Archive | September 2015

5 Illegal & Deadly Driving Habits

distracted-driving-720Breaking traffic laws can have far greater consequences than a simple traffic ticket. Causing an accident due to negligence could kill or seriously injure you, your loved ones and other drivers. Read and share the following information with your friends and family, particularly young drivers.

  1. Texting While Driving – Driving while texting, emailing or using a smartphone is illegal in most U.S. states and Canadian provinces. While the laws may vary based on the age of the driver or the type of device in use, one thing is clear: distracted driving is dangerous. Numerous studies have shown that texting or using your smartphone while driving substantially increases your chance of injury or death. Injuries and deaths caused by distracted drivers have skyrocketed in recent years. Pull safely to the side of the road and stop before texting or using your smartphone.
  2. Not Wearing Your Seatbelt – Many states and provinces have made driving without a seatbelt a citable offence. Make sure you and anyone else riding in your vehicle is buckled up. Young children should be in an age appropriate child car seat or booster. Click here to learn more about which type of car seat is safest for your child.
  3. Aggressive Driving – Aggressive drivers are dangerous. Weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating and cutting off other drivers can lead to accidents and reckless driving charges. Depending on where you live reckless driving may be a criminal offense and could lead to the loss of your license, expensive fines and even jail time.
  4. Excessive Speeding – Excessive speeding does not mean occasionally going a little bit over the speed limit. Excessive speeding often involves driving at dangerous speeds, putting you and others at risk. Many states and provinces have set thresholds for charging speeders with reckless driving. Being caught speeding in excess of the threshold may mean you will receive a reckless driving charge.
  5. Buzzed Driving – It is no surprise that drunk driving is dangerous and illegal, but some drivers think it is all right to have just a few drinks before they drive. Many states and provinces have drastically lowered the blood alcohol level acceptable for driving. In some cases one or two drinks could land you a DUI charge. Even blood alcohol levels below the legal limit can impair your driving and increase your chance of injury or death in an accident. Teens face zero tolerance laws for drunk driving. This means that it is often illegal for anyone under the age of 21 (22 in Canada) to have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system while driving. First offenses of DUI or DWI may land you in jail and leave you with a criminal record. The best way to avoid DUI or DWI accidents and criminal charges is to avoid drinking and driving all together.

Tips to Improve Your Self-Improvement

self-improvement-tipsSelf-improvement. We all want to be better and do better but few of us actually take the time to work on ourselves. That is what this September observance is all about – making the time for you. Sometimes making the time available in itself is tough but if you value yourself and your self-improvement you will do it. Some people schedule time for themselves just like they would schedule an appointment with someone else. Others get up earlier or plan time at the end of the day. Do whatever is easiest for you or it will not work. The most important thing is to be committed to take time for your own personal self-improvement this month.

The next thing is to figure out what you can do to engage in self-improvement. Here are some ideas:

  1. Start by writing in a guided journal. A guided journal has started phrases that you respond to and it is designed to help you explore your thoughts and beliefs so you get a better understanding of what makes you “tick”. Try The Discovery Journal available through lulu. The discipline of writing and reflecting will give you great insight and help you decide what you want to do to make improvements.
  2. Select no more than three areas you want to work on. Three will be more that enough to keep you busy for the month of September. If you want to chose more after that you certainly may do that. Write you choices down and create a goal for each. What do you want to have at the end of the month regarding each of these. Be crystal clear what it will look like and feel like. What will you be doing differently, what will you be saying and thinking?
  3. Check to be sure that each of your goals is aligned with your values and beliefs. If they are not then adjust them so that they are. If you do not do this you will never achieve your goals happily.
  4. Create a visual of each of your goals and put them someplace you will see often to remind you that you are on your way to new behavior. Every time you look at your visual say to yourself, “I am glad I am on my way to being…..” That will become your mantra or affirmation for each of your goals and will help to keep you focused and attract the changes that you want.
  5. Get to work. Set an action plan to accomplish each of your goals and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate when you accomplish them.

New Malware Targets Organizations That Wire Funds

malwareCybersecurity researchers have been tracking a network system malware called Dyre Wolf. The latest version uses both malware and social engineering to target businesses that wire-transfer large amounts of money.
Security experts have found that the malware goes undetected by many of the anti-virus programs used by organizations as a first line of defense.
The attack starts with large-scale phishing emailings that try to fool the user into clicking on a link and installing the Dyre Wolf malware. When the infected victim tries to access a bank website, the victim instead sees a message stating the website is experiencing problems, and requests the user to call a given phone number.
What is shocking is that the Dyre Wolf malware is created to track hundreds of banking websites, yet supplies only one phone number for the victims to call. When the victim calls the number, the attackers somehow know which bank they are trying to access. The victim is then tricked into supplying their organization’s banking credentials. Within minutes of the phone conversation, the criminals have successfully wired the money to themselves.
The Dyer campaign is constantly evolving and seems to remain one step ahead of cyber defenses. Its success is demonstrated by the more than $1 million lost to this malware, and further emphasizes an organization’s need for protection. Dan Goodin “Dyre Wolf malware steals more than $1 million, bypasses 2FA protection,” (Apr. 3, 2015).
To avoid being trapped by this malware, look up the number of the institution and do not rely on the number on the email. Call the financial institution and ask if its website is down and ask the institution to confirm if the number you are viewing is one of its numbers.
Finally, never provide your banking details over the phone, especially if requested by an online message.
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way they execute their attacks, and organizations must stay vigilant to the varying ways their systems can be infected. Human error accounts for most data breaches, and the Dyre Wolf attack is an example of how these attacks rely on user negligence.
Employees who manage financial transactions or use wire transfers for payroll or other expenses must be trained to recognize phishing emails and question any request for banking credentials.
Because of the seriousness of the threat, organizations may want to consider strict policies on the disclosure of sensitive banking information, requiring employees to verify credential requests before fulfilling them. Employers should also have written procedures for reporting any suspicious online operations, and train employees on how and when to use those procedures.