Friday, September 15, 2017


As we go dark in all our properties, we hope all continue to enjoy visiting our Virtual Circle we've curated in our home property and our broadcast pods featuring Al Jazeera and Sky News.  We also will keep our Twitter Channel updated with regular updates courtesy of our partners Nuzzel and Paper_li.

As we have reflected upon our journey, these captured the essence of our view on the privilege we have had to serve as we look forward to the on-going journey:

Gratitude is an attitude that hooks us up to our source of supply.
And the more grateful you are, the closer you become to your maker,
to the architect of the universe, to the spiritual core of your being.
- Bob Proctor

It is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives
for which we should be particularly grateful.
They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness --
just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it;
just warmth and shelter and home folks;
just plain food that gives us strength; bright sunshine on a cold day;
and a cool breeze when the day is warm.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder

We also pay tribute to all the valiant fighters for freedom and justice around the World as we also remember all the journalists, human rights campaigners and the US Dreamers as we leave you all with one of our favorite poems that has inspired us ever more: 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Notations From the Grid (Special Thursday Edition): On the #Equifax Breach

The #Equifax Breach continues to be challenging.   The Washington Post released this primer which we are pleased to share for this edition of our Notations From the Grid (with this update Just received from US-CERT:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security US-CERT
National Cyber Awareness System:

09/14/2017 11:07 AM EDT

Original release date: September 14, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an alert on scams related to the Equifax data breach. FTC warns consumers to be wary of calls or emails purporting to be from Equifax agents. Legitimate Equifax representatives will not contact consumers to ask for verification of their information.
US-CERT encourages consumers to report fraudulent calls and emails to the FTC Complaint Assistant and to refer to the FTC Alert and US-CERT Tips on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks and Preventing and Responding to Identity Theft for more information.

What did Equifax executives know and when did they know it?

Equifax on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Justin Lane/EPA-EFE)
Right now the focus should be on helping people protect themselves from possible identity theft in the aftermath of a major data breach at Equifax.
But I do want to know if any of the credit bureau executives profited off knowing before we did that the breach had occurred.
Three Equifax executives sold nearly $2 million worth of company stock within days of the data breach. The public didn’t know about the hack until a month later.
Let’s see. Equifax said it discovered the breach July 29.
Bloomberg’s Anders Melin reported, “Regulatory filings show that on Aug. 1, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099. Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 of stock on Aug. 2. None of the filings lists the transactions as being part of 10b5-1 scheduled trading plans.”
Put another way, “Gamble sold more than 13 percent of his stake in Equifax. Loughran sold 9 percent of his holdings and Ploder disposed of 4 percent.”
The executives “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares,” according to a statement from Equifax.
What do you think?
The timing of the stock sales look questionable to me — and to others.
Don’t expect consumer friendly help from Equifax
When you’ve been harmed by a business, you expect to be a priority in the effort to make things right.
But what happens when that business isn’t really in the business of serving consumers?
This is the case with the credit bureaus. They are depository for our financial information. The lenders and companies we do business with upload our credit information to the credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and the lesser known bureau Innovis. But it’s these businesses who are the bureaus big-time customers. The bureaus make most of their money selling our information. So we aren’t their main customers.
Then comes this major hack at Equifax. An astounding 143 million consumers’ personal data was stolen. Hackers got key information — Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, credit card numbers and addresses.
Naturally consumers want answers. They want help to protect themselves. But since the credit bureaus aren’t really set up to perfect the interface with consumers, people are frustrated.
Equifax directed folks to visit a new site it set up —
“But when consumers went to the page, some suspicion and confusion ensued,” reported The Post’s Hamza Shaban, who covers tech news. “Consumers who signed up at the website encountered a multistep process that never led to a definitive answer as to whether their personal data had been accessed by hackers.”
I visited the site and punched in my information.
This is the note I received: “Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident. Click the button below to continue your enrollment in TrustedID Premier.”
I clicked and signed up for the free credit monitoring service.
Here’s the note I received after proving my identity by answering several questions: “You will receive an email with a link to finalize your enrollment and activate your product. Please be patient. Due to the high volume of requests, emails may be delayed. If you have not received your email within a few days, please check your spam and junk folders. Thank you again; we appreciate your patience!”
Guess I just have to wait. And while I wait how much more am I exposed?
If you’re waiting like me to get confirmation of enrollment in the credit monitoring service Equifax is offering, read all you can about what’s happening and how to further protect yourself.
I recommend the following:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Serve on #911Day

 A We Go Dark on this 9/11 Day, we begin by sharing this message from the co-founder of 911.Org:

To Our Friends, 9/11 Family Members, and Supporters,

As many of you know, on September 11th, 2001, I lost my courageous brother, Glenn Winuk.

Glenn was an attorney, volunteer firefighter and trained EMT who died in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City.

As hard as the anniversary of 9/11 is for my family and me each year, I am so inspired by the fact that, because of your support and kindness, and that of countless others, 9/11 has grown to become one of the largest days of charitable service in America, an observance now widely known as "9/11 Day."

This Monday, when our nation joins together again to mark the 16th anniversary of the attacks, millions of people will once more pay tribute by being kind to others, promoting a spirit of unity, and engaging in good deeds to help those most in need.

9/11 Day has truly become an extraordinary and inspiring symbol of our nation’s collective resilience, goodness, and compassion.

I know this about my late brother:  He would have really appreciated what we're building together!

So I hope you'll join me in participating in 9/11 Day this year. Here are a few helpful suggestions: 
  • Share a personal message of tribute or support on our website,
  • Donate $9.11 to support the September 11 National  Day of Service and Remembrance. (This year we're planning to use a portion of these proceeds to provide emergency food relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.)
  • Observe the official moments of silence that will happen on 9/11.
  • Do any kind of good deed tomorrow or this week, and encourage your colleagues, friends and family members to do the same. If you're not sure what to do, start by being especially kind or helpful to those you encounter, and check out our web site for other ideas.
For those of you who, like me, lost a loved one on 9/11, or are survivors or first responders, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Please take comfort in knowing that millions of people will be remembering by making a difference, in honor of you and those you may have loved and lost.

My family and I wish you peace and comfort this 9/11, and we pray for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Best wishes,

Jay Winuk, Co-Founder

We are also  honored to feature this call to action from the Corporation for National Service Across all our properties: 

CNCS encourages Americans to volunteer to remember the heroes and victims of September 11th.

9/11 Day and the Spirit of Service

On Monday, the nation will observe the 16th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States.
This day could have easily become one that focused on those who attacked our nation and the American way of life. However, the families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, wanted to mark this date by looking forward while recognizing the lives lost and remembering those who rose up in service. 
From first responders who face danger every day, to people who changed their career paths to pursue military or public service, to the simple acts that everyday Americans integrated into their lives, millions of stories of service emerged from the aftermath of 9/11.
The Corporation for National and Community service is charged with leading the nation in service on September 11th that honors the spirit of unity and service that infused the nation in the weeks and months after this tragedy. It is a responsibility we cherish.
“In the dark days following September 11th, Americans came together as a country to show that we are there for each other,” said Kim Mansaray, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We see this same spirit of service in the extraordinary acts of neighbor helping neighbor and stranger helping stranger in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I am proud that so many Americans choose to dedicate this day to give back in honor of the victims and heroes of September 11th. This is America at its best.”
At our core, Americans understand the challenges that we face require its citizens to stand tall in times of need, demonstrating the resilience, kindness, and compassion that are defining characteristics of our people. 
Patriot Day, as it has come to be called, is an opportunity to join together and serve to honor those who perished on 9/11 and remember the bonds we share that keep the fabric of our nation strong.
We encourage everyone to find service and volunteering opportunities in your community to commemorate this day by searching for opportunities on our 9/11 Day webpage. Our September 11th partners at My Good Deed also have ideas to mark the day along with links where you can find service events or register ones in your community.
We hope you take this opportunity to commit to making service and volunteering part of your life. It is the best way we can think of to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of September 11th.
In service, 
CNCS Office of External Affairs

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On #Harvey, #Irma & #EquifaxBreach

 Photo credit: Charlie Riedel/APtion

It has been quite a weekend in our midst as we have been witness to the nature's fury in Texas, the Caribbean and Florida and the Equifax Data breach.

Our team received this primer courtesy of the team at Global Citizen that we wanted to report on on how all around the World Can help as we will feature this on all our properties:

The devastation we've seen in Houston, and now in Florida and the Caribbean, is unimaginable. Relief teams estimate it will take more than a decade to repair the destruction. Thousands are now living in shelters or completely homeless in parts of the country where many already live under the U.S. poverty line.

For those already struggling to make ends meet, Harvey will continue to wreak havoc on their lives for years to come.

At Global Citizen we work to end extreme poverty around the world through calling for systemic change against the systems that keep people poor. We also believe that strong community spirit is an essential pillar of our mission. And in times like these, there's something each of us can do to help our brothers and sisters in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean as they work to rebuild their lives.

Donate now to one of these organizations that are helping people directly on the ground. Give what you can — and together, our donations can make a big difference in the lives of Texans, Floridians, and beyond.

We are holding all those impacted in our thoughts and prayers.

Hugh Evans (CEO), Liza Henshaw (COO) and the Global Citizen Team

One America: A newly created fund created by President Jimmy Carter, President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, and President Barack Obama. You can donate here.

American Red Cross: This longstanding relief organization is establishing shelters, distributing food, and providing emergency medical services throughout Texas. You can donate here.

Catholic Charities USA: This Catholic relief group is working to address short and long-term hurricane damage. You can donate here.

Save the Children: This emergency response team is dedicated to assisting children and families affected by the hurricane. You can donate here.

Please also see this very crucial primer on the Equifax Data Breach that we hope all take advantage of--we understand that folks in the United Kingdom are even affected--although this is geared towards the 145 Million affected in the United States only: 

  •  Assume you are affected. Equifax and other credit reporting companies can collect information about you from credit card companies, banks, or other financial institutions without your knowledge. 
  •  Freeze your credit reports with all three major credit reporting companies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Freeze FAQ page for guidance on how to freeze your credit. 
  • Set fraud alerts with all three agencies. For guidance on how to set fraud alerts, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Place a Fraud Alert page. 
  • Monitor activity on your credit accounts and reports carefully. Consider checking your credit rating regularly by asking for free credit reports from your bank or other credit service companies. Please note that while Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for those affected by this breach, there are reports (not confirmed by USC) that you may be opting out of your ability to join any class action lawsuits against the company if you sign up for Equifax’s credit monitoring. 
  • Be aware of tax return fraud. Criminals sometimes use stolen social security numbers and other personal information to file fraudulent tax returns and redirect tax refunds to their own accounts. For more information on how to protect yourself, see the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft. 

As this is a major and well-publicized breach, identity thieves and other criminals are likely to send out phish emails appearing to come from Equifax or other credit reporting agencies. It is important that you do not click links in any emails asking for your personal information or login details, no matter how legitimate the emails may appear. Instead, open a new browser window, navigate to the company’s website by manually typing its official URL in the location bar, and conduct any required business there. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Notations From the Grid (Special Friday Edition): On Frauds

Please enjoy this E-Book courtesy of CFO Magazine on dealing with Fraudsters:

Given the consumer shift from brick-and-mortar stores to eCommerce, sophisticated fraud rings are maximizing the opportunities presented by CNP purchases.

The speed at which these fraudsters evolve—and the determination with which they attack—requires businesses to build agility into their corporate strategy in order to stop fraud when it happens.
Download this ebook for the best strategies and tactics to use against the fraudsters.


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