Posts Tagged ‘worldwide’

Cash Registers Worldwide Hijacked to Steal Credit Cards

May 29th, 2014

Keeping your own financial information safe online is generally simple enough, but when your neighborhood supermarket unknowingly ships your credit-card information overseas, there may not be much you can do.

A new study suggests that almost 1,500 computerized cash-register systems across more than 30 countries have been infected by malware and are now part of a botnet — a network of machines secretly connected and placed under the control of cybercriminals without their owners’ knowledge — that steals credit-card information with a simple swipe.

Information about the botnet, known as Nemanja, comes from Los Angeles-based security company IntelCrawler. According to the company’s research, cybercriminals, possibly based in Serbia, are infecting point-of-sale (POS) terminals in order to funnel credit-card and bank information into malefactors’ hands.

The Nemanja botnet does not consist of one particular kind of malware, but rather a collection of related programs that connect different types of POS terminals back to cybercriminals. Broadly speaking, the programs affect POS software used in supermarkets, delis, bodegas and convenience stores, rather than in restaurants or other shops, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule.

The way Nemanja collects card data is simple: A customer makes a purchase, swipes a credit card and the bank remotely verifies his or her information. Nemanja then transmits this information to cybercriminals, who gain access to a customer’s name and card number.


Worldwide spending on network planning and optimisation software reached almost USD500 million in 2011

April 30th, 2012

Telecoms operators worldwide spent USD488 million on network planning and optimisation software in 2011 and the market will grow at a 7% CAGR between 2011 and 2016, according to new research from Analysys Mason. The growth – more than three times the CAGR of operator revenue from telecoms services – is being driven by the explosion of data usage because of video streaming, the introduction of LTE technologies, the increasing complexity of networks that include Wi-Fi and small-cell solutions, and the increased focus of operators on improving the customer experience.

As well as forecasting worldwide expenditure, the report, Network planning and optimisation outlook 2012, analyses where the growth will come from by service segment and region, and why.

Of the four service segments examined (mobile, public switched telephone networks (PSTN), business, and residential broadband), spending on software for mobile services is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 8.4% between 2011 and 2016, while PSTN is predicted to grow by just 3.3% during the same period.

“Spending on network planning and optimisation software will increase dramatically, particularly in the data services segment, and this will continue with the transition to the 4G technology of LTE,” explained Mark Mortensen, Prinicpal Analyst, lead author of the report and lead analyst of Analysys Mason’s Service Fulfilment and Customer Care research programmes. “Complex heterogeneous mobile network architecture is making sophisticated planning and optimisation systems necessary for operators, as is a renewed focus on customer satisfaction as a competitive advantage.”

The Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) is the region that is predicted to have the highest CAGR (12%) in spending in the network planning and optimisation software market during the forecast period, while growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is predicted to be less than half that – 5.2%.

“Deal activity is expected to continue to pick up in Latin America, while persisting economic and market uncertainties in Europe will curtail growth to some extent,” Mortensen added.

The report also includes a range of key recommendations for operators and vendors. Operators’ budgets are not limitless, so it is crucial for them to understand where and how to invest limited financial resources. The report suggests that operators must focus on integrating network planning and optimisation software into their operations. Additionally, fixed operators that are introducing new video services should look to the market-driven integrated operation support systems (OSS) approach to planning, optimisation and software, rather than the traditional tools approach.

For vendors, the report recommends adding a particular set of value-added features to their services. Also, vendors of radio frequency (RF) planning and optimisation software need to rapidly evolve their systems in a number of ways in the next five years, such as including the usage of performance data from the network (rather than drive test data), and making sure that planning systems are cognisant of the new equipment options for providing mobile voice and data services.

The report also details the latest developments in the network planning and optimisation software market, such as:

increasing automation in the engineering work centre
the rise of optimisation and the demise of drive testing
the entry of leading inventory vendors into network planning and optimisation
the promise of self-organising/optimising networks (SONs).


ACI Worldwide’s success tied to its early days in Omaha

November 28th, 2010

One of the world’s oldest still-active software companies originated in Omaha and has its biggest office here.
Today, its customers are in 90 countries — Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela, to name a few — as well as the United States.
It’s ACI Worldwide Inc., whose software handles 90 billion consumer transactions each year and processes $12 trillion in wire transfers per day.
Yes, that’s per day.
ACI was founded in 1975, one of thousands of software companies started in the 1970s, but few have survived 35 years as ongoing enterprises.
It all started with Nebraskans’ penchant for automated teller machines, which became widespread because state laws restricted the number of branch offices banks could open. So banks added more machines, and those machines needed software to function properly.
ACI’s founders came along just at the right time.
The company’s software also helped create systems for debit cards in the 1990s, changing the way people buy things.
“It was a slow go, and then it took off,” said Jeff Hale, senior vice president for global sales at the Omaha office. “It’s pretty clear that the growth in electronic payments will continue for a long time yet.”
The company’s future fortunes still are tied to the burgeoning electronic payments industry, which is beginning to switch to “smart card” technology that will let consumers and companies conduct even more of their business through computer-savvy plastic cards.
In the United States, ACI also could get a boost from new federal financial regulations, including the law’s emphasis on preventing fraud, Hale said.
“A lot of clients continue to look for the latest and greatest systems to reduce payment fraud. It goes back to the founding of our company.”
Fraud was a concern even in the early days of financial software, when ACI, then Applied Communications Inc., made one of its key early sales, to the New York Stock Exchange. The integrity of the trading system was vital, and ACI’s software delivered that sort of security.
ACI’s products spoke for themselves, even overcoming the time company founder James Cody went on a sales call to a large Chicago bank and realized he had packed one brown shoe and one black shoe.
“I figured that they had seen plenty of slick salesmen, and that they would think that nobody would have the nerve to show up dressed like this and lie to them,” Cody would say later.
By tying the software to “fault-tolerant” computers made by Tandem Corp. — now part of Hewlett-Packard — ACI’s software became standard for large segments of the industry.
In the highly fragmented world of financial software, ACI occupies a leading position in the electronic payments sector, said Kurt Strawhecker of Omaha, whose company consults for the payments industry.
“They’re the big dog,” Strawhecker said.
Hale said the company has about a 5 percent share of the global electronic payments software market and more in some countries. For example, its share in the United Kingdom is approximately 10 or 15 percent, he said.
“ACI is the largest provider of software that banks and retailers and processors deploy in-house,” he said.
While the U.S. banking system is based on thousands of local banks, with some big national and regional players, most other developed countries are dominated by a few national banks.
They are prime candidates for large, sophisticated networks for payments and other financial deals. ACI’s software is designed to link computers so that the networks work smoothly and quickly while preventing fraud.
In recent years, Hale said, developing countries such as China have become an important market for ACI because their economies and financial systems are networking rapidly amid growing consumer demand.
In all, Hale said, about 60 percent of the company’s annual revenue of $400 million comes from outside the United States.
“You’ve got a large group of people in Omaha, yet for the most part they serve an international customer base,” he said. “You can easily find ourself in Singapore or China or Europe or Latin America. It’s pretty interesting for people to experience that, yet live in Omaha.”
Demand for ACI’s software may grow as changes in the world’s banking systems take place.
“A lot of it depends on what goes on in different parts of the world,” Hale said. “Until recently, the U.S. market has had a fairly benign regulatory environment for banks.”
Rules changes cause banks to revise their payment systems, and that’s ACI’s specialty.
Rule-making for the new U.S. financial regulations is just getting started, which Hale said likely will result in a “fairly tumultuous environment” for ACI’s main customers — large banks, large retailers and large payment processors, such as Omaha’s First Data Corp.
ACI will offer software that meets the new government requirements, he said, as it has in recent years in Europe.
“That creates a lot of change throughout the payment environment. That will create more opportunities for us, to be more efficient and supply more secure payment systems.”
Other factors affecting ACI clients: Profits are being squeezed by the recent recession and related financial problems; and lawmakers are enacting new rules for merchants’ processing procedures.
“One response from banks and from Visa, MasterCard and other payment systems is to move toward more efficient infrastructure, and that usually lends itself toward people like us,” Hale said. “We have the most efficient systems.”
Another big line of business for the past 35 years are wire transfers and high-value payments, including those made across international boundaries and between different currencies. Tens of millions of dollars can pass through in a single transaction.
ACI has grown partly through acquisition, typically by working with another software company for a time and then making a friendly purchase offer.
“That’s not a bad model because it helps us get into a country without overinvesting and finding out we can’t compete,” Hale said.
“There is no end in sight as people look to leverage technology to make payments more efficient, more reliable and more secure. We’re in the middle of that highway as far as I can see.


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