Morning Brief 8.31.20: Hackers target MoneyGram and Braintree, demanding bitcoin

Register now

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

Bitcoin extortion

Hackers have targeted several high-profile companies over the past few days, including Tesla, MoneyGram, Braintree and its Venmo subsidiary.

Braintree (a unit of PayPal) and MoneyGram were subject to distributed denial of service attacks with the hackers demanding bitcoin as extortion, reports ZDNet. Similar hacks hit the New Zealand Stock Exchange, which periodically halted trading for three consecutive days last week.

DDoS-for-bitcoin attacks have increased in severity because the hackers are ramping up assaults on backend infrastructure and APIs, causing prolonged disruption.

SMB Play and KeyBank are collaborating on a centralized platform designed to combine several small-business payment and financial services, part of the trend of technology company and bank partnerships that have grown out of open banking.

Called Key CashFlow, the platform supports B2B transactions, manages approvals digitally and integrates with accounting software. It will also link to's Connect payment gateway.

By partnering with technology firms, banks are trying to add speed to business tools that can aid in recovery.

What's a gigawatt?

Bitcoin mining's electric consumption has been an issue for years, enough to impact mainstream broadband networks and cause general environmental concern.

Mining has reached a record in 2020, at 7.46 GW thus far, reports Engadget, citing research from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance. That's the equivalent of 600 wind turbines or 1.5 nuclear power plants (and enough to power 3 round trips between 1985 and 1955).

It's also profitable for the miners. The cost to mine a single bitcoin is about $7,500, meaning the average miner makes about $4,000 in profit, Engadget reports.

Apple on board

South Western Railway has added support for Apple Pay, a step designed to link ticketing to transactions at nearby merchants while eliminating paper tickets.

The railroad, which operates a mix of longer routes and commuter trains to London, is one of the first U.K. operators to add Apple Pay, reports Rail Business Daily. But the app has become more widespread on metro systems over the past two years.

The London Underground has supported all three major mobile wallets for years and transit systems in the U.S., such as New York's MTA, have deployed Apple Pay as part of broader projects to sunset closed loop payment systems.

From the web

As fintech upends banking, Japan regulator expects more cross-boundary tie-ups
REUTERS | Sunday Aug 30, 2020
Japan will likely see more financial tie-ups that extend beyond traditional boundaries similar to those signed between internet banking giant SBI Holdings Inc and regional banks, the country's senior financial regulator said.

India’s Reliance Retail to acquire Future Group’s units for $3.4 billion
TECHCRUNCH | Saturday Aug 29, 2020
Reliance Retail, India’s largest retail chain, has found a much simpler way to expand its dominant position in the country: Acquire most of the second largest bricks-and-mortar retailer.

Facebook pilot program linking its users’ news subscriptions could cut down on password fatigue
THE VERGE | Saturday Aug 29, 2020
Facebook says it’s now testing a feature that will help reduce how often you have to log in to news sites, allowing paying news subscribers to link their Facebook accounts to their subscriptions.

More from PaymentsSource

Extra creativity is needed to help businesses manage coronavirus' liquidity crisis
A variety of new tools and strategies are emerging to manage payroll, billing, balances and cash management, says Bank of America's Karen Ly.

Coronavirus, data security changing how teachers handle classroom expenses
When the coronavirus pandemic forced teachers and students to move classroom learning online this year, school districts and educators suddenly faced a raft of challenges around handling new expenses for tools needed for cyber education.

Ex-Bank of America employees allege ‘extreme pressure' to sell credit cards
Seeking to avoid a repeat of the phony-accounts scandal at Wells Fargo, U.S. regulators in late 2016 opened examinations of the sales practices at other big banks.

Capital One cuts card spending limits amid impasse in jobless aid
Capital One Financial is cutting borrowing limits on credit cards, reining in its exposure as the U.S. reduces support for millions of unemployed Americans.

Mastercard testing cashierless checkout at convenience stores, drive-throughs
Mastercard is entering the cashierless checkout fray with a spate of pilots it’s launching at convenience stores and drive-through QSRs including Circle K, Dunkin’ and White Castle.

Banks, fintechs and the government all must act to protect cash
As people and businesses quickly move to digital payments and away from cash, there's a big question. If the move to cashlessness is hurting so many, who is responsible for making sure innovation doesn’t come at the cost of inclusion?

How real-time payments erased borders for coronavirus-era commerce
With consumers and merchants alike sharing the need to be paid faster, the case for adopting real-time payments globally has quickly advanced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus has rendered manual invoicing totally obsolete
The need to quickly streamline business payments isn’t possible through manual processing, says Medius’ Daniel Saraste.

5 ways COVID-19 has changed back-to-school shopping
For the parents of K-12 children heading back to school or young adults going back to college, this year is quite different. Many of the country’s major K-12 school systems are going to a remote learning environment for the fall, such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago; or are using a hybrid model of remote and in-person learning. Similarly, colleges are also weighing a combination of remote, hybrid and in-person learning options, all of which will have an impact on this year’s back-to-school shopping season.

Coronavirus has heightened the stakes for digital fraud prevention
Nearly six months into the coronavirus pandemic it’s well known, and broadly reported, that the payments industry is dealing with exploding card-not-present (CNP) fraud, the proverbial elephant in the room.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.