Petaluma, Calif., police arrested three individuals on June 9, 2017, on suspicion of identity theft and drug possession. A routine traffic stop led to the discovery of illegal and restricted drugs, as well as personal data reportedly stolen from InTouchPOS, a global hospitality service provider based about 70 miles away in Walnut Creek, Calif. Petaluma Police Sgt. Lance Novello noted that the recovered stolen data included names, addresses, birthdays, Social Security numbers, banking credentials and credit card account numbers. "The potential victim list spans the United States and losses are yet to be determined, as most victims are unaware," he said.
Singularity University's fourth annual Exponential Finance Summit, held June 7 through 9, 2017, in New York City, drew a diverse crowd of executives from a range of industries to explore how emerging technologies can solve global problems at scale. Speakers and panelists challenged attendees to "be exponential" and "unlearn" linear forms of thinking by tapping into the vast computational power and digital transformation of innovative change-makers and organizations. The three-day summit was organized into separate tracks to enable stakeholders in banking, financial advisory and wealth management, and insurance industries to examine how emerging technologies are impacting each vertical.
According to recent data published by EMVCo, the number of EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip cards in global circulation increased by 1.3 billion in 2016, bringing the total to 6.1 billion worldwide. Over the same period, card-present transactions conducted using EMV chip card and terminal technologies grew to 52.4 percent, up from 35.8 percent in 2015. Of the six regions tracked, Europe Zone 1 recorded the highest penetration of EMV card-present transactions, at 97.8 percent, with an adoption rate of 84.9 percent. While Asia Pacific (38.8 percent adoption) and the United States (52.2 percent adoption) lagged behind other regions, the data revealed U.S. adoption nearly doubled year-over-year. Continued growth in global EMV acceptance is anticipated. EMVCo Executive Committee Chair Soumya Chakrabarty stated that "more recent data will reflect higher adoption rates than the January to December 2016 reporting period, given the current pace of migration in regions such as the U.S. and Asia."
News from Apple Inc. could pave the way for much broader use of near field communication (NFC) technologies in mobile commerce, as well as increase competition in person-to-person (P2P) payments. On June 5, 2017, the technology giant let it be known that a "core" NFC framework will be included in its next-generation mobile operating system, iOS 11. Apple executives revealed the change at the company's worldwide developer conference, and with a new documentation webpage for developers. Tag-reading functionality is slated to become available beginning this fall with shipments of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices, as well as Apple Watches. While Apple gave little in the way of specifics, technology experts expect the move to lead to an explosion of NFC tag applications in retailing and elsewhere. Apple also revealed during its June 5 confab with developers that iOS 11 will support P2P payments using Apple Pay and its proprietary messaging app iMessage.
The Midwest Acquirers Association will return to downtown Chicago for its 15th anniversary show, MWAA 2017. For two days, July 18 and 19, payment professionals will enjoy the amenities of the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile hotel while attending educational presentations, special events and networking opportunities at the hotel's spacious conference facilities. Providing insights, information and inspiration is the aim of organizers, who revealed key presentations will be on payment facilitators, awakening innovation and boosting your bottom line, among other topics.
Sears Holdings Corp. revealed May 31, 2017, that a data security breach occurred in its Kmart Stores division. A notice on Kmart's website apologized for the incident, the second security breach in three years for the retailer. Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite previously disclosed a security breach of the Kmart brand in October 2014, one month after an investigation exposed unauthorized access of its payment data systems. As of this writing, it is unclear how many of Kmart's 735 locations were affected. The company advised customers to "carefully review and monitor their debit and credit card account statements." Gareth Glynne, Senior Vice President, Retail Operations, for Sears and Kmart, said IT security experts have once again found and removed a form of malicious code in the company's POS systems.
A month after confirming during an earnings call that it would divest Sage Payment Solutions Inc., U.K.-based Sage Group PLC entered into a definitive agreement with private equity firm GTCR under which GTCR will acquire Reston, Va.-based SPS for $260 million. "GTCR is partnering with SPS management to pursue organic growth initiatives and fund future acquisitions in the payment processing industry," GTCR stated in a press release about the transaction. "To support this strategy, GTCR has committed up to $350 million of equity capital to the platform. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter following receipt of regulatory approvals and other consents." Sage Group will remain strategically and financially connected with SPS, having entered into an alliance to facilitate ongoing cooperation.
Security analysts are calling for a targeted, proportional response to increasingly sophisticated criminal attacks on security infrastructures. Because criminals gain access to networks by using technologies similar to those used by retailers and law enforcement, alternative approaches to data security are needed, experts have said. A Day in the Life of a Cyber Security Pro, a study published May 17, 2017, by Bay Dynamics in conjunction with research firm Enterprise Management Associates Inc., highlighted the need for more robust and scalable tools. Of the more than 400 North American cybersecurity professionals who participated in the survey, 87 percent rated their patching processes as "very mature to moderately mature," and 79 percent called their patching approval processes "significantly manual."
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