Tj Maxx’s Theft Among The Largest Hack-jobs Ever

At least 45 million shoppers using credit and debit cards at TJ Maxx and Marshalls have had their card details stolen from hackers, over a period of 4 or more years. This is believed to be the largest breach of consumer information in history.

The theft was disclosed about two months ago, and the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls (owners of over 2,500 discount stores) have released that figure of 45 million cards being compromised- and has even acknowledged the number could get even higher.

The disclosures made March 28th in a regulatory filing reveal that there were security holes that are common among many organizations that are trusted with private consumer data, such as credit card information. TJX failed to delete data from customer transactions promptly, and failed to guard secrets regarding how the data is protected with encryption.

In details provided by Deepak Taneja, a chief executive of a firm called Aveska, that advices companies about issues pertaining to information security, it was determine that TJX records did not indicate when information was deleted or who had access to what portions of information. There was also some question as to whether or not the information kept in these files was encrypted- so it’s hard to predict how large of an issue this case really is.

While it may not be known to the extent of damages this case will result in, it has reached as far as Sweden and Hong Kong, with banks reissuing credit cards to customers in the US as well as various other countries. The Massachusetts Bankers Association is tracking the fraud reports that are linked to the parent company of TJ Maxx stores across both North America and the United Kingdom.

As of now, the only arrests that have resulted from this case involve 10 people in Northern Florida who are suspected to have purchased customer data from TJX hackers in order to purchase Wal-Mart gift cards. The gift cards were used to buy $1 million in merchandise, including jewelry and electronics at Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club stores, as reported by the Gainesville, Florida police.

TJX claims that about three-quarters of the 45 million plus stolen cards had expired when they were stolen, or if not expired- then the stolen information did not contain the security code data from the magnetic stripes on the backs of the credit cards. After the incident, TJX began encrypting the security code data by storing them as asterisks in the computer’s database rather than numbers, start in September of 2003.

TJX also claims that approximately 455,000 additional customers had data stolen as a result of the customers returning merchandise without receipts, and include the customer’s driver’s license numbers.
Before the TJX security breach case, the largest case tracked by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse was through credit card processor, CardSystems in June of 2005- with over 40 million cardholders coming into attack. The TJX case is currently effecting about 46 million consumers.

 

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Tips For Restoring That ‘New Car’ Ride

Imagine falling in love with your vehicle all over again. You know, having the same sense of pride you felt when you first drove off the dealer’s lot.

Possible? With a little elbow grease applied to the exterior and interior, plus a mechanical inspection by a trusted automotive technician, almost anything is possible.

Take that “new car” ride, for example. It may have been thousands of miles since your vehicle has delivered precise steering response and a comfortable, factory-fresh ride, but replacing a few worn undercar parts could make a world of difference in your driving experience.

Replacing worn shock absorbers and/or McPherson struts is one simple way to improve ride and handling. Ride control replacement can have important safety benefits as well, since shocks and struts play key roles in a vehicle’s steering, stopping and stability performance.

“Steering, stopping and stability are dependent on properly functioning brake, steering and suspension parts,” said Mark Christiaanse, director of product management for Tenneco Inc.’s Monroe brand of shocks and struts. “A worn shock absorber or strut might not only make your ride less comfortable, but it also could lead to increased stopping distance, reduced steering precision and degraded stability in some situations.”

Monroe recommends replacing worn shocks and struts at 50,000 miles. For many popular-selling vehicles, replacing worn ride control parts that have been driven for 50,000 miles or more can improve the vehicle’s handling characteristics and comfort, according to Christiaanse. (Actual mileage may vary depending upon driver ability, vehicle type, and type of driving and road conditions.)

“A new set of shocks or struts can make a huge difference in overall ride quality,” he said. “Replacing these and other worn parts helps bring the vehicle closer to its original performance, which is a great way to enhance your driving experience.”

Will They Have

The Right Parts?

In most cases, it’s not necessary to rely on a vehicle dealership for replacement shocks, struts and other undercar components. A leading ride control brand such as Monroe probably offers exact-fit, model-specific shocks and struts for nearly every popular import and domestic vehicle. In fact, Monroe shocks and struts are engineered to meet or exceed the original units’ ride and handling performance, regardless of make or model.

 

Tips to Keep Your Car In Shape for Trips

With gas prices on the rise, there is no better time than now to think about vehicle maintenance.

“Proper car care is critical during the travel season,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “With gas prices exceeding an average $2 per gallon for the first time in history, performing a few basic, inexpensive maintenance checks will make road trips both safe and fuel efficient.”

In light of the higher gasoline prices, the Car Care Council suggests you pay attention to these items:

* Vehicle gas caps. About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.

* Underinflated tires. When tires aren’t inflated properly, it’s just as though you are driving with the parking brake on, which can cost you a mile or two per gallon.

* Worn spark plugs. A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.

* Dirty air filters. An air

filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents per gallon.

Here are some fuel-saving driving tips from the Car Care Council:

* Don’t be an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which wastes 7 cents to 49 cents per gallon.

* Avoid excessive idling. Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.

* Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mile driven over 60 mph will result in an additional cost of 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, use cruise control.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance and repair.

 

Ringo Starr – One Of The “Fab Four” Returning To The Stage

If you call roll for true icons of rock and roll, it wouldn’t take long to come to Ringo Starr, who’s been thrilling crowds all over the world for decades. Ringo’s legion of fans will be thrilled to know that the living legend is returning to the stage this summer with tour stops all over North America. Ringo’s musical writing and performance have captured the hearts and ears of millions of people from several generations, and a look at his life will show how he came to be as revered as any musical figure in history.

Early Life – A Tale of Struggle

Starr was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940 in Liverpool. Starr’s life was one wrought with obstacles, beginning when his parents separated when Ringo was a toddler. His mother remarried and Ringo grew up with his mother and eventual step-father in a working-class suburb of Liverpool.

Aside from family struggles, Starr also faced and conquered early health issues. When he was six, he suffered from appendicitis. Further complicating matters, his appendix burst, and the resulting peritonitis left him in a coma for ten weeks. Doctors gave him little chance to survive, but survive he did, and he was nearly recovered when another disaster hit. Ringo fell out of his hospital bed after six months of recovery and had to remain there for another six months.

As a result of these medical problems, Starr was seriously behind academically, and could not read or write when most children his age already could. His attitude towards school was never positive, and Ringo was known to play “hooky” quite often. These academic problems were part of the reason Ringo was eventually drawn to music.

When Starr was 13, he was dealt another medical blow when he was diagnosed with pleurisy, and he had to spend two years in the hospital as a result of this ailment. By the time he got out he was 15, and so far behind in school that he gave up the thought of ever returning at that point.

Starr took a series of dead-end jobs, as his career ceiling was quite limited because of his lack of academic progress. It was at this time that he discovered an outlet for his creativity – music.

Career Beginnings

Starr became enraptured with Liverpool’s Skiffle craze in the 1950’s, and in 1957 he started his first band, The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. In 1959, he joined The Raving Texans, and earned his nickname because of the number of rings he wore regularly and to sound more “Texan” as part of his new group.

While performing with The Raving Texans in 1960, Starr met a little-known group called The Beatles in Hamburg. The Beatles eventually replaced their existing drummer, Pete Best, in 1962, and chose Ringo as their replacement.

Legends in the Making

Obviously, this turned out to be a pretty good career move for Ringo. For the next eight years, Ringo collaborated on several albums that remain some of the best sellers of all time. The Beatles were not only a musical, but also a cultural phenomenon, and each member of the band enjoyed fame and fortune beyond most people’s imagination. Starr was not only the drummer for the band, but also helped write many songs and sang lead in several smash hits.

Solo Career

In 1970, The Beatles broke up and Ringo went right to work on his solo career. He released two albums that same year, and has produced 12 more since. Ringo released 11 singles that made the US and UK charts. Starr also spent time with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, a loosely grouped band of all star musicians who spent time touring together. All in all, Starr’s solo career has been a resounding success.

Accomplishments

When you add it all up, Starr has truly been a star. He won a combined 22 Grammy Awards for his work with the Beatles, Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band and his solo work. He has sold millions of records around the world, and in 1988, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If you love music, you most likely enjoy the work of Ringo Starr. Take advantage of the opportunity to see him live this summer.

 

Car Audio – What To Know Before You Buy Used Car Audio Systems

If you are looking for a car audio system and would love to save a little money when purchasing, you should consider buying a used system. Many people think you can only get quality sound from new equipment, but that is not true. You can find great packages that are sold directly from another consumer if you know what you are looking for. There are a few things to remember before making a purchase however. If you are considering buying a used system, think about these things before you throw down any cash.

The first thing to consider is what you need. You should always be aware of what your automobile can handle before purchasing a used system. When you go to a store to purchase new equipment, the salesperson usually assists you on knowing what you need. When you are purchasing from a consumer however, you may not be getting correct information. Since most consumers won’t offer a refund policy, you will need to know that the equipment will work on your car before buying it.

The best way to figure out what you need is to go your research. Go to a salesperson or a audio specialist and ask them about the specific equipment you are looking at. Ask them if it will work in your car. You may even have to let them inspect your car, but they can likely tell you whether or not it will work over the phone. After you know that the equipment will work for your car, you will need to make sure the equipment works as it should. Ask to test the equipment, if it is not in a car at the time.

If you cannot test the equipment, you might not want to purchase it. Even though someone might tell you it works fine, they may not be as honest as you would like to think. Most sellers are honest, but there are a few who will try to trick you and you don’t want to be their next victim. So, be sure that you know what you need for your current automobile and be sure the car audio system you are looking at is still usable. If you do these two things, you will be able to save yourself a lot of money by purchasing used quality equipment. It is always great to save money, but you only want to purchase used equipment that will work for you. If you don’t, then you really haven’t saved anything at all.

 

Bentley Versus Aston

Prestige has forever been Bentley’s well-deserved reputation for building automobiles with unmatched creature comforts and incomparable style. Even with a change of ownership and remarkable design changes, Bentley’s style and comfort departments remain steadfast. But you may need slow-mo to see those attributes found in Bentley’s Continental GT. This sports coupe-with its W 12, 6-liter turbocharged, 500 horsepower engine-is no mere GT poser. It’s the real deal.

Bentley’s four-door sedans seemingly have enough cabin space to comfortably accommodate a classical quartet; but this two-door sports coupe, by comparison, is sleek and trim. The GT’s creature comforts are nonetheless bountiful as the Continental’s interior comes in nine, exotic, natural-wood trims. Although you’ll need to leave the quartet at home, the robust entertainment center comes standard with a six-disc CD changer, GPS navigational aid, telephone pre-wiring, and voice-activated controls for the telephone. The seats are sumptuous with supple leather, offering 14 separate adjustments, including lumbar support and power memory.

In balancing its swiftness, the Continental GT rides on five-spoke, 19-inch, painted alloy wheels. The glide in the ride stems from an adaptive-variable suspension with automatic load leveling, a front independent, double-wishbone suspension with air springs and a rear stabilizer bar.

Yes, the Continental GT is definitely a ramped-up rider compared to Bentley’s revered, classic four-door sedans. Distinctively it retains the lavish qualities expected of a Bentley, but you will have to focus faster to take it all in.

The British aren’t coming! They are already back and riding high with the Aston Martin DB9 in its royal fleet. The DB9 is a lightweight only on the scale, weighing in nearly 1,500 pounds lighter than the formidable Bentley Continental GT. However, when it comes to the momentous performance/decadence ratio demands of drivers in this GT fraternity, the DB9 metes out numbers that merit its champion-level status. The overseer of the 911 Turbo, Dr. Ulhrich Bev, Aston Martin’s CEO, delivers terrifically with a bevy of amenities that make the DB9 menacingly mouthwatering.

The DB9’s frame is a revolutionary VH(vertical/horizontal) aluminum-bonded platform, which provides maximum rigidity, minimal weight and a perfect 50/50 weight balance. Combine that with a double-wishbone suspension and a 450 horsepower,6.0-liter V 12 engine, it is no problem with the DB9 going from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds. This roadster ramps out at top speed of 186 mph shortly thereafter. The six-speed, auto-manual transmission operates smoothly with magnesium paddle shifters that infuse the fluid feel of a true manual transmission. And the low-RPM responsiveness is nothing short of magnificent.

Amenities come in droves on this tabula rasa, as customers are encouraged to take full advantage ofAston Martin’s personalization program. Exterior paint options are limitless. The interior consists of handcrafted, stitched leather seats, and the door and interior trim come in exotic walnut, mahogany or bamboo. There is also a Linn 950-watt, Dolby Pro Logic II audio-system option to boot.

What is even better is that Dr. Bev promises that this is only the beginning of what promises to be the new British invasion!

 

Links to try out and be on your way to self-improvement

The popularity of self-improvement books, tapes and seminars is a reflection of the universal interest we all have in overcoming our limitations, or “being the best we can be” or “achieving our full potential.”

Popular applications of self-improvement programs include motivation and confidence, personal relationships, sales and job performance, enhancement of sports performance, public speaking, weight control and smoking cessation.

Here are some basic principles to help you determine whether such products or programs are worthy of your time and money.

There is no book or program that will be an exact fit for your needs and interests. Books and group programs are necessarily general in nature. Some of the ideas and concepts may apply well to you, but others may be irrelevant or just plain wrong as applied to your own personality and life situation. Use good judgment and discrimination in following advice offered in any self-improvement program.

Be wary of any program that is highly authoritarian and that tears you down, or attacks people who question what is being done. There have been many group self-improvement programs that have enjoyed a temporary burst of great popularity over the years that have been extremely damaging to some participants.

The most effective program or tape would, of course, be one that is designed specifically for the individual, addressing his or her unique goals, motivation and personality. Obviously this can be done only in personal consultation with a professional person such as a psychologist and involves the cost of paying that professional person for the time it takes them to provide the individual attention required to design a program or tape tailored exactly to your needs.

Suggesting a link to which you can seek for help can make things easier for you to achieve your goal. Help is on its way. Here are links that I can suggest you can visit.

• Psych Web by Russ Dewey:
http://www.psywww.com/

The content of this awesome and well-organized site might be described as half-way in between the sites “Self Improvement Online” and “Mental Health Net.” Although its modest self description on the home page is “This Web site contains lots of psychology-related information for students and teachers of psychology,” it is that and much more. The links on its self-help directory page alone are worth the time of the trip to this site: http://www.psychwww.com/resource/selfhelp.htm.

• Internet Mental Health:
http://www.mentalhealth.com

In their words: “Internet Mental Health is a free encyclopedia of mental health information. It was designed by a Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. Phillip Long, and programmed by his colleague, Brian Chow…Internet Mental Health is for anyone who has an interest in mental health: -Mental health professionals -Patients who want to learn more about their illness -Friends and families of patients -Mental health support groups -Students -Members of the general public who want to learn more about mental health” This is an impressive site with many helpful articles and resources. If you are interested in mental health from any point of view, you’ll be happy you visited.

• Life Mentoring:
http://www.lifementoring.com/

Because of the demand from our clients we started this site Life Mentoring for individual visitors, in
1998. It’s mission is to provide you with the best collection of thoughts, ideas, philosophies and practical concepts for leading a truly meaningful and successful life. It is not linked to any school of thought, but rather wants to give you an overview of all different approaches – and so you to choose and pick whatever suits your needs best.” The site has a number of very good articles, excellent collection of links, a free newsletter, a bbs/forum. Lots of enthusiasm, but no commercial hype.

A group program or a general tape is, of course, less costly. If it does in fact does come close to fitting the goals, motivation and personality of the individual reasonably well, it may prove to be a useful self-improvement tool. It is a less costly approach, but it could not reasonably be expected to be as effective as a program or tape designed specifically for you.