How to Protect Yourself From the Heartbleed Bug

by Per Wickstrom on April 17, 2014

Four Easy Steps to Protect Yourself Against the Heartbleed Bug

Heartbleed Bug

How to Protect Yourself From the Heartbleed Bug

News about the Heartbleed Bug took the internet by storm. People were scared and for good reason. The security flaw allowed hackers to get passwords, credit card numbers and info, and other private data that was usually encrypted. The padlock icon on your browser of choice that indicated a trusted connection with a website was suddenly just an illusion.

Don’t Panic, but Take Action

Your data is likely safe. Although hackers may be tempted to test their mettle with Heartbleed, most web companies updated their servers the moment they heard the news. Your mailbox was probably filled with more than a few official promptings to change your password. Before you change your password, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your transactions are safe.

1. Don’t be afraid.
Heartbleed has an alarming name and graphic, thanks to one of the security firms that discovered it. They are marketing their brand using this security flaw. Fear sells services. In addition, many companies like Apple and Amazon weren’t affected. They didn’t use the vulnerable OpenSSL that Heartbleed targets. There may be no cause for alarm, so keep calm. Keep an eye out for spoofed emails that encourage you to panic, too.

2. Don’t change that password…yet. 
Changing your password on a server that hasn’t been patched against the Heartbleed bug is not a safe move. Wait until your bank or business of choice has updated their servers before making changes to your personal account online. They could still be compromised.

3. Do your own research.
Don’t wait for an email from your bank or business. If they haven’t posted information about Heartbleed on their website or sent you an official email, give them a call. My local bank cashiers didn’t even know about Heartbleed, but their IT department let me know my data was safe. Other online companies I use didn’t let me know they had been breached, but a search online let me see which companies needed a new password immediately.

4. Change that password when you’re secure.
Once you have verified that your favorite bank or business was affected by Heartbleed and that they have patched their servers, change that password quickly and in confidence. Repeat the above steps for each business you interact with online. Although it is a good idea to change your passwords often, most people don’t. They also tend to use the same password in multiple places. If a website you frequent was compromised and you use the same password on multiple sites, you will need to change your passwords everywhere.

Although there were no known exploits of Heartbleed out in the wild when it was announced, soon after its discovery a young hacker in Canada used the bug to breach the Canada Revenue Agency and access private information from tax payers. Surprisingly, a government agency did not protect their servers. Take a few moments now to prevent the same thing from happening to you.

To check sites that may have been compromised and need their passwords updated immediately.

Be the first to comment

Are You Cut Out to be a CEO?

by Per Wickstrom on April 16, 2014

The CEO

First of all, there is a big difference between being hired as CEO of a well-established company and building something from scratch, from the ground up, from nothing to something, from an idea into a successful operation.

CEO

Are You Cut Out to be a CEO?

There are overlapping skills, but there are some primary differences in the skill-set. I am not indicating that one is better than the other, but they do have their distinctions. For the entrepreneur or CEO, the ability to take a singular thought – a unique vision – and build it into a living breathing reality is an admirable skill indeed. The tendency to reject “how it’s always been done” and think and do differently despite the critical atmosphere of those who “know better” is often the mark of a successful entrepreneur or CEO.

Are you cut out to be a CEO? Only YOU can answer that, but here are some characteristics and guidelines you may want to pay attention to in your quest for prosperity:

Delivery

Any CEO must understand that he or she is offering something that people need or want in exchange for money, etc. You are delivering something for something. The action of trade or commerce is central to any business. You’d think this goes without saying, but many people seem to miss this. They cease to deliver or they fail to deliver with courtesy or efficiency and they suddenly or gradually cease to exist. A CEO and any leader should fully grasp these concepts.

Knowledge

Many a CEO is a virtual encyclopedia in his or her given field. They know the business. You can’t fool them. The knowledge may have come from school but more than likely it was hard-won and borne out of experience in the trenches. The CEO uses knowledge and experience in making the crucial decisions and they know that it isn’t just what you do, but when you do it – timing is crucial.

Output

The level of output, action and energy of the CEO is very often significantly higher than the average. This is not to say that there is a specific personality type that equates to a leader or CEO. I’ve seen all types from the high-octane go-getter to the eternally stoic and level-headed. The natural leader just seems to get more done in less time, but the methods and approach tend to differ.

Delegation

In addition to just plain getting more done comes the indispensable ability to delegate to others and see to it that what has been delegated actually gets done. “Micromanagement” has a negative connotation as it is not really delegation. The micromanager never really trusts anyone and must monitor every single detail in an obsessive fashion. There is nothing wrong with monitoring details, but if you have done your hiring and training correctly, you should be able to assign work to others and be reasonably confident that they know what they are doing. When you properly delegate, you can focus on the big picture and the future.

Motivation

A leader has the uncanny ability to motivate others. There are different types of motivation. One is the “threat” which has some limited use, but is not much good in the long run and is heavily abused by those who are too myopic and inept to use the finer arts. The preferred and vastly more effective methods are communication, inspiration, camaraderie, cooperation and other high-level skills. The CEO can motivate others to action in the spirit of teamwork and mutual support.

Future

The CEO should be able to envision the future and actualize that which is envisioned. It is one thing to have a dream, but to be able to hammer out that dream into the real world is something else entirely. It takes smart planning, industriousness, resilience, a strong sense of purpose, adaptability and intelligence amongst other things.

Accountability

A CEO doesn’t have a “Look what they did to me!” mentality. He or she has an attitude of accountability and responsibility toward life. They assume that if things go right or wrong it is because of what they do or do not do. Instead of shaking an accusative finger, they simply work out the best course of action for the given situation – and they take that action. They may not always be right, but they will often be the first to admit that fact.

Integrity

A competent CEO will possess a high level of personal integrity. If they believe something is wrong, they will say so. This doesn’t mean they are hypercritical, but they won’t back down from what they believe is right. Being honest with themselves and others is integral to their mindset and conduct. If they promise something, they will keep their word. If they are going to be late, etc., they’ll inform you. A good CEO should be able to impart these positive qualities to others and ideally these virtues would permeate the brand and the business.

Money

What is money? It is a SYMBOL. It represents a THING, a SERVICE, something of value that is EXCHANGED for something else of value. When you lose sight of that, you lose sight of the basics of commerce. Even a not-for-profit entity needs money in order to operate and accomplish its purposes. A for-profit entity is not “making money.” It is engaged in an interchange of THINGS or SERVICES for which it receives a SYMBOL called “money” that represents value. When people are “in charge” that do not grasp this, we get things like unchecked inflation where money has less and less value. Any leader or CEO must be able to wrap their wits around this simple subject.

Necessity

A quality of many a leader is the sense of necessity and urgency. While others may appear nonchalant or even lackadaisical, the leader is genuinely invested in the activity and wants to see it move forward on a “right now” basis. Not to say that others do not possess this level of necessity, but it is certainly notable in the entrepreneur and the CEO. They simply want to get it done NOW and preferably get it RIGHT the first time!

Continuous Creation

One of the most valuable traits of the CEO (or anyone for that matter) is the ability to continuously create something no matter what. Try this experiment (or maybe don’t try it): Leave a car unattended for a few months. Just ignore it and see what happens. It will collect dust and cobwebs; it will rust; it may not even start; it will decay. That is because no one is CREATING that car. No one is taking care of it or putting any LIFE into it. An old jalopy is still running after 300 thousand miles because someone is CREATING it and injecting LIFE into it. As soon as they start ignoring it, it will fall apart.

The same is true of any object, any action, any business, anything. A project or company requires continuous CREATION which is often forwarded from the top down, but will only continue when it works at all levels.

You

Don’t worry if you looked over these traits and decided “That couldn’t possibly be me!” No one could be expected to possess all these qualities right off the bat. Starting and operating a new project or company is terrifying and adventurous, full of uncertainty and promise in equal measure. You can look over these traits and decide if they are something you wish to aspire to. You can reject them and use your own system. But no matter what, don’t lose your sense of adventure.

Be the first to comment

Top Red Flags that Trigger an IRS Audit

April 13, 2014

Ways to Attract An IRS Audit No one wants to get audited. Even if you have accounted for every earned penny on your tax return and carefully calculated your receipts to within a dime, the time and stress involved with an audit by the IRS makes everyone want to avoid it. How does the Internal [...]

Read the full article →

The Secrets to Making People More Productive

April 10, 2014

The Basics of Productivity The “secret” to increased productivity boils down to what you’d call BASICS. And what are those? Take driving a car – what are the BASICS of driving a car? First would be having a car that works – the brakes work, it runs, no strange noises, etc. The BASICS for a [...]

Read the full article →

What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

April 9, 2014

Overwhelmed? It is smart to have a strategy for not getting overwhelmed and for what to do if it has already happened. If you are living life, you may have “bitten off more than you can chew” more than a few times. Do you give up and decide it was all too much or do [...]

Read the full article →

The ABCs of Entrepreneurship

April 3, 2014

Basic Definitions Entrepreneur: A person who organizes and operates a business, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. Corporation: A company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. Why do some large corporations get a bad name? [...]

Read the full article →

What is Zohydro?

April 2, 2014

Pharmaceutical companies are constantly researching new drugs to relieve pain and treat diseases. Recently, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of a new drug for pain called Zohydro, manufactured by Zogenix, Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer based in San Diego, California. The drug is involved in some controversy because critics fear it [...]

Read the full article →

The Tax Deductions Many Small Businesses Overlook

April 1, 2014

You’ve made it. You’ve broken free from the day to day grind of punching a clock in the work-a-day rat race and have become a small business owner. Congratulations are in order, but along with the many freedoms afforded the entrepreneur, owning your own business requires a rude awakening to a vast new set of [...]

Read the full article →

Best Drug Rehabilitation Sponsors Colt Ford Benefit Concert

March 31, 2014

Best Drug Rehabilitation is a leader in providing treatment services in a unique setting that involves not just the patient but the entire family. Their personalized approach to the emotional and physical challenges of fighting addiction has put Best Drug Rehabilitation not just at the head of its class in advocacy. It’s earned them respect [...]

Read the full article →

Would You Know if Your Teens Were Abusing Drugs?

March 30, 2014

Teen Drug & Alcohol Abuse We worry about our teenagers – and for good reason. The amount of negative influences cannot be measured. Whether it’s cyberbullying, traditional bullying, chronic texting or an over-indulgence in video games, our concerns are legitimate. But certain things are more serious than others. At the top of the list are [...]

Read the full article →