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25 Million Android Phones Infected With Malware That ‘Hides In WhatsApp’

As many as 25 million Android phones have been hit with malware that replaces installed apps like WhatsApp with evil versions that serve up adverts, cybersecurity researchers warned Wednesday.

Dubbed Agent Smith, the malware abuses previously-known weaknesses in the Android operating system, making updating to the latest, patched version of Google’s operating system a priority, Israeli security company Check Point said.
Most victims are based in India, where as many as 15 million were infected. But there are more than 300,000 in the U.S., with another 137,000 in the U.K., making this one of the more severe threats to have hit Google’s operating system in recent memory.

The malware has spread via a third party app store 9apps.com, which is owned by China’s Alibaba, rather than the official Google Play store. Typically, such non-Google Play attacks focus on developing countries, making the hackers’ success in the U.S

Whilst the replaced apps will serve up malicious ads, whoever’s behind the hacks could do worse, Check Point warned in a blog. “Due to its ability to hide it’s icon from the launcher and impersonates any popular existing apps on a device, there are endless possibilities for this sort of malware to harm a user’s device,” the researchers wrote.

They said they’d warned Google and the relevant law enforcement agencies. Google hadn’t provided comment at the time of publication.

Typically the attack works as following: users download an app from the store – typically photo utility, games or adult themed apps (one called Kiss Game: Touch Her Heart is advertised with a cartoon of a man kissing a scantily clad woman). This app then silently installs the malware, disguised as a legitimate Google updating tool. No icon appears for this on the screen, making it even more surreptitious. Legitimate apps – from WhatsApp to the Opera browser and more – are then replaced with an evil update so they serve the bad ads. The researchers said the ads themselves weren’t malicious per se. But in a typical ad fraud scheme, every click on an injected advert will send money back to the hackers, as per a typical pay-per-click system.
There’s some indication that the attackers are considering moving to Google Play. The Check Point researchers said they’d found 11 apps on Google’s store that contained a “dormant” piece of the hackers software. Google swiftly took those apps down.

Check Point believes an unnamed Chinese company based in Guangzhou has been building the malware, whilst operating a business that helps Chinese Android developers promote their apps on overseas platforms.

Alibaba hadn’t responded to a request for comment on proliferation of malware on the 9apps platform at the time of publication.

What can you do?

So what can anxious Android owners do? Check Point’s head of cyber analysis and response, Aviran Hazum, said that if users experience advertisements displayed at odd times, such as when they open WhatsApp, they should take action. The legitimate WhatsApp, of course, does not serve ads.

First, go to Android settings, then the apps and notifications section. Next, got to the app info list and look for suspicious applications with names like Google Updater, Google Installer for U, Google Powers and Google Installer. Click into the suspicious application and choose to uninstall it.

Otherwise, staying away from unofficial Android app stores might help, given Google’s extra protections designed to prevent malware from getting on the site. Not that Google’s efforts always pay off. Earlier this week, a warning went out about an Android malware spreading over Google Play that was screen recording users banking sessions.

Walmart and giant US retailers turn up heat on Amazon and Google by calling for blockbuster antitrust investigation

Some of the biggest retailers in America have thrown their weight behind antitrust investigations into Amazon and Google.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which counts Walmart, Target, and Best Buy among its members, wrote a 10-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission, saying it would be happy to assist with regulatory probes.

The letter, which is dated June 30, outlines how the Association believes antitrust laws need to be adapted to accommodate big tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

In doing so, they could be hoping to capitalize on the growing hostility towards big tech in Washington D.C., where work is underway to investigate if the FAANG companies are abusing their market dominance.

“Our view is that modern antitrust enforcement needs to be driven by a greater recognition that control over information can drive anticompetitive effect just as much as market power and price control,” RILA wrote.

One of the main concerns raised in the letter is to do with tech giants controlling how people search online. “It should… be quite concerning to the Commission that Amazon and Google control the majority of all of Internet product search, and can very easily affect whether and how price and product information actually reaches customers,” the letter said.

RILA takes particular aim at Amazon for “degrad[ing] the consumer experience on its own platform,” and said the company “tends to deceive consumers” by pretending to sell directly from trusted brands, even when those brands choose to remain off the platform and their merchandise is being sold on by third-party sellers.

The letter also raises concerns over Amazon’s “anticompetitive uses of data.” Specifically, it points out that Amazon both amasses third-party sales data and sells its own products, which RILA said poses “clear antitrust concerns because of the unique characteristics of such a platform.”

Citing antitrust scholars at the University of Chicago, the letter said: “By selling logistics services to many of its sellers, Amazon gains an advantage when it wishes to launch a store brand. It can analyze data from its rivals to develop an entry plan against those sellers.”

At the end of the letter, RILA said it “stands ready to work with the Commission.” RILA’s vice president of innovation Nicholas Ahrens reiterated this sentiment in an interview with Bloomberg.

“It’s pretty clear to us that the FTC and different relevant regulators should be taking a much closer look at these platform companies,” said Ahrens. “We are here to help.”

The retailers’ letter turns up the heat on rivals like Amazon. Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is among those to have said that Amazon’s role as both marketplace and vendor is a prime reason for breaking up Jeff Bezos’ company.

Last month, reports emerged that the FTC and the Department of Justice have divided up the big tech companies between them for antitrust scrutiny. The FTC is said to have responsibility for Facebook and Amazon, while the DOJ is getting Google and Apple.

In response to RILA’s letter, an Amazon spokesman told Business Insider: “the retail market is fiercely competitive. Amazon represents less than 4% of U.S. retail. The vast majority of US retail sales – 90% — still occur in physical stores.”

Google was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.

Facebook had to invent a totally new programming language, Move, for its Libra cryptocurrency project

Last week, Facebook announced a brand new cryptocurrency of its own called Libra — an initiative that has already drawn the attention of Silicon Valley, government officials, and even astrologists.

Less noticed was the fact that Facebook also launched a new programming language to use with Libra, called Move. This language is specifically designed for blockchain transactions, and for developers to build apps that work with Libra. It’s still in its early stages, but the idea is that the Move programming language allows apps to move Libra coins from one account to another without being misplaced or duplicated.

“One of the things that’s powerful about Move is it’s very expressive,” Ben Maurer, tech lead for the Libra-focused Facebook subsidiary Calibra, told Business Insider. “Move can express things ranging from simple transactions like sending money to more complex transactions like how money is created and destroyed.”

Triton is the world’s most murderous malware, and it’s spreading


The rogue code can disable safety systems designed to prevent catastrophic industrial accidents. It was discovered in the Middle East, but the hackers behind it are now targeting companies in North America and other parts of the world, too.

As an experienced cyber first responder, Julian Gutmanis had been called plenty of times before to help companies deal with the fallout from cyberattacks. But when the Australian security consultant was summoned to a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2017, what he found made his blood run cold.

The hackers had deployed malicious software, or malware, that let them take over the plant’s safety instrumented systems. These physical controllers and their associated software are the last line of defense against life-threatening disasters. They are supposed to kick in if they detect dangerous conditions, returning processes to safe levels or shutting them down altogether by triggering things like shutoff valves and pressure-release mechanisms.

The malware made it possible to take over these systems remotely. Had the intruders disabled or tampered with them, and then used other software to make equipment at the plant malfunction, the consequences could have been catastrophic. Fortunately, a flaw in the code gave the hackers away before they could do any harm. It triggered a response from a safety system in June 2017, which brought the plant to a halt. Then in August, several more systems were tripped, causing another shutdown

The first outage was mistakenly attributed to a mechanical glitch; after the second, the plant’s owners called in investigators. The sleuths found the malware, which has since been dubbed “Triton” (or sometimes “Trisis”) for the Triconex safety controller model that it targeted, which is made by Schneider Electric, a French company.

In a worst-case scenario, the rogue code could have led to the release of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas or caused explosions, putting lives at risk both at the facility and in the surrounding area.

Gutmanis recalls that dealing with the malware at the petrochemical plant, which had been restarted after the second incident, was a nerve-racking experience. “We knew that we couldn’t rely on the integrity of the safety systems,” he says. “It was about as bad as it could get.”

In attacking the plant, the hackers crossed a terrifying Rubicon. This was the first time the cybersecurity world had seen code deliberately designed to put lives at risk. Safety instrumented systems aren’t just found in petrochemical plants; they’re also the last line of defense in everything from transportation systems to water treatment facilities to nuclear power stations.

Triton’s discovery raises questions about how the hackers were able to get into these critical systems. It also comes at a time when industrial facilities are embedding connectivity in all kinds of equipment—a phenomenon known as the industrial internet of things. This connectivity lets workers remotely monitor equipment and rapidly gather data so they can make operations more efficient, but it also gives hackers more potential targets.

Those behind Triton are now on the hunt for new victims. Dragos, a firm that specializes in industrial cybersecurity, and where Gutmanis now works, says it’s seen evidence over the past year or so that the hacking group that built the malware and inserted it into the Saudi plant is using some of the same digital tradecraft to research targets in places outside the Middle East, including North America. And it’s creating new strains of the code in order to compromise a broader range of safety instrumented systems.

Red alert

News of Triton’s existence was revealed in December 2017, though the identity of the plant’s owner has been kept secret. (Gutmanis and other experts involved in the initial investigation decline to name the company because they fear doing so might dissuade future targets from sharing information about cyberattacks privately with security researchers.)

AI researchers want to study AI the same way social scientists study humans

Much ink has been spilled on the black-box nature of AI systems—and how it makes us uncomfortable that we often can’t understand why they reach the decisions they do. As algorithms have come to mediate everything from our social and cultural to economic and political interactions, computer scientists have attempted to respond to rising demands for their explainability by developing technical methods to understand their behaviors.

But a group of researchers from academia and industry are now arguing that we don’t need to penetrate these black boxes in order to understand, and thus control, their effect on our lives. After all, these are not the first inscrutable black boxes we’ve come across.

“We’ve developed scientific methods to study black boxes for hundreds of years now, but these methods have primarily been applied to [living beings] up to this point,” says Nick Obradovich, an MIT Media Lab researcher and co-author of a new paper published last week in Nature. “We can leverage many of the same tools to study the new black box AI systems.”

The paper’s authors, a diverse group of researchers from industry and academia, propose to create a new academic discipline called “machine behavior.” It approaches studying AI systems in the same way we’ve always studied animals and humans: through empirical observation and experimentation.

This doesn’t mean to suggest that AI systems have developed some kind of free will. (They certainly have not; they’re only glorified math models.) But it is meant to move away from viewing AI systems as passive tools that can be assessed purely through their technical architecture, performance, and capabilities. They should instead be considered as active actors that change and influence their environments and the people and machines around them.

So, what would this even look like? A machine behaviorist might interrogate, for example, the impact of voice assistants on a child’s personality development. Or they might examine how online dating algorithms have changed how people meet and fall in love. Ultimately, they would study the emergent properties that arise from many humans and machines coexisting and collaborating together.

“We are all one giant human-machine system,” says Obradovich. “We need to acknowledge that and start studying it that way.”

It’s important to note that most of these ideas aren’t new. Roboticists, for example, have long studied human-computer interaction. And the field of science, technology, and society have what’s known as the “actor-network theory,” a framework for describing everything in the social and natural worlds—both humans and algorithms—as actors that somehow relate to one another. But for the most part, each of these efforts have been siloed in separate disciplines. Bringing them together under one umbrella helps align their goals, formalize a common language, and foster interdisciplinary collaborations. “It will help us find each other,” Obradovich says.

Despite being in a distinct discipline from AI researchers, machine behaviorists should still work closely with them. As the latter discover new ways AI systems behave and affect people, the former can bring those learnings to bear on the system’s designs. The more each discipline can take advantage of the other’s expertise, the more they will be able to ensure that artificial agents benefit humans rather than harm them.

“We need the expertise of scientists from across all behavioral and computational disciplines,” Obradovich says. “Figuring out how to live with machines is a problem too vast for any one discipline to solve alone.”

Google confirms Dark Mode on Android smartphones improves battery life

Dark Mode on Android smartphone helps save battery life, admits Google

Google finally confirmed that the Dark Mode uses less power and helps increase battery life on Android smartphones, SlashGear reported. During a presentation at the 2018 Android Dev Summit, Google urged its developers to use darker colors in their apps to get the best battery life on the end user’s phone.

Generally, when you increase the screen’s brightness, it affects the battery life of the device. Also, the color displayed affects the power consumption of the display.

The Dark Mode basically reverses the color theme of an operating system (OS) or applications by replacing the white background with black. The Dark Mode for long has been associated with better battery life on devices, especially mobile devices.

According to Business Insider, Dark Mode draws 43% lesser power at full brightness compared to “normal mode” in the YouTube app, which normally uses a lot of white. The white color indirectly utilizes more power than darker colors.

Google also admitted their past mistake of encouraging app developers to use the color white for their applications and interfaces, including its own apps with their official Material Design specification for the last few years. The search giant said that they have plans to roll out a Dark Mode for all the Google apps in the future.

Please note that changing to Dark Mode only changes the user interface (UI) color to black background. You may have to manually enable Dark Mode on different applications.

For instance, to enable Dark Mode on your Android smartphone, you need to follow the below steps:

  1. Go to Settings on your phone.
  2. Tap on Display > Advanced > Device Theme.
  3. Tap on Dark.

Similarly, you can enable Dark Mode for YouTube application as given below:

  1. Launch YouTube app on your phone.
  2. Then, tap on your profile icon that appears on the right top corner.
  3. Go to Settings > General.
  4. Tap on the toggle for “Dark theme” to enable it.
  5. Tap on the back button, the theme is automatically saved.

Scientists just showed how to drive malaria mosquitoes to extinction

Scientists just showed how to drive malaria mosquitoes to extinction

A team in the UK has caused a buzzing cage full of mosquitoes to “crash” and die out after releasing sex-distorting DNA into their gene pool. The researchers say they eventually hope to use the technology, called a gene drive, to make malaria-carrying mosquitoes extinct in Africa.

The problem: The malaria parasite, spread by mosquitoes, infected some 216 million people worldwide in 2016 and killed 445,000 of them, according to Reuters. There’s no vaccine.

Gene gadget: A gene drive is a man-made genetic construct that spreads faster than usual as animals reproduce. The technology, in effect, provides a way to spread genetic alterations among wild organisms.

Last mosquito standing: A team at Imperial College London say they used a gene drive to spread broken copies of a gene that controls which sex a mosquito becomes. The genes turns female mosquitoes into hermaphrodites that can’t bite or lay eggs. The result was published in Nature Biotechnology today.

The experiments were carried out in cages. After eight generations, no normal females were left to have offspring, and the mosquitoes died out, they report. The project at Imperial College, called Target Malaria, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has put more than $70 million into it.

Into Africa: Lead biologist Andrea Crisanti said it would be five to 10 years before gene-drive mosquitoes could be tested in the wild. “I regard a mosquito that transmits malaria as a pathogen—and as a pathogen we have the right to eliminate it,” Cristanti told NPR. “We have eliminated viruses like smallpox. We are trying to eliminate polio. I don’t see a big difference.”

Risks? Genetic poisoning via reproduction is more precise than insecticides, as it affects only one species.

China’s grand designs to dominate the future of clean energy paid off spectacularly this week.

In a public offering on June 11 in Shenzhen, battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) raised nearly $1 billion to fund ambitious expansion plans, and its stock has been shooting up every day since. Thanks largely to the company’s new plants, China will be making 70 percent of the world’s electric-vehicle batteries by 2021, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The rapid rise of CATL is arguably the clearest, though certainly not the only, payoff from China’s calculated efforts to bolster its domestic battery and electric-vehicle industries—two of the most promising sectors in clean energy. These efforts have largely followed the same playbook China used to get ahead in solar panels, including highly automated manufacturing; aggressive efforts to lock in global supply chains; foreign acquisitions and licensing; and hefty doses of government support and protectionism.

China is already the world’s largest car market, but its domestic businesses sell only a small fraction of vehicles and components globally. “China sees EVs as the way to assert their global dominance in automotive,” says Venkat Viswanathan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, whose work focuses on batteries. “To make it work you need scale, and they do scale better than anyone else.”

China’s efforts are also part of a broader plan to reduce air pollution, meet soaring domestic energy demands, establish the nation as a leader in fighting climate change, and exert the soft power that comes with global business dominance.

CATL shares rose by the maximum allowed in each of the first three days of trading, giving the Ningde-based company a value of more than $13 billion by the end of trading on June 13. That minted at least three new billionaires, including founder Zeng Yuqun. He effectively spun the business out of Amperex Technology, which makes batteries for consumer gadgets, in 2011. (The company didn’t respond to questions from MIT Technology Review before press time.)

Just seven years later, CATL has built up the biggest lithium-ion manufacturing facilities in the world, according to BNEF. The company can crank out around 17 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion cells annually, placing it just ahead of Korea’s LG Chem, the Tesla and Panasonic partnership, and China’s electric-vehicle giant BYD.

Flush with capital from its offering, CATL plans to build two new plants and expand existing facilities, pushing its capacity to nearly 90 gigawatt-hours by 2020.
So what fueled CATL’s rapid rise?

The key factor is China’s generous subsidies for domestically produced electric vehicles, which in practice apply only when they use Chinese-built batteries. More recently, the country started to condition that subsidy on higher energy density, prompting battery makers to push their technical limits. That’s also accelerated the shift to a new generation of batteries containing more nickel and less cobalt, a metal that is in increasingly short supply.

“You saw a huge push around the performance of these batteries and the technologies they chose that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” says Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage analysis at BNEF.

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That move, along with other efforts by China’s government to encourage consolidation, has also helped weed out lesser players and build the lead of “national champions” like CATL and BYD. CATL has also earned a reputation for putting more effort and funding into research and development than its domestic rivals.

Notably, it’s the only Chinese battery company so far to line up deals to supply foreign automakers, including BMW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Chinese EV batteries generally haven’t earned glowing reviews for their technical performance, but “these deals suggest that gap has narrowed significantly,” Goldie-Scot says.

CATL does face some real risks, however, notes a BNEF research report issued last week. It might overshoot, building too much capacity. It still has stiff competition. And China plans to phase out subsidies for battery makers by 2020, which could level the field for CATL’s foreign rivals.

Tesla is also aggressively cutting costs and expanding production for its lithium-ion cells, with a new facility planned in China. Meanwhile, a number of other regions and nations are considering or establishing strict limits on gas-fueled vehicles, which will draw more players, investment, and customers into the nascent field.

China is developing its own plan to eventually ban sales of new combustion-engine vehicles; it’s already established ambitious quotas for the production of electric vehicles and hybrids. BNEF forecasts that these and other policies will push electric-vehicle sales in China to 2.5 million in 2020, up from nearly 800,000 last year, quadrupling battery demand.

At this point, CATL appears perfectly positioned to benefit from these trends—and drive them. “What they’re bringing online in production is going to fundamentally change the landscape in cost and scale,” Viswanathan says. “It is, by far, the most interesting things in batteries today.”

Google employees quit to protest company’s deal

About a dozen Google employees have resigned in protest over the tech giant’s involvement with a project in which it is helping the Pentagon develop artificial intelligence for military drones.

Codenamed Project Maven, the new technology being developed by Google will analyze aerial surveillance video to look for patterns that can help operators.

It comes as military bosses say the thousands of military and civilian intelligence analysts are ‘overwhelmed’ by the amount of video being recorded over the battlefield by drones with high resolution cameras.

A number of Google employees had expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s involvement due to the ethical concerns related to helping the Pentagon with its controversial drone program.

Specifically, Google workers feel that human beings – and not algorithms – should be responsible for conducting military-related operations.

They also believe that Google should have no ties to the military whatsoever.

News of the resignations was reported on Monday by Gizmodo.

The web site also reported that among the many employees who are still at the company there is anger over what they perceive is management’s being less attentive to their concerns.

In years past, Google executives have reportedly encouraged their work force to be up front in voicing their opinions about potentially controversial business decisions.

‘Over the last couple of months, I’ve been less and less impressed with the response and the way people’s concerns are being treated and listened to,’ one employee who resigned said.

Aside from the resignations, some 4,000 Google employees circulated an internal petition expressing their opposition to the company’s involvement in Project Maven.

The petition demands that the company cut all ties to Project Maven and pledge to avoid any future contracts with the Pentagon or other militaries.

But Google management appears to be unmoved by employee opposition.

The Mountain View, California-based is intent on submitting a bid for a massive cloud contract with the Department of Defense.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) is a plan that would have Silicon Valley provide basic cloud computing services to the military, according to Gizmodo.

The multi-billion dollar contract is being sought by the largest tech firms in what is becoming a fierce competition between the likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and Rean Cloud LLC, according to Tech Crunch.

Google has responded to employee opposition by claiming that its work on Project Maven is non-combat in nature.

The company also claims that it is merely providing the Pentagon with open source software – meaning that the military could still use the technology even if it didn’t pay Google.

But the resigning employees say that Google should be a company devoted solely to advance technology in the civilian realm.

‘It’s not like Google is this little machine-learning startup that’s trying to find clients in different industries,’ a resigning employee said.

‘It just seems like it makes sense for Google and Google’s reputation to stay out of that.’

The resigning employee also said that Google promised to look into ethical concerns only after it officially entered into its contract with the Pentagon.

Those concerns, the employee said, ‘should have been addressed before we entered this contract.’

Tech workers across a number of Silicon Valley companies are opposed to their firms entering into partnerships with the Department of Defense.

A group that calls itself the Tech Workers Coalition comprising of employees from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM circulated an online petition demanding that Silicon Valley companies shun contracts with the Pentagon.

‘We are tech industry employees concerned about the lack of accountability, accuracy, and safety in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in offensive capabilities of the U.S. Military,’ the petition read.

‘Many of us signing this petition are faced with ethical decisions in the design and development of technology on a daily basis.

‘We cannot ignore the moral responsibility of our work.

‘We believe that tech companies should not be in the business of war, and that we as tech workers must adopt binding ethical standards for the use of AI that will let us build the world we believe in.

‘Google should break its contract with the Department of Defense (DoD).

‘We invite all supporters to join us in amplifying our demand for private tech companies to stay out of the business of war.’

Another petition signed by over 250 academics from the fields of artificial intelligence, ethics, and computer science expresses support for the Google employees while also calling for a comprehensive ban on autonomous weapons systems and ‘killer robots.’

‘If ethical action on the part of tech companies requires consideration of who might benefit from a technology and who might be harmed, then we can say with certainty that no topic deserves more sober reflection – no technology has higher stakes – than algorithms meant to target and kill at a distance and without public accountability,’ the letter states.

‘Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation, either domestically or internationally.

‘While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.’

 Google declined to comment on the resignations, though it did release a statement in April which read: ‘An important part of our culture is having employees who are actively engaged in the work that we do.

‘We know that there are many open questions involved in the use of new technologies, so these conversations – with employees and outside experts – are hugely important and beneficial.

‘The technology is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.

‘Any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns.

‘We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts, as we continue to develop our policies around the development and use of our machine learning technologies.’

Biometric credit card technology – An Overview

Of late there are several companies that are making use of technology to prevent plastic card related fraudulent activities by making use of the concept of biometric fingerprint activated debit and credit cards.

Companies like SmartMetric, Zwipe, and Visa have taken the initiative. It is being said that biometric fingerprint technology has the ability to change the scenario of the manner in which card payments are made worldwide thereby restricting fraudsters to carry out their horrendous activities.

However, there is an important implication in this. This concept can be applied for preventing fraud at that takes place at POS or Point of Sale. However, experts emphasize that preventing fraud at POS is just not enough; it has to be also effective for CNP or Card-not-present transactions.

Statistical data

The Nilson Report states that in the year 2014 alone, the losses incurred on credit card fraud amounted to a whopping USD$16.31 billion across the globe. And interestingly, United States alone suffered losses worth USD$7.86 billion. The type of fraud that caused the loss in figures includes losses from card-not-present transactions, stolen cards, lost cards, and counterfeiting. And what is even more striking is that experts still predict that fraudulent activity related to plastic cards (debit as well as credit cards) will amount to a loss worth more than USD$35.54 billion by the year 2020.

To counteract the fraudulent activities, MasterCard came into a contract with Zwipe in the year 2014 and the world’s first biometric contactless payment card was launched. It had fingerprint sensor that was integrated. Soon companies like Visa followed suit and its designs were based entirely on Visa (EVM) chip standard, MasterCard, and EuroPay. The aforesaid cards work on the principle of “match-on-card” authentication and makes use of biometric readers at the terminals (ATM).

Aside from the above, SmartMetric came up with EMV compliant biometric plastic card, which makes use of a built-in fingerprint reader inside the card, which enables to identify the identity of the cardholder.

Banking sector opt for prevention methods for credit card frauds

The small chip that you get to see on your plastic cards is the first line of defense when it comes to preventing credit card fraud. In fact banks are carrying out experiments to improve upon means of combating plastic card frauds. In fact, fingerprint scanners are also being tested by banks.

Concept of Motion Code

The concept of Motion code has been found to fight credit card fraud in a totally new manner. In this the CVV number that is on the reverse side of the cards is nothing but a display that is mainly digital in nature.

The fact that the number is constantly changing makes it impossible for anyone to use the number for fraudulent transactions. If at all anyone tries to misuse it, he won’t be able to.

Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Apple Pay refrain from sending the actual or so called real plastic card numbers to the merchants. Instead they make use of so called one-time code that prevents your original digits from being transmitted to the merchants.

It has been observed that so called “fingerprint validation technology” is effective even in case of smartphone digital wallets as in Apple Pay. However, there is one hitch and that is this concept does not work well with the older phones. And for this reason every effort is being made so that the older phones can be made compatible with appropriate biometric verification tools thereby curbing the incidence of CNP or card-not-present transactions. Other options that are being tried out for preventing credit card frauds are voice recognition and facial recognition. And it is being apprehended that it is not too far when these technologies will be implemented too.