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The Financial Crisis in Charts

Thought I’d offer a brief history of the financial crisis as seen through Google Insights, which measures the popularity of a search term over time. Interest in the word subprime spiked a couple of times in 2007 (above) before we figured out it was all about toxic debts (below): and credit crunches: Then we realised suddenly we had to learn a bit more about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: and even basic terms like liquidity: Useful information. And it wasn’t just an economics lesson. We had to gen up on countries that we had recently given little attention to, like Iceland: Although it’s worth keepingContinue readingThe Financial Crisis in Charts

Teaching Kids to Get into Interactive Debt

Next mealtime, expect your kids to pester you to take out a loan on a new Scion. They’ll probably have filled in the forms for you. A month ago the NYT wrote about how a kids’ virtual world website, Whyville, was cutting a deal with Toyota to promote the Scion, allowing the youngsters to buy a virtual car in exchange for clams, the Whyville currency they earn by solving puzzles (read Heather Green’s piece over at BusinessWeek for a good overview of Whyville). If you’re having trouble following this, join the club: Think product placement in a kids’ version of Second Life. The idea hereContinue readingTeaching Kids to Get into Interactive Debt

How Long Did The ‘Biggest Data Theft In History’ Go Unreported?

I continue to be intrigued, but somewhat perplexed, by the CardSystems security breach that happened nearly two months ago now. Who knew it first, and who told who, and when? And why did it take so long to tell the rest of us? A U.S. company claimed it was its software that first spotted the breach last year, in a press release issued July 13: ACI Worldwide (Nasdaq: TSAI), a leading international provider of enterprise payment solutions, today announced that its ACI Proactive Risk Manager™ software helped National Australia Bank (NAB) detect the recently revealed security breach at CardSystems Solution before any other bank orContinue readingHow Long Did The ‘Biggest Data Theft In History’ Go Unreported?

Wiretapping Your Way Into Credit Card Fraud

If you think the Internet is a scary place for stealing your sensitive bank data, try your local gas station. The Star Tribune in Malaysia reports that criminals there are increasingly intercepting the transmission of credit card data between the point of sale machines that swipe your card and the bank. This data, incredibly, is being sent in unencrypted text form so all a criminal has to do is ‘wiretap’ the phone line and capture the data — usually onto an MP3 player.  All they need to do is find the phone line, either in the outlet’s Main Distribution Frame room, or that of theContinue readingWiretapping Your Way Into Credit Card Fraud

News: Come To Australia, Skim Central

Looks like Australia is becoming a haven for credit card fraud, or at least a part of the business. An article on News Interactive says that losses by Australian banks to credit card skimming have risen by more than 400 per cent in the past year, according to The Australian Crime Commission (ACC). Organised groups have used portable card skimmers to obtain credit card data at gas stations, restaurants and in taxis, before selling this data to gangs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand, where it was transferred to plastic cards bearing the logos of Australian banks, before making fraudulent purchases. Credit-card skimming involvesContinue readingNews: Come To Australia, Skim Central

Software: Money, Money, Money

Microsoft has just released a new version of its Money software, 2004. New features: — An extensive Credit Center provides a free credit report and one year of ongoing credit monitoring, in addition to a summary of debt accounts, educational content, access to “what-if” scenarios and information on credit protection. — Money 2004 Premium offers an exclusive collection of valuable financial services, a $365 value, including two years of MSN(r) Bill Pay, capital gains tax optimizer from GainsKeeper, one-time free federal online tax preparation and filing from H&R Block, one free credit report, credit alerts and one year of ongoing monitoring from Experian Consumer Direct,Continue readingSoftware: Money, Money, Money

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