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Apple’s iOS 11.2 Adds Apple Pay Cash

December 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple’s new iOS 11.2 software update became available on Saturday, adding Apple Pay Cash and faster wireless charging to supported iPhones.

For anyone with an iPhone 6 or later, the update’s Apple Pay Cash feature opens up the ability to send cash to friends and family over iMessage. While I didn’t see the feature immediately turned on after updating my own iPhone to iOS 11.2, when it does appear it should work similarly to Paypal’s Venmo service.

Anyone with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X can look forward to faster wireless charging, with the update release specifically noting improvements when using third-party chargers. That’s pretty much every Qi wireless charger currently out, as Apple’s own AirPower charging mat is planned for a 2018 release.

Other improvements and fixes listed by Apple include:

  • Improves video camera stabilization
  • Adds support in Podcasts to automatically advance to the next episode from the same show
  • Adds support in HealthKit for downhill snow sports distance as a data type
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to appear to be checking for new messages even when a download is complete
  • Fixes an issue that could cause cleared Mail notifications from Exchange accounts to reappear
  • Improves stability in Calendar
  • Resolves an issue where Settings could open to a blank screen
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent swiping to Today View or Camera from the Lock Screen
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Music controls from displaying on the Lock Screen
  • Fixes an issue that could cause app icons to be arranged incorrectly on the Home Screen
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent users from deleting recent photos when iCloud storage is exceeded
  • Addresses an issue where Find My iPhone sometimes wouldn’t display a map
  • Fixes an issue in Messages where the keyboard could overlap the most recent message
  • Fixes an issue in Calculator where typing numbers rapidly could lead to incorrect results
  • Addressed an issue where the keyboard could respond slowly
  • Adds support for real-time text (RTT) phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Improves VoiceOver stability in Messages, Settings, App Store and Music
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from announcing incoming Notifications

Samsung On The Hunt For Acquisitions

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd plans to continue their hunt for acquisition opportunities, a company executive said on Monday, as the firm seeks to build software and services to further differentiate its products.

“We are going to be bullish on finding companies that fit our strategy,” Peter Koo, a senior vice president for Samsung’s mobile division, said during an investor event in Hong Kong. He did not elaborate on specific targets or technologies that Samsung is looking to acquire.

The world’s top maker of memory chips, smartphones and televisions has grown more aggressive in acquiring companies in recent years, breaking from its past preference to rely on its own talent and use its cash for capital expenditures amid intensifying competition from the likes of Apple Inc and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

In addition to buying firms such as Viv Labs and LoopPay, deals that bolstered Samsung’s existing efforts for artificial intelligence and mobile payments services, Samsung is also spending money to break into new businesses.

The firm completed an $8 billion acquisition of Harman International Industries early this year, its biggest ever deal, in an attempt to speed up its entry into the automotive components industry and develop a new growth engine.

Koo said Samsung’s aim with software and services is to primarily make its products more attractive to consumers, and that the firm will look for partnerships as well as acquisitions to bolster its offerings.

MasterCard, PayPal Expand Payment Services Agreement

September 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mastercard-logo-150x150MasterCard Inc has announced that it had expanded its deal with payment processor PayPal Holdings Inc, which would allow customers to use PayPal’s payment services in stores.

PayPal’s partnership follows a similar deal with MasterCard’s larger rival Visa Inc in July as the company looks to expand its payments network.

PayPal will allow users to select a credit or debit card as the default payment method and share data on transactions made through MasterCard’s tap-and-pay feature, which allows the shopper to wave a card or mobile phone over a reader to pay, the companies said in a statement.

As part of the deal, MasterCard will allow PayPal users to withdraw cash from their accounts using a debit card and also waive the digital wallet fee it currently charges PayPal.

The two companies have an existing partnership for co-branded consumer credit cards in the United States and Puerto Rico.

PayPal, spun off from e-commerce company eBay Inc last year, has focused on aggressive growth.

The company’s revenue in the second quarter rose more than 15 percent to $2.65 billion from a year earlier and the volume of payments it processes jumped 28 percent to $86.21 billion.

The partnership with MasterCard was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

PayPal is also in discussions with banks that issue cards, to explore new products and partnerships, the Journal report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

 

Phishing Apps Continue To Play Google Play

May 3, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Google’s attempts to safeguard the Android app store — Google Play — are far from perfect, with malicious apps routinely slipping through its review process. Such was the case for multiple phishing applications this year that posed as client apps for popular online payment services.

Researchers from security firm PhishLabs claim that they’ve found 11 such applications since the beginning of 2016 hosted on Google Play, most of them created by the same group of attackers.

The apps are simple, yet effective. They load Web pages containing log-in forms that look like the target companies’ websites. These pages are loaded from domain names registered by the attackers, but because they are loaded inside the apps, users don’t see their actual location.

In some cases attackers registered domain names that are similar to those of the impersonated online payment services, PhishLab Security Threat Analyst Joshua Shilko said in a blog post.

More recently, attackers used domain names similar to those of cryptocurrency companies, suggesting that the cryptocurrency industry is also targeted.

PhishLabs did not name the exact payment card companies and online payment services whose users were targeted by these fake apps. However, most of those companies provide links to their official mobile applications on their websites and users should always use those links instead of manually searching for them on the Play store.

“In one case, a targeted company explicitly states on their website that no mobile application exists for their company and that users should be wary of any mobile application using their brand,” Shilko said.

The danger is that if phishers manage to routinely bypass Google’s review process and upload such apps to the Google Play store, their attacks might extend to other industries in the future.

Another problem is that even when these apps are detected by third-parties and reported, it can take several days for Google to remove them from the app store, leaving a sufficiently large window of opportunity for attackers. It’s not clear how attackers promote these fake apps or if they rely only on users finding them themselves, but in general phishing attacks are most effective during the first several hours after they’re launched.

 

 

Apple, Banks Exploring Person-to-Person Mobile Payment Service

November 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc is holding discussions with several U.S. financial institutions to develop a person-to-person mobile payment service, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The talks are ongoing and it is unclear if any of the banks have signed an agreement with Apple, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The service, which would compete with PayPal Inc’s popular Venmo, would allow users to transfer funds from their checking accounts through Apple devices, the Journal reported on Wednesday.

The service would likely be linked to the company’s Apple Pay system, which allows customers to make credit-card and debit-card payments with their mobile phones, the newspaper said.

A launch isn’t imminent, but one person told the Journal that Apple could roll it out next year.

Apple has been talking with a number of banks about the service, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Capital One Financial Corp, Wells Fargo & Co  and U.S. Bancorp.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

 

 

Google Said To Be Devolping Bill Payment Service For Gmail

March 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Google reportedly is working on a service to allow that will allow users to pay their bills from their Gmail accounts.

The service, dubbed Pony Express, would ask users to provide personal information, including credit card and Social Security numbers, to a third-party company that would verify their identity, according to a Re/code report on Tuesday.

Google also would work with vendors that distribute bills on behalf of service providers like insurance companies, telecom carriers and utilities, according to the article, which was based on a document seen by Re/code that describes the service.

It’s not clear whether Pony Express is the actual name of the service or if Google will change the name once it launches. It’s planned to launch by the end of the year, according to the report.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

A handful of vendors such as Intuit, Invoicera and BillGrid already offer e-billing payment and invoicing software. Still, a Google service, especially one within Gmail, could be useful and convenient to consumers if the company is able to simplify the online payment process.

A benefit for Google could be access to valuable data about people’s e-commerce activities, although there would be privacy issues to sort out. Google already indexes people’s Gmail messages for advertising purposes.

Plus, the service could give Google an entry point into other areas of payment services. The company has already launched a car insurance shopping servicefor California residents, which it plans to expand to other states.

It’s unclear who Google’s partners would be for the service, but screen shots published by Re/Code show Cascadia Financial, a financial planning company, and food delivery service GreatFoods.

 

 

Phishing Attacks Increasing Extremely Fast

June 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Computing

Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have reported significant growth in phishing attacks over the last year.

In a study entitled “The Evolution of Phishing Attacks”, Kaspersky said it found 37.3 million out of its 50 million customers running its security products that were at risk of being phished from 2012 to the present, an 87 percent increase over the same period between 2011 and 2012.

“The nature of phishing attacks is such that the simplest types can be launched without any major infrastructure investments or in-depth technological research,” Kaspersky said in the report.

“This situation has led to its own form of ‘commercialization’ of these types of attacks, and phishing is now being almost industrialized, both by cybercriminals with professional technological skills and IT dilettantes.”

The security firm explained that overall, the effectiveness of phishing, combined with its profitability for criminals and how simple the process is to undertake has led to a steadily rising number of these types of incidents.

Kaspersky noted that most of the victims in 2012-2013 were located in just ten countries, that is, Russia, the US, India, Germany, Vietnam, the UK, France, Italy, China and Ukraine. These 10 countries were home to 64 percent of all phishing attack victims during this time.

In addition to a rise in the number of users attacked, the number of servers involved in phishing attacks also increased, Kaspersky said, without giving any exact numbers. Though the firm did reveal that internet giants like Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Amazon are the top targets of malicious users.

“Online game services, online payment systems, and the websites of banks and other credit and financial organizations are also common targets,” the firm added, warning users to stay vigilant when entering personal data.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

The Number Of Phishing Websites Reaches All-time High

July 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The number of phishing websites detected reached an all-time high earlier this year, a sign that creating phony websites spoofing real ones is still a lucrative trade for online criminals.

In its latest report, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) said 56,859 phishing sites were detected in February, beating the previous record high in August 2009 by nearly 1 percent. APWG is a nonprofit consortium composed of banks, security vendors and others with a stake in tracking cybercrime trends.

Phishing sites are websites that look nearly identical to the legitimate ones and often mimic known brands. Leveraging the trust users put in the legitimate companies, cybercriminals succeed in tricking victims into divulging logins, passwords and other sensitive information.

The APWG noted in its report that the increase in the number of phishing websites was in part due to new technology that it began using earlier this year to detect fraudulent sites.

More than 38 percent of the fake websites were related to financial services, according to the APWG’s report. The second most spoofed market vertical was payment services, followed by retail and other service sites. The sites spoofed 392 brands, also a new record.

“All manner of commerce is transacted online today and in that are opportunities for new and provocative scams, leveraging some part of the customer-enterprise relationship that is unique to the domain,” said Peter Cassidy, secretary general of the APWG. “People are tougher to fool with phishing, but they still can be in the hands of a creative scam artisan.”

The U.S. hosted the most fake sites. About half of the phishing sites for the first quarter of 2012 used some form of a brand in their URL, which often tricks people.

On the bright side, though, phishing sites are being taken down faster than ever due to better security technologies. But “the problem is a lot of campaign schemes are built around deployment of lots of landing websites for a single campaign to complicate the work of putting down the attacks,” Cassidy said.

 

Amex Debuts Mobile Person-to-Person Payment Service

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Mobile

American Express has just debuted a digital payment and commerce service that makes it possible to use Android-based devices and Apple iPhones for person-to-person online payments. Visa announced a similar personal payment product in the U.S. on March 16.

Analysts say the moves by Visa and American Express are clearly aimed at challenging PayPal in the personal payments business.

The new Amex service, named Serve, allows consumers and small businesses to make purchases and person-to-person payments on iOS- and Android-based devices. Serve accounts are also accessible on personal computers through Facebook and at Serve.com.

Serve also allows users to create and manage sub-accounts for friends and family members.

The new service is based on technology that Amex obtained through its $300 million acquisition last year of Revolution Money.

Visa on March 16 said that it will rely on internal network enhancements and agreements with CashEdge and Fiserv to bring its personal payment system to the U.S. by the end of June. CashEdge and Fiserv will access VisaNet, which is Visa’s global payments processing network.

Separately, Visa officials at the International CTIA Wireless show last week said they are in the midst of four pilot programs in New York and San Francisco to test Near Field Communications (NFC) technology on smartphones, to assess the feasibility of using smartphones to make purchases at NFC-ready terminals. Those trials are being conducted with Bank of America, US Bank, Chase and Wells Fargo. No rollout date for the service is being announced, said Elvira Swanson, a Visa spokeswoman.

Amex also plans to waive one consumer fee for the next six months during the ramp-up, he said. Putting money into a Serve account will normally carry a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents per load-in, but during the first six months that fee will be waived for cash, debit and Automated Clearing House payments. Otherwise, the fee for ATM cash withdrawals will be $2 — though there will be no fee for the first one each month.

The Serve program calls for consumers to set up online accounts through a smartphone app or at Serve.com. Once a user establishes an account, he can transfer funds to it directly from bank accounts or other Serve accounts or via debit or credit cards.

Customers can use Serve accounts to send money to friends, to receive money from friends, to pay bills or to make purchases online. In addition to having the ability to make payments using smartphones, customers will issued reloadable prepaid Serve cards linked to their Serve accounts that can be used at any retail outlet or ATM that accepts Amex cards.

Moving Your Money While You’re on the Move

September 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Mobile

Mobile Banking-Just that phrase along invokes glee for those of us who do not savor the idea of spending any of our precious time inside one of those notoriously lethargic brick and mortar throwbacks known as branch banking.

But what exactly is mobile banking? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers. For some it’s the ability to perform banking transactions remotely, from a pc for example. Others even consider ATM’s as remote banking since they technically exist in locations different from the actual branch. Both definitions would be correct. However, what we are talking about is far more convenient. That is Mobile Banking using your cell phone. Most financial institutions are still in the infancy stage of developing their mobile banking applications, but a few non bank vendors have taken the lead.  We’ve listed some of the most noteworthy ones below.

 Mocapay, Inc. Is an interesting app you can download for free from app stores for both Android and Apple devices.  This application’s stand out feature is that it allows you to purchase gift cards then send them via SMS to intended recipient. The downside of this product is it has very limited gift card retailers at this point.  We recommend checking their website frequently to see if they’ve added more.

 For those of you who engage in selling merchandise or services of any sort, there’s no need to lug around bulky mobile POS devices. Thanks to VeriFone’s Payware Mobile Productyou can attach a credit card reader to your iPhones and immediately begin taking payments from your customers.  The drawback is, you first must establish a merchant account and of course, give a percentage of your sales for the privilege of accepting credit cards.

 And there’s ZashPay. We saved the best for last. We think this one offers the most promise as it’s the simplest to use. This product is offered by Fiserv, a financial services vendor. It allows every day consumer to turn their cell phones into a mini money transfer agent, without the normally outrageous fees. If you want to pay a friend for money you’ve borrowed, simply enter their mobile phone number and the amount and ZashPay does the rest.  Before we get you too excited, there are several drawbacks to this product. The first being all mobile carriers aren’t supported. The second drawback is that both the sender and receiver must sign up and provide banking information in order for this transaction to work. An additional drawback would be the amount of time it takes for the receiver to gain access to their funds. ZashPay is indicating that it usually takes one business day, which doesn’t seem to be too bad.

 The bottom line is we are in for exponential growth in expanding our mobile devices to support banking or banking like transactions. Consumers are demanding greater flexibility and convenience. While financial institutions must meet those demands, they must also find ways to eliminate overhead. Mobile financial applications will easily satisfy both requirements.