MutualOne Foundation awards $5,000 grant to upgrade computers at Callahan Center

The MutualOne Charitable Foundation has awarded $5,000 to upgrade and add equipment in the Callahan Center’s Computer Literacy Center through a grant to The Friends of Callahan.

“The Computer Literacy Center has been instrumental in assisting people acquire the skills to stay connected with family and friends,” said Steven M. Sousa, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MutualOne Bank and a MutualOne Charitable Foundation trustee. “We are pleased to help them continue to meet the needs of the local community.”

Celebrating the MutualOne Charitable Foundation’s donation to The Friends of Callahan are: (l-r) Yves Munyankindi, retail support administrator at MutualOne Bank; Ralph Dunlea, Computer Center coordinator; Director of Elder Services Grace O’Donnell; Larry Griffin, Friends of Callahan Board Member and COA Board member; and Mark Goldman, President of Friends of Callahan.

P2P File-Sharing Risks

Reprinted from the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information Website

Install Reputable Security Software

Some file-sharing programs may hide malware or let malware onto your computer. That could allow criminals to monitor or control your computer activity. Before you use any file-sharing program:

•install a reputable security program that includes anti-virus and anti-spyware protection
•set your security software and operating system to update automatically
•delete files the security program flags as problematic
•back up files that you’d want to keep if your computer crashes; store them on CDs, DVDs, or external drives, or use an online service

Before you open or play any downloaded files, use your security software to scan them.

If a P2P program asks you to disable or change the settings of your firewall, you might want to reconsider installing it. Disabling or changing the settings could weaken your computer’s security.

If you believe you’ve downloaded malware, take steps to remove it.

Limit What You Share and How Often

Know what folders you are sharing.
Install P2P programs carefully, and understand exactly which folders will be made public. These programs are designed to share files, and once they’re installed on your computer, they may share files, folders, and subfolders you never intended to share.

For example, a careless setting on the “shared” folder could expose information on your hard drive – like your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, or other personal documents. Don’t save any personal information, files or subfolders in your “shared” or “download” folders.

In addition, security problems within the P2P program could open the door to attacks from hackers. Some malware is designed to change which folders you have designated for sharing, so criminals can access your personal information.

Close your connection.
In many instances, closing the file-sharing program window (clicking the “x”) doesn’t close your connection to the network, so other users still have access to your shared files. This could increase your security risk and slow your computer. When you’re not downloading files, close the program entirely: Double click on the file-sharing program, choose the file menu, and then choose exit.
Some P2P programs open automatically every time you turn on your computer. You may want to change the settings so this doesn’t happen.

Create separate user accounts.
If more than one person uses your computer, consider setting up separate user accounts with limited rights. Only a user with administrator rights can install software. That’s one strategy to protect against installing software you don’t want. It also can keep certain users from accessing – or sharing – another user’s folders and subfolders.
Use a password to protect the administrator account on your computer so someone else can’t disable security features or grant themselves rights you may not want them to have.

Talk with Your Family about File-Sharing

If you’re a parent, ask your children whether they’ve downloaded file-sharing software, and if they’ve exchanged games, videos, music, or other material. Talk to your kids about the security and other risks involved with file-sharing. If they’re going to use P2P at all, talk to them about how to install and use the software correctly.
And if you’re a teen or tween interested in file-sharing? Talk with your parents before you download software or exchange files.

Know the File-Sharing Policies at Work

Because using P2P software can weaken computer security and expose folders with sensitive information, your office might have rules about how file-sharing can be used – if at all. For more information about the business implications of P2P, read Peer-to-Peer File Sharing: A Guide for Business.

To learn more about how to secure your wireless network, visit ftc.com.

Employees of the month

Congratulations to Senior Personal Banker Julia Arroyo at our Lincoln Street, Framingham office and Operations Specialist Astrid Bachman on their selection as this month’s Employees of the Month.

Julia was recognized for her leadership and ability to work as a team player. Astrid was selected for her smooth transition from personal banker, enabling her to take on additional projects.

Julia Arroyo (left) and Astrid Bachman

MutualOne Charitable Foundation helps Police buy back guns

The Town of Framingham’s first-ever Gun Buy Back program on October 29 went much better than expected. In just five hours, 174 firearms were turned in. The department quickly exhausted the $8,000 in gift cards it had on hand to exchange for the weapons, resulting in a gift card IOU balance of $12,050 before the day was over.

According to Mark R. Haranas, president and CEO of MutualOne Bank and a MutualOne Charitable Foundation trustee, the MutualOne Charitable Foundation has awarded $5,000 to help police cover the cost of the Gun Buy Back IOUs.

“The Gun Buy Back event was a positive step in the right direction, and may have prevented any number of future risks to those in our community,” said Haranas. “We are grateful to those who came forward to remove unwanted firearms from their homes, and we’re happy to help police cover the cost of the success of the program.”

Celebrating the MutualOne Charitable Foundations donation to the Framingham Police Department’s Gun Buy Back Program are: (l-r) MutualOne Bank President and CEO Mark Haranas; Acting Police Chief Steven Trask; and Yves Munyankindi, retail support administrator at MutualOne Bank.

MutualOne Foundation awards $10K to Natick Service Council’s adolescent health program

The MutualOne Charitable Foundation has awarded $10,000 to the Natick Service Council. Announcement of the grant was made today by Mark R. Haranas, president and CEO of MutualOne Bank and a Foundation trustee.

The Foundation grant will support the Council’s Smart Nutrition and Exercise for Kids (SNEK) program, an initiative designed to improve adolescent health through proper nutrition, exercise, and nutritional education/intervention.

“The MutualOne Foundation is pleased to support a program that provides youth with hands-on learning about food, nutrition, and health,” said Haranas. “It is the foundation for a healthier, happier future.”

Celebrating the MutualOne Charitable Foundation’s $10,000 grant to the Natick Service Council are: (l-r) Mobolaji Omisore, manager of MutualOne Bank’s Natick office; Greg Tutuny, Natick Service Council executive director; and Yves Munyankindi of MutualOne Bank

Patriots jerseys never looked so good

Our employees put on their best Patriots spirit wear to support our favorite football team, the New England Patriots. What do you know? They won the Super Bowl! Two games in a row, our office puts on a spirit day and the Patriots win. Coincidence? We think not.

$10K awarded to Resiliency for Life by MutualOne Charitable Foundation

Resiliency for LifeMark R. Haranas, president and CEO of MutualOne Bank and a MutualOne Charitable Foundation trustee, has announced a Foundation grant of $10,000 awarded recently to Resiliency for Life (RFL), a highly successful drop-out prevention program for under-achieving and at-risk students at Framingham High School.

According to Jug Chokshi, Executive Director, RFL strategies include intense academic monitoring, advocacy with teachers and administrators, strict program rules and clear expectations, development of personal responsibility/accountability, and reconnecting RFL parents/guardians with their children’s educational experience through full participation in bi-weekly meetings and workshops. Since its founding at Framingham High School in 1999, RFL has established “a near-perfect record of remediating students’ academic deficits, reversing their declines, and guiding them toward remarkable academic achievement,” Chokshi stated.

The RFL program was expanded last year to include students at Framingham’s Cameron, Walsh and Fuller middle schools, and the high school program has been replicated at Mansfield High School in Mansfield and at Durfee High School in Fall River.

“Resiliency for Life is a tremendously valuable asset with an admirable track record of success,” said Haranas. “The MutualOne Charitable Foundation is proud to support and foster the goals of the program.”

Cybersecurity Tips for International Travelers

M1B_PhoneSecurityReprinted from the Federal Communications Commission Website

When traveling internationally, in addition to taking your passport, take responsibility for your cybersecurity.

Your information and communications – and the devices that contain and transmit them – are as much a part of you as the valuables in your suitcase. The more you do to protect yourself, the more secure your information and devices likely will be.

While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. Laws and policies regarding online security and privacy may be different in other countries than in the United States. If you would like to become familiar with other laws, the State Department website contains safety information for every country in the world.

Protect yourself by leaving at home any electronic equipment you don’t need during your travel.

Before you go

If you take it, protect it:

  • Back up your electronic files
  • Remove sensitive data
  • Install strong passwords
  • Ensure antivirus software is up-to-date

While traveling

Be vigilant about possession and use of your equipment and information. Don’t assume it’s safe. Culprits are visible and invisible.

  • Keep your eyes on your electronics. Keep your devices with you in airports, hotels, and restaurants, etc.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Other eyes can take information from you by looking at your devices.
  • Consider using a privacy screen on your laptop.

Your mobile phone and other electronic devices may be vulnerable to malware because they will connect with local networks abroad. They also may identify your personal location information to others.

Electronic communications, equipment and services (e.g., phones, computers and fax machines) in public places such as Internet cafes, coffee shops, book stores, travel agencies, clinics, libraries, airports, and hotels may be vulnerable. You may choose not to use these services at all, or avoid using them for sensitive communications.

Don’t use the same passwords or PIN numbers abroad that you use in the United States. For example, if the hotel safety deposit box requires a PIN number, use a unique one.

Upon return home

Electronics and devices used or obtained abroad can be compromised. Consider safety measures such as changing passwords for your laptop or smartphone.

To learn more about how to fortify your cybersecurity when traveling abroad, visit fcc.gov.

MutualOne Foundation grants $5K to St. Bridget’s Food Pantry for holiday, everyday food items

The MutualOne Charitable Foundation has awarded $5,000 to support St. Bridget’s Food Pantry, an all-volunteer effort that provides food assistance to an average of 150 Framingham households each week, and up to 250 households at holiday time.

“The volunteers at St. Bridget’s Food Pantry have been providing for those in need of assistance in our community for more than 25 years,” said Robert P. Lamprey, chairman of MutualOne Bank and the MutualOne Charitable Foundation. “We are pleased to help them continue to meet the needs of the many families and individuals who rely on them.”

Celebrating the MutualOne Charitable Foundation’s recent grant to St. Bridget’s Food Pantry are (l-r) Jean Hoskins, manager of MutualOne Bank’s Lincoln Street, Framingham office; Mary Kulas, director of St. Bridget’s Food Pantry; Rev. Msgr. Francis Strahan, pastor of St. Bridget Parish; and Yves Munyankindi, retail support administrator at MutualOne Bank.