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Jackpot: The U.S. Secret Service is warning banks about a form of ATM crime called "Jackpot," in which crooks install software and/or hardware to force machines to dispense cash, reports security writer Brian Krebs. The attacks, which began in Europe and have expanded to the U.S., involve physical access to machines followed by seizing control of the ATM's operations, removing cash and using "mules" to transport cash from different machines to the ring leaders. Diebold Nixdorf told Krebs it has alerted consumers about the potential attacks, confirming the attacks are targeting front-loaded cash machines. Krebs reports ATMs running on Windows XP are particularly vulnerable, and the Secret Service has urged ATM operators to upgrade to a version of Windows 7, which is less prone to this type of attack.

IMAGE: Getty Images

Open to competition: U.K.'s Link ATM network is seeking Expressions of Interest for a contract of up to 10 years to provide ATM switching and settlement services. It's the first time the contract has been open to a competitive bidding process, and covers technology tied to new processing needs. VocaLink currently holds the contract, but that has come up for some regulatory pressure after Mastercard's acquisition of Link last year.

A 'bit' of travel: Big companies like Stripe and Visa are moving away from bitcoin, but the cryptocurrency is still finding takers who want to support the cryptocurrency for payments, as opposed to an investment asset. Australia's Brisbane Airport will allow duty free payments at airport stores and vendors in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, dash, ether and others, reports local newswire CCN. The airport is partnering with TravelbyBit, a cryptocurrency payment company.

Swift response: Nearly 90% of Swift users have complied with the requirement to self-attest their level of compliance with Swift's new and mandatory security controls, which went into effect Dec. 31. That covers 99% of all messages over the network, coverage which should increase shortly as most of the other financial institutions are in the process of reaching compliance, rather than holding out, according to Swift. The controls were put into place to improve defenses against cyber attacks, and follow a series of hacks that exploited the Swift network over the past couple of years.

Bubbles everywhere: Nobel Prize winning economist and Yale University professor Robert Shiller has joined the list of financial public figures to trash bitcoin, telling CNBC there are "bubbles everywhere" and bitcoin will "likely collapse." Shiller also said there is "no value" unless there is a common consensus that is has value. He also compared bitcoin to the Dutch tulip bubble of the 1640s, only bitcoin may be worse because people still buy tulips, while there's chance bitcoin may be forgotten in a few years (he also said it's possible bitcoin may still exist 100 years from now).

From the Web

Japan's SoftBank hatches plan to take on PayPal
The Times | Sun Jan 28, 2018 - SoftBank, the Japanese technology colossus, is studying an audacious plan to create a global digital payments system that could take on PayPal, Apple Pay and China’s Alipay. The investment giant — led by maverick billionaire dealmaker Masayoshi Son — has evolved into the world’s most aggressive investor in new technologies. Its $100bn (£70bn) Vision Fund, a partnership with the government of Saudi Arabia, has started to hoover up many of the most promising tech start-ups in Silicon Valley. It bought British chip designer Arm Holdings for £24bn in 2016. The latest plan would see SoftBank challenge attempts by the technology giants to tighten their grip on the financial system, according to City sources.

More startup lawyers are accepting cryptocurrencies as payment
TechCrunch | Fri Jan 26, 2018 - A growing number of law firms working with startups are beginning to accept their payment in cryptocurrencies, according to a new report by the trade-focused outlet Law.com. The lawyers suggest that they increasingly have no choice. In order to land the growing number of businesses launched by cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, they have to show that they’re invested in what their clients are building. Often, too, the founders’ wealth has been accumulated in bitcoin, which makes it unavoidable.

Starbucks' Howard Schultz: A 'trusted' digital currency is coming, but it won't be bitcoin
CNBC | Fri Jan 26, 2018 - "One or a few legitimate" cryptocurrencies are coming, but bitcoin is not one of them, according to Starbucks' executive chairman and former CEO, Howard Schultz. "I don't believe that bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future," Schultz said, during a post-earnings conference call Thursday after the closing bell on Wall Street. (Shares of Starbucks were under pressure on Friday after another quarter of disappointing sales growth as holiday offerings failed to draw in customers.) Instead, Schultz told investors he sees potential in blockchain, the online ledger technology underlying digital currencies. "I'm talking about ... the possibility of what could happen — not in the near term, but in a few years from now — with a consumer application in which there's trust and legitimacy with regard to a digital currency."

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John Adams

John Adams

John Adams is Executive Editor of PaymentsSource.