Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fighting Credit Card Fraud

Regulatory policy wonks in India are engaged in intense combat — this time, over whether the Reserve Bank of India has gone overboard with seeking to secure online and offline credit card payments. The RBI has made it mandatory to validate offline credit card payments in India with a 'PIN' (personal identification number) and online Indian payments with an 'OTP' (one-time password) to be generated by SMS on the mobile phone.
 
Thanks to these measures, India has one of the most secure credit card and online payment systems in the world. Some have attacked the security measures as being retrograde. The main charge is that the two-stage validation process wastes time. The argument is that the benefits gained from the security measure do not out-weigh the cost of the additional time spent. Moreover, since the RBI does not regulate foreign payment gateways, it has exempted them from the security requirement — so, payments made even from India, through foreign payment gateways, do not have to comply with this security measure.
 
What this means for the consumer is that purchase of a book on Amazon.com would not require an OTP while purchase of the same book on Amazon.in would require it. Both sites enable storing your credit card information (if you are willing to trust their servers with your data). On Amazon.in, you need to enter your CVV/CSC number ("card verification value" or "card security code") — a number physically pre-printed on your card. Once your transaction is authenticated, you also have to get your OTP by sending a text message to your credit card issuer. An OTP gets sent to your phone within seconds of the SMS request and is valid for a single use, to be made within 30 minutes.
 
On Amazon.com, since the security feature is not mandatory, if your credit card data is stored on its server, you can complete your purchase with a single click (popularly branded as "1-Click Ordering"). Therefore, does it take longer to shop on an Indian site? Yes. Is that an unbearable time burden? No. And, does it make India a more secure place for electronic payments? Indeed.
 
According to The Nilson Report, a payments industry trade journal, the United States, accounts for nearly 47 per cent of the global credit card fraud even while contributing to just 23 per cent of the volume of global credit card payments. On the other hand, media reports quote Visa International as stating that India has the lowest online card fraud incidence. Yet, the size of credit card frauds is growing worldwide, and does pose a threat to confidence in the electronic payments system.
 
As India brings more of her people into the banking and electronic payment system, the scope for fraud too would increase. There is also the culture of general laxity with security that needs to be contended with. For example, after the RBI introduced the mandatory requirement to enter your PIN into the card reader in the store to effect an offline credit card payment, many restaurants did not deploy wireless card readers. Waiters would simply ask the guest for the PIN and many, lazy to get up from their tables, would gladly oblige. This is pretty much how most passwords are compromised — simply by asking.
 
Against this backdrop, the benefit of better security in online and offline credit card payments can outweigh the cost of spending a few more seconds getting an OTP on sms, or entering the PIN into a card reader. In a nation that has poor banking penetration and a propensity to stack currency notes under the mattress for safe-keeping, one blaring slanging match in a prime-time television debate can be enough to destroy confidence in the banking system.
 
On the other hand, India, home to 16 per cent of the global population, would do well to innovate and lead the change in how payments are made secure worldwide. After all, one should remember that even while shares of Chinese online retailer Alibaba.com got a fancy valuation for listing shares in the United States, Indian online retail companies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal snapped up spectacular valuations and attracted serious investments despite the payment security measures.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.
 
Courtesy: Pune Mirror

Monday, 29 September 2014

Importance Of Your Credit Score If You Are Looking For A Home Loan

Most of us aspire for a home of our own and the real estate market boom is a reflection of these collective aspirations. Increasing real estate developments and availability of easy and fast home loans has enabled fulfillment of these aspirations for the common man. A critical factor that can ensure easier and hassle-free access to home loans is keeping a watchful eye on your Credit Information Bureau India Ltd (CIBIL) Report and CIBIL TransUnion Score.
 
Apart from your income, this factor is an important tool in evaluating your eligibility for a home loan. Therefore, do check your credit score before applying for a home loan to avoid any delay.
 
Understanding your CIBIL Report will help you assess your own credit exposure and enable you to see yourself as loan providers do. If your CIBIL TransUnion Score is low or if the CIBIL Report shows defaults and delayed payments you can always take corrective actions and improve the score before applying for the home loan.
 
Your CIBIL TransUnion Score is simply a numeric indicator of your credit history which reflects your financial and credit health. CIBIL calculates the credit score through advanced analytics and assigns a number between 300 and 900 to a borrower, based on his/her credit history.
 
The closer your score is to 900, the more confidence the credit institution will have in your ability to repay the loan and hence, the better the chances of your application getting approved. While each bank will have its own credit scoring cut-off based on the credit sanctioning policies, it has been observed that most banks are lending to consumers with a credit score of 750 and above.
 
If you have a good CIBIL TransUnion Score and healthy credit history you may get to avail a home loan without any hassles. However, if your credit score is low due to poor credit history you can always work towards improving it. Financial discipline coupled with regular repayment of loan and credit card EMIs will help improve your credit history and score significantly.
 
Here are a few tips to improve your credit score: 
 
Avoid late payments or defaults as far as possible: Your payment history has a significant impact on your CIBIL TransUnion score. Late payments are negatively viewed by lenders because this indicates that you are having trouble servicing your existing obligations
 
Wise use of credit card: While increased spending on your credit cards may not necessarily negatively affect your CIBIL TransUnion score, an increase in the current balance on the card over time is an indication of an increased repayment burden and may negatively impact your Score. Its always prudent to use your credit card wisely
 
Maintain a healthy mix of credit: A higher concentration of home loans or auto loans (commonly known as Secured Loans) is likely to be more favorable for your credit score than a large number of unsecured loans. Although unsecured loans offer easy access to finance, its also by far the most expensive form of credit. More the number of unsecured loans with high utilization, larger are the payments resulting from its high rate of interest
 
Avoid behaving Credit Hungry: If you have made many applications for loans, or have recently been sanctioned new credit facilities, a lender is likely to view your application with caution. This Credit Hungry behaviour indicates your debt burden is likely to, or has increased and hence may be less able to service additional debt obligations
 
Monitor your co-signed, joint accounts monthly
 
Monitor the loan accounts for which you have stood as a guarantor
 
Review your CIBIL TransUnion Score and credit history frequently
 
Your CIBIL Report and CIBIL TransUnion Score not only determines whether or not you qualify for the home loan, but it may also has an impact on the terms and conditions you can avail on the loan. The higher the score, the better will be your chances of availing the loan faster and on favorable terms.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Indian Infoline 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

India Under E-attack

Growing internet penetration and rising popularity of online banking have made India a favourite among cybercriminals, who target online financial transactions using malware, security solutions pro-vider Trend Micro said.
 
According to the firm, India ranks third after Japan and the US in the tally of countries most affected by online banking malware during the April-June quarter of 2014.
 
Japan topped the list with the highest number of online banking malware infections this quarter due to VAWTRAK. In May alone, it saw 13,000 malware infections. The US saw about 5,000 malware infections during the month, followed by India at 3,000 attacks.
 
“India posed for cybercriminal expansion with an average of 2.5 million malware detection in a given month. Also, 33 per cent more malicious apps were downloaded and network traffic from affected computers continued to rise," Trend-Labs director Myla V Pilao said.
 
TrendLabs is Trend Micro’s research and development centre.
 
These and many such incidents show that cyber criminals will al-ways adapt to new trends and situations whether in the use of new malware or targeted attack techniques to continue their strikes, she added. She said the severity of attacks has intensified against fina-ncial and banking institutions as well as retail outlets globally.
 
“Total attacks have exposed more than 10 million personal records as of July 2014 and that strongly indicates that organisations need to adopt a more strategic approach to safeguarding digital information,” she said.
 
Such incidents often lead to stealing of consumer’s personal information like customer names, passwords, ema-il addresses, home addr-esses, phone numbers, and date of birth.
 
These types of personal privacy breaches ha-ve affected organisation’s sales and earnings, while leaving customers unable to access accounts and dealing with service disruption, Ms Pilao said.
 
“The pace of change in technology sector has never been as rapid as it is now, and as a result we see firms struggling to keep up with the latest developments,” she said.
 
Ms Pilao added that it is essential that Indian businesses treat information security as a principal constituent of business strategy as time and again it has emerged as one of the top countries witnessing cybercrime.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtcsy: Asia Age    

Friday, 26 September 2014

Clear Loan Outstanding Before Seeking Further Credit

Consider a situation where a borrower has taken a loan few years ago and has been paying the equated monthly instalments (EMIs) regularly, until a few months ago. Because of certain unforeseen circumstances, he was not able to pay these instalments for the past 6 to 8 months. Owing to this lapse in payment, his Cibil credit information report (CIR) shows payment default for those months.
What recourse does the borrower have in this case? Will he be denied credit facility by all the banks? How can he improve his credit report and credit score to be eligible for accessing credit again?
Almost all credit grantors assess Cibil CIR and credit score along with other factors like the applicant’s income before deciding on credit applications. In the cited scenario, the borrower’s CIR will show the defaults for those 6 to 8 months where the borrower has defaulted on the payments. This may also negatively impact his credit score.
Cibil started providing credit reports and scores directly to consumers with a motive to increase transparency of the credit lending process, which earlier was a mystery for most consumers. By accessing and knowing their credit report and credit score consumers are now able to “see themselves as lenders do”. This empowers them to determine their credit liabilities, identify areas that require improvement and ensure that they build reputational collateral with the lender for availing credit when they need it.
In a situation like this it is advisable that the borrower should not apply for any further credit facilities until his present outstanding gets cleared. Credit report and credit scores are dynamic and change according the credit behaviour of the borrower. Once the borrower has paid all the delinquent EMIs and has again started regularly paying the instalments on the loan his credit report will improve and reflect the regular payments accordingly. The credit score may also improve gradually. Here are some tips for the borrower for improving his credit history and score:
Approach your lender and explain to them your situation. They may provide you with easier repayment options or a solution to your problem.
Pay all your outstanding dues and EMIs that went delinquent. Offer to pay any penalties charged on late payments.
Start paying all your future EMIs regularly by the due date.
Review your credit history frequently to check the updated status of payment on your report.
And most importantly, do not apply for anymore loans or credit cards till your report improves. If you have made applications for loans, this will reflect in the “Enquiry” section of your CIR and will show that you are “credit hungry”.
Institutionalised and regulated credit facilities provide us opportunities for fulfilling our financial development aspirations. It is imperative to respect these opportunities and maintain financial discipline in order to ensure that you have access to finance when you actually need it.
Even if you have been delinquent in the past on your credit accounts, you can always start by paying off your dues and gradually work towards building a good credit record again. The institutionalised credit system always gives scope for improvement.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy 

Courtesy; DNA

Schoolchildren To Be Coached On Cyber Risks

BANGALORE: Schoolchildren in the state will get to learn about cyber risks and threats as virtual security firm McAfee and its parent company Intel launched the Education Digital Wellness curriculum here recently.
The Intel Education Digital Wellness curriculum programme is designed to help children identify and assess dangers on the internet to protect themselves from cyber-bullying, identity theft, malware and so on, said Anand Prahlad, managing director of McAfee India.
He said that according to a recent report, India has 243 million internet users. Even third graders are using tablets and 12-year-old kids are exposed to nasty comments on the internet. “India ranks third in cyber-bullying among 25 countries. Our attempt is to make sure children are made aware of the risks in internet usage,” Prahlad said.
By March 2015, McAfee aims to take this curriculum free-of-cost to one lakh children in Karnataka and Haryana, the only two states where it will be introduced. “We have received support from UNESCO and the Educational Quality Foundation of India, which will help us identify the schools where the curriculum will be introduced,” he said.
The curriculum consists of four modules — cyber wellness, threats to cyber wellness, safety for social media and the road ahead. The curriculum will make its way into both government schools (for Classes 8-12) and private schools (Classes 5-12) that have access to internet and infrastructure, Prahlad said.
According to McAfee Tween & Technology Report 2013, tweens (kids aged 8-12) are online for approximately 2 hours a day, and 45 per cent of them said they are online after 8 pm. The internet is used by 76 per cent tweens from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Of those surveyed, 58 per cent were found to have risky (low-level) security passwords while 41 per cent said they share information about themselves over Facebook. Thirty-six per cent of tweens have spoken to someone online that they did not previously know.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy New Indian Express

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Follow These Simple Rules To Create Wealth

To create wealth, investors should keep in mind some basic rules that are simple to follow. Here are some of the most important ones from select financial planners, an investment analyst and a top professional in the credit information industry: Save, invest and understand where & why you are investing: We understand that we need to invest but very few understand that we can invest only if we first save. It's important to know how much you earn and spend to arrive at what you can save. It's also important to understand the risks associated with equities, fixed income, commodities, gold, international funds, real estate, etc, and also the resultant return expectations. Also, understand why you are investing. -Shalini Dhawan (SD) 
 
Systematize investing: Being busy individuals, the last things on our minds are handling paperwork, cheques, banking errands, etc. Hence, there is a need to systematize: Automate investments to selected avenues on monthly, quarterly, yearly basis by using technology, available systematic investment plans (SIPs), triggers, alerts, ECS, etc. -SD 
 
Diversify: Diversification across asset classes and within each asset class can eliminate risks emanating from concentration, liquidity, credit, interest rate and currency . This will reduce the overall risk to the portfolio. However, diversification beyond the optimum level does not reduce the risk to the portfolio. -B V R Venkatesh (BVR) 
 
Safety has a price: If you are one of those risk-averse investors, chances are that your savings would be locked into various fixed and recurring deposits.However, over the last few years, you must have got negative real returns. That is, your returns were less than the rate of inflation. In other words, the interest income from deposits has not helped you keep pace with rising costs of goods.That also amounts to erosion of capital -you have lost it through inflation. So, remember to build an inflation-beating corpus through investment sacrossasset classes including equities, debt, gold and real estate. — Vidya Bala (VB) 
 
Consistency & discipline pay: Emotions interfere with investing — sometimes they work for us and sometimes against us. So, be disciplined to invest a certain amount every month and systematize it. There are many examples of SIPs in diversified equity mutual fund schemes generating sizable corpuses, where investors have consistently run SIPs. Also, discipline yourself to refrain from going off an agreed asset allocation and investment strategy. — SD
 
Save on taxes to build a kitty: A large number of people focus on expenses like children's education, home loan repayment, etc, for tax deductions from their salary. You should also look into Section 80C investment options seriously. Here you can find investment options that can save on taxes and also build a long-term portfolio with good future returns. These options include equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS), various provident funds, NSCs, five-year tax-saving deposits, etc. 
 
ELSS could offer you the best deal in terms of superior tax benefits and higher returns in the long term. These funds have a lock-in period of three years and compare favourably with other options like five-year tax-saving bank FDs, fiveand 10-year NSCs, or 15-year PPF. The gains from ELSS that accrue are also exempt from capital gains tax, while gains from five-year tax-saving deposits are fully taxable. -VB 
 
Monitor and review: After you have put in place an investment strategy and implemented it, periodically check if the plan is working for you from every possible angle. If you have moved away from the agreed plan, change the asset mix. If that means exiting under-performing investments, do that. -SD 
 
Mind your credit score: Like in business, in personal finance too credit line availability plays a critical role. Today, institutions consider both borrowers' income profile as well as their repayment behaviour across earlier liabilities while deciding their creditworthiness. A credit score of an individual is increasingly becoming an integral part of banks' appraisal process in determining whether to grant credit as well as its quantum.The higher your score, the better your creditworthiness and more are the chances of your loan application getting approved. Financial discipline in paying back the borrowed amount (EMIs) on time and as agreed to the lender is the foremost step to ensure a good credit score. Monitor your joint loans or loans where you are the guarantor regularly .It is advisable to get a copy of your credit report at regular intervals when you start taking debt, especially after opening or closing of new credit accounts. In case of any error, get it corrected without delay . -Mohan Jayaraman (MJ) 
 
Seek professional help: We are ready to seek help from dieticians, doctors, lawyers, etc. Likewise, we also need professional help to nudge us into an investing habit. -SD 

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS Identity Shield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times of India

Traps On The Internet

Picture this. An executive assistant to a vice-president at a multinational company receives an email referencing an invoice hosted on a popular file sharing service. A few minutes later, the same administrative staff receives a phone call from another vice-president within the company, instructing her to examine and process the invoice. As soon as the invoice is processed, a cybercriminal takes control of the executive assistant’s infected computer and siphons the funds. The company was Francophoned—the invoice was a fake and the vice-president who called the assistant was an attacker.
 
This is how it happened. The supposed invoice was actually a remote access Trojan (RAT) that was configured to contact a command-and-control (C&C) server located in Ukraine. Once the systems were infected with the RAT, the attacker retrieved identifying information, including disaster recovery plans, of the organisation’s bank and telecom providers, its points of contact with both providers and its bank and telecom account data.
 
Using this data, the attacker was able to impersonate a company representative and called the organisation’s telecom provider. They proved their authenticity to the telecom provider, claimed that a physical disaster had occurred and said that they needed all of the organisation’s phone numbers to be redirected to attacker-controlled phones.
 
Immediately following the phone number redirection, the attacker faxed a request to the organisation’s bank, requesting multiple large-sum wire transfers to numerous offshore accounts. As this was an unusual transaction, the bank representative called the organisation’s number on record to validate the transaction. This call was redirected to the attacker who approved the transaction. The funds were successfully transferred to multiple offshore accounts, which were subsequently laundered further through other accounts and monetary instruments. Operation Francophone accomplished!
 
In May this year, 2013, IT security firm Symantec published details on the first attacks of this type targeting organisations in Europe. Further investigations have revealed additional details of the attack strategy. Francophoned is an example of how cybercriminal operations are becoming increasingly sophisticated, a trend that is likely to continue in the future.
 
If the above mentioned terminology has left you dumbfounded, here’s another one which will make you sit back and think on the perils of leading a connected lifestyle. We are talking about ransomware, an evolved form of malicious software which disables your device’s functionality and demands a ransom in order to restore the computer to its original state. In other words, it’s a cyber version of kidnapping for money. Pretty scary isn’t it?
 
“To add legitimacy and criticality, the recent variant uses law enforcement imagery to the warning messages. The malware uses geo-location services to determine the location of the device and then, after locking the device displays a message appropriate to that country. The message usually claims that the user has broken the law by browsing some illegal material,” says Shantanu Ghosh, vice-president & managing director, India product operations, Symantec.
 
The bad guys see mobility as their next target, while traditional IT isn’t paying attention to mobile malware yet. In June this year, Symantec had tracked some initial traces that scammers went beyond computers to target the Android devices using fake apps that locked up devices just like ransomware. Early this month, Symantec confirmed this trend has taken a bigger and more realistic turn as scammers are using social engineering tricks to lure users to download apps and run FakeAV which results in the user being locked out of the device. This discovery confirmed earlier predictions that ransomware would evolve and arise on new platforms, such as mobile devices.
 
At least 16 different versions of ransomware have been identified over the past year and a half. “Each version is not an ‘upgrade’ from a previous version, but rather a unique variant, associated with a separate gang. These gangs have independently developed, or bought, their own different version of ransomware. The gangs are not new to cybercrime; they have been associated with other threats and scams in the past such as banking Trojans and rogue anti-virus programs. Ransomware has now become a more lucrative enterprise for them,” informs the Symantec India head.
 
It is beyond any doubt that mobile devices have enabled users to lead a digital lifestyle today, wherein personal as well as professional functions are seamlessly carried out using these devices. As per a recent comScore report, India’s internet population witnessed a 31% increase to 73.9 million users, making it world’s third-largest internet population in terms of numbers. In fact, internet usage preference is expected to move from PC to mobile devices. And according to the latest IDC report, India saw a 166% rise in smartphone sales in Q2 2013 when compared to Q2 2012. Therefore, it is evident that mobile devices would become a preferred platform for users to consume data. “Therefore, for cybercriminals it is a logical move to follow the consumer preference and given the rise in mobility, cybercriminals would resort to targeting mobile platforms for such attacks,” says Shantanu Ghosh.
 
It was also established according to Symantec’s Norton Cybercrime report 2012 that a notable percentage of users choose not to use mobile security even though they are addicted to their mobile devices and often have lost their mobile devices or had it stolen. Therefore, mobile devices become more vulnerable than ever for cybercriminals to effortlessly plot cyber-attacks. Additionally, as the trend of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is on the rise, such cyber-attacks have an added advantage of capturing business information in addition to personal information. For employees who are always on the move, their mobile devices are as good as their PCs and mission critical business information tends to reside on their devices for a longer span. Buoyed by enterprise apps, peer-to-peer file sharing and downloads within the network, the opportunity for cybercriminals to plant ransomware is enhanced to a great extent. The motivation here is would be financial gain and access to confidential information simultaneously.
 
Every time there is an event of national or international interest, phishers and spammers get into immediate action. The objective of cyber criminals is to capitalise on internet user curiosity and defraud them of sensitive information, passwords, credit card details, and bank credentials. They keep an eye on the latest news from around the world and convert hot news headers into domain names.
 
One such example is the domain name babykingishere.pw, which was registered in July by a registrant from Panama. The name chosen by spammers was based on the big news from the UK, the birth of future king. While the world was celebrating, spammers tried to take advantage of the event.
 
According to security firm McAfee, with income tax e-filing of tax becoming mainstream, there are exponentially more opportunities for private information to be compromised. It may be recalled that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the administrative authority of the Income Tax department, had recently extended the deadline for filing returns, both manual and electronic, to August 5. As soon as e-filing picked up pace due to last minute rush, cyber criminals were busy using phishing e-mails and fake advertisements to steal confidential financial data of users.
 
A recent Trend Micro report also warns users about the increasing hazards of online banking. It says that the online banking malware saw 29% increase in Q2, 2013 from the previous quarter—from 113,000 to 146,000 infections. “Online banking threats are spreading across the globe and are no longer concentrated in certain regions like Europe and the Americas. We found an online banking malware that modifies an infected computer’s HOSTS file to redirect a customer of certain banks to phishing sites. We also saw more Citadel variants (detected as ZBOT) targeting different financial service institutions. These malware not only target the big banks but also smaller ones, including those that exclusively cater to online banking customers. As predicted, cybercriminals carried out developments in malware distribution and refinement for existing tools,” says Dhanya Thakkar, managing director, India & SAARC, Trend Micro.
 
More online banking threats were seen in different countries this quarter, specifically in Brazil, South Korea, India and Japan. These highlighted the need for increased awareness of online banking security. Cybercriminals also came up with more diverse attacks that used various social engineering lures, single sign-on (SSO) and multi-protocol services, and blogging platforms for their malicious schemes.
 
Of course, there are things that you can do to keep your information and protect yourself from cybercriminals.
 
According to IT security firms, internet as well as mobile phone users should exercise caution while handling unsolicited or unexpected emails, and ensure the legitimacy of websites while surfing and transacting with them. Don’t ever give out your personal information in response to an email, a website you have come to through an external link, or a pop-up screen that appears on a real website. Also, don’t respond to strange messages or click links.
 
According to the Symantec India MD, users should always password-protect their mobile devices with unique and strong passwords to prevent valuable information from being stolen and never store financial information on the device. One should also avoid using unsecure or open Wi-Fi networks to access the internet on their mobile devices. It’s equally important for users to check alerts and suspicious notifications from unknown sources via emails, text messages and applications. These might contain links that download malware onto mobile devices or require submitting personal information.
 
Follow these steps and you can make your Web journey safer.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Financial Express

Monday, 22 September 2014

56 Million Credit Cards Compromised In Home Depot Hacking

BOSTON/CHICAGO: Home Depot said some 56 million payment cards were likely compromised in a cyberattack at its stores — suggesting the hacking attack at the home improvement chain was larger than last year's unprecedented breach at Target.
 
Home Depot — in providing the first clues to how much the breach would cost — said that so far it has estimated costs of $62 million. But it indicated that costs could reach much higher.
 
It will take months to determine the full scope of the fraud, which affected Home Depot stores in both the US and Canada and ran from April to September.
 
Retailer Target incurred costs of $148 million in its second fiscal quarter related to its breach. Target hackers stole at least 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data.
 
Home Depot said that criminals used unique, custom-built software that had not been seen in previous attacks and was designed to evade detection in its most complete account of what had happened since it first disclosed the breach on September 8.
 
The company said that the hackers' method of entry has been closed off, the malware eliminated from its network, and that it had rolled out "enhanced encryption of payment data" to all US stores.
 
"We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges," Chief Executive Frank Blake said in a statement.
 
Of the estimated cost so far of $62 million, which covers such items as credit monitoring, increased call centre staffing, and legal and professional services, Home Depot said it believes that $27 million of the amount will be paid for by insurers.
 
But the company said it has not yet estimated the impact of "probable losses" related to the possible need to reimburse banks for fraud and card replacement, as well as covering costs of lawsuits and government investigations.
 
"Those costs may have a material adverse effect on The Home Depot's financial results in the fourth quarter and/or future periods," the company said in its statement.
 
Wesley McGrew, an expert of retail breaches who is an assistant research professor at the department of computer science at Mississippi State University, said that Home Depot is going to be expected to bear the costs related to fraud and payment card replacement.
 
Banks typically seek to get retailers to cover those costs if there are any indications of shortcomings in their security.
 
Criminals have frequently used software that evades detection, but retailers are expected to closely monitor their networks using tools that are designed to uncover signs of a crime in progress, McGrew said.
 
"It's hard to feel sorry for them when there are things they could have done to improve the security of these transactions," McGrew said.
 
Hitesh Sheth, chief executive of Vectra Networks, a cybersecurity firm in San Jose, California, said Home Depot's breach exposes a weakness, noting that the company said hackers used unique, custom-built malware.
 
That "essentially means the technology they are using is only designed to detect malware that has already been used in a previous attack, and that is symptomatic of the retail industry," Sheth said.
 
"Retailers need to upgrade to technology that is available and detects behaviour of malware that is new because these attacks are not going to stop anytime soon."
 
For its fiscal year ending in February, Home Depot revised its earnings estimate to $4.54 per share from $4.52. In addition to the cost related to the breach, it said the estimate includes a pre-tax gain of about $100 million on the sale of 3.6 million common shares of HD Supply stock.
 
The company left its outlook for sales growth for the year at 4.8%.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS Identity Shield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times of India

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cyber Crime Centre Project Gives Way To Cyberdome

KOCHI: It appears that the proposed Cyber Crime Centre at Infopark, Kochi, which was announced in the State Budget two years ago, would not be realised now.
 
In fact, the Cyberdome to be set up in Thiruvananthapuram, which was announced by the government recently, is the same as the Cyber Crime Centre.
 
According to sources in the Hightech Cell of the Kerala Police, initially it was decided to launch the Cyber Crime Centre in Kochi, but the project was dropped later as the authorities could not find a proper space for it at Infopark.
 
“Since a high number of cyber crimes are reported in Kochi, it was first decided to start the Cyber Crime Centre in Kochi.
 
The Centre, a Public-Private Partnership project, was intended to monitor, research and find solutions to the new trends in cyber crimes. Though talks were held with several private firms in the field, due to lack of infrastructure the project was shifted to Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram under a new name,” the sources said.
 
Meanwhile, the Police Department has sought the assistance of IT firms to set up the Cyberdome. The facility will be set up in 5,000 sq-feet space inside the Technopark. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
 
Kochi City Police Commissioner K G James said that a cyber police station would come up at Infopark, instead of the Cyber Crime Centre.
 
“We will soon get a new cyber police station in the city. We have identified the location for the police station, and a proposal has been sent to the government. Currently, there is only one cyber police station in the entire State, which functions in Thiruvananthapurm.
 
The decision to start cyber police stations in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram was taken in the wake of the recent increase in cyber crimes,” they added.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Indian Express

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Impact Of RBI Decision: Home Loan Borrowers, Realtors To Benefit

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s move to bring housing loans of up to Rs 50 lakh under priority sector lending, against loans of up to Rs 25 lakh currently, is expected to provide a boost to home loan borrowers and real estate companies.
 
So far, those availing of home loans of up to Rs 50 lakh were paying 10-11 per cent interest. Now, with the new norms in place, they might see a fall of 25-50 basis points in rates in the medium term.
 
This is the second bonanza for home loan borrowers in the past few days. In his Budget 2014-15 speech on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had increased the deduction limit on account of interest on home loans from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.
 
On Tuesday, RBI said priority sector lending covered loans towards affordable housing - loans of up to Rs 50 lakh for houses worth up to Rs 65 lakh in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad, and up to Rs 40 lakh for houses worth up to Rs 50 lakh in other centres.
 
"This makes things a lot easier and it is an encouragement for the housing sector," Keki Mistry, vice-chairman of HDFC, told CNBC-TV18. He added about 40 per cent of the company's total individual loans would now come under priority sector lending.
 
Sunil Rohokale, chief executive and managing director of fund manager ASK Investment Holdings, said, "Provisioning norms under priority sector are soft and banks need to set aside less funds for that. Since their cost of capital will come down, they will lend to borrowers in that bracket at lower rates." He added home loan borrowers at the lower end of the bracket would benefit and the move would primarily help buyers in Greater Noida, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Manesar in Haryana, where home prices were Rs 4,000-6,000 per sq ft and apartment sizes were 500-1,000 sq ft.
 
Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director of Hiranandani Constructions, said, "I think borrowers will get loans at a lower rates and it will ultimately help developers. Banks will get into this segment in a big way, as these loans are part of priority sector loans and home loans are the most secured."
 
Many believe as the worth of houses has risen, RBI has aligned priority loans in housing to current market values. In 2011, the limit for housing loans under priority sector was raised from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. "You would not get a home for less than Rs 50 lakh in municipal limits of big cities. So, RBI has done the right thing," Rohokale said.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Business Standard

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Millennials Just Aren't That Into Credit Cards

Many consumers don't think twice when they swipe for a morning coffee with their trusty credit card.
 
But a recent Bankrate survey reveals that millennials are increasingly forgoing plastic.
 
Almost two-thirds of millennials - a "whopping" 63% - don't own a single credit card. Only 23% own one credit card, and 6% own two.
 
Contrastingly, 65% of adults over the age of 30 own at least one.
 
From a short term perspective, millennials might be making the smart decision by steering clear of credit cards. Bankrate's survey "found that millennials who do have credit cards aren't as good at paying down their bills as other demographic groups." Only 40% of millennials "pay off their balances in full each month", while 53% of those 30 and over do.
 
However, forgoing credit cards could have negative implications in the long run because credit cards are one of the best ways for building a good credit score.
 
And a good credit score is imperative for getting a good price on things like insurance. It's also extremely difficult to secure financing for homes and cars if your credit score is low or worse, non-existent.
 
As a result, millennials who aren't using credit cards -even if they're just trying to save money or control spending - end up having a hard time getting loans because they haven't built up enough credit to qualify.
 
Plus the survey adds that "according to Experian, the average VantageScore for millennials is 628, which lenders largely consider subprime." As a comparison, Baby Boomers have an average Vantage Score of 700, and Generation Xers have 653.
 
Millennials' credit card aversion is attributed to all the usual financial worries of the past five years. They grew up during the Great Recession, and now they're facing "bloated" student loans.
 
"'It's not so much (that millennials are) anti-credit card, but it's more the risk of debt' that they fear," Eric Lindeen, director of marketing at Zoot Enterprises, told Bankrate.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Business Insider

Monday, 15 September 2014

India World’s Fourth Largest Victim Of Malware: F-secure

Growing popularity of smartphones and rising data usage in India is also making the country a favourite among cybercriminals, who are increasingly attacking mobile phones using malware.
 
India, the world’s fastest growing handset market, is the fourth most affected globally by mobile malware, a report by security solutions provider F-Secure said on Monday.
 
According to F-Secure Lab’s Threat Report H1 2014, India follows the UK, France and Saudi Arabia in reporting of mobile malware incidents.
 
In April-June 2014, 295 new threat families and variants were discovered – 294 on Android and one on iOS. That’s up from 277 threats discovered in January-March 2014, of which 275 targeted Android, the report said.
 
Top Android threats in Q2 were Trojans that either send SMS messages to premium numbers or harvest data from a device and forward it on to a remote server. Slocker malware reported in June, which pretends to be a legitimate app, was the first ransomware to appear on the mobile platform, it added.
 
Commenting on the India findings, F-Secure Security Advisor (ASIA) Goh Su Gim said: “India is seeing a rise in premium content SMS type malware.”
 
Besides, mobile ransomware is going to be the next wave of attack for handsets and it is being increasingly seen that these ransomware is also targeting enterprises. Earlier they were confined to individual users, he added.
 
Ramsomware, a kind of malicious software, is designed to block access to a computer until a certain sum of money is paid. Generally, it targets individuals.
 
F-Secure India Country Head Amit Nath said there is a rise in botnet cases in India. “India is also a centre for botnets – as bot infecting viruses like Ramnit and Sality are rampant. PC’s in a botnet are used mainly by hackers for distributed denial-of-service (DDOS), spamming and possibly Bitcoin mining,” he added.
 
Bot is short for robot. Cybercriminals distribute malicious software that can turn a computer into a bot. These bots can be networked together as ‘botnet’ that can perform automated tasks over the Internet, without owners knowledge.
 
In mobile malware, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and New Delhi are three top 5 infected cities, while tier II cities are becoming a favourite destination for mobile malware.
 
“Many incidents as highlighted in our threat report shows that cybercriminals constantly adapt to new trends whether by utilising new malware or targeted attacks techniques to continue with their attacks,” Nath said.
 
In PC threats, of the top 10 detections, the largest share (31 percent) were of six-year-old Downadup/Conficker worm. The worm has infected millions of computers in over 200 countries, the report said.
 
This worm’s long life is mostly due to computers that run old software – illustrating the importance of keeping a computer’s software up to date, it added.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: First Post