Well, as you can see, we’re kicking off the new year with some fancy new spandex for the blog! Out with the dark knight inspired theme, and in with a colorful new interface more in line with our corporate brand.
We plan on making a few more changes in the near future, including moving to a new domain, but have no fear, the good folks at WordPress will make sure that you continue to see our content whether you are a brand new follower or someone who’s been with us from the start.
We look forward to bringing you even more super-informative articles in 2019! Thanks for your continued support, and Happy New Year!
MAKING YOUR LIFE EASIER HAS NEVER BEEN THIS EXCITING!
In October and November, every time you send money using the Popmoney® personal payment service, pay a bill with ePay online bill pay or request an eBill in ePay, you’ll be entered for a chance to WIN!*
Popmoney is a registered trademark of Fiserv, Inc., or its affiliates. Terms and conditions apply. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. OPEN TO INDIVIDUAL LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) 18 YEARS AND OLDER. Business account holders are not eligible to participate. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Runs 10/1/14 through 11/30/14. For Official Rules, alternate method of entry, opt-out procedure, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit https://fiserv.promo.eprize.com/thousands/. Sponsor: Fiserv Solutions, Inc., 4411 East Jones Bridge Road, Norcross, GA 30092. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
What to do now that Windows XP is no longer supported
On April 8, Microsoft stopped providing bug fixes and security patches for critical vulnerabilities in the Windows XP operating system. With an estimated 20-30 percent of Internet-connected PCs running Windows XP, many people are questioning what this means, how it affects their computer’s security and what they can do to ensure that they remain protected from security breaches and hackers.
The fact that Microsoft will no longer provide security patches when vulnerabilities are discovered in the Windows XP operating system means that the security of computers running XP will continue to deteriorate over time. This is because hackers are always working and will continue seeking out vulnerabilities in the coming months.
“Without Microsoft’s protection, all those Windows XP PCs will have targets painted on their hard drives,” states Chris Hoffman from PC World. “They’ll continue running like normal, but they’ll be rotting inside, becoming increasingly full of security holes. Microsoft itself has dubbed the condition ‘Zero day forever.’”
Your best bet is to upgrade from XP to the newer format of Windows. “The Windows 8.1 system requirements are almost the same as the Windows 8 system requirements — so if your PC can run Windows 8, in most cases you can get the free update to Windows 8.1,” according to Microsoft.
This isn’t practical for everyone, however, so there are other things you can do to protect your computer. Large organizations are seeking options to pay a fee in order to receive customized Windows XP support until they can make the switch, but this is not an affordable solution for small businesses and individuals.
One of the best things that you can do is to pick your software, particularly your Internet browser, carefully. Internet Explorer 8 is particularly vulnerable because it’s already several generations old and will not continue to receive security patches. Current information suggests that Windows XP will be supported by Google Chrome until around April 2015. Firefox will continue supporting XP for the time being, but it’s important to stay abreast of changes in case it announces an end date. “So switch to Chrome or Firefox and you’ll have a secure, modern browser,” states Hoffman.
As far as antivirus software goes, many will continue supporting Windows XP, which will provide partial protection. Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer offered, but those who already have it will receive updates for a limited time. “This does not mean that your PC is secure because Microsoft is no longer providing security updates to help protect your PC,” states Microsoft.
AV-TEST, an antivirus testing company, asked 30 antivirus companies if they plan to continue supporting Windows XP and they all said that they would support it until at least April 2015, and many stated that they would support it until at least 2016. If you have expired antivirus software, however, and it’s not receiving updates, it isn’t going to help you.
Experts warn that Outlook Express is no longer secure, and recommend that the full version of Outlook that comes with Microsoft Office is better. Web-based e-mail options may offer the best security, so it may be time to switch accounts.
“The Java browser plug-in is extremely exploit-prone on any operating system,” says Hoffman. “Unless you really need Java for a specific purpose, you should uninstall it. If you do need it, be sure to disable the browser plug-in and keep it up-to-date.”
The security threat is one reason to switch to a different operating system, but it is important to note that there are also going to be difficulties using applications and software in the future. According to Microsoft, “…as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter more apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP.”
but time is running out! Advantage One FCU’s $napshot contest is running through the end of February, so you still have a few days to get entered to win.
Read our previous post here or check out all of the specifics on the AOFCU website. You could win up to $1,000!
So head over to MyBranch and give $napshot a try while there’s still time! Once you enroll (don’t worry, the service is completely free, no strings attached!) and set up a goal, you’ll be entered to win!
We wanted to post a quick reminder regarding our available scholarships. You have until March 31st to get the requested materials turned in to us! You can read more about Advantage One’s scholarship program here.
We love reading your submissions and getting to help one of our members is a great feeling, so get those submissions turned in today!
With the coming of the new year, it’s also time to start thinking about this year’s tax return. April will be here before you know it, so it’s good to start planning now.
By the end of January, you should have received everything you need to file your return. Obviously if you’re getting a refund, it’s best to file as soon as you can to get your refund back sooner. Even if you owe money, it may be best to simply file and get it over with so that you aren’t worried about it longer than necessary.
Something that AOFCU has always tried to do is be a good value for our members. In that vein, we’ve partnered with the good folks over at Love My Credit Union to offer you some great tax service discounts, just for being our member. One of these is a discount on Turbo Tax, or, if you prefer to sit with a tax preparer, a coupon for use at Jackson Hewitt. Turbo Tax is also running a sweepstakes this year, so who knows, maybe paying your taxes early really pays off!
This year, Advantage One Federal Credit Union will be awarding two $1,000 scholarships towards continued education. Interested applicants need to write a short essay that explains their career goals and how this scholarship money would help them attain their goals. We are excited to announce that applications for these scholarships are currently being accepted.
Applicants are eligible by fulfilling any of the following requirements:
A graduating senior from any Downriver high school with proof of minimum 2.75 GPA (This must be an official transcript and students do not need to be members of the Credit Union)
An Advantage One Federal Credit Union member who is graduating from high school with proof of minimum 2.75 GPA (This must be an official transcript)
An Advantage One Federal Credit Union member interested in continued education for employment, or career development
Application, proof of GPA, and essay must be submitted by March 31st, 2014. Please visit our website at www.aofcu.com/scholarships to download the application, call us at 734.676.7000, or visit us at any of our three branches for more information.