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As the price of bitcoin increased by almost 400 percent, cryptocurrency-related email compromise attacks increased by 192 percent between October 2020 and May 2021, a report said on Tuesday. According to cloud-enabled security solutions provider Barracuda Networks, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the opportunities this creates for them to trick potential victims and increase the profits they can make from their attacks.
"The digital format of cryptocurrencies make them decentralized in nature and without any regulations, they have become the currency of choice for cybercriminals," Murali Urs, Country Manager, Barracuda Networks-India, said in a statement. "It fuelled and enabled a multi-billion economy of ransomware, cyber-extortion, and impersonation. These attacks are targeting not just private businesses, but also critical infrastructure, so they increasingly pose a national security risk," Urs added.
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Urs also said that the recent high-profile attacks on organizations like Colonial Pipeline and JBS in the US are likely to bring greater interest in the government's intervention and regulation of bitcoin. Hackers use bitcoin to get paid in extortion attacks where they claim to have a compromising video or information that will be released to the public if the victim does not pay to keep it quiet. While this scheme has been around for some time, as the price of bitcoin climbed, cybercriminals started including it as part of their business email compromise attacks impersonating employees within an organization.
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They target and personalize these emails to get their victims to purchase bitcoin, donate them to fake charities, or even pay a fake vendor invoice using cryptocurrency. Due to the rapid growth in the perceived value of bitcoin, ransomware attacks have also become more damaging than ever. In 2019, ransom demands ranged from a few thousand dollars to $2 million at the top end. By mid-2021 most demands were in the millions, with a significant number over $20 million. (IANS/JC)
By Umer Malik
The COVID-19 pandemic has become a stress test for many. Not everyone was ready for the forced changes. Many have lost income, lost their jobs, or even their entire business. But even those who were spared these hardships had to drastically rebuild their way of life. It is still impossible to say for sure how the situation will change and what awaits us. But we can already talk about what 2020 taught us.
Try to Save Money for a Rainy Day
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, many people were left without savings. Such statistics have been recorded for several years. But even if you are a supporter of optimistic views and always hope for the best, it is advisable to play it safe.
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An emergency fund will help you out in the event of force majeure: illness or job loss. Try to save at least a small part of your income every month. These savings can be kept in a bank account or in a bank deposit: interest will be charged on the savings and it will compensate for losses from inflation. In addition, the money in accounts and deposits is insured by the state.
Solve Financial Issues Online
During self-isolation, many realized that most routine tasks can be solved remotely. But some older people had a hard time – they hastily mastered the online payment of receipts, loans, and taxes. It turned out to be easier for those who already had banking applications installed.
If you create all the necessary accounts for yourself and your relatives in advance, establish the online payment of bills, then the closure of the nearest offices of banks or government agencies will not be taken by surprise.
Make a Financial Plan
Spending control helps you optimize your expenses. But it’s better to act comprehensively and create a financial plan. It will help you to correctly prioritize and achieve your goals faster – for example, save up for a large purchase.
Schedule your actions several months in advance. Determine how much and on what you will spend, how much you need to save. Save money for entertainment and unforeseen situations but try not to go beyond it. So, you will be ready for unplanned spending, and at the same time, you will not avoid the temptation to break loose and spend all your money on trifles.
It also a good idea to have a source of additional income. For example, you can start trading Forex, which is a great opportunity to apply your skills. It is available all over the world from India to Vietnam. If you don’t know anything about it, visit the Forextime blog. It is one of the best sources of information on Forex trading and it will be useful both for beginners and experienced traders.
Keep Track of Income and Expenses
During the pandemic, most have changed their lifestyles. People began to review their finances: spending on trips to cafes and hairdressers disappeared, but water and electricity bills increased. While preparing food at home every day, many drew attention to the cost of meals, for which they were previously ready to overpay in a restaurant. The global crisis has forced many to become leaner.
In order not to lose this skill, you need to bring it to automatism and make it your habit. Keeping track of income and expenses for at least a couple of months will help you understand where your money is going and learn how to spend it wisely, avoiding impulsive purchases that hit your budget. You can monitor your spending in different ways: using financial planning services, a spreadsheet in Excel, or a regular notebook.
Stop Mindlessly Taking Debts
In case of emergencies, the burden on the personal budget increases, and extra debts can make it unbearable. Before taking loans or borrowings, assess whether this money is so necessary right now and how you will return it. Do not rely on the chance if you are not sure that you can pay off on time.
If you have already encountered difficulties in managing finances, paying off debts, try to negotiate with the lender about restructuring it – that is, about changing the payment schedule. In addition, some borrowers can arrange a loan vacation.
Insure Life, Health, Business, and Property
The pandemic has shown that unforeseen risks can result in large losses. Various insurance programs help protect against sudden difficulties. You can ensure not only your house, cottage, car, but also your health or business.
The policy does not guarantee that nothing bad will happen but it helps to cover losses that you may face. Some insurances combine risk protection and the ability to generate additional income.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links.)
With the financial uncertainty created by Covid-19 changing who and what to trust to manage finances, 83 percent of Indian consumers and business leaders now trust Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools more than humans, said a new study on Wednesday. A large number of people believe that AI-based tools can help to detect fraud, help reduce spending and make stock market investments.
Interestingly, 73 percent of business leaders trust AI bots more than themselves to manage finances, said the study by Cloud major Oracle and personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi. The findings come amid the global pandemic damaging people’s relationship with money at home and at work.
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“The role of finance teams and financial advisors will never be the same – 90 percent of business leaders believe robots will replace finance professionals, and more than a third (67 percent) of Indian respondents believe it’ll happen by 2025,” Guruprasad Gaonkar, Global SaaS Go-to-Market Leader, Cloud Business Group, Oracle, said in a statement.
“Many forward-looking companies are already creating tomorrow, today. Many of these use cases are already in adoption with AI-powered SaaS ERP (enterprise resource planning), with more radical transformation coming from the possibility of bringing together ERP applications with Blockchain.”
The study of more than 9,000 consumers and business leaders across 14 countries including India found that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased financial anxiety, sadness, and fear among people around the world. The research shows that the pandemic is reshaping the role and focus areas of corporate finance teams and personal financial advisors.
For Indian business leaders, 95 percent are worried about the impact of Covid-19, with slow economic recovery or recession, budget cuts, and bankruptcy as their main concerns. Amongst Indian consumers, 90 percent are experiencing financial fears, including job loss, losing savings, and never getting out of debt. Almost every Indian business leader – 96 percent – believes that AI bots can improve their work by detecting fraud, creating invoices, and conducting cost/benefit analysis.
“I am not surprised with the study as AI and ML are seeing unprecedented adoption, with the pandemic playing catalyst. I foresee finance as a function undergoing transformation,” Kannan Sugantharaman, Chief Financial Officer, Omega Healthcare, told IANS.
“Elements like cost, control, and compliance can be more efficiently managed by AI-based tools today leaving business leaders and CFOs to tend to more strategic roles facilitating growth, investments, enablement, and value creation through digital technologies.” (IANS)
Preparing for a baby isnt only about purchasing tiny clothes, diapers and mittens. It goes beyond watching the endearing ultrasound photos and counting baby kicks; baby planning involves a lot of financial preparation.
Priti Rathi Gupta, Founder of LXME, MD & Promotor Anand Rathi Group spells out the most crucial financial tasks that must be on your checklist from the onset of your pregnancy, including estimating your medical costs, planning leave from your job and budgeting for your new born’s arrival.
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Save for medical expenses
The most obvious first step to take – start saving! Considering the exorbitant charges for medical check-ups and tests, and poor maternity benefits in health plans, it would be wise to keep aside a small amount each month in a liquid fund soon after you receive your good news. Don’t forget that with prenatal care, epidurals, and hospital stays, giving birth doesn’t come cheap.
Keep your debt status in check
If you have a substantial debt figure before you have a baby, there’s a good chance it will swell once your baby arrives. The ideal scenario is to be debt free with probably just your mortgage because when the baby comes along, expenses are bound to shoot up. Ensuring your debt is under control will render you financially secure resulting in peace of mind and contentment. If debt is all you think about, it will be hard to focus on your family.
Prepare for Maternity Leave
Taking time off your job to bond with your new baby, heal your body and adjust to the changes in your family is extremely important. According to the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, women can take 26 weeks maternity leave. As per the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, women can commence their leave upto a maximum of 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and the remaining time can be availed after childbirth. Some couples also make use of their paid vacation or sick days once the baby arrives. Discuss with the HR department and understand your company’s policies with regards to this so that you can plan your leave accordingly.
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Review your health insurance
You will need to include your new born to your health insurance policy, so take the time to review your policy now, while you are still free from baby duties. If you’re currently covered through your job, you can find out more from human resources, or talk to your insurance provider. It would be of use to note that even with health insurance, you might be responsible for some out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to childbirth and family coverage plans. By reviewing promptly you will have more time to clarify any doubts and start saving. (IANS)