Which new password is the strongest alternative to the weak password: “ilovedogs”?

The short answer is any password written like $iL0V3d0Gs6! would be good. Notice the special character in the front, followed by lower and upper case letters, using a zero which looks like the letter ‘o’ and the number three which looks like a backwards ‘e’, adding a number and ending with another special character. The password still looks like “ilovedogs” and is fairly easy to remember but practically impossible to guess.

The long answer is that there are several key things you can do help prevent your password from being guessed.  Take a look at the list below for some ideas, while this list is thorough it not by any means every step you should take.

  • For starters brute force attacks use common words found in the dictionary so make sure you password is not a common word. 
  • Do not use the same password for different sites.  If one site gets hacked they may to try test other sites to see if you used the same log in.  Always change up your passwords on each different site.
  • Try to make your password as long as possible.  The longer it is, the harder it is to guess. Add special characters, numbers, upper case and lower case letters.  Remember passwords are case sensitive.
  • Check to make sure the sites you are registering with or entering the data on are secure.  Look for https:// connections to assure no one can intercept your data along the way to the sever.
  • Avoid logging into the sensitive websites (bank, health care, work, etc.) on public networks and if you must use a public network use a trusted VPN. 

Helpful Links

Generate a Secure Password

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach

Which action is least important to maintaining a healthy credit score?

The short answer is know your exact credit score.

The long answer is there are many factors and actions that can affect your credit score but knowing your exact credit score does little in helping you maintain a healthy score.  A credit score is a number which evaluates how credit worthy a person is based upon their credit history.  Lenders use this score to determine how safe or trustworthy a person is.  The higher the credit score the more trustworthy they are considered.

There are many credit scores out there but FICO is the most commonly used. The best way to maintain a healthy credit score is to have a long history of paying your bills on time and try to keep the amount of money you owe (debt) low.  The total amount of money you owe on accounts, which type of credit line(s) you have open and how many new credit account(s) you opened are also taken into account.

A general range of FICO credit score and their overall rating is below:

  • Excellent: 800 to 850
  • Very Good: 740 to 799
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Poor: 300 to 579

People often ask how to improve their credit score and the answer is not a straightforward one, but there are some things you can do to help it. For starters, pay your bills on time, try to get your credit limit increased on your credit cards, and keep your oldest line of credit open.  A healthy credit score can save or cost you money over time but just remember which action is least important to maintaining a healthy credit score and go from there.

Useful Links

Credit Reports and Scores

FREE Credit Report – Authorized by Federal Law

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Jan pays $70 each month for her auto insurance policy. This regular payment is called a:

The short answer is a premium.

The long answer is that an insurance premium is the amount of money someone pays for an insurance policy. These premiums could be used to cover car, homeowners, health, dental or life insurance just to name few.

The initial premium you pay is based on many factors such as how old you are, where you live, have you filed claims in the past and sometimes your credit score.  Your premium generally remains the same during the course of coverage but your insurer may raise your premium if you make any claims during the previous coverage period. A claim is an attempt to get a payout from the company. A high claim payout may raise your premiums the following terms.

People often ask how insurance companies make money since insurance policies have a payout much larger than the premium and the answer is that insurance companies invest that premium in various finical instruments.  They also try to balance their risk so not many claims could be filed at the same time.

Useful Links

How to Estimate Car Insurance Before Buying a Car

The Best Car Insurance Companies

A patient has diabetes, a disease that causes high blood sugar levels. Which macromolecule will a dietician monitor most closely in a patient that has the disease?

The short answer is carbohydrates.

The answer is diabetes is a disease where your blood sugar (aka blood glucose) is elevated.  This glucose comes from your diet.  Remember glucose is sugar and sugar is a carbohydrate so a dietician will want to monitor this macromolecule. Your glucose is controlled by insulin which is a hormone that helps get the glucose into your body to provide energy. 

There are two type of diabetes, type 1 is when your body does not make insulin and type 2 when you body does not make or use the insulin well.  Without insulin your body cannot synthesize the macromolecules you ingest and will result in high blood sugar levels.

In the long term too much sugar can affect your nerves, kidneys and even your eyes.  It can lead to heart issues, stroke and cause circulation issues where limbs may even need to be amputated.

Useful Links

Managing Diabetes

Diabetes Tests & Diagnosis

Related Links

Cell Classification

All of the following make up the big three credit reporting agencies except? Experian, TransUnion, Equifax or Federal Reserve

The simple answer is people sometimes think the Federal Reserve is a credit reporting agency but it is NOT.

The long answer is there are three main credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) which are also referred to as credit bureaus.  These companies analyze all of your credit information then formulate a history and a numerical score.  These reports and scores basically give anyone (banks, landlords, car dealers, etc.) the risk factor associated in extending you a line of credit.  Generally the higher the score and the longer the credit history means that you are a low risk of not providing payment for a service or loan.  A lower score and/or shorter history means there is some uncertainty about the payback guarantee and as a result, some institutions may not extend a line of credit to you and if they do it may be at a higher rate.

Sometimes people incorrectly associate the Federal Reserve as a credit reporting agency.  The Federal Reserve is the central banking system of the United States of America and serves to control the monetary system in order to prevent financial crises.  The Federal Reserve is a complete separate entity and does not serve as a credit reporting agency like Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Related Links

Federal Reserve

Credit Reporting Agencies

If an investment is considered “volatile”, it means…

The simple answer is: the value of the investment may be hard to predict.

The long answer is that volatility is the variation of a price of an investment over time. Prices are compared by using the standard deviation of returns. Basically the word volatile means how close the investment stays to its average price. A highly volatile investment would have dramatic swings, going up or down many percentage points. A stable investment would be one that stays close to that initial value, maybe rising or falling a fraction of percent.

If an investment is considered volatile it means you could be in for a bumpy ride since the value of the investment may be very hard to predict due to uncertainty behind the investment. The silver lining is that as volatility increases the ability to make money faster also increases. On the flip side though remember that as volatility goes up so does risk associated with it.

If you are looking for an overall indicator of market volatility Investopedia suggests that:

“market volatility can be seen through the VIX or Volatility Index. The VIX was created by the Chicago Board Options Exchange as a measure to gauge the 30-day expected volatility of the U.S. stock market derived from real-time quote prices of S&P 500 call and put options. It is effectively a gauge of future bets investors and traders are making on the direction of the markets or individual securities. A high reading on the VIX implies a risky market.”

Investopedia.com

Related Links

Market Volatility

Compounding Returns

A scientist discovers a cell that has chloroplasts, cytoplasm, DNA, and a cell membrane. Which statement best describes how the cell could be classified?

The short answer is the cell is eukaryotic because it has chloroplasts.

The long answer is eukaryotic cells have the ability to partition off different functions to locations within the cell, think compartments.  These are called organelles and they evolved for this purpose. Chloroplasts are examples of organelles and are only found in eukaryotic cells.  Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus with their DNA; where prokaryotic do not have a nucleus. Both prokaryotes and eukaryotes possess a cell membrane and cytoplasm.  Remember that prokaryotic cells do not contain a nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelle.

According to South Dakota Department of Health, these are some key differences between the two:

Prokaryotes  

  • Simple
  • Usually single celled organisms
  • Contain no nucleus
  • No membrane bound cell structures

Eukaryotes

  • Complex
  • Single or multi-celled
  • Have a nucleus
  • Contain a nuclear envelope
  • Contain cell membrane bound structures like mitochondria, golgi apparatus,etc.

How can investors receive compounding returns?

The short answer is: By investing their earnings back into their original investment.

The long answer is let your hard earned money work for you. This may take several years to accomplish but by investing your earnings back into their original investment you will realize gains much larger then if you did not. This process called compounding which basically takes any earnings from your assets (capital gains and/or interest) and reinvests it to get more earnings over time. This type of growth generates earnings from its initial value plus it accumulates earnings over time on top of any added earnings.

Useful Links

Rate of Return on Investment

Volatility