Friday, 31 October 2014

India Under Grip Of Cyber-attacks: Report

India is under the grip of cyber attacks and there is an obvious peak in the growth of malware and their modifications on mobile devices, especially on the Android platform, according to a report.

Though PC is still the prevalent target for malware authors, there is an obvious peak in the growth of malware and their modifications on mobile devices, especially on the Android platform, The Quick Heal Annual Windows and Mobile Malware Report, 2012, released by Quick Heal Technologies, a leading player in India's anti-virus segment said Mumbai.
As per the findings, there has been a persistent increase in the number of malware attacks on the Google Android platform and mobile applications have become the easiest way to compromise devices, the report said.

According to the Report, social engineering still remains one of the most coveted ways of spreading malware. Cyber criminals continue to use it as a convenient way of exploiting human behaviour and platform vulnerabilities.

The report reveals that India is under the grip of cyber attacks with increase of almost 90 percent in Windows malware and a mind-boggling increase of 170 percent in its modifications and the bad guys are also winning the war in the mobile platform.
Virus attacks in the mobile space have started soaring at a rapid pace with 30 percent growth registered in 2012 and 80 percent increase in its modifications.

Commenting on the findings of the research, Sanjay Katkar, Technical Director and CTO, Quick Heal Technologies, said "Windows is still the most attacked Operating System. 2012 saw numerous attacks that were devised for windows vulnerabilities. Cyber criminals have leveraged zero-day exploits even more effectively with new software patterns and business models".

The web is still the most conventional way of targeting victims and our efforts should be driven to educate the end users and create awareness, Katkar said.

Cyber crime has been on a tremendous increase all over the globe and especially in india. many people are getting targeted of  cyber crime and the number is going up at an alarming rate.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Identity Theft Cases On The Rise In Kovai

COIMBATORE:  The Cyber Crime cell of the city police has recorded an almost 75 per cent increase in the number of identity theft cases across the district this year.  According to statistics released by the cell, 152 cases of identity theft have been registered so far in 2014, as compared to 87 recorded last year. Majority of the victims in such cases was women, sources said. Apart from targeting women on social networking sites, culprits are increasingly hacking into e-mail accounts of victims and ‘stealing pictures and videos’.
 
“We found out that a majority of such thefts occurred in internet cafes, where users sometimes forget to log out or multiple users have access to a single system,” said an officer attached to the cell. Despite the large number of complaints, police have, until 2013, managed to achieve 95 per cent detection rate, sources said. However, the detection rate this year has been disappointing with 73 cases (around 50 per cent) yet to be solved.
 
Speaking to Express, Cyber Crime cell inspector Muthumalai said, “When we receive a complaint, we communicate the details to the social networking website, which in turn provides us with the IP address of the offender.”  Poor response time from the sites is one of the reasons for the fall in detection rate, the official said. 
 
According to CoP A K Viswanathan, “Such crimes are not easily prevented as it is almost impossible to monitor social networking activity,” he said.
 
Identity theft and Cyber crime can cause serious risk to the credit profile of the individuals and this can affect the creditworthiness of the individual.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Ensure Your Credit Report Is Free Of Mistakes

Make it a practice to review your credit history at least once a year to avoid last-minute surprises
 
For five years, Nitin Vohra saved up to buy an apartment.
 
His joy knew no bounds when he found his dream home — it was from a reputed builder and was close to his workplace.
 
But Nitin was in for a big shock when he approached a housing finance company for a home loan. The company declined his application because according to his credit information report, he had an outstanding of Rs23,000 with a credit card company, overdue for 2 years.
 
This was a shocker for Nitin, who had been paying his credit card dues on time since took the card about 10 years ago.
 
Clearly, there was some mistake in his credit report.
 
Nitin was financially literate and knew exactly what to do. So he applied for a copy of his credit report from the Credit Bureaus.
 
When Nitin received his report, he realised where the problem lay. It was in a credit card that he had applied for about three years ago. The salesman had promised him it would be lifetime-free card, but the first statement itself had an annual fee entered.
 
He had contacted the bank’s call centre and was told the fee could not be waived.  So he had informed the bank he was not interested in the credit card, cut it into two pieces and hand-delivered the cancellation letter along with the credit card pieces to the bank.
 
He assumed the matter was over and had promptly forgotten all about the credit card, especially as he had also not received any further statement from the bank.
 
The Credit report showed the original fee of around Rs1,000 had grown to Rs23,000. A long-forgotten credit card had come between Nitin and his dream home.
 
I am sure this scenario sounds familiar. Other things that have messed up credit reports include
 
unwanted insurance premium, unwanted subscription for magazines or some other schemes or offers that the credit card company has a tie-up for.Maybe you were assured on complaint that “the charges have been reversed” or you thought that by simply ignoring the problem, it would go away on its own. But it doesn’t.
 
So what do you do in a situation like this? 
 
Firstly, like Nitin, get a copy of your credit report. That will tell you where the problem lies. Then, you will need to report the error to Credit Bureaus. Provide full personal details and control number of the credit report (available on the right top-hand corner of the report) and the entry you want rectified. State your reasons for rectification and the action you require (in most cases, deletion/ correction of an entry).
 
Once Credit Bureaus receives your request for rectification, we will approach the concerned lender for confirmation of the data submitted.
 
“Updated data gets submitted by credit grantors regularly. Once the data is rectified by the lender, it will be sent to Credit bureaus for updation.”
 
Though credit bureaus are supposed to coordinate with the concerned bank, it is in your own interest to also file a complaint with the bank’s nodal officer.
 
The Credit Information Companies Regulation Act, 2005, provides for a period of 30 days for such corrections to take place.
 
Unfortunately, the Act does not provide for any procedure to be followed if this deadline of 30 days lapses. At the end of 30 days, your best bet would be to file a grievance with the banking ombudsman against the lender or credit card issuer.
 
Currently, no grievance authority is provided for against inaction from the credit information company.
 
Of course, you continue to have access to the consumer and civil courts if you so desire.
So what happened to Nitin? Taking my advice, he wrote out a strong complaint to the bank, making it clear he was suffering a huge loss due to the bank’s error and that he would file for compensation with the banking ombudsman if there was a delay in the response.
 
This, however, did not work till he actually filed a complaint with the ombudsman with a copy marked to the bank’s nodal officer.
 
After that, there was a flurry of activity from the bank’s side and it agreed to update Credit bureaus’s record and provide him with a letter mentioning that it was an error. There was a quid pro quo — Nitin had to agree in writing to drop the demand for compensation.
 
He did, and with his credit history clear, managed to get his loan approved. So Nitin (presumably) is living happily in his dream home.
 
To avoid such issues you should make it a practice to request for your credit report at least once a year and check that it is error-free. That will ensure you get no shocks like Nitin.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: DNA

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Cybercrime Cases Shot Up In Last 10 Years: Telecom Minister

NEW DELHI: India has witnessed a massive surge in cybercrime incidents in about 10 years — from just 23 in 2004 to 72,000 last year, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here today.
 
"In the year 2004, we had only 23 incidents (of cyber crime). Last year we had about 72,000 incidents. Media reports show as to how cyber attacks are done to completely immobilize the financial infrastructure, information infrastructure," Prasad said at cybersecurity event organized by The Observer Research Foundation and industry body Ficci.
 
As per government's cyber security arm Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In) 62,189 cybersecurity incidents were reported in just the first 5 months this year.
 
Attackers compromise computer systems located in different parts of the world and use masquerading techniques and hidden servers making it difficult to trace them.
 
Prasad expressed concern over the absence of technical and legal infrastructure to catch cyber criminals, as also the lack of mechanism to check the unhindered growth of network of infected computer systems and flow of global information to check cybercrimes.
 
"There is great imperative to have proper ecosystem where there is meaningful cooperation. It is very important that information is properly shared. It is equally important that there must be mechanism for accountability in place in respect to crimes committed in cyberspace," he said.
 
Internet, mobile phones and the new media are among the finest inventions and game changers, Prasad said, adding as to why should a few be allowed to abuse it to destroy humanity.
 
He said India will support the framework of internet governance which must be inclusive and democratic.
 
British Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Culture Sajid Javid at the event said multi-stakeholder model, both to governance and security, is the single best solution to the challenge cybercrimes, Prasad said.
 
He said the UK government has spend almost a billion pound under its Cyber Security Strategy.
 
"It's a great opportunity for world leaders to come together and confront the criminals. I look forward to India taking part. We must ensure that the internet is safe, secure and successful, but we cannot allow that to be an excuse for further government control of cyberspace," Javid said.
 
In the United Kingdom, he added, computer-based attacks are ranked alongside international terrorism as one of the biggest threats to national security.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times Of India

Monday, 27 October 2014

Credit Score Can Fall Despite Loan Repayment

Traditional wisdom says repaying loan(s) helps one get a good credit score. However, this might not always be true.
 
Consider the case of software professional Milind Deo. Recently, his application for a housing loan was rejected, as his credit score was lower than required by the lender.
 
His score, 680 two years ago, dropped to 620 this year, despite the fact that he completed the repayment of a car loan of Rs 10 lakh within the term of five years (which ended in December last year).
 
Most lenders require a score of 700-750. Lenders and credit counsellors say there are a number of reasons for such rejections. Typically, those in a situation such as Deo’s should check their repayment history, as irregular loan payments hit one’s credit score.
 
In Deo’s case, one factor might be the fact that he doesn’t have any loan to service now. If there’s no loan to be repaid, there is no case for a credit score. Experts say this could easily pull down one’s credit score by 5-10 points. Therefore, it might be a good idea to own a credit card and make small spends through it, though owning a credit card but not using it lowers one’s score.
 
Such customers are termed ‘credit-hungry’. Each enquiry could pull down the credit score by 5-10 points. As such, shopping for best loan rates online is a better idea.
 
VN Kulkarni, counsellor, Bank of India’s Abhay Counselling, says, “One should ensure she/he does not take too many unsecured loans —personal loans, credit cards, etc. One who is servicing more than one personal loan will always have a lower score than someone servicing one or more housing loans, even if the personal loans are repaid on time.”
 
Similarly, those with more than three credit cards have a lower credit score, even if their repayment history is good. Try not to repay credit card bills in equated monthly instalments, as this hits your credit score.
 
Punja says over-utilising active lines of credit could also have a negative impact on credit scores.
 
Mohan says those who have negotiated with a lender to settle loans also have lower scores. Usually, an unpaid credit card bill is considered a non-performing asset (NPA) after 90 days. Once termed an NPA, the lender can’t charge interest. Subsequently, the borrower pays only the outstanding, or principal, and closes the account. However, while it might be easier to repay such a loan, this isn’t good for your credit profile.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: DNA

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Effective Coordination Key To Contain Cyber Attacks: Study

PUNE: Better communication and information about cyber security, right investment in skilled personnel and enabling technologies together with adoption of security measures will minimize the risk of current and emerging cyber threats, says a Websense - Ponemon Institute US report. 
 
The report: "Exposing the Cybersecurity Cracks: Roadblocks, Refresh and Raising the Human Security IQ," has focused on challenges IT executives face in dealing with cyber risks, amid communication issues between IT security professionals and executives, a desire to overhaul current security systems and limited security knowledge among executives and employees. 
 
The findings assume importance in the wake of rise in data thefts and the eventual financial losses suffered by customers of different business organizations such as banks that are encouraging use of IT and mobile technology driven services. 
 
Based on a survey of nearly 5,000 global IT security professionals (including 545 in India), the report reveals a knowledge and resource gap in the enterprise - leading to an increased level of vulnerability and risk of data security breaches. 
 
Websense, Inc. is engaged in protecting organizations from cyber attacks and data theft while Ponemon Institute is dedicated to advancing responsible information and privacy management practices in business and government. 
 
Globally, 29% of respondents would do a complete overhaul of their current enterprise security system if they had the resources and opportunity, the survey showed. It said nearly half (47%) the respondents felt frequently disappointed with the level of protection a security solution they had procured while only 12% had never been disappointed in their security solutions. 
 
The report indicated that advanced persistent threats (APTs) and data exfiltration attacks rank among top fears for IT security professionals and 56% believed a data breach would trigger a change of security vendors. Encouragingly, 49% say they are planning to make significant investments and adjustments to their cyber security defences in the next 12 months. 
 
Despite these concerns, a high 52% of companies do not provide cyber security education to their employees and less than half (42%) the employees have undergone a cyber threat modelling process in their present role, the report says, adding that of those that did, nearly all, (94%) found it to be important in terms of managing their cyber risk. 
 
"Advanced persistent threats and data exfiltration attacks rank the top fears for IT security professionals," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "These fears manifest because they believe their technology is in need of an overhaul and there is a widening gap in the knowledge and resource sharing among IT security professionals and executive staff. Encouragingly, the survey revealed plans for technology and education investment in place for the future," he added. 
 
Communication roadblocks are barriers to reducing the risk of a cyber attack, the survey said highlighting that 25% of cyber security teams never speak with their executive team about cyber security. Of those that did, 25% speak once a year and 18% speak twice while only one percent spoke weekly. 
 
Creating higher awareness among employee about IT threats and investing in training to help them combat such threats however seems to be a low priority for organizations the survey noted. Only 32% of respondents believe their company is investing enough in skilled personnel and technologies to be effective in executing its cyber security objectives or mission. In fact, 45% of companies represented in the research do not provide cyber security education to their employees, the survey revealed. 
 
Cyber law expert Vaishali Bhagwat told ToI that the human dimension in information security is almost ignored, yet the first to be blamed in case of a security breach incident. "Organisations run security awareness programmes to demonstrate compliance rather than deliver genuine behaviour change in end users," Bhagwat said. "Security is never baked in as it is nobody's priority. In a market that is kind to the one who reaches there first, security is bound to go on the back burner unless some sanctions are imposed on organisations that release insecure products," Bhagwat said, adding, "Technology is pushed on to users without giving due consideration to human behaviour and no significant efforts are being made to change human behaviour so that it readily absorbs new technology to ensure its appropriate use." 
 
"This Ponemon Institute security survey highlights that a lack of communication, education and inadequate security systems is making it possible for cybercriminals to attack organizations across the globe," said John McCormack, Websense chief executive officer. "It's not surprising that many security professionals are disappointed with the level of protection their current solutions provide, as many still use legacy solutions that cannot disrupt the kill chain to prevent data theft." 

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times Of India

Friday, 24 October 2014

Ahmedabad: Spear Phishing Is Hackers\' New Weapon

Cybercriminals are digging deep to research their potential victims by noting their preference of connectivity over security. And they are succeeding in it by playing on consumer emotions using advanced techniques such as spear phishing, states a report.
 
This technique of using personalised information has claimed victims in Gujarat as well, say cybercrime experts. According to the ‘2013 Report – India’ released by security solutions provider Norton on Tuesday, 55% of the respondents admitted that the convenience of being constantly connected far outweighed any security risks. Adding to this, 66% of Indian consumers use their mobile device for both work and play, giving cybercriminals the chance to access more valuable information.
 
And hackers are tapping this snag like never before. “Unlike earlier, it is no longer the corporate companies and websites that the hackers are directly targeting, but individual users. To target them hackers are using sophisticated means like spear-phishing,” Norton country manager Ritesh Chopra told dna over the telephone. 60% of cyber threats in the country are targeted attacks at victims, as per the report.
 
Explaining spear phishing, Chopra said: “Hackers target individuals by accessing their personal information and then send them phishing mails assuming the identity of a friend or accomplice.
 
Appealing to their emotional ties with someone, hackers launch a phishing attack customised to lure a particular individual. Hence, it is not just phishing, but also an identity theft that they employ to their advantage,” he explained.
 
A similar type of identity theft and phishing has been noticed in Gujarat this year too, say cybercrime experts.
 
“There are instances where the email of an executive from an import-export firm is hacked and kept an eye on it till a major payment order is received. On receiving the order, the hacker changes the email ID’s password and contacts the paying company under the guise of the export firm. He claims that the payment was not received and gives them his own bank account number to receive the ‘missing payment’,” said Kiran Patel, police inspector DCB cyber crime cell.
 
This year, an executive from a Junagadh-based company fell victim to such a case, added Patel.
 
In addition, four such cases were averted in Ahmedabad at the last moment, due to timely communication between the potential victim and the paying firm. Such identity thefts have gone up with an increase in misuse of data collected by malware apps using synchronisation, he added.
 
63% of smartphone users became victims of mobile cybercrime, the report stated.
 
Another new trend noted by the report is that of ransomware. In this technique, a file is downloaded into the victim’s device without their notice. When triggered this file locks up the device and asks for a monetary payoff to unlock it, explained Chopra.
 
India ranks among the top-five of the 24 countries covered in the international version of the report in terms of ransomware, identity theft and spear-phishing, he added.
 
The report also states that 11% each of all ransomware and identity theft as well as 9% of all phishing attacks target Indian users.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy:DNA

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

India Third Most Affected Nation By Online Banking Malware

Growing Internet penetration and rising popularity of online banking have made India a favourite among cybercriminals, who target online financial transactions using malware, security solutions provider Trend Micro said. According to the firm, India ranks third after Japan and the US in the tally of countries most affected by online banking malware during the April-June quarter of 2014.
 
Japan topped the list with the highest number of online banking malware infections this quarter due to VAWTRAK. In May alone, it saw 13,000 malware infections. The US saw about 5,000 malware infections during the month, followed by India at 3,000 attacks.
 
"India posed for cybercriminal expansion with an average of 2.5 million malware detection in a given month. Also, 33 per cent more malicious apps were downloaded and network traffic from affected computers continued to rise," TrendLabs Director Myla V Pilao told PTI. TrendLabs is Trend Micro's research and development centre. These and many such incidents show that cybercriminals will always adapt to new trends and situations whether in the use of new malware or targeted attacks techniques to continue their attacks, she added. 
 
She said the severity of attacks has intensified against financial and banking institutions as well as retail outlets globally.
"Total attacks have exposed more than 10 million personal records as of July 2014 and that strongly indicates that organisations need to adopt a more strategic approach to safeguarding digital information," she said. Such incidents often lead  to stealing of consumer's personal information like customer names, passwords, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, and date of birth.
 
These types of personal privacy breaches have affected organisation's sales and earnings, while leaving customers unable to access accounts and dealing with service disruption, Pilao said. "The pace of change in technology sector has never been as rapid as it is now, and as a result we see firms struggling to keep up with the latest developments," she said. Pilao added that it is essential that Indian businesses treat information security as a principal constituent of business  strategy as time and again it has emerged as one of the top countries witnessing cybercrime. 
 
"The incidents observed during this quarter further establish the need for a more comprehensive approach to security," TrendLabs Director Myla V Pilao said. 
A report by another security solutions firm McAfee said India is the fourth most affected country in Asia, with 786 phishing domains and 1,557 servers hosting suspect content. Also with 145 spamming domains originate from India, the country is the eighth most affected country in the Asia Pacific region.
 
According to government's cyber security arm Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In), 62,189 cyber security incidents were reported in the first five months of the current calendar year. Also, till May this year, 9,174 Indian websites were hacked by various hacker groups spread across the world. 

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: DNA

Monday, 20 October 2014

Use Cards Judiciously To Improve Credit Score

The average Indian shopper today is likely to have at least two credit cards in his wallet. In fact this number has been on the rise with banks and credit card companies sending free lifetime credit cards with ‘attractive features’ to anyone who they think fits the bill. These cards sometimes come as a ‘surprise gift’.
 
As a customer you have the choice to use the card or return it. If you receive a credit card, which you had not asked for you just need to cut it into two and send it back to the bank, declining the offer.
 
The more cards you have the more tempted you will be to avail the offers on each of them and at some point in time discipline could give way to reckless spending leading you into a maze of spiralling debt before you realise what hit you.
 
For a spender who is not disciplined in prompt repayments, debt can mount in accelerated proportions.
 
If you use your credit cards extensively or even if you use it once in a while, it would be prudent to access your credit report from Cibil (Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited). You can manually access your credit report by placing a request with Cibil, details of which are available at www.cibil.com.
 
Though currently you can pay for this report through Cibil’s online payment gateway, you cannot access your credit report online as of now but this will be enabled in future. Once you make your payment Cibil will send you a hard copy of your credit report to your postal address.
 
Having access to credit reports is a definite step for the genuine borrower with an excellent credit profile to increase his negotiating power. So, how can you ensure your credit report gives you this negotiating power?
 
Well, what can be the doom for a reckless spender can be an excellent tool for the disciplined borrower. It depends on how you use your credit card. This can be the single most important factor in improving and increasing your credit score.
 
Here are some pointers on what to do and what not to do in order to achieve this. 
1. Judicious use: Making use of a credit card judiciously will help you improve your credit score. Just make sure to choose a card that is suited for you from a well known brand.
 
2. Low credit limit: Keep a tab on the credit limit of your card. Open a credit card account with a company that will provide you with the highest credit limit possible. High credit limits, even if they are not used, will add merit to your credit score and improve it.
 
3. Closing credit card accounts: The number of years you hold a credit card account has an impact on your credit scores. So keep your oldest credit and if you must close a card opt for the most recent cards and close them one at a time, maybe once a month over a period of time, as closing them too quickly could also affect your credit score as your available credit limit will take a dip in one go.
 
4. Bargain for a lower interest rate: If you have never defaulted on payment for a few years, make use of your good repayment track record and speak to the bank officials for a better bargain. Request them to lower your interest rate citing the good track record.
 
5. Request for hike in credit limit: The most recent card has the highest credit limit. The oldest card has the lowest credit limit. What do you do? In such instances, if you have a good repayment track record, approach the bank and negotiate for a higher credit limit especially since you have been their customer for quite a few years. Most banks will facilitate such a request. You can then go ahead and close your most recent card.
 
6. Keep a self imposed credit limit: Never exceed 40% of your credit limit. This has a beneficial effect on your credit score. This shows your credit limit is high but you have not burnt it up and have plenty in reserve. This logic helps you attain a much higher credit score. The same logic suggests you should not close any credit card accounts, as they collectively will provide you a high credit limit, which is good for the score.
 
7. Paying off credit card dues quickly: This will dramatically improve your credit score. Try not to accumulate too much credit card debt. Be wise and pay the dues quickly and keep rotating your cards. Paying off dues timely will spike your credit score.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: DNA

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Follow these simple rules to create wealth

To create wealth, investors should keep in mind some basic rules that are simple to follow. Here are some of the most important ones from select financial planners, an investment analyst and a top professional in the credit information industry: Save, invest and understand where & why you are investing: We understand that we need to invest but very few understand that we can invest only if we first save. It's important to know how much you earn and spend to arrive at what you can save. It's also important to understand the risks associated with equities, fixed income, commodities, gold, international funds, real estate, etc, and also the resultant return expectations. Also, understand why you are investing. -Shalini Dhawan (SD)

Systematize investing: Being busy individuals, the last things on our minds are handling paperwork, cheques, banking errands, etc. Hence, there is a need to systematize: Automate investments to selected avenues on monthly, quarterly, yearly basis by using technology, available systematic investment plans (SIPs), triggers, alerts, ECS, etc. -SD

Diversify: Diversification across asset classes and within each asset class can eliminate risks emanating from concentration, liquidity, credit, interest rate and currency . This will reduce the overall risk to the portfolio. However, diversification beyond the optimum level does not reduce the risk to the portfolio. -B V R Venkatesh (BVR)

Safety has a price: If you are one of those risk-averse investors, chances are that your savings would be locked into various fixed and recurring deposits.However, over the last few years, you must have got negative real returns. That is, your returns were less than the rate of inflation. In other words, the interest income from deposits has not helped you keep pace with rising costs of goods.That also amounts to erosion of capital -you have lost it through inflation. So, remember to build an inflation-beating corpus through investment sacrossasset classes including equities, debt, gold and real estate. — Vidya Bala (VB)

Consistency & discipline pay: Emotions interfere with investing — sometimes they work for us and sometimes against us. So, be disciplined to invest a certain amount every month and systematize it. There are many examples of SIPs in diversified equity mutual fund schemes generating sizable corpuses, where investors have consistently run SIPs. Also, discipline yourself to refrain from going off an agreed asset allocation and investment strategy. — SD

Save on taxes to build a kitty: A large number of people focus on expenses like children's education, home loan repayment, etc, for tax deductions from their salary. You should also look into Section 80C investment options seriously. Here you can find investment options that can save on taxes and also build a long-term portfolio with good future returns. These options include equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS), various provident funds, NSCs, five-year tax-saving deposits, etc.

ELSS could offer you the best deal in terms of superior tax benefits and higher returns in the long term. These funds have a lock-in period of three years and compare favourably with other options like five-year tax-saving bank FDs, fiveand 10-year NSCs, or 15-year PPF. The gains from ELSS that accrue are also exempt from capital gains tax, while gains from five-year tax-saving deposits are fully taxable. -VB

Monitor and review: After you have put in place an investment strategy and implemented it, periodically check if the plan is working for you from every possible angle. If you have moved away from the agreed plan, change the asset mix. If that means exiting under-performing investments, do that. -SD

Mind your credit score: Like in business, in personal finance too credit line availability plays a critical role. Today, institutions consider both borrowers' income profile as well as their repayment behaviour across earlier liabilities while deciding their creditworthiness. A credit score of an individual is increasingly becoming an integral part of banks' appraisal process in determining whether to grant credit as well as its quantum.The higher your score, the better your creditworthiness and more are the chances of your loan application getting approved. Financial discipline in paying back the borrowed amount (EMIs) on time and as agreed to the lender is the foremost step to ensure a good credit score. Monitor your joint loans or loans where you are the guarantor regularly .It is advisable to get a copy of your credit report at regular intervals when you start taking debt, especially after opening or closing of new credit accounts. In case of any error, get it corrected without delay . -Mohan Jayaraman (MJ)

Seek professional help: We are ready to seek help from dieticians, doctors, lawyers, etc. Likewise, we also need professional help to nudge us into an investing habit. -SD

SD: Shalini Dhawan, cofounder & director, Plan Ahead Wealth Advisors BVR: B V R Venkatesh, director, Value Invest Wealth Management VB: Vidya Bala, head - mutual fund research, FundsIndia.com MJ: Mohan Jayaraman, country manager, Experian India

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Times of India.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Lenders Respect Financial Discipline

An individual’s credit score provides a loan provider with an indication of the ‘probability of default’ of the individual based on their credit history. What this means in simple English is that the score tells a credit institution how likely the loan applicant is to pay back a loan (should the credit institution choose to sanction your loan) based on the individual’s past pattern of credit usage and loan repayment behaviour.
 
Given that the credit score is a loan evaluation tool developed to help loan providers, the first logical question that comes to mind is “what difference does it make to me?”
 
Well, the obvious answer is that the higher your credit score (i.e. the closer it is to 900) the more likely you are to get your loan application approved.  The reason being, closer the score is to 900, the more confidence the loan provider will have in the individual’s ability to repay the loan.
 
While, this is what is claimed it is always useful to analyse the underlying data, which serves as the foundation based upon which such claims are built.
 
So what exactly does the data say?
 
The best way to analyse the impact the credit score has on an individual’s loan application is to observe the lending behaviour demonstrated by credit institutions over time. The table below shows us a comparison of new loans sanctioned by loan providers based on an individual’s credit score in 2008 as compared with those in 2011.
 
The data tells us that 90% of new loans sanctioned in both 2008 and 2011 were to individuals with a credit score of 700 or more. 
 
However, the data also indicates that over three years, lending institutions showed a change in preference from individuals with a credit score ranging from 750-799 in 2008 to individuals with a credit score of 800 and above in 2011.
 
Hence, you will have to maintain greater financial discipline in order to secure credit in the future.
 
It is important to note that loan providers also consider your total income, overall debt burden and fit with their internal credit policy before deciding upon your loan application.  Hence, if your EMI to income ratio is over the set cut-off percentage your loan application may get rejected despite having a credit score of 847.
 
Simply put, the Cibil TransUnion Score is like the marks one earns on school examinations. Higher marks (credit score) do increase the chances of your being accepted to college (getting a loan approval) but don’t guarantee your admission. A more overall evaluation of your extracurricular activities (income level, overall debt burden) is required before you admission is secured.
 
Similarly, different colleges will have different cut-offs with regards to the marks (credit score) required to gain admission.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: DNA

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Survey Reveals How Indians Forsee The Future Of Smartphones

NEW DELHI: Indians expect that in about 10 years from now technology will be advanced enough to give them phones that will have the capability to smell things.
 
homes that would read their minds and talk to them and vehicles that fly, says a survey.
 
They also see cybercrime emerge as a key concern, as per the survey by chip maker Intel's cybersecurity arm McAfee.
 
"The phone people will be using in 2025 will be one with touch and smell capabilities according to 44% of Indians," said the study, 'Safeguarding the Future of Digital India in 2025'.
 
McAfee commissioned marketing Science Institute (MSI) for the research which conducted online involving 1,002 Indians aged between 21 and 65. It comprised 523 men and 479 women.
 
"As Indians come to terms with the internet of things, we understand consumers are concerned about how these changes will impact their safety and privacy," McAfee's managing director for India and SAARC Jagdish Mahapatra said.
 
About 92% of people in the survey said artificial intelligence and robotics will help them in their jobs and almost all of them, 98%, were of the opinion that they will want to put more effort into protecting their digital assets in future.
 
Majority of the Indians said that most common devices in 2025 will be the smartphone (77%), smart watches (75%), tablets (67%), laptops (63%); 59% said appliances connected to the internet will be common.
 
People showed fascination for wearable devices. Around 90% were keen on a wearable device that can scan the barcode of a particular product (grocery or otherwise) and automatically add it to the shopping cart.
 
Besides, 83% believed that in 2025 people will own a wearable device that sends vitals directly to a physician, saving themselves a visit to a doctor's office.
 
Already, companies are selling smart watches with motion sensors, sleep monitor and pulse monitor linked to computers.
 
When it comes to homes, 94% expressed the view that home will use solar panels as the main source of energy in 2025 and their home security will be connected to mobile device — a trend that has already started.
 
Moreover, 77% said that by 2025, they would have been to a house that speaks to them and reads their mind.
 
While experiments have started on vehicle which will have no driver, 86% of the Indian said that in 2025 there are going to be models available that are completely auto- pilot. Small chunk, around 24%, went further to say that they will get around by hybrid vehicle in 2025, or by a flying vehicle (21%).
 
Since all the devices will be computerized and use wireless signal, 90% people said that cyber security will be a big concern.
 
About 47% expressed apprehension of identity theft, monetary theft and fraud will be biggest concerns by 2025.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times Of India

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How India\'s First Wildlife Cyber Crime Cell Helped Nab Tiger Poachers

MELGHAT, MAHARASHTRA:  It's a one of a kind cybercrime cell, unique because it focuses on tracking cases of wildlife poaching.
The Melghat wildlife crime cell in Maharashtra is the first in the country under the forest department and was instrumental in arresting 34 people in one case of tiger poaching including an accused called Ranjeet who was arrested from Andhra Pradesh after his movements were monitored for months at a stretch. Ranjeet had been on the radar of different law enforcement agencies across India including the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI. Ranjeet and another accused based out of the capital, Surajpal, were accomplices of the notorious poacher Sansar Chand.
 
Nodal Officer at Cyber Cell Parikshit Dambhare, who spent many hours a day tracking Ranjeet explains, "Tracking Ranjeet took eight days, 16 hours per day. It was very difficult to track him as he kept changing his phones."
 
"We got CDR data. We got to know they were a big gang and they were moving from one part of the country to another. The people of Dhakna (involved in poaching case in Melghat) sold the skin and bones to Punjab, then Haryana, then Delhi. Tiger traps were recovered. Rs. 50 lakh were recovered from Surajpal in Delhi too. His bail plea has also been rejected twice since his arrest," Vishal Mali, assistant conservator of forest (ACF), Melghat told NDTV.
 
The efforts seem to be paying off. Crucial forensic evidence, diligently collected and linked to the accused has meant that the Melghat cell has already secured its first conviction in just over a year which is why other states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are also seeking their assistance to track poachers preying in their parks.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.
Courtesy: NDTV