Cyber criminals are paying a pittance for passwords, according to MarketWatch. Citing a recently released study by Trend Micro, MarketWatch reports that passwords for entertainment accounts with NetFlix, Hulu and Spotify go for as little as $5, $4 and $2, respectively, on the U.S. underground market. Meanwhile account information connected with credit card numbers can be obtained for as little as $20. Accessing these underground markets is relatively simple, Trend Micro reports. “The high level of sophistication of the services and tools we found in the North American underground allows cyber criminals to thrive across the spectrum of expertise,” says Raimund Genes, CTO of Trend Micro. All told, U.S. losses from white collar fraud amounts to about $994 billion a year, according to American security consultant Frank Abagnale.
Congress Gives a Holiday Gift to Angel Investors
A Christmas gift for the angels out there. As part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, Congress recently passed legislation making permanent the 100 percent exclusion for Qualified Small Business Stock retroactive for the year 2015. The purpose of this vehicle, also known as IRC Section 1202, is to incentivize investment in startups and small businesses. Though there are a bevy of rules governing who is eligible for the exemption and tons of paperwork to fill out, Forbes' Marianne Hudson ably illustrates the difficulties and ultimate rewards in a recent article on the topic. Her conclusion? Worth it.
Frightening Findings on Retirement
A short blog post authored on The Motley Fool this weekend sought to analyze some of the "frightening" findings of a new report released by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS). According to the TCRS survey, three in five retired earlier than they'd planned. Of those who retired early, only 16 percent had enough money to do so, and 27 percent left the workforce due to issues with their own health. Motley Fool author Sean Williams went on to examine other notable portions of the TCRS study, such as the conclusion that fewer than 10 percent of those surveyed were offered retirement transition assistance from an employer. When it comes to saving, more than three-quarters of survey participants wish they'd saved more consistently.