Identity thieves used stolen data 9 minutes after it was posted online

When personal data is dumped online, it can take just nine minutes for bad guys to start using it, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission.

Over the course of three weeks in April and May, the FTC analyzed what happens when hacked personal data is shared online.

Researchers created 100 fake consumers and gave them fictitious personal information like names, emails and passwords, and either a credit card, Bitcoin wallet, or online payment account. Then they posted the collection of data on a site popular with leaking stolen credentials, once on April 27 and a second time on May 4.

According to Dan Salsburg, acting chief at the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation, the the FTC observed two types of identity thieves — those who want to test credit cards’ authenticity to resell them, and those who tried making big purchases on things like clothing or hotels.

“There are people laying there in wait, ready to pounce on stolen credentials,” Salsburg told CNNTech.

Nine minutes after the publication on May 4, thieves began using the data — a Twitter bot picked up the posting, which could have helped speed up hacking attempts. On April 27, it took one and a half hours before the fake credentials were used.

All told, there were over 1,200 attempts to access accounts belonging to the fake consumers. That includes a total of $12,825.53 attempted credit card purchases and 493 attempts to access emails.

There are ways you can prevent cybercriminals from using your data, even if it’s published online. Salsburg said some of the test accounts were protected by two-factor authentication, a security feature that requires a second code in addition to your password (usually texted to your phone) to log in to your account.

It’s not a perfect solution — if your phone gets stolen, thieves could have access to your backup codes. But it is a simple and effective security tool.

Identity thieves did not access the fake accounts with two-factor authentication enabled.

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How this couple paid off $200,000 of debt in 2 years

It wasn’t too long ago that Sunethra Muralidhara was buried under a mountain of debt.

She had taken out loans for undergraduate and law school, which put her about $200,000 in the hole. But she wasn’t too worried about it at the time. She figured her law degree would be worth it and everyone always told her it was “good debt.”

“People had me convinced that taking 30 years to pay off the debt was normal and that I shouldn’t worry about it,” she said.

But her then-boyfriend, Michael Mohan, was worried about the six-figure burden.

“When I found out how much debt she had, I started Googling,” he said. He pulled an all-nighter watching online personal finance tutorials and didn’t go into work the next day.

He eventually approached Muralidhara about the debt. The conversation didn’t go well.

“It was probably the biggest fight in our relationship,” she recalled. “We weren’t engaged or married at the time. We were on that path, but from my point, I thought ‘who do you think you are?'”

That initial anger turned into understanding when Mohan explained his concern.

“He wanted to have a house and kids with me; it was a good intention and he was coming from a place where he saw a future and having too much debt could hinder that.”

So the two got serious about paying down the debt. Really serious.

They paid the $200,000 off in 26 months, while also paying for their wedding and Mohan’s MBA without financing.

Here’s how they did it:

They moved to a cheaper city

When Muralidhara started looking for jobs ahead of law school graduation, she realized staying in Chicago didn’t make sense.

“The legal market was so saturated there and jobs were paying so poorly. I couldn’t take a job for $40,000-$50,000 when I have $200,000 in student loans.”

So she started looking for more competitive legal markets.

When she and Mohan each made a list of cities they were willing to move, Las Vegas made both lists.

Not only is the cost of living lower, Nevada doesn’t have a state income tax, which helps them save more.

“I felt that if we had stayed in Chicago, we would have been living paycheck to paycheck,” she said.

Leaving Chicago also meant saying goodbye to their existing group of friends, which also provided some budgetary relief.

“We didn’t really know anyone when we first moved,” Mohan said. “There was no outside pressure to spend money and go out.”

They created a budget, and stuck to it

When the couple first moved to Vegas, they each created a budget.

“It’s important to be on the same page and align your goals together,” said Mohan. “You can have different goals — like one can want to travel and the other to buy a house — and you work toward them together.”

They listed out all their expenses and then started to trim.

“We cut Starbucks out, cable was out, we decided to limit our eating out,” said Muralidhara. “We cut our budget to the bare bones, and in a few months, we saw the benefits and the difference in our lives.”

They got thrifty

During the 26-month paydown period, they lived off of just 25 percent of their paychecks, saving the rest.

Muralidhara put her savings toward her student loans, while Mohan bulked up his savings account. When the two got married, he put the money toward her debt too.

But living off just a quarter of your income takes discipline and creativity.

Muralidhara gets her hair cut by students at a training facility, they travel a little farther to buy groceries at the cheapest prices, and they make a week’s worth of lunches and dinners on Sundays to avoid food runs at work or splurges after work.

“We literally eat the same thing for two weeks sometimes,” said Muralidhara.

Since paying off all the debt, they’ve loosened the purse strings — a little. They now live off about 30 percent of their take-home pay and hope to buy a house in cash within three years.

She put her dream job on hold (temporarily)

Muralidhara knew she wanted to be a public defender. But the pay isn’t exactly great.

“I knew the salary would make it difficult to pay [the loans] back,” she said. Instead, she decided to join a law firm with higher pay.

It wasn’t her dream job and the hours were long, but she viewed it as temporary and a chance to build experience.

Plus, there was a perk to the long hours. “I was working 80 hours a week. When you work that much, there’s no time to spend money.”

She was eventually able to leave that job and is now a federal public defender.

They negotiate everything

The pair have become master negotiators.

Muralidhara even negotiated her own engagement ring, shaving more than $2,000 off the price. And when it came time to plan the wedding, they estimated their skills saved them $15,000-$20,000.

“The biggest way we got discounts was paying cash upfront,” she said.

Their venue offered a 40 percent discount for paying in cash — but the couple asked for more. “We got additional things like lanterns, some decorations, different light fixtures and table cloths.”

When making big purchases, the couple does their research to find out how much wiggle room they have to negotiate.

“We always ask, ‘Is that the best you can do?'” said Mohan.

But negotiating isn’t always about cutting costs. They both aggressively negotiated their salaries too, with Muralidhara getting 8 percent more than offered, and Mohan about 7 percent.

“If you feel like you are worth more, ask for more,” said Mohan.

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Still sluggish: US only grew 1.2% to start 2017

America got a slow start to 2017.

The U.S. economy only grew 1.2% at an annual pace during the first three months of the year, according to a new estimate by the Commerce Department.

That’s a hair better than the initial estimate of 0.7% published a month ago, which had been the worst quarter of growth in three years.

Still, Friday’s figure doesn’t change the narrative: The U.S. economy is growing slowly, albeit steadily. It’s been growing at this rate since the Great Recession ended in June 2009, making it the third-longest expansion in history.

However, the Federal Reserve forecasts that growth is on pace for 2% this year. During the late 1990s, the US posted 4% growth multiple times.

President Donald Trump is seeking 3% annual growth, though he promised higher — 4% — on the campaign trail. Many economists say Trump’s administration will be challenged to boost growth that much with an aging workforce.

American consumers were the main culprit of the sluggish growth in the first quarter. Consumer spending declined in February and March on a monthly basis. Government spending was down too.

Growth is poised to rebound this spring. The Atlanta Federal Reserve forecasts growth in the second quarter to be a strong 4.1%, backed by a pick up in consumer spending in April.

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Apple News is getting an editor-in-chief

Apple News is getting its first ever editor in chief.

Lauren Kern will leave her role as executive editor of New York Magazine on June 2nd for the Cupertino-based company, New York Magazine Editor-in-Chief Adam Moss announced on Wednesday in a staff memo obtained by CNN.

“I am not happy to report that we are losing our beloved Lauren Kern to the Apple corporation,” Moss wrote. “I mean, I’m happy for Lauren certainly. It’s an exciting opportunity to be the editor in chief of Apple News, to bring a journalistic vigor and intelligence to an operation that has always seemed to me so full of promise.”

The news was first reported on Thursday morning by Politico. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the news to CNN, but declined to offer further details on what Kern’s role will entail and whether the job will based in the company’s California headquarters.

Apple News is a mobile news aggregation app which launched in the summer of 2015. The app draws in stories from various news partners and personalizes the front page to fit the user’s interests. Apple News’ partners include CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and others.

“Apple has the audience — all they needed was a superior editorial intelligence to guide it,” Moss wrote in his memo. “They recognized that that person was Lauren, and of course we know they are right.”

Moss praised Kern for the work she has done at New York Magazine, which he said “has been so critical” to its success.

“She provided excellent council to me on all sorts of editorial matters, and she was just beginning a new adventure seeding ambitious feature projects across our verticals,” he wrote. “There isn’t much she can’t do. Apple is lucky to have her.”

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New Ford CEO scores pay hike, $1 million signing bonus

Ford’s Jim Hackett got a nice bump in pay to go with his new CEO title.

His annual base salary will now be $1.8 million, up from the $716,000 he was earning as the head of the Ford unit developing self-driving cars. Since he’s assuming the new job roughly five months into the year, the raise will take his base pay for the year to just over $1 million.

He’ll also get a $1 million signing bonus, as well as a performance-based bonus worth up to $3.6 million.

In addition, he’ll get stock grants that could be worth as much as $6 million that are also tied to job performance.

Hackett’s new annual base salary is roughly on par with what his predecessor Mark Fields received in 2016, though Hackett is getting $12,500 more.

Fields’ 2017 salary?? has yet to be reported. But his total compensation last year came to $22.1 million including stock and bonuses. Hackett total package could end up being of comparable value when the shorter time in the top job this year is taken into account.

Ford’s shares plummeted nearly 40% during Fields’ tenure, and he was replaced by Hackett on Monday. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the great-grandson of the company founder, said the company needed to move faster to develop a new generation of electric and self-driving cars.

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Pence tax lobbying sparks Hill backlash

Vice President Mike Pence’s attempt to peel away House Republicans to support the White House’s tax plan spurred a backlash among a critical bloc of conservative lawmakers Wednesday, Hill sources said.

Pence pressed Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker to poll his members to see if they would split with House Speaker Paul Ryan and support the White House tax plan — which lacks a border tax that is the centerpiece of the House GOP proposal.

But in a flurry of exchanges Wednesday afternoon, Republican Study Committee members turned on the White House, saying they should not blindly accept whatever President Donald Trump is selling, the sources told CNN.

The drama started with an 11:30 a.m. text Wednesday from Walker to members of the group’s leadership, saying that Pence asked him to get RSC members to break with Ryan and support the White House tax plan.

A heated discussion ensued over text, with some RSC members suggesting they should support the President — and multiple others saying it was their job to be an independent branch of government and saying that they should not abandon House leaders.

As part of the exchange, Walker said he told Pence he would have to talk with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady — a key architect of the competing House Republican tax plan — before talking to his membership.

One source who reviewed the text exchange between Walker and the RSC members, said the request from Pence seemed out of the ordinary.

“My eyebrows raised when I saw that text,” said the source.

A White House aide said that Pence met with Ryan, Brady and Walker individually at the Capitol this week. The aide said that the meetings were designed for Pence to take the pulse of House Republicans and get an idea of where they could find compromise.

“The vice president was talking to leadership, as well as other members in terms of: ‘Where is your membership? Where is leadership? Where are you?'” the White House aide said.

Walker downplayed the request from Pence when asked about it Wednesday.

“I don’t know if I would call it an aggressive lobbying process. I think they were concerned, as they should be, about getting some things through the House that they promised on. And I think that’s one of them,” Walker said.

A Ryan spokeswoman denied there was any friction between House Republicans and the White House.

“House and Senate Republicans, and the White House, are jointly working on a tax reform proposal that we can all coalesce around,” said AshLee Strong, a Ryan spokeswoman.

Republicans have established tax reform as the next major piece of their agenda that they would like to get to the President’s desk — but compared to the health care battle, pushing a sweeping tax bill through Congress appears to be a Herculean lift.

Lawmakers and the White House have already split on whether a border adjustment tax — which would levy a new tax on imports to pay for other tax cuts — should be included. The border tax is a centerpiece of the plan Ryan has been working on for close to a decade, but the White House has shunned the idea.

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