Thursday, April 23, 2009

Amex Net Profit Drops 56% in Q1

News Alert
from The Wall Street Journal

American Express posted a 56% drop in first-quarter net income as write-offs climbed, a trend the company expects will continue in the current quarter.

The card company, which was approved in November for bank-holding status to participate in the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, posted net income of $437 million, or 31 cents a share, down from $991 million, or 85 cents a share, a year earlier.

Chief Executive Kenneth I. Chenault said the company intends to repay the government's investment of preferred shares and warrants if permitted by its supervisors and supported by stress-test results.
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Microsoft Profit Drops 32%...Amazon UP 24%

Technology Alert
from The Wall Street Journal

Microsoft reported its profit dropped 32% and revenue fell 5.8% in its third quarter, stung by slumping PC sales and weakness across its business lines. The software giant said it sees weakness continuing at least through the current quarter.

Amazon said first-quarter profit grew 24% to $177 million, citing strong Kindle sales as it bucked the retail slump. Revenue was up 18%, with particular strength in the Internet retailer's consumer-electronics business.

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Heartland Breach...Now More than 600 Banks Impacted

Heartland Data Breach: More Than 600 Institutions Impacted
Heartland Data Breach Update: Now More Than 600 Institutions Impacted
Bermuda, Canada and Guam Now Report Effects from Breach

Bermuda, Canada and Guam All Report Effects from Breach

If your institution has been affected in the Heartland breach and you are not on this list, please send an email to

Include your name, email, and a phone number where you may be contacted for verification.

Heartland Payment Systems data breach coverage

Following is the latest up-to-date list of institutions impacted by the Heartland breach and - where available - the total number of cards compromised:

Click Here to See the Institutions Affected

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Telephone Fraud Fears Bigger than PC Fraud

Banking / Finance News
Source: PCWorld
Complete item:

Computer fraud may be a big problem for banks today, but the telephone is becoming a critical tool for fraudsters, bank executives say.

In addition to calling customers about suspicious transactions, banks use SMS (Short Message Service) to request that customers contact them. So, fraudsters have begun using a variety of techniques to try to trick the banks into thinking they're communicating with legitimate customers via the telephone. "Call-center authentication is, to me, the biggest pain point right now," said Stan Szwalbenest, remote channel risk director with JP Morgan Chase, speaking at the RSA conference in San Francisco this week.

Editor's Note:  HomeATM has developed an outstanding application whereby a mobile user can connect our PCI 2.0 certified device to ANY mobile phone, swipe their card, enter their PIN "ONE TIME" disconnect our device and the phone can then be used as a "secure" payment device henceforth.  More on this later...


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Cybersecurity - White House Must Lead

Hathaway: White House Must Lead in Cybersecurity
Scant on Detail, Speech Points to Future Policy
webinar imageObama administration cybersecurity advisor Melissa Hathaway, in her much anticipated speech before the RSA Conference on Wednesday, suggested that the findings of a study she submitted Friday to President Obama calls for cybersecurity policy to be run from the White House.

> Read the entire article

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Obama: "Credit Card Fine Print not Fine"

Obama pledges protections for credit-card users
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Thursday his administration is determined to get a credit-card law that eliminates tricky fine print, sudden rate increases and late fees that give millions of consumers headaches.

"I trust that those in the industry who want to act responsibly will engage with us in a constructive fashion, and that we're going to get this done in short order," Obama said, delivering a pointed message to leading executives of credit-card issuing companies seated at his side.

Both the House and the Senate are pursuing bills to give consumers greater protections. Obama said his economic advisers will examine the various proposals and work with Congress and the industry, but he made clear he intends to sign a law.

At issue is how to protect consumers, particularly in a severe recession, while not imposing the kind of rules that could make it harder for banks to offer credit or put credit out of reach for many borrowers. Industry advocates are wary of those consequences and hopeful Obama will listen.

Obama outlined the principles he wants in any legislation: Protections so that consumers won't face sudden, surprising jumps in fees; requirements that companies publish their forms in plainspoken language, with no more fine print; the availability of customer-friendly comparison shopping on credit-card offers; and greater enforcement so that violators feel the "full weight" of the law.

The president also acknowledged the importance of credit cards; almost 80 percent of U.S. households have one. Credit cards often serve as a vital source of liquidity, both for individuals and small businesses.

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Online Finance Conference June 16th in London

Banking / Finance News
Source: fstech
Complete item:

FST Magazine ( is proud to announce its annual Online Finance Conference on: Tuesday, 16 June 2009 at the IoD Hub in London.

The world is moving online, but change brings both opportunities and challenges. Fundamental to this are the customers, and whether their relationship with technology will also change their perception of value and trust. From perspective of financial services companies, there are questions about how technology can defend access,protect privacy and expand upon the service offered.

This one-day conference looks at the challenges facing CTOs, CIOs, CISOs and online professionals. It provides a comprehensive overview of the most urgent issues facing the financial services industry and the correct strategies to cope with Online Payment, Payment Security, Mobile Payment, Customer Behaviour,and Online Fraud, in what is an increasing hostile cyber-world.

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Give Me Free ID Theft Service Say 60% of Online Bank Users

60% of Online Banking Users Want Free ID Theft Services - MarketingVOX
Consumers wishing to keep closer tabs on personal finances, and aggressive moves by banks to acquire new business, caused continued growth in the number of US online banking customers throughout 2008, according to comScore's annual review of the online banking industry.

The April 2009 comScore State of Online Banking report, based on passively observed online behavioral data from the comScore Online Bank Benchmarker and a 2009 survey of nearly 5,000 US online banking customers, provides insights into service usage, customer satisfaction, personal financial management and paperless banking.

Key findings are highlighted below (courtesy of MarketingCharts).

Top Online Banks Continue to Acquire Customers

After several years of strong growth in the use of online banking at the top-10 banks, the second half of 2007 showed the first signs of softness as sequential quarterly growth rates fell below 1%. This growth rate rebounded somewhat in 2008 as banks became more aggressive in their online banking customer acquisition efforts.

Profit Not in the Cards for Chase in Q1


JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced its Card Services unit lost $547 million during the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $609 million during the same quarter a year earlier. Revenues for the unit were $5.1 billion, up 30.8% compared with revenues of $3.9 billion for the first quarter of 2008. The revenue gains were offset by a sharp increase in charge-offs and lower income from credit card fees, the company said.

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2004 Fraud vs. 2009 Fraud

RSA: Cybercriminals keeping up with banking safeguards - SC Magazine US

Threats are becoming more sophisticated, and cybercriminals are getting smarter at evading new authentication controls, according to an RSA Conference panel of security practitioners representing three major financial institutions.

Members of the panel, comprising experts at Bank of America, PayPal and JPMorganChase, agreed Wednesday that the burden is on them to secure their systems for customers -- many of whom are being greeted with slick new attempts to take over accounts. Securing systems includes implementing a defense-in-depth approach that offers multifactor authentication on the front end and fraud detection capabilities on the back end, the panelists said.  Editor's Note:  How about KISS?  Get rid of username: password: and replace it with 2FA SafeTPIN. Cloned site threat...gone, phishing threats, elminated, DNS Cache Poisoning(see below)...cured, stolen account numbers, useless without the PIN.  It's 2009 and it's time...

"The bad guys invested in a spell checker," joked David Shroyer, senior vice president at Bank of America's Online Security and Enrollment division. "I'd love to combat phishing in 2004 versus what we're facing today."  Editor's Note:  Exactly my point (2002 was a different lifetime when it came to combating fraud) in yesterday's post: And You Say You Want Software PIN Debit?

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More on DNS Cache Poisoning.... See Yesterday's "PIN Payments News" Post  "Name Your Poison and Cache In"

Source: EWeek
Complete item: Report-Claims-DNS-Cache-Poisoning-Attack-Against-Brazilian-Bank

An unsubstantiated report claims that a successful DNS cache poisoning attack was conducted recently against Banco Bradesco, a Brazilian bank.  The reports are in Portuguese. This Google translation explains it in typically clumsy, broken English.

The actual DNS cache belonged to Brazilian ISP NET Virtua. DNS cache poisoning is an attack against DNS servers, usually through a vulnerability in the DNS software, allowing the attacker to change the IP addresses that users receive. In this case, they changed the entries for the Bradesco servers, redirecting users to a malicious Bradesco look-alike server. The same attack also poisoned the entries for Google's Adsense servers, with the purpose of installing a Trojan on the users' systems.

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