Phishing: What It Is and How to Avoid It

Check For False Websites

Check For False Websites

Have you ever found yourself in the position of having one of your online accounts broken into, even though you know you had a very strong password that you never gave out to anyone? While you might be quick to claim that you’ve been "hacked," the reality is that you have probably become a victim of what is known as phishing. Phishing is a word used by computer security experts to categorize a type of malicious activity on the Internet wherein people will attempt to trick you into divulging your password so they can use it for nefarious means. This can occur in a number of ways, and you might not even know you’ve been a victim of phishing if you aren’t vigilant about guarding yourself against it. Your passwords are the most important factor in maintaining the security of all your vital accounts across the Internet, and you should know how to keep yourself safe from phishers.

Never Open Suspicious Emails Asking for Information

You probably receive more dangerous emails every day than you might think, but you never actually come into contact with them because they go straight into your spam folder. However, occasionally, a very sophisticated one might slip through and end up in your inbox. If you ever receive an email asking for your password to a particular website by claiming to be a representative of that site, or if it asks for private credentials in any other way, immediately report the email as spam and delete it. Do not respond. No legitimate website will ever ask you for your password outside of a secure form. These are phishing emails sent out en masse by people who are attempting to collect passwords they can sell to third parties.

Always Check the Website’s Security Certificate

Be Careful When You Are Ask To Perform Identity Verification Online

Be Careful When You Are Ask To Perform Identity Verification Online

Every website that deals in sensitive information will have something called an SSL certificate, which is usually signified by a lock icon in your browser bar. This means that you are communicating with the website over a secure, encrypted connection. However, sometimes phishers can spoof these certificates on fake websites, or you might encounter a website asking for your information without a valid security certificate. Don’t let yourself be fooled. You should never transmit your sensitive personal information over an insecure connection, such as on a website whose security certificate is expired. In that case, you can’t even be sure who will actually be receiving the information, and whether or not it may have been intercepted. Be vigilant about using encryption like this on the web.

Don’t Click on Suspicious Links

URL shorteners have been a boon for services like Twitter, but they’ve also been an asset for phishers. Do not click on short links from people you do not trust, or which are posted on websites without any indication as to where they lead. You could end up on a phishing website that’s designed to look just like the real website. These imitations can be very clever and convincing. Do not enter your information on websites you’ve reached by clicking on short links and your information should remain secure.

Be Careful About Typing URLs

Be Extra Careful When Typing URLs

Be Extra Careful When Typing URLs

When you are manually entering a URL into your browser, be sure that you type it very carefully. Sometimes phishers will set up false websites which look like the real one, but whose URL is actually a common mistake or easy-to-make typo of the real site’s name. You might end up on one of these sites without even knowing it, and you may try logging in with your information only to find it goes nowhere. Unfortunately, your credentials will have been logged by the phishers, and you will be at risk. Therefore, always be careful about how you navigate to websites, and remember to combine all of these tips for a safe and secure browsing experience. A fake website such as this will not have a valid security certificate, so you’ll know you’ve reached the wrong destination.

3 Tactics for Keeping Office Holiday Parties Professional

Holiday Celebration Party For Your Employees

Holiday Celebration Party For Your Employees

Holiday parties at work are standard for most offices. They’re usually nondenominational in nature depending on your company, which is a good rule of thumb to stick to. You never know your staff’s spiritual or religious beliefs, and in many cases it’s actually illegal to ask. Therefore, a holiday party should fall whenever most other main holidays do in the winter. You often see office holiday parties on TV sitcoms as plot devices, where someone gets drunk or uses the party as an excuse to let loose. This kind of reputation is complete fiction for the most part, though, and should remain as such. The point of a holiday party is to show your employees that they’re appreciated and offer a little fun. However, you’re still at work, so it should always remain professional. Here are three tips on how to keep the holiday office party from resembling a TV show.

Offer Food, Not Booze

Part of why a holiday party is social is because you’re offering something as a courtesy to your employees. Food is a great incentive if it’s well made and not the garden variety staff cafeteria fare. This is a good way to avoid serving alcohol, which is often the culprit of bad behavior in what’s supposed to be a professional setting. By offering good food at no charge, you’re providing a special treat, and sidestepping the dangers that come with serving booze. Make sure that the food is also festive and well presented. If you only offer your staff cake on styrofoam plates, for example, they might feel insulted. Include a full course meal. It’s a very good idea to work a budget in for a catered lunch, for example, so it’s clear you consider the party a special occasion held specifically for your employees. This is also a hugely morale boosting tactic that will leave your employees with positive feelings going into the new year.

Host It During the Day

Office Holiday Party

Office Holiday Party

Nighttime is when people take more liberties to cut loose, and your employees are most likely no exception. If you host your staff party during the day, possibly in the afternoon on a Friday when everyone is in a good mood, there’s less opportunity for inappropriate antics. In this environment, everyone is more relaxed since they’re not working, but at the same time are still surrounded by colleagues. This is a big incentive to maintain a professional exterior, even in a more relaxed context.

Have the Party at Your Workplace

Remind Them To Behave. It Is The Workplace After All

Remind Them To Behave. It Is The Workplace After All

While it’s possible to rent a hall or take everyone out to dinner, it can be more effective to decorate the office and have the party there. This is especially convenient if you employ a large staff or dealing with staff on different shifts. Due to the fact that you’re still in a work context, it’s less of a completely casual mood. While it’s possible to enjoy food and decorations at the office, there’s less chance of someone behaving like they would in a bar or other place where they might socialize in their free time.

What to do When You’ve Fallen Out of Love

You Are Falling Out Of Love... There Is Little You Can Do About It

Have You Fallen Out Of Love?

Falling out of love can be devastating, and it’s hard to figure out where to go from there. How do you recover from something like that? How can you ever find someone new? The key when you think you’ve fallen out of love is to just take it slow, make sure that’s really the case, and then go from there. People break up every day, and people survive. You can always fall in love with someone new, and you’ll be happier with them than you would be in a loveless relationship.

Make Sure You’re Right

Before you do anything too rash, take time to think about it. Have you actually fallen out of love, or is this a rough patch? Giving it a month or so to mull over can always help, and will let you know whether it’s something you’re going to get over or not. Sometimes when you go through a rough patch in the relationship it may seem like you’ve completely fallen out of love with her, but it won’t stay that way. If you make it for over a month and still feel like the flame has died, though, then that’s your cue to call it off before you waste any more of your time.

Tell Her the Truth

Tell The Truth Without Being Cruel

Tell The Truth Without Being Cruel

It’s not fair to lead her on and let her believe that things are still fine. Once you’ve made the decision to end the relationship, then you need to do it right away. Don’t waste time waiting for events like holidays, concerts, and her birthday to happen. You might worry about ruining these things with a confession like that, but you’ll actually be doing her a favor. If you wait and break it off after that, then she’ll look back on those times and wonder how long you pretended to love her. Honesty is always the best policy, especially when you need to end the relationship. Don’t be mean about it when you tell her, just let her know how you’ve been feeling and that you really don’t think the relationship is working anymore. She might be upset at first, but it’s better than living a lie for the sake of sparing her feelings. If you do that, then it always turns out worse in the long run.

Know That Life Goes On

There Is No Turning Back... Move On!

There Is No Turning Back… Move On!

Even if you two were in a very serious relationship, it’s not the end of the world if it ends. After all, even functional relationships can stop working as time goes on. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong, it just means that you two weren’t meant to last. Don’t waste time beating yourself up over it, because that won’t fix anything. Instead, you need to move on. By all means take some time to recover from the breakup, but don’t force yourself to stay alone because you two broke up. Chances are she’s going to move on without you, so don’t sit around waiting for her to come back. It’s better that she doesn’t, and you’ll just hurt yourself if you spend all your time waiting on her. Get back out in the dating scene as soon as possible, and you’re sure to find someone new who’s just as good for you if not better. Hopefully that relationship will work out better for you, but if not then just repeat these steps and carry on.

4 Hidden Travel Costs That Cost More than You Think

People Love To Travel

People Love To Travel

When you’re traveling on a budget, planning for the unexpected is a rule of thumb. However, the unexpected includes more than just a snow storm or a delay. There hidden costs that crop up you may not be expecting. When you get a good deal on airfare or a train ticket, for example, you may think that you’ve saved enough money to have more to spend on your trip. However, there are costs associated with actually getting to the airport, for example, that you may not have factored in. Here are four hidden travel costs that you may not expect, but should always plan for.

Not Purchasing Travel Insurance

If something goes wrong with your travel plans, without travel insurance, you have no recourse. For example, if something comes up at the last minute and you need to reschedule a flight, the penalty to do so might actually be just as much as the flight itself. Travel insurance might not be worth the extra money when you get a great deal on a flight. For the most part, though, it’s a prudent thing to include with your travel plans.

Getting to Your Departure Point

Arriving And Departing Can Be Tricky

Arriving And Departing Can Be Tricky

The process of actually reaching your departure point can become very expensive if you don’t plan ahead. If you’re flying, for example, the airport might be a ways away from your house. Taking public transportation to get there can take three times as long as just taking a taxi in some cases. However, you’ll also be paying three times as much to actually take a taxi to your departure point. When put into perspective, if the taxi fare is more than half the airfare, it’s not worth it. Instead, either pay more to fly out from a closer airport, or plan to leave extra early to reach your departure point. Otherwise, you could be paying exorbitant fees in ground transportation.

Rental Cars and out of State Fees

Rental cars have many hidden costs. When you rent a car, you may obtain a certain rate per day or week, but you need to factor in other things, such as gas. More importantly, however, is the need to understand where you can go. Rental cars generally allow drivers to stick within the tristate area with unlimited mileage. However, if you go outside that range, there’s a cap on mileage per day and week. After a certain amount of mileage, you’ll start being charged by the mile. You need to read your rental car contract very carefully to avoid overage charges you’re not expecting. Although it’s all laid out on paper, it’s in the fine print. You can also ask the rental car company representative about all the details of the rental agreement.

When the Train Fare Is as Much as the Airfare

Plan Everything In  Advanced

Plan Everything In Advanced

Traditionally, flying is a form of travel that’s expected to be the most expensive. It’s the fastest and most convenient most of the time. However, this isn’t always true. Usually bus fares are on the low side, but trains can actually be pricier than flying. Depending on what your destination is, a 12 hour train ride can actually cost you more than a 2 hour plane ride to the same destination. Due to the fact that trains are optimized for travel between major hubs, much like buses, they’re not priced proportionately for longer distances. Therefore, next time you look up an airfare that you think is too high, don’t assume that the train is going to be any cheaper. It may actually be more expensive. These days, even the bus has become an expensive way to travel during holiday seasons and other times of year when lots of people are traveling.

How to Fast Safely

Fasting Isn't For Everyone

Fasting Isn’t For Everyone

Fasting is probably not something you have ever considered before, but it’s important to understand how to do it safely if it ever comes up as something you’ve being invited to do. There can be religious reasons for fasting, or it may be a part of ta new cleanse diet that you want to try. Either way, you’ll want to be able to do it correctly if you do decide to give it a try, because otherwise you could wind up harming yourself. You still might not come away from this thinking that fasting is the right choice for you, but there could be benefits to it that you’ve never considered before. Here’s everything you need to know about fasting and how to do it safely.

What’s the Point of Fasting?

Fasting Diets Could Be Beneficial

Fasting Diets Could Be Beneficial

Fasting might not seem like anything you want to try, but it can actually have some serious health benefits. First of all, not all fasting is done for any kind of dieting or health benefit at all. Most of the time, people who want to fast are doing so because of religious or personal beliefs. Some religions have holidays where fasting is strongly suggested, if not encouraged. Usually the idea is one of cleansing and purification. Of course, if you’re not particularly religious then that has no significance to you. Fasting can also be an important part of some diets or cleanses, so if you think that you’re going to be trying various diets and health fads, then you might need to know how to fast properly. It can really be important, since you want to ensure your personal health when you do something like this.

Possible Dangers of Fasting

Fasting Diets Could Be Dangerous If Not Done Carefully

Fasting Diets Could Be Dangerous If Not Done Carefully

Fasting isn’t for everyone, and if done improperly or for too long it can have some serious health detriments. It can be quite dangerous for you, and for some people it just isn’t feasible at all. First of all, you’re going to feel pretty faint and out of sorts if you start fasting. It’s not a good idea to do this if you have any health issues that mean you need to eat regularly. Don’t put yourself in danger just for the sake of a diet cleanse or religious ceremony – it can really wind up throwing you for a loop. Always consult with your doctor beforehand if you’re worried about this sort of thing.

How to Do It Safely

Try Intermittent Fasting

Try Intermittent Fasting

If you want to fast, then it is important that you do it safely. Remember to consult a physician if you’re not sure that fasting is right for you. It could be quite dangerous. Most modern fasts allow for the intake of some liquids, so make sure to stay hydrated. Ease into the fast slowly and phase out more and more food throughout the day. Try an eight-hour fast to begin with and then gradually move up to longer periods of time. Of course, if you begin to feel weak or ill during your fast, stop immediately. You don’t want to harm yourself by fasting.