Employee Data Breach The Worst Part Of Sony Hack

Employee Data Breach The Worst Part Of Sony Hack

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

The Sony hack has taught us so much. It’s taught us to send corporate email as if everyone is reading those emails. It’s taught us that people in Hollywood are just as mean as people in any other industry (and potentially racist). And it’s taught us that Channing Tatum is really enthusiastic about beating “TED” at the box office.

The one lesson that’s the hardest to stomach is that you may be doing everything possible to protect yourself online, but your employer may be laissez faire about the whole thing. This is the position that over 6,500 current (and many former) employees of Sony find themselves in today.

As Gizmodo’s Brian Barnett wrote:

“The most painful stuff in the Sony cache is a doctor shopping for Ritalin. It’s an email about trying to get pregnant. It’s shit-talking coworkers behind their backs, and people’s credit card log-ins…

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Cash is KING

Cash is KING

I always felt using my zero liability credit card was best option to pay and very frustrated when there is a difference between a cash price and credit price. I wondered why my shop around the corner did not like me paying for a pack of gum with plastic.Featured image

So, I did some research and here are a few facts. Let us first look at the companies who generate revenue from our credit card usage.

VISA and Mastercard are leading brands that make a small fee when you swipe a card. They simply broker the transaction between the retailer and the name of the bank on your card. No liability, nothing added in value to you as a customer.

VISA Gross profit in 2013 – $9B

Mastercard Gross profit in 2013 – $8B with $0 in R&D expense

The major banks like Citi, Chase who issue us our credit card are nothing more than a revolving loan provided every 30 days. They make money from the retailer who pays a fee on the customers behalf and if we our payment is late, we pay a late fee and an interest. Banks are in the business of lending money so, this is part of their risk portfolio.

So, who loses money? It is the retailer and the customer.

A retailer pays between 2%-3% on every transaction we do with plastic that comes out of their Gross profit. In addition, the compliance mandates from the credit card industry to protect their losses due to credit card fraud puts additional financial burden on a retailer’s profits.

Let us look at the recent security breaches in past 12 months and the financial impact.

Target loss – $146M

Home depot loss approx. – $100M

Other Retailers approx.. – $50M

Upgrade to new chip and pin technology – $200M by Target and Home Depot alone

Now, the card issuing bank like Citi bear majority of fraud losses but, they pass some of it to the retailers and the loss is insignificant compared to the financial crisis of 2008 “too big to fail”. Banks know how to makeup for their losses. The new chip and pin technology is to protect the bank’s loss from fraud that may occur at a retailer.

So, what does it all mean? If a retailer continues to lose money from paying credit card fees, fraud fees and possible increase in credit card transaction fee, this will increase their cost of goods and services and/or drive out small business. Retailers with razor thin margins cannot survive while offering payment choices to consumers.

I am sure most of what I wrote is common sense but, the next time you pay for anything under $25, please use cash or debit card. Debit cards with a pin are more secure than credit card. Although there is a myth that money can be stolen from you checking account in case of fraud, your liability is $50 if reported within 2 days and in many cases, it is waived if you report it promptly. Again, don’t sign for the debit transaction but, use you pin. It helps the merchant.

So, we as consumers may end up bearing the liability or the fees and so, there is nothing like “zero liability”.

Yahoo Bolsters Encryption Between Data Centers, Promises New, Encrypted Messenger In “Months”

Yahoo Bolsters Encryption Between Data Centers, Promises New, Encrypted Messenger In “Months”

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

This afternoon, Yahoo detailed progress relating to the encryption of its various web services and properties. Most importantly, Yahoo now “fully” encrypts data moving between its data centers, as of March 31.

Yahoo was one of two companies that the NSA targeted with its MUSCULAR program, which tapped data cables between the foreign data centers of Yahoo and Google. A similar program had been found illegal in the United States. Google has made similar efforts to bolster encryption.

For users searching from the Yahoo homepage, and across most of its network, searches that are executed by users will be encrypted by default. Looking ahead, Yahoo will release a new version of Yahoo Messenger that will feature encryption in the “coming months.” This should cover video chatting, as well.

In conversation, Yahoo’s chief information security officer, Alex Stamos, stated that the company’s goal is to have “all data” sent to…

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Thank you for disrupting me!


Over the years, I have been impacted by disruptive innovation and I would like to thank the leaders for doing so. Some of them are gone but, most of them continue to make my life better.

AOL – Thank you Mr. Case for sending me a CD in the mail for a dialup service. I also setup my first email account @aol.com. I sent the first email to myself and heard “you got mail”.

Dell – Mr. Dell allowed me to buy my customized PC from a catalog directly and delivered it to my door. Got my first PDA from Dell but, used it for a short time.

Yahoo – My home page for decades, my first search engine and @yahoo.com has been my primary email account for 16 years. Thank you.

Netscape – This browser turned me into an online user. The rich feature set, the user design truly changed my experience on the internet. Thank you Mr. Andreessen and Mr. Clark.

Amazon – I ventured into the jungle of Amazon.com when I was trying to buy a book in late 90’s. I use it as my default store, am a proud prime member and continue to benefit from Mr. Bezos passion. Thank you.

E*TRADE – The trading fees and calls to the investor broker kept me away from Wall Street. Then, came E*TRADE. My first and only stock broker with simple fees, user experience and delivering Wall Street to my browser. Thank you.

Netflix – The pressure to watch a new movie in 24 hours for $3.99 from Blockbuster was relieved by Netflix. I started to look forward to the mail man. Family night was not defined by the video store. Thank you.

Blackberry – My first smart device with black and white email and a wheel. Used it for years for its reliability and simple feature i.e. emails. Then, Mr. Jobs and the apps changed my view. Thank you.

PayPal – I once had to pay a invoice to a small vendor but, the transfer fee from the bank was more than the amount. I have since, used PayPal and thank your for saving me money.

Google – I use it for more than just a browser. Google now, Google maps, drive and motivation for my Sunday hikes – Tracks. Thank you.

Apple – My Sony Walkman lived its life and was gifted my first iPod. Since then, there are cool white gadgets all around my house. Thank you for saving me money with $0.99 singles and getting rid of CD clutter in my car.

LinkedIn – This is my social media site. Spend hours on it and love the features. Thank you Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Weiner. They transformed business networking.

Twitter – I love to express my view in 140 characters. Helps my creative thinking.

I could go on with this list but, I would like to hear about your disruptions? Who has made your user experience and life simple?

Apple’s decision to ignore NFC is looking better every day

Apple’s decision to ignore NFC is looking better every day

Raj Raghavan:

Emerging payments fees can be more expensive than credit card fees irrespective of the technology.

Originally posted on BGR:

For years, Apple pundits’ favorite game was to guess when the iPhone would finally support NFC, or Near Field Communication. If only Apple would support NFC, then mobile payments would take off, and we could finally stop paying cash and credit cards. But Apple never did support NFC and it appears it made the right decision: According to GigaOm, major retailers Best Buy and 7-Eleven are ditching their NFC sensors in their stores. 

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