iCloud hacking scandal is a lesson for us all!

photo(1)More than 100 female celebrities’ risqué photos have been stolen from Apple’s iCloud service.  The service allows users to store pictures, documents and other information to the cloud.

Celebrities such as Hunger Games’ actress Jennifer Lawrence, model Kate Upton, singer Rihanna and socialite Kim Kardashian were among those whose photos were hacked and posted to a website.

The FBI has begun to address the matter and have started questioning those that may be involved, according to Associated Press.

While it is unclear how the photos were obtained, it is definitely a reminder and lesson for us all.  Each and everyday, we take for granted the vulnerabilities of the Internet.  We have become so accustomed to uploading, downloading, sharing, posting, and going about our daily business that we forget about the vulnerabilities that exist.

Even worse, we forget as we post, backup, share or sometimes delete, that we may leave a permanent “digital footprint.”

So, what can we do to protect ourselves?

If you are anything like my mother, you may choose to forego the use of cloud storage, banking online and social sharing altogether.  But hey, this isn’t practical for many of us.  So for the rest of us, here are a few tips to protect ourselves in the digital world.

1.    Build stronger passwords

Recent studies have found many security breaches are due to weak passwords.  You know the ones…”123456” or “abcdef.”

Yes, seriously, people still use these!

So, if your passwords are simple, your child’s name, your date of birth, it is time to get to work.  Consider using passwords that are not found in the dictionary and are a combination of letters, characters and numbers.

More importantly, do not use the same password for different accounts.  This way, if one account were breached, it would be difficult for other accounts to be breached due to various passwords.

2.    Think twice

Hey, we may have all been careless about sharing, saving or posting documents online with sensitive information.  But we simply must think twice!

We have to ask ourselves:

  • If this account were hacked, would I want this information leaked?
  • Could it cause identity theft?
  • Do I want to share this personal information with the world?

3.    Forego cloud sharing services

If possible, consider foregoing cloud sharing services altogether.  This may sounds ‘old school,’ but consider using external devices for documents, photos and other sensitive items that you do not want to share.

In addition, consider disabling your cloud sharing services, such as iCloud for now.  Here is a link with step-by-step instructions to do so.

Hope this helps.  This recent scandal is a reminder to us all that we have to be careful with storing and sharing online.

And thanks to all who have emailed about the article I wrote last week!  If you are interested in taking a #Kemcents personal finance course drop me a line at kemwashcpa@gmail.com!

Remember: your choice your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and a certified public accountant.  Check out her ebook, Let your budget inspire you!

We made it! My book is the 2nd most completed plan for June on YouVersion! $100 Giveaway Finalists!

 

All I can say today is – WALK IN YOUR PURPOSE!  Not just any purpose, your God given purpose.  When you surrender and submit to God, your life will continuously shine before others and there is no one or anything that will be able to stop you!

Commit to Him

I write to you today as I just received a note from the YouVersion Bible App (an app that reaches millions) that my book, The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing was the 2nd most downloaded devotional plan on YouVersion for the month of June!  This is just a testimony that when we step into God’s plan for our lives that our lives will never be the same.

This road ain’t easy!

I have to tell you this road has not been easy.  I recall moving at my own speed and moving where I wanted to go, and while I have been successful, real success came when I created His purpose for my life (<<<a must read!). While I didn’t quite understand why God instructed me to travel various paths, I know God knows best.  Each and everyday I am becoming less of the woman I knew and more of the woman He has designed.

Take the challenge

While today I am not talking much about finance, I do challenge you.  Not only to get your money right with God, but most importantly your life.  God won’t accept you walking on the fence.  If you want to walk in His true purpose and calling, you have to give Him your all.  Tweet: There may be many choices, options and roads for you to travel, but only God has one purpose and plan for your life.  It is in that purpose that your light will shine before men.

Thanks again for all who have entered into the $100 giveaway.  I have received some very touching stories and have finalized it to three finalists.  To find out who they are, visit our Facebook page and vote for your favorite person to win.  Names have been concealed to protect the innocent!

Take care and be blessed!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and CPA.  Follow her on Twitter @kemwashcpa.

Financial Problems are Temporary

If things seem a bit tight or finances are weighing you down, you have to understand it will not always be this way.

I know firsthand. While in college, I made financial mistake after financial mistake.  If it wasn’t the mall calling my name, a night out with my girls, or just living beyond my means, I always found myself spending money I didn’t have. After graduating from college, it finally dawned on me; I had to make some financial changes. [Read more…]

Don’t Give Up

8407274680It is easy to give up when the cards aren’t dealt your way.  But if you only believe when times are good, then do you really believe at all?  When you reach the finish line and you do not have a story to tell, how are you going to encourage others to keep believing?  You have to make up your mind today that you will stay in the game no matter what!  You have to protest, giving up is not an option, and you simply don’t believe in defeat!
So what has been holding you back for so long?  Is it the fear to take a chance?  Or is it that ugly lie in your head that keeps saying you will not be able to do it?  Whatever it is, stand up to it today!  Do and say the opposite of how you truly feel!  Simply put – fight back!  Open your mouth and start speaking against the untruth that has been holding you back for so long.
Start today!
How do you see yourself in the future?  Are you the next president of the United States?  Maybe, God has purposed you to be the doctor to find the cure to a disease.  Or are you the future lawyer that provides civil rights to a group that truly needs your gifts? Whatever it is, start living the life you know and wholeheartedly believe you will have.  Stay focused! God has put a gift in each of us.  He has designed you to simply succeed!
How do we fail?

Where do we miss the mark?  We miss the mark when we start our journey but fail to continue to look up to the hills.  We often get sidetracked by things in our lives that should not have been there from the start.  You must know that each day, you get another chance, another breath and another opportunity to fulfill the call and purpose on your life.  Walk into it!  It simply takes a simple step.  One step may lead to another step and not long, you would have walked thousands of steps and finally you will be victorious!

More importantly, know that you can do it!  There are people waiting on you.  If you are not excited to do it for yourself, stay in the game for your children’s sake, those who may look up to you or simply because of your contribution to the world!  No matter what, live life to the fullest and do not let this life pass you by without giving it your all!

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and a business professor at Dillard University. She writes the personal finance column “Money, Power, Respect” for The New Orleans Tribune and Tribunetalk.com. Follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog at kemberley.com.

Remember, God is waiting on you!

How is your financial future?

How is your financial future?  In Proverbs 21:5, God tells us the plans of the diligent will lead to profit, however, those who are hasty or fail to plan will certainly lead to poverty.  In order to obtain your financial healing, you must implement a plan for your finances.  This way, attacks of unexpected expenses, unemployment, natural disasters, illnesses and other adverse financial events will not cause your financial house to be shaken.

The power of writing

It is essential to write your financial goals on paper.  You must understand that there is something powerful about putting your thoughts on paper.

During my college years, I decided to write my career goals to become a certified public accountant (CPA), an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criminal investigator and to obtain my master’s degree.  Don’t ask me why I wanted to become an investigator but hey, the glamour of the job appealed to me!  However, not only did God bless me with each of these goals, but He has also continued to do so much more!  Since then, there are many financial, career, relationship and other goals I have received from God, by simply writing my petitions on paper.  This is also proven in God’s word. Habakkuk 2:2 instructs us to write the vision and make it plain so that he may run who reads it.

Declare and decree

Wake up each morning declaring your financial goals will come to pass. Post your goals somewhere you can view them throughout the day.  Whether you post them on your refrigerator or vanity mirror, allow your goals to serve as a constant reminder where you are going. Seeing these visually can also encourage you when deciding whether to purchase a pair of stilettos, tickets to your favorite sports game or your morning coffee latte.  Understand how making these small sacrifices may ensure your children’s education is funded, reduce your financial burdens or allow you the ability to live a financial freedom lifestyle.

Begin to speak God’s word into the atmosphere, knowing death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Declare that God is supplying all of your needs (Philippians 4:19), you are the lender and not the borrower (Deuteronomy 28:12) and more importantly, all things are possible if you simply believe (Mark 9:23)!

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and certified public accountant.  Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on FaceBook!