Wednesday, 04 May 2011


Are Square Credit Card Readers Unencrypted?

Square will very soon come out with a new encryption-capable, hardware, to justify the increased security threats of its users. In March 2011, VeriFone challenged Square founders of not encrypting the credit card reader data and making user's sensitive information vulnerable to fraud. In an open letter, VeriFone CEO Douglas Bergeron accused Square of "serious security flaws that put consumers in dire risk".

Square boss Jack Dorsey thrashed VeriFone allegations saying that the card reader is well encrypted.

However, of late, Visa, Square's iPhone payments partner, issued strategic investment guidelines to Square stating the firm should "encrypt all account data including at the card-reader level and in transmission between the acceptance device and the processor - especially important given the use of wireless or public networks".

Square COO Keith Rabois wrote in a blog: "Of course, Square complies with all current industry standards, and we are committed to meeting or exceeding industry guidelines as they evolve - all while keeping our card reader free".

According to the StorefrontBacktalk site, Sam Quigley, security leader at Square, confirmed at the Visa conference that the firm will begin rolling out an encrypting card reader this summer.



London Taxis Now Equipped With Mobile Phone Chargers

Vodafone users in London can now charge their mobile phones within a taxi and can also pay fares using their mobile phones. For paying fares, Vodafone account holders just need to text the taxi's licence number to a central code with the fare that is charged from them to their mobile phone account. Vodafone has introduced this innovative service, as part of its GBP 10 million advertising campaign.

Vodafone's CEO Mr. Guy Laurence said the Company intends in "offering London the best possible network, as more than 500 branded taxis are to be equipped with mobile phone chargers". The campaign from Vodafone will also sponsor a fleet of Heathrow Express trains starting from next week.



Angry Birds and Nokia's NFC Tale

Nokia has appointed the compatriots Rovio - makers of the popular "Angry Birds" mobile-phone game to enhance Nokia's short-range near-field communications (NFC) technology in Symbian devices. The Company wants to make NFC the wireless standard for all consumers paying with the swipe of the mobile phone. Rovio is currently working on an NFC-enabled version of its hit game named 'Angry Birds Magic', adding 20 new levels of addiction for fans.

The Finnish mobile-phone maker is presently working on an up-gradation of its Symbian software that will switch on the NFC capability on its C7 smartphone. The C7 model, which went on sale with T-Mobile USA last month, is Nokia's first widely sold NFC-enabled handset. Google Inc. appears to be the main rival of Nokia in offering widely accepted short-range technology (Android devices) worldwide.

As Sixten Sandstroem, a Nokia manager responsible for NFC business partnerships said: "The C7 is just the beginning. We will partner with trusted service managers, credit cards, everyone".

While Nokia will ship mobile phones with Microsoft Corp's Windows 7 operating system in large volumes in 2012, the company expects to sell another 150 million handsets based on the Symbian operating system over the next year.



IDENTEC GROUP Acquires Hothead Technologies and Selects Peter Linke as New CEO

IDENTEC GROUP AG, the leading global RFID solutions provider, has purchased Hothead Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of wireless sensor solutions. In addition to its acquisition spree, IDENTEC has named industry veteran Peter Linke as the new CEO and President of Hothead Technologies.

Before being Hothead CEO, Peter was the President of the Americas of IDENTEC SOLUTIONS, Inc., which is one of 9 IDENTEC GROUP member companies providing RFID-based solutions worldwide.

Hothead Technologies was founded in 2006 and is the developer of wireless solutions for the detection and prevention of heat-related events and illnesses in athletes, firemen and industrial workers.



Calgary to Get Swipe Passes by 2012

Calgary, the largest city in the Province of Alberta in Canada, will be introducing electronic fare cards for bus and LRT rider by June 2012. According to the Calgary Transit authority, paper tickets and wallet-sized monthly passes have become outdated, and what riders want today is convenience and easy to use swipe passes. Calgary Transit's fare system will use the same type of smart card technology that is presently used by subway systems in Hong Kong, London and Montreal.

Passengers can purchase prepaid fare cards or re-loadable ones that will serve as monthly passes. They will need to tap the cards on the readers available in buses or at train stations before boarding. Calgary officials are still working on the details of the program with Telvent, the technology firm that will provide the new fare system to the city riders.

Among the other Canada regions that have adopted or started working on smartcard ticketing are Regina (adopted in November), the Toronto-Hamilton region is rolling out a common card for several transit agencies, and Vancouver's Compass card is said to roll out in 2013.

The federal government gave Calgary transit authority $7 million two years ago for the electronic fare program.



Nets and Cryptomathic Settle Dispute

Nets (previously BBS, Norway and PBS, Denmark) and IT security vendor Cryptomathic have announced that a settlement has been reached to resolve a disagreement regarding the interpretation of a patent owned by Cryptomathic. The patent concerns the method related to user authentication coupled with digital signatures using server-side keys. The dispute relates to the Norwegian security solution BankID.

Following last year's verdict at Oslo Tingrett (Oslo District Court), both parties appealed to Lagmannsretten (the Court of Appeal). Today, Nets and Cryptomathic have withdrawn their appeals and agreed to a settlement that offers advantages to both parties. Through this arrangement, Nets has received a license for the use of Cryptomathic's patents for central signature servers in Norway.

The founder of Cryptomathic, Prof. Peter Landrock, explains: "We have been cooperating with various entities of the Nets group of companies for more than a decade now and we are committed to evolving our cooperation further over the years to come. The patent dispute has been a serious roadblock impeding the further extension of cooperation so I am very pleased that we were finally able to settle our dispute. The settlement agreement recognises Cryptomathic's technical contributions as well as Nets' requirements to maintain and expand its leadership as a supplier of secure, scalable and user-friendly digital signature solutions."

Concerning the relationship with Cryptomathic, Jesper Bramming, CFO of Nets, adds: "Cryptomathic is second-to-none within its field. We are pleased to announce that Nets has obtained the license rights to make use of Cryptomathic's patents as part of the agreement with Cryptomathic. The cooperation with Cryptomathic will help secure Nets' continued growth and competitiveness."



idOnDemand and SAIC On 'Identity as a Service Model' at Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference

idOnDemand along with SAIC will offer 'Secure Identity as a Service: Case Study and Lessons Learned' at the Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference to be held from May 2 to 5 in Chicago, USA. The case study will address the growing need for service-based identity models, the variances between them and the impact they can have on corporate enterprises including that of a global deployment of identity-based solutions and services. The theme of the 2011 Smart Card Alliance Annual Conference is "The Roadmap to EMV Payments and Secure ID."

idOnDemand helps organisations accept a standard-based identity across the enterprise. idOnDemand is the only provider of a fully managed lifecycle for smartcards and is FIPS 201 PIV-I and PIV-C compliant.

SAIC is a leading provider of scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and solutions to all branches of the U.S. military, agencies of the Department of Defence, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. Government civil agencies.




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