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Cyber attacks are becoming more and more common. Therefore, it is essential that you try your best to prevent these attacks from happening as they can be detrimental to your business. Which is why we thought we would give you some top tips to help you keep your business safe form a cyber attack.

Internet security

Avoid clicking on links in emails

Make sure you trust the person who is sending you emails and links, try not to open them directly through the email. If possible, type the sites into google separately and log on that way. This will allow you to eliminate any possible viruses getting into your system through links from emails etc.

 

Turn off settings that allows automatic download of attachments

Some setting on your computer automatically downloads attachments when sent over on different platforms. Make sure all your platforms have this setting switched off. It can be easy to download a virus if these setting are switched on, enabling you to download virus’ and spams.

 

Choose complex passwords

Make sure your password is secure and safe. Try not to create a password which makes sense as a word or phrase. Make sure you have different characters and numbers in too. This will help with the complexity of your password. It may be beneficial to use a password generator. Or take a look this site which gives you tips to create a strong password.

 

Update your browser, operating system, anti-virus software regularly

Making sure you have an up to date browser, operating system and anti-virus software is essential. It helps the security of your system and computer with the most up to date protection against the newest of attacks.

 

Encrypt data

All PCs and personal data should be encrypted so if hackers do end up in your system it will be harder for them to gain any access. Which is the best way to protect any personal data you hold on your system.

 

Purchase cyber liability insurance

If you do happen to find yourself with a cyber breach, then having cyber liability insurance is the best possible solution. It will cover the losses and damage, helping you to get back to business as quickly as possible.

 

If you would like to purchase cyber liability insurance, then get in touch with us. We will help you get the best cover suited for your needs. Click here for more information on Cyber liability insurance.

The Siberian snow storm has hit Britain’s roads with one of the worst snow storms the UK has seen in years. This snow storm named Storm Emma has doubled the number of car claims made within the past week.

Within 4 days, from storm ‘Emma’ appearing – or ‘the beast from the east’ as it is nicknamed, more that £17 million worth of claims were reported. Crash damages doubled compared to a regular week. With 13,100 collisions in the first 4 days according to the AA.

The most common claim for drivers was skidding out and hitting objects on the side of the road. Therefore, drivers were urged to only drive if necessary to keep accidents to a minimum and injuries as low as possible.

Breakdown calls are 80% higher than normal last week due to the snow, leaving recovery firms struggling to make it to everyone who is stuck in the snow.

Michael Lloyd, the AA’s director of insurance stated that insurers will pay out and meet the claims for collisions in these weather conditions, however they will not pay if the car is stolen and left unattended on a drive for instance when the car is warming up.

 

Other modes of transport

Additionally, to the cars on the ground not being able to make it due to the wintery conditions, but also the flights got cancelled. In one-day last week, more than 2000 flights alone got cancelled across Europe within 1 day. However, unlike car insurance, with most airline companies you are not entitled to money back due to severe weather conditions like ice, snow or fog.

 

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Theresa May has stated that the English education system is one of the most expensive in the world and has announced that she will provide an independent review of fees and student finance on Monday.

This review will be a yearlong event, and will warn that the system has failed to deliver competition within the Market. This is due to most courses charging students the maximum amount they can do, which is £9,250 per year.

The Labour party believe that all tuition fees should be scrapped, and they believe that the tuition fee system is unsustainable and therefore they should be banned.

 

The tuition fee

Universities can charge up to £9,250. But do not have to charge this full amount if they wish not to. The students do not have to pay this upfront, but can borrow this from Student Finance. However, you do not have to pay these loans off until you are earning £21,000.

If you have not paid off your loan after 30 years from graduating, then the unpaid debts are written off. Once you do borrow a loan out, then you will be charged 6.1% of interest. This interest is building up while students are still at university, making it an average of £5,000 before they have even left.

 

For more information on general news or insurance news, then take a look at our news section. We write up to date news as soon as it happens.

Most landlords insist that there cannot be any pets within the property. At the moment, tenants can request to have a pet staying in the house. However, the majority of landlords do not accept. This leads in an abandonment of pets or the tenants leaving a property.

According to the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, a landlord can refuse permission if it is a reasonable ground to do so. This could include, pet size, the damage it could cause and the impact on future rentals to properties.

The Labour party have stated that they wish to strengthen the rights for tenants. Ensuring that pets within a rented property will have a ‘default right’ to stay.

The Labour party stated that they want to see hard evidence that the animal would be a nuisance when renting.

Labour and animals

Labour have taken a big stance against cruelty to animals and the welfare of them. Other ideas which the Labour party have took a stance on is a suggested ban on foie gras imports and an end of exports to the live animals for slaughter.

The conservatives have stated that Labour are “belatedly playing catch up” with their own announcements on animal welfare. The conservative party are also placing laws on animal cruelty. Michael Gove – Environment Secretary proposed an increase in the maximum sentence for serious animal cruelty, wanting to change it to 5 years in jail.

Gove also published a draft legislation which would ensure the government treated all animals as ‘sentient beings’. When making future laws regarding animals.

 

If you are a landlord, then make sure you have the correct insurance put in place. It is essential to make sure your property is protected. Here at Todd & Cue, we offer Property and Landlord insurance, so make sure you get the right policy for your property.

In January, the house price growth picked up according to the Nationwide Building Society. From December 2017, to January 2018, it went up 6%, from 2.6% to 3.2% respectively. These figures were surprising due to the consumer confidence and activity within the UK.

In addition, in December mortgage approvals were at their weakest in 3 years. With only 61,000 granted, yet compared to the past 12 months with the average being 67,000 approvals.

However, analysts have stated that this rise in growth does not change the fundamental state of the UK housing market. And that consumer confidence is still low and is not due to increase anytime soon, unless dramatic changes are made.

The average price of a house reached to £211,756 last month, according to the building society’s month survey. This meant that property values were up 0.6% from December, however the annual growth rate increased, which is the highest since March 2017 (which was 3.5%).

 

How has this affected home ownership?

Home ownership is still at a 30-year low. In the latest survey (2016/17), out of 22.8 million houses in the UK, only 14.4 million (62.6%) were owner occupiers. This was down again since 2015/16, with a percentage of 62.9% for home ownership.

Of this recent survey, young adults (aged 25 to 34), were of the lowest who owned their own property. With only 37% of young adults owned their home.

 

For more information on this or industry news, then click here to view out news section on our site. Keeping you up to date with all the latest news.

Starting on Monday, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA customers will not be able to purchase Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies on their credit card. However, they will still be able to purchase the currency on their debit card.

Lloyds are concerned that their customers would not be able to afford the bill and therefore the banks would have to pay for unpaid debts. The price of bitcoins is falling, so if it continues, banks are worried customers will not be able to pay for it. Which is why the sudden stopping of credit card payments.

 

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to come about, it is a form of digital money that used encryption to secure transactions and control the creation of new units.

The reason bitcoin first came about was because people wanted a currency which was not controlled by government or businesses, and a currency which you could trade freely between countries without any costs or any identities being shown.

They are not like the change in your purse or wallet, you cannot see them or physically touch them. They are a line of code in which you purchase and exchange, in some cases you can buy goods and services with this type of currency.

 

Why is Bitcoin a concern?

Bitcoin can be a dangerous game to play, it is a currency based online and so cyber criminals can work better through this form of payment process. With the currency also being untraceable, it means that it is a great form of transaction for people like drug dealers and people who are money laundering.

 

For more information on any industry news, then take a look at our news section. We love to keep you up dated with the latest news.

Official figures show that the UK employment fell by 3,000 in the last 3 months, from November. Figures show that the unemployment is now at a figure of 1.44 million people, which is a 42-year low, leaving unemployment at just 4.3%.

In addition to this, the number of those in work increased sharply, meaning less in unemployment. With a record number of people in work. The number of people in work rose by 102,000 within the last 3 months. This now takes employment to a record level of 32.2 million. Wages have also seen an increase in which they have rose at their fastest rate in almost a year.

This therefore leaves the UK’s unemployment rate at a four-decade low of 4.3%.

However, even though wages are increasing, real wages are still lower than the rate of inflation. The rate of wages is now at 2.4%, whereas the rate of inflation is at 3%, meaning real wages are behind the rate of inflation. And so the real value of earnings continues to decline.

 

What has happened to the pound?

The pound briefly rose against the dollar when the data was announced. It was 0.7% higher at $1.4101, it also touched $1.4119, which is the highest since the night of the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

 

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As reported last year, inflation rate rose to 3.1% in November 2017. Which was a 6 year high for the UK’s economy. This meant that Mark Carney – the governor of the Bank of England will be writing a public letter to the Chancellor of the exchequer (Phillip Hammond) to state why it exceeded 1% more than the 2% national target. He will be doing this in his next budget, which will be February 2018.

 

However, in December 2017, the inflation rate dipped back to 3%. The Office of National Statistics stated that this happened due to the fall in prices on toys and games. It was also the contribution that the air fares rose last month. However it did not have a great impact on the economy and inflation rate.

 

The Bank of England have stated that it believes the inflation rates will carry on decreasing and will eventually hit the 2% target by the end of this year.

 

Last January, the rate of inflation was at the target of 2%, yet continuously increased to 3.1% throughout the year. The reason for this dramatic increase over the past year was partly due to the Brexit result. As the value of the pound dropped because of the result, it pushed the cost of imported goods, and therefore increasing the inflation rate.

 

What has happened to the wage growth?

 

The drop in inflation won’t have much effect on the ease of spending for households. This is due to the wages still rising by less than the rate of inflation. It has also been stated that most firms are reluctant to increase their wages as most firms want to keep their total costs down to a minimum as we are in such an uncertain time.

 

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Cold calling is a big issue and is continuously growing in 2018. Which is why many want it to come to an end, helping those who are in a vulnerable situation. Last year, scammers and claims firms sent an average of 6 million calls and texts out per day. Which equates to an average of 4,200 calls or texts every minute of 2017.

The targeted audience which these firms and scammers go after is those who are aged over 65, states Aviva.

MPs are set to debate this topic on whether it is acceptable to cold call these vulnerable. The bill proposes the creation of a single financial guidance body that would consider the impact of cold calling on consumers.

Aviva have asked MPs to ban this cold calling on issues such as pensions, PPI and insurance claim where there was no established relationship between the insurer and the consumer. They have stated that a survey which they recently conducted shows an 85% support on the ban, proving to the MPs that this ban would be beneficial to consumers.

Last year, a bill was announced by MPs, stating that mortgage cold calling was banned. This included emails and texts. If companies contact consumers who they have had no prior connection with then they could face fines up to £500,000.

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On the 13th January, the way the banking industry is running will change, giving more control to the customers. This new rule known as open banking may be detrimental for the major banks. As all of the nine major banks will have to comply soon.

This open banking means that customers have their own power to choose to easily and securely move/transfer their own information/details. This can be transferred to other banks and financially regulated companies.

What is the aim?

The aim of allowing other banks and financially regulated companies to see our data is to try and allow them to give us the best deal. As it is found that only 3% of the personal customers move their accounts each year, found by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). This is allowing banks to charge higher rates as it is rare customers will shop about for the best deal and therefore stay with the same account.

Allowing this power to customers should see banks competing against each other to try and give customers the best deals. This open banking regulation will allow you to share data electronically, and eventually you should see a dashboard in your online banking app. This will show you how much money is in your account with different banks. Eventually showing how much you owe on credit cards and store cards.

 

How will it affect banks?

This is likely to transform the way customers use and look at the banking industry. The banks will become more competitive to give the customer the best possible deal. David Duffy, the chief executive of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking group, stated that this could make some banks disappear over time.

For more information on banking and insurance industry news. Then click to see our latest ‘news’ section here. It has all the up to date and latest industry news to keep you informed.