Archive for January, 2013

Bulgaria Govt Aims to Benefit from Crime Boss Shooting – Fiery Opposition Leader

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The shooting against a convicted underworld boss in broad daylight in downtown Sofia aims to bring instability to the country just months before the general elections to the benefit of the ruling party, an outspoken opposition leader argues.

“This week’s shooting and the assault against Ahmed Dogan [former leader of ethnic Turkish party] aim to bring instability and instill fear in the people,” Tatyana Doncheva, former leading Socialist, who starting a new civic movement in 2010, told Darik radio on Thursday.

“This is how Bulgarians, completely paralyzed with fear, will be ready to cast the ballot they are told to in the elections in the summer. These are well-known approaches and they have been applied many times,” Doncheva, currently founder and head of “Movement 21″, said.

Doncheva has gained herself the reputation of a politician and a lawyer, who breaks the rules, a woman who feels stronger than men, a former MP who plays the violin and starts the day with Haydn and Mozart.

“The events lay bare the special relationships that exist in Bulgaria’s underworld, where the current government resides. There are crime bosses who are fans of the government, but others are not,” said Doncheva, who owes her popularity mostly to her sharp tongue and her unending drive for independence.

But independence always comes at a price. Doncheva has never been given a post in the heights of the Socialsit party hierarchy, while she was its member, despite enjoying notable public support.

Some analysts believe that the mayor nomination itself was a way to marginalize Doncheva in 2010. The Socialists knew that she has no chance to win the run-off, and were pushing her to a political seppuku.

Meanwhile it emerged that the life of the convicted underworld boss, who was shot and seriously wounded in broad daylight outside a courthouse in Bulgaria’s capital on Tuesday, is still in danger.

Zlatomir Ivanov, aka Zlatko Baretata (The Beret), underwent surgery for approximately four hours on Tuesday.

The former member of Bulgaria’s counter-terrorism squad, who became one of the best known mobsters in Bulgaria in the late 1990s, got 4 gunshot wounds at about 9:30 EET on Tuesday.

The shooting occurred as he was about to enter the Central Courthouse in Sofia for a hearing in a trial in which he is appealing an 8-year sentence for leading a drug dealing organized crime group.

One of the bodyguards of Zlatko Baretata was also shot and wounded during the shootout, in which the failed assassin, who was positioned on the roof of the Sofia Bar Association building across the street, managed to escape.

Zlatomir Ivanov was arrested on February 7, 2009, after he turned himself in to Bulgaria’s National State Security Agency DANS. He was charged with organizing and leading an organized crime group dealing with drug distribution and murders.


12 Ways to Protect Your Smartphone from Cyber Attacks

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

smartphone cyber attackEvery year security experts warn that our smartphones are due for a major attack.

This year is no different.

That mini computer you carry with you is a growing target for hackers. We use them to surf the Net, read email, watch news…not to mention they’re also being used as mobile wallets.

Heck. You’re probably reading this article from one now.

Smartphone Cyber Attacks: The Numbers

How serious is the risk?

  • According to a study by Lookout Security 40% of mobile users (or 4 out of 10) clicked on unsafe links with their smartphone in 2012.
  • According to RSA, the security division of EMC, mobile users are at least 3 times more likely to become victims of phishing attacks than desktop users.
  • Mobile users are much less aware of mobile security options.
  • Mobile users easily download games or look for an app they need without researching the developer or knowing what types of permissions they should suspect.
  • According to AVG technologies, 89% are unaware that smartphone applications can transmit confidential payment information such as credit card details without the user’s knowledge or consent.
  • 91% are unaware that financial applications for smartphones can be infected with specialized malware designed to steal credit card numbers and online banking credentials.
  • 29% store credit and debit card information on their devices.
  • 56% did not know that failing to properly log off from a social network app could allow an imposter to post malicious details or change personal settings without their knowledge

Scary, isn’t it?

But there’s good news too:

  • The 13,000 different kinds of mobile malware found so far is nothing compared to the 90 million threats detected for PCs.
  • Developers have learned from the long history of cyber-insecurity during the early PC era. As a result, smartphone operating systems are designed with much stronger security protections.
  • Most companies are already gearing up for the coming tidal wave of security threats (i.e Samsung investing in mobile security firm Fixmo.) The investment is being used to:

“. . .advance research and development in the areas of mobile device integrity verification, data loss prevention (DLP), risk analytics and trusted mobile computing.”

Ways to Prevent a Smartphone Cyber Attack

Here are a couple of suggestions you can use NOW to safeguard yourself:

1. Get rid of your phone:  You could just go Enemy of the State and get rid of the thing. But who are we kidding? You’re not going to do that and I’m not doing that either. (I’m actually cracking up while writing this.) But the truth is, you won’t have to worry about security with that strategy.

2. Set a passcode:  Set a password on your mobile device so that if it is lost or stolen, your data is more difficult to access. One of the the biggest security risks is old fashioned carelessness. Data is most often taken from mobile phones when they’re lost or stolen and aren’t protected by a password. It’s an open invitation for thieves to go rummaging around.

3. Check your phone bill: Be on the lookout for unusual behaviors on your phone, which could be a sign that it is infected. These behaviors may include unusual text messages, suspicious charges to the phone bill, or suddenly decreased battery life.

4. Download from trusted sources:  Before downloading an app, conduct research to make sure the app is legit. This includes checking reviews, confirming the legitimacy of the app store and comparing the app sponsor’s official website with the app store link to confirm consistency. Many apps from untrusted sources contain malware that once installed – can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to your phone’s contents.

5. Backup and secure your data: You should backup all of the data stored on your phone such as your contacts, documents and photos. These files can be stored on your computer, on a removal storage card, or in the Cloud. This allows you to restore the information to your phone should it be lost, stolen or otherwise erased.

6. Understand app permissions before accepting them: You should be cautious about granting applications access to personal information on your phone or otherwise letting the application have access to perform functions on your phone. Make sure to also check the privacy settings for each app before installing.

7. Wipe data on your old phone before you donate, resell or recycle it:  To protect your privacy, completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial factory settings.

8. Make sure you have a security app: Download a mobile security app that scans every app you download for malware and spyware and can help you locate a lost or stolen device. Also, make sure the security app protects from unsafe websites.

9. Report stolen phones: If your phone is stolen, you should report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider. This provides notice to all the major wireless service providers that the phone has been stolen and will allow for remote “bricking” of the phone so that it cannot be activated on any wireless network without your permission.

10. Read the FCC’s Smart Phone Security Checker: The Commission released an online tool called the “Smartphone Security Checker” in December. It outlined a 10 step action plan mobile users can follow to prevent their personal data from being exposed. Experts believes it is one of the most comprehensive set of rules for safeguarding smartphones.

11. Watch out for pirated apps: Be careful of apps that offer a typically paid app for free or an app that claims to install or download other apps for you. Remember: you get what you pay for.

12. Never wire money to someone you don’t know: This goes without saying, doesn’t it?

Are there any other ways you can think of to protect your smartphone?

Cyber Photo via Shutterstock

The post 12 Ways to Protect Your Smartphone from Cyber Attacks appeared first on Small Business Trends.


Beckham to Play at Paris St-Germain for Free

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

David Beckham has joined French Ligue 1 side Paris St-Germain and announced he will be playing for free.

The ex-England midfielder, 37, signed a five-month deal and said he would be donating his salary to charity.

“I’m excited, it’s something we’ve been working on and talking about for quite a while,” he said on Thursday, as cited by BBC.

“I won’t receive any salary. My salary will go to a local children’s charity. That’s one of the things we are excited and proud to do.”

“It’s something the guys [PSG management] do, but obviously it’s a very good figure. That’s one thing we’re very excited about. To be able to give a huge sum to a children’s charity in Paris is very special.”

Beckham has been without a club since leaving MLS side LA Galaxy in December and has been training with Arsenal.

The former England captain had firm offers from 12 different clubs but has opted for Ligue 1’s big spenders.

Despite recently announcing he was to permanently base his family in London, Beckham always said he would make a decision on his next move based on “footballing reasons”.

“I don’t know if this will be my last contract,” Beckham said.

“People have been speculating about that for a number of years, but I continue to play and sign contracts. I will see how I feel but I want to play as long as possible. My passion is football. It always has been. When I play football it is not about the biggest contract.”

He also revealed that his sons Brooklyn, 13, Romeo, 10, and Cruz, seven, will stay in London to go to school along with his wife Victoria, 38, and their one-year-old daughter Harper.


Zuckerberg Denies Plans for Facebook Phone

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder, has tried to be as emphatic as possible to put an end to rumors the company is building a mobile phone.

“We’re not going to build a phone. It’s not the right strategy for us to build one integrated system… Let’s say we sell 10 million units – that would be 1 per cent of users. Who cares for us?”, Zuckerberg said after Facebook released a very strong fourth-quarter earnings report.

“We have a billion people using our products and we need to make Facebook really good across all the devices that they use.”

“Rather than just building an app that’s a version of the functionality that you have today, I think making it so that we can just go deeper and deeper is going to be a big focus for us,” Zuckerberg disclosed.

But in his words that doesn’t mean Facebook is not “a mobile company” – for the first time ever more people are using Facebook from mobile devices than on the web.


Cameron pledges security support for Libya

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Prime minister secures agreement during Tripoli visit aimed at boosting security and strengthening economic ties for police to probe Lockerbie bombing

Pakistan to build $1.5bn Iran pipeline

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Islamabad move to buy gas from neighbour to address chronic power shortages risks alienating the US at a time of tight western sanctions on Tehran

Bulgaria – Key Captagon Producer: EU Drug Markets Report

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Bulgaria and, to a lesser extent, Turkey are believed to be significant producers of ‘captagon’, according to the first comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the European Union.

“Between 2001 and 2007 Bulgaria seized 18, many large-scale, amphetamine production facilities associated with the manufacture of captagon tablets,” the EU drug markets report, issued on Thursday, said.

In 2008, it was reported that some amphetamine production had been moved out of Bulgaria, although exports from Bulgaria to the Middle East continued. A further eight amphetamine manufacturing sites were dismantled in Bulgaria between 2009 and 2011.

The role of Bulgarian criminal groups in large-scale amphetamine production and trafficking for the Middle East market has increased, the report says.

“Several large-scale production facilities managed by Bulgarians have been uncovered in recent years, and significant quantities of amphetamine, various equipment and chemicals were found.”

Most of the heroin leaving the ‘Golden Crescent’ area for Europe still seems to be transported by land along two loosely defined trafficking routes, the main one being the ‘Balkan route’, running west through Turkey, into Balkan countries such as Bulgaria, Romania or Albania and on to Central, Southern and Western Europe, the report says.


Gazprom posturing masks Russia’s weakness

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Energy giant’s spat with Ukraine highlights how Russian energy dominance is under threat from regulatory and competitive challenges

Setbacks for Shell’s Arctic plans

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Two drilling rigs it is deploying offshore Alaska are out of action and the group declined to say if they would be ready for the 2013 drilling season

10 Myths Small Business Owners Believe About Their Insurance

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

small business insuranceSmall business owners have a lot on their plates. In addition to being CEOs, they’re often CFOs, CTOs, CMOs, and just about everything else. On top of that, their personal finances are usually mixed with the business finances, making each dollar they spend or save that much more important.

This means that small business owners are often skeptical of new products and services (decidedly a good thing). But it also means small business owners have a heightened need to mitigate the many risks they juggle. The right business insurance can provide excellent protection, but small business owners should understand the truth behind these insurance myths before deciding on their coverage.

1. You Don’t Need Errors & Omissions Insurance if You Only Provide Advice

As a subject matter expert, you can be held liable for any negative impact that your advice causes a business. In fact, even if your work simply fails to live up to the expectations you set, a client could bring a lawsuit against you.

E&O policies provide funding for the legal services required to defend yourself against claims of negligence, even if those claims are frivolous. This is essential, since the legal defense costs (including lawyer’s fees) are often the most expensive part of an E&O lawsuit – they can easily range into tens of thousands of dollars.

For example, consider a marketing consultant who tells a client he can help them increase marketing ROI in a six week time frame. Even if the consultant does everything right, the client could be engaging in practices that decrease ROI, and by the end of the contract, could have a lower ROI than they did prior to hiring the consultant. Without a carefully worded contract and proper Errors and Omissions Insurance, the consultant could be at risk of a lawsuit for failure to perform his services.

2. You Don’t Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance if You Are the Only Employee of Your Company

Some states (New York, Nevada, and Utah) require all businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Translation: even if you’re a sole proprietor, you could still be required to carry workers’ comp, depending on where you live.

In other parts of the country, your coverage needs will depend on how many employees you have, how those employees are classified, and what kind of work you do. For example, some states do not require business owners to carry workers’ comp insurance for contract (1099) workers, but do require coverage for full and part time employees (W2). An insurance agent can clarify the laws for your industry where you live.

3. You Don’t Need Business Coverage Because You Work at Home

Actually, most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover business-related damages that occur in a home office. Too many home based small business owners find this out only after they go to file a claim.

Even if your homeowner’s insurance protects some of your business property, chances are good that that coverage won’t be in effect when you are traveling for work, whether that means running to a client lunch or flying across the country for a conference.

A simple general liability insurance policy or business owner’s policy can offer home based business owners the protection they need for both basic business property (such as laptops) and certain types of injuries clients can suffer (such as slander), whether the incidents occur at home or on the road.

4. You Don’t Need Business Auto Insurance Because You Drive Your Personal Car

Many personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage for commercial (a.k.a. business) use. That means if you get into an accident while running to Staples or the airport for your business, you might run into difficulties with your insurance provider.

The insurance needs for your car will depend on how it is primarily used. In other words, if you use it most often for business purposes (but sometimes for personal uses), it will likely require commercial coverage. If you use it most often for personal purposes (with the occasional business errand thrown in), it will likely require only personal coverage.

An insurance agent can explain this to you in more detail.

5. You Don’t Need Property Insurance Because You Work at Your Client’s Location and Use Your Client’s Equipment

Your property insurance needs will depend on the terms and conditions outlined in your client contracts. Some clients provide coverage for physical damages for work done at their locations, and some do not.

For example, imagine a contractor who repairs a client’s dishwasher but leaves the hose loose after finishing. Say the hose causes a flood at the client’s house; even if the client has flood insurance, the contractor’s insurance would most likely be responsible for covering the damages.

This is because insurance companies provide coverage based on who is responsible for a device or piece of equipment: if you are in charge or in control of the equipment, your insurance is likely responsible for covering any related damages.

6. Your Personal “Umbrella” Policy Will Cover Everything

Personal umbrella insurance will not cover everything. In fact, umbrella policies come with explicit limitations and exclusions. Read over your contract to determine what is and is not covered.

7. You Need Insurance for Each Client Contract

In many cases, your business insurance will be sufficient for multiple client contracts. There are some exceptions, though. fidelity bonds, for example, may need to be renewed for each new client, and contracts that involve high or complex risks may require supplemental insurance.

While it’s a good idea to verify that your insurance policies cover you for each new contract you secure, there’s a good chance you won’t need a new policy for every new client. Most policies define the services covered very broadly.

More likely, your insurance needs will change when you add new services, move the business’ location, or change the number of employees who work for you.

8. You Don’t Need Insurance Because You No Longer Have the Client You Purchased it For

Insurance protects you as a business owner. While not every client you work with will demand that you have coverage, carrying insurance regardless of your client’s demands puts you in a better risk-management position.

More important, though, canceling and restarting coverage as you need it may trigger red flags at insurance companies and can make it difficult for you to get coverage in the future when you need it.

9. If You Get Sued, You Can Simply Shut Down the Business

Closing your business will not necessarily protect you from a lawsuit. Courts tend not to care whether or not a business is currently operational. In a worst-case scenario, you could be required to cover settlements or judgments from your personal assets.

10. You Don’t Need Business Insurance Because Your Contract Protects You

Contracts are put in place to outline the specific terms of a project and delineate whether or not lawsuits are available. In the event that you breach your contract somehow (for example, by missing a deadline or failing to perform on a key deliverable), the terms of the contract could be voided, opening you up to a lawsuit.

As a small business owner, the health and future of the business is among your primary concerns. While insurance protects against an uncertain future, it gives you the peace of mind you need to plan and manage your business.

Insurance Myth Photo via Shutterstock

The post 10 Myths Small Business Owners Believe About Their Insurance appeared first on Small Business Trends.


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