Immediately update your phone to protect yourself from this dangerous spyware

Researchers recently discovered a vulnerability that could allow dangerously invasive spyware to be installed on Apple devices, so we are urging all owners of iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac products to immediately update your devices to protect yourself from this spyware that can allow someone to control your phone without your knowledge.

While it’s unlikely your phone has been infected with this malicious spyware, known as Pegasus, it’s important you update your devices immediately. The software has been found on the devices of journalists, activists and executives, so we are asking everyone — whether or not you’re a CREDO customer — to update your devices right now to prevent this spyware from being installed on your device. 

To learn more and for a quick tip on how to update your Apple devices, please click here.

Pegasus was developed by Israeli cyber-surveillance company NSO Group and allows hackers to access and control your devices without your knowledge. The New York Times referred to it as the “Holy Grail of surveillance because it allows governments, mercenaries and criminals to secretly break into someone’s device without tipping the victim off.”

Apple quickly released updates for its products to address the vulnerability, including iOS 14.8 and iPadOS 14.8 as well as updates for macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina and watchOS. Here’s how to update your devices to protect yourself from this threat:

How to update your iPhone, iPad or iPod to iOS 14.8

  1. Plug your device into power and connect to the internet with Wi-Fi.
  2. Go to Settings > General, then tap Software Update.

If your device says it’s already updated to version 14.8, then you should be all set. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to turn on automatic updates.

How to update macOS

  1. From the Apple menu  in the corner of your screen, choose System Preferences > Software Update.
  2. Click Update Now or Upgrade Now.

How to update your Apple Watch

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap My Watch > General > Software Update > Tap Download and Install.

 

With help from CREDO members, DFA is empowering the next generation of progressive leaders

Since 2004 Democracy for America has fought back against conservative tactics with courage and the campaign experience that has made big things possible for grassroots candidates.  Each year we work hard to empower the next generation of progressive Democrats with battle-tested, legacy-quality tools and material support. DFA’s proven system of using influential endorsements, strategic campaign support, training, fundraising, and national outreach has elected more than 1,000 progressives to office in all 50 states over the past 17 years.

Through the years we have worked tirelessly to build an unflinchingly progressive, people-powered movement that wins up and down the ballot in all fifty states.  Not only has DFA raised over $70 million for candidates we’re also committed to grassroots organizing and providing direct voter contact campaigns, through this work we have made over 24.5 million voter contact calls to help drive turnout in key states.

In 2020, like many organizations, we faced a unique challenge.  We had to remove Donald Trump from the White House,  expand our majority in the House and flip the Senate.  In response to one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime, DFA decided to launch Protect America’s Vote (PAV), to make sure we delivered for progressive candidates.  The PAV program was designed to get out the vote by reaching out to voters who vote infrequently.  Traditionally infrequent or sporadic voters are an ignored segment of the electorate but throughout our years of work, DFA has consistently seen that reaching out to infrequent voters and helping them make a plan to vote is one of the best ways to expand the electorate and deliver wins for progressive candidates.

The PAV program was able to show voters the importance of the election,  help them find where they vote, and make sure they made it to the polls.  DFA members signed up from all across the country and were trained by DFA staff on the best practices for GOTV.  Our volunteers were able to effectively text and respond and assist voters in Battleground states.  DFA members made over 1.6 million voter contacts in Georgia alone in the run-up to the November 3 election — helping deliver the state for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  It was the first time in nearly three decades that Georgia went blue in a presidential election.

A few months later with the Senate majority on the line, DFA members continued to contact Georgia voters and help them make an actionable plan to cast their ballots for Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff by January 5.  We set a goal of making 3 million additional voter contacts by the runoff election.  With the help of our amazing volunteers and partners, we were able to surpass that goal and help flip the senate.  In just the last election cycle alone we were able to text over 7 million infrequent voters and newly registered voters in 13 battleground states across the country including Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. 

In 2021, we are not taking an “off-year”.  We plan to work just as hard for our progressive candidates across the country and get voters to the polls this November.  In 2020, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia were proof that our 50 State Strategy, when combined with unapologetically progressive messaging, can flip red and purple states to blue.  We recruited hundreds of thousands of voters who, for years, hadn’t shown up to the polls. The appeal of progressive candidates and sustained engagement by DFA earned their votes.  These votes were transformative in 2020, but without continued investment, we risk losing them in 2021 and 2022.  That is why we plan to launch our text out the vote campaign this Fall in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania to make sure we do not lose any of the ground we worked so hard to gain.

Republicans’ fear of the 50 State Strategy and the popularity of progressive ideals have only made their attempts at voter suppression more brazen.  The January 6th insurrection is further proof that they will embrace white supremacy, violence, and oppressive authoritarian tactics to win.  However, no matter what the other side decides to do we know that grassroots people-powered campaigns win with the right support and resources and DFA will continue to do the work to build a true democracy for America.

Groundbreaking reporting on the climate crisis, from Inside Climate News

The Chemours chemical plant in Louisville, Kentucky, emitted more greenhouse gases annually than all the cars in the city put together – until Inside Climate News came along. Their reporters shined a spotlight on the plant, and in response to ICN’s stories, the company announced it will clean up 90% of its greenhouse gas pollution within two years, the rest within four. The end result will be equivalent to taking 750,000 cars off the road.

This is just one example of how ICN makes a difference. Inside Climate News is the leading voice of independent climate journalism in the country. Its groundbreaking work reduces greenhouse gas emissions, holds polluters accountable, empowers voters, and protects communities suffering from environmental injustice.

Now in its 13th year, Inside Climate News has built the largest dedicated climate newsroom in the country. They’ve published thousands of stories, released investigations that have permanently changed the national conversation, and won dozens of awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

Inside Climate News provides fact-based reporting on the environment and climate change. Pictured: Hurricane Harvey, which struck the Texas coast in August 2017. Credit: NOAA

ICN is, and has been since its founding, ahead of the curve on climate change reporting. In 2015, the ICN team revealed how Exxon worked at the forefront of climate misinformation, denying the science its own researchers had confirmed. ICN’s investigation spawned the global hashtag #ExxonKnew and earned many of journalism’s highest honors, including recognition as a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Their journalists have decades of expertise reporting on a topic that is still new to many reporters today. They have had a defining impact on national climate coverage, and continue to publish agenda-setting stories. Now they are again breaking new ground in their coverage of environmental justice, and also their work in local news markets, acting as a life-preserver and force multiplier for environmental journalism.

Inside Climate News reports on the impacts to people and communities. Pictured: Protesters of the Line 3 pipeline, who say the project would lock the U.S. into decades of continued burning of some of the world’s dirtiest oil and threaten the pristine waterways that many Indigenous people depend on for their livelihoods. Photo credit: Audrey Gray

Environmental injustice has long been a beat at ICN, but last year the newsroom moved it to the center of their coverage, focusing on how climate impacts disproportionately affect communities of color and burden vulnerable populations. Since then, almost a quarter of the stories they have published sits squarely at the point where climate change and justice intersect. The newsroom also welcomes, trains, and mentors up-and-coming journalists of color through an ongoing fellowship program.

ICN brings environmental journalism to underserved communities and strengthens the reporting capacity of local newsrooms through its Environment Reporting Network. ICN’s reporters and editors work in partnership with dozens of local news outlets to support and deepen their environmental reporting, and ICN’s local reporting is free and available for partners to co-publish. The goal is to provide a vital and fundamental civic service, to inform underserved readers with accurate and balanced news about the climate crisis afflicting their daily lives.

ICN provides the latest news and analysis about the energy transition. Pictured: Solar systems at a farm in Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Solar Energy Solutions

Unlike their primary competitors, ICN’s work can reach anyone, anywhere – free of charge – with no paywall or subscription fee, filling a public service mission that only ICN, at the moment, can fill.

This month, you can vote to help CREDO distribute a portion of its $150,000 grant to Inside Climate News and help them further invest in reporting the facts about the climate crisis. Visit CREDODonations.com this September to cast your vote.

With CREDO funding, National Low Income Housing Coalition continues to advance affordable housing solutions for those most in need

The National Low Income Housing Coalition works to achieve socially just public policy to ensure the lowest-income people – seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, people experiencing homelessness, and disproportionately people of color – have decent, accessible, affordable homes.

Since 1987, CREDO members have helped us distribute $183,627 in donations to NLIHC, and the organization received a $49,005 grant in November 2020. Here are some recent victories achieved by NLIHC for those most in need, helped in part by CREDO and our members:

  • In December 2020, with robust advocacy thousands of partners and low income housing allies, NLIHC helped to achieve a bipartisan compromise COVID-19 relief package with $25B for emergency rental assistance (ERA) and an extension of the CDC moratorium; another extension of the moratorium by the new administration to June 2021 (eventually extended to July 2021 and then reinstated as a targeted moratorium through October 3, 2021); and nearly $50B in additional ERA and other housing and homelessness resources in the “American Rescue Plan Act” in March 2021!
  • NLIHC also urged the administration to take immediate action to address several emerging and troubling roadblocks in ERA programs identified by NLIHC through its ERA tracking and analysis. On May 7, 2021, the Treasury Department and the White House responded, publishing new ERA program guidance and summary with major program improvements recommended by NLIHC to ensure these critical resources reach the lowest-income and most marginalized people in need. See NLIHC’s side-by-side comparison of the previous roadblocks in ERA programs, NLIHC’s recommendations, and how the Treasury and White House’s revised guidance addresses each.
  • NLIHC also succeeded in getting the administration to include an unprecedented $318 billion for affordable housing in the president’s “American Jobs Plan,” including two priorities in NLIHC’s HoUSed campaign for universal, stable, affordable housing for people with the lowest incomes: $45 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund and major investments in public housing. Then, on August 11, the Senate voted 50-49 to approve a budget resolution that sets the stage for a $3.5 trillion infrastructure and economic recovery package, including investments up to $332 billion for housing and transportation, meaning the ultimate bill may match or exceed the president’s request for affordable housing.
  • NLIHC’s ability to mobilize the affordable housing community was demonstrated during our response to the pandemic and through our HoUSed campaign for long-term affordable housing and homelessness solutions, engaging thousands of advocates on many calls/webinars, campaigns, and calls-to-action. The organization leveraged that strength and high-quality research and policy analysis to have a strong, ongoing impact on members of Congress and the new administration, directly influencing many policy initiatives. Decision makers have relied on NLIHC for its advice and guidance, often incorporating our policy recommendations virtually verbatim into their solutions. The bold pandemic housing and homelessness resources and protections enacted have been historic, as have the administration’s and Congress’s proposals for long-term housing solutions – in all cases strongly influenced by NLIHC policy recommendations.

NLIHC thanks CREDO and our members for the generous donation and the added attention these critical issues received, especially at a time when those needing rental assistance needed it the most.

If you’d like to learn more about the National Low Income Housing Coalition, please visit their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

And if you’d like to help us distribute $150,000 this month to three more amazing nonprofit organizations, please visit CREDODonations.com

With funding from CREDO members, People For the American Way is fighting for equal rights and constitutional liberties

People For the American Way, a recent CREDO grantee, is a progressive nonprofit fighting for equal rights and constitutional liberties, working hard to ensure that young, diverse progressives are leading the way in their communities and have the resources and support they need to run political or issue campaigns, take office, and advance justice and equity.

With a January 2021 grant from CREDO members, PFAW supported young progressive electeds as they advanced reforms on priorities like climate justice and public safety and continued to work to enhance the political leadership of young leaders from underserved communities. Here are some recent victories and projects launched, thanks in part to funding from CREDO:

Building on the success of the “Souls to the Polls” movement that PFAW led the creation of 25 years ago, the organization launched VESSELS Vote, to provide clergy with the tools and skills they need to be even more powerful advocates of voting rights, social justice, equality for all. With the support of its network of Black faith leaders, PFAW are leaders in the fight against voter suppression and political disenfranchisement.PFAW galvanized its African American Religious Affairs (AARA) network in support of voting rights.

  • As part of this effort, members of its network led a strategic boycott of Home Depot, a Georgia based corporation. This boycott leverages the trusted voices of Black clergy members from throughout The Peach State, and was initiated in response to Home Depot’s failure to speak out against the passage of Georgia SB202; voter suppression legislation designed in response to increased minority voter turnout during the 2020 general election.
  • They hosted a “Home Depot Caravan” to the Georgia State Capitol, to voice our collective concern to Georgia state legislators about the passage of SB202 and the pending economic consequences of boycotts that may impact Georgia in the wake of the bill becoming law.

PFAW advocated for the U.S. Senate to pass S1, the For the People Act.

  • Its minister’s council led advocacy efforts on the passage of the For the People Act. Recently, its network of clergy members rallied in Washington, DC and met with the White House to help build support for passage of the bill.
  • They also partnered with Black Voters Matter to host the 2021 “Freedom Ride for Voting Rights” to raise awareness of voter suppression and build support for DC statehood and the For the People Act.

If you’d like to get involved with People for the American Way or learn more about the organization, you can take action on one the groups recent campaigns or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And if you’d like to help us distribute $150,000 this month to three more amazing nonprofit organizations, please visit CREDODonations.com

Women’s March is harnessing the power of everyday women to create a multi-racial feminist democracy

Women’s March harnesses the power of everyday women to fulfill the promise of a multi-racial feminist democracy where everyone can thrive. Our organization was born after millions of women and allies peacefully flooded the streets in January 2017, pledging as they marched to use all nonviolent means to resist the rising tide of white nationalism, bigotry, authoritarianism, and hyper-concentrated wealth. We’ve been mobilizing to meet the moment ever since, even as the country’s leadership and the challenges we face have changed. 

At Women’s March, our work began as resisting the harms of the last administration. Now, as we lift up the dreams and aspirations of the millions of progressive women who dedicated their time, efforts, and resources to change the country’s direction, we are future-focused, emphasizing imagination and experimentation, even as we remain vigilant about the threats to our communities, well-being, and democracy. Our current organizational priorities arise from three broad goals: 

Facebook: @evergib | Instagram: @evergib | Twitter: @evergibhello

Ending White Supremacy 

To build a multi-racial feminist future rooted in values of justice, we must reduce the death grip that white supremacy has on hundreds of millions of people, including many white women. Women’s Marchers are taking this work on directly in their communities, guided by women of color leadership and supported through trainings, resources, and political education. 

We’ve been mobilizing Women’s Marchers to fight disinformation online through our innovative, data-driven Digital Defenders program. Now, through our partnership with United Vision Project, we’re mobilizing our volunteer base – which is 70% white women and 70% women new to activism – to reach out one-on-one to individuals who are susceptible to, or immersed in, the extreme-right disinformation underlying the spread of white supremacist ideology. 

Facebook: @evergib | Instagram: @evergib | Twitter: @evergibhello

Promoting Feminist Economies

We seek an economic system that values the rights and contributions of all, and that supports safety and dignity for everyone. These feminist values prioritize stewardship and caregiving, and the just distribution of collective resources. We’re taking on the Billionaire Boys Club, and fighting for a wealth tax to begin reversing the grotesque hoarding of wealth that should be used to fund solutions. We’re working with Women’s Marchers all around the country to envision what feminist budgets might look like in different local communities, and to translate those visions into concrete policy wins. And we’re fighting for concrete measures like student debt abolition, paid parental leave, and an increased minimum wage that will bring us closer to a democratic economy that supports all women. 

Facebook: @evergib | Instagram: @evergib | Twitter: @evergibhello

Reimagining Democracy 

We need a democracy that works for all, in which everyone can participate fully. The opponents of multi-racial democracy have shown they are willing to use any means, from partisan gerrymandering and racist voter suppression to insurrectionary violence, to promote minority rule. We will continue to work with great urgency to counteract these authoritarian power grabs, which threaten fundamental rights and freedoms, including our power to control our own bodies. 

Even as we fight to end the filibuster, defend voting rights, and promote equal rights for all, we are working to rethink democracy from the ground up, exploring visions for what a government and political system rooted in feminist values might be.  

To learn more about Women’s March and how you can get involved, visit https://womensmarch.com/

To vote to help CREDO distribute a portion of their $150,000 September donations grant, vote for Women’s March and the other great progressive groups on the ballot at CREDODonations.com

Why the T-Mobile hack reminds us to immediately secure our personal information

In August, hackers compromised personal data, including names, addresses, license and Social Security numbers, of more than 50 million current, prospective and former T-Mobile customers. 

Not long after, sensitive data was up for sale on the dark web, where criminals could open credit cards or file fraudulent tax returns.

While the company claims no passwords or accounts were stolen, this massive breach reminds us why it’s so important to secure our online accounts and protect our personal information — because the next big hack could be around the corner. In this week’s tip, we’ll show you a few important ways to immediately safeguard your private information.

First things first: Here at CREDO, protecting your privacy is a core value of our company, and we have a long record of fighting for our customers’ privacy. Your personal data isn’t for sale, and we work to protect your data from government intrusion. 

But your personal data is at risk in other ways. While you can’t prevent hackers from compromising the data of a Big Tech company or financial firm — where your personal information might be stored — you can take some steps to make it very hard for criminals to steal your identity, use your information for illicit activity, or gain access to your accounts. 

Two of the best steps you can take right now to protect your personal information is by using a password manager and turning on two-factor authentication for your most sensitive accounts. Here’s how to get started.

Stop reusing passwords & start using a password manager

If you’re reusing your passwords, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, more than 50 percent of all people reuse or modify similar passwords across their internet accounts — and this is a big problem. 

Once hackers have your password from a data breach — even if it’s a very complex one — they could access other accounts that use the same or similar password. That’s why it’s so important to utilize a password manager to create strong and unique passwords for each site you use.

Password managers help you create long, complex passwords that you’ll never have to remember, then encrypt and store them in a digital vault that only you (or a loved one) can access. When you visit the login page for a site, the password manager automatically fills in your credentials from your vault.

Some popular password managers are LastPass, 1Password, Keeper, BitWarden and Dashlane. They all charge a monthly fee for premium accounts, but we think the protection they provide is worth it.

To learn more and to get started using a password manager to secure your accounts, check out our previous tip, “Here’s why you need to start using a password manager — and how you can get started.

Start using two-factor authentication right now

One of the best ways to secure your most important accounts is by turning on two-factor authentication. It’s one extra, yet quick and easy step to ensure your accounts remain a little bit safer amidst the skyrocketing number of hacking attempts.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a way of accessing your accounts using two separate steps to verify your identity, usually with a username and password combination, along with a second step that requires a separate identifier, like your phone, an app, a physical key, or a fingerprint.

Most common online services, like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, as well as most financial institutions, have the option to turn on two-factor authentication. If your bank and other online services offer 2FA, you should strongly consider turning it on, especially as data breaches become more common — because if a hacker has compromised your password, it is unlikely they will have compromised your second factor method.

To learn how to use 2FA and find instructions on how to turn it on for popular services, please read our previous tip, “Start using two-factor authentication right now to protect yourself from hackers.

Our August grantees thank you for your support

Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups working for voting rights, climate justice and humanitarian aid. In August, CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to Black Voters Matter Fund, Friends of the Earth Action and Mercy Corps.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our July grant recipients thank you.

Black Voters Matter Fund
$46,965

“Thank you for your support! It is CREDO members like you that help us to increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Effective voting allows a community to determine its own destiny, and we can’t do this work without you.” – Cliff Albright, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter

To learn more, visit www.blackvotersmatterfund.org.

Friends of the Earth Action
$62,599

“Thank you for voting for Friends of the Earth Action! CREDO members like you are fueling our work for climate justice. You are empowering us to push leaders for a fair and equitable solution to the climate crisis – one that puts people over profits.” – Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth

To learn more, visit https://foeaction.org/.

Mercy Corps
$40,435

“Thank you! Together with support from CREDO members like you, Mercy Corps is helping communities forge new paths to prosperity in the face of disaster, poverty, and the impacts of climate change in more than 40 countries around the world.” – Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Mercy Corps Chief Executive Officer

To learn more, visit mercycorps.org.

Now check out the three groups we are funding in September, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.

The results are in: How prepared are you for a natural disaster?

Here at CREDO, our hearts go out to everyone affected by the recent hurricanes in the Gulf and Northeast, as well as the wildfires that continue to rage in the West.

As climate change continues to intensify natural disasters, we all must be prepared for their effects. That’s why we teamed up with our allies and recent grantees Mercy Corps for a quick and informative quiz on disaster preparedness, including which kinds of emergency kits you should have ready and how much water you should keep on hand.

Roughly 3,000 CREDO members took the quiz — and here are the results.

Last month, CREDO members helped us distribute a portion of our monthly $150,000 to help Mercy Corps respond to the world’s toughest challenges, provide immediate life-saving support to meet urgent needs of today and create opportunities to build community wellbeing for a stronger tomorrow.

Out of the 3,000 responses we received, only 13% scored a 100% — but that’s okay! Our quiz was not trying to measure knowledge and certainly wasn’t a competition; it was meant as a fun way to learn from the experts at Mercy Corps on how we can take preparations now to be ready for a disaster that might strike next. 

So without further ado, here are the answers to the quiz:

About how many natural disasters occur each year around the globe?

  • 6,800

What are the most common natural disasters around the world?

  • Floods

To be best prepared, which two types of emergency kits should you have on hand?

  • Evacuation kit
  • Sheltering in place kit

Which combination of items are essential to include in your emergency kits?

  • Water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies

What are the three best locations to store an emergency kit?

  • Home
  • Work
  • Car

Approximately how much water should you plan to store per person, per day?

  • 1 Gallon

How many days-worth of supplies should you store in your emergency kit?

  • 14 Days

Which disasters and emergencies has Mercy Corps responded to?

All of the above: 

  • Nepal earthquake in 2015
  • Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004
  • Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas in 2019
  • Hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa
  • Ebola epidemic in Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • COVID-19 pandemic across the globe

How many people received water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance from Mercy Corps in 2020?

  • 12.3 million people

Who does Mercy Corps support in times of disaster?

  • Families who lack access to basic resources like soap and water
  • People who have been forced from their homes by violence and live in refugee camps
  • Entire communities that have been destroyed by an earthquake or flood
  • People who have been hit the hardest by disasters and need humanitarian support

We also asked which natural disasters concern our members the most, and 33% responded with “Pandemics, including COVID-19,” while 24.9% responded with “Wildfires” and 18% said “Power Failures.”

If you’d like to learn more about Mercy Corps’ critical work, please visit https://www.mercycorps.org/

And if you want to help us distribute another $150,000 to three amazing progressive nonprofit groups this September, vote today at CREDODonations.com.

CREDO Mobile named one of the Top Corporate Philanthropists in the San Francisco Bay Area

Do you put your money where your values are? CREDO customers do!

We’re excited to announce that CREDO Mobile has been named one of the Top 100 Corporate Philanthropists in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Why is this so significant? Well, we were up against huge tech companies, multinational corporations, even Wall Street and Big Oil — many who stepped up giving in the past year — so the competition was fierce.

Here at CREDO, philanthropy is our reason for staying in business. And thanks to our members who care so deeply about climate justice, civil rights and economic justice, we’ve been giving to the causes that matter to CREDO members every single month. In fact, we’ve donated more than $92 million to groups like ACLU, Fair Fight Action and Sunrise Movement since we were founded in 1985.

If you’d like to help us distribute this month’s donations to three amazing groups — Black Voters Matter, Friends of the Earth Action and Mercy Corps — please visit CREDODonations.com and cast your vote for one, two or all three groups today!