Who knows more about the World Wide Web? You or a Fifth Grader?

Are you smarter than a 10-year old?

Are you smarter than a 10-year old?

American internet users’ knowledge of the modern technology landscape varies widely across a range of topics, according to a new knowledge quiz conducted by the Pew Research Center as part of its ongoing series commemorating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

I challenge you to find the fifth grader in your family and you both take the Pew quiz before reading the full report.  To take the Quiz, click here.

Too scared to match up your wisdom against a ten-year old?  I don’t blame you! Click to read the report.

Increase in App Hacks for Top 100 Mobile Apps

Arxan’s Annual Report: ‘State of Mobile App Security’ Reveals an Increase in App Hacks for Top 100 Mobile Apps

Great insights from Arxan on a subject that’s probably flying too low under the radar for most mobile app developers.

See the Infographic: https://www.arxan.com/assets/1/7/state_of_security_2014_11.pdf

Arxan Technologies, the leading provider of application protection solutions, released its third annual State of Mobile App Security report last week, which reveals that 97% of the top 100 paid Android apps and 87% of the top 100 paid Apple iOS apps have been hacked.

In addition to an increase in app hacks found for commonly downloaded Popular Free apps, this year’s research also reveals evidence of widespread hacking of financial services, healthcare/medical, and retail/merchant apps, largely driven by hacks of Android apps.



Arxan’s 2014 State of Mobile App Security report updates previous years’ indicators on the prevalence of hacked apps on the two major platforms (iOS and Android). The findings of increased app hacking is especially noteworthy amidst today’s rapid growth in global mobile app usage. Free app downloads are forecasted to increase at a rate of 99% to reach 253 billion downloads in 2017, and paid app downloads are projected to reach almost 15 billion, a 33% increase by 2017.This explosion in app usage is seen across all verticals and led by apps running on the Android mobile operating system, which continues to dominate with 85% market share.2

The report, which comes on the heels of a number of recent mobile application-based attacks, such as WireLurker and Masque, highlights the imminent and growing need for mobile applications to contain self-protections. Key findings from the 2014 report include:

  • Top 100 Paid Apps and Popular Free Apps reveal widespread hacking

o   97% of top 100 paid Android apps and 87% of top 100 paid iOS apps have been hacked –This finding of a high percentage for Android hacked apps is in line with results from prior years. However, the iOS percentage represents a sharp increase over 2013, when 56% of iOS apps were found to be hacked.

o   80% of Popular Free Android apps have been hacked, and 75% of the Popular Free iOS apps have been hacked – The percentage of popular iOS apps hacked has steadily increased over the last 3 years.

·        App Hacking Targets Mobile Apps Across High-Risk Verticals

o   Mobile financial apps are still at risk – 95% of the Android financial apps reviewed were “cracked,” while 70% of the iOS financial apps were hacked. This is an increase in both cases, with Android’s growing about 80%.

o   90% of Retail/Merchant Android apps and 35% of Retail/Merchant iOS apps have been compromised– Hackers aretargeting growth in B2C retail apps, as stores launch mobile payment/wallet services, and in B2B merchant point-of-sale apps. In both cases, sensitive data, IP, and financial transactions are at risk.

o   90% of Android Healthcare/Medical apps have been hacked, 22% of which are FDA approved

Proactive measures to protect against application risks are being championed by industry leaders such as Gartner’s application security analyst, Joseph Feiman. In Feiman’s recent Maverick report, he advises CISO’s to “make application self-protection a new investment priority, ahead of perimeter and infrastructure protection. Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) is designed to protect applications by adding protection features into the application runtime environment.”3

Echoing security leaders, Arxan’s State of Mobile App Security report includes key recommendations to improve the security of mobile applications. Among other recommendations, the report recommends that:

  • Applications with high-risk profiles running on any mobile platform should be made tamper-resistant and capable of defending themselves and detecting threats at runtime.
  • All applications should be developed to maintain the confidentiality of the application/code.
  • The software that is used to enable mobile wallets/payment apps (e.g., Host Card Emulation software) should be protected with secure crypto and app hardening.
  • Organizations should consider mobile app assessments to assess if existing apps are exposed to risks that are unique to mobile environments. Also, as part of the mobile app development lifecycle, organizations should conduct Penetration Tests that, among other things, should assess vulnerability to reverse engineering and tampering that can result from unprotected binary code.

Arxan’s 2014 “State of Mobile App Security” report and supporting Infographic are now available.  The findings were based on an analysis of 360 apps, including 100 top paid and the same 20 popular free apps from each platform, as well as 40 apps in the financial services, retail/merchant, and healthcare/medical categories (20 apps per platform).

“The pursuit of greater mobile application security remains at the forefront our research and development initiatives,” said Jonathan Carter, technical director at Arxan. “We continue to evolve our security innovations based on emerging threats to ensure the strongest application protection for our customers in the dynamic battlefield against hackers.”

Read more:  https://www.arxan.com/resources/state-of-security-in-the-app-economy/

Veterans Financial Coalition serves the financial challenges of military veterans

Group Serving Veterans Grows To Eight Members

The Veterans Financial Coalition, a diverse group of organizations seeking to serve the needs and unique financial challenges military veterans face when returning to civilian life, welcomed three new members today. Call For Action, the National Consumers League (NCL) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) will join the Coalition’s founding members, the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®), Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Visa Inc. These organizations bring unique and important assets and initiatives that will strengthen the coalition and its mission of improving the financial security and wellbeing of our nation’s growing population of veterans.

The Veterans Financial Coalition has three goals: educate veterans and the community organizations that serve them; conduct research regarding enhanced consumer protections for veterans; and raise awareness for veterans’ financial needs. The new members bring resources focused on helping veterans with consumer complaints, learning how to spot fraud, and identifying and overcoming financial issues.

Call For Action has a network of local chapters a consumer complaint service and hotlines to help veterans, among a number of other resources. Veterans can utilize Call For Action’s direct consumer mediation services for any consumer issue. Veterans can find a local Call For Action by visiting the website http://www.callforaction.org.

“Call For Action is proud to support the empowerment of our veterans by joining this important coalition,” said Eduard Bartholme, Executive Director of Call For Action. “Since veterans are often targeted in the financial services marketplace, education is an important first step in teaching them how to avoid these potential pitfalls. If a problem does arise, our network of volunteer-staffed consumer help hotlines is ready to assist.”

National Consumers League brings the strength of its well established Fraud.org resource to help veterans learn the warning signs of common scams and how to avoid losing money to fraudsters. Thousands of consumer complaints are collected from over 100,000 monthly visitors to Fraud.org and shared with their network of more than 90 law enforcement partners. Fraud can be reporting by visiting the Fraud.org complaint form and FakeChecks.org can help veterans learn to spot the signs of fake checks.

“As a longstanding watchdog and advocate for consumer literacy, the National Consumers League is proud to ally with the Veterans Financial Coalition and its partners,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “Our programs seek to offer support and education for helping consumers navigate the marketplace at all stages of life, so partnering to bolster the financial literacy of those who have served our country is a natural fit. We are delighted to be a part of this effort.”

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s “Sharpen your Financial Focus” program seeks to assist veterans in stabilizing their personal financial situation. The program helps veterans identify their most pressing financial issue, and customize a three step program that will put them on a path to financial stability. More information is available at http://www.SharpenToday.org.

“The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has a long history of helping veterans avoid financial pitfalls or recover from them,” said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. “Being part of the Veterans Financial Coalition underscores that commitment, and expands the opportunity for our member agencies to provide financial education and solutions to those who have served our country. There is something fundamentally wrong with a United States Armed Services veteran being in financial distress. They were there when we needed them; now it’s our turn to give back. We look forward to working with veterans to find solutions to their personal finance concerns, solutions that will lead to long-term financial stability.”

http://www.VeteransFinancialCoalition.org is a clearinghouse of important personal finance resources provided by coalition members. The website serves as a hub of free resources, ranging from educational games and guides, consumer protection brochures, training program information, and research.

SOURCE Veterans Financial Coalition

Square Reader for Chip Cards Available for Pre-Order

Square’s EMV Solution Will Enable All Sellers to Accept New Credit Card Technology

Square reports that starting today, sellers can pre-order the all-new Square Reader for chip cards, the company’s first EMV solution for U.S. businesses. Built with custom-designed components for optimum performance and easy mobility, Square’s latest reader is the most compact and affordable chip-enabled reader on the market. The Square Reader for chip cards is $29 and available for pre-order today at square.com/shop/reader.

“We’ve simplified the traditional cumbersome, power-hungry EMV terminal that costs sellers hundreds of dollars and requires complicated contracts,” said Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Square. “Our chip reader is designed with custom components and software to offer every seller a beautiful, secure, and incredibly affordable EMV solution.”

Like all Square products, the Square Reader for chip cards is built to ensure better performance, easier use, and an elegant design. Standout features of the new Square Reader for chip cards include:

  • Compact and portable: The Square Reader for chip cards is small enough to fit in a pocket and works with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
  • Dual acceptance of both chip and magnetic-stripe cards: with a built-in readhead and a chip connector, customers can choose how they want to pay and sellers never have to miss a sale.
  • End-to-end encryption: Custom silicon and a bespoke magnetic readhead ensure that credit card information is encrypted at the moment of swipe or dip, protecting the buyer and seller.
  • Active tamper detection: Square Reader for chip cards has multiple layers of security designed to detect and defend against misuse, providing a secure transaction.
  • Same revolutionary sign-up experience: No merchant accounts, no long-term contracts — start accepting chip cards from the counter or your pocket right away.

Square’s Chip Card Accessory for Square Stand for its brick-and-mortar sellers is also available for pre-order today. This peripheral works seamlessly with the beautiful Square Stand, which turns an iPad into a complete point of sale. The accessory connects via USB port to any Square Stand, allowing sellers to accept chip cards. Priced at $39, the Chip Card Accessory is now available for pre-order atsquare.com/shop/chip-accessory. Delivery begins in Spring 2015.

“Cyber-Crime” Not Uncommon – says Gallup in new poll

In addition to the seven core crimes (burglary, property theft or larceny, car theft, vandalism, robbery, physical assault and sexual assault) asked each year since 2000, this year’s Gallup Crime poll asked about cyber-crimes, defined as “theft of credit card information from store database and hacking of computers or smartphones.”

Gallup reports that twenty-seven percent of households and 19% of U.S. adults claim they have been affected by stolen credit card information (including Target and Home Depot customers) over the past 12 months.  This number is far greater than said they had been victimized by any of the traditional crimes.

Gallup also reports that 11% of U.S. households and 7% of Americans claim they had their computer or smartphone hacked, with information stolen by unauthorized users.

More:  http://www.gallup.com/poll/179174/one-four-households-victimized-crime.aspx

The real numbers: Unbanked and Underbanked Households in the U.S.

From my early days (beginning in 2002) researching the size and scope of the market for prepaid financial services, I consistently found a great deal of misinformation and unsubstantiated claims being bantered around by both the media and entrepreneurs which greatly exaggerated the number of adults who were either un-banked or under-banked, Those inaccurate numbers still persist today in the projections of many a start-up seeking a sliver of these markets.

Misconceptions on the market began to fade when in June 2013, the FDIC sponsored its third National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.

The study focused on collecting accurate data on the number of U.S. households that are unbanked and underbanked, their demographic characteristics, and their reasons for being unbanked and underbanked.

The survey was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau as a special supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

With the rich demographic and geographic data available through the CPS, the study presents a wealth of previously unavailable data on unbanked and underbanked households at the national, state, and large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) levels.

The survey addresses a gap in the availability of reliable, accurate, and comprehensive data on the number of unbanked and underbanked households in the United States. Some of the key overall findings from the 2013 include:

  • 7.7 percent (1 in 13) of households in the United States were unbanked in 2013. This proportion represented nearly 9.6 million households.
  • 20.0 percent of U.S. households (24.8 million) were underbanked in 2013, meaning that they had a bank account but also used alternative financial services (AFS) outside of the banking system.
  • The unbanked rate has varied from 7.6 percent in 2009 to 8.2 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2013.
    • The 0.5 percentage point decrease in the unbanked rate between 2011 and 2013 can be explained by differences in the economic conditions and demographic composition of households over this period.
    • In particular, compared to 2011, households in 2013 had slightly higher levels of employment and income, and were slightly older and better educated. These characteristics are all associated with a higher likelihood of having a bank account.
  • While relatively small proportions of U.S. households experienced major life events in the past year, households that transitioned in or out of the banking system were more likely to have experienced certain events:
    • Among households that recently became unbanked, 34.1 percent experienced either a significant income loss or a job loss that they said contributed to the household becoming unbanked.
    • Among households that recently became banked, 19.4 percent reported that a new job contributed to their opening a bank account.

While a great deal of misinformation continues to persist over the number of households and the size of the population of adults who are either unbanked or underbanked, this study should serve as the more realistic benchmark for understanding the scope of opportunities for both entrepreneurs and financial institutions to serve their communities and build their business.