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HeartbleedThe past few weeks have seen two major internet security problems discovered. One involved Internet Explorer. The second is something called “Heartbleed”.

Internet Explorer

The Department of Homeland Security found a flaw so severe in Internet Explorer that they recommended no one use it until Microsoft fixed the problem. Disabling Flash was a temporary fix, but the vast majority of users were fully exposed to takeover of their computer. As Microsoft said, the error “could allow attackers to run malicious software on the user’s computer — and even gain the same level of access to the computer as the real user.”

Fortunately Microsoft has been able to release a fix. Be sure you have Windows Update set to “automatic” and that the fix has been installed. Another approach would be to switch from Internet Explorer to using a different browser like Chrome or Opera. The iMGA web site has no issues supporting any of the major modern browsers. The same may not be true for all web sites you use, though.


There has also been a lot of chatter lately about “Heartbleed”. Many of the internet’s largest and most popular web sites were compromised.

Should you worry?
Yes, and no.

Heartbleed did NOT risk your computers, only internet servers.

Heartbleed is a problem in a particular version of an encryption library called OpenSSL. It allowed random access to whatever might have been stored in the memory of a web site’s server at the time of the attack. That means it’s possible your user name and password on an exposed server might have been compromised.

iMGA was not compromised. We never used that version on our web site. It is important that you change your password on any site that was compromised. iMGA was not, but you’re welcome to change your password on our site at any time.

Change your passwords

This is a good time to change your password across other sites that were at risk from the bug and have patched their servers. Note that if their servers are not yet patched, you will need to change your password once they have. CNET is keeping a list of the status of the top 100 sites and whether they have been patched.

Changing your passwords is especially important if you, like most people, use the same password and email address on multiple services. If you’ve done this, then a hack into any one of those services risks exposing your login information for multiple services.

The easiest way to manage the project to change your passwords (and make sure they’re more safe moving forward) is to use a password management program like LastPass (available free) or 1Password. It’ll help you set up truly secure passwords for all web sites and you’ll only have to remember one.

For decades yellow pages ads were the leading source of new customers for most insurance agencies.

How many times in the past twelve months have you picked up a yellow pages to look up who to call? The same goes for your prospects. Searching on the internet has replaced yellow page usage for those prospects, so it’s critical that you are found when they do that search.

Being found in the yellow pages was relatively straightforward – you paid to be found. The more you paid, usually, the more likely you were to be found.

Being found on the internet works in much the same way

No, there’s not an “internet salesperson” who’ll let you pay them more to be found more easily, but the more you “pay” in terms of time and effort, the more easily prospects will find you when they search online.

The better the content on your website, the more content you have on your website, the more unique the content on your website, the more likely yours will be the listing near the top of the page when they search.

There’s obviously a lot to learn and do to maximize all of that, but there’s ONE really easy, straightforward step that you can take TODAY.

Complete your Google Places listing

Go to and search for your city name plus the word insurance. What do you see? Here’s the result for “Wichita Falls insurance”.
Google results for "Wichita Falls Insurance"

The top 3 listings and the ones under the map on the right are companies that have paid Google to appear in those spots. Their ranking in the display is determined by how much they offer Google multiplied by how often people click when they see that ad, so you need both money and skill in ad writing to do well with those.

That map, though, and the agencies that show right under the paid ads – those are Google Places results, and you can have that for FREE and with only a little effort. That Google Places listing is the second most important ad for your agency (the first is your web site).

Simply go to Google Places and click on the link under “Get your business found on Google”.
Get your business found on Google
You’ll need a Google account, but that’s free and easy to create if you don’t already have one.

Getting listed in Google Places takes only a few minutes’ effort and will pay off for years. Please, if you have not already done so, complete/claim your listing – you’ll be glad you did.

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