Tuesday, July 6, 2010
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||DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING?
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DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING?
I sometimes feel like a broken record. This image is probably lost
on the digital generation, who only remember hearing the same words
repeat over and over on a scratched vinyl LP disc as a scene in a
The rest of us remember jumping up to nudge the needle past the
offending groove. We recall the grating screech of accidentally
bumping the phonograph's arm, creating an even larger scratch in what
was typically your favorite track on the record. The sound was so
horrific it would raise your arm hairs.
Bet you wish that was still your image of horrific. Life's
experiences have brought new meaning to the term, each of us
according to what we've endured. Yet the digital age has brought its
own version of horror that goes beyond hair-raising. It can disrupt
your entire life.
According to a study by security firm Dasient, approximately 1.3
million malicious advertisements are viewed on the Web DAILY. You
read that right. DAILY. The ads have an average lifespan of seven or
eight days. They're twice as likely to be downloaded by unsuspecting
victims over a weekend than during mid-week.
The attacker will buy display ad space on trusted websites. They
will initially upload a legitimate advertisement, but replace it with
malware a few days later. The initial ad passes inspection. But a lot
of networks don't reapprove every change. Especially over a weekend.
So the malicious ad gets published on a trusted site, along with any
other sites they have a syndicated relationship with.
Other attackers will hack the account credentials of existing
legitimate advertisers, and replace their ad with a malicious one.
The Dasient report further finds that 59 percent of these malicious
ads infect users via drive-by downloads. This is a program that's
automatically downloaded to your computer without your consent or
even your knowledge. Unlike pop-up windows that prompt you for
consent to download their offering, a drive-by will download by
simply visiting a website or viewing an HTML e-mail message if you
don't have your computer's security settings configured tightly.
The other 41 percent of these ads are delivered through rogue anti-
virus programs. This is consistent with Google's estimates of rogue
anti-virus ads being responsible for 50 percent of malware delivered
through online ads.
A separate threat emerging involves spammed email messages
containing nothing more than a link to an infected website. They'll
sometimes have a subject line, but not always. A hijacked computer
will send these messages to everyone in their address book. Appearing
to come from a trusted source and containing a link to a legitimate
site, the recipient follows the link. A Trojan is immediately
downloaded that sends confidential data back to the hacker. The newly
hijacked computer sends out more spam campaigns.
Computer viruses began as mere pranks. Many were young adults with
more time on their hands than concern for common good. Their antics
were fueled merely by thirst for notoriety.
Today's hackers are motivated by financial reward. Organized
cybercrime rings use sophisticated methods to steal your identity
using stealth methods that can be almost impossible to detect.
By now, everyone has learned to protect their computer with an anti-
virus program of choice. This software, along with the threats it
prevents, has become more sophisticated. Learn what options are
available in your program. Terminology differs from one vendor to
another. Make sure you are protected in real-time so nothing can be
downloaded to your computer without your knowledge.
It's no longer enough to merely avoid questionable websites. You now
have to use caution in responding to ads that appear anywhere. If the
product advertised is something of interest, do further research
before clicking the ad link. Find out what other options are
available. Learn product details. Should the one offered in the ad be
your best option, right-click the link and copy the shortcut. Open
your text editor and paste the contents of your clipboard. Does the
link shown match the intended destination?
You may think you know where you're going. But is that where you'll
eventually land? This isn't some bad horror flick, it's reality. And
that can be even crueler yet.
NEW OR USED?
Economic news just doesn't seem to be getting much better. Every
glimmer of hope is overshadowed by dark news of another country's
troubles, which in turn sets us back another pace.
Get used to it. In this global civilization, we are truly learning
what it means to be part of something bigger. In both good times and
In some ways, the good and the bad are interconnected. Like
regaining a sense of value over material things. And assigning proper
priorities to that which we truly need versus merely want. This had
become skewed for many people when credit was easily available.
Then there are those things we truly need but sometimes beyond our
grasp. With budgets already constrained, how do we fill vital needs?
You don't have to go out shopping for a new item whenever need
arises. Certain things are best bought used.
Cars quickly come to mind. They depreciate the moment you drive them
out of the showroom. Edmunds.com reports they lose 12 percent the
first year. Let someone else take that hit. Buying a pre-owned car
from a reputable dealer carries many of the same guarantees as for
the original purchaser. Many are still covered under the original
manufacturer's warranty. Make sure you have terms of their warranty
in writing, and that it covers both parts and labor for major
Ask for the CarFax report. It's not just a catchy commercial. This
service will uncover title problems, reveal if the car had been
reported as a lemon or in a flood, turn up accident or service
records and ownership history.
We've bought some of our best vehicles used from private owners. My
husband is a car guy, so we never worried about buying someone else's
troubles. In fact, the one car we bought that was problematic was
purchased new from a dealership who couldn't find the cause of the
continual bucking and stalling. We've had great luck whenever we
bought from an owner whose vehicle no longer fit their current needs.
If your skills lie in a different area, have your mechanic take a
close look before agreeing to the sale.
Unless they've been in an accident or poorly neglected, recreational
vehicles, boats or jet skis are typically a better value when you buy
used. Chances are they weren't used often.
Most kids outgrow sports equipment before it ages. Same with their
toys or clothes. Rather than pay full price, visit resale stores,
yard sales or consignment shops. Have a swap meet with other
neighborhood parents who may be looking for whatever no longer holds
your child's interests. They may be ready to part with something on
your child's wish list.
It's not only kids. Adults tend to think they'll use exercise or
sporting equipment more often than they actually do. Rather than let
it collect dust, make it available to someone who may be looking for
that particular item. But toss out the old bowling shoes. There isn't
much of a market for something worn close to the body.
Books, CDs/DVDs and computer games offer limited appeal to the
original owner. There are significant savings in buying these items
When your child wants to learn a musical instrument, find a used one
first. You can always upgrade if they stick with it.
Your paycheck will stretch further by using these simple tips. With
luck and diligence, you can stretch it far enough to buy that special
new treat you've had your eye on!
The markets looked like they were picking up steam today, showing a
three-digit gain midday.
But the joy was short lived. The service sector index showed a
slower-than-expected growth, leading a decline that erased half of
The ups and downs of our current economy more closely resemble an
amusement park ride than scientific discipline. Learned economists
worldwide chime in with their expert opinion. The worst is behind us.
The worst is yet to come. We're on our way to recovery. Another
recession looms over the horizon.
The upswings bring jubilation. The downturns leave your stomach weak
and trembling. Those with the strongest aversion to risk find their
stomach turned inside out.
The irony is that those closing numbers have very little to do with
the state of our economy. They're not a precise formula reflecting
market productivity or credit worthiness. They do not tell the tale
of jobs lost versus created. They can't forecast recovery or downturn.
They merely represent sentiment. They reveal how investors are
feeling on that particular day. When investors see their glass as
half-full, massive gains follow. New indicators are released and
those same investors now see their glass as half-empty. Now comes the
Both become self-prophesying, creating the very effect they warn
Today’s Market Rates
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Down 684.43 or 6.56% since 12/31/09)
(Down 87.04 or 7.81% since 12/31/09)
(Down 175.27 or 7.72% since 12/31/09)
|10 Year Treasury Bond Yield
On The World Wide Web
Even the most technical savvy among us will face issues we can't
solve on our own. Where do we turn for help? Ask the experts at techguy.org.
Want to know what's happening in your backyard? Gloucester County
has a new website to help you stay connected. News, announcements and
events are a click away at gcountynow.com.
Find out where to recycle hundreds of products from packing peanuts
to computers. Visit your one-stop shop for recycling and reusing here.
Tip of the Week
A cloud of confusion surrounds the new credit card laws. The Credit
Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of
2009 requires providers to give 45-day notice in advance of rate
increases. It does not prohibit increases. Those terms are often
spelled out in a notice accompanying your monthly statement, that
most people just toss out.
The smaller the print, the more important it is to read and
understand. Consumers have the right to opt out of term changes,
including rate increases. But doing so effectively closes your
account, allowing you to payoff any existing balance at your current
terms. Should you use your card for future credit transactions, you
are accepting the provider's new terms.
"Before trying to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they are not
trying to keep up with you." - Erma Bombeck
Today in History
1785 - Congress chose the dollar as the monetary unit of the United
States and adopted a decimal coinage system.
In the US, more steel is used to make bottle caps than is used to
GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed
customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of
special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest
rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and
other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more
comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at
For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at
http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P.
GCF maintains your e-mail address in a confidential and secure
database along with much of your other account information, such as
mailing address and telephone number, etc. Before aggregating our e-
mailing list each week, we filter out any duplicates. In most cases,
this inhibits the unintended e-mailing of multiple copies of GCFlash
to a single e-mail address. However, because these account records
are kept by both individual and account, there is a chance members of
the same household could each receive a copy of GCFlash or any other
transmission at the same e-mail address - resulting in multiple
copies. For example, a husband and wife that both have accounts with
GCF may both receive a copy because the names are different but
listed at the same e-mail address. This is similar to the manner in
which each individual may share a common telephone number. To handle
this situation, GCF recommends you simply delete any extra copies of
GCFlash as this will ensure that ALL individuals receive any future
promotional mailings, which might only be targeted or offered to
specific accountholders meeting certain criteria. GCF has the
capability to suppress customer e-mail addresses so they are omitted
from our transmission list. If you would rather have a specific
household member’s e-mail address suppressed in our electronic
database, simply send us a reply, as stated below, and indicate the
accountholder for which you would like to have e-mail suppressed.
Please keep in mind that this suppression will mean that NO future e-
mails are sent, including special promotional offers. If you have any
questions about this process or need additional information, please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to be removed from this electronic mailing list,
please hit reply and place the word REMOVE in the subject line.
Please note, removing your name from our electronic mailing list
means GCF will send NO FUTURE NEWS or SPECIAL OFFERS.
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