Securing internet of things

You are on vacation; wouldn’t it be nice to check in on the family pet? Or you are at work; it would be nice to check to see if the baby is down for a nap.
The convenience of security cameras and baby monitors make them an important part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
But they can and do have security issues.
Most security flaws involve software called iLnkP2P, which is often bundled with IoT devices like doorbells and video recorders. The software makes it easy to access remote devices from anywhere in the world, according to Krebs on Security. But they are easily hacked.
Here is what you can do to protect your security:

  1. Avoid connecting devices to the internet without a firewall or in front of a firewall. Keep IoT devices behind a firewall, such as is found on routers.
  2. Change the device’s default credentials if you can. On cameras and DVRs, you might not be able to do that.
  3. Update the firmware when an update is available.
  4. Disable Universal Plug and Play.
  5. Don’t buy Peer-to-Peer (P2P) devices.
  6. Don’t go cheap.
    Check out the internet security site: grc.com’s Shield’s Up.

Home Insurance Options in Cypress, TX

A home insurance policy helps you rest a little easier in case of covered items, which may include vandalism and theft. Learn more about what home insurance coverage would work for your home and family from your InsureUS agent. In the meantime, here are some essential facts home insurance in Cypress, TX.

What is Home Insurance?

A home insurance policy pays to replace or repair your home and belongings in the case of an unforeseen event. Home insurance typically protects you when your home or property is damaged by a covered event, like a storm or fire. Besides basic coverage, you may want to invest in optional coverage. Texas has a Consumer Bill of Rights that discusses the rights of rents and homeowners. Be sure to ask for a copy of the Bill of Rights when you purchase or renew a home policy.

Is Home Insurance Required?

Home insurance is not required by Texas law. However, if you have a mortgage loan, your lender will require you to buy a policy. Even if you own your home, it’s a good idea to protect your house and personal belongings.

Types of Home Coverage

Ask your insurance agent which of the following are covered in a policy you’re considering.

Dwelling coverage covers the house if it’s destroyed or damaged by an event in your policy.

Personal property coverage pays for clothing, furniture, clothing, and other belongings if they are damaged, stolen or destroyed.

Other structures coverage reimburses you for repairs on unattached structures on your property. This could include storage sheds, garages, and fences.

Loss of use coverage covers other lodging expenses if you can’t use your home due to a covered event. 

Personal liability coverage takes care of lost wages, medical bills and other costs for those who suffer injuries you’re responsible for. It may also pay for damages to someone’s personal property that occurs in your home as well as court costs.

Medical payments coverage pays the medical bills if someone else if hurt on your property.

Contact InsureUS in Cypress, TX to set up an appointment for a free quote.

 

Vested: It’s not what you wear; it’s what you own

It’s a term thrown around a lot, and it sounds important: vesting. As in, being fully vested — that sounds pretty good and it is.
According to the IRS, being vested in a retirement plan means ownership. All employee contributions to a retirement plan are 100% fully vested — the employee owns everything he or she puts in.
However, employers usually provide a match of a certain percentage of employee contributions.
Matching contributions
Employers match contributions made by employees in different percentages. An employer might say: If you put 6% of your paycheck into the 401(k), then we’ll match your contribution by 50%. So suppose your 6% equals $3,000. Then the employer will put in $1,500. That would be an unusually generous match. Typically, an employer may match 3% of the first 6% of the employee’s salary. That equals a 9% contribution — still pretty good, especially over the long term.
They key idea, though, is that the employer sets a certain match percentage. The employer may also have rules about when their contributions are fully owned (or vested) by the employee.
Vesting rules
The employer, along with the fund managers, decides how much of the match the employee owns and when.
Newer employees may start out at lower percentages, but they become fully vested in time.
For example, an employee may become 20% vested in the company match after two years, meaning the employee owns their personal contributions plus 20% of the company match. Many 401(k) plans work out vesting in tiers. The longer you stay with the company, the more of the company contribution you own. An employee might become fully vested in, for example, six years. Then the employee owns 100% of the matching contribution.
Sometimes 401(k)s are set up so that an employee becomes 100% vested at a specific time — say after 2 years. Then they own all the matching funds on one day.
Being fully vested
The good thing about being fully vested is that you own all the money you put in and all the money your boss matches. (Plus, you own all the money that grows over time.) That means you can take the money with you if leave the company or retire.

Book Review: Is Online Interaction Worth Our Privacy?

Although it’s easy to shop online these days–and communicating with others is faster than dialing a phone number–it all comes with a price.
Our privacy.
So warns Shoshana Zuboff, a Harvard Business School professor emerita who has written “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power” following decades of scrutinizing labor and power in the digital marketplace.
With scant resistance from the law or society, Zuboff writes, surveillance capitalism is very close to shaping the digital future and–in the process–ruling social order.
In its book review, the New York Times notes that instead of serving the needs of people, surveillance capitalists make billions more by monitoring, purchasing, and selling the characteristics of peoples’ behavior. Simultaneously, the fundamental production of goods and services is being governed by “behavioral modification.”
Comparing companies like Google and Facebook to the slaughter of elephants for their tusks, Zuboff writes that instead of being the product, the public is the “abandoned carcass” from the wrenching of raw material from the daily experiences of humans.
Such big tech platforms continue to sell advertising, but now it’s targeted by the behavior information gleaned from users.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power
Author: Shoshana Zuboff
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Pages: 704

Road trips for June

Welcome to June, when thoughts turn to vacations. School vacation, work vacation, whatever — it’s summer and it’s time to chill. Or travel.
Looking for something fun to do this month? Here are some events to fire up your brainstorming and kick off the summer season:
Chicago Blues Festival. This free three-day event takes place June 7-9 at Millennium Park and celebrates the history of blues in Chicago with live performances on six stages by local and national artists.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is June 13-16 in Manchester, Tenn. The event features more than 150 musicians and performance artists on 10-plus stages along with art, events, a 5k, and education about sustainability.
The U.S. Open Golf Championship is June 10-16 in Pebble Beach, Calif. Will Tiger Woods win another Major after his dramatic win at the Masters?
The Belmont Stakes, the third leg in the Triple Crown of horse racing, is June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.
Firefly Music Festival is June 21-23 in Dover, Delaware. A music and camping weekend, the lineup includes Panic! At the Disco, X Ambassadors, Death Cab for Cutie, Travis Scott, Vampire Weekend, and dozens more acts throughout the weekend.
The South Carolina Festival of Flowers is in its 52nd year and will be held June 7-9 in Greenwood, SC which kicks off a month-long calendar of events. Likewise, the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival in Michigan runs June 7-16 and is in its 71st year. Events include tours, a 5k, parade, and kite-flying.
The Saratoga Balloon & BBQ Festival is June 21-23 at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds & Expo Center in Ballston Spa, NY.