The Benefits of Having a Cardonio Card

We all want convenience in all our daily tasks and concerns, more so with our financial transactions. And we all know how cryptocurrency rocked the globe with its radical, alternative platform to the traditional financial systems and the freedom it affords the individual who is connected to the web. Cardonio Credit Card raises the bar a bit higher with its innovative solutions to using one’s cyrptocurrency account. It is like having the best of both worlds.


Enter Cardonio Credit Card!


Anyone who has an Ether and/or Bitcoin account can now channel funds into Cardonio and make payments and purchases anywhere in the world, without any fees or mark-up. Other existing fiat currencies may also be used as funds in their accounts through bank transfer or by suing a debit/credit card. Cardonio serves as an extension to one’s existing facilities, plus the advantage of using it practically at cost and using cryptocurrency, if and when one desires.


The transaction goes through a smooth process whereby funds from a person’s ETH/BTC holdings are automatically channeled to his/her Cardonio account. A customer will have reflected ETH/BTC balances in their own personal wallet, available online at any time through Cardonio’s website portal or by using a smart phone app. Each time a card holder swipes his/her Cardonio Card, the corresponding amount of ETH/BTC equivalent to the amount of the fiat currency used in the transaction will converted accordingly.


Your remaining ETH/BTC balance will also be be exchanged for the corresponding cash value, allowing you to view in your own currency how much you have left in your wallet. No need to do any side computations. Moreover, no monthly or annual fees are collected for the use of the Cardonio Card, nor on any access to prevailing inter-bank conversion rates. Unlike most, if not all banks, Cardonio does not also charge fees for ATM transactions worldwide.


These are just some of the benefits of using Cardonio Credit Card. There is more and more to come!



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Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants Review: The essential role of wall art in interior design

Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants regards wall art with great importance in your interior design, and the following were made to help you select art pieces that will match with your current space and to give more harmony to your interior.


Color palette


Wall art can provide immediate color palette. You can use a painting or a wall hanging that you truly love as an inspiration for your room’s color palette since choosing one in the process of designing for your interior could take too much of your time. Select two or three shades from the wall art and decide which is the dominant color and other shades as well that you would like to make as accents. Use items that fit those colors in decorating your space where you can also use a mobile application for example in determining the corresponding shades of paint to particular colors, or get the professional help of an art expert such as the Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants.




It can also be that design element in a room that can attract attention and be the central focus of a specific space in your house. Its size should be your priority because a wall art that is too small or too big will not be an effective focal point. Know the proper measurements first and match it to the entire space available.




Wall art can provide a sense of texture as well. Find art in the form of different mediums to help provide a varying sense of texture into a specific space. In addition, sculptures or shadow boxes can add depth to the room. Such additional bits of texture can help put more visual weight to your interiors.


Sense of completion


Wall art can help pull a space together and make it feel complete. You might be following a certain decorating style for your room right? Pick a wall art piece or other hanging art that match to that style.


Having a new space to put decorations on is an exciting feeling. But will all those anticipations, you shouldn’t forget to make wall art one of your priorities when it comes to interior design. Wall hangings can provide a good framework around when executed properly, which can also be used as a central guide in planning the rest of the room.


Know more related information about art with Devin Fitzpatrick Art Consultants.

Tokyo MK Taxi: Fordeler ved å velge vår tjeneste


Mange velger i dag for private flyplasstransport på grunn av så mange fordeler. Selvfølgelig har du mange alternativer, enten du flyr inn eller ut av byen, eller bare ser etter en måte å komme seg rundt i byen. Du kan enten kjøre selv med en leid bil, eller du kan vente på en lang linje for en taxi. Men ingen av disse alternativene er problemfri. Tenk på de mange fordelene med private flyplasstransport som du kanskje ikke er klar over.




Når du ansetter en flyplasstransport, trenger du ikke å bekymre deg for drivstoffkostnaden, leiebilen og andre lignende kostnader.


Ingen venter i køer for drosjer


Med flyplasstransport trenger du ikke å bekymre deg for å vente som de som vil vente tålmodig for din ankomst slik at du kan komme til hotellet eller destinasjonen til tiden.


Du har en erfaren sjåfør


Det som er bra å ansette flyplasstransport er at deres sjåfører er opplært og med erfaring i kjøring. De vet alt som muligens trenger å vite om trafikkskilt og trafikk. Han vil sikkert kjøre for å slippe deg trygt på ditt reisemål.


Ingen for mye papir fungerer


Det er ingen lange papirverk som tar deg tid. Papirarbeid er ofte nødvendig når du ansetter en bil, og dette kan ta noen minutter eller timer, avhengig av omstendighetene. Med flyplasstransport kan du gå inn i bilen så snart du lander til flyplassen.


Du kan hvile og slappe av fra baksetet


Selvfølgelig, etter en lang flytur, vil du lene deg tilbake, slappe av og ikke bry deg om å kjøre for å komme til reisemålet ditt. Derfor er det klokt å leie en flyplasstransport og få deg til å slappe av i baksetet mens din personlige sjåfør kjører deg til ditt reisemål.


Ingen problem når det gjelder samhandling


Når du besøker et nytt sted, kan språk være et stort problem. Når det gjelder dette, kan overføringschauffører fungere som livredder fordi de kan fungere som oversetter for deg. De er vanligvis trent til å snakke på engelsk for å kunne kommunisere effektivt med passasjeren og få dem til hvor de vil være.


Nummerprioriteten til sjåførene er å la deg komme til reisemålet ditt trygt. Tokyo MK Taxi, en ledende leverandør av flyplasstransport i Japan, sørger for at du får best mulig kundeservice og problemfri transport til og fra flyplassen. Tokyo MK Taxi features Lexus group enthusiasts luksuriøse flåte for å gi deg den raffinement, komfort, effektivitet og pålitelighet du fortjener.

Tokyo MK Taxi: Why you should Rent a Limo


Back in the days, limousines are a shiny luxury vehicle that only the rich and famous can afford to own, but fortunately today, the rest of us can now rent this high-end vehicle for special occasions. Anyone who wants to ride in sheer lavishness opts to hire a limousine more than anything else. This became the reason why there are many limos and car rental companies emerging everywhere to provide for such service.


Tokyo MK Taxi is one of the leading limo and car rental companies in Japan, Korea and the United States providing chauffeur service for events like weddings, prom, birthdays, reunions and business related meetings. Having a wide array of car models including Lexus 600hl, Lexus 460, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota Hiace and Nissan Fuga Hybrid, Tokyo MK can definitely cater your car needs and requirements.

Limousines today are multipurpose, they can be used for any types of events or to help you tour the city and to reach destinations in a very sophisticated style. Tokyo MK Taxi features Lexus group enthusiasts and their capacity to provide a smooth, comfortable easy ride as they are hired to treat you with the utmost respect, courtesy, professionalism, punctuality, comfort, safety and discretion.  Here are few reasons why you should splurge on a limousine at least once in your life.


Travel in style


With the latest luxury fleet vehicles, you are going to pull up to an event with style, class and sophistication. Make your experience memorable by riding in a limo and to make a good and lasting impression on relatives and friends since it’s all about luxury and style.


You can get drunk


One advantage of hiring a limo is that you can legally consume alcohol inside. It is a safe decision if you plan on drinking, not only will this spare you all kinds of trouble from getting pulled over, it may also save your life.


Sealing a business deal


Hiring a limousine to pick your clients up is a great way to impress them. If a new client is flying from out of town, it would be best to hire a limousine to pick them up from the airport. They will definitely appreciate the extra care you’ve given to make them comfortable, the best way to help seal a deal from a prospective client, right?

Galveston Capital - Digital Disruption Key to Achieving Indonesia's Tourism Targets: Minister


Jakarta. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the government will consider assisting entrepreneurs and private businesses to achieve its target of establishing 20,000 homestays across the country this year.


Speaking at this year's second national meeting on tourism at the Bidakara Hotel in South Jakarta on Thursday (18/05), Arief said government agencies will work alongside Real Estate Indonesia, academics, local communities and media outlets to provide more budget-friendly accommodation in priority tourism areas.


Arief added that positive digital disruption, or the emergence of game-changing digital services, will propel the industry in the coming years to allow the ministry to achieve its ultimate target of establishing 100,000 homestays across the archipelago by 2019.


"It is real; it is inevitable. Sooner or later, it will happen, it is just a matter of time before all companies, institutions or nations will be 'disrupted.' In the digital era, it will be swift," the minister said.


"Even companies with impeccable reputations, stalwarts of the 'old way,' must adapt to the new digital landscape to survive these changes," he added.


Arief cited online-based ride-hailing services such as Grab and Go-Jek as examples of new companies that have changed the conventional business landscape. He said traditional hotel agents have been usurped in recent years by the convenient and user-friendly services offered by companies such as Airbnb and Traveloka.


"These innovations are always seen as chaotic at first. They were initially ignored, because many people did not believe they could work. Well, they do," he said.


Realizing the massive impact of digital technology, Arief, a former director of state-owned telecommunication company Telkom, has been digitizing homestay management since last year.


"Now, 2,000 homestays have been registered on the digital platform belonging to the Indonesia Tourism Exchange [ITX]," he said.


The platform assists homestay owners to manage their businesses on par with world-class hotel chains.


"It is a must; it cannot be bargained anymore. Those who are not joining will experience difficulties in their businesses," he said.


However, Arief said the effect will be positive. It will increase the size of the market and value of tourism in Indonesia. Demand will increase, as the market consists of multiple sources across the globe.


"So, our cultural village homestays can be worldwide, not only operating in Indonesia," he said.


Arief said it can often take up to five years to build a hotel, which is considered high-cost tourism, while homestays, which constitute low-cost tourism, only take six months to establish.


"Interest in home-sharing is expected to increase from 10 percent [in 2016] to 15 percent [in 2020] in most major cities around the world. In Southeast Asia, the trend is also expected to increase from 2 percent [in 2016] to 5 percent [in 2020]. Therefore, I believe Indonesia will become the best and largest homestay manager in the world. It is a dream we can achieve together," he said.

Security and Risk Complaints Online on Machine vs. machine battle has begun to de-fraud the internet of lies

Standards help, too, as we fight to ensure the cost of sharing doesn't outweigh the benefits



A long-ago cartoon in The New Yorker put it plainly: "On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog." If that cartoon had been written today, the caption might have read, "On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a fraud."


Scam artists, snake oil salesmen, sock puppets, bot armies and bullies - every time we look up, it seems as though we discover another form of dishonesty, grifting grown to global scale via the magnificent yet terrifying combination of Internet and smartphone.


None of that should surprise us. People are wonderful and horrible. The network we’ve built for ourselves serves both the honest and the liar. But we have no infrastructure to manage a planet of thieves.


Navigating this stuff goes well beyond ‘caveat emptor’, into the darkest secrets of spear phishing and social engineering playing on our higher selves for the basest reasons. It’s no longer an African prince offering you a hundred million dollars for your assistance; it’s a customer who carefully noted all her transactions and registration numbers on a Word document she’s enclosed in a very helpful email.


Security has been stretched to the breaking point. If things continue as they have, the costs of connectivity could begin to outweigh the benefits, and at that point, the post-Web civilization of sharing and knowledge, already fraying, would unwind comprehensively, as people and businesses withdraw behind defensible perimeters and call it a day.


All of this served as subtext - never spoken, yet always front of mind - at the Twenty-Sixth International Conference on the World Wide Web. In some broader sense, this is all the Web’s fault - the shadow of its culture of sharing - so might it be a problem that the Web can fix?


This question obsessed the hundreds of research postgraduates presenting papers and posters at the conference. Insofar as papers presented by the Web’s core research community are a reliable indicator of the future direction for the Web, that future centers on learning how to detect lies.


Detecting false advertisements, bullies, and bots - all of these can be done with machine learning. It can even be applied to a politician's tweets - to find out if they’ve been fibbing about where they’ve been, and when.


This flurry of research hearkens back to one of the oldest problems in Computer Science - the Turing Test. Can you detect whether someone at the other end of a text-based connection is a person or a computer? What questions do you ask? How do you analyse their responses? Take those same ideas and apply them to a vendor on Alibaba or an account on Twitter - ask the questions, analyse and probe - then decide: truth or lies.


As Sir Tim Berners-Lee won the ACM A.M. Turing Award last week, the timing of this next evolution of his Web could not be more appropriate. The Web needs to grow a meta-layer of error-checking and truth-telling. Those will likely slow things down a bit, even as it helps us feel more assured that the fake can be suppressed.


This will never be as true as we might want it to be. As soon as any system to detect lies goes into widespread deployment, the least honest and most clever will go to work undermining that algorithmic determination of truth, finding its weaknesses, and exploiting them. It was ever thus; over the long term, the search for truth will has always been an act of persistence and dedication.


Machines can help us in this battle - but machines will be used on both sides, deceiving and revealing deceit. Yet there is hope: there’s too much money on the table to allow the forces of darkness to gain ascendancy. Chaos is bad for business.


Any alignment of commerce with the greater good is a rare and potent combination, meaning the resources to fight this battle will be available into the foreseeable future. Those graduate students with their fraud and bot detection algorithms will be snapped up by those giant firms whose profits depend on a Web that is truthful enough for commerce. When it comes to truth, what’s good for Google and Facebook is good for the rest of us.


Capital Group Financial Advisor: Active Investing in Japan

Many stock markets around the world offer active managers room to generate superior returns. Among them, Japan stands out. Its equity market appears particularly inefficient. Reforms are also shaking up the once stagnant economy, creating new winners and losers in the corporate sector. That said, stockpicking still demands skill and discipline. We believe that managers will need nothing less than exceptional research and a long-term perspective to come out ahead.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reflationary policies have brought Japan’s stock market to a level of health not seen in decades. Even with the pullback earlier this year, the TOPIX has gained more than 70% in Japanese yen terms since end-2012, when ‘Abenomics’ started raising hopes for Japan’s economic recovery. Investors are rightly interested in gaining exposure to Japan. But how they do so matters.


Adopting a passive strategy may seem attractive. An exchange-traded fund, for instance, would simply track a stock market index in Japan. But why should investors settle for market returns? Japan has traditionally been a stock picker’s market, and it still is. Active managers that are adept at identifying opportunities and managing risks stand a good chance of beating the index over time. The sheer size of Japan’s stock market makes it a fertile hunting ground. It is the third-largest in the world by market capitalisation (US$5.2 trillion) and comprises more than 3,800 listed companies. But there are more reasons why conditions in Japan favour an active approach.


Information advantage


Japan’s stock market appears highly inefficient. Mispricing opportunities can be captured by active managers armed with superior research and insights. What drives stock market efficiency? Research coverage is key. The more analysts there are following a company, the faster information is likely to be shared. In that respect, Japan trails other developed markets like the US and UK significantly. On average, 12 analysts follow each company in the Nikkei 225 index, compared with 22 for the S&P 500 Composite Index and 21 for the FTSE 100 index.1 Research coverage tends to be even thinner for small- and mid-cap companies in Japan (see Exhibit 1). After the global financial crisis, many securities houses cut their research in this space to focus on larger companies instead. Within the electric appliances industry, for example, as many as 12 major securities houses track conglomerate Hitachi. But just two follow commercial kitchen equipment maker Hoshizaki.



Small firms, big reach


Japan’s small- and mid-cap sector is also home to numerous quality companies with leading positions in niche industries. This means there are ample opportunities for extensive bottom-up research to pay off.


Hoshizaki is a case in point. It receives little analyst coverage, yet it dominates the market for ice makers both domestically and abroad. Its energy-saving technology is a key competitive advantage as it eyes a bigger slice of the market for other appliances like refrigerators.


Likewise, few investors may have heard of Sysmex. But it is the world’s leading supplier of blood tests, ranking above healthcare giants such as Abbott. Over the years, Sysmex has gained market share with its highly efficient medical diagnostic tools and is pursuing further growth across various geographies and product lines.


Many small- and mid-cap companies trade at a discount to the market, making them seem even more attractive. But it pays to be careful. Certainly, some companies are undervalued because the market has overlooked them. But there are also those that simply have poor prospects. Active managers make a real difference when they can separate value finds from value traps.


Abenomics effect


In recent years, Abenomics has become a chief driver of investment opportunities in Japan, across companies large and small. Part of the agenda involves long-term reforms that are difficult to price into the stock market. This makes Japan a prime venue for forward-looking stock pickers that can identify companies poised for change.


Already, new corporate governance measures are starting to have an impact. They take aim at low profitability, ineffective boards, and other forms of poor corporate behaviour that have undermined investor confidence for years. Most companies that pledged to adopt these measures have been rewarded by the stock market. But anticipating which companies will do so is no mean feat.


Local insights are critical. Knowing a company’s financials is one thing, but understanding its culture and focus is quite another. It takes on-the-ground research, including regular meetings with top executives, to discern management’s views on Abenomics and detect potential changes in corporate direction.


Some companies that took steps to shape up were once seen as unlikely reform candidates. Fanuc, a world-leading industrial robot maker known for its reticence, surprised the market when it raised its dividend payout ratio and proposed share buybacks last year.


Still, overhauling corporate mindsets across Japan will take time. Its corporate governance still lags behind other developed countries. The discovery of accounting irregularities at electronics group Toshiba last year is a reminder of the gaps that exist. Active managers that can harness research to spot – and avoid – questionable firms have a valuable role to play.


Risk management


Indeed, limiting losses matters. But a passive approach provides no protection in this regard: investors tracking an index fully capture the market’s decline.


Passive investors are also vulnerable to unintended exposures. In February 2011, for example, investors mirroring the MSCI Japan Index would have had a 1.43% exposure to Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), whether they were positive about the electricity provider or not. It was then the ninth-largest company in the index. In March 2011, a massive earthquake set off a nuclear disaster at TEPCO’s power plant in Fukushima. As the company sank into the red, its share price plummeted. Today, TEPCO makes up just about 0.19% of the index.


In contrast, an active strategy can better protect against downside. The most successful managers consciously manage their exposures and invest according to their strongest convictions – not the index. They have the flexibility to avoid companies in the index with lofty valuations, or invest in non-index companies that show resilience. They can also hold cash to preserve capital during downturns. In fact, it is often during broad market declines that these managers deliver exceptional value.


Selecting an active manager


Historical data present a compelling case for long-term active investing in Japan. Over five-, 10- and 15-year periods, the median return from Japanese equity active managers handily outpaced the TOPIX (see Exhibit 2). Capital Group’s Japan Equity strategy also beat the TOPIX to rank within the top quartile of the universe over its lifetime.


Of course, not all active managers beat the index in the long term. It is therefore crucial for investors to identify those with the qualities to come out ahead.


Strong research skills are a prerequisite for success, especially in Japan. Given the stock market’s inefficiency, quality research goes a long way towards uncovering attractive opportunities.


This is why we commit huge resources to mine for insights on the ground. Our industry analysts research companies from the bottom up and maintain frequent communication with managements. They monitor not just companies based in Tokyo, but also lesser known firms in other parts of Japan.

The Capital Group Inc Singapore: A tale of two US economies


For the US, the second half of 2016 was a tale of two economies, with a strong domestic economy and weaker industrial sector. These trends are largely unchanged, but are now set against a very different political backdrop. While the impact of Donald Trump’s election as US president remains unclear, the improving economy should be supportive of US equities in 2017.


One economy, two inflation levels


Robust US consumer spending continues, with indicators showing encouraging data for areas such as retail, housing and auto sales. However, this sits alongside a relatively lacklustre industrial sector, driven by two factors:


  1. Weak export growth because of sluggish non-US economic activity and a strong US dollar.
  2. The collapse of the US energy sector, which followed the sharp decline in energy prices.


This split economy subsequently led to different levels of inflation in services and goods. As shown in the first chart below, service prices (which are largely determined by domestic economic conditions) have been rising around 3%, while goods prices (which are more a function of global economic conditions) have been flat or falling.


What this means for the Fed


The bifurcated nature of the US economy presented the US Federal Reserve (Fed) with a challenge: how to account for the fact that one half was growing at a rate better than expected while the other was showing the opposite trend. In response, the Fed chose to raise interest rates in December, while its rate-setters forecast further rises in 2017, contingent upon positive incoming economic data. We anticipate, however, that if additional rate rises do take place in 2017, these will be small and the ‘lower for longer’ scenario will remain intact.


Strengthening macroeconomic conditions


In a positive development, the two headwinds facing the industrial sector in 2016 have abated. Energy prices have rebounded, bolstered by the agreement between OPEC and other oil-producing nations to cut oil production. At the same time, the US dollar has weakened since the beginning of the year. This should lead to the industrial sector posting stronger growth rates in 2017, and in turn allow overall US economic growth to reaccelerate to a rate of 2%-2.5%, which we saw after the recession ended in mid-2009.


The Trump factor and policy uncertainty


The big change for the US has been in the political arena. President Trump’s bold proposed policies have already affected markets in anticipation of their implementation, but much remains uncertain.


If Trump’s fiscal policies were to be fully implemented, we could see stimulus reaching a level of around 3% of GDP, which may be problematic in the longer term. US unemployment is now below 5%, which is what most economists consider to be the economy’s natural rate. As the unemployment rate has moved further below 5%, wage growth has accelerated in a typical way. In past cycles, wage growth has accelerated every time the unemployment rate has fallen below 4%. If the economy does 3 indeed reach the 2%-2.5% growth rate, and there is a further 1%-1.5% of additional stimulus in 2017, the unemployment rate would likely continue to fall further, triggering a further acceleration in wage growth. This would result in a stronger economy in 2017 as consumers benefit from wage growth, but it may also cause the Fed to respond more aggressively than what the markets have currently priced in, by raising interest rates higher and faster.


Higher US interest rates would likely lead to higher bond yields, albeit within limits. Despite rising since the election, real yields have remained very low, at just above zero. This seems inconsistent with an expected economic growth rate of 2%-2.5% plus additional stimulus. These low yields are likely a by-product of policies implemented by other central banks around the world. Quantitative easing, by which central banks create money to purchase bonds, has directed vast volumes of money to the US Treasury market, driving bond prices higher and yields lower. While the US may have ceased its bond-buying programme, other markets, including the EU, have continued theirs. So while we can expect higher US Treasury yields, there will probably be a limit to how high they go, making them unlikely to pose a risk to the economic activity of 2017.


The costs of economic stimulus


Before the presidential election, the Congressional Budget Office had forecast that the federal debt-to-GDP ratio would increase over the next decade, reaching around 80% by 20251. However, if Trump’s proposals were fully implemented, that ratio would exceed 100% during that period2, reaching the same levels as in countries affected by the European debt crisis countries. If the growth in US debt continues along this trajectory, concerns about debt sustainability could increase over the next decade. This, coupled with a less favourable supply-and-demand balance within the Treasury market, could ultimately put upward pressure on yields. However, these are potential areas of concern that will have an impact beyond 2017.


The other key area of concern for the US economy is Trump’s policies on trade. There are currently trillions of dollars of goods that flow into and out of the US economy on an annual basis. Should significant tariffs on imports be levied, US consumers would lose purchasing power, while other countries could implement tariffs in retaliation. The result would be much higher prices for US consumers and so reduced consumer spending, as well as dampened export growth. Finally, there are well-entrenched global supply chains that rely on the relatively free movement of goods between countries. To disrupt those supply chains would no doubt have a negative impact on economic activity. Again, however, none of these outcomes are likely to play out in 2017, but rather in 2019 or 2020.


Realistic expectations


There are significant obstacles that President Trump would have to face should he push for his full proposed stimulus and policies. Firstly, many of the policies would require congressional approval, which is not guaranteed. Even if they were approved, it would then take time to implement them. For example, a large infrastructure spending package would take a significant amount of time to execute as projects have to be identified and resources mobilised. The same goes for trade policies.


A supportive backdrop for US equities remains despite uncertainties


The US equity market currently appears fully valued, with the price-to-earnings ratio at a level that has rarely been exceeded. As a result, we believe a reasonable expectation is for total return over the next 12 to 18 months to be driven by a combination of earnings growth and dividend yield.


Fortunately, with an economy that is improving, an industrial sector that is recovering and the possibility of corporate tax cuts, the outlook for US earnings is positive. In our view, it is also reasonable to expect solid earnings growth over the next 12 to 18 months and, if you factor in dividend yield on top of that, there is the potential for positive equity market returns as we go through 2017 and into 2018.

Online Fraud Detection: SMS verification codes at risk of fraud


People’s use of authentication codes to regain access to their online accounts can be exploited by criminals. Researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi have released a study of how such attacks work and the ways to prevent them.


The proliferation of online services for banking, social media, shopping and just about everything else certainly makes life easier.


Buying things, checking account balances and staying in touch with friends involves little more than a few taps of a keyboard and the click of a mouse.


But remembering the passwords for our myriad online accounts can prove difficult, and often we need help to get into our accounts when our memory fails us.


With some accounts, users who forget their password can ask for a verification code to be sent to their mobile phone. The code can be used to regain access to the account.


However, a study by Prof Nasir Memon, who set up the Centre for Cyber Security at New York University Abu Dhabi, and his doctoral student Hossein Siadati has shown that this system is prone to abuse.


The work indicates that there is a significant risk of fraudsters obtaining verification codes – allowing them to gain access to accounts.


A fraudster looking to hack into an account can, relatively easily, activate the mechanism that leads to a verification code being sent to the mobile phone of the person to whom the account is registered. To do this, the fraudster needs to know only the email address associated with the account.


If they also know the user’s mobile phone number, and there are several ways of obtaining a person’s mobile number, they can contact them to try to get hold of the code. Doing this is known as a social engineering attack.


In their study, the researchers investigated what types of messages from fraudsters are most likely to get users to hand over a verification code.


Published in the Elsevier journal Computers and Security, their work also looked at how the messages that contain verification codes can be designed to minimise the risk of fraud.


"We wanted to explore this scientifically. What’s going on in the user’s mind. We sent them different messages," said Prof Memon.


To test what are the most effective "attack messages", the researchers recruited a team of adult participants.


So that the experiment mirrored as closely as possible what could happen in the real world, these volunteers did not know that they were going to be targeted in a simulated verification code forwarding attack.


The researchers sent, from their own mobile phones, a verification code to the mobile phones of the participants, none of whom had requested such a code. This first message was followed up with one of a number of "attack messages", such as, "We have received a complaint of abuse of your Gmail account. Please reply with the verification code we just sent you to receive the details privately", or, "You have a voicemail on Google Voice. To listen, please reply with the message code we just sent to you".


Sixteen attack messages were tested and the response rates compared. The attack message that was most effective at getting participants to send the verification code was: "Did you request a password reset for your Gmail account? Delete this message if you did. Otherwise, send "Cancel + the verification code we just sent to you".


Half of participants responded to this message by sending the verification code, an action which would have put their account at risk of being compromised had the attack been real.

Online Security Review: Identity Theft Takes a New Turn


If you think your finances are safer now that you use a chip card, think again. The latest Javelin Identity Fraud Study reports the number of identity fraud victims increased by 16 percent in 2016 to more than 15 million consumers. And the amount the thieves took grew by $1 billion to more than $16 billion in the past year.


A large part of the increase came from “card not present” fraud in the first year since chip cards became widely used. Fraudsters are resorting to more invasive ways of getting your identity details than simply counterfeiting mag stripe cards.


So-called “phishing” schemes have become far more sophisticated. Gone are the days of the misspellings and clumsy grammar that made fraud emails obvious. Fraudsters have gotten better at tricking you into clicking on a link in one of these emails. Once you do that on your computer or smartphone, these links deploy malware called “bots” to collect all your data, including PIN and CV authentication numbers as you shop online.


There’s also a growing trend of identity fraud crimes enabled by victims’ social media posts. Harmless items on your pages, including celebrations of your birthday, or a college graduation or reunion, give thieves information they use open new accounts in your name. Fraudulent new credit accounts for more than half the increase in identity theft crime last year.


So what should you be doing to guard your identity? Here are some suggestions, which mostly involve common sense and a commitment to regularly review your finances.


—Check online accounts regularly. Visit your bank or credit card website at least once a week to make sure that no withdrawals or unauthorized charges have been made. Yes, you’re protected from fraud, but there’s no way to avoid the hassle of getting a new account number when you’ve been attacked. At least you can minimize the trauma by catching fraudulent purchases immediately.


—Check your credit report at least quarterly. These days, it’s not so much to check your credit status as to make sure no one has opened a new account in your name. Consider freezing your credit to avoid this problem. That’s easy to do, especially if you don’t plan to open new accounts or make a major purchase that requires new credit. A freeze can easily and temporarily be lifted.


—Guard your personal information. Don’t store passwords in browsers, even though it makes online shopping easier. In fact, don’t store passwords unprotected on your smart phone where they are easily accessed. Instead, subscribe to an encrypted password protection service.


—Create two-factor authentication (2FA) for your banking and credit and brokerage accounts. That means you can’t simply sign in with your password. Instead, the bank will send you a one-time code via either email or text to a different device than the one you are using to sign in. That guarantees an extra degree of protection. Most financial companies will let you set parameters so you can use your credit or debit card to buy a latte without any trouble but a purchase over a certain set amount will trigger the 2FA requirement.


—Be aware of your vulnerabilities. Regard all unsolicited emails suspiciously, and never click on a link. Simply hang up on phone callers who ask you for personal information. And examine the security of WiFi links you may use to get online for banking or shopping.


I have always thought that if you took the steps described above, you would be reasonably safe — or at least would catch fraud quickly. But experts at Lifelock, which cosponsored the Javelin study, opened my eyes to new forms of identity theft that might not be so quickly revealed.


These include identity theft via payday loans, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and new cell phone account originations. These are not likely to be picked up — at least quickly — by credit bureaus. But they are a focus of protection at Lifelock.


However you choose to protect yourself, don’t be deluded by the latest card security measures. Identity theft is growing. And you could be next. That’s the Savage Truth.

Investing Review: Entering the World of Investment


Why people invest? Investing creates more money, which in turn, helps you to fund your lifestyle and plan for financial hardships. When you invest, you devote your time, resources or effort to some specific endeavor with the expectation that it will generate a return in the future.


Entering the world of investment isn’t easy, you need to have a certain level of knowledge and skill because taking your first step in the market without knowing what you’re doing and where you’re heading is a very dangerous move. Be sure that you are well-informed, there’s a huge amount of information available on the Internet to make yourself equipped before investing in an institution.


There are various ways to invest – stocks, bonds, certificate of deposit and mutual funds are some form investments you can choose from, just be careful of investment scams. But before venturing your way down the road of investing, consider learning the basics here.


Your debts, remove them first.


Before starting to invest, make sure that you don’t have high-interest debt existing. Why? Because all the effort you’ll put in investing will be useless if you don’t take necessary action about it. It would be better paying your debt first as such would negate all your efforts in investing.


There’s an active and passive management in investing.


There are two main methods you’ll encounter when you are stock investing – active and passive management. Active investing involves choosing your desired investment type while a passive investing involves a third party. Stock investing is commonly referred as active investing, but this type of investing strategy doesn’t have favorable outcomes at all times.


Analyze the situation before investing.


Remember, investing isn’t a casino slot machine lever where you can magically gain a huge amount of money once you get lucky. When you are investing, years of patience and discreet assessment of a company are required before you can finally reap a good harvest.


In line with this, when you commit your money to something you don’t understand then you are gambling with the possibility of losing the money you invested. It is necessary that you do research before investing in a specific company and do not immediately believe the opinions and speculations of another person. If your friend told you that a certain company will definitely boom in the following years, make sure to do a little research about the company first and its performance before throwing your hard-earned cash at it.


Planning and setting financial goals.


Investing is a long careful process and you need to ask yourself a lot of questions before undertaking the road to investing.


  • What are your financial goals?
  • How long is your time frame in investing?
  • What type of investment will you choose?
  • How much money are you willing to invest to achieve your financial goals
  • What short-term financial expenses do you have?
  • Will you have to retire using your investment?


Learn how the stock trading works.


After establishing concrete financial goals, you can now learn how to start making your investments. In mutual funds, call a fund company and request to open an account for you. In dealing with stocks, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), and the Nasdaq Stock Market are the major US exchanges. Stocks are traded on various stock exchanges, they all have a different mode of trading but the process of buying and selling shares are all the same.


Buyers and sellers connect during stock exchanges. The buyer will make a “bid” (the share price they are willing to buy), while seller “ask” (the price of the share they are willing to sell). The “spread” is the difference between the two, which are often goes to the professional who handled the trade exchange.


The most common way to buy a stock is through brokerage accounts. There are full-service workers and there are discount brokers who offer their service at a not too expensive price. 


Cash account and margin account and where you should be.


In using a brokerage account, you can use cash account or a margin account. In a cash account, all transactions are done by using the only money you actually have. While a margin account, let’s you buy a stock with borrowed money from other people’s cash. The latter can be quite appealing but there’s risk taking that road.


Brokers will usually endorse margin accounts, as those will create more commissions for them. Though borrowing money will increase your chances of buying more stocks, it will also take you to risk because you’ll have to pay all that margin money at some point. Therefore, margin accounts are great if your investments are soaring high in value but can cause uncertainty if it isn’t. This type of investment is not advisable for beginners like you.


Direct Investment Plans (DIPs) and Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRPs)


If you aren’t ready for a brokerage account then consider one steadier way to buy stock. Investors call it as Drips. DRP’s and DIPs are offered by corporations that allow shareholders to buy stock directly from them at low cost or fees. Not every company offers this kind of opportunity but they are great for beginners who can only invest small amounts of money.

Investment Tips: Escape Plan for Your Debt Problem


Wrestling with debt for years with no success? It certainly is an exhausting thing to struggle and keep your head above water. A debt isn’t something you can brush off. It is like a recurring nightmare where Freddy Krueger keeps on haunting and chasing you even on dreams. And now, it is time to take back your life and follow these debt escape plan I prepared for you.


Seek help from family and friends


This will be my first suggestion. Talk to a friend or relative that has a financial capability to help you pay your debt. But make sure to have a formal agreement on paper regarding payment terms and conditions so that it wouldn’t cause arguments and disputes in the future.


Pay higher than the minimum monthly payment


One of the faster ways to escape your debt is to pay higher than the minimum monthly payment. Paying only the minimum cash required each month will just lengthen your misery so pay as much as you can afford. If you have spare money allotted for your dine-outs then why not try eliminating that luxurious thing and add it up to your debt payment? Sacrificing such luxuries to quickly pay off your debt is not a bad thing.


Sacrificing savings and investments


Why not withdraw your savings and investment in order to slowly pay off your debt? It isn’t a bad thing if you’ll consider it carefully. If your savings and investments are making less than the cost of your debt, it might appear unwise but it isn’t bad to pay off your debt first using any possible source of money you have.


Snowball method for credit card debt


A credit card is such a great help with many benefits. It can help you in buying and save money but the constant uncontrolled use of it can ruin your finances. Here are two credit card debt escape plan recommended for you:


Plan #1: First, pay the required monthly payment on all of your cards except for one. Then pay as much as you can afford on that one card so you could easily settle your balance in there quickly. Don’t settle on paying for the minimum required payment only, it will just prolong the agony. Once the balance in that particular card reaches zero, try the same method for the next credit card balance you have on your list.


Plan #2: Credit card balance transfer is one alternative way you can use to wisely pay your debt and save money. This involves the transfer of the balance from one credit card account to another.  Many credit card companies allow this process in most cases. All you have to do is choose the lowest interest rate you have on your cards and transfer the remaining balance from other cards into that one. Transferring a higher interest bill to a low-interest card is one excellent move that will surely save you a lot of money in interest. If the outstanding balance is too large for that low-interest card, consider Plan #1.


Using cash value life insurance


Nowadays, life insurance is a must have especially if you have a family that relies on your income. This will become of great help to you and your family if you accidentally die. However, having a debt can also become a burden to you and your family in the future. If your life insurance company provides cash value, why not borrow from your own money? In this case, you’ll have longer terms to pay for the loan with interest rate to avoid interest scams less than commercial rates.


Apply for a Home Equity Loan


Owning a home is one potential source of extra cash. You can apply for a Home Equity Loan (HEL) to pay off your debts. The maximum loan amount you can acquire will be based on the current market value of your home assessed by an appraiser. Don’t be a reckless borrower and make sure that you’ll repay the loan or else your home could be sold to pay off the remaining debt. Your house is at stake here!


Apply for a loan using your 401(k) retirement savings plan


401(k) plan loans are one of the better ways to pay off your debt. If you have taken part in your company’s 401(k) retirement saving plan then you may benefit from its loan feature where you could borrow roughly half of the accounts value. Consider this carefully though loaning using this plan is much more reasonable as it gives low-interest rate and that every dime in interest paid on this loan goes directly to your 401(k) account, it also has some downsides. Make sure to do some research and raised any questions before applying.




Nothing works for you on the early escape plans above? Want to file a bankruptcy? No, not yet. There’s one more solution, try to renegotiate terms. Use your ace card which is to threaten them of filing bankruptcy since you don’t have any other solution to repay your debt. This will force them to work things out with you – ask for a lower repayment term or even lower interest rate. Oftentimes, they prefer this kind or settlement rather than filing a bankruptcy.


Bankruptcy is your last resort


File a bankruptcy. This is your last and only resort if renegotiation wasn't become an option and if you really don’t have the resources to pay your debt. However, you should be fully aware that filing a bankruptcy has some drawbacks.


Careconnect Health Insurance Group Review: Your Daylight Savings Time Survival Guide


At 2 a.m. this Sunday, your clocks will “spring forward” an hour, kicking off Daylight Saving Time. The upside: You’ll get some extra sunlight in the evening for the next several months. The downside: You’ll almost certainly lose an hour of sleep Sunday night. And depending on how early you have to get up in the morning, it may be pitch black when you rise for a couple of weeks.


For most people, adjusting to the change isn’t hard. “It’s like flying from Chicago to New York,” says Saul Rothenberg, PhD, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at Northwell Health. “Good sleepers may not even notice a difference.” But if you’re sensitive to time changes or sleep disruptions, you could have trouble falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning, at least for the first few days. If that’s the case, here are some dos and don’ts that can help.


Don’t sleep in on Sunday. You may have a habit of grabbing a little extra sleep on Sundays, especially if you stay up late Saturday night. But the time change makes it easy to overdo it. Say you don’t set your alarm—it’s Sunday, after all—and let yourself wake up naturally when your body feels like it’s about 9 am. With the time change, it’s actually already 10 am! Suddenly, you’ve slept so late that you may find it hard come evening to get to bed at your usual time. To make sure you’re rested for work on Monday, it’s best to lose that hour of sleep right away on Saturday night.


Don’t nap. Biologically, your bedtime just became an hour earlier than you’re used to. So it’s normal to not feel as tired as you normally would at, say, 10 pm. Napping on Sunday afternoon may make it even harder to fall asleep when you’re supposed to. Instead of a mid-day snooze, fit in a good workout or a long walk: Daytime exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality at night.


Do listen to your body. If you’re not tired at your regular bedtime for the first few nights after the time change, don’t force yourself to lie in bed awake. “Just go to bed a little bit later for a day or two,” says Rothenberg. “Humans are very good in the short-run at compensating for an hour less sleep. Over a couple of days, that sleep loss will translate into getting sleepier at night, so it’s easier to get back on track.”


Do get some morning light. You’re temporarily getting up an hour earlier than you’re used to, so it’s normal to feel extra sleepy when your alarm goes off. The best way to acclimate your body to its new schedule is to get natural light as early as possible. (Sunlight shuts down the brain’s production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.) Throw open your bedroom curtains as the sun comes up, eat breakfast by a sunny window or spend a few minutes walking outside before work.


Don’t fret. Follow these simple steps and you should breeze through the time change with minimal disruption. “The key here is not to worry,” says Rothenberg, “because worrying can have a bigger effect on your sleeping than the change in your clock.” And if you do experience sleep problems that last more than a few weeks—after the time change or at any time during the year—talk to your doctor about healthy ways to make things right.

Careconnect Health Insurance Group Review: 5 Numbers to Know for National Wear Red Day


If you’re seeing red today, it’s probably because some of your friends and acquaintances are using a splash of color to draw attention to the fight against heart disease in women. And with good reason: While coronary heart disease is recognized as a major threat to American men, a lot of people aren’t aware that it’s also the #1 killer of women.


Here are a few other numbers worth pondering in honor of National Wear Red Day:



80 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease.



Take out a tape measure—if your waist is more than 35 inches, you’re at increased risk of heart disease.



You can protect your heart by getting as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. Exercising every day is even better.



If you’re at increased risk for heart disease, here’s a reassuring thought: Women can lower their risk by as much as 82 percent just by making healthy lifestyle changes.

Careconnect Health Insurance Group Review: 3 New Year’s Resolutions You Shouldn’t Make


January is a time for new beginnings, and a time for promises to ourselves that this year will be better, happier and healthier than the last. But why are we so often right back where we started by the time February rolls around?


“Research shows that about 50 percent of the population makes resolutions, and of those people about 50 percent or less stick with them,” says Robert Graham, MD, director of Integrative Health & Wellness at Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System). “So, at best, only about 25 percent of us are making lasting changes.”


Often, that’s because we make resolutions that are unreasonable. “If you don’t have a realistic target, it’s going to be that much harder to achieve it, and frustrating when you fall short,” he says. So in the spirit of “New Year, New You,” here are three common mistakes not to make when thinking about resolutions -- and a few simple tweaks that will make your goals more attainable.


Wrong resolution: “I want to lose 50 pounds in three months.”

Make it right: Aim for 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.


A restrictive diet may help you shed pounds quickly at first, but is it something you can stick with for several months -- let alone the rest of your life? If not, you may find yourself gaining the weight back before you know it. Instead of making such a drastic change, says Graham, aim to lose 5 percent of your body weight within 6 to 8 weeks, and 10 percent within three months.


That may not be the dramatic makeover you’ve been dreaming about, but research shows that losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can lower your risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. What’s more, a slow-but-steady approach is one you can keep up all year, allowing you to continue to lose.


Graham also recommends enlisting the help of nutritionist and/or a personal trainer, especially if you want to lose more than a few pounds. “It can be hard to do on your own, especially when you’re trying to create lasting change.”


Wrong resolution: “I want to finally get in shape … by jumping into a super-challenging workout program.”

Make it right: Start with 30 minutes of (any) exercise a day.


“So many patients tell me, ‘I’m going to start this crazy P90X workout’ or ‘I’m going to run a marathon in two months,’ when they were a total couch potato all year,” says Graham. “That’s great, but as we learned from being a kid: You need to learn how to crawl, then walk, then run.” If you start an exercise program that’s too challenging or that moves too quickly, you could quickly fall behind—or, worse, injure yourself.


It’s fine to have a lofty goal, like completing a race or becoming expert in a trendy new approach to exercise. But if you’re starting from scratch, set your sights lower to start: Just pledge to get 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least five days a week. That activity can include brisk walking and other forms of moderate exercise.


If you can keep that up for a few months and are feeling good, you may want to start increasing the duration or intensity of your workouts, says Graham. But always talk to your doctor before starting a new program that’s physically demanding.


Wrong resolution: “I smoked my last cigarette December 31.”

Make it right: Make a plan, set a date and make yourself accountable.


The decision to quit smoking is a big one, and it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. (So congrats!) Now you’ve got to actually make it happen. If you know you want to quit smoking in 2016 but haven’t given much thought to the specifics of how you’re going to do it, going cold turkey may not give you the best chance at success.


First, talk with your doctor about strategies that might make quitting easier; he or she may recommend nicotine patches, gum, or medicines that can reduce your urge to smoke. Northwell Health also hosts support groups, workshops and educational programs for people who want to quit; the Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, for example, has one of the highest success rates in the country for smoking cessation.


Next, set a date to have your last cigarette. “I’m a big fan of Mondays,” says Graham. “Every Monday is chance to reset your life, and research shows that most people search online for help quitting on Mondays.” Once you’ve picked a date, tell your doctor and your friends. “The more people you tell, the more you can be held accountable. And the more accountable you are, the more likely you’ll be to follow through.”


Good luck with whatever your wellness goals are for 2016, and remember: Even small steps can make a big difference. From all of us here at CareConnect, have a happy, healthy new year!

Cyber Security: Machine Learning and Big Data Know It Wasn’t You Who Just Swiped Your Credit Card


You’re sitting at home minding your own business when you get a call from your credit card’s fraud detection unit asking if you’ve just made a purchase at a department store in your city. It wasn’t you who bought expensive electronics using your credit card – in fact, it’s been in your pocket all afternoon. So how did the bank know to flag this single purchase as most likely fraudulent?


Credit card companies have a vested interest in identifying financial transactions that are illegitimate and criminal in nature. The stakes are high. According to the Federal Reserve Payments Study, Americans used credit cards to pay for 26.2 billion purchases in 2012. The estimated loss due to unauthorized transactions that year was US$6.1 billion. The federal Fair Credit Billing Act limits the maximum liability of a credit card owner to $50 for unauthorized transactions, leaving credit card companies on the hook for the balance. Obviously fraudulent payments can have a big effect on the companies’ bottom lines. The industry requires any vendors that process credit cards to go through security audits every year. But that doesn’t stop all fraud.


In the banking industry, measuring risk is critical. The overall goal is to figure out what’s fraudulent and what’s not as quickly as possible, before too much financial damage has been done. So how does it all work? And who’s winning in the arms race between the thieves and the financial institutions?


Gathering the troops


From the consumer perspective, fraud detection can seem magical. The process appears instantaneous, with no human beings in sight. This apparently seamless and instant action involves a number of sophisticated technologies in areas ranging from finance and economics to law to information sciences.


Of course, there are some relatively straightforward and simple detection mechanisms that don’t require advanced reasoning. For example, one good indicator of fraud can be an inability to provide the correct zip code affiliated with a credit card when it’s used at an unusual location. But fraudsters are adept at bypassing this kind of routine check – after all, finding out a victim’s zip code could be as simple as doing a Google search.


Traditionally, detecting fraud relied on data analysis techniques that required significant human involvement. An algorithm would flag suspicious cases to be closely reviewed ultimately by human investigators who may even have called the affected cardholders to ask if they’d actually made the charges. Nowadays the companies are dealing with a constant deluge of so many transactions that they need to rely on big data analytics for help. Emerging technologies such as machine learning and cloud computing are stepping up the detection game.