Monday, 23 May 2011

Tieto's Pocket Bank makes Mobile Consumers' Everyday Life Easier

Tieto's new solution enables banks to provide advanced online services through smartphones. The pocket bank brings customised bank services to consumer's handsets. The interface to the user's e-bank solution is always reachable: One touch on the phone shows the bank customers' personalised view. The new mobile banking solution is based on a joint Mobile Finance Services (MOFS) research program of Tieto, Nokia and Aalto University.

Customisable pocket bank shows up-to-date notifications on bank account events and balance, reminds of bills to be paid, and gives a guide map to the nearest cash machine. Additional services can also be included - such as online insurance assistance right on the spot of a car accident, and instant help in issuing the insurance claim. The services can be used with a single, well secured login action. Notifications are cost free in contrast to SMS-based technology with a delivery cost.

This is the first mobile banking solution of its kind in Europe. The next version developed in MOFS research program has already aroused interest among many banks, and the first commercial applications are expected to be launched during the year 2011.

Sirpa Riihiaho, teaching researcher of strategic usability from Aalto University, explains: "Smartphone owners are already used to applications that make life easier. Money related needs often arise on an ad hoc basis, and managing such situations flexibly was welcomed among the test group. The most preferred features included the possibility to quickly check the bank account balance in shops before purchase decisions and to provide immediate micro loans for friends."

Pocket bank is a part of Tieto's new concept which aims to modernise customer service in the banking sector by bundling all online and traditional service operations into one streamlined consumer experience. Tieto's service package includes all stages of customer service design, from creating a strategy and the concept design, to deployment and operating the service.

TazTag and Lifera Announce Strategic Partnership

TazTag and Lifera joined hands to become strategic, technical partners. The companies have a specific plan to launch Near Field Communication (NFC) smartphone messaging, alerts and loyalty services that will allow brick-and-mortar retailers, restaurants, shopping centres and districts to directly communicate, engage and retain their customers on a daily basis.

TazTag will be combining their contactless technology know-how with Lifera's Reach Engine marketing and loyalty services suite platform, to start a pilot programme that involves retail, hospitality, entertainment and residential living. The program is due to start from this summer in Silicon Valley.

Identive and NXP Signed Multi-Year VAR Agreement

Identive Group, Inc. has signed a multi-year Value Added Reseller (VAR) deal with NXP Semiconductors. The companies will henceforth work together to identify and address emerging opportunities in the secure identification technology market, and will try to promote and sell Identive's identification products, based on NXP's RFID semiconductor technology. The agreement is initially for a three-year term, but the deal can be renewed on an annual basis.

NXP and Identive's VAR agreement builds on the existing business relationship between both the companies, which currently includes cooperation on secure identification applications such as contactless readers for government and employee ID programs, NFC stickers for mobile phones and smart posters and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for tracking pharmaceutical products or library books.

Thus, by signing the deal, NXP and Identive aim to improve commercially and technologically, to address new markets such as NFC in mobile consumer products.

Sophos Offers Complete Protection Anywhere

UK-based IT security and data protection solutions firm Sophos announced the availability of a range of new and enhanced enterprise product lines that will offer complete protection anywhere and on any device.

Named as 'Sophos Mobile Control', the new security products provide protection on a broad range of popular mobile platforms, including Apple iPhones, iPads, and Google's Android and Windows Mobile devices.

Sophos SafeGuard Enterprise, which provides encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) for desktops, laptops and removable media, now includes comprehensive management of all encryption options that fully supports hardware drives, including Opal, software-based encryption, and hardware encrypted USB.

Moreover, the latest version of Sophos Endpoint Security and Data Protection offers increased performance and protection features, keeping users and the network secure and more data safe.

Pat Patterson, Information Security Architect of Raymond James said: "The explosion of smartphones and tablets, and especially the applications for these mobile devices, has pushed the presence of our corporate data even further out of the corporate data centre. The ability to protect our clients by maintaining security controls around this data is critical for businesses, especially financial services companies".

Qakbot-Driven Theft of Data on 210,000 US Unemployed

Reports that that personal details of around 210,000 unemployed people in the state of Massachusetts have been stolen because of a Qakbot worm infection show that multi-layered security - harnessing the power of enhanced firewalls and intrusion technologies - is now needed.

According to Idappcom's Ray Bryant, the data security specialist's chief executive officer, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reportedly spotted the worm on its systems several weeks ago and took what it thought was remedial action.

"Now almost four weeks later, the agency has realised the worm has reappeared on its systems, and the data - which includes a variety of sensitive personal information on newly-unemployed people - has clearly been put at risk for that period," he said.

"What's interesting - and quite sad from a security perspective - is that the state agency clearly had the technology to detect the presence of the worm on its systems, and its IT staff took action to remove the malware from their computers. Unfortunately, he went on to say, as happens so often with the latest iterations of malware like Qakbot - which at its height last summer was stealing 2GB of confidential data a week ( - the worm came back with a vengeance, and the IT security people were unable to spot this.

The Idappcom CEO explained that this illustrates the need for multiple layers of protection in an era when cybercriminals are getting extraordinarily clever at evolving existing malware, as well as developing new and multi-vectored threats,

And whilst the reasons for the re-infection will no doubt be reported on once the agency has completed its investigation, Bryant says that the take-out from this is that the increasing complexity of threats is a rising problem - as are the cunning delivery methods used by cybercriminal.

Social networking, he says, may be the latest buzzword, but good old fashioned back doors are still an easy entry point for many hackers to deliver immediately actionable threats and `sleepers' - or perhaps worse - both at the same time.

This, says Bryant, is the most likely problem in this case: a threat delivered which may have been deliberately open for detection but at the same time deliver sleepers in several places, perhaps in the registry or using an `update' to Internet Explorer that is loaded with malware.

These old tricks, he explained, are still very relevant. The methods used to counter these attacks centre around effective procedures, excellent housekeeping and the training of staff, along with desktop protection and ensuring that devices are patched and not infected.

Constant configuration, audit and testing defences - and updating with security signatures that look at vulnerabilities - is now an essential part of the IT security process, he explained.

FIME and Barnes Launch Qualified MasterCard Card Personalisation Validation Tool

The first MasterCard qualified test tool that meets its latest card personalisation validation (CPV) requirements has been brought to market by FIME and Barnes International in a joint initiative. The PersevalPRO Issuer test tool allows issuers to accurately and efficiently prepare for the MasterCard CPV certification process. This reduces a product's time to market by eliminating costly and time consuming issues arising during the final certification stage.

The product incorporates the latest card personalisation functionality and security requirements issued by MasterCard on 25 March 2011, and it is the first to achieve qualification from the payment system.

FIME will use the test tool within its global ISO 17025 accredited laboratories when delivering consulting services for customers requiring MasterCard CPV compliance, by continually evaluating the alignment of a card to these most recently stipulated standards throughout the development process. It will also use PersevalPRO Issuer within its official capacity as an approved MasterCard laboratory to generate the test results required for a product to achieve MasterCard certification.

Banks, card manufacturers and personalisation bureaux are additionally able to purchase and use the tool independently to test a product's adherence to MasterCard standards prior to official certification.

Vincent Poty, Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at FIME, comments: "FIME's extensive knowledge of CPV requirements and Barnes' long history of building MasterCard testing tools enabled us to work resourcefully together to develop and launch a comprehensive test solution. The tool has been designed to facilitate updates on new or changed test scenarios as and when required".

COMPRION Joins GlobalPlatform

COMPRION GmbH, a leading producer of test equipment for smartcard-based interfaces, has become a member of GlobalPlatform. As a Participating Member, COMPRION will contribute to all aspects of GlobalPlatform's Card Committee, be included in any on-going participation, where it will work to define neutral specifications for the deployment and management of multiple embedded applications on secure chip technology.

COMPRION will also have the opportunity to take part in the association's compliance program and, if successful, can become an accredited GlobalPlatform test tool provider. The program is central to satisfying the industry's desire of developing an open and evaluated compliance ecosystem of qualified products, test tool suppliers and test laboratories.

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