitor your browsing for anything unusual or possible attacks.

you-have-mail

Email and Communication

The most serious problem is from chain letters that mask viruses or other malicious activity. But even the ones that seem harmless may have negative repercussions if you forward them. They can use up a lot of space within the recipient’s inbox, wastes people’s time reading these messages, and you are spreading unnecessary fear and paranoia.

Several types of chain letters include Hoaxes where someone tries to trick or defraud you, or Urban legends, where they claim they are warning of a threat or offer important or urgent information.  If you want to check the validity of an email, there are some websites that provide information about hoaxes and urban legends:  Urban Legends and Folklore and Urban Legends Reference Pages.

Fake Anti-Viruses

You’re cruising the Internet when all of the sudden you get a pop-up that says 2 viruses have been detected on your computer, and to click on the pop-up to remove them.   In a panic, you click on the box and the next thing you know you’ve lost control of your browser and/or someone wants money to remove all those viruses that your regular anti-virus program somehow didn’t fine.  That’s because it’s a fake anti-virus program.  Criminals spread this type of malware using emails, search engines, social networking sites, internet advertisements and so on.  You may see pop-ups about security issues/warnings, or asking you for your credit card or personal information.  Or you may receive emails about winning large sums of money or a gift card, a relatives has died and left you money, personal bank loans, make lots of money in a new business or opportunity, and so on.  You are asked to click on a link or download a document to find out more.  As the saying goes, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.  Make the email as spam, then go to your spam folder and delete it.

Avoiding Spyware

How do you know if you have spyware on your computer?   You receive endless pop-up windows, redirected to web sites other than the one you typed into your browser,  toolbars appear in your web browser you haven’t seen before,  icons appear in the task tray at the bottom of your screen that weren’t there before,  your browser’s home page suddenly changed,  the search engine your browser opens when you click “search” has been changed,  certain keys fail to work in your browser,   random Windows error messages begin to appear and  your computer suddenly seems very slow when opening programs or processing tasks (saving files, etc.).

To avoid unintentionally installing spyware, follow these rules:

  • Don’t click on links within pop-up windows – Because pop-up windows are often a product of spyware, clicking on the window may install spyware software on your computer. To close the pop-up window, click on the “X” icon in the title bar instead of a “close” link within the window.
  • Choose “no” when asked unexpected questions – Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to run a particular program or perform another type of task. Always select “no” or “cancel,” or close the dialog box by clicking the “X” icon in the title bar.
  • Be wary of free downloadable software – There are many sites that offer customized toolbars or other features that appeal to users. Don’t download programs from sites you don’t trust, and realize that you may be exposing your computer to spyware by downloading some of these programs.
  • Don’t follow email links claiming to offer anti-spyware software – Like email viruses, the links may serve the opposite purpose and actually install the spyware it claims to be eliminating.

If you think you have spyware on your computer and don’t have an anti-spyware program on your computer, download Malwarebytes and run it. It’s a free program and will remove spyware programs. If you still have problems after running this program, most likely you will need to contact a local computer shop for help.

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Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization.  You receive an email from what seems to be a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem.  If you respond to the requested information, attackers can now use it to gain access to your accounts.  Besides financial accounts, phishing attacks may appear from other organizations such as charities, national events or holidays when online usage has increased. These include natural disasters, epidemics and health scares, political elections and holidays.

If you believe you are a victim of a phishing attack, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that might have been compromised, immediately change any passwords that you might have used accessing your account(s), watch for signs of identity theft, and consider filing a report with local police and Federal Trade Commission.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Use and maintain anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software.
  • Keep software, particularly your web browser, up to date –
  • Evaluate your software’s settings  by apply the highest level of security available that still gives you the functionality you need.
  • Do business with reputable vendors
  • Take advantage of security features
  • Be wary of emails requesting information
  • Check privacy policies
  • Make sure your information is being encrypted
  • Use a credit card
  • Check your statements

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Marketing Gurus Share Insights into Future

Whether you’ve starting a business or are considering the pursuit of entrepreneurship, keeping a step in front of your competition is key to survival.   It’s not too often we are given the opportunity to benefit from the experience and insight of those who have a keen understanding of what lay ahead.   Even if you have the best product or service, marketing rules. It will elevate or defeat you.  So whatever we can do to increase our chances to surpass our objectives and goals, don’t ignore it.

With the extended coverage of this year’s ’50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50′ list – where each of the finalists highlighted share their insights into the next 5 years in marketing and on creating an engaging social media presence – you are given this opportunity to look into the minds of successful and exceptional people.

Brand Quarterly asked the Marketing Thought Finalist to share their insights on the following 2 questions:

  1. What’s the biggest change you see occurring in the marketing industry over the next 5 years?
  2. What’s your top piece of advice for management/marketing professionals to make their social media presence as engaging as possible?

Click here to see their answers >

Innovations that will shape the world

Every December for the past 27 years, the editors of Popular Science have sought out the products and technologies poised to change our world. The advances can be simple—say, an unhackable phone or invisible duct tape. Or they can be profound: Imagine bionic arms dexterous enough to use chopsticks. Regardless of their scope, every one of our 100 honorees is nothing short of extraordinary.

They offer the innovations in 12 different categories, or you can view the grand prize winners.  Either way, plan to be amazed.
Best of what’s new >

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself (Free eBook)

Create an action plan for living your vision, in business and in life.

The third refreshed edition of 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself features 100 proven methods to positively change the way you think and act—methods based on feedback from the hundreds of thousands of corporate and public seminar attendees Chandler speaks to each year. The book now also includes techniques and breakthroughs he has created for individual coaching clients.

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself will help you break through the negative barriers and banish the pessimistic thoughts that are preventing you from fulfilling your lifelong goals and dreams. This edition also contains new mental and spiritual techniques that give readers more immediate access to action and results in their lives. If you’re ready to finally make a change and reach your goals, Steve Chandler challenges you to turn your defeatist attitude into energetic, optimistic, enthusiastic accomplishments.

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making
the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
—Charles Mingus, legendary jazz musician

Steve Chandler is one of America’s best-selling authors whose dozens of books—including the best-sellers 100 Ways to Motivate Others, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, The Hands-Off Manager, and Reinventing Yourself—have been translated into more than 25 languages, with best-sellers in China and Japan. Offered Free by: Career Press

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself — eBook (usually $15.99) is FREE for a limited time!  To receive your free copy (PDF Format),  click here >

 

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15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Online Shopping

Online shopping has become a multibillion-dollar revenue stream–not to mention it has completely turned the path to purchase on its head.

What retailer doesn’t want a piece of that growing pie? This is where multichannel marketing comes into play. Any successful online marketing strategy, however, begins with understanding–and then catering to–consumers’ various shopping patterns and preferences.

To start you on your way, here is a glimpse into the online purchase habits of the modern-day shopper.

1. Online shopping retail sales are predicted to grow steadily to $370 billion in 2017, up from $231 billion in 2012.

2. Consumers ages 25 to 34 lead the way in smartphone usage in-store, comparing prices, reading reviews, buying products, and engaging with brands on social media while in physical stores.

3. Seventy-two percent of Millennials research and shop their options online before going to a store or the mall.

4. Nearly 50 percent of Millennials say they regularly browse for items that they don’t necessarily plan on buying.  Thirty-six percent say they only buy items they deem necessary–for which one-third are willing to pay full price.

5. Online retail revenue saw an 11 percent year-over-year growth rate for the first quarter of 2014, with online orders up 13 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

6. In the first quarter of 2014, retail revenue generated via a mobile device was up 35 percent over last year’s first quarter, with mobile owning 13.7 percent of total e-commerce orders in Q1 2013 compared to 18.5 percent during Q1 2014.

7. Adults 50 years old and above represent the Web’s largest constituency, comprising one-third of the total 195.3 million Internet users in the U.S.

8. Two-thirds of Americans 50-plus buy from e-retailers online.

9. Forrester found that more than three-quarters of 57,499 U.S. online adults surveyed had ordered products or services online. And while Gen Y adults (ages 24 to 32) are the most likely to have done so, Gen Xers (ages 33 to 46) spend the most.

10. With an average $561 in spending, Gen Xers spend about 15 percent more online than Gen Yers ($489), and roughly 25 percent more than the average online adult ($449).

11. Overall, satisfaction with online shopping is high, at 83 percent. However, it drops below 50 percent when shoppers are asked about, specifically, flexibility to choose delivery date; ability to choose a specified time of day for delivery of purchase; flexibility to reroute packages; and a green shipping option.

12. Indeed, today’s online shoppers are looking for a variety of flexible options from retailers; 62 percent also want to buy items online and make returns in-store, and 44 percent want the ability to buy online and pick up their purchases in a store.

13. Online shopping hit $2.29 billion in sales this past Cyber Monday.

14. Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store, or approximately $1.1 trillion total.

15. Eighty-four percent of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip. Twenty-two percent of consumers spend more as a result of using digital; just over half of these shoppers report spending at least 25 percent more than they had intended. And 75 percent of respondents said product information found on social channels influenced their shopping behavior and enhanced loyalty.

Written by Giselle Abramovich.   Giselle Abramovich is senior & strategic editor at CMO.com. Previously she wrote for outlets including Direct Marketing News, Mobile Marketer, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Daily, and Digiday. Reach her at abramovi@adobe.com, or follow her on Twitter @GAbramovich.

Source: CMO.com offers digital marketing insight for chief marketing officers & senior marketing executives. We offer marketing news and insights in diverse topics such as; online media, branding, Emerging Media, online marketing to online media, lifecycle marketing and more traditional marketing avenues. Learn more about current trends from key players in the digital marketing space. CMO.com also offers exclusive digital marketing business news & statics, commentary from digital media industry experts, and in-depth digital marketing resources. Get Informed!

Is your business or organization mobile-envy?  Don’t let it bring your organization down … Get It Up!  For your mobile and APP needs, contact Unicom Services and Kullberg Designs at www.unicomsvcs.com

13-Year-Old Has Vision to Help Blind, Intel To Invest

Shubham Banerjee, the 13-year old CEO of the Braille printer-maker Braigo Labs, had no idea what Braille was until last year.

As Banerjee searched the web, he discovered the high cost of Braille printers, which usually cost upward of $2,000.

“When I found out the cost of a Braille printer, I was shocked,” Banerjee told Business Insider. “I just wanted to help the visually impaired. I had a Lego Robotics kit, so I asked, ‘Why not just try that?'”

Built out of Lego’s Mindstorms EV3 blocks and little pieces from Home Depot (Braigo stands for Braille and Lego),  Banerjee believes it could solve a decades-long problem that has been holding back so many visually impaired people around the world: the high cost of Braille printers.

Banerjee says his printer could significantly cut down the price of Braille printers, to less than $500.  It is not easy to drop a couple grand on a printer, even by a developed country’s standards.

“I want to tell (big company manufacturers) to stop taking advantage of blind people,” he says.

Impressed by his product and vision, Intel came calling last September and told him it would invest in his company.  That makes Banerjee the youngest tech entrepreneur ever funded by a VC firm.

With Intel’s funding, Braigo Labs plans to build a new prototype that better resembles a regular printer and bring it to market by next year.

“I want to do engineering in the medical area when I grow up,” he says. “And I want to finish college.”

To read the complete story and view pictures of the invention, click here: http://www.businessinsider.com/shubham-banerjee-braigo-labs-2014-11#ixzz3IqUJu66U
Source: Business Insider.    Written by Eugene Kim.
Eugene Kim is an Enterprise Tech Reporter for Business Insider.  Eugene previously wrote for Fortune Magazine Korea, where he covered tech and startups.   He has a degree from NYU and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University.
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NETWORKING TO GENERATE NEW BUSINESS LEADS, PART I

NETWORKING TO GENERATE NEW BUSINESS LEADS (Part I)
Where to Start?

(Excerpt from my article ‘How to Effectively Network to Create New Business Leads’)

Here is a simple, easy guide I use to help generate new business.  It is a process called ‘extended networking’ and it can be applied to your daily activities.

1 – Start by writing down the names of everyone you can think of, everyone you know from school, church, organizations and associations, friends, neighbors, relatives and so on. You should have approximately 500-600 names on this list.

2 – After compiling this list, exercise judgment in dividing this list into three categories. This list will include:

  •  Potential Customers
  •  Leads to Potential Customers,
  •  and Both.

Take each Potential Customer list and divide into three categories, being High Potential, Modest Potential, and Low Potential. You will now have 9 cells of categories:

a) Those that are on the High Potential list, send a personalized letter and a nice brochure, then call to follow up within 5 days after sending. If you have more Potential Customers on your list than you can conveniently call within 5 days, then send in waves and allocate the time to call.

b) Those that are on your Modest Potential list, send a letter and brochure. After waiting 2 to 3 weeks, send another letter (only) as a reminder. In another 2 to 3 weeks, send another letter. Follow up with a phone call ONLY after working your High Potential list.

c) Those that are on your Low Potential list – don’t bother.

DON’T LET YOUR EFFORTS GO TO WASTE — FOLLOW UP!

Once you have generated interest, be sure to follow these simple steps to close the sale:

1) Pursue the appointment. You still have to get your foot in the door and make your presentation.

2) Be prepared. Find out as much as you can about your potential customer – company background, competitors, etc.

3) When doing your presentation, sell the benefits of your product or service, not the features. The customer wants to know how your product is going to benefit him, save him money, or increase productivity. How it works is of little consequence or importance.

4) Be persistent. After making your first presentation, follow up to answer any questions or objections, then,

5) Ask for the order! It never ceases to amaze me how many people go through all the trouble of making a contact, doing a presentation, answering objections or concerns, but never asking for the order. Once you leave, your chances of making the sale will decrease tremendously.

MORE NETWORKING TECHNIQUES!

You must be an active participant in networking meetings.

I haven’t joined any networking groups – If you haven’t joined local networking groups – join today! Make this your #1 priority today. PERIOD!  You can easily find networking groups by searching the Internet (Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Clubs are probably the most common and have the most members.)  Also try Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter and other social media avenues.  Ask business associates or friends what networking groups they have joined.  If you feel uncomfortable going by yourself, ask if you can go with him/her or at least catch up with him/her at the next meet. I’ve never found anyone who wasn’t more than happy to oblige.

I have joined local networking groups – If you currently are a member of local networking groups and aren’t attending, don’t expect the benefits. An associate who belonged to a local networking group told me that every time she attends a networking function, she tries to meet five new people, get their business card, and discuss with them their specific business needs. After doing this for six to seven months, she reported to me that several contacts resulted in new business, several were appreciative of her assistance (good public relations), and several may become clients in the future. Several have also sent her referrals.

When someone asks you for assistance, to whom do you refer them to? Simply, people you know. That’s why it’s important for everyone to know what your business is, so you will be referred to. An example of this is a gentleman who called me from out-of-state, requesting information on an organization. I answered his questions, but also asked him about his business, and what specific information he was interested in if wouldn’t mind sharing with me. I provided him with several resources that could possibly help him. In return, he told several of his friends and within one week I received two more phone calls requesting assistance.

So far I have given you some specific examples of networking techniques. You might be saying to yourself right now, “Well, I tried that, but it just didn’t work for me.” Then try again! Maybe you were just talking to the wrong people, or not asking the right questions of the right people. The point is…keep practicing. You will attend meetings where you will walk away with 5-10 great new leads, and other meetings with nothing. That’s to be expected. Chart your results for at least a dozen meetings. You will be surprised as to how effect your networking really is! Use the matrix as outlined previously to categorize your leads.

This is a great start to generating leads. Remember that networking requires effort, and with most businesses, you need to get out of your ‘comfort zone’ and meet people.  I’ve always seen multiple returns on my membership dues, but only when I attend meetings on a regular basis, and then apply the techniques outlined above.

Check back for a follow-up to this article when I offer tips on how to become a Networking Guru!  Oh yes, it even gets better!!

Happy Networking!

You may publish or reprint this article as long as you include the following:  Written by Bruce Kullberg, owner of Kullberg Designs. Since 1991, he has offered creative web and graphic designs, mobile, web hosting and related services. For an overview of his services, please visit www.unicomsvcs.com or kullbergdesigns.com © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Multitasking Damages Your Brain and Your Career, New Studies Suggest

You’ve likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

A Special Skill?

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

Multitasking Lowers IQ

Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child. So the next time you’re writing your boss an email during a meeting, remember that your cognitive capacity is being diminished to the point that you might as well let an 8-year-old write it for you.

Brain Damage From Multitasking

It was long believed that cognitive impairment from multitasking was temporary, but new research suggests otherwise. Researchers at the University of Sussex in the UK compared the amount of time people spend on multiple devices (such as texting while watching TV) to MRI scans of their brains. They found that high multitaskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.

While more research is needed to determine if multitasking is physically damaging the brain (versus existing brain damage that predisposes people to multitask), it’s clear that multitasking has negative effects. Neuroscientist Kep Kee Loh, the study’s lead author, explained the implications: “I feel that it is important to create an awareness that the way we are interacting with the devices might be changing the way we think and these changes might be occurring at the level of brain structure.”

Learning From Multitasking

If you’re prone to multitasking, this is not a habit you’ll want to indulge—it clearly slows you down and decreases the quality of your work. Even if it doesn’t cause brain damage, allowing yourself to multitask will fuel any existing difficulties you have with concentration, organization, and attention to detail. Multitasking in meetings and other social settings indicates low Self- and Social Awareness, two emotional intelligence (EQ) skills that are critical to success at work. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that 90% of top performers have high EQs. If multitasking does indeed damage the anterior cingulate cortex (a key brain region for EQ) as current research suggests, it will lower your EQ in the process.

So every time you multitask you aren’t just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that’s critical to your future success at work.  October 2014

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling emotional intelligence books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. He is a frequent keynote speaker at public and private engagements. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

Article Source:  TalentSmart

Lean Content Marketing: How to Create Content on a Budget

Free eBook: How to Create Content on a Budget and Generate a Lean Content Marketing Machine!

Content is king. If you’re a modern marketer, you know why—it is the fuel for your lead generation and nurturing programs, driving leads through your funnel to become customers.

But getting your content machine up and running is tough. Many marketers, in both large organizations and small, lack the budget, resources, and time to implement a content strategy that can truly drive leads through all stages of the funnel.

Luckily, by learning to leverage the resources you already have and doing more with less, even marketers with limited resources can start to create the content needed to fuel demand.

Download this FREE ebook to discover:

  • How to craft the perfect content team—whether you have devoted content positions, or adding to content to your existing team
  • How to encourage and reward content creation throughout your entire organization
  • How to plan content that is mapped to buyer journeys and personas
  • How to slice and dice your content, to get the most mileage out of your investment
  • How to come up with that million-dollar content idea—and then come up with another!

Download here now: http://bit.ly/10Q0hu0