Presidential Nominees Used to Bait You Into Malware



Regardless of which side of the political line you reside, an email message promising to show you something damaging to a presidential candidate may be fascinating. Hackers know this and are using clickbait to get malware installed on all the machines possible. In this case, they are using a scathing message about Hillary Clinton’s fake activities as clickbait.

Clickbait is a type of headline that intends to shock a reader or viewer into opening the file. It may promise a photo of a naked celebrity, a strange looking sea creature, or in this case a video of Clinton supposedly meeting an ISIS leader. A link to a video arrives in email with the headline of “Clinton Deal ISIS Leader caught on Video.”

Consider using ad-blocking software to avoid getting baited by these ads. They don’t always use something so shocking as this to attract clicks, but hackers know that curiosity certainly kills the cat. Often malware even lurks behind regular-looking ads. That’s why ad blockers can be effective. However, the number one defense is just to avoid clicking any ads unless you know for certain they will not do any harm.

Inside this particular ad is a story about how the presidential nominee was supposedly seen exchanging money with the ISIS leader and a line stating “you can decide on who to vote.” What ultimately happens is a .zip file that when opened will unleash a Java file that installs the malware Backdoor.Adwind which can get access to information on the machine.

This particular malware affects Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and devices running on Android. No one is immune in this case, so everyone needs to keep an eye out and avoid clicking on any type of clickbait.

© Copyright 2016 Stickley on Security

Back-to-School Tech for Your Children



It’s increasingly common to find classrooms filled with the blue hue of computer and tablet screens. Early education or postgraduate work, there’s a shift towards technology-driven, or at least technology-aided, schooling.

Students that learn to use technology to stay organized, conduct in-depth research and collaborate with peers can also use these skills in college and their professional lives.

What devices might students need? Laptops, tablets and smartphones are the primary devices that many students use. Although your child likely doesn’t need one of each, a graphing calculator is sometimes a second necessity for classes and standardized tests.

Some high schools have a one-to-one program and issue students a laptop or tablet that they can bring home. Other schools let students borrow devices while in class, or let students bring their own device.

While the upfront costs of purchasing a device are understandably higher, you might want to buy one anyway. You won’t need to return it, and it can be used during summer breaks and subsequent years at no extra cost.

Saving money when purchasing your own tech. If you decide to buy a device, you may be able to save money by timing your purchase and comparison shopping.

  • Find discounts during annual sales. Back-to-school sales often include electronics, making this a good time to buy. Some manufacturers release new models between June and August, which can lead to an even better discount on last year’s models. Labor Day and the holidays sales are prime deal times later in the year.
  • Use retailers’ outlets. Manufacturers sometimes offer older models, open-box items, and refurbished electronics for a discount at their online outlet sites. The product might even be as good as new, but can’t be sold at full price because the box is damaged. Check back often because the sites frequently post new items.
  • Look for student deals. Some software companies and electronics manufacturers offer student discounts to high schoolers, while others restrict the savings to current or incoming college students. Research policies from manufacturers, as well as online retailers, and compare them with your local stores’ policies.
  • Educational discounts for homeschooling parents. Homeschooling parents may be eligible for manufacturers’ educational discounts even if their child doesn’t qualify for a student discount.
  • Shop at resellers. If you’re looking for a particular type of tablet or laptop, search far and wide for the best price. There’s no guarantee that buying directly from the manufacturer is cheapest.
  • Trade in old devices. Some retailers give you store credit for your old electronics. It’s a good option if you have a device that’s just gathering dust on a shelf.
  • Buy used. While used electronics may be older and slower than the latest model, that’s not always a problem. For example, some standardized tests forbid test takers from using newer web-enabled graphing calculators. You can find used items online, at garage sales and in local Facebook buy/sell/trade groups. If there isn’t a warranty or guarantee from a reputable company, determine the device’s quality before making a purchase.
  • Always check for coupons and rebates. Whether you’re shopping online or in a store, always check for coupons and discount codes. Researching the store’s name plus “coupon code” will often result in a list of sites with the latest codes. Look for more savings by searching the product’s name plus rebate.
  • Consider budget laptops. There are laptops available for just a few hundred dollars. Although these less expensive options may come at a compromise on performance or storage capabilities, they can be well suited for students’ basic tasks.

Where you find the best deal can depend on what you’re looking for, the time of year and one-off promotions. Consider all your options and weigh the pros and cons of buying an older or used device.

Bottom line: Understanding technology is a necessity for many of today’s students and professionals. Ensuring students have access to technology at home could help them excel at school and later in life. While some devices can be costly, there are programs and opportunities that can help you save money if you know where to look.


By Nathaniel Sillin


Six Ways to Save On Your Next Car


Looking for an eco-friendly subcompact or the thrills that come with a sports car? Perhaps the practicality of a sedan or a spacious SUV better fits your needs? No matter what type of vehicle is calling your name, planning your purchase can help you save as much money as possible.

Consider these six savings tips while shopping for your next car. Whether you’re concerned about upfront, monthly or long-term costs, there’s something here that can help you.

1. Look for a fuel-efficient car. Buying a hybrid or all-electric vehicle rather than a gas guzzler could help you save money on long-run fuel costs. Plus, state and federal tax credits might give you some additional upfront savings.

If you’re sticking to a fully gas-powered car, you can still save money by choosing a fuel-efficient model. Once you pick a class of car and determine your budget, use the Environmental Protection Agency’s miles-per-gallon rating for each vehicle to estimate and compare the monthly fuel costs.

2. Compare the long-term costs of different cars. In addition to fuel, consider the long-term costs of maintenance, repairs, insurance, taxes, depreciation, fees and financing.

To help you with the calculations, Kelly Blue Book has a 5-Year Cost to Own tool that lets you compare long-term costs for 2015 and 2016 models. Edmunds’s True Cost to Own® tool does a similar thing for 2010 and newer models.

3. Buy a “new-to-you” car. Buying a used car rather than the equivalent brand-new model can usually save you money. However, you’ll want to look at each used car on an individual basis. Consider how it feels during a test drive and its history if you can access it.

You may be able to buy a warranty for your used car, or you could purchase a certified pre-owned (CPO) car from a dealership. Dealers inspect CPOs before selling them with a manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re not buying a CPO, you could hire a mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection. It’s not a guarantee, but the inspection can help ensure you won’t get caught off guard by any unexpected issues.

With the right deal on a used car, you might be able to buy the car outright instead of financing the purchase. By paying cash, you avoid accruing interest, making monthly payments and worrying about loan-origination fees.

4. Negotiate the purchase. Most people don’t enjoy haggling with a car salesperson, but even non-confrontational negotiating tactics can help you save money.

For example, once you pick a make and model, you could shop online for available vehicles at nearby dealerships. Reach out to each dealer’s internet sales team and ask for their best total cost, inclusive of taxes and fees.

Take the lowest offer and ask the other dealers if they can beat it. If one of them can, take your new lowest quote and again ask the rest of the dealers to go lower. Keep going until you get a price that works best for you.

You could use the same tactic with dealerships outside your area. However, you may have to travel and pick up the car or pay to transport it.

Another helpful resource is negotiation services like Authority Auto, which negotiates competitive prices on new and pre-owned cars. For a fee, the online service negotiates each part of the process to get you a better deal and take some of the stress out of the car-buying experience and only charge a percentage of what they save you.

5. Consider leasing instead of purchasing. Taking out a lease is similar to purchasing a long-term rental. You’ll have to return or buy the car at the end of the lease, and you may have to pay fees if you drive too many miles or damage the vehicle.

The lease down payment and monthly payments will be lower than buying the same car outright. However, you can still save money by shopping around and negotiating because the down payment and monthly payments depend on the vehicle’s sale price.

If you like to drive a new car and always want to be under warranty, starting a new lease every few years could make sense. On the other hand, there’s more long-term value in buying if you tend to have a lot of wear and tear on your cars.

6. Use alternative means of transportation. Forgoing the purchase of a car altogether might not work for everyone, but it’s worth considering if you live in a city or don’t regularly drive long distances. Instead of owning a car, you could get around with a mix of carpooling, public transportation, walking and biking. You could also still have access to a car if you join a car-sharing program or use a ride-sharing app or taxi service.

Bottom line
There are many ways to save money on your next car, and you should almost certainly plan your purchase before signing any dotted lines. Start by researching all your options, including living without a car, buying used and leasing. If you decide to purchase a car, you can compare the long-term cost of different makes and models and save money upfront by haggling with sellers.


By Nathaniel Sillin

Protecting Your Loved Ones with Life Insurance


Your life insurance needs will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your family, the nature of your financial obligations, your career stage, and your goals. For example, when you’re young, you may not have a great need for life insurance. However, as you take on more responsibilities and your family grows, your need for life insurance increases.

Here are some questions that can help you start thinking about the amount of life insurance you need:

• What immediate financial expenses (e.g., debt repayment, funeral expenses) would your family face upon your death?

• How much of your salary is devoted to current expenses and future needs?

• How long would your dependents need support if you were to die tomorrow?

• How much money would you want to leave for special situations upon your death, such as funding your children’s education, gifts to charities, or an inheritance for your children?

• What other assets or insurance policies do you have?

Types of life insurance policies

The two basic types of life insurance are term life and permanent (cash value) life. Term policies provide life insurance protection for a specific period of time. If you die during the coverage period, your beneficiary receives the policy’s death benefit. If you live to the end of the term, the policy simply terminates, unless it automatically renews for a new period. Term policies are typically available for periods of 1 to 30 years and may, in some cases, be renewed until you reach age 95. With guaranteed level term insurance, a popular type, both the premium and the amount of coverage remain level for a specific period of time.

Permanent insurance policies offer protection for your entire life, regardless of your health, provided you pay the premium to keep the policy in force. As you pay your premiums, a portion of each payment is placed in the cash-value account. During the early years of the policy, the cash-value contribution is a large portion of each premium payment. As you get older, and the true cost of your insurance increases, the portion of your premium payment devoted to the cash value decreases. The cash value continues to grow–tax deferred–as long as the policy is in force. You can borrow against the cash value, but unpaid policy loans will reduce the death benefit that your beneficiary will receive. If you surrender the policy before you die (i.e., cancel your coverage), you’ll be entitled to receive the cash value, minus any loans and surrender charges.

Many different types of cash-value life insurance are available, including:

• Whole life: You generally make level (equal) premium payments for life. The death benefit and cash value are predetermined and guaranteed (subject to the claims-paying ability and financial strength of the issuing insurance company). Your only action after purchase of the policy is to pay the fixed premium.

• Universal life: You may pay premiums at any time, in any amount (subject to certain limits), as long as the policy expenses and the cost of insurance coverage are met. The amount of insurance coverage can be changed, and the cash value will grow at a declared interest rate, which may vary over time.

• Indexed universal life: This is a form of universal life insurance with excess interest credited to cash values. But unlike universal life insurance, the amount of interest credited is tied to the performance of an equity index, such as the S&P 500.

• Variable life: As with whole life, you pay a level premium for life. However, the death benefit and cash value fluctuate depending on the performance of investments in what are known as subaccounts. A subaccount is a pool of investor funds professionally managed to pursue a stated investment objective. You select the subaccounts in which the cash value should be invested.

• Variable universal life: A combination of universal and variable life. You may pay premiums at any time, in any amount (subject to limits), as long as policy expenses and the cost of insurance coverage are met. The amount of insurance coverage can be changed, and the cash value and death benefit goes up or down based on the performance of investments in the subaccounts.

With so many types of life insurance available, you’re sure to find a policy that meets your needs and your budget.

Choosing and changing your beneficiaries

When you purchase life insurance, you must name a primary beneficiary to receive the proceeds of your insurance policy. Your beneficiary may be a person, corporation, or other legal entity. You may name multiple beneficiaries and specify what percentage of the net death benefit each is to receive. If you name your minor child as a beneficiary, you should also designate an adult as the child’s guardian in your will.

What type of insurance is right for you?

Before deciding whether to buy term or permanent life insurance, consider the policy cost and potential savings that may be available. Also keep in mind that your insurance needs will likely change as your family, job, health, and financial picture change, so you’ll want to build some flexibility into the decision-making process. In any case, here are some common reasons for buying life insurance and which type of insurance may best fit the need.

Mortgage or long-term debt: For most people, the home is one of the most valuable assets and also the source of the largest debt. An untimely death may remove a primary source of income used to pay the mortgage. Term insurance can replace the lost income by providing life insurance for the length of the mortgage. If you die before the mortgage is paid off, the term life insurance pays your beneficiary an amount sufficient to pay the outstanding mortgage balance owed.

Family protection: Your income not only pays for day-to-day expenses, but also provides a source for future costs such as college education expenses and retirement income. Term life insurance of 20 years or longer can take care of immediate cash needs as well as provide income for your survivor’s future needs. Another alternative is cash value life insurance, such as universal life or variable life insurance. The cash value accumulation of these policies can be used to fund future income needs for college or retirement, even if you don’t die.

Small business needs: Small business owners need life insurance to protect their business interest. As a business owner, you need to consider what happens to your business should you die unexpectedly. Life insurance can provide cash needed to buy a deceased partner’s or shareholder’s interest from his or her estate. Life insurance can also be used to compensate for the unexpected death of a key employee.

Review your coverage

Once you purchase a life insurance policy, make sure to periodically review your coverage; over time your needs will change. An insurance agent or financial professional can help you with your review.


Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Welcome to the Workforce


It’s time to roll up your sleeves and put that lifetime of education to work for you. Finding the right job isn’t easy—it takes motivation to go after the industry or company you want, effort to ace the application and interview process and a bit of luck to land the job. Read on for tips, advice and tools that will help ensure a successful search.


Your school career center is an excellent place to start when looking for work. As a resource provided to students, the point of a career center is to find jobs that relate to specific fields of study. Check in with a career counselor for advice on resume building or to sign up for on-campus interviews. Recruiters often come to schools and universities looking for future prospects. Many campuses hold job fairs and career events year round. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door of an otherwise out-of-reach company.

The Internet has made job hunting more convenient. Specifically, job search sites like Indeed, Career Builder and Monster allow you to apply for jobs and/or post your resume for potential employers to come find you. Craigslist is another resource to find part-time or full-time positions. Submitting a cover letter and resume online is often the preferred method these days.

Headhunters and employment services can also be a good source for job leads. One of the major benefits of working with placement agencies is that they already have established relationships within the industries they service and know exactly who to put you in front of. The downside is that some may charge you a fee for their services or require a percentage of your pay from the company who has hired you.

Networking is a great way to get your foot in the door. Many of the best jobs out there are never advertised. The key to landing them is a lucky combination of being in the right place at the right time and talking to the right person. Don’t be afraid to go to social events and advertise yourself or talk about your goals. Or share your plans with friends and family. If they can’t immediately connect you with a job, they can often provide valuable advice on where to look and who the best contacts might be. It’s also important to join online networking circles. Post a profile on LinkedIn and join groups to connect with relevant professionals.

Know What You’re Looking For

Think about the big picture and not just the job you want now. Beyond earning a paycheck, what skills and experiences do you want to take away from your new job? Look to the next step of your career and think about which job will get you closer to that goal. Also, look at the associated benefits. A high-paying job with no benefits may not be as advantageous as a lower-paying position with a complete benefits package.

Consider cost of living and your expenses before you relocate for a job. Every city is different, so a starting salary in one area may not be enough to support you in a new location. Moving costs are another factor to take into consideration. If your prospective employer isn’t going to pay your moving costs, make sure the salary will make up for these costs in the long run, or that you have additional funds to cover the expenses.

10 Tips for Becoming a Knowledgeable Renter

for rent

On the hunt for a new apartment? A move can be an exciting opportunity to explore a new area or meet new people. However, competitive rental markets can make it difficult to find a desirable place on a budget.

Keep these ten tips in mind to manage the process like a pro. They’ll help you stand out from the crowd, get a good deal, enjoy the neighborhood and manage your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

1. Talk to Other Tenants. Speak with current or past renters to get a sense for the building and landlord. Ask about the neighborhood, noise, timeliness with repairs and any other pressing questions. Consider looking for online reviews of the landlord as well, and research the neighborhood.

2. Upgrade Your Application. Go beyond the basic application requirements and include pictures, references, credit reports and a short bio about yourself and whoever else may be moving in. Try to catch the landlord’s eye and show that you’ll take care of the property. You can order a free credit report from each bureau (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) once every 12 months at

3. Understand Your Lease. The lease may list the rent amount, terms of the security deposit, guest polices and other crucial details. Read it carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand something. State laws regarding rent control or other regulations can impact your situation as well. If you can afford one, you could hire a lawyer to review and explain the lease.

4. Negotiate the Terms. You can’t always negotiate lower rent (it’s worth trying), but there may be flexibility when it comes to the security deposit, parking spaces, administrative fees, or the lease’s length.

5. Learn Your Rights. Protect yourself by learning about your rights as a renter. They can vary by state, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a directory with links to tenants’ rights websites for each state.

6. Do a Walkthrough. Walk through the apartment with the landlord, look for damages and document anything you find. You’ll thank yourself later when you move out and ask for your full security deposit back.

7. Consider Renters Insurance. Renters insurance costs about $15 to $30 a month for a policy that covers $50,000 worth of losses. It reimburses you if your belongings are stolen, damaged or destroyed by a covered cause, such as a fire. The insurance also helps pay for legal fees if, for instance, someone sues after getting injured at your home.

8. Make Your Own Repairs. Prior to signing the lease, ask if you can take on some of the maintenance responsibilities in exchange for reduced rent. You could offer to handle and pay for basic upkeep, such as replacing lights or smoke detectors, and making minor repairs.

9. Pay Attention to Bills. Evaluate which bills you’ll pay in addition to the rent, such as gas, heat, water, electricity, trash, Wi-Fi or parking. A more expensive apartment that includes these can save you money overall.

10. Talk to Your Landlord. Hiding financial trouble helps no one. Talk to your landlord and ask for an extension if you can’t make rent. Good tenants can be hard to come by, and your landlord will likely prefer open communication and a late check to being left in the dark.

Bottom Line: Being an informed renter is especially important in a competitive rental market. Take simple steps to improve your rental and money management skills and you’ll benefit for years to come.

By Nathaniel Sillin