Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SMS Hacking Among Newly Discovered Threats to Cell Phone Users

Visa messin' around with messaging as tool for fraud reduction and is launching an SMS notification service trial for card fraud detection in the UK...

According to

"The project involves the participation of the Visa staff in the UK and its network of member banks. The service sends SMS or email confirmation of card transactions to account holders' mobile phones each time their debit, credit or prepay card is used. The SMS include information on the time, location and amount involved in every transaction. The service can provide participating cardholders with updates via text message, mobile email or applications running on smartphones including the iPhone or Android-based devices, upon request.

Visa will test the service throughout the summer of 2009 and if the trial is successful, the company will offer the service to consumers and update it with new features including instant conversion into the user’s home currency while abroad. 

Editor's Note:  There is a cost involved with doing this, so don't expect this to be a free service. 

Source: The

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Report finds government vulnerable to cyber attacks
Story Highlights

  • Federal government should bolster cyber-security work force, report says
  • Paper recommends developing plan for recruiting, training, keeping experts
  • Report also recommends streamlining cumbersome federal hiring process
  • President Obama calls cyber security a top challenge; plans coordinator post
By Pam Benson CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The federal government is at risk of being unable to fight off attacks on the nation's computer networks unless it strengthens its cyber-security work force, according to a report released Wednesday.
The nation's security could be in jeopardy because not enough workers are sufficiently trained to protect computer systems from hackers, criminals, terrorists and foreign governments, the Partnership for Public Service and consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton found after studying 18 federal agencies and interviewing experts inside and outside government.
President Obama has said the cyber threat is "one of the most serious economic and national security challenges" facing the nation.
In May he announced his intention to create the post of cyber-security coordinator to oversee "a new comprehensive approach to securing America's digital infrastructure."
"The overriding finding of our analysis is that our federal government will be unable to combat these threats without a more coordinated, sustained effort to increase cyber-security expertise in the federal work force," the report, titled "Cyber IN-Security," states.
The report cites four challenges facing the government: an inadequate supply of potential new information technology experts; uncoordinated leadership of cyber-security workers; a cumbersome hiring process that discourages people from seeking government jobs and fails to provide a career path for those who do; and hiring managers and human resource specialists who disagree on the quality of IT candidates.
The report recommends that the coordinator develop a strategy for recruiting, training and retaining cyber-security experts. The report also recommends the White House reach out to universities and the private sector to encourage Americans to develop technological skills, similar to what previous administrations did during the space race.
The study calls on the Office of Personnel and Management to fix the federal hiring process, create a cyber-security career path and expedite security clearances. It suggests Congress provide significant funding for training federal workers in "state of the art" technologies and for college scholarships in the cyber- security field.
Partnership for Public Service is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to building a better federal work force. Booz Allen Hamilton is a management consulting firm.

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Citibank Launches ePayment Service for Airlines

Citibank launches a new E-payment service for Airlines to pay service fees to Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Limited.

Citibank has announced the development of an E-payment channel for airlines to pay service fees to Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Limited. (AEROTHAI). AEROTHAI’s customers will now have access to an end-to-end, real-time service provided through CitiConnect, Citi’s web-based delivery platform. CitiConnect enables airlines and other AEROTHAI’s customers to make payments for air navigation and equipment rental fees directy to AEROTHAI 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This additional payment channel strengthens Citi’s initial payment channel offered for the Airports of Thailand PCL.
Through using one single platform, all airlines can now pay their major expenses online.

Mr. Peter Eliot, Citi Country Officer, Citibank, N.A. Thailand said “Citi continues to innovate and invest in products and services that provide benefits to customers and we continue to be the market leader in Thailand. This new e-payment channel provides Citi with the necessary services to strengthen our position in the airline industry and airlines benefit from reduced time spent on payment preparation and are able to concentrate on their core business activities.”

“We at Citi are proud to introduce this new service to our customers. As a leading transaction bank operating in 100 plus countries, we continue to customize tried and tested innovation in other markets and fit it to Thailand’s business needs. This helps our clients reduce their operational costs in a structured manner” says Sandip Patil, Head, Treasury and Trade solutions. “In the recent past, we have launched over a dozen such innovations and are working on few more to help our clients fight the recessionary pressure with a positive spin”.

AEROTHAI is a state enterprise providing air traffic control and aeronautical communication services for airlines and other customers. AEROTHAI bills customers and places invoices to Airlines after rendering services. Currently, airlines can make payments online to AEROTHAI on real-time basis through CitiConnect.

Citi stands as the leading one-stop E-payment service provider in this market. In Thailand Citi provides E-payment services for the Airports of Thailand PCL., the Revenue Department, the Customs Department, the Excise Department, and also other utilities operators through CitiConnect.

The service is FREE of CHARGE and now available at

For more information:
• Information and details of CitiConnect service call CitiService on 0-2232-3000
• Information and details from AEROTHAI call AEROTHAI’s Finance Department on 02-285-9299
For more details log on to

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140countries. Through its two operating units, Citicorp and Citi Holdings,Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutionswith a broad range of financial products and services, includingconsumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking,securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information maybe found at or
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Growing Threat to Business Online Banking

The Growing Threat to Business Banking Online

Federal investigators are fielding a large number of complaints from organizations that are being fleeced by a potent combination of organized cyber crooks abroad, sophisticated malicious software and not-so-sophisticated accomplices here in the United States, Security Fix has learned. The attacks also are exposing a poorly-kept secret in the commercial banking business: That companies big and small enjoy few of the protections afforded to consumers when faced with cyber fraud.

Earlier this month, I wrote about Bullitt County, Kentucky, which lost $415,000 after criminals planted malicious software on the county treasurer's PC. That rogue program allowed the crooks to initiate wire transfers to more than two dozen so-called "money mules," people duped into laundering the money and wiring it to the perpetrators in Ukraine.

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