WARNING: Your computer/network is at risk!

You and your employees should be aware of a significant and malicious ransomware known as WannaCry (or WanaCrypt) that is currently spreading across Windows PCs in organizations worldwide. You may want to make your employees and customers aware of the impact that this threat could have. Your files could be encrypted and held for ransom by the attacker.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to prevent access to computer systems and files, either by locking the system or the files until a ransom is paid.  This Ransomware, also categorized as Crypto-Ransomware, encrypts files and systems preventing access until a ransom is paid.  This type of malware is also known for theft of different types of data on infected systems.

WannaCry first appeared on Friday, May 12. The number of exploit attempts dropped slightly on Saturday and Sunday but remained quite high. Exploit numbers increased on Monday, presumably as people returned to work after the weekend.

WannaCry searches for and encrypts 176 different file types and affixes .WCRY to the end of the file name. It asks users to pay a $300 ransom in bitcoins. The ransom note indicates that the payment amount will be doubled after three days. If payment is not made after seven days, the encrypted files will be deleted.

Any unpatched Windows computer is potentially susceptible to WannaCry. Organizations are particularly at risk because of its ability to spread across networks and a number of organizations globally have been affected, the majority of which are in Europe. However, individuals can also be affected.

Be aware that those with Norton Security products installed, active, and up-to-date are protected against this threat. Now is the perfect time to acquire the Norton Security line! Get $30 off Norton Security Standard for a one year subscription through June 28th!
Symantec Corp.

10 Ways to Reconnect with Your Family This Summer

With school ending and summer quickly upon us, I’m sure you are thinking about how to spend time with family this summer. But have you ever thought about why family time is important and the benefits it brings?

Many of today’s families are very busy.  Most households need two incomes to survive.  Some parents even hold down two or more jobs in order to make ends meet.  Many parents feel out of balance with their working and family time.

These feelings can lead to stress and anxiety.  As you know, stress and anxiety lead to other health problems, such as headaches, irritability, depression, high blood pressure, and other ailments. Read my previous blog posting about managing anxiety.

The time your children spend with you gives them many benefits.

Family helps provide your children with feelings of love, support, security and safety. The various activities you engage in during family time can provide your children with opportunities to learn new behaviors and skills.  For example, teach younger children the alphabet by making a game out of it.

Spending time with your middle school and high school aged children allows you to stay connected with them and to help them ward off peer pressure.  When your children feel a connection to you and the morals you have taught them, they won’t have a high need for acceptance from peers.  They will be able to take pride in themselves and stand up for their own convictions.

Spending time together as a family can also be beneficial to your marriage.  It’s no secret that the divorce rate is quite high.  Family time isn’t just about a parent spending time with their children; it’s also about spouses spending time together. When both partners are actively making time for one another, the marriage will be stronger and less likely to fold.

Here are some simple ideas you can use to form a family bond:

  1. Turn off the television. Focus your full attention on your spouse or child. Having someone’s undivided attention will boost your self-esteem at any age.
  2. Take a walk down memory lane. Laughing at the old-style fashions in the photo albums is a fabulous way to relive funny moments or to honor a beloved relative who has passed away.
  3. Worship together. Daily prayer brings joy to the soul, helps us become more compassionate toward others and helps us to understand that life is precious.Family Menu Planning at www.xtreme-assistant.com
  4. Prepare meals together. Teach your kids that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Let your older children plan the dinner menu once a week and assign each family member a job so everyone has a chance to help. Get this Family Favorites Menu Plan.
  5. Eat dinner together. Sit together at the table with no other distractions and learn about everyone’s day. Approach these discussions with openness and you will likely learn about the important events in your child’s life.
  6. Plan an adventure. Head off for parts unknown with a map, a picnic lunch and a full tank of gas. Laugh when you make a wrong turn and hand off the map to see if another sibling can find their way home.
  7. Go on dates. Parents should plan regular “dates” with each child individually. Sharing one-on-one time with each child makes him or her feel like they don’t have to compete with a sibling in order to be heard.
  8. Enjoy the great outdoors. Taking the dog for a walk or riding your bikes around the park will give your family extra time to talk as well as keep the family healthy. To keep the activities new and fresh, let each family member choose an activity. Get some ideas from this book with activities for everyone.
  9. Exercise together. Working toward a common health goal as a team is easier than tackling a large goal all by yourself. Many gyms offer family memberships and you can share your experiences and your successes along your way to good health. Learn how to use exercise for physical, mental and spiritual health.
  10. Plan a family fun night at home. Entertainment and quality family fun does not have to cost anything. Pull out some board games, teach the kids a new card game, or have dinner and a movie.

As the old saying goes, take some time to smell the roses and put your family first. No activity should be placed above spending time with the family. What a shame it would be to raise a child to adulthood and yet not truly know that person.

While the importance of family time is clear; it isn’t always easy to find the time needed to enjoy family time.  Here are some additional resources below to help you. How do you make family time important?

Life Can’t Wait Telesummit – want more flexibility in your day and more freedom? Come celebrate the Laptop Lifestyle in this three-day event featuring business women that are doing it! Join for FREE! There is no charge to join and you can watch the recording replays.

Family E-Planner – Managing a family is like managing a business. It takes a lot of planning and organization for things to run smoothly. This Family ePlanner will help you give your family the kind of love and attention they deserve!

Conquer Your Clutter! – The package includes digital products like how to organize your photos, time management, decluttering, family systems, meal planning, specific planners, and much more.

Juggling 101: 3 Ball Juggling – Learn to juggle as a family! In this FREE course, you will learn how to do three ball juggling by working up from one ball, then to two balls, and finally a three ball juggling pattern.

O Great One! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition  by David Novak, Christa Bourg – as Novak discovered during his years as a hard charging executive, there’s nothing trivial about recognition. Whether you’re trying to lead a small department, a Fortune 500 company, a non-profit, or your own family, the story and lessons here can help you make everyone around you happier and more effective.

This post contains some affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on those links.

How To Make Someone Smile and Let Them Know You Care

Write letters at www.xtreme-assistant.comApril is National Card and Letter Writing Month in the U.S. With the move to mostly email communication these days, receiving a personalized card or letter via the postal service is a nice surprise. Electronic messages are convenient but can seem impersonal. A simple piece of personal mail can make someone smile and lets them know you care.

Involve your children in this activity and help them learn about the letter writing process and the postal system. Writing helps improve communication skills and literacy. Here are some ideas to help get you started. Continue reading

Four Steps To Making Your Personal Finances Absolutely Awesome

Improve your personal finances at www.xtreme-assistant.comImproving personal finances is the number five New Year’s Resolution. When you’re worried about money, either now or for your future, it makes it hard to relax and enjoy your life. The sooner you get a hold of your financial health, the sooner you’ll be able to live your life in a more meaningful way.

You can live your best life financially if you take a four-stepped approach Continue reading

Six Things To Do Instead of Multi-task

Man ClutterThe idea that multi-tasking is the answer to squeezing more work into the same eight hours is actually creating habits that cause you to mismanage time. Although, some people can juggle a phone call and typing a report at the same time, don’t be fooled into thinking that if you could just do three things at once instead of two, then you would better manage your time.

Actually, you create more potential for making mistakes because your attention is divided in several ways. Nothing muddles time management worse than the time necessary to do a job well.

The human body and mind have limits and those limits cannot be extended by multi-tasking. Rather than depend on multi-tasking as your strategy, look again at some of the tried and true time management principles: Continue reading