4.8.19 Your morning briefing

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The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:

Domain attacks
PayPal, Santander, Netflix, Uber and Gmail are among the targets of Domain Name System attacks that route consumers to fraudulent websites, where they can be subject to phishing attacks.

The attackers are abusing Google's cloud computing service, reports Ars Technica, which adds some of the attack waves are still active.

DNS servers translate readable domain names into the IP addresses that computers use to communicate. The attackers have been using Google's cloud to spot vulnerable routers, then use the Google platform to send code that forces the routers to use fake DNS servers. Crooks are increasingly using DNS attacks, because most prevailing security has not caught up with the sophistication of the criminal schemes.
Merger suit
A First Data shareholder has filed a suit against Fiserv's $22 billion deal to buy First Data, contending the acquisition unfairly benefits First Data's KKR private equity investors ahead of First Data's other investors.

Investor Alan Skulsky is the plaintiff, and the suit seeks damages, and claims the defendants filed an incomplete proxy statement with the SEC. Fiserv's shareholder meeting to approve the merger is April 18, and First Data's shareholders have until April 11 to consent.

KKR took First Data private in 2007, and First Data's technology-driven diversification has boosted KKR's earnings over the past two years. Fiserv hopes the acquisition will allow it to pair card issuing and merchant acquiring to combat relatively younger fintechs.

Playing in the sand
The intersection of payments automation and PSD2's data sharing rules are attracting fintechs to build and test compliance technology, which has also led to a proliferation of testing and collaborative environments, or sandboxes.

Coventry Building Society just opened its PSD2 sandbox, with a particular focus on how APIs can be used to match payment services with financial management and mortgage services.

A link to third party apps is "tantalizingly" out of reach, but can be achieved through testing and collaboration, Coventry said in a release.

Boost for digital ID
There are numerous digital ID projects underway in both public and private sectors as parties attempt to build a federated interoperable identity system that can improve security and integrate payments, banking and other business services, and support financial inclusion.

The Philippines is accelerating its national ID program, and is vetting Estonia companies to provide the technology behind the system, reports Businessworld, which adds Estonia is home to developers with expertise in e-government services such as digital tax returns.

The Philippine system will include data collection of name, gender, age, blood type and biometrics such as iris and fingerprint scans.

Cooking with gas
Russian gas company Gazprom is adding a distributed ledger to manage a range of activities, including calculating and monitoring payments and contracts.

Alexey Miller, Gazprom's CEO, said the project with start with major industrial clients and would expand form there, reports Coindesk.

Russia has also experimented with blockchain as a way to avoid western payment networks, and it also allegedly had a hand in developing Venezuela's state cryptocurrency.

From the Web

Mobile Lending App Branch Partners With Visa, Announces $170 Million In Fresh Funding
Forbes | Sun April 7, 2019 - Fintech startup Branch International, which assesses creditworthiness using smartphone data, has raised $170 million in Series C financing and announced a new partnership with Visa. Foundation Capital and Visa led the round, which also included B Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Formation 8 and Trinity Ventures.

10 Passes to Go: Bitcoin’s Lightning Torch Will Soon Burn Out
CoinDesk | Fri April 5, 2019 - Bitcoin’s lightning torch will soon burn out, putting an end to a global payments experiment that has seen participation from hundreds of recipients, from tech luminaries like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to users in countries cut off from parts of the world by economic sanctions.

China's march to be the world's first cashless society
The Straits Times | Mon April 8, 2019 - China, the nation that introduced the world to banknotes, is now setting the pace in the competition to become the first cashless society. The central bank and other financial authorities have announced they want to spread the benefits of going cashless to the four out of 10 people in China who still live in rural areas.

More from PaymentsSource

U.K.'s real-time payments experience is a warning to others
The speed of technological change is forcing Britain’s retail payments authority Pay.UK to redesign its core infrastructure.

Credit unions urged to join fintechs to keep digital natives
While many financial institutions are feeling competitive pressures from fintechs, a former Mastercard and Fiserv senior executive called on credit unions to collaborate with fintechs as a way to keep their tech-savviest members.

Bento adds Visa for SMB expense platform
Bento for Business has added Visa to its purchasing card platform for small and midsize businesses.

Connected devices leave a disconnect for payment security
Financial organizations are under more pressure than ever before, with the security of assets at constant risk from attack. This pressure is amplified by the requirement for a more sustainable infrastructure, increased efficiencies and reduced environmental impact.

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