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April 24, 2015

Here are the selections Tech Talk Editors George Milner and Teri Wesley have collected from this week's tech news:
  • Protecting cyber networks
  • Perpetual banking pests
  • ATM hackers hit the jackpot
  • Tech boosts banking
  • It's all about the App
  • Real-time payments: the reality
  • Hybrid banks on the horizon
  • Digital funds insured
  • Easy-to-crack passwords
  • Spam, Scams & Breaches
  • Updates, Patches and Alerts
  • and on the lighter side...
Protecting cyber networks
To help companies fend off the growing number of cyber attacks, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a cyber information-sharing bill this week that would provide liability protections to companies that voluntarily share cyberattack information and cyberthreat indicators with each other and the federal government. The Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA) will allow companies to enhance the monitoring of users' online activity and share activity that may present as possible hacking threats. CSO has more details on the new bill and the controversy it is sparking over privacy concerns.

Perpetual banking pests
This week one of the largest gatherings of IT security professionals and companies in the world took place at the annual RSA security conference in San Francisco, CA. Cybersecurity was the hot topic at this year's event – from the latest trends to the best strategies for combating current and future threats. According to the annual Top Banking Botnets threat analysis released by enterprise security firm Dell SecureWorks, banking botnets continue to plague the financial industry. Help Net Security has more on these persistent threats and a link to the full report.

ATM hackers hit the jackpot
In its recent ATM crime report, the European ATM Security Team (EAST) reported a decrease in ATM-fraud related incidents but an increase in overall losses. For the first time, this analysis included data on ATM malware-related cash out or "jackpotting" attacks, citing 51 incidents with related losses of 1.23 million euros ($1.3 million) in Western Europe. Jackpotting at an ATM involves the installation of malware that enables criminals to send remote commands to the infected ATM to dispense cash. ATM Marketplace has more on how hackers hit the jackpot at ATMs by deploying this attack method and how to prevent it.

Tech boosts banking
Technology has contributed to the growth of banking according to a recent World Bank Group Global Findex report. In the last three years, 700 million people became new bank or other financial account holders, reports USA Today. The report also revealed the number of unbanked adults globally dropped by half a billion from 2011 to 2014. Leading global payments provider Visa wants to further increase universal financial access for another half a billion underserved consumers within the next five years. has the details.

It's all about the App
The ubiquitous catchphrase "There's an app for that" played a large role in Apple's advertising initiatives around the iPhone and other iOS devices when they coined the tagline in 2009. Today, there's an app for just about everything – and apps are playing a big role in banking. A recent survey conducted by research firm SNL Financial revealed that banking apps go a long way in how banks score in the mobile game, particularly with the millennial generation, reports CNBC.

Real-time payments: the reality
Technology has driven consumers to covet goods and services on-demand, and businesses to develop ways to meet those demands. The financial industry is on track to see that financial transactions keep up with the speed of the instant economy with real-time payments. Banking Technology has the details. In addition to a new infrastructure, a real-time payments system will require banks to upgrade or replace their systems. A Federal Reserve task force on faster payments will address those challenges, reports Banking Technology.

Hybrid banks on the horizon
A hybrid is defined as something that is formed by combining two or more distinctive things, as in the increasingly popular hybrid vehicles that combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors. Another more relevant banking example is the newly formed partnership between one of the country's largest traditional lenders, Citi, and the online peer-to-peer platform Lending Club. As banks look for new ways to expand the scope of their markets, the industry may see more of these hybrid banks in the future, reports FierceFinanceIT.

Digital funds insured
The digital wallet race has been heating up with new players Apple Pay and the upcoming Samsung Pay giving other payment providers a run for their money. Google Wallet has gained a competitive edge over its contenders – and possibly banks – with its move to protect its users' money. Google Wallet funds are now being placed in FDIC-insured banks, affording users the same protections as traditional banks in the event Google goes bust. IT World has the details.

Easy-to-crack passwords
When it comes to passwords, contrary to popular belief, longer and more complex passwords may not be safer. A group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have published a paper that reveals the weaknesses in long passwords with different technical requirements, and how those weaknesses can be exploited by criminals. The team even went so far as to develop a password-cracking tool to prove their point. Forbes has the details and some tips to keep in mind when establishing password policies for your staff and customers.

Updates, Patches and Alerts...
Susan Orr

in a 2-hour
LIVE Webinar

Technological Advances to Improve Security - What's Available

May 14, 2015

When implementing new technology to improve efficiencies, stay competitive, and enhance customer service, too often we rush to market with these new advances without properly identifying the risks associated with the technology or the security and controls needed to mitigate those risks. Join Susan Orr as she provides an overview of some of the latest technologies banks are implementing as well as the associated risks and the controls to mitigate those risks, and increase productivity.

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On the lighter side...
Earth Day was observed this week as a reminder to take care of our planet and to be environmentally friendly. For the geek in all of us, there are cool tech gadgets that can help you go green all year round.

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