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Showing posts from June, 2013

Swiss court halts data sent to U.S. authorities

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English: The old logo of Credit Suisse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A Swiss court has ordered an injunction halting the transfer of a former Credit Suisse employee's data to U.S. authorities as part of the bank's attempt to settle a tax investigation, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.
Douglas Hornung, a Geneva-based lawyer acting for the former Credit Suisse employee, said the ruling was made on June 21, confirming a preliminary decision in January.
The judgment could render it more difficult for banks to reach individual settlements with U.S. authorities in a long-standing row over tax evasion.
Credit Suisse spokesman Marc Dosch declined to comment.
The court ruling comes only days after Swiss lawmakers threw out a draft law aimed at providing a legal basis for banks to hand over this kind of data to U.S. authorities in an attempt to avoid prosecution.
The government plans an executive order to allow banks to hand over data but its efforts could be stymied by more

UBS to surrender Indian banking license

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Three keys logo by Warja Honegger-Lavater. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Swiss bank UBS AG (UBSN.VX) will surrender its Indian banking license and close its banking unit, covering fixed income, forex operations and credit services, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Saturday.
However, UBS will continue its corporate client service business, which includes mergers and acquisitions, equities and debt capital market services, said the source, who declined to be identified as the information was not yet public.
"That doesn't mean that we are closing down our India operations. We will be closing a very small business unit, to focus on our key strength," said the source. "It's part of our global strategy."
A UBS spokesman declined to comment.
UBS has a full-fledged banking license in India with a single branch in Mumbai and was focusing on the wealth managementbusiness, covering foreign exchange, fixed income and credit services.

Indian news…

Microsoft disrupts botnets

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Image via CrunchBase A team of industry and law enforcement partners—including Microsoft, the FBI and financial firms—have successfully disrupted a collection of botnets running on the Citadel Trojan, freeing more than 1.2 million computers from the control of cybercriminals, Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit said this week.
On June 6, Microsoft announced that it had executed its seventh operation against botnet operators, aiming to significantly disrupt a collection of nearly 1,500 botnets running on the Citadel Trojan. Normally, computers compromised with Citadel would attempt to connect to certain domains and receive orders, but Microsoft and computer emergency response teams around the world redirected many of those domains.
The domains that Microsoft gained control of through a court order were redirected, or "sinkholed," to company-controlled infrastructure, which Microsoft monitors to gauge the size of the botnets.
In the first week, more than 1.2 million unique IP …

Google on notice with privacy issues

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France and five other European nations are putting Google on notice about privacy, telling the search giant that if it doesn't amend its policies about how it deals with users' data within 90 days, large fines will be assessed.

The deadline was issued by France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), which is France's data protection agency. In a statement, the CNIL told Google that it is taking the action because the company is not yet in compliance with French law.

An ongoing CNIL investigation "has confirmed Google's breaches of the French Data Protection Act of 6 January 1978, as amended (hereinafter 'French Data Protection Act') which, in practice, prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use," the CNIL statement said. "If Google Inc. does not comply with this formal notice at the end of the given time limit, CNIL's Select Committee, in charge of sanctioni…

Deloitte gets banned for a year

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Deloitte logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A financial advisory unit of Deloitte LLP has agreed to pay $10 million and accept other New York state penalties to settle accusations of misconduct related to an investigation of money laundering at Standard Chartered Bank.
Deloitte Financial Advisory Services also agreed to a one-year ban on doing consulting work for financial institutions regulated by New York state, and to reforms designed to address conflicts of interest, the state Department of Financial Services said on Tuesday.
The head of the state regulator said the case was just the start of a crackdown "investigating and reforming the consulting industry."
The agreement only applies to Deloitte's financial services advisory group, which is separate from its auditing arm.
In August, Standard Chartered agreed to pay New York $340 million for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries. Last December, it agreed to another $327 million to resolve similar alle…

Crack down on New York banking consultants

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English: The corner of Wall Street and Broadway, showing the limestone facade of One Wall Street in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)New York State’s top financial regulator is preparing to crack down on the consulting firms that banks hire to navigate legal problems like money laundering and wrongful foreclosures, according to people briefed on the plans.
In an attempt to force change upon a sector that operates with scant supervision and produces mixed results, Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York’s superintendent of financial services, plans to use an obscure state banking law to rein in banks’ use of consultants, these people said.
Among the aggressive moves under consideration, Mr. Lawsky is said to be weighing whether to ban temporarily at least one firm with a poor track record from advising banks chartered in New York. His office is also considering a new code of conduct for consultants, the people briefed on the plan said.
The state regulator’s plan is the latest threat to th…

Cyber criminals looking for Money Mules

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EWeek (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A group of criminals using the popular Zeus banking Trojan have started advertising for accomplices, displaying ads for job scams whenever the victim visits a popular job site, financial security firm Trusteer said on June 13.
Typically, victims whose computers are infected with Zeus have to worry about their banks accounts being drained. Yet if a victim visits the popular job site, CareerBuilder.com, some variants of Zeus will also display an ad for a job with a fraudulent company, Trusteer stated in a blog post. In reality, the job is to help criminals transfer stolen cash to another country or cash out goods bought with stolen funds—in other words, a "money mule."
Finding people to help—usually unwittingly—is an ongoing challenge for criminals, but a critical need. Without money mules, cybercriminals would have a very hard time moving stolen money, Etay Maor, fraud prevention solution manager with Trusteer, told eWEEK.
"Money mules are…

Bell accused of breaking labour law with unpaid interns

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Google launching antennas

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Image via CrunchBaseGoogle is launching Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere aboard giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons with the lofty goal of getting the entire planet online.
Eighteen months in the works, the top-secret project was announced Saturday in New Zealand, where up to 50 volunteer households are already beginning to receive the Internet briefly on their home computers via translucent helium balloons that sail by on the wind 12 miles above Earth.
While the project is still in the very early testing stages, Google hopes eventually to launch thousands of the thin, polyethylene-film inflatables and bring the Internet to some of the more remote parts of the globe, narrowing the digital divide between the 2.2 billion people who are online and the 4.8 billion who aren't.
If successful, the technology might allow countries to leapfrog the expense of installing fiber-optic cable, dramatically increasing Internet usage in places such as Africa and Southeast Asia.
"I…

Supermoon

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This Supermoon this weekend isn’t gonna be like your regular, run-of-the mill Supermoon. This Supermoon will be takin’ it to the Extreme! Supermoons are what it’s called when the moon is at its closest perigee to the Earth. When the moon is at its closest, it naturally appears to look like it’s bigger. The full moon this coming weekend, the nights of June 22-23, won’t be just a Supermoon, but will be an Extreme Supermoon, takin’ the definition of “Supermooon” to a whole ‘nother level. According to AccuWeather.com, this weekend’s full moon may look more impressive than any full moons seen so far this year. The moon will be closer to the Earth than at any other time in 2013, so it will make the moon appear larger than usual. The term “Supermoon” is much less stuffy than how they’re known to astronomers: Perigee Full Moons. AccuWeather’s Marl Paquette, the term “Supermoon” was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle. It is used to describe any full moon or new moon that is at 90 percent …

Bank overdraft fees again

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Three years after regulators tried to rein in the fees banks charge customers for overdrawing checking accounts, overdraft programs are still big business for many banks. That’s one of the key points in a new study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In 2010, the Federal Reserve said banks could no longer automatically enroll customers in overdraft programs; instead, consumers must opt in. More than a year ago, the CFPB said it would study overdrafts to see if the new rules sufficiently protect consumers. The newly released study largely confirms what we’ve reported before: Overdrafts still befuddle some consumers and continue to provide a big source of bank revenue. The study does, though, provide a few interesting nuggets about the business of overdrafts:
• Many banks—especially small ones—depend on overdraft fees. They make up 27.5 percent of community banksnet income after taxes.
Overdraft programs are profitable. The study doesn’t say how much profit banks make. But …

BC Hydro workers allegedly aided pot grow-ops

Reef rampaged by Superyacht

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Reef in the Turks and Caicos Islands Rampaged by Superyacht Posted on June 12, 2013 by andrew
One of the Caribbean’s most pristine environments has been badly damaged by a rampaging superyacht. The superyacht Captain, when spoken to, told nearby divers, “I have a cruising licence and I can do what I want!” It was the volunteers – and then a passing group of scientists – who were the first to respond to the reports that the superyacht had badly damaged the coral reef in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Provo Turtle Divers, who first reported the damage, said the crew from the yacht was warned of possible damage to the reef, but they choose to ignore the warnings.
He said: “They were contacted and the response was, I have a cruising licence and I can do what I want to do.”
“He even stayed another day and damaged the reef even more; he knew what he was doing.”
“I can tell you that the anchor chain decimated a large part of the reef. Imagine a road grader just cleaning off an entire stretch …

Switzerland backing bill to avoid criminal charges

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Switzerland's upper house of parliament has given its backing to a bill that would allow the country's banks to sidestep strict secrecy laws to end the threat of criminal charges for helping wealthy Americans to evade tax.
The protection of client information has helped to make Switzerland the world's biggest offshore financial center, with $2 trillion in assets. But that tradition has come under fire as other countries have sought to ease budget deficits by clamping down on tax evasion.
After U.S. action led to the closure of Switzerland's oldest private bank this year, and with some of its biggest institutions facing formal investigations, the Swiss government is seeking a swift compromise to limit the damage to such a vital industry.
"Even if this bill violates our understanding of constitutional law, it is vital for our country. Switzerland's reputation as a financial center is at stake," said Ivo Bischofberger, of the Christian People's Party, af…

security technology and services market is forecast to reach $67.2 billion in 2013

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The worldwide security technology and services market is forecast to reach $67.2 billion in 2013, up 8.7 percent from $61.8 billion in 2012, as companies continue to expand the technologies they use to improve their overall security, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
Gartner analysts outlined three main trends shaping the security market moving forward—mobile security, big data and advanced targeted attacks—and the firm projected the market would grow to more than $86 billion in 2016. In addition, the report noted the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is expected to have a far-reaching influence on the entire security industry.
"With security being one of the top IT concern areas, the prospect of strong continued growth is assured," Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "The consistent increases in the complexity and volume of targeted attacks, coupled with the necessity of companies to address regulatory or compliance-rel…

Dole receives buyout offer

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Dole Food Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Dole Food Co Inc (DOLE.N), one of the world's largest producers and marketers of fruit and fresh vegetables, received an unsolicited buyout offer from 90-year-old Chief ExecutiveDavid Murdock, valuing the company at just over $1 billion.
Dole shares jumped more than 21 percent to $12.40, well over the offer price of $12 per share, suggesting that some investors expect a higher bid for the company that has posted losses for the last three quarters.
The proposed deal is the latest in a string of management-led acquisition bids, topped by Michael Dell's $24 billion offer to take over the computer giant he founded.
"We see this proposed offer as an attractive transaction that is likely to proceed at or relatively close to this price level, especially given Murdock's strong ownership position, CEO role, and apparently strong personal liquidity position," Jonathan Feeney of Janney Capital markets said.
Murdock, who is also Dol…

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Tesla Model S (Photo credit: cdorobek)Tesla Motors, makers of fine electric performance vehicles, recently surprised the mainstream with news its Model S performance sedan had surpassed Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7-series in sales for the first quarter in the US. For a company that only released the Model S last June, news of this exponential interest was not only surprising but worked to further validate consumer interest in a fully electric vehicle. On top of the surprising sales figures, media sources like Consumer Reports proclaimed Tesla’s Model S to be one of the “best cars they'd ever tested”. With positive feedback and increasing sales of the Model S, Tesla has identified an expansion of its Supercharger networks as a critical next step. 

Manslaughter conviction overturned due to lack of First Nation jurors

The top U.S. derivatives regulator won a legal victory

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The top U.S. derivatives regulator won a legal victory over Bloomberg LP late on Friday when a court dismissed a case the data vendor had filed that claimed a new rule on trading swaps would hurt its business.
Bloomberg is one of a dozen or so providers launching a platform on which to trade swaps, as regulators across the world crack down on the $630 trillion market to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
But that effort would be hurt by a new rule from the CommodityFutures Trading Commission which will force buyers and sellers of swaps to set aside enough money - or margin - to cope with the impact of a deal falling apart, Bloomberg had argued.
That is because the margin on a swap should be enough to cover five days of unwinding the position, but only one day for futures, a similar type of product traded on rival exchanges, making them cheaper to use.
The court said, however, that Bloomberg had provided no evidence that this requirement would hurt its business.
"Bloom…

SMBs and data protection

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Many small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) are experiencing significant issues with the cost, complexity and lack of capabilities of their data protection for virtual environments, according to backup, replication and virtualization management solutions specialist Veeam Software’s inaugural SMB Virtualization Data Protection Report, which surveyed 500 SMBs in the United States and Europe.

In particular, 85 percent of SMBs are experiencing cost-related challenges with backup and recovery, including high ongoing management costs (51 percent), expensive licensing models (48 percent) and backups either requiring or using too much storage (44 percent).

In addition, 83 percent reported capability-based challenges, including backups taking too long (40 percent), recovery taking too long (34 percent, suggesting that the majority are happy with 4 hours’ recovery time), difficulty recovering virtual servers (25 percent) and file- and application-level recovery being too difficult (22 percent).

Alberta pipeline leaks 9.5 million litres of waste water

Mobile Payments increased 44%

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The number of mobile payment users worldwide will reach 245.2 million in 2013, up from 200.8 million in 2012, while worldwide mobile payment transaction values will reach $235.4 billion in 2013, a 44 percent increase from 2012 values of $163.1 billion, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.

Money transfers and merchandise purchases are expected to account for about 71 percent and 21 percent of total transaction value in 2013, making them the largest contributors by far. However, on a worldwide scale, the report noted people are not purchasing as much because the buying experience on mobile devices has yet to be optimized. Currently, people are spending less money through mobile devices than through online e-commerce services and at retail outlets. Merchandise purchases account for about 23 percent of the total value forecast for 2017, Gartner analysts projected.

"We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent annual growth between 2012 an…