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Frank Gaffney on the "N" word...
7 Steps -- Protect Yourself From Fraud
7 Steps Protect Yourself From Fraud
The news is filled with examples of identity and credit card theft. Most of this type of crime occurs offline, with a recent survey showing only under 15% of identity and credit card theft coming from online sources. Even so, a new class of email is infecting PCs without the user opening an attachment.
The DailyMail newspaper in the UK reports:
'This sort of spam also affects cautious users which would never open an unknown attachment or link,' say security experts Eleven Research Team. Previous generations of email-borne viruses and trojans required users to click on an attachment - often an office document such as a PDF.Fortunately, banks, credit card companies and online vendors such as ShadowShopper.com are becoming increasingly effective at protecting you online. Using encrypted ordering, highly encrypted databases, and PCI compliant top level hosting security, all help to secure the online experience for you. Following a few basic tips will greatly increase your security online and make you a very difficult target for any online scam, virus, malware or identity thief:
The new emails - dubbed 'drive-by emails' - have been detected 'in the wild' by computer researchers Eleven Research Team. 'Previous malware e-mails required the user to click on a link or open an attachment for the PC to be infected. The new generation of e-mail-borne malware consists of HTML e-mails which automatically downloads malware when the e-mail is opened.'
'This is similar to so-called drive by downloads which infect a PC by opening an infected website in the browser.' The current wave of emails arrive with the title 'Banking Security Update.' To stay safe, the security company advises switching all security settings in email software to maximum, and updating your browser to the latest version so it's protected against malicious software.
1) If you do nothing else, use better passwords. If any of your passwords are contained in the list below, compiled by SplashData, then go right now and immediately change them! It's estimated that up to 20% of ALL passwords are in the 15 below!
If you're password is above, change it immediately to a password that contains letters, numbers and characters (ex: my$name%is^sue2) where you are using an easy to remember name separated by characters next to each other on the keyboard and ending in a number. If you are interested in a great, useful program that can not only remember all your passwords but also can auto-create random, secure passwords, we highly reccommend Roboform. [sic. Editor recommends OnePass.com which is FREE.]
2) Don't be lazy! DO NOT have your computer or browser "remember" your passwords. Type them in each time, and change passwords on all your accounts every 4-6 months.
3) Turn on your computer's internal firewall. If you don't know how to do this, ask a friend to help you. [or search Google.] It will add another layer of protection to the data you keep on your computer.
4) Beware of "phishing" scam emails. Some of these are very obvious like the offers from Nigeria to wire you a million bucks because their deposed uncle was a General who stumbled across the money. You've seen them before and they're obvious. But the new generation of phishing emails are sophisticated, and use the logos of real companies to try to get you to send them banking or credit information. Just remember, no company or bank will send you an unsolicited email asking for this information. It's different if you've initiated contact. Do not respond to uninitiated contact asking for financial information. (Important reminder: ShadowShopper will never send you a job notice through the mail, and will never send you a check for shopping. If you receive such a claim, it is a phishing scam. Go here for details) [Do not open emails with graphic files (.jpeg, .jpg) or .exe, .bat, .doc, .docx or really ANY files if you do not know the sender. These file extensions are frequently forgeries or open malware programs that can log your keystrokes to steal your passwords. Some malware looks for people in your Contacts or Addressbook and sends you a message purportedly from them. If it looks out of character do not open it, check the full header, or forward it to your friend asking "is this really from you?"]
5) Check your accounts regularly. Banks, credit cards, credit agencies should all be checked frequently. Look for activity you do not recognize, and if you have a question, follow up to get more information.
6) Be on the lookout for unsolicited bills, checks or new accounts. Things that show up in mail or email that you did not ask for or sign up for should be immediately followed up. [Label them spam or phishing in your email providers interface.]
7) Install a computer anti-virus and malware software program on your computer. It's your frontline against the majority of the virus and malware threats that are out there. We highly recommend both AVG and SuperAntiSpyware for maximum protection. [or Trend Micro.]
Whether you're online or off, we can better fight credit card fraud or identity theft by being careful, following a few commonsense rules for passwords and computer security, and by being cautious about messages or letters that come unsolicited.
Here are some good articles you can read on being safe online:
Above all, if what you're offered is too good to be true, then it probably isn't true. If you have a question contact the firm's in question immediately. Happy, safe shopping!
|Iraqi Army Halts Insurgents and Oil Prices for the Time Being|
|Today's Spotlight MarketCrude Oil futures halted their recent climb, as Iraqi forces managed to slow down advancing insurgent forces. Nonetheless, the situation in the nation could underpin Oil prices. President Obama is sending some 275 forces to the nation for embassy security, but emphasized that he did not intend to engage in a military operation in the country. So far, not a single barrel of Oil has been displaced by the conflict, and most analysts do not expect a supply disruption. The Iraqi army did abandon the area near Kirkuk, the fourth largest Oil field in the country, but Kurdish forces stepped in and are now defending the area. Even though supplies have not been disrupted, prices can be seen as sensitive to developments and we may see a fear driven market.|
|FundamentalsIraq is expected to ship 2.79 million barrels a day from its Basra terminal in July, which is a very healthy output. In the US, traders will get API data this afternoon and EIA data to digest. Traders may wish to keep an eye on Cushing, OK inventory levels, which have shown a pattern of destocking since the Keystone pipeline became operational. Inventories at the hub shrank 32% in April and May alone. Stocks there are at their lowest levels in two and a half years. Analysts are expecting the EIA to report that Crude Oil inventories shrank by 750,000 barrels this past week. On the product side, traders are expecting gasoline inventories to have fallen by 550,000 barrels, while distillates are forecast to have climbed by 350,000 barrels.|
This is why you must test everything as the Bible urges and why you cannot put credence in media reports.
If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. "
-- John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff at the New York Sun, 1880
"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
-- Richard Salent, Former President CBS News.
"News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising."
-- former NBC news President Rubin Frank
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The Year of the Fuel Spec
Released on January 5, 2006
(Next Release on January 11, 2006)
The Year of the Fuel Spec
A year from now, as we look back on 2006, oil market analysts may call it, “The Year of the Fuel Spec” (“spec” being short for specification). Regulatory and industry changes to the composition of both gasoline and diesel fuel will be key issues affecting these markets in 2006. How markets behave during the transition to these new transportation fuel specifications will go a long way in determining how high retail prices may reach for these two fuels.
Specifically, five fuel specification changes, some due to mandates for cleaner-burning fuels pursuant to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, others resulting from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) and industry responses to it, will stress the fuel supply system in 2006. Two of these changes, the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) program, and the removal of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) from reformulated gasoline by many suppliers, are likely to be the most challenging to the market. Three additional fuel specification changes in 2006 are expected, individually, to have only minor impacts on gasoline prices and price volatility, but in total, to exacerbate an already tight market. They are: (1) establishment of a renewable fuels standard in EPAct 2005 that requires an increasing volume of renewable transportation fuel to be used each year starting in 2006; (2) implementation of an EPAct 2005 requirement that reformulated gasoline meet the same volatile organic compound (VOCs) emission standard in northern and southern regions, in an attempt to begin consolidating fuel types to increase fuel fungibility; and (3) implementation of the full Tier 2 low-sulfur gasoline requirements, resulting in average gasoline sulfur content of 30 parts per million (ppm), one-tenth the average sulfur content only three years ago.
As the ULSD program and the removal of MTBE from reformulated gasoline (RFG) have the potential to cause the most volatility in prices during the transitions this year, it is worth focusing on these two changes a little more closely. In both cases, following the operational changes and new equipment installation required by refineries and distributors, supply problems may arise from:
*Loss of production capability
*Loss of import supply sources
*Increased difficulty in delivering the new products (including the need for extra tankage)
*A one-time inventory pinch when inventories of old product must be drawn down and tanks prepared for the cleaner new product – both at wholesale and retail levels.
The ULSD program begins in 2006 with the requirement that at least 80 percent of on-highway diesel fuel being supplied must have no more than 15 ppm sulfur content at retail. Refineries are scheduled to comply by June 1. (The sulfur content of non-road, locomotive, and marine diesel fuel will be ratcheted down in subsequent years.)
Notwithstanding the recent hurricanes, refinery modifications to allow production of ULSD are largely on track. The biggest challenge is expected to be delivery of the product from supply source to retail. ULSD will travel with other petroleum products through pipelines on the way to bulk terminals from which it will be shipped by tanker truck to truck stops and retail stations. However, other petroleum products traveling in the pipeline system with a much higher sulfur content could easily contaminate ULSD -- jet fuel, for example, can have 3000 ppm of sulfur. If ULSD is contaminated, it may not be possible to correct the batch by blending with additional low sulfur product. Contaminated ULSD may have to be returned to a refinery for reprocessing, which can be difficult because petroleum product transportation systems are not designed to return product to refineries.
[See This Week in Petroleum . . . (linked in sidebar) for full story.]