A Russian hacker group has attacked the news site CNET. It later said it stole usernames, encrypted passwords and emails for more than one million users.
CNET said a representative from the group - which calls itself 'w0rm' - informed it about the hack via a Twitter conversation.
A spokeswoman for CBS Interactive - the owner of CNET - said the firm had "identified the issue and resolved it".
According to CNET, w0rm offered to sell the database for 1 Bitcoin, or $622.
But it added that the hacking group said the plan to sell the database was to gain attention and "nothing more".
The representative of the group claimed that it hacked CNET servers to improve the overall security on the internet.
The group has claimed to have successfully hacked the BBC last year, as well as websites of Adobe and Bank of America.
It says that by targeting high-profile websites it can raise awareness of security issues.
"We are driven to make the Internet a better and safer place rather than a desire to protect copyright," the representative said in a Twitter exchange with CNET.
On Monday, the representative offered a security solution to CNET by tweeting: "#CNET I have good protection system for u, ping me".
According to CNET, 27.1 million unique users visited its desktop and mobile sites in the US in June this year.]]>
Adapted from telegraph.co.uk article 3rd July 2014]]>
There also seems to be a misunderstanding that Sage can “deal” with auto enrolment, while the software can assist with the administration, it cannot set up or qualify a work place pension.
Here at Nsure we have seen an increased amount of employers approach us with last minute auto-enrolment enquiries. By leaving it until last minute you limit your options available as many providers are now refusing to offer schemes to employers within months of their staging date. With the amount of firms staging each month increasing, clearly the providers have seen what lies ahead and understand the preparation needed. We encourage every employer to prepare in advance and not wait until their staging date. Our one concern is the thought of tens of thousands of employers trying to set up a scheme but being turned away or put at the back of a queue. When you consider the fines of up to £10,000 a day from The Pensions Regulator for not complying, is it worth leaving it until last minute?
We urge all employers to take an active approach towards their new obligation and plan ahead. If your staging date is approaching or you wish to get a better understanding of auto-enrolment, contact our specialist corporate adviser Ben Allen to arrange an initial meeting at no cost.
Ben Allen DipPFS
Given the high costs, it doesn’t surprise anyone that security continues to be top of the list for UK businesses. Around 80% of senior management ranking it as a high or very high priority and almost the same percentage have briefed their board on security risks in the last year. The majority of breaches take longer than a day to detect, while 14% of organisations took longer than a month to detect a breach, up from 9% last year. A bit of a worry is that 1 in 10 organisations discovered they had been breached by accident – you have to wonder if there are many more breaches that have yet to be discovered.
For further information please visit our website www.nsuretechnology.co.uk or contact Geoff Stanbridge on 01903-608106 or email @ email@example.com
Taken from www.community.rapid7.com – 8th May 2014]]>
With stock markets in the US and UK close to all-time highs just five years on from the dark days of 2009 it is easy to become complacent and think that you can do it yourself, after all it would have been more difficult to lose money than make money over this time. The problem is that’s the past and as the well-known warning says past performance is not a guide to future performance.
DIY investors have a habit of picking last year’s best asset and are reluctant to buy something that has fallen in value. A professional advisor should be looking for next year’s best asset.
Some DIY investors find it difficult to move past simply looking at what grew most over the past year but when they do they often focus on a couple of other measures such as dividend yield or price to earnings ratio and buy investments that are above or below a trigger point. Without fully understanding why an investment has a particular yield or ratio using that as a buy or a sell signal can be very dangerous. For example a historic dividend yield can be very high because a company is about to go into liquidation and will never pay a dividend again!
Like a compulsive gambler DIY investors can be very good at recalling their wins but spectacularly bad at remembering their losses. They remember the technology unit trust they bought and trebled their money on and got out of just in time during the dotcom boom but forget what happened to their portfolio of supposedly “safe” bank shares during the credit crisis.
It is important to know your weaknesses as well as your strengths and like most IFAs we accept that advising on individual share, bond or property selection is not what we do. We leave that to specialist fund managers to handle this part of the process, typically through a unit trust or OEIC. In the investment process, through our research and expertise, we add value around the asset and regional allocation and then the individual fund selection.
Again, when it comes to investing money through collective investments DIY investors often pick a couple of last year’s best performers or if they know about a couple of performance measures such as Alpha or Information Ratio pick funds that score highest on this basis. These measures definitely have a place but without understanding why the funds have these scores using them in isolation can be dangerous. As we manage the money of hundreds of clients we have access to the fund management groups in ways that the ordinary retail investor does not. We are able to meet the actual fund managers in the flesh and ask them about the decisions they have made within their fund and why.
We also analyse how the funds blend with each other. A DIY investor picking the top two funds from the UK all companies sector may think they have diversification but in fact the funds could be invested in the same shares meaning they are actually adding to their risk. At the other extreme if you diversify too much you simply end up with an expensive tracker fund.
Investment selection and performance aside, financial advice is tailored to the individual and takes into account their needs. Advisers ask questions relating to your future plans and tailor your investments accordingly. For example, are you expecting to pay towards a wedding or university fees in the future? Will you need to have any major work done to your home? What would the impact be of a 20% fall in the value of your investment on your lifestyle? These are things an IFA considers when giving you advice and investing your money for you, we think of things that need to be taken into account that may seem irrelevant to the client until the adviser mentions it.
We also help protect investors from themselves! Inevitably there will be times when investments fall in vale. Some DIY investors have a habit of running for the hills at this stage and crystallising their losses. We’re able to remind them of the long term nature of their investments why they invested in the first place and encourage them to ride out the storm.
Tax planning is often overlooked by DIY investor as well. They know to use their ISA allowance each but very few actively make use of their CGT allowance to rebase the cost of their portfolio and save 18-28% tax on £10,000 + of gains each year.
Having your own IFA gives the client continuity, a point of contact who knows them and their individual circumstances eliminating the need for frustrating call centres or generic email responses.
There is also the opportunity for an IFA to spot flaws in other areas of your finances. As a result of examining other areas of peoples finances we have discovered several miss-sold policies (PPI anyone?) resulting in our clients receiving pay outs between £8,000 and £90,000!
Sometimes what the client is looking for is simply reconfirmation that what they think they need is correct and for the IFA to take the strain out of making the investment for them, the only part of form filling our clients have to do is in the signature box.
In recent years, when things have been tough our clients have benefited from the hand holding that we provide and the work we put into managing and monitoring their investments. Bryce Sanders, president of US financial services consultancy Perceptive Business Solutions words an IFAs role in tricky times brilliantly- ‘if a client is standing in the road and a speeding lorry is heading towards him, the adviser is the person who picks him up just in time and puts him back on the curb- that has value’.
In conclusion whilst we don’t dispute that there is a place in the market for DIY investing we do believe that it is a niche market and that if you have the knowledge, time to research, access to the correct technology, and confidence to invest via an online provider then that is probably the right option for you. However the majority of people do better by seeking out tailored advice from an independent financial adviser.
In simple terms it is a vulnerability in the certificate used to ensure that a website that says it is secure actually is. This in turn allows a potential spammer/scammer/attacker to “listen in” to your communications with a secure site and get your username and password at the very least.
The idea is then that they create a spoof site and when you next visit they can get all your details, or use the stolen details to log into your accounts.
One very high profile site that has experienced an attack is Mumsnet, a forum and self-help site for mums. In a statement to the BBC the site’s founder, Justine Roberts, said that it became apparent something was wrong when her own username and password were used to post a message on the site.
The hackers informed mumsnet that they had accessed security records and had username and passwords from all of it’s users. Mumsnet have since updated the software and are forcing users to change their passwords.
Symantec, who are a very trusted security service, suggested the following:
One VERY IMPORTANT thing to note:
Avoid potential phishing emails from attackers asking you to update your password – to avoid going to an impersonated website, stick with the official site domain.
Also importantly is not to rush off and change all your passwords just yet. Most websites will be patched over the next few days to week so wait until the weekend for big websites and next week for smaller ones. Sites that WEREN’T affected include Amazon, Hotmail and Outlook, eBay, PayPal and Apple, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Natwest, Santander and the Co-Op. Sites that WERE include gmail, YouTube, Yahoo – including Tumblr and Flickr, and Facebook.
I hope you have found this to be of interest, but should you require any further information visit https://knowledge.verisign.com/support/ssl-certificates-support/index?page=content&id=AD831 or www.heartbleed.com which will give you a much more technical view on what’s happened. This link also gives a good, non-techie, insight into what’s happened http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/heartbleed-bug-should-i-change-my-passwords-9251143.html
As a technology insurance broker we are able to provide the broadest of insurance covers to cover your worldwide exposures such as this and provide one stop underwriting, this along with the expertise of the insurers we use makes the protection your business and its exposures that much easier and provides you with peace of mind.
For further information please visit our website www.nsuretechnology.co.uk or contact Geoff Stanbridge on 01903-608106 or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org]]>
Start saving for your retirement – the longer you put this off the more it is going to cost you in the long run. Unless you’re going to be able to survive on £7,000 a year from the government and a small amount extra through your auto-enrolment pension, you’re going to have to take responsibility for yourself and get saving.
Stop wasting money on out of date insurance policies – this could mean “rebroking” mortgage protection policies where the sum assured has decreased but the premium has not or cancelling extended policies that cover things you no longer own.
Start your tax return early – over 1 million parents now need to do a tax return because of the removal of child benefit for those with a “high” earner, many of whom have never needed to do one before. Submitting the return earlier gives you plenty of time to deal with any queries as well the chance to budget for any tax that is due.
Stop smoking – as well as being bad for your health it’s expensive, not just in terms of the cost of a packet of cigarettes but also in terms of the extra it costs you in life and health insurance premiums. With most insurers once you have not smoked or used nicotine replacement products for a year you are a non-smoker so if this applies to you - review your policies.
Start using your allowances – there are a number of “use it or lose it allowances”, everyone knows about the cash ISA allowance but don’t forget to at least investigate using your investment ISA allowance and your capital gains tax allowance.
With resolutions out the way I’m off to find a suitable song to sing at midnight on 6th April next year, feel free to send me your suggestions.
Happy New (Tax) Year]]>
For more information visit-
But following the recent widespread flooding, it is perhaps an appropriate time for a little blow of the brokers trumpet and an insight as to some of the work done, much of it unseen.
Insurers generally respond well to large scale disasters when they are in the media spotlight, although they are a bit like politicians and can respond differently once the media lose interest. Inevitably not all claims are going as smoothly or quickly as policyholders had hoped and some insurers are now receiving media attention for the wrong reasons, although insurers can't magic water away and properties have to dry out.
It is at the time of claims that brokers can truly prove their worth, providing vital initial advice, along with guidance through the claims process, so you know what to expect and where relevant, the options available. The majority of claims are generally straight forward and may, to the client, go smoothly, but behind the scenes the broker may well have been chasing and liaising with insurers and loss adjustors to negotiate a fair settlement. A few years ago research by the British Insurance Brokers Association showed that brokers generally negotiated fairer claim settlements than those dealing direct and if there are complications involving cover, under insurance or betterment, do you really want to be on your own?
And it is not just claims where you need a broker, nowadays there are many ways of arranging insurance and the personal lines insurance market in particular has been revolutionised, firstly by Direct Line and more latterly the price comparison websites. Most car and home insurance products have now become commoditised, seemingly all providing similar covers, but when the detail is examined the differences in policies can be marked and not necessarily suitable for an individual’s needs.
The trend to commoditisation has also started with business insurance (generally small business products at the moment) and if you buy online it will be a ‘non-advised’ sale, where you are given details of the insurance contract and you decide if it is suitable for your circumstances. The information will include a summary of cover that is supposed to include all significant exclusions (they don’t) and most then get you to ‘tick the box’ to say that you have read and understood the full policy wording, knowing that the vast majority of customers do not!
By contrast, the service offered by brokers is far more than transactional, with most providing professional advice by reviewing the risks you face, explaining terminology such as material facts, exclusions and warranties before recommending suitable covers to best protect your business. Getting the choice of cover and insurer right in the first place avoids problems with claims and it shouldn't stop there. As important is the on-going advice. Businesses change and adapt over time, so do the risks that they face and it is vital that insurance coverage is kept up to date.
As mentioned earlier, insurance brokers have not been great at PR and failure to publicise the benefits of the services they provide made it easier for the direct insurers to enter the market. The opening up of new distribution channels has made the UK market extremely competitive, but the concern is that there has been a 'dumbing down' of products with cost being the overriding factor at the expense of cover and the Chartered Insurance Institute are now trying to change the public perception of insurance by promoting professionalism in the industry with 'Chartered' awarded to both insurers and brokers who meet certain standards.
As technology continues to advance and customer expectations increase, insurance brokers, like all service providers, face the challenge to show that they continue to provide a valued service at competitive pricing. As with all products, it may be cheaper elsewhere, but the phrase “you pays your money and you takes your choice” come to mind.]]>
Independent Financial Advisers based in Central Worthing
We are a local, family run firm of Chartered Financial Planners and we take pride in offering all our clients excellent advice and service. Our clients are individuals and businesses based predominantly locally but also some further afield. We specialise in retirement planning, investment solutions, tax planning and also advise on life assurance and mortgage needs.
Due to the ongoing expansion of our business we are looking for three people to join our existing team to support our busy Financial Advisers. You will be working in our Rowlands Road office. The available roles are as follows:
Full time Paraplanner
An experienced Paraplanner holding the Diploma in Financial Planning or actively working towards this qualification, to join our two existing Paraplanners. You will be working closely with our Financial Advisers conducting research and writing client reports and must therefore be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of pensions, investments and life assurance, including an understanding of the tax treatments and associated risks in each area of advice.
Full time Administrator
An experienced Administrator to join our support existing team. You will be dealing with the processing of new business applications, client requests and general ongoing maintenance of our client portfolios. You will deal with all areas of business including pensions, investments and life assurance for our individual and corporate clients.
Part time Administrator
To cover a very specific role within our organisation. Instead of dealing with general administration for our clients, you will be responsible for the work required to conduct monthly investment reviews for our existing clients. This includes updating client portfolios and producing valuations as well as executing specific transactions within their portfolios as a result of the investment review recommendations.
To be successful in the above roles you must have a consistently excellent attention to detail, a methodical and organised approach to work with the ability to work on your own initiative. Excellent standards of English and Maths are also a must.
Hours for the full time positions are Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm. Hours for the part time position are flexible but we would require a minimum of 23 hours per week.
For further details of any of these positions, including salary ranges, please email Sarah Gray at email@example.com with an up to date CV.
Vincent Bollore confirmed the proposals after a subsidiary of his Bollore Group, IER, was selected by Transport for London to take over the management of the existing Source London scheme from June this year.
Under that agreement, Bollore said he would quadruple the number of electric car charging points in Britain to 6,000 in a £100m investment aimed at cutting pollution and congestion.
The separate electric car hire project would be based on Autolib in Paris, which was launched in 2011 and currently has more than 45,000 active subscribers making between 9,000 and 13,000 car journeys each day.
A lack of charging points in London is being addressed
"We'll have Blue Cars in London within the next 12 months," Bollore said at a news conference.
He aims to have 100 cars available by the year's end, with the total hitting 3,000 by 2016.
Drivers would have to pay £10 per hour via a smartphone app to hire a vehicle.
The Autolib business model has also been rolled out to the French cities of Lyon and Bordeaux and will soon go into operation in the US city of Indianapolis.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "We're going to see more charging points popping up across London, which will drive the take-up of these cleaner, greener machines and help to reduce air pollution too."
The earlier bike hire scheme he introduced in London was initially sponsored by Barclays bank but soon acquired the nickname "Boris Bikes" after the mayor.
Mr Bollore argued the cars should prove just as popular.
He pointed to the planned growth in charging points to help counter the arguments of electric car critics on limited battery distances.
Serious Games in Coventry have teamed up with a cyber security specialist and a team of organisational psychologists from Aston University in Birmingham, to create software they hope will be used alongside business training.
Cyber crime is estimated to cost UK businesses thousands of pounds a day and is now ranked as one of the top four threats to national security, higher than a nuclear attack.
Tim Luft, managing director of Serious Games, and Michael Loginov, director at Information Systems Security Association, said using a game made the subject more interactive and helped people to understand the dangers of cyber crime.
Individuals can also be an easy target for hackers, but IT expert Dale Pearson, founder of Subliminal Hacking, created a virtual computer and recorded what the hackers did to his system before putting it on the internet as a warning to others.
Meanwhile the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, a group of more than 45 small companies, has one common aim - to stop the cyber criminals.
To find out how you can insure the online aspects of your business should you fall victim to cyber crime, contact Geoff Stanbridge on 01903 520200 or at Geoff.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from article on BBC news website 29th December 2013]]>
For savers this has meant five years of below inflation returns where they have seen the spending power of their money eroded considerably. Accounts paying interest above the rate of inflation are almost non-existent, certainly without tying your money up for many years.
In most cases borrowers “have never had it so good”. Those on long term tracker mortgages have benefited hugely and even those who are on the lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) have usually done quite well, whilst those with enough equity in their property can get fixed rates for less than 4%. Unsecured borrowing like personal loans, which has traditionally been far more expensive, can be obtained with a rate of less than 6% if you’ve got a reasonable credit history. Add to this the fact that inflation erodes the real value of debt as well as savings means borrowers have done very well out of the situation.
The majority of investors have also had a good time with the FTSE 100 up around 80% over the same period and the less volatile average ‘mixed’ fund up over 45%.
The problem with such a long periods of “stability” is that people get into the habit of thinking it will continue forever. Many borrowers have got used to low interest payments, increased their spending and may now struggle if rates were to rise even a little. After a long period of positive returns investors often forget that “investment can fall as well as rise”. All this can lead to complacency setting in and investors, savers, borrowers and even in some instances their advisers, taking their eyes of the ball. Even if the official interest rate hasn’t changed the financial world is a very different place to what it was five years ago and the need for continual reviews remains.
So, on Wednesday 26th February David Elliot-Rose and Dave Cole attended a Rampion Offshore Wind Farm 'Meet the Buyer' event at the Amex Stadium, Brighton, hosted by the developers, E.ON. The main aim of this event was to inform local businesses of potential opportunities that could arise from the construction and operation of the wind farm project, assuming it receives consent later in 2014. The grand setting of Brighton’s football club stadium hosted some 250 – 300 persons with a conference style programme in the morning, followed by interactive breakout focus group sessions in the afternoon.The first morning session provided a project update and supply chain support, introduced by Chris Tomlinson, Rampion Development Manager.
This session then included an introduction to the supply chain steering group and associated studies, a Rampion project update, with a report on the way forward to construction and operation, followed by comments on supporting supply chain development. The presentation continued with an item relating to business growth grants and then a specific item for grants and loans for East Sussex businesses.
After a break, the morning continued with overviews of supply chain contract packages, then offshore work packages, then followed by an absorbing presentation and video from Vestas (turbine manufacturer) regarding their history and worldwide operations. The morning concluded with an overview of onshore work packages and operations and maintenance needs for when the project is completed.
A networking lunch and exhibition had been prepared with the opportunity to meet other local businesses, and project and procurement staff from E.ON's Rampion Project Team.
This was a fascinating and rewarding presentation which included speakers from E.ON, Vestas, Marine South East, Grant Thornton, Coast2Capital and Locate East Sussex.
Early cyber policies included Liability & Property Modules. The liability cover addressed claim expenses and liability arising out of a security breach of the insured’s computer systems, although some early policies only covered technical security breaches. The property-related modules covered business interruption and data asset loss or damage arising out of a data breach with additional first party covers including such things cyber-extortion coverage. Unfortunately for the insurers it was not easy to get people to understand the need for this coverage and this still remains a challenge today, but it is now certainly a lesser challenge with all of the security and privacy news that’s constantly streaming.
One change that has occurred over time and has had a significant impact concerning the frequency and magnitude of data breaches is organised crime. In the early 2000s hacking was more of an exercise in annoyance or used for bragging purposes. Hackers at that time wanted their exploits talked about and known as well as the notoriety for hacking into or bringing down sophisticated businesses.
The real criminals, of course, are less interested in such notoriety. In fact, when trying to steal millions of records to commit identity theft or credit card fraud it is much better for them not to be detected. Recognising that this type of crime is low risk with high reward. Nowadays the sophistication of the cyber criminals has effectively resulted in a relentless crime machine constantly attacking and looking for new ways to attack, and always seeming to be one step ahead of those seeking to stop them. That is why we here about security and privacy breaches practically every day in the newspaper and in the media.
Today Cyber Insurance is a much more established market with more carriers now looking to provide the appropriate cover for businesses of all sizes who are now beginning to see Cyber Insurance more as a mandatory purchase rather than discretionary. As the world continues to change at an alarming rate cyber risks increase with the advent of such things as hacktivism and the monstrous amount of people using social media, the need for Cyber Insurance is also growing. With competition pushing cyber insurance prices down, and significant security and privacy risk being retained by organizations, risk transfer is becoming even more attractive.]]>
Preparation for any business entering the auto-enrolment pension scheme is essential. Like Jamie Clark we agree that businesses, particularly those without an existing qualifying scheme, need to start planning for auto-enrolement at least a year before their staging date.
For further advice call Nsure on 01903 821010 or email email@example.com or tweet us with your questions to @Nsurefs.
To read Jamie's article in full click herehttp://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/2006390.article?cmpid=pmalert_139727]]>
At Nsure we feel we contribute to these statistics by making sure that following on from school or college education, all of our staff are appropriately qualified or helped by us to qualify for their job. We do this via our successful trainee/ graduate programs within the Financial Services division of the company. This year so far, three members of the general insurance team have passed exams and gained further industry relevant certificates. Despite only being a part of the general insurance team for a matter of months Laura McCarthy has already passed her first exam towards the Certificate in Insurance. Two of the financial service team have also passed qualifications this year. It is our dedication to training our staff that has resulted in each part of the Nsure Group of companies being accredited with the Investors In People award (IIP) every year for nearly a decade.
We also volunteer our time at Worthing High School teaching financial literacy twice a week. Our lessons cover budgeting, savings, debt, investment, insurance and financing property purchases/ rent alongside the cost of living. These lessons are well received by pupils and often prove to be a real eye opener to them. We have been teaching pupils twice a week for the past five years. We have also had various pupils come to us for work experience in year ten getting a taste of how the financial services business works.
Our staff come from various educational backgrounds, from school leavers to university graduates and industry experts including Fellows of their profession. Regardless of background all forty of our staff share the same goal that it appears 95.6% of Worthing do- to be the best that you can possibly be.
The company, Britain's biggest supermarket group, said it would reimburse those hit in the breach. The spokesperson added: "We will issue replacement vouchers to the very small number who are affected." In early 2013 a number of Clubcard holders had their vouchers stolen by cyber criminals after Tesco spotted "irregular activity". Log-in credentials of customers were allegedly harvested by hackers using phishing emails.
Adapted by Luan Walsh from Sky News website article 14th February 2014