MasterCard Wants Your Selfie, But it’s Not for What You Think it’s For

Payment via mobile devices is still a relatively new concept. With newer smartphones, it’s now easier than ever to pay your bills or send money on a whim. However, this also brings up an important topic; what’s the best way to handle mobile payments, and how can those who accept and process these payments ensure maximum security?

The answer might lie in two-factor authentication.

Specifically, MasterCard wants to introduce biometric-based two-factor authentication to its system, starting with the UK this summer. The technology discussed is a “selfie” based system that allows users to take a picture through an application, which is then compared to an image stored. The idea is that selfie-authentication, and other methods of biometric technology like fingerprint scanning, can help to prevent credit card fraud.

More than anything else, MasterCard is attempting to limit how many legitimate transactions are being declined while users are traveling abroad. Apparently, this is a bigger problem than actual credit card fraud. As reported by The Financial Times, there’s roughly $118 billion worth of false declines every year, which is considerably more money lost than is the case with credit card fraud--13 times more, to be specific. By using biometrics technology, MasterCard is looking to handle both the fraud and false decline problems.

Of course, the question that needs to be asked is whether or not these technologies are secure for users. Phones, tablets, and other mobile devices can be hacked just as easily as any desktop infrastructure. ITProPortal offers some insight into what will be necessary for mobile payment systems to take off:

“User devices are notoriously prone to penetration by cyber criminals – whether that’s as a result of users adapting their devices or overriding device security parameters, or using unsecured public WiFi when transacting online. Which means biometric data will need to be encrypted to ensure it cannot be stolen – otherwise we open a whole new vector for identity theft. What’s more, rigorous PCI standards already exist to protect users and merchants, especially where liability is concerned should things go wrong. What’s not clear in this scenario is whether liability will shift – and to whom. Quite simply, we’re in new territory here.”

What’s most interesting here is the liability aspect; if a user isn’t securing the mobile device used for payment, can they be considered at fault for the theft of their data? If so, it completely changes the way that financial institutions and payment compliance works. Also, what happens if biometrics are hacked? You can’t exactly issue a new face or a fingerprint with a new credit card number. These are critical possibilities that need to be addressed before biometric two-factor authentication for mobile payment systems can be implemented.

What are your thoughts on mobile payment authentication using a selfie-based system? Let us know in the comments.

New High Score for Microsoft: More Than 44% of All PC Gamers Use Windows 10

While we tend to focus on the latest technology solutions in the workplace, sometimes it helps to view them from a different perspective, like recreation. Specifically, Windows 10 has become a popular operating system amongst PC gamers, and has reached nearly half of the considerable total user base of the cloud-based gaming platform, Steam.

For the month of June, use of Windows 10 (both 32 and 64-bit versions) with Steam reached an all-time high of 44.6 percent; an increase of 3.41 percent from the previous month, and a 1.54 percent increase from the month before that. It’s safe to say that the free upgrade played a major role in this increase in use, but now that it’s no longer offered for free, is Windows 10 still worth the investment? We would argue yes, as do the gamers. After all, they want to take advantage of the latest Windows OS, and so should you.

Not all Steam users use Windows 10, though. Here are some statistics from the latest Steam OS check:

  • Windows 7: 36.97 percent, down 2 percent from last month
  • Windows 8.x: 12 percent
  • All Windows OS: 95.5 percent
  • Mac OS X: 3.6 percent
  • Linux: 0.8 percent

Regardless of whether or not you enjoy games, there’s a lesson that can be learned from these statistics, and it’s that the latest operating system can offer a significant improvement to your user experience. For gamers, their hobbies are a way of life, and they take it very seriously. They’re often known for their meticulous attention to PC performance and specifications, so it’s no surprise that they would be willing to adopt the latest Microsoft operating system.

If anything, these statistics are a strong endorsement of Windows 10, and warrant, at least, a consideration of an upgrade. If you’re unsure of how an upgrade can help your business or user experience, Amaxx can help. We’ll work with your business to ensure that legacy applications and software solutions aren’t negatively affected by an upgrade. In situations like this, it’s always best to have professionals on hand to guarantee that you experience minimal downtime.

To get started with Windows 10, give us a call at 614-923-6700.

Verizon acquires Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

The end of one of the Internet's first giants

Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to buy Yahoo! Inc.’s web assets for $4.83 billion, ending the company’s two-decade run as an independent business that took it from Stanford University startup at the dawn of the internet age to also-ran behind nimbler online rivals such as Google and Facebook Inc.

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IBM testing new blockchain service to track high-value supply chain

Soon there will be real diamonds in the blockchain mines

For those industries where the origin matters, getting verifiable sign off has been a surprisingly tricky problem, particularly as goods change hands across an increasingly complex global supply chain. Blockchains, the technology underpinning Bitcoin and a variety of virtual currency, might help, and IBM has launched the new supply-chain focused IBM Blockchain to try and service that demand.

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