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Virtual POS now in SA

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Small enterprises can now accept digital card payments remotely or on-the-go using their connected mobile devices following the launch of Virtual Card Service’s virtual Point of Sale (vPOS).

Powered by MasterCard’s MasterPass digital payments platform, the vPOS provides a safe, convenient and easy way for merchants to be paid using their own connected mobile phone as a point of sale (POS) device, while consumers can pay for goods and services using MasterPass, a digital wallet.

“We designed the vPOS to meet the needs of merchants who do business ‘on the move’ and need to accept card payments wherever they are conducting business – be that at someone’s house or selling products at weekend markets or roadshows,” says Wouter Uitzinger, Chief Operating Officer at VCS. “We see enormous potential for the solution in South Africa, especially with the large number of informal traders, and the growing population of smartphone users.”

To sign up for a vPOS, merchants simply apply for an affordable merchant facility directly from Virtual Card Service, after which they download the vPOS app from their Android or Apple store and authenticate their credentials. To accept payment, they enter the transaction amount on the app’s keypad and generate a MasterPass Quick Response (QR) code that is displayed on their own device.

Consumers need to download the MasterPass app from their app store, register, and load their credit, debit or cheque cards from any bank into the digital wallet. To pay, they simply open the MasterPass app on their mobile device and scan the QR code. They select the card they wish to use, enter their bank PIN number on their own device, and the transaction is complete.

“Mobile technologies have emerged as a powerful tool for shop owners and mobile businesses to accept digital payments,” says Anton van der Merwe, Head of Market Development for MasterCard, South Africa. “As a fast, easy and inexpensive POS device that can be used literally anywhere, the vPOS has the potential to open up new revenue channels for merchants and enable them to meet the demands of today’s connected shopper.”

With the vPOS, merchants can increase revenues from accepting digital card payments, and reduce their exposure to the risks and costs of managing cash. Payment is immediate and is guaranteed, meaning that merchants no longer need to wait for Electronic Fund Transfers or cheques to clear. VCS also  reconciles payment and Value Added Tax to offer even more efficiency and time-savings to the merchant and is more affordable than traditional POS or mobile POS devices.

For consumers, MasterPass offers a simple, convenient, trusted digital platform that provides a fast, safe shopping experience. It enables consumers to pay for the things they want with the security they demand, using any connected device.

Unlike many other similar solutions, each MasterPass transaction is classified as an Authenticated Mobile Transaction by South African Banks, ensuring that consumers enjoy the highest protection from fraudsters.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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