Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 24, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 24, 2012 


The Holiday Shopping Season of 2012 is here and that means we can expect an uptick 
in both the number and types of online scams, fraud and malware threats we’ll see as we 
traverse the online world in search of deals and gifts for our loved ones. The most rabid 
shoppers are in line as we speak for Black Friday deals at brick-and-mortar stores and 
the online equivalent is what has come to be known as Cyber Monday. Both venues have 
their upsides, but Cyber Monday comes with its own particular set of hazards that we’ll be 
addressing in this short primer. 

 Whether we’re trying to take advantage of online deals on Black Friday, or fighting the 
online crowd on Cyber Monday, our Web browser is a primary target for holiday cyber 
attacks. The first element for effective online defense is a good, up-to-date and operational 
firewall, anti-virus protection and fully-patched operating system. Having just these three 
components in good working order will offer any user a good measure of protection and 
thwart most attacks that depend upon the target not being fully protected. 

 The next element for online defense is the awareness of the end user. This means being 
cautious about what we “click” on and keeping track of our online spending habits. One 
common technique of online bad guys is to send out fake emails about cancelled orders or 
failed deliveries. This bait will then entice many to click on a malicious link provided within 
the email, directing the person to a malicious exploit, commonly referred to as a “Blackhole” 
exploit. This exploit occurs throughout the year as well, but during the holiday shopping 
season there is a much higher chance that the target has actually ordered something or is 
waiting for a package to arrive, so it’s much easier for an attackers to catch a user off guard. 

 Despite the fact that these fake emails frequently contain red flags like obvious spelling 
and grammar errors, cyber criminals are getting better at creating phishing emails and 
spoofed websites that are virtually identical to the real ones. If you find yourself the recipient 
of one of these suspect emails, NEVER click on the link within the email itself. Instead go to 
the retailer or shipper website directly, and log in to verify or track your order, if in fact the 
order is valid at all. 

 Fake emails with malicious links are not the only thing we have to worry about. The Web 
browser is the one of the most commonly used tools across all computer and mobile device 
platforms, and the bad guys know it and use it as one of their favorite attack vectors. A 
recent report found that nearly one in four web browsers in use are out of date and therefore 
potentially vulnerable to known exploits. Attackers can often craft an exploit for a disclosed 
vulnerability in a matter of hours. It’s always important to keep your browser and plug-ins 
up to date. 

 As we venture online for holiday shopping, it is particularly crucial that we first make 
sure our software is fully patched, our anti-malware software is up to date and our firewall 
is up-and-running. 


The new social media darling, Pinterest, is becoming mainstream. People use Pinterest for 
bucket lists, planning weddings, recipe collections, home decoration and lots more. It’s 
like taking your favorite magazines, cutting out all the pictures that you love and pinning 
them on different interest or bucket list boards. According to Soci@I Jumpstart, Pinterest 
attracts 1,090 visitors per minute!

So, why is this site getting so much attention and what is it doing for business? 

Marketing professionals are keeping their eyes on Pinterest because those pins create 
backlinks and help with referral traffic to a web site. Pinterest content is a being indexed 
by Google; it helps impact a web site’s SEO. It is another place to have a web presence for 
your products with a built-in. If you have a product worth pinning, chances are people 
will “re-pin” it and it will have a viral reach. Basically, you feed a great image into the 
Pinterest world and let the users spread the word for you. It’s a great place to influence 
your word of mouth. 

According to “HubSpot,” 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on 
recommendations from Pinterest. A few weeks ago, Pinterest made a big announcement. 
They are now allowing business accounts. Pinterest is saying that they want to make it easy 
for businesses to inspire their community. Small businesses, non-profits and bloggers can 
now join Pinterest as a business. Business accounts and personal accounts have access to 
the same features. 

If you include a price ($) on a pin, it will automatically categorize it into Pinterest’s gift 
category. If you have great ideas for holiday shoppers, you might consider putting together 
“Gift Idea Boards” by categories and list your products (with price).

If you are new to Pinterest, start by watching and getting a feel for the culture. One of my 
favorite pinners is D-Lux 57 Aprons ( They fit their product 
into smart creative boards, like “all things dots,” “vintage cars” “vintage Hawaiian” etc. 
Take a close look at your brand and ask yourself what lifestyle your brand fits into. This 
will help you come up with creative boards. Create at least six boards and start adding 
pins to them. They don’t all need to come from you. Look at other pins and repin. 

Happy Pinning! 

About MJ: MJ and her brother David own HUTdogs, a creative services business that 
specializes in Social Media Education for business owners. Join their conversation on 
Facebook and get good tips and tricks about social media,

Sign up for their upcoming classes and presentations at:


By John Kabateck

Executive Director, NFIB/CA

You know about Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when people line up outside the 
big department stores and discount stores in the middle of the night to buy cheap Christmas 
presents. Black Friday is a big day for retailers, but I don’t think it’s nearly as important as 
Small Business Saturday.
That’s because small business is the heart and soul of our economy.
Small Business Saturday is about Main Street, not Wall Street. It’s about the entrepreneurs 
and families who have put everything into stores that offer what the chains and e-commerce 
companies don’t - something different, something special, from handcrafted gifts to 
genuinely friendly service.
It’s also about supporting the local economy. The chain stores are owned by big corporations 
based someplace else, but small businesses are usually owned by people who live in the 
community. When you shop at a small business, you’re supporting your hometown, your 
neighborhood, and your neighbors.
The media tends to focus on the Fortune 500 brands everyone knows, but small businesses 
represent 99 percent of U.S. employers, and they employ about half of the nation’s private-
sector workforce, according to the latest figures from the federal government.
We can’t have a strong economy unless are small businesses are doing well - and right now 
they’re not doing well. They’re hurting.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business’ latest Small-Business 
Optimism Index, the outlook among small-business owners is still wary. The survey, 
conducted before the presidential election, found that weak sales are still the No. 1 issue 
facing small-business owners.

The truth is that small businesses aren’t going to hire new employees if they’re worried about 
keeping the lights on. They aren’t going to expand or add locations if they’re worried about 
the torrent of new regulations coming out of Washington or a health-care package that’s 
going to jack up costs without doing much to increase competition and improve access to 
affordable coverage.
Small Business Saturday, then, is a good opportunity for people to support the 
establishments that mean so much to America’s economic wellbeing.
According to the inaugural Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released Nov. 8 by 
NFIB and American Express, nearly half of all independent merchants plan to incorporate 
Small Business Saturday into their holiday marketing plans, while 67 percent plan to offer 
special discounts on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Small businesses generally offer better service than you’ll find at the chain stores. Small-
business owners and their employees know their merchandise and understand their 
customers. When you shop at a small business, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing 
directly with the owner, not some random teenager who’s there for the employee discount 
and couldn’t care less whether you shop there again.
Small-business owners and their employees will do everything they can to keep you satisfied 
because their livelihoods depend on you coming back.
Then there’s the traffic. Shopping-mall parking lots can be ugly this time of year, but small 
businesses are usually in neighborhoods with smaller crowds and better parking, and that 
can go a long way toward making your day merry and bright.
But beyond all this, there’s the value that small businesses bring to the community.
Small businesses are usually owned by people who have a vested interest in the community, 
in its schools, in the quality of life. It’s no accident that small- business owners are among the 
most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually 
every other form of community activity.
That’s why I urge you to support Small Business Saturday - and to shop at small, 
independent businesses other day of the year, too.

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and 
all 50 states. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and 
independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. 
NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal 
lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting 
America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our 
members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available 
online at