Phishing

Wikipedia defines "phishing" as "the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. ". (see here). The most usual mechanism to achieve this is by means of fraudulent e-mails, websites or downloadable applications.

Based on what has been reported in the media, this is quite a prevalent activity, with many examples and activities. During the past month, this is a sample of the things that crossed my desk:

  • A warning published by FNB in South Africa for their customers to be awar of a phishing attempt. (see here)
  • A youngster sent to prison for seven years for phishing attacks. (see here)
  • ClearmyMail reporting that the biggest target for Phishing attacks in the UK is RBS (probably because they are the biggest anyhow, or because they report this better? Anyhow must have a lot of statistics to get to 42.7%) (read more here)
  • The UK Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) reports an increase of 180% in phishing attacks year on year (more here).
This is just a sample. What is interesting to me (once again) is how many instances are not reported? So why do I publish this on a mobile banking blog? Simply because so many mobile banking suppliers are deploying solutions on mobile phones with major holes for phishing attacks. It is easy to apply the same principles in a text message (re-routing to a harmfull URL or downloading a trojan application). However (if deployed correctly and making use of the unique characteristics of mobile phones) mobile banking can be designed in such a way that the channel is not prone to phishing attacks. This is the opportunity to do it right (most mobile banking industries are still in its infancy) before take-up is so big that technology decisions cannot be changed.

Yet, many banks merely port their Internet banking solutions to mobile, without due considerations of the additional security that mobile can provide... such a pity. Consider speaking to the experts before you do this.

The Visa alerts deal

A recent announcement made by Visa (read here) was very interesting to me. Visa is teaming with eight US banks to offer a SMS alert solution. Card holders of these banks can subscribe to this service by registering their Mobile phone number with VISA. This ties the number to the credit card. Whenever the card is used (and according to settings managed by VISA), a text alert is sent to the mobile phone informing the cardholder of a transaction (immediately). The advantages are of course multiple. It would be interesting how this services is promoted and how big the take-up will be.

Just as an afterthought, who is prepared to enter into a bet with me that the technology utilised for this service were built in South Africa?

Remote Check Deposits


I have always found the US economy's dependency on checks fascinating. In a modern world with connectivity and all kinds of electronic payment options (even mobile payments quite prevalent), the biggest economy in the world's payment infrastructure is still paper based. This is quite ironic.

When I saw this article, I realised how difficult it is to change a massive payment eco-system. The check-based payment eco-system in the US must have many players all playing an important part. A lot off them would (of course) loose big time, if check systems are replaced by something much more modern, cheap, convenient and secure. If we picture a US where all check payments are replaced by electronic payments (mobile based and/or Internet-based) this would require many participants to change their behaviour (consumers, mercahnts, banks, payment switches) etc. This would of course have major ramifications on all of these participants. The sheer size of the change required makes this highly unlikely. It is true that in many countries checks have almost totally been replaced by modern, convenient electronic payment systems. In South Africa checks have just about disappeared in ten years since the deployment of Internet based payments (and also in the past five years with mobile payments). Today it is almost unthinkable to write checks for payments in South Africa.

Yet, if US consumers would embrace the shear convenience, security and ease of use of electronic payments, would the eco-system not change on the strength of consumer demand? How do we tell consumers in the US about a new, better way of paying?

Market segmentation for mobile banking

It is absolutely true that mobile banking is experienced different from one market to another. It is often the source of a lot of confusion when different people discuss mobile banking from different contexts. Before we discuss mobile banking it is therefore important to first define the markets that one target swhen deploying mobile banking.

The most obvious first segmentation of the market for mobile banking is to look at those consumers with a strong, existing relationship with banks, and those that do not have a relationship with a bank. This segmentation should range from some-one without any banking relationship (some-one that does not have a bank-account and also never had one), to (on the extreme right) a sophisticated user of banking services. This would typically be some-one with a relationship with more than one bank, have multiple bank accounts and/or credit cards.). Another dimension should be an indication of the degree in which a consumer is connected to other consumers. Some consumers because of their work or role in society have a bigger need to interact with a more diverse group of consumers, others are much more localised in their interaction.



In looking at the different segmentations, one would be able to identify an individual that are typically employed in a low income position or survives off grants, pensions or money sent from family working in the city or abroad. Life’s routine is predictable for this individual with activities organised around the work and family. The rural citizen would typically live in a low cost abode. Credit worthiness is low with access to expensive micro lending as a source of lending only. All transactions are in cash and almost no savings exist. This is an individual that either living in a village in some rural area or in slums in or around cities. These people are the masses that turn the economy with their labour. Their need for banking services is limited to small savings, money remittance and some electronic payments. They usually get access to these financial services in a very expensive way, often with high risks as all of their transactions are in cash. They are often referred to as the bottom of the pyramid, but yet they are active in the economy and represent a large portion of the population in many countries and can be reached by mobile banking with the right product or service.



Another segment would consist of individuals that ar emuch more affluent. They are the people that always has the latest gadgets and are more expansive in their exposure to financial products. They typically have the latest phones, have more than one bank relationship and travel extensively for work and pleasure. Their assets include stocks and bonds and they use the Internet extensively to transact electronically. They are often aware of transactional risks associated with card transactions and the Internet and are often uncomfortable about their exposure to fraudulent activities. In addition to providing more control and improved security, mobile banking also delivers an alternative mechanism for the Power User to pay. Transactions not usually available can now be performed. Some of the transactions that the Power User requires and now becomes available are person to person payments, proximity payments, enhanced security for “card-not-present” transactions to name a few. All of these features are available in some format or another.



It is clear that different market segments would require vastly different mobile banking offerings.

Core Mobile Banking Processes

I have been emphasising the importance of mobile banking processes in a previous blog-entry. Some-one recently asked me to expand a bit on this. This is one level deeper, describing in words some of the business processes that must be available at a minimum and some of the considerations when designing these processes.

So, as a minimum. you should have the following business processes defined and supported by your mobile banking system before you launch into production (These are just a sample, to serve as an illustration):
  1. Customer registration - this is usually the most complex, but also the most important process. This is the point at which the system can be designed to comply with regulatory requirements. Many different approaches can be implemented, ranging from the filling in of forms that must be captured, to online registration off the mobile phone or on an ATM network or (sometimes) all of the above.
  2. Change security information - it is common practice that a subscriber select security information at the point of registration. But what happens when this information is compromised or lost? Process must be available to (for instance) reset a PIN or password in a secure way. The system may have to cater for secondary authentication (maybe through memorable questions) to cater for this.
  3. Block/Suspend/Un-suspend a service - The system should cater for the ability to suspend a services when a subscriber feels that their access have been compromised (for instance their phone was stolen). The mechanisms to suspend or again un-suspend a service must be designed beforehand.
  4. Release pending transactions - the nature of mobile banking is such that some transactions do not complete because (for instance) of other systems not being available. The back-offices must be capable to release these transactions in a way that does not compromise integrity.
  5. Close an account - it must be possible to close an account if a subscriber wishes to do so. A number of aspects must be considered in this case. For instance, what happens to any positive balance available on the account.
  6. Perform batch services - many batch services must be performed in a properly designed mobile banking system: raise subscription fees, pay interest, apply payments from an external system etc. All of these must be available.
  7. Register a support employee - the process of registering a bank employee must also be available. This process must cater for a registration that is secure, authorise the employee to only have access to portions of the system and enable the selection of security information etc.
Hope the above goes some way towards a better understaning of the complex nature of mobile banking back office systems.

Us Mint: Gold Coin Sales - Vente de pieces d'or

Source: SHARELYNX GOLD

A list of Tech Top Paid CEOs taking home 10-digit salaries

When it comes to Tech CEOs we know we are usually going to see something odd ... they are exorbitantly paid!!! Topping the list of highest paid CEOs is Lawrence Ellison of Oracle. Heres' the list in ranking sequence.

Name: Lawrence Ellison
Company: Oracle.
Annual compensation: $192.9 million

Name: Nabeel Gareeb
Company: MEMC Electronic Materials
Annual compensation: $79.6 million

Name: John Chambers
Company: Cisco Systems
Annual compensation: $54.8 million

Name: Mark Hurd
Company: Hewlett-Packard
Annual compensation: $27.6 million

Name: Jen-Hsun Huang
Company: NVIDIA
Annual compensation: $24.6 million

Name: Samuel Palmisano
Company: IBM
Annual compensation: $24.3 million

Name: Wendell Weeks
Company: Corning
Annual compensation: $22.6 million

Name: Joseph Tucci
Company: EMC
Annual compensation: $20 million

Name: William Sullivan
Company: Agilent Technologies
Annual compensation: $17.4 million

Name: Paul Otellini
Company: Intel
One-year compensation: $16.3 million

Name: Steven Jobs
Company: Apple
Annual compensation: $14.6 million

Name: Jonathan Schwartz
Company: Sun Microsystems
Annual compensation: $13.5 million

Source : Forbes

FED: Balance sheet - Etat financier

More options than just a "Google"

Google continues its race to become the biggest brand of the century, infact its almost reached there. For millions of Netizens, the G company has already become synonymous with God. According to a recent survey, the Internet company has managed to upstage established brands and behemoths such as Coca Cola and Microsoft to claim the No. 1 spot as global top brand.

I believe that Google would remain to be at the forefront because of a simple reason that Google’s product works, which is why most people don’t feel a need to switch to other search options. However, this leader face tough competition from local favourites in several countries. Baidu is known as a Google trouncer in China, Google has just been dethroned by Wretch in Taiwan.

Some search specialists will argue that rivals such as Yahoo! and Ask deliver better results. Nonetheless, Google delivers a satisfactory service for most mainstream users so surfers don't feel the need to switch.

Have you lately tried other search engine sites? Well here is an opportunity to actually check which is the best search engine site? Put all the top search engine to test.

Go to http://gofind.50webs.com a single window multi search engine site where you can check the search results from multiple search engine sites. Give it a try!! and maybe Gofind becomes your favorite!!

Give me your feedback

Europe: Rate in the Eurozone - Taux dans l'Eurozone

Source: JP ChevallierLes courbes des taux sont inversées, signe de récession future.

Nokia Step Counter Beta v0.21

The Nokia Step Counter not only counts your steps, it also determines the distance you have covered and your energy expenditure. You can even compare your activity levels on different days by looking up the summaries stored in a handy diary.

Your steps are measured by analyzing the output from an accelerometer in your S60 mobile device. All you have to do is carry your phone around with you whenever you move, for example in a pocket of your clothing, attached to a belt or your upper arm, or in a handbag worn over your shoulder.

Compatibility : Nokia N95, N95 8GB, and N82

Download

The Sturdy Sanyo SCP 7000

Here's another good mobile ohone for seniors, the Sanyo SCP 7000. I made a post on a similar handset, another tough mobile phone called the Sanyo SCP 7050. Let's see if the 7000 is also suitable for elderly users.

The Sanyo SCP 7000 looks similar to other Sanyo basic phones. It has a large speaker grille on it front face and a rectangular external display. It's not a very attractive phone as far as looks go but aesthetics isn't a priority if your looking for a cell phone for senior citizens.

The external display of this phone measures about 1-inch and is in monochrome since it's a basic phone. The external display offers useful information to the user such as the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID.

The Sanyo SCP 7000 has a large main display display that measures 1.8 inches diagonally. this is significant because a large screen is a requirement for a good mobile phone for seniors. It also has adjustable backlighting time and the font size which is good for seniors because it allows them to see the info on the phone better.

Let's move on to the keypad a key component for cellphones for seniors. The Sanyo SCP 700 has large rectangular keypad buttons that are raised slightly above the surface of the phone. This is a good attribute because this makes it easy for the elderly to dial numbers. The 7000's keys also have bright backlighting which helps seniors with weak vision to find the right buttons.

Since the Sanyo SCP 7000 is a basic phone, its quite easy to use. The controls and buttons are easy to use and simple. it also has a dedicated button to the speakerphone. This is a good quality that seniors can use. They don't need a complicated device that can do it all. The 7000 offers simplicity and ease of use.

The call quality on the Sanyo Scp 7000 is great and its speakerphone have remarkable clarity as long as the volume is not turned up to the maximum. This are great attributed for a cell phone for senior citizens. Good call quality means calls are clear and loud and a good speakerphone can allows a user to hold the phone away from a hearing aid to reduce feedback

This phone is also affordable which is a good thing for seniors who want to get this phone. The elderly normally have a fixed income and do not have the luxury of going over their budgets so an affordable cellphone like the Sanyo SCP 7000 would be a good choice for them.

There you have it. Another good mobile phone for seniors. Tune in to this blog to know more about mobile phone services and cell phones for senior citizens.

The Sturdy Sanyo SCP 7000

Here's another good mobile ohone for seniors, the Sanyo SCP 7000. I made a post on a similar handset, another tough mobile phone called the Sanyo SCP 7050. Let's see if the 7000 is also suitable for elderly users.

The Sanyo SCP 7000 looks similar to other Sanyo basic phones. It has a large speaker grille on it front face and a rectangular external display. It's not a very attractive phone as far as looks go but aesthetics isn't a priority if your looking for a cell phone for senior citizens.

The external display of this phone measures about 1-inch and is in monochrome since it's a basic phone. The external display offers useful information to the user such as the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID.

The Sanyo SCP 7000 has a large main display display that measures 1.8 inches diagonally. this is significant because a large screen is a requirement for a good mobile phone for seniors. It also has adjustable backlighting time and the font size which is good for seniors because it allows them to see the info on the phone better.

Let's move on to the keypad a key component for cellphones for seniors. The Sanyo SCP 700 has large rectangular keypad buttons that are raised slightly above the surface of the phone. This is a good attribute because this makes it easy for the elderly to dial numbers. The 7000's keys also have bright backlighting which helps seniors with weak vision to find the right buttons.

Since the Sanyo SCP 7000 is a basic phone, its quite easy to use. The controls and buttons are easy to use and simple. it also has a dedicated button to the speakerphone. This is a good quality that seniors can use. They don't need a complicated device that can do it all. The 7000 offers simplicity and ease of use.

The call quality on the Sanyo Scp 7000 is great and its speakerphone have remarkable clarity as long as the volume is not turned up to the maximum. This are great attributed for a cell phone for senior citizens. Good call quality means calls are clear and loud and a good speakerphone can allows a user to hold the phone away from a hearing aid to reduce feedback

This phone is also affordable which is a good thing for seniors who want to get this phone. The elderly normally have a fixed income and do not have the luxury of going over their budgets so an affordable cellphone like the Sanyo SCP 7000 would be a good choice for them.

There you have it. Another good mobile phone for seniors. Tune in to this blog to know more about mobile phone services and cell phones for senior citizens.

Gibson Paradox (1979-2001)

Source: Gold-eagle.comou la relation inverse entre l'or et le taux réel des bonds du trésor US à 30 ans. Cette relation n'est plus vérifié après 1995.

China now leading the internet supremacy

If you till recently thought China is only leading the world in the gold medal tally this Olympics...think again!! China has officially surpassed the USA in its internet usage. Statistics provided for the month of June 2008 by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) indicate that approximately 253 million people across China have access to the Internet.

And, considering the United States has already mustered a population to Internet penetration rate of 71 percent throughout the country -- as opposed to China’s mere 19 percent -- it’s more than likely that the coming months will see China further distance itself from the U.S. as more of the country embraces Net access. 84.7% of Chinese Internet users are now accessing the Net via broadband.

That’s 214 million broadband users, compared with 168 million at the end of 2007. This to me is tremendously impressive.

The gap between male and female users changed significantly in the recent years, with 46.4 percent of the netizens being women. People under the age of 30 in China make up 69% of the total Internet users. Like in other places, entertainment is a key application on the Net for Chinese users, but they are showing greater enthusiasm for online music.

Larger Chinese websites such as gaming site Tencent.com and search engine Baidu.com have thrived in the fast-growing market, with Baidu recently announcing an 87 per cent increase in quarterly profits.

Source : Digital Watch

Gold versus Oil - L'or par rapport au petrole (1980-2006)

Source: Shadowstats.com

Now access blocked websites via your email

Legendum Ltd recently released a free service that could send websites right into your inbox with the URL as subject title. The process itself is also very simple and easy.

To request a delivery of a web page, send an email to www@web2mail.com with the address of the web page you want to view as the subject of your email message.

For example an email with the subject "askwiki.blogspot.com" would request the AskWiki website. You should receive a reply within 5 minutes. You may also choose the delivery time and frequency - daily, weekly, or on a particular day of the month.

So if you only have access to your email and other websites are restricted in your office then this free tool can very much come handy. here is the link to try out the free service. By the way... there are few more methods to view restricted websites through your office firewall, email me for some tips.. also if you have some methods do post them in my comments below.

G7 Growth - Croissance des pays du G7

Source: Freebuck.com

Silver: The corner of 1980 - Le "corner" de 1980

"Corner" made by the famous Hunt Brothers - "Corner" crée par les fameux frères Hunt.Source: Tradingreview.com

Bank Loss - Pertes bancaires

Sources: Contreinfo.info - Bloomberg.com (numbers)

The much awaited iPhone unlook tool now available

The much awaited iPhone 2.0 Pwnage Tool is now available on the internet. If you are aware of the jailbreak process released on the internet early this year, then this tool could be very usefull.

This 20 MB zip file is released by the iPhone Dev Blog very recently. As per this "unofficial" official blog of the "iphone-dev team" this tool unlocks and jailbreaks older iPhones with 2.0 firmwares, it also jailbreaks iPhone 3G and iPod Touch with 2.0 firmwares.

Here are some download options:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

More download options here.

In case you use this application, share us your comments for fellow bloggers and iPhone users

GOLD: Finding a Bottom - Trouver un point bas

Source: Jsmineset.com - Dan Norcini

World Housing Crisis - Crise immobilière mondiale

Source: Forcast Invest

Manyy new vendors


This is the most facinating thing about this space - the number of vendors that suddenly appears from no-where. I was recently sent this article by some-one asking me what I think of this invention. According to the article, a guy called Conrad Sheehan explains that he has come up with a way to provide the mobility factor in the formula for ecommerce success. He calls his product MPayy.

Well here is my take: I see these kind of inventions literary every week. In a small town like Cape Town (population 2 million), I am aware of at least five mobile payments initiative at this time. New technology and an "innovative" invention with the potential of changing the way that people pay. What I do know, having worked in this industry for ten years, is that it is hard work to get these things to work. It is probably harder than any other industry, because of the deep impact on so many players in the eco-system of payments.

I obviously wish these entrepreneurs best wishes, but am wondering, why they don't try something easier...

China showcasing its technological advancement to the world

The motto for the 2008 Olympics is "One World, One Dream". The motto seeks to lift up the vision of world harmony. The Beijing Olympics took seven years in the planning and cost a record-breaking $40billion to stage. China is rightly taking this opportunity to showcase its technological advancement to the world.

Here are few things that got to my attention.

Chinese Weather Planners:
China wants to direct rainfall away from the Olympic venues by seeding clouds with silver iodide pellets. Scientifically this works or not is not yet proved as yet, but this would the right time for Chinese weather planners to test.

China's goal is to pre-empt usual summer showers before the opening ceremonies or reduce the size of water droplets in clouds to delay storms. Only time would show if Weather modification is still a hit-or-miss technology,

Driver less Train:
China has made large investments in transport systems throughout Beijing to ease the way for the 3 million spectators who will pour into the city for the Olympics. Two subway lines and a driverless rail system, which runs both above and below ground comes to the rescue.

The 28-km rail link between Beijing Capital International Airport and the Dongzhimen subway station. The express train features the driverless operation using the Advanced Rapid Transit technology from Canada's Bombardier.

This driverless trains run 62.5 miles per hour making the entire journey from the Beijing airport to the center of the city only 16 minutes. They can carry 4,500 passengers an hour.

RFID Olympics Tickets:
Radio frequency identification technology is taking care of ticketing for the estimated 3 million athletes, journalists, and spectators. These 13.56-MHz HF RFID chips is linked to a remote database, designed primarily to combat counterfeits, facilitate check-in, and so on. Chinese local authorities will also be using an RFID-based food management system to maintain close tabs on food production, processing, and deliveries.

LEDs used at venues:
CREE Inc. is providing about 440,000 LEDs to illuminate the exterior of the Water Cube, where water-sport events will be held. Contractors for the Beijing Olympics found LEDs a more colorful and lower power route to lighting up their creations.

Way to go China...

The digital Beijing building buid for Olympics 2008

The Olympics 2008 games opened at the auspicious Chinese time of 8:08.08 on Friday evening. Around 10,000 performers were taking part in the show to open the Games, which has been seven years in the planning and cost a record-breaking $40billion to stage.

China developed four architecturally interesting new buildings in Beijing in the process of preparing itself for this event. These buildings state of the art technology feature.

1. National Stadium (Bird's Nest)
2. Aquatic Center (Water Cube)
3. Digital Beijing Building
4. CCTV Headquarters

Of which the Digital Beijing Building is something look out for. It is the information facility for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, designed by Studio Pei-Zhu.

The building will provide communication and information services and guarantee information security during the Olympic Games. Check out the video below.

Beijing 2008 Olympics now available on internet

This could be the event of the year, starting 08/08/08 is the 2008 Olympics at Beijing in China. China is ready to host the mecca of sports with hundreds of TV channels covering the event.

Well what about internet ? Well as more and more people watch streaming content like videos, courtesy faster internet connections, there are options available to watch and be updated on the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

So to answer a simple question here's how to watch Olympics online.

1. TV TONIC: Simply download TV Tonic application and watch Olympics on you computer, here is how you can view videos via the TV tonic application. Here is the link

2. NBC OLYMPICS WEBSITE: This is would be hosting 2,200 hours of streamed video content with over 20 concurrent streams covering various events. Here is the website, here you can also access exclusive mobile ON demand video content. You need to point your mobile browser to http://mobile.nbcolympics.com. What more if you have a blog/website add this simple widget and you can stream the event from your website, here is the widget link.

3.Youtube Channel : Youtube Channel will also be providing Olympics Video on GEO blocked basis. This channel will be available in 77 territories across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including India, Republic of Korea, Nigeria and Indonesia.

So have a sporting time this Olympics.. Your comments most welcomed

Euro, dollar and big Mac Index

Source: Daily Wealth

S&P in bear market - S&P en chute

Source: Forcast

USA: Inflation (1950 - 2008)

Source: le blog d'Alex Kerala