How old do you have to be to get a credit card?

If you’re wondering about your chances of getting a credit card based on your age, here’s what you need to know. (iStock)

If you’re hoping to get a credit card on your own, you need to be at least 18 years old to qualify. However, there are some restrictions for consumers until they’re 21 years old, and teenagers under 18 can only get a credit card if it’s tied to an existing account.

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If you’re wondering about your chances of getting a credit card based on your age, here’s what you need to know.

Can you get an account if you’re under the credit card age limit? 

It’s possible to get a credit card in your name if you’re under 18, but it’s not the same as getting an account in your name. Instead, you can get added as an authorized user on a family member’s account (typically a parent), and you’ll receive a card in your name that’s tied to that account.


As an authorized user, you’re not financially responsible for any debt incurred on the main account, including charges you make with your card. That said, once you’ve been added as an authorized user on a credit card, that account’s entire history is added to your credit file, which can help you establish your credit history early on.

Of course, if your parent has missed some payments in the past or regularly carries a high balance, those negative items could hinder your chances of building a positive credit history. So check with your parents before you ask to be added to make sure you’re starting off on the right foot.

Credit cards for 18- to 21-year-olds

Once you’re 18 years old, you’re eligible to get a credit card on your own. However, it can be challenging to get approved, especially if you’re a college student.

That’s because credit card issuers are required by law to consider your ability to pay back any debt you incur with a credit card. If you’re a college student with just a part-time job or no job at all, your income may not meet an issuer’s required minimum.

Note, however, that you can also count scholarships, grants and regular allowances as income.


Also, while student credit cards are designed with college students in mind, many of them still require some credit history, even if it’s limited. If you’ve never had the chance to build credit as an authorized user, you may have a hard time getting approved for a card on your own.

If you don’t have an established income or credit score, there are still some options available to you. For example, you can still get added as an authorized user on a parent’s credit card account. Also, some credit card issuers allow co-signers, so if one of your parents has a good credit history, they can apply with you as a joint account holder.

Finding the best credit card for 21 and up

If you’re 21 years old or older, you may have a better chance of getting approved for a credit card on your own, even if you’re still a college student. For example, you may have had more opportunities to build your credit history, especially if you took out student loans and have already started making payments.

The primary reason, however, is that the Credit CARD Act of 2009 allows borrowers who are 21 and older to claim any income to which they have a reasonable expectation of access on a credit card application. That includes:

  • Personal income
  • Income from a spouse or partner
  • Allowances and gifts
  • Trust fund distributions
  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Retirement fund distributions
  • Social Security payments

While you now have a longer list of sources you can use, it’s essential to claim only that income that you can prove exists.


In addition to your gross annual income, you’ll typically need to provide the following information on a credit card application:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number
  • Source of income
  • Housing situation and monthly payment

To find the right credit card for you, start by checking your credit score. Search for cards that align with your credit score range, then consider each card’s features and how they match up with your preferences and spending habits.

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What to do if you're fired during coronavirus

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The coronavirus pandemic has created confusion for many employers and employees, and it can be an especially difficult time to seek help for employees who feel they've been unfairly terminated.


Blaine Bortnick of law firm Rasko Klock told FOX Business that he would advise any employee who feels he or she was unfairly fired to take a beat.

"It varies from state to state, but generally speaking an employee has 300 days to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge," Bortnick said. "There’s no need to go and rush out tomorrow and file an EEOC charge. … You should have a dialogue with the company and gather the facts."

A man is fired from his job.

Workplace retaliation includes, but isn't limited to, the drastic action of firing. The EEOC protects most workers from forms of retaliation, including giving poor performance evaluations, demoting employees and even verbal abuse.

What to do

Employees considering filing an EEOC charge can visit this webpage:


Most employers with 15 or more employees must abide by Equal Employment Opportunity laws, which protect employees from being punished for asserting their rights.


Nothing about the coronavirus crisis has changed the basic rights of both employees and employers, Bortnick said.

Employers are still prohibited from using layoffs to get rid of an employee they would otherwise unfairly terminate, regardless of the coronavirus, Bortnick said.

Employees considering filing an EEOC charge can visit this webpage.


"That issue arises all the time, before we ever heard of COVID-19," Bortnick said. "An extreme example an employer could not get away with would be firing 85% of women and only 5% of men because of COVID-19. When they're essentially doing the same job, you can't use COVID-19 as a coverup."


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Network Ten staff to reduce work days until June to weather crisis

Network Ten is introducing reduced work hours and allowing staff to become part-time under a range of measures aimed at helping the business through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ten's newly appointed chief content officer and executive vice president Beverley McGarvey told staff the measures were aimed to ensure a "stronger, more innovative" and "more agile" organisation, but admitted that the pandemic was affecting day-to-day operations.

Beverley McGarvey told staff the measures were to ensure the broadcaster could be strong in the long term.Credit:Rob Homer

"I sincerely appreciate your help in ensuring Network 10 remains a sustainable and high performing business as we travel through unchartered waters. We are working to ensure we come through this as a stronger, more innovative and more agile organisation," Ms McGarvey said. "Despite more viewers turning to television for the latest news, information and entertainment that we provide, our business has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis."

From April 20 until June, employees will be strongly encouraged to work nine-day fortnights, while those with high leave balances are being asked to take a longer break over Easter.

There will also be opportunities for employees to temporarily work part time between April and June, and split shifts are available for those who require assistance in managing workloads with school-aged children. Network Ten will also shut down for the week following Easter from April 14 to April 17 – a week in which the industry traditionally doesn't collate viewer ratings. The measures exclude 10 Daily, News, Studio 10, The Project, broadcast operations and engineering and some skeleton staff.

"Our aim is to minimise both the temporary and permanent workforce impacts we are seeing at other companies in Australia and internationally," said Ms McGarvey. "We are focused on positioning the business for resilience and growth as the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic start to ease."

The decision comes a day after rival Seven West Media announced it would slash staff salaries, warning job cuts were inevitable. Chief executive James Warburton told staff on Wednesday afternoon that full-time employees earning between $80,000 and $200,000 per annum would need to work four-day weeks and take a 20 per cent pay cut until the end of the financial year.

Network Ten, which is owned by US broadcaster ViacomCBS, is the latest media company to announce cost cuts to get through the pandemic. In the past two weeks, oOh! Media has launched an emergency capital raising, Southern Cross Austereo has announced all staff earning $68,000 or more would have their remuneration reduced by 10 per cent for six months and News Corp executives started taking large pay cuts and moving staff to part-time and nine-day fortnight arrangements.

News Corp also suspended the print publication of 60 mastheads. Nine, the publisher of this masthead, this week announced a range of savings measures designed to strip up to $266 million from its cost base.

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5 ways to pay off Parent PLUS Loans fast

Parent PLUS loans can be a burden but you can pay them off quickly by refinancing, making extra payments or taking advantage of loan forgiveness. (iStock)

Student loan debts are a financial burden to more than just recent grads. Around 6 percent of total outstanding student loan debt is currently owed by parents facing a collective debt burden of around $87 billion, according to Brookings Institute. And this is just for Parent PLUS loans, not including loans that have been consolidated.

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Parent PLUS Loans are federal student loans made to parents to help their kids pay for school and, like other federal loans, they have a fixed interest rate – albeit at a higher annual percentage rate than Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. In fact, for the 2019-2020 school year, the PLUS Loan rate was 7.08 percent.

If you want to keep interest costs down or become debt-free as soon as possible, you may want to repay your PLUS Loans fast. If that's your goal, these five tips for debt relief can help.

1. Choose the right repayment plan

Parents have multiple repayment plan options, including a standard plan that will result in loans being repaid over 10 years or an extended repayment plan that stretches repayment out over as long as 25 years. With an extended plan, monthly payments are smaller but it takes you far longer to be free of debt — and you pay much higher total interest costs.

2. Consider refinancing

Private refinance loans can sometimes offer a lower interest rate than PLUS Loans, especially if you have good credit and sufficient income to repay what you've borrowed. This process means finding a private lender and taking out a loan to repay existing debts. Most often, these refinance loans come from online lenders, credit unions or banks.


Refinancing means giving up options for income-driven repayment or loan forgiveness as well as giving up other federal loan benefits such as generous forbearance policies. But if you won't take advantage of these benefits anyway, refinancing can make a lot of sense.

If you can reduce your interest rate when you refinance your loan, repayment will cost less because a smaller portion of your monthly payment goes to interest. If your interest rate and payment decline after refinancing but you keep making the same size payment, you'll get your principal balance paid down quickly.

You also have the option to refinance to a new loan with a shorter repayment term. Often, you'll get the most competitive rate by choosing a short-term loan. And while your monthly payments will be bigger, you'll be able to pay off your debt much faster.

For example, if you have a $10,000 PLUS Loan at 7.08 percent and have eight years left on repayment, refinancing to a new loan at 4.99 percent interest with a five-year repayment term would raise your monthly payment by about $52 a month but you'd be free of your debt three years sooner and would save over $1,800 in interest.

3. Make extra monthly payments

Even a small extra payment can make a big difference in how long it takes to pay off what you owe. If you have a $10,000 loan at 7.08 percent and you pay an extra $100 a month starting from your second payment, you could repay your debt 5.4 years sooner and save over $2,236 in interest costs.


4. Skip the deferment period

Parents can defer repayment on PLUS Loans while children are in school and during a six-month post-graduation deferment. But interest doesn't stop accruing while loans are deferred.

In fact, if you've borrowed $10,000 at 7.08 percent and you defer repayment for 12 months, you'll accrue $708 in unpaid interest that gets added to your loan balance.

You'll end up paying interest on this added interest so repayment will be costlier. Since your monthly payments will be higher due to your larger balance, making extra payments will be more difficult.


5. Take advantage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness

PLUS Loans are a type of federal student aid, so parents get many of the same borrower protections as student borrowers. However, parents don't have access to income-driven repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness without first consolidating using a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Consolidation is free and you can consolidate even a single loan via a quick online application. Once you've consolidated, you can repay your debt using Income Contingent Repayment and you can become eligible for loan forgiveness for qualifying public service work after making 120 payments while working for the government or for an eligible non-profit.

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How we can all do our bit to help small businesses

When we emerge, blinking into the sunlight after what may be months of self-isolation, we need to make sure there are still small businesses around.

Small businesses across Australia are hurting right now, with the coronavirus pandemic hitting the smallest traders the hardest.

Neighbourhood Books owner Leesa Lambert has closed her store but now offers home delivery by bike or van to the local area. Credit:Justin McManus

Every day I speak to business owners who have had to make the heartbreaking decision to shut their doors, stand down staff and watch their own income dwindle to nothing.

The government relief available is very limited and is not going to be enough for many businesses.

Unless we want to go outside in a few months time and find all that remains are the big supermarkets and online delivery giants, we need to think about how we can support small businesses through Australia's shutdown.

Many people have lost their jobs and businesses and are barely surviving, but for those of us who do have a job or income there are some things we can do to help small businesses while still isolating ourselves.

We can do our essential shopping at a small business rather than a big supermarket. Independent fruit and vegetable stores, butchers and bakers are all still trading and are less crowded than supermarkets, so, potentially a safer place to shop.

When shopping online we can look for small businesses. From books to clothes and even those essential jigsaw puzzles, small businesses have us covered.

Instead of just searching for product names on Google, we can first try searching for the names of businesses in our local area when shopping online. Small businesses don’t have the same search optimisation as larger businesses and are therefore unlikely to come up in the first page of a general search.

If local businesses don’t have an online store (a survey by Yellow last year found 28 per cent of Australian small businesses don’t even have a website), there’s always the option of giving them a call and putting in a phone order.

If a small business website doesn’t look completely slick and professional, we need to be patient and try to bear in mind that they may have scrambled to get online.

Social media can be a great way to discover small businesses to support and buy from.

On Instagram @WeAreOpenNow is creating a movement supporting local businesses still open and doing takeaway or home delivery. The account spotlights restaurants and hospitality businesses and is creating a searchable directory online of local restaurants still open in your postcode.

There’s also @savingplates which connects people with top-end restaurants now doing takeaway and delivery.

Earlier this year, Turia Pitt and Grace McBride created @SpendWithThem on Instagram to support bushfire-affected small businesses. The account is continuing to support these rural towns, many of which are being hit by a second crisis in as many months but is also focusing on small businesses across Australia impacted by coronavirus.

When ordering takeaway food, we can try ordering directly from restaurants and picking up or seeing if they offer delivery rather than just logging on to Uber Eats or Deliveroo.

These restaurant platforms take a large commission, up to 30 per cent off restaurants, and ordering directly means much more of that badly needed cash goes directly to the restaurant or cafe.

Buying a gift voucher for small businesses that we used to frequent, such as hairdressers, restaurants or beauticians, allows these businesses to maintain some cashflow through the shutdown.

Similarly, continuing to pay for gym or fitness class memberships and using local fitness providers for any online classes is another way to try to help keep these businesses afloat.

If money is tight, leaving an online review for small businesses can give them a boost during this trying time.

We need to show small businesses we care about them and every little bit helps.

Follow MySmallBusiness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Workers laid off due to coronavirus can’t get through to unemployment office

Crashing websites and jammed phone lines are preventing workers put out of a job by the coronavirus crisis from even applying for unemployment benefits.

Some are so frustrated by the endless dropped calls that they’ve considered just giving up — even if it means foregoing some much-needed cash.

“You want to keep trying because you never know what can happen, but after a while it’s like, what’s the point of even trying?” said Shaniya Clarke of Flatbush, Brooklyn, who’s been calling the New York Department of Labor for two weeks to no avail.

The state agency has admitted it is struggling to keep up with an unprecedented spike in jobless claims, which surged to more than 3.2 million nationwide last week. Some experts say the number may be even higher because so many people have had trouble filing for benefits.

Some 6 million calls poured in from Monday through Thursday to the Empire State’s unemployment hotline, which usually gets just 50,000 calls in a week, state officials said. And its website got 2.4 million hits in those four days when it typically sees 350,000 in a week.

The overloaded system has frustration running high among New Yorkers laid off or furloughed because of the coronavirus, which has led officials in several states to shutter non-essential businesses.

Workers told The Post that the Labor Department’s online application crashed after they filled out several pages of information. It didn’t save their progress, they said, so they had to start over only for the site to crash again.

Workers tried calling to complete the application. But some just got a message saying the system was slammed and to call back later. Sometimes callers were told they’d be transferred to an operator — but the call dropped before they reached one.

“It was like a labyrinth that just kept funneling me into a garbage can,” said Ryan Krause, 35, who was furloughed two weeks ago from his job as a server at Downtown Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse movie theater.

Krause said he got his first unemployment check Friday after spending almost all of last week trying to apply. But others remain stalled by the maddening system.

Clarke, 21, said she’s spent hours calling the Labor Department in the roughly two weeks since the closure of the Macy’s and Century 21 department stores where she worked. She has yet to get through, even when the lines first open in the morning.

“Now you call and it’s basically like the phone number doesn’t exist half the time,” said Kim Boldrini-Senn, a Putnam County acupuncturist who had to close her practice because of the coronavirus. She estimated that she’s logged 1,000 phone calls to the state.

Similar problems have emerged in other states such as New Jersey, where the unemployment system crashed March 16 as a record number of applications poured in, Gov. Phil Murphy said last week.

Jay McCann of Delaware, Ohio worked at a Topgolf venue in Columbus that’s been closed since March 15, when Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the state’s bars and restaurants to shut down except for carry-out and delivery service.

McCann got locked out of the state job agency’s unemployment website that night, so he tried to call the following day. He heard a message saying there was a high volume of calls before the call dropped. The same thing has happened every day since, he said.

“It’s almost like you’re drowning in a pool or out in the ocean and somebody throws you a lifeline with the donut on it and you’re swimming toward it and just as you approach it, it gets pulled away,” McCann, 48, told The Post.

Some state officials say they’re trying to do better. Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services said Wednesday that it’s “working hard to boost capacity.” The New York Labor Department said it has more than 700 staffers working the phones while training hundreds more.

“Our dedicated staff is doing their best to serve everyone as quickly and efficiently as possible,” the agency said in a statement. “It is important to stress that everyone will receive their FULL benefit back to the date of unemployment, even if they file late.”

But those efforts haven’t reassured workers who say they’re burning through savings while they battle the overworked system.

“I need that unemployment benefits because I don’t know when I’m going to be going back to work,” said Kevin Blake of Breezy Point, Queens, who was laid off March 11 from his job as a laborer. “It feels like I’m being rejected.”

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Coronavirus prompts GM to temporarily cut pay for 69,000 salaried workers

Ford, GM ramp up ventilator production in coronavirus fight

FOX Business’ Grady Trimble on how automakers, like Ford and GM, are helping fight the coronavirus pandemic.

General Motors is temporarily cutting 20 percent of salaries for 69,000 of its workers, or 42 percent of its global staff, the automaker confirmed Friday.

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The decision comes as companies both big and small are experiencing less demand and attempting to conserve cash amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

GM's pay reductions will also help ensure the company has "the expertise and manpower to regain our momentum quickly after the crisis," GM spokesman David Barnas told FOX Business.


The portions of their salaries that workers aren't receiving now will be returned to them in a lump sum, with interest, no later than May 15, 2021. The reduction will not impact health care benefits, the automaker said.

About 6,500 GM employees who cannot work from home will participate in "salaried downtime paid absence," and receive 75 percent of their salaries in lieu of unemployment benefits.


"GM’s business and its balance sheet was very strong before the COVID-19 outbreak," GM said in a statement, "and the steps we are taking now will help ensure that we can regain our momentum as quickly as possible after this crisis is over."


Pay for GM's board will be reduced 20 percent, while executive compensation will be cut 25 percent and senior leadership salaries will be lowered 30 percent.

Robots weld a Chevrolet Sonic at the General Motors Orion Assembly plant in Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The automaker announced last week that it would team with Ventec Life Systems and, a coordinated private-sector response to COVID-19, to help Ventec increase output of respiratory-care products as hospitals across the U.S. face a ventilator shortage.


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How to optimize Wi-Fi during coronavirus-forced work from home: FCC

Working remotely could overload internet: Tech expert

Tech analyst John Meyer discusses how working remotely puts Americans at security risks and the concern of an internet overload.

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To slow the spread of the coronavirus, many companies that can have switched over to telecommuting while hundreds of schools have closed and moved to remote classes. However, with everyone at home and online, networks are feeling the strain.

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a list of pointers on how to optimize home network performance.

Earlier this month, the agency pushed internet providers to sign a “Keep Americans Connected” pledge. Dozens of companies — including AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Sprint and Verizon — agreed to sign it.


Companies who signed the pledge agreed not to end service for unpaid bills by residential customers or small businesses. They also agreed to waive late fees and open Wi-Fi hotspots to improve connectivity as necessary.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
T AT&T INC. 30.60 +2.20 +7.75%
S SPRINT CORP. 8.61 +0.62 +7.76%
CMCSA COMCAST CORP. 36.74 +3.17 +9.44%

However, home networks may still have some trouble with connections if all members of a household need to use the internet.


To get the most out of your home network, here are five tips from the FCC.

Review your subscription

The first thing you should do is check what kind of plan you have for your internet service and make sure it can cover your needs now that everyone is home.

According to the FCC’s household broadband use guide, for even two users at moderate use (only one video streaming or teleconference going on), at least medium download speed is the most helpful.

For multiple people on one network who need more than one video conference going at a time, advanced service is advisable, the FCC said.


Check your speed

The FCC recommended testing your broadband download and upload speeds using either an app or website. Your internet provider may be able to offer troubleshooting tips or guidance in case of a service disruption if your speeds are slower than they should be, the FCC said.

“Sometimes a simple router reboot — by powering it off and then back on again — can resolve a problem,” the FCC said.

The agency also said you may need to update or upgrade your router to improve your speeds.

Know how you’re connecting

According to the FCC, most modern wireless routers have two Wi-Fi signals with different connections: 2.4GHz and 5 GHz.

Most household devices use the 2.4 GHz band, and those devices “offer broader coverage, but they process data less quickly than 5 GHz connections,” the FCC said.


Even though they process data faster, 5 GHz signals cover a shorter range and could have “more stable connections,”  the FCC said.

The FCC advised that 5 GHz connections should be reserved for work or school and your router should be put in a central location.

To get the fastest internet speeds, the FCC recommended using a direct ethernet cable between your device and your router.

Schedule your internet use

Even with everything else in order, multiple users can slow down your internet connection, so making a plan for online use could help minimize issues, the FCC said.

“Set guidelines with your family members and discuss daily schedules to avoid performance issues and prioritize usage,” the FCC said. “If your job offers flexible hours, you may be able to work around high-traffic times on your home network.”


Know what other options you have

The FCC recommended disconnecting cellphones from your home Wi-Fi network to avoid too many devices on at once or even using your phone as a mobile hotspot to connect your laptop to.

“However, before switching any of your devices to cellular-only service, check your cellular data plan to make sure you won’t go over any data caps and incur overage charges,” the FCC said. “You can also explore options for fixed wireless service or other cellular alternatives in your area.”

If your home Wi-Fi network isn’t overcrowded, the FCC recommended conserving data on your phone plan by turning on Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi calling.


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How to host secure Zoom meetings while working from home

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Because many people have been told to work from home to increase social distancing as a means to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the use of video app Zoom has skyrocketed.

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Zoom app downloads increased 1,270 percent between February 22 and March 22, according to data compiled by financial publication LearnBonds.

The software can be used for remote meetings and webinars. Hosting a Zoom meeting is relatively simple.

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in the Brooklyn borough of New York during a telemedicine video conference with Dr. Deborah Mulligan. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

First, users must download and open the Zoom app on their phones or computers. Next, depending on whether the host wants to use video or just audio, users must click on either "start without video" or "start with video."

Users are then prompted to invite others into the call by copying an invitation or invitation URL and then sending that URL to other participants via email.


Finally, users are prompted to schedule their meetings; this includes giving the meeting a name, date, time, duration, names of those involved in the meeting and so on. This final step also includes one other essential option: setting up a password and meeting ID.

Using a login password is one of cybersecurity firm Check Point Research's four tips for safely using Zoom.

Close up of man with smartphones with blurred background. / Zoom

The app updated its security in September after Check Point in January discovered vulnerabilities that could have allowed strangers to eavesdrop on conversations.

Check Point revealed that the eavesdropping hack that impacted "scores" of video meetings on Zoom, which has more than 74,000 customers and is used by 60 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 96 percent of the country's top colleges, the firm said.


In light of their January report, Check Point Vulnerability Research Team Lead Omri Herscovici shared four tips on how to safely use Zoom on Thursday.

Keep software up to date

First, Check Point recommends Zoom users update their app as much as possible because software updates often come with bug fixes and new features that make the app as secure as possible. iPhone and Android users can set up automatic app updates in their settings.

Set-up a password

A businessman working at home stands at his standing desk as he leans forward and works on his computer. /iStock

"Our investigation into Zoom conference security showed how an attacker could guess random numbers allocated to Zoom conference URLs and penetrate them without alerting the hosts," Herscovici wrote in his advice. "The breach happened with conversations where no passwords were set. Zoom fixed the security breach and adopted our recommendations, with all scheduled meetings automatically protected by a password."

"Manage participants"

Hosts should click the "Manage Participants" feature to decide which participants can and cannot access their cameras and microphones.

Be professional

Herscovici advised Zoom users to assume that what happens on Zoom does not stay on Zoom as a general rule of thumb.

Zoom Video Communications ahead Nasdaq IPO in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

"Zoom allows you to record video calls and export them as video files as soon as the call ends. This is a very useful tool when you want to update those who were not present at the meeting. The security problem that comes with using this tool is almost self-explanatory: since conversation participants can export the recorded file, the file can actually find its way into malicious hands," Herscovici wrote.


The call manager can decide which of the participants may record the call through the participant management window and click "Allow Record."

"Do also take note that the participant can always record the conversation using external software for recording the screen," he said. "Therefore, always assume that you may be recorded and act accordingly."

Video conference apps like Zoom, Microsoft's Teams and Teams for Education and Cisco's WebEx, as well as work email alternative Slack, are offering a number of incentives to expand services to the new remote workforce.


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One million Australians to lose their jobs by November

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown will see more than 1 million Australians lose their jobs by November, new analysis suggests.

Figures released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre on Tuesday reveal Australia’s unemployment rate will rocket from 5.1 per cent past the 1992 high of 11.1 per cent as quickly as August before hitting 12.7 per cent in May 2021, the highest level since current unemployment reporting began in 1978.

People line up at Centrelink in Perth this week.Credit:Sharon Smith.

That means by November, 1 million will be out of work, on top of the existing 700,000 unemployed Australians. State by state New South Wales would be the hardest hit with more than 350,000 job losses followed by Victoria with 277,000.

The figures were derived by drilling down to impacts at nearly a job-by-job basis.

BCEC principal research fellow Rebecca Cassells admitted they took a more conservative approach than other projections but said worse losses were likely. Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert claimed "hundreds of thousands, maybe a million" people lost their jobs on Monday night alone as virus directives ramped up.

Professor Cassells said the COVID-19 fight could cost nearly 450,000 jobs in hospitality, entertainment, tourism and personal services by August 2021 while second-round impacts would be felt more broadly.

“We can expect to see a downturn in retail sales (excluding supermarkets) over the coming weeks,” she said.

“Households will start tightening their pockets and look to reduce spending in other areas, anticipating further job losses or reduced hours and income … this will have a flow-on effect to other sectors.”

After hospitality, BCEC predicted arts and recreation, construction and transport would be next hardest-hit sectors, with more than 100,000 job losses each over the next 18 months.

The social-isolation-driven shutdown of businesses was already straining government welfare services, which are struggling to process requests for boosted financial support payments.

Across the country lines of newly unemployed have snaked around bricks and mortar Centrelinks since Monday while Mr Robert said 2.8 million people accessed the website on Wednesday alone.

Professor Cassells said the government’s $550 weekly boost to jobseeker and student assistance payments was a reasonable safety net for workers over the next six months, but for many, it would still mean significant drops in income.

“The most important response by the government now is to take action to reduce activities that will increase the spread of the virus. This will necessarily see demand fall. And we need demand to fall to protect lives in the short-term,” she said.

The ASX is currently awash with companies revoking guidance estimates for the 2019-20 financial year and retailers announcing they were shutting stores.

On Tuesday, listed jewellery giant Michael Hill announced it was shutting its stores due to the pandemic, followed on Wednesday by Accent Group, the retailer behind brands such as The Athlete’s Foot and Hype DC.

Professor Cassells said businesses would inevitably fail thanks to a collapse in investment and consumer confidence and the only way to stage a decent recovery was the right kind of stimulus and, more importantly, an end to the virus.

“When we’re at the point where we feel comfortable we have the virus under control that is the time to really come in hard with a real fiscal stimulus package with infrastructure projects,” she said.

“I think that is what the government will already be planning to do but it is really dependent on how quickly they can get the virus under control.

“It will take something like getting a vaccine or some sort of medication that is going to really reduce the risk of death that people will feel like they can put their heads back up."

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