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November 4, 2011

Welcome to Tech Talk!
Here are the selections Tech Talk Editors George Milner and Teri Wesley have collected from this week's tech news:

  • Blocking skimmers
  • Next generation bank robbers
  • Hands-free payments
  • Mobile banking on the rise
  • Luck ran out for cyber gang
  • Banks vulnerable to attacks
  • Payout promised by phishers
  • Stealing, shopping & shipping
  • No pain, more gain
  • Spam, Scams & Breaches
  • Updates, Patches and Alerts...
  • and on the lighter side...
  • Get the details below.
    Blocking skimmers
    In football, offensive linemen and fullbacks are responsible for blocking the defensive players from the ball carrier or the quarterback as he attempts to pass or hand-off the ball. M&T Bank has designed a new anti-skimming device, appropriately called the "Blocker," for blocking criminals from placing card readers on ATMs to skim data, and they're willing to share their invention with the ATM and banking industry. Get the details at Bank Systems & Technology.

    Next generation bank robbers
    Traditional bank robbers don disguises and in many cases carry weapons, and announce to bank staff that it's a heist - either verbally or with a demand note. The next generation of bank robbers are after more than just cold hard cash and they are walking right in and taking what they want from banks with sophisticated social engineering tactics. IT World shares one security team's methods for helping banks assess their risk from these professional bank robbers and reveals just how shockingly easy it can be for thieves to get their hands on your sensitive information.

    Hands-free payments
    Ten years ago Elton John released a song with the lyrics "look ma no hands....ain't life grand." This week, mobile payment startup Square released a hands-free payment option that allows consumers to shop (at participating Square merchants) without taking out a credit card or even their phone. "Card Case" is an app that identifies the store within a 100 ft range and opens the consumer's tab automatically. When the registered consumer is ready to make his/her purchase, the consumer's picture displays at the POS terminal, charges the consumer's account, and sends a receipt to their mobile device. CNET has the details.

    Mobile banking on the rise
    Like adding yeast to bread mix, the growing use of smartphones and investments in mobile technology are spurring a rise in mobile banking. Digital tracking firm comScore released an analysis of their survey conducted in June on mobile financial services usage in the U.S. The survey revealed that 32.5 million Americans accessed mobile banking information on their devices in the 2nd quarter this year. Banking apps were reportedly used by 12.7 million mobile users, an increase of 45 percent over the 4th quarter of 2010. Bank Systems & Technology has more results from the survey that shows the time is ripe to pick up mobile customers at your institution.

    Luck ran out for cyber gang
    Is the number thirteen unlucky? It certainly was for the thirteen unlucky members of a sophisticated banking fraud gang who are trying their luck in prison thanks to the FBI and British authorities. The investigation, dubbed "Operation Lath," netted multiple arrests within an organized network of cybercriminals using trojan applications to steal online banking credentials, access bank accounts and transfer funds from the compromised accounts into accounts set up in the UK. Two of the gang's ringleaders have already been sentenced. InformationWeek has the story.

    Banks vulnerable to cyber attacks
    Cyber attacks are increasing yet less than half of the organizations who participated in Ernst & Young's 14th annual Global Information Security Survey feel the IT security function at their organization is adequate. Money is not always the primary goal in cyber attacks against banks and financial institutions. Not only do banks need to be especially vigilant against new and varied threats aimed to steal sensitive data, but data thieves may also target vendors or other third-party partners to gain access to a bank's network, reports Bank Systems & Technology. A data breach incident can have a significant impact on an organization or institution as revealed in a Websense "Security Pros and Cons" survey of IT managers.

    Payout promised by phishers
    Cyber criminals are casting a new wave of phishing emails in the U.S. and abroad designed to lure customers into surrendering their personal data and credit card details. The bogus emails attempt to reel recipients in with promises of cash bonuses for completing a customer survey or, in some cases, warning them their account has been suspended and verification of their identity is requested. Sophos has the details. During these tough economic times, consumers are more vulnerable to scams offering a payout. Help your customers avoid being hooked by data thieves by posting regular warnings and providing them with educational resources, such as the free identity theft prevention ebook Double Trouble offered by Identity Guard.

    Stealing, shopping and shipping
    Many Americans find themselves no longer "living the dream" and looking for ways to bring in or increase their income. Underground criminals are helping data thieves "cash out" on stolen card accounts by hiring unemployed (and often unsuspecting) Americans to purchase items online using compromised cards and ship the hot merchandise overseas. Krebs on Security reports on how these crime gangs are successfully pulling off scams that leave cardholders and hired hands in the red.

    No pain, more gain
    While customer service, account services and low fees go a long way in helping businesses and consumers decide which financial institution to take their business to, fraud-prevention capabilities may also be a deal breaker. An "Online Fraud Mitigation: Tools of the Trade" report released by independent research and advisory firm Aita Group revealed that prospective bank customers want assurance that a financial institution has measures in place to combat fraud, and are likely to take their business elsewhere if they don't. Bank Systems & Technology has more, including a link to Aite's report.


    The latest reports on spam, scams and breaches:
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    On the lighter side ...
    Remember when magicians pulled rabbits out of hats and sawed women in half? Now there are technoillusionists who combine magic with technology.
    Updates, Patches and Alerts...
    Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour on Sunday, November 6th, when Daylight Saving Time ends. Remember to adjust your vault times, check desktops, laptops, cell phones, cameras, security VCRs and any timed device that may not reset automatically.


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