Today’s hackers are attacking a lot more than just computers. They’re going after the “Internet of Things” or IoT products – such as internet-connected cameras and refrigerators and using them to create havoc on the Internet.
In October, hackers used the “Mirai” malware to attack unsecured IoT devices, turning them into zombie computers to overwhelm and shut down huge websites including Netflix, Paypal, and Twitter, said Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist for the Federal Trade Commission.
Attacks like that can put your information at risk. So what can you do to reduce the risk of compromise to your home network and smart products?
December is the month when most people do a lot of shopping.
DealNews.com has looked through its archives from years past to help you find the most savvy purchases in December.
Buy in December
Gift card freebies
A popular promotion in December — especially among restaurants — is to offer a gift card at a price that's lower than the redeemable value. For example, last year Papa John's, Applebee's, and other restaurants offered gift cards that were worth more than what shoppers paid for them.
Retailers are more likely to offer a gift card with purchases that reach a certain amount, or bundled with a specific product. For example, last year Target offered $100 gift cards with Apple Watches, while Dell Home gave $200 gift cards with 55" TVs.
Innovative Designs is being charged with making false claims that its Insultex House Wrap would save consumers money by providing significant insulation without using much space.
Innovative Designs claims its thinner, less-expensive, house wrap has an insulation value of R-3 and its thicker, more expensive product has an R-6 value, according to a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission. The company also claims that its advertised R-values are based on scientific testing.
The FTC’s lawsuit alleges that the R-value of both products is substantially less than 1, and the test results and a certificate described by the company are flawed and invalid.
The rains have come to the Seattle area where I live, so I was out in my garden today picking the last of the tomatoes.
I had many gardening successes this year: a couple of dozen zucchini, a few larger than I would have liked; lots of Swiss chard and kale; a couple of servings of beans; carrots, most of which I have yet to harvest; the usual tomato dilemma here – a few red ones and lots of green ones.
The cucumbers were a surprise: They came on late, but were prolific. My daughter asked for some July and early August, but I had mostly blossoms then. I have lots now. It’s hard to get them all eaten. I see why people make pickles.
The mistakes. I accepted some tomato plants from my neighbor. I had many more tomatoes than I could use. And, for three of the plants, I just let them lay on the ground rather than staking them up. Not a good idea. Slugs got to them easily.
Other disappointments: corn seedlings on sale turned out to be popcorn, rows of lettuce were too long to eat easily, and the green beans didn’t produce as much as I would have liked.
However, the biggest failure in my yard was three emerald green arborvitae that I had planted to replace two that had died. The new ones didn’t make it either.
Here what’s going on with other baby boomer bloggers:
Upgrading and replacing appliances and other items are to be expected when living in an older home. Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting briefly considered replacing a household necessity in her 70-year-old house. Baer decided against spending the money now. Read about her thoughts in “Toilet Talk.”
Tom Sightings of Sightings Over Sixty went to a seminar focused not on money, but on all the other aspects of retirement. And yet, as he describes in “Retirement: An Attitude Adjustment,” one of the best lessons he learned was how to take the pressure off of your retirement finances.
It's hard to believe a boomer anthem that's some 50 years old captures the 21st century so powerfully. But Carol Cassara at Heart•Mind•Soul explains why she believes that and includes a powerful contemporary version of the song for your consideration.
This is the 469th issue of the Best of Boomer Blogs. Click on the links to read more. And, I hope you have many successes this week.
Copyright 2016, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist
Father’s Day, a day to honor American dads, is coming up soon.
While Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, thought of Father’s Day while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm.
Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
What’s up for Father’s Day 2016?
A gift for dad
Consumers say they will spend more than ever on Father’s Day this year, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation.
The possible health effects, including cancer, from exposure to formaldehyde emitted from laminate flooring samples were underestimated in an announcement made earlier this month, federal health officials said Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the cancer risks to consumers who have installed the flooring made in China is three times more likely.
The CDC had said on Feb. 10 that the risk of cancer from exposure to the flooring tested was two to nine cases per 100,000 people. The corrected measurement is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people.
Twenty percent of consumers plan on shopping online this Thanksgiving instead of going to stores, compared to 16 percent in 2014, according to a survey conducted for Offers.com.
For Black Friday online shopping, slightly more than one in five say that they plan to shop mainly online, 22 percent, while only 16 percent plan to shop in stores. For those who will be shopping both online and in stores, it’s 17 percent.
Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist
Father’s Day is coming up soon. What are your plans? Will you be able to spend time with your dad? Have you decided on a card or gift?
What are Americans buying for their dads this year?
Spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach $12.7 billion for golf lessons, home improvement tools, coffee mugs, and other gifts.
The average person will spend $115.57 on gifts, about the same as last year’s $113.80, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation. The survey found 75 percent of Americans said they plan to celebrate Father’s Day.