RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Your Complete Guide to Digital Spring Cleaning

April 13, 2015 1:09 am

In many households, spring cleaning is an annual ritual marked by cleaning top-to-bottom at home. But now is also the perfect time for a “digital” spring cleaning, say the experts at the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The bulk of digital cleaning falls into four categories: keeping a clean machine, staying secure, cleaning up your online reputation and purging files. Use this handy guide to complete one or all of these tasks this spring.

1. Keeping a Clean Machine
Keeping all web-connected devices ‒ including PCs, mobile phones, smartphones and tablets ‒ free from malware and infections makes the Internet safer for you and more secure for everyone.
  • Keep all critical software current. Having all software current is one of the best security measures you can take. This includes security software, web browsers, document readers, operating systems and any other software you use regularly.
  • Clean up your mobile life. Most of us have apps we no longer use as well as ones that need updating. Delete unused apps and keep others current, including the operating system on your mobile device. An added benefit of deleting unused apps is more storage space and longer battery life.
2. Staying Secure
Enhancing the security of your online accounts is a fast and simple way to be safer online.
  • Get two steps ahead. Turn on two-step authentication ‒ also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication ‒ on accounts where available. Many of the Internet’s most popular email services, social networks, and financial institutions offer this key security step free of charge, but you must opt in to turn it on.
  • Make better passwords. If your passwords are too short or easy to guess, it’s like leaving your car unlocked in a parking lot. Longer passwords and those that combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols provide better protection.
  • Unique account, unique password. Having separate passwords ‒ at least for key accounts like email, banking, and social networking ‒ helps to thwart cybercriminals.
  • Write it down and keep it safe. Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
  • Secure your phone. Use a passcode or a finger swipe to unlock your phone.
3. Cleaning Up Your Online Reputation
Take an active role in shaping your digital footprint.
  • Own your online presence. Review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to be sure that they remain set to your comfort level for sharing. It’s fine to limit with whom you share information.
  • Clean up your social media presence. Delete old photos and comments that are embarrassing or no longer represent who you are.
  • Search for yourself online. Update information that is no longer current.
  • Update your “online self.” Is your LinkedIn profile current? Are other social media sites up to date? Review your personal information and update it where needed.
4. Purging Files
Tend to your digital records just as you do for paper files.
  • Clean up your email. Save only those emails you really need. Your inbox is likely stuffed with offers, logistical arrangements and other outdated materials. Delete what you don’t need and be sure to empty your deleted mail folders. If you must keep old messages, move them to an archive.
  • Manage subscriptions. Unsubscribe to newsletters, email alerts, and updates you no longer read.
  • Update your online photo album. Delete or back up old or less flattering photos of yourself, your family and friends. In addition to not showing your best side, they take up space.
  • Empty your recycle bin.
  • Update your online relationships. Review friends on social networks and contacts on phones and PCs and make sure everyone on those lists still belongs.
  • File upkeep. Delete or archive older files such as numerous drafts of the same document.
  • Back it up. Copy important data to a secure cloud site or to another drive where it can be safely stored. Password-protect back-up drives and keep them in a different location off the network for maximum security.
  • Dispose of electronics securely. Wiping data isn’t enough. When you dispose of old electronics, look for facilities that shred hard drives, disks and memory cards. BBB is hosting “Secure Your ID Day” paper shredding events in communities nationwide, and many of these will include electronic shredding. Some municipalities also offer this service.
Source: NCSA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mortgage Rates Tick Lower

April 10, 2015 1:03 am

Average fixed mortgage rates moved lower this week following a weaker than expected jobs report in March, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.66 percent, down from 3.70 percent the previous week. The 15-year FRM averaged 2.93 percent, down from 2.98 percent the previous week.

"Mortgage rates fell across the board following last week's disappointing employment report,” explains Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac. “The U.S. economy added 126,000 new jobs in March, well below market expectations of 247,000 jobs. We did see some uptick in wages, as average hourly earnings increased seven cents for the month, and are up 2.1 percent over the year. Meanwhile, jobless claims fell sharply to 268,000 this week, much lower than market expectations of 285,000."

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.83 percent this week, down from 2.92 percent the previous week. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.46 percent, unchanged from the previous week.

At this time last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.34 percent; the 15-year FRM averaged 3.38 percent; the 5-year ARM averaged 3.09 percent; and the 1-year ARM averaged 2.41 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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