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Traveling is wonderful in different ways. It can add a sense of fulfillment, joy, growth and experience to one’s life. Researchers state that, traveling is highly beneficial for your physical, mental and emotional health as well. So pack your bags and break off your normal routine because here are some wonderful benefits of traveling:

Traveling can actually keep you healthier.

When you travel, you exposed yourself to a different environment which creates stronger antibodies and helps boosts your immune system significantly. Moreover, studies found that people who travel at least twice a year show a lower risk of suffering from a heart attack than those who do not take an annual vacation.

Traveling can relieve your stress.

Although encountering delays or losing baggage in a foreign airport can sure boost someone’s anxiety, it has been scientifically proven that travel can lower stress levels, increase your happiness and decrease your depression. And these benefits tend to last for weeks after the trip has ended.

It is best to opt for a chauffeur service once your flight landed to avoid the stress of worrying how to reach your onward destinations.  This is why it is important to plan ahead not just your flight and accommodation but also a reliable means of transport to get you where you want to be. With the help of Tokyo MK Taxi, a global company providing taxi and chauffeur services, you will never have to worry about reaching your destinations on time, with style and comfort.

Traveling can enhance a person’s creativity.

Studies say that traveling in a foreign place can also make you more creative. Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School who studies the relation between creativity and international travel stated that foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility, depth and integration of thought, the ability to make deep connections between different forms. The new language, tastes, sensations, sounds, smells and environment sparks different synapses in the brain that causes the mind to revitalize and get more creative.

Traveling can boost happiness and satisfaction

Traveling is an ideal source of happiness for each and every one of us. In a study, the boost in excitement and happiness comes from simple acts of planning the vacation, packing your outfits and planning your itinerary. All these simple things can positively impact a person’s well-being.

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Mid-year of 2017 which will be marked as mid-term of President Joko ‘Jokowi’, is now around the corner. Jokowi set key developmental targets at the beginning of his administration. One of them is narrowing down income inequality.

 

Income inequality has declined since President Jokowi took the office. Gini Coefficient, which measures income distribution ranges from zero (perfect equal meaning everyone earns the same income) to one (only one person earns all income in an economy), has fallen from 0.405 to 0.394. Gini Coefficient indicates a declining trend.

 

Therefore, the follow-up question for that progress is that what makes income inequality narrowing down? There is a tendency that lower commodity prices would lead to narrowing down income inequality.

 

It is no secret that Indonesia’s economy relies heavily on commodities, for example palm oil, rubber, and natural gas. When the commodity prices boom, Indonesia enjoys relatively massive amount of foreign exchange, and eventually higher national income and economic growth.

 

However, income from commodity price boom is not distributed well for many. And it might lead to widening income inequality, for two main reasons. First, only a certain small group of people benefits from commodity boom. They are generally rent seekers who get a permit to exploit natural resources.

 

Second, the concept of Dutch Disease is likely relevant to portray negative impact of commodity prices boom. The term was originally used to describe situation experienced by the Dutch in the late 1970s. The Dutch benefited (foreign exchange reserve accumulated) from the increased of natural gas price. But in contrast, it caused economic trouble and more unemployment rate. Economists define Dutch Disease is a condition when the commodity prices boom led to by the inflows of foreign exchanges.

 

According to Econ 101, large foreign reserves causing appreciation of exchange rate. It means that domestic products are relatively more expensive in the global market. So that, competitiveness of other products, including manufactured commodities, would decline. Only certain people who are involved in the production of commodities get the most gain from the commodity boom. But, the rest might get harmed.   

 

In the near future, there is a potential of another commodity price boom. According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Indonesia’s cumulative exports rose by 18.63 percent in the January-April period this year from the same period in 2016.

 

The rise in export is mainly caused by higher price of commodities. Moreover, according to the World Bank’s Commodity Price Outlook as of April 2017, it is forecasted that prices of energy commodities and non-energy commodities are going to be in upward trends this year. 

 

The government should prevent the potential negative impact of commodity prices boom to widening income inequality. The government should more focus on two sectors to keep the income inequality narrowed down.

 

First is focusing on developing tourism sector. Over the past years, foreign exchange reserve from tourism industry has shown a positive trend. And it has been in the top four sectors for foreign exchange reserve contributors.

 

Moreover, tourism industry has relatively high multiplier effect comparing to other industries. By definition, multiplier effect is a condition occurred when a growth in one sector has positive effects on its sector and other sectors, also encourages growth in the local economy. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism industry in Indonesia has multiplier effect 1.7. It implies that every one dollar spent on tourism would create 1.7 dollar income for the region.

 

Second is speeding up implementation of financial inclusion. According to the latest World Bank’s Financial Inclusion Data, less than half of total adults (age 15+) in Indonesia has been reached out by financial services, including formal saving and formal borrowing. In other words, there are many potential financial services users.

 

Many studies have shown that financial inclusion gives many benefits, for instance: manage cash flow through saving; finance business, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises, through borrowing; mitigate risk of unexpected events, through insurance.

 

To make sure more people are included in financial services, policies in financial inclusion and financial access must get along together. All stakeholders, central and local government, the central bank, financial service authority (OJK) must collaborate to implement financial inclusion successfully.    

 

Indonesia should stop relying on commodities. History has recorded that commodity price boom is not last for a long period of time. It is good for economic growth for a while, but it affects income equality widen.  

 

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SAN FRANCISCO – Apple on Friday urged iPhone owners to install a security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by malware dealers.

Researchers at the Lookout mobile security firm and Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said they had uncovered a three-pronged attack targeting the dissident’s phone “that subverts even Apple’s strong security environment.”

 

Lookout and Citizen Lab worked with Apple on an iOS patch to defend against the attack, called Trident because of its triad of methods, the researchers said in a joint blog post.

“We were made aware of this vulnerability and immediately fixed it with iOS 9.3.5,” Apple said in a released statement.

 

Trident is used in spyware referred to as Pegasus, which a Citizen Lab investigation showed was made by an Israel-based organization called NSO Group. NSO was acquired by the U.S. firm Francisco Partners Management six years ago.

Lookout referred to Pegasus as the most sophisticated attack it has seen, accessing calls, cameras, email, passwords, apps and more.

 

The spyware was detected when used against Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist who has been repeatedly targeted using spyware.

After receiving a suspicious text with a link, he reported the matter to Citizen Lab, which worked in conjunction with San Francisco-based Lookout to research the affair.

 

“The attack sequence, boiled down, is a classic phishing scheme: send text message, open web browser, load page, exploit vulnerabilities, install persistent software to gather information,” the joint blog post said. “This, however, happens invisibly and silently, such that victims do not know they’ve been compromised.”

 

Mansoor received text messages on Aug. 10 and 11 promising that secrets about detainees being tortured in United Arab Emirates jails could be accessed by clicking on an enclosed link, researchers said.

Had he fallen for the ruse, the Trident chain of heretofore unknown “zero-day exploits” would have broken into his iPhone and installed snooping software.

 

Once infected, Mansoor’s iPhone would have been turned into a “spy in his pocket” capable of tracking his whereabouts and conversations, Citizen Lab said.

Mansoor was targeted five years ago with FinFisher spyware and again the following year with Hacking Team spyware, according to Citizen Lab research.

 

“The use of such expensive tools against Mansoor shows the lengths that governments are willing to go to target activists,” the researchers said.

Although the cyberattack on Mansoor was not linked to a specific government, Citizen Lab said indicators pointed to the UAE.

 

UAE authorities did not comment on the matter.

 

Lookout and Citizen believe the spyware has been “in the wild for a significant amount of time.”

“It is also being used to attack high-value targets for multiple purposes, including high-level corporate espionage on iOS, Android and Blackberry.”

 

Citizen Lab has also found evidence that “state-sponsored actors” used NSO weapons against a Mexican journalist who reported on high-level corruption in that country and on an unknown target in Kenya.

The NSO tactics included impersonating sites such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the British government’s visa application processing website and a wide range of news organizations and major technology companies, the researchers said.

 

Mansoor’s decision to enlist Citizen Lab instead of falling into the trap gave researchers a rare chance to expose the work of “shady cyber arms dealers” who command high prices for morally questionable services, said Lookout’s vice president of security research, Mike Murray.

 

Invoices posted online have shown that hackers can charge tens of thousands of dollars per target hit with their software.

“The smartphone is a valuable target, and breaking into it is a valuable skill set,” Murray said. “People who can do this, and with wiggle room in their moral code, have realized the business opportunity.”

 

NSO Group has been around since 2010, and the capture of one of its weapons was billed as a first.

Studying Trident has helped cyberdefenders find ways to spot spyware that had been operating unseen, and they are “actively catching it in the wild now,” Murray said.

 

He declined to reveal anything about other targets, saying that they were people likely to be under surveillance in other ways by local authorities.

Citizen Lab saw the attack on Mansoor as further evidence that “lawful intercept” spyware has significant abuse potential, and that some governments can’t resist the temptation to use such tools against political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders.

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Residents who use Yahoo Mail are being encouraged by the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs to take action to secure their online accounts following the announcement last month of a massive breach.

 

During the last two weeks of September, Yahoo announced that at least 500 million user accounts had been compromised.

 

An investigation by Yahoo following suspicions of an attack in July uncovered a far larger, allegedly state-sponsored attack in recent weeks, according to the Associated Press.

 

“We take these types of breaches very seriously and will determine how this occurred and who is responsible,” the FBI said in a statement last week.

 

Given the importance most people place on protecting personal information, the Department of Consumer Affairs is encouraging Yahoo Mail users to take action by following several tips, said Megan Stockhausen, communications coordinator with the agency.

 

• Change the account password and security questions immediately. Use strong, creative passwords (uppercase, lowercase and special characters) and don’t share them with anyone. Also, don’t use the same passwords or security questions for multiple accounts, especially when using an email address as the login name on a site.

 

• Watch out for phishing attempts, which is defined by asking for personal or sensitive information via a phone call, text or email is a tactic used by scammers. Never reply to texts, pop-ups, or emails that ask for verification of personal information. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails or texts.

 

• Closely monitor financial and benefits statements/accounts. Check all monthly statements and account activity, especially for financial accounts saved as payment options on internet merchant sites.

 

Review them carefully and notify the financial institution/provider as soon as an unauthorized or suspicious item is spotted.

 

• Consider a fraud alert and security freeze. Scammers may use the stolen information to open new accounts.

 

A fraud alert and security freeze are free security measures for a credit report. A fraud alert tells a business accessing the report to take extra steps to verify that the person holding the account is the one seeking its goods/services.

 

When a security freeze is in place, no one can access the report without the account holder approving it.

 

Stockhausen said these tips can help anyone trying to secure any personal online information.

 

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Fraudsters are using clever impersonation techniques to siphon millions from unprotected businesses

 

When Keith McMurtry, corporate controller of Scoular, a 124-year-old US grain-trading and storage company, was asked by his chief executive to wire $17.2m to an offshore bank account, he did not question it.

 

Chuck Elsea told Mr McMurtry in a top-secret email that Scoular was in talks to acquire a Chinese company. The chief executive instructed him to liaise with a lawyer at KPMG who would provide the wiring instructions to an account in China.

 

“We need the company to be funded properly and to show sufficient strength toward the Chinese. Keith, I will not forget your professionalism in this deal, and I will show you my appreciation very shortly,” Mr Elsea wrote in an email in June 2014. Over three transactions, Mr McMurtry transferred the $17.2m to an account in the name of Dadi Co at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, according to an affidavit signed by an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and filed in a Nebraska court.

 

The email was a fraud. Criminals impersonated Mr Elsea by creating a phoney email account in his name. They also set up fake email and phone numbers in the name of a real KPMG partner, who later said he had never heard of Scoular. US authorities have traced the emails and phone number to Germany, France, Israel and Russia.

 

Scoular, which is ranked 66th on Forbes’ list of the US’s largest private companies with revenues of $5.9bn, is one of several thousand companies that have fallen victim to a new type of fraud known as business email compromise schemes which have netted $800m in the past six months.

 

In January 2015, Xoom, an international money transfer company bought for $890m last July by PayPal, a pioneer in digital payments, said an employee in its finance department was duped into transferring $30.8m in corporate cash to an overseas account.

 

Ubiquiti Networks, a US manufacturer of wireless networking products, disclosed that its finance department was targeted last June by an imposter and transferred $46.7m to overseas accounts. After discovering the fraud the company began legal proceedings and has recovered $8.1m.

 

In the boss’s name

 

More than 12,000 businesses worldwide have been targeted by the scams, also known as CEO email schemes, between October 2013 and this month. The transactions have netted criminals $2bn, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, an intelligence and investigative group within the FBI that tracks computer crimes. Companies large and small, across 108 countries, have been hit and the threat is growing, law enforcement officials say.

 

“It has gotten quite out of hand,” says Mitchell Thompson, a supervisory special agent and head of the financial cyber crimes task force in the FBI’s New York office.

 

The criminals are “becoming more brash”, he says, by introducing third parties, such as law firms and consultants, to carry out the fraud. They have also become more sophisticated about how they troll potential victims.

 

“They’re using social media a lot against us. They might send a spam email intentionally to see that the executive is out of the office, [making] it prime time to target. They might look on Facebook and see that [the chief executive is] travelling to Europe or Australia so they know you’re in the air for a certain amount of time” and have a window to strike, Mr Thompson says.

 

Tricking people using the internet to steal money is hardly new. There have been criminal groups taking advantage of users of dating websites and fundraisers for disasters or terrorist attacks. A decade ago authorities were flooded with complaints of bogus Nigerian email scams and false lottery winners.

 

Criminals use a variety of tactics. Sometimes they gain access to executives’ emails by hacking into the accounts using phishing emails. The accounts of chief executives can also be spoofed by changing a letter or replacing a company’s official email service with a Gmail account. The phoney account created to mimic the KPMG lawyer used the suffix @kpmg-office.com, a fake address convincing enough to trick someone who is not checking carefully.

 

The criminals usually impersonate the executive and order the transfer, often through a second account they secretly control, such as the one said to belong to the KPMG lawyer. The money is sent to accounts in Asia or Africa, where it is harder for authorities to recover. By the time the company realises it has been duped, authorities say, the money has long gone.

 

Mr McMurtry told the FBI that he was not suspicious of the transfers since Scoular was discussing an expansion in China and he had been working on an annual audit with KPMG, according to the FBI affidavit. Mr McMurtry, who is no longer with Scoular, did not respond to requests for comment. Scoular also declined to speak.

 

Inauspicious origins

 

The scam began simply enough. Mr McMurtry received an email purporting to be from Mr Elsea. “I have assigned you to manage file FT-809,” the bogus email said. “This is a strictly confidential operation, which takes priority over other tasks. Have you already been contacted by Rodney Lawrence [the KPMG lawyer]?” It went on: “This is very sensitive, so please only communicate with me through this email, in order for us not to infringe SEC regulations.”

 

The following day “Mr Elsea” sent another email stating that the transfer was urgent and he should “proceed asap with the wire to the same beneficiary and bank account as yesterday”.

 

FBI agents traced the phoney email account in Mr Elsea’s name to Germany. The KPMG email name was linked to a server in Moscow. The phone number provided was traced to a Skype account registered in Israel.

 

Scoular’s lawyers told the FBI that Wells Fargo said Dadi — the name on the account in Shanghai where Mr McMurtry sent the money — manufactured army boots. Dadi claimed to the bank that the wire transfers were part of a sales contract for the manufacture of boots, according to the FBI affidavit. Scoular said it did not purchase boots.

 

Mr Lawrence, the KPMG lawyer whose identity was used in the email scheme, is the global leader of KPMG’s international tax services. When interviewed by the FBI he told them he was not familiar with Scoular and had not spoken with anyone at the company, according to the affidavit.

 

The FBI obtained a court order to seize the funds held at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank but was told that the account had been closed and the funds transferred.

 

Business email compromise crimes are “a huge” problem, says Austin Berglas, head of cyber investigations at K2 Intelligence and a former chief of the FBI’s cyber branch in New York. Executives are so reliant on email they do not pick up the phone to confirm the transaction and “there is no second check,” he adds.

 

Some of the email scams are similar, suggesting they come from the same criminal organisation.

 

The FBI and US Justice Department have several investigations under way. Over the past 12 months the FBI has put more intelligence analysts on the case and have liaised with law enforcement agencies worldwide. “We will open cases this year and we will make arrests this year,” says James Barnacle, chief of the FBI’s money laundering unit.

 

‘Strictly confidential’

 

Glen Wurm, director of accounting at AFGlobal Corp, which makes products for the aerospace, oil and gas industries, received an email in May 2014 similar to that sent to Scoular.

 

Purportedly from Gean Stalcup, the company’s chief executive, it said: “Glen, I have assigned you to manage file T521. This is a strictly confidential financial operation which takes priority over other tasks. Have you already been contacted by Steven Shapiro [attorney KPMG]?”

 

Mr Wurm was told not to speak to anyone and was directed to wire $480,000 to an account at the “Agriculture Bank of China”, according to legal documents. The hacker mimicked the tone Mr Stalcup used with Mr Wurm, according to a lawsuit that AFGlobal filed against its insurer Federal Insurance.

 

Six days later, Mr Shapiro contacted Mr Wurm confirming he had received the transfer, adding that he needed another $18m, according to a lawsuit. At this point Mr Wurm became suspicious and said he could not send so much money without alerting senior executives.

 

It was too late: the bank account had been emptied. AFGlobal is suing Federal Insurance and Chubb, its parent company, seeking more than $1m for allegedly breaching its contract by not covering the claim. Chubb has declined to comment.

 

Mr Thompson has declined to discuss either scheme but says criminal groups copy successful tactics. While some schemes have been as large as $90m, the average loss is $120,000.

 

“The ones you don’t hear about are the smaller corporations that send $50,000. They’re saying, ‘I’m not going to make payroll, we’re going to close our doors’ as a result of the fraud,” Mr Thompson says.

 

There is little that companies can do to recover the funds. Banks are not required by law to reimburse a company that makes a transfer. Cyber insurance policies might not cover a fraud against a company if its network has not been hacked.

 

“The bank will look at the totality of what the company has done to protect itself and whether or not they’re adhering to the agreement that the company has signed associated with the initiation of any of these wires,” says Doug Johnson, senior vice-president of overseas payments and cyber security at the American Bankers Association. One good practice is requiring the approval of two people, he says.

 

That practice is not fail-safe, however.

 

Like AFGlobal, Medidata Solutions, a clinical technology company, fell victim to email fraud in September 2014.

 

An employee in accounts received an email from an executive requesting a money transfer, according to a lawsuit filed in a federal New York court against Federal Insurance. The email included an image of the executive’s face and his signature.

 

Like the other alleged scams, the email included the name of a lawyer, who would act as a liaison for the employee. The employee told the lawyer that he needed the approval of two others before a $4.7m transfer could be made.

 

The fraudsters had a solution, though. Later that day, two employees with authority to sign off on the transfer were emailed instructions, purporting to be from the chief executive of Medidata, telling them to approve the wire to a bank account in China.

 

The transfer went through. Two days later, an email from the lawyer told the same employees to initiate a second transfer of $4.8m. One of the employees had grown nervous and called the executive direct — stopping the fraud and saving millions for the company.

 

Yet law enforcement officials say companies need to be more vigilant to guard against a crime that has become simpler to commit. “It’s easy,” says Mr Barnacle. “All you need is a computer.”

 

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