Monday, 24 January 2011

MBNA to Roll Out Contactless Cards

UK's largest credit card provider, MBNA, has announced the start of its two-year programme that will see its 6 million customer base moved over to contactless cards by January 1, 2012.

To achieve this, MBNA will issue a new contactless credit card each time a new or replacement card request is made by a customer. MBNA estimates that most of its card-holders will have the ability to pay without a PIN by the start of 2012.

Contactless payment is a relatively new option at the checkout and is currently limited to GBP15 per transaction, but the card provider can see the benefit to customers of this easier and faster payment mode.

Telefonica and China Unicom Strengthens Strategic Alliance

Spanish telecommunication firm Telefonica and Chinese mobile phone giant China Unicom will invest an additional $500 million 312 million-pounds) in each other's firm. Both the companies have agreed to enhance their Strategic Alliance, and to deepen their cooperation in areas such as procurement, mobile service platforms, service to MNCs, wholesale carriers, roaming, technology, etc.

Following the new investments, Telefonica will hold a 9.7% stake in its Chinese partner, while China Unicom will own 1.4% of the Spanish firm. Under the agreement, China Unicom could get a seat on Telefonica's board. In 2009, the 2 partners agreed a tie-up and invested $1 billion in each other.

LEGIC Advent Readers and Biometric Access Control for China

Sebury Technology Co. Ltd and Switzerland based LEGIC Identsystems Ltd, the leading manufacturer of smartcard technology for personal identification, have announced a licence partnership for providing access control solutions and biometric readers to the Chinese market.

By developing new security devices, Sebury Technology banks on the latest LEGIC advant technology. The company's reading devices are installed in time and attendance recording systems as well as in biometric applications. With the LEGIC partnership agreement, Sebury extends its product portfolio with a leading contactless smart card technology that meets all requirements in terms of security and flexibility.

Ireland will get Contactless Debit Cards

Visa Europe is planning to bring contactless debit cards to Ireland this summer, according to the Irish Independent.

Already in place in Britain, the debit cards will allow customers to tap and pay for items of E 15 (Euro) of less, or E 45 overall for small purchases. Charges over E 45 will require a PIN.

Visa Europe, which already has 1.3 million debit cards in circulation in Ireland, will begin rolling out the new cards to the customers of Bank of Ireland later this year. Visa is expected to eventually phase out contact payment cards completely in Ireland, says The Independent.

White House to Issue Internet ID's

The US Department of Commerce has plans to introduce universal internet ID's through the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace law.

It will be the first time any government has sought to provide a single form of digital identification for internet users, coded to provide a form of filtered identity information, giving out only as much information as needed depending on the type of online transaction.

For example, whether buy a bottle of wine or voting online, the digital ID would verify that you are over the legal drinking age or have the right to vote.

One of the advantages of the ID's is that users would no longer have to remember myriad passwords for different transactions. Websites that use the strategy to authenticate identity would carry a small icon on their pages, similar to retail and banking sites which announce they use encryption software to safeguard transmitted information. The internet ID also aims to put a brake on cyber crimes such as identity theft and online fraud.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt told "a centralized database will emerge" and stresses that anonymity will remain on the Internet.

Google Co-Founder Page to Become CEO

Larry Page, the co-founder of Google will become the new CEO replacing Eric Schmidt, a technology veteran and present CEO of the world's largest search engine. Larry Page will take charge of his position from April 4, 2011.

"Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" Schmidt wrote on his Twitter account moments after Google dropped the bombshell that upstaged its fourth quarter earnings. Schmidt will become executive chairman and remain available to advise Larry Page and Google's other founder, Sergey Brin.

Lush Cosmetics Fall Victim to Hackers

Cosmetics firm Lush have become the latest victim of hackers and have temporarily closed there website.

Customers who placed on-line orders between 4th October 2010 and 20th January 2011, have been told to contact their banks for advice as their card details may have been compromised. Some customers have already experienced unauthorised use of their cards.

All customers potentially exposed to this breach were sent an email on 20 January 2011.

In a statement Lush stated that: "24 hour security monitoring has shown us that they are still being targeted and there were continuing attempts to re-enter". "A full external Forensic Investigation of the security breach has been commissioned. We will be studying the results with great care, to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our efforts to protect customers from events like this in the future".

"A completely separate, temporary website will be launched in a few days - initially taking PayPal payments only".

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