08 February 2015

Tech News Week Review: Anthem Hack, Ransomware, Mobile Payments, Xiaomi, Micromax

Chinese State-Sponsored Hackers Suspected in Anthem Attack - Bloomberg Business: "(Bloomberg) -- Investigators of Anthem Inc.’s data breach are pursuing evidence that points to Chinese state-sponsored hackers who are stealing personal information from health-care companies for purposes other than pure profit, according to three people familiar with the probe. The breach, which exposed Social Security numbers and other sensitive details of 80 million customers, is one of the biggest thefts of medical-related customer data in U.S. history. China has said in the past that it doesn’t conduct espionage through hacking.   The attack appears to follow a pattern of thefts of medical data by foreigners seeking a pathway into the personal lives and computers of a select group -- defense contractors, government workers and others, according to a U.S. government official familiar with a more than year-long investigation into the evidence of a broader campaign...."

How Ransomware Works, and Why You Should Be Afraid | MIT Technology Review: ".... It is hard for malware to spread on mobile devices, because most people download software only from official app stores. Simplocker is typically spread through downloads of apps from pornography websites. The best way to keep ransomware off your computer, experts say, is to follow best practices by keeping software updated, using antivirus and other security software, and being careful about where you click and what you install. Backing up data on a separate hard drive or using a cloud service could save you from being held for ransom if an infection does occur. “Ransomware could be just a minor nuisance if people could just restore the data from the backup,” says Lipovsky. However, like other security researchers, he is resigned to discovering many more cases of ransomware in coming months. “Even though the advice is quite simple, lots of people don’t listen to it.”

New Technologies Shake Up Old Money | MIT Technology Review: "... “The smartphone is the catalyst for a lot of change in this industry,” says Dana Stalder, a venture capitalist with Matrix Partners and a former eBay and ­PayPal executive now on the board of Poynt, which recently introduced a smart credit card terminal. Venture capitalists invested over $2 billion in payment technology firms between January 2013 and June 2014, according to the data tracking firm CB Insights...."

How Smartphone Brands You've Never Heard Of Are Taking Over India And China: "domestic brands like India’s Micromax and China’s Xiaomi have manufactured relatively good smartphones that retail for less than $200. In India, for example, Canalys estimated that nearly a quarter of the smartphones sold in the fourth quarter cost less than $100, while 41 percent were between $100-$200. Xiaomi’s latest Redmi Note 4G costs 999 yuan (about $160); its popular Redmi sells for only about $100 in India."

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