Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save like a superhero. Also in the news: The best way to pay for your next flight, the big mistake one-third of credit card holders are making, and warnings about Amazon third-party accounts.

Save Like a Superhero: Roth IRAs and 529 Plans
Superpowered savings.

Cash or Points? The Best Way to Pay for Your Next Flight
NerdWallet’s 2017 Travel Card Study

The big mistake one-third of credit card holders are making
Stop wasting your rewards.

Beware Hacked Amazon Third-Party Accounts
Watch where you shop.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Tips for baby boomers on making out a will. Also in the news: Money moves you can make to start building a successful retirement, credit thieves target Neiman Marcus, and how to build your 401(k) without running out of spending money.

What Baby Boomers Need To Know About Making Out A Will
It’s time to get serious about long-term financial planning.

5 Money Moves to Create a Successful Retirement
Simplifying your accounts plays a major role.

Neiman Marcus Security Breach Puts One Million-Plus Payment Cards at Risk
Credit thieves find another Target.

How to Fund Your 401(k) and Still Have Spending Money
A few small changes could leave you with extra cash.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cellphone From Getting Hacked
Hackers are after more than just our computers.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Mythbusting your FICO score. Also in the news: Steps retiring entrepreneurs should take, tax moves Boomers should make right away, and how retailers trick you into spending money.

5 Myths About Late Payments & Your FICO Scores
Mythbusting, FICO style.

10 Steps for Retiring Entrepreneurs
Using your company as a cash cow for retirement.

Tax Moves Boomers Should Make Now
Especially those on fixed incomes.

10 Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More
Reminder: Retailers are not your friend.

Ginormous Hack Targets 2 Million Accounts Spread 93,000 Websites Worldwide
Keep an eye on your email and social media accounts.

Companies make it easy to hack your identity

The hackerYou might think breaking into a corporate database would be hard. Not so. A recent report from the Verizon RISK Team found the vast majority of incidents required minimal skills and took place in a few hours. Unfortunately, those breaches often weren’t discovered for months or even years–and it typically wasn’t the company but rather a third party that discovered a breach.

From a Credit.com post on the study:

While one in 10 were so easy the average Internet user could have caused them, another 68 percent were the result of hacking attacks using the most basic methods, requiring relatively few resources to complete. Only one breach suffered in all of 2012 required “advanced skills, significant customizations, and/or extensive resources” to complete.

That is likewise reflected in the amount of time it took to cause most data breaches, the report said. Altogether, 84 percent took hours or even minutes to perpetrate, while these incidents typically took months or even years to discover. Nearly two-thirds of all breaches took at least that long, up from just 56 percent the year before, proving that it’s actually becoming more difficult to spot breaches, as well as contain them. While most were remediated in hours or days, nearly a quarter took months.

The take-away from this is that companies aren’t doing nearly enough to protect the information they collect about you. And the sad truth is that you have little control over what goes into these databases. You can do your best to protect your identity, and still have your information breached.

You should still take steps to reduce your exposure, steps like not giving your Social Security number to companies that don’t need it and refusing to give businesses permission to share your information. You should use tough-to-hack passwords and stop sharing secrets on social media. You also should monitor your credit reports and financial accounts.

Until companies get serious about protecting your data, though, you’re still a target for identity theft.