Friday, January 19, 2018

Anti-Virus Software: What Is It And What Is Right For You

Lately, every moment of every day brings outrageous news of the latest cyber casualties. Crossing your fingers that you’re not caught in information web theft is no longer an option. Take heart, there is more to be done than simply “hoping.” One thing is a constant: Malware is everywhere, winding its way into our devices, our lives, and our most valuable private and personal information.
Until now, building one’s own castle of cyber security has at best keeping fingers-crossed. The moat surrounding the “fortress” is chock full of cyber-tailed goons, wading and waiting for a moment of system weakness. Anti-virus or anti-malware is used to detect, prevent and remove computer viruses. The list of threats posed by malware is very long and very ugly. However, they all have the same goals in mind: Money, money and more money. Read on to learn how to build your fortress higher and stronger than ever before.

A look at malware should include the purpose of why it exists. The simple answer is “follow the money.” The most common types of malware either steal money from your banking accounts or hold you hostage with Ransomware. The business of malware is to make money, and business is booming! The longer malware can stay on your computer, the more cha-ching adds up to more bling. Malware does not seek to destroy your device, because in doing so it destroys itself. It may help to think of malware’s unofficial motto as: Install, hide, and infect for a long and lucrative life.

Simply put, anti-virus software prevents malware from gaining access to the device. It also detects and removes any malware already existing in the device. The goal is guarding the device, keeping your personal information safe from theft. Most importantly, anti-virus software should be continually updated to keep up with cyberthieves. Always purchase the software from a reputable source and never sideload from an anonymous source. Spending a couple of bucks doing it the right way can save you from losing many, many bucks down the road.

Most anti-virus software offers additional safety options like scanning, which it does in real time. It’s always searching for the odd and out of place, leading to removal from the device before it has the chance to infect. They can have cloud scanning capabilities – when something suspicious is attempting to upload to the cloud. At this point, it’s promptly stopped before the damage starts. Some anti-virus also helps identify unsafe URL’s before you click on them. They verify phishing attempts before they’re set in motion. Anti-virus can also improve the overall function of your computer by removing any threats, and can improve the overall performance as it is now running much leaner and cleaner.
It’s really left up to the user as to how much they can invest into anti-virus protection, and the bells and whistles they may want to add. Reading what’s available out there to compare to your personal needs is a great way to start. However, choosing not to install it on every device is not a choice anymore. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

6 ways to up your odds of getting a mortgage

Sometimes, when your credit is less than stellar and you’re not making a huge paycheck, getting a mortgage can be tough. But there are some things you can do to make it easier. For starters, put yourself in a banker’s shoes: Would you want to give a few hundred thousand dollars to someone who might just walk away from a house they couldn’t pay for? Of course not. So you’ll need to prove that you’ve “got it all together” by making a good case for yourself. You’ll want to seem like a bright and shiny candidate who can repay the loan if just given the chance.
Here’s some tips that lending experts say can improve your odds of getting approved for a mortgage. You can also call Main Street Bank today for immediate assistance!
1. Get Your Paperwork in Order
You’ll need W-2 forms for the past two years, paycheck stubs from the past few months, proof of previous mortgage or rent payments for the past year, a list of all your debts, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans and alimony, and a list of all your assets, including bank statements, auto titles, real estate and any investment accounts, Paul Anastos, president of mortgage lender loanDepot’s retail division, said in an email.
2. Don’t Miss Any Payments
This one is pretty serious, because you want to show you have a really good record of paying your bills. (If you’re curious about your past record, you can view your free credit report card, updated every 14 days, on
“If you miss a payment during the loan application process — particularly a mortgage payment — and the lender re-checks your credit report, it could result in a much lower credit score and could derail the loan application,” said Anastos.
Remember, your credit score can keep you for getting a mortgage or affect your mortgage rate (more on that below).
3. Make a Large Down Payment 
If a lender sees you’re able to pay for a percentage of the house, the odds may tilt in your favor. The larger your down payment is, the less likely you’ll walk away and let the property go into foreclosure, because you’d very likely lose that downpayment if the house foreclosed.
“Having a large amount of cash to put down on a house is also an indicator of how you handle your finances,” Mindy Jensen, real estate agent and community manager of, said in an email. “Banks want to give loans to people who will pay them back.”
4. Carefully Consider Asking for the Highest Loan Amount
“You might be pre-approved for up to $250,000, but the closer you get to that limit, the less likely you are to be approved. It only takes one small thing to push finances into the danger zone, and one unexpected expense can steer you into ‘DENIED’ territory,” said Jensen.
5. Improve Your Credit Score
Most credit scoring models run from 300 to 850. You generally need a score of 620 or higher to qualify for a conventional mortgage and a score of 740 or higher to net the best rates. So, if your score is looking shoddy, you may want to put some work into improving your standing before you apply.
Also, pay down your debts because the less debt you have, the more likely you are to be approved for a loan. “Lenders like to lend money to people who don’t really need it, as opposed to people who are desperate,” said Jensen.
6. Avoid Big Purchases Until After You Close
“If you are hovering near the loan limit, leave your credit cards alone,” said Jensen. “One large purchase — say a new TV for your new house, or buying/leasing a car right before closing — can completely derail your loan application. Wait until the ink is dry on all the papers before you buy a new toy.”
Call Main Street Bank today. We can help!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Meaning of The King Holiday


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate as well the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.
The King Holiday honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.
On this day we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child. We are called on this holiday, not merely to honor, but to celebrate the values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood he so compellingly expressed in his great dream for America.
It is a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.
We commemorate on this holiday the ecumenical leader and visionary who embraced the unity of all faiths in love and truth. And though we take patriotic pride that Dr. King was an American, on this holiday we must also commemorate the global leader who inspired nonviolent liberation movements around the world. Indeed, on this day, programs commemorating my husband’s birthday are being observed in more than 100 nations.
The King Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence. The holiday celebrates his vision of ecumenical solidarity, his insistence that all faiths had something meaningful to contribute to building the beloved community.
The Holiday commemorates America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence — the man who taught by his example that nonviolent action is the most powerful, revolutionary force for social change available to oppressed people in their struggles for liberation.
This holiday honors the courage of a man who endured harassment, threats and beatings, and even bombings. We commemorate the man who went to jail 29 times to achieve freedom for others, and who knew he would pay the ultimate price for his leadership, but kept on marching and protesting and organizing anyway.
Every King Holiday has been a national “teach-in” on the values of nonviolence, including unconditional love, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation, which are so desperately-needed to unify America. It is a day of intensive education and training in Martin’s philosophy and methods of nonviolent social change and conflict-reconciliation. The Holiday provides a unique opportunity to teach young people to fight evil, not people, to get in the habit of asking themselves, “what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict?”
On the King Holiday, young people learn about the power of unconditional love even for one’s adversaries as a way to fight injustice and defuse violent disputes. It is a time to show them the power of forgiveness in the healing process at the interpersonal as well as international levels.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service. All across America on the Holiday, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and wherever people need some help. It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can’t read, mentoring at-risk youngsters, consoling the broken-hearted and a thousand other projects for building the beloved community of his dream.
Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?’” he would quote Mark 9:35, the scripture in which Jesus of Nazareth tells James and John “…whosoever will be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever among you will be the first shall be the servant of all.” And when Martin talked about the end of his mortal life in one of his last sermons, on February 4, 1968 in the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, even then he lifted up the value of service as the hallmark of a full life. “I’d like somebody to mention on that day Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others,” he said. “I want you to say on that day, that I did try in my life…to love and serve humanity.
We call you to commemorate this Holiday by making your personal commitment to serve humanity with the vibrant spirit of unconditional love that was his greatest strength, and which empowered all of the great victories of his leadership. And with our hearts open to this spirit of unconditional love, we can indeed achieve the Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.
May we who follow Martin now pledge to serve humanity, promote his teachings and carry forward his legacy into the 21st Century.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Your Savings Solution!

How Your Password Gets Cracked

We all know weak and overused passwords are a cybercriminal’s map to your online world of information. It’s one of the most common entry points into snagging your private information, allowing them to hack email accounts, install malware, steal identities, and much more. However, understanding just how this info is gained by the bad guys shines a light of help. Knowing how they work gives insight into stopping their success. Learning specifically how and why you’re vulnerable to attack is huge. For once, you may just understand how to stay a step ahead of cyberthieves.

Keyloggers. They are software and hardware tools placed nearby or connected to your computer. They detect every keystroke, number, letter, or character that you type. A good anti-virus/anti-malware software solution installed on your computer should detect and remove keyloggers.

Wi-Fi traffic. It’s monitored by a hacker using a simple application letting them watch all activity on public Wi-Fi. The software notifies the hacker when your name and password are entered. It’s not far from there for a hacker to run your information to gain access to your other accounts. This blows a gaping hole to your information when reusing the same login information.

Flawed Protocols. Hackers know that sometimes flaws exist in code that is used to exchange or encrypt passwords. When hackers find these vulnerabilities, they have likely hit the jackpot. Until these flawed protocols are found and corrected, keep security up to date, including security patches and the latest OS updates.

Spoofing Attacks. Knowing a website visited often lets spoofers create a closely identical copy of the same website. As far as you know, it’s the same exact site. You have no hesitation entering passwords and other kinds of information on the site, especially if you make a purchase. Stick to the real deal by typing the URL directly into the address bar yourself. Look for the usual security icons in the left of the URL, and make sure everything is spelled correctly. Beware of invalid certificate warnings and never visit a site with a certificate warning of any type.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How to Make (and Keep) a New Year's Resolution

Are you making a resolution for 2018? Warning: More than half of all resolutions fail, but this year, they don’t have to be yours. Here’s how to identify the right resolution to improve your life, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.Pick the Right Resolution
You’ll give yourself your best shot at success if you set a goal that’s doable — and
meaningful too.
A lot of these resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. And a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons:
  • It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change. 
  • It’s too vague.
  • You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.
Your goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.
  • Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?” said Katherine L. Milkman, an associate professor of operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Five pounds in the next two months — that’s going to be more effective.”
  • Measurable. This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. If, for example, you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails over time so you can track your progress in how those nails grow back out, said Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.
  • Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life — and both you and your friends and family flail. So, for example, resolving to save enough money to retire in five years when you’re 30 years old is probably not realistic, but saving an extra $100 a month may be. (And if that’s easy, you can slide that number up to an extra $200, $300 or $400 a month).
  • Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.” 
  • Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

Anti-Virus Software: What Is It And What Is Right For You Lately, every moment of every day brings outrageous news of the latest cyber ca...