10.18.17 Your morning briefing
The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the Web:
Undressing security: The desire to protect nude selfies may lead to better security for all. A new iOS app called Nude uses machine learning to detect nude photos and delete them from the iPhone's camera roll and iCloud storage, moving them to a PIN-protected vault in the process, The Verge reports. Though the app is advertised as a way to avoid scandal, it can also be used to guard sensitive financial information, such as photos of driver's licenses and passports, the company's founders say. And there is some real security insight involved — rather than send photos to the cloud for machine-learning analysis, the Nude app handles all analysis on the device itself. Privacy has proven a driver of security in the past; after 2014's leak of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities, Apple tightened up security of its iCloud storage service.
Put the phone away: Both Singapore and McDonald's have reputations for aggressively pursuing mobile technology, making a new Singapore McDonald's location a counter play. One of the city's largest McDonald's locations, at Marine Cove, is including a locker for people to place their phones and other digital devices while at the restaurant, ostensibly to give people a respite from being "plugged in" in a locale where mobile phones are used for parking, federated account opening, streamlined P-to-P transfers and myriad non-financial purposes. The locker holds up to 100 phones at a time, and follows McDonald's internal research that finds that 90% of people use their phones while eating with their families, reports CNN. The lockers will have old school keys and employees remind consumers to take their phones with them before they leave. Patrons will still have the option to pay through a variety of ways, including mobile, self-service options, traditional point of sale and table service.
Hack from the Hermit Kingdom: Hackers from inside North Korea are likely behind a malware and payment fraud attack on Far Eastern International Bank in Taiwan. The Wall Street Journal reports the hackers compromised the computer system that connects to the Swift international network and send fraudulent messages to transfer funds to overseas banks, reports the Journal, citing researchers from BEA. Researchers checked samples and found ransomware called Hermes, which may have been used to cover up the hack. The attackers transferred funds to Cambodia, the U.S. and Sri Lanka. The heist is believed to total about $60 million, though a portion of that has been recovered. The Taiwan hack is similar to a series of recent malware attacks that used the Swift network to funnel phoney transactions.
Can cryptocurrency put Kazakhstan on the fintech map? Astana International Financial Centre and investment company Exante are collaborating on a cryptocurrency market in Kazakhstan, which the two companies hope will position AIFC as a center for international fintech. Exante, which has invested in other blockchain projects, will launch Stasis, the exchange for the new currency, which will be backed by fiat from the Kazakhstan government, according to an announcement from Exante. Exante and AIFC will cooperate on regulations for the digital assets and will support the use of the underlying blockchain to power financial technology projects, similar to blockchain developers such as Ripple, which started as supports for virtual currency and expanded to working with banks to improve transactions such as cross-border payments.
From the Web
Lightspeed POS Receives Among the Largest Investments for a Canadian Startup
The Wall Street Journal | Tue Oct 17, 2017 - Lightspeed POS Inc., whose technology provides point-of-sale, cloud-based services for retailers, has raised about C$200 million ($160 million) in a new round of venture-capital funding, one of the biggest investments for a Canadian startup, according to people familiar with the matter. The people said the financing will give Lightspeed a valuation near C$1 billion, placing it close to a rare breed: a billion-dollar tech startup in Canada. The investment could also put it on track to file an IPO within the next two years, one of the people said. Lightspeed plans to use the new funds to pay off earlier investors, while adding cash to its treasury for growth, the person added. A Lightspeed spokesman declined to comment on the financing round. The Montreal-based company’s mobile point-of-sale and commerce software platform is used by more than 45,000 retailers in over 100 countries around the world to help manage inventory, provide sales analytics and assist with customer relations, according to its website.
IRS: Public-private crackdown slashes identity theft, tax refund fraud
USA Today | Tue Oct 17, 2017 - An IRS-tax industry crackdown is making progress in the battle against identity theft and tax refund fraud, officials said Tuesday as they announced plans for additional safeguards in 2018. Fewer federal tax returns linked to identity theft entered the tax system in 2016, and the number of taxpayers who said they'd been victimized also dropped, along with the number of fraudulent refunds issued, the officials said.Updating the results from the public-private effort launched in 2015, officials from the IRS, tax preparation firms, tax preparers and other industry leaders also unveiled plans for broader use of a 16-character security code on W-2 form tax forms and additional safeguards for the 2018 tax-filing season.
Senators bear down on credit reporting industry over data security
The Hill | Tue Oct 17, 2017 - Lawmakers from both parties are bearing down on the credit reporting industry in the wake of the Equifax data breach, grasping for answers on what firms will do in the future to better protect Americans’ data. Senators grilled a trade association representative for the consumer data industry during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday. Many expressed frustration that an industry able to profit off of consumer data has little incentive to safeguard that data from compromise and ensure it remains accurate. “Your clients basically take my data — personal information about me — without my permission and as a business model they sell it to businesses. I am not compensated,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) when questioning Andrew Smith, a counsel for the Consumer Data Industry Association. “If they lose my data as Equifax did, or if someone submits to them data that is an error that undermines my credit score, the bureaus have no obligation or interest right now to work with me to try to get the credit score correct,” Kennedy continued. Kennedy warned the industry that it needs to “step up” and propose specific reforms that would help better protect consumers in the event of future breaches.
More from PaymentsSource
Elavon adapts for the growing payment facilitator market
By turning itself into a pseudo payment facilitator as part of a new program, Elavon says it is in a better position to grow by offering services in a fast-growing sector.
Geopolitical turmoil will boost multi-currency accounts
Global uncertainty is resulting in more and more people beginning to look at the possible impact such issues have on their wealth and how they can mitigate this risk, writes Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group.
JPMorgan buying WePay, shifting fintech investment into high gear
JPMorgan Chase has made several investments in financial technology startups, but its plan to buy WePay will give its 4 million small-business clients a much more direct way to adopt digital payments.
Bringing Venmo to retail, PayPal yearns to unite its divided audience
PayPal's latest move to promote Venmo for retail payments may be the company's clearest admission of the limitations of the PayPal brand.
Swift sees momentum in speedy cross-border payments
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication says its Global Payments Innovation service surpassed two million cross-border payments during September.