Monday, 22 September 2014

56 Million Credit Cards Compromised In Home Depot Hacking

BOSTON/CHICAGO: Home Depot said some 56 million payment cards were likely compromised in a cyberattack at its stores — suggesting the hacking attack at the home improvement chain was larger than last year's unprecedented breach at Target.
Home Depot — in providing the first clues to how much the breach would cost — said that so far it has estimated costs of $62 million. But it indicated that costs could reach much higher.
It will take months to determine the full scope of the fraud, which affected Home Depot stores in both the US and Canada and ran from April to September.
Retailer Target incurred costs of $148 million in its second fiscal quarter related to its breach. Target hackers stole at least 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data.
Home Depot said that criminals used unique, custom-built software that had not been seen in previous attacks and was designed to evade detection in its most complete account of what had happened since it first disclosed the breach on September 8.
The company said that the hackers' method of entry has been closed off, the malware eliminated from its network, and that it had rolled out "enhanced encryption of payment data" to all US stores.
"We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges," Chief Executive Frank Blake said in a statement.
Of the estimated cost so far of $62 million, which covers such items as credit monitoring, increased call centre staffing, and legal and professional services, Home Depot said it believes that $27 million of the amount will be paid for by insurers.
But the company said it has not yet estimated the impact of "probable losses" related to the possible need to reimburse banks for fraud and card replacement, as well as covering costs of lawsuits and government investigations.
"Those costs may have a material adverse effect on The Home Depot's financial results in the fourth quarter and/or future periods," the company said in its statement.
Wesley McGrew, an expert of retail breaches who is an assistant research professor at the department of computer science at Mississippi State University, said that Home Depot is going to be expected to bear the costs related to fraud and payment card replacement.
Banks typically seek to get retailers to cover those costs if there are any indications of shortcomings in their security.
Criminals have frequently used software that evades detection, but retailers are expected to closely monitor their networks using tools that are designed to uncover signs of a crime in progress, McGrew said.
"It's hard to feel sorry for them when there are things they could have done to improve the security of these transactions," McGrew said.
Hitesh Sheth, chief executive of Vectra Networks, a cybersecurity firm in San Jose, California, said Home Depot's breach exposes a weakness, noting that the company said hackers used unique, custom-built malware.
That "essentially means the technology they are using is only designed to detect malware that has already been used in a previous attack, and that is symptomatic of the retail industry," Sheth said.
"Retailers need to upgrade to technology that is available and detects behaviour of malware that is new because these attacks are not going to stop anytime soon."
For its fiscal year ending in February, Home Depot revised its earnings estimate to $4.54 per share from $4.52. In addition to the cost related to the breach, it said the estimate includes a pre-tax gain of about $100 million on the sale of 3.6 million common shares of HD Supply stock.
The company left its outlook for sales growth for the year at 4.8%.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS Identity Shield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times of India

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cyber Crime Centre Project Gives Way To Cyberdome

KOCHI: It appears that the proposed Cyber Crime Centre at Infopark, Kochi, which was announced in the State Budget two years ago, would not be realised now.
In fact, the Cyberdome to be set up in Thiruvananthapuram, which was announced by the government recently, is the same as the Cyber Crime Centre.
According to sources in the Hightech Cell of the Kerala Police, initially it was decided to launch the Cyber Crime Centre in Kochi, but the project was dropped later as the authorities could not find a proper space for it at Infopark.
“Since a high number of cyber crimes are reported in Kochi, it was first decided to start the Cyber Crime Centre in Kochi.
The Centre, a Public-Private Partnership project, was intended to monitor, research and find solutions to the new trends in cyber crimes. Though talks were held with several private firms in the field, due to lack of infrastructure the project was shifted to Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram under a new name,” the sources said.
Meanwhile, the Police Department has sought the assistance of IT firms to set up the Cyberdome. The facility will be set up in 5,000 sq-feet space inside the Technopark. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Kochi City Police Commissioner K G James said that a cyber police station would come up at Infopark, instead of the Cyber Crime Centre.
“We will soon get a new cyber police station in the city. We have identified the location for the police station, and a proposal has been sent to the government. Currently, there is only one cyber police station in the entire State, which functions in Thiruvananthapurm.
The decision to start cyber police stations in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram was taken in the wake of the recent increase in cyber crimes,” they added.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Indian Express

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Impact Of RBI Decision: Home Loan Borrowers, Realtors To Benefit

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s move to bring housing loans of up to Rs 50 lakh under priority sector lending, against loans of up to Rs 25 lakh currently, is expected to provide a boost to home loan borrowers and real estate companies.
So far, those availing of home loans of up to Rs 50 lakh were paying 10-11 per cent interest. Now, with the new norms in place, they might see a fall of 25-50 basis points in rates in the medium term.
This is the second bonanza for home loan borrowers in the past few days. In his Budget 2014-15 speech on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had increased the deduction limit on account of interest on home loans from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.
On Tuesday, RBI said priority sector lending covered loans towards affordable housing - loans of up to Rs 50 lakh for houses worth up to Rs 65 lakh in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad, and up to Rs 40 lakh for houses worth up to Rs 50 lakh in other centres.
"This makes things a lot easier and it is an encouragement for the housing sector," Keki Mistry, vice-chairman of HDFC, told CNBC-TV18. He added about 40 per cent of the company's total individual loans would now come under priority sector lending.
Sunil Rohokale, chief executive and managing director of fund manager ASK Investment Holdings, said, "Provisioning norms under priority sector are soft and banks need to set aside less funds for that. Since their cost of capital will come down, they will lend to borrowers in that bracket at lower rates." He added home loan borrowers at the lower end of the bracket would benefit and the move would primarily help buyers in Greater Noida, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Manesar in Haryana, where home prices were Rs 4,000-6,000 per sq ft and apartment sizes were 500-1,000 sq ft.
Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director of Hiranandani Constructions, said, "I think borrowers will get loans at a lower rates and it will ultimately help developers. Banks will get into this segment in a big way, as these loans are part of priority sector loans and home loans are the most secured."
Many believe as the worth of houses has risen, RBI has aligned priority loans in housing to current market values. In 2011, the limit for housing loans under priority sector was raised from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. "You would not get a home for less than Rs 50 lakh in municipal limits of big cities. So, RBI has done the right thing," Rohokale said.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Business Standard

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Millennials Just Aren't That Into Credit Cards

Many consumers don't think twice when they swipe for a morning coffee with their trusty credit card.
But a recent Bankrate survey reveals that millennials are increasingly forgoing plastic.
Almost two-thirds of millennials - a "whopping" 63% - don't own a single credit card. Only 23% own one credit card, and 6% own two.
Contrastingly, 65% of adults over the age of 30 own at least one.
From a short term perspective, millennials might be making the smart decision by steering clear of credit cards. Bankrate's survey "found that millennials who do have credit cards aren't as good at paying down their bills as other demographic groups." Only 40% of millennials "pay off their balances in full each month", while 53% of those 30 and over do.
However, forgoing credit cards could have negative implications in the long run because credit cards are one of the best ways for building a good credit score.
And a good credit score is imperative for getting a good price on things like insurance. It's also extremely difficult to secure financing for homes and cars if your credit score is low or worse, non-existent.
As a result, millennials who aren't using credit cards -even if they're just trying to save money or control spending - end up having a hard time getting loans because they haven't built up enough credit to qualify.
Plus the survey adds that "according to Experian, the average VantageScore for millennials is 628, which lenders largely consider subprime." As a comparison, Baby Boomers have an average Vantage Score of 700, and Generation Xers have 653.
Millennials' credit card aversion is attributed to all the usual financial worries of the past five years. They grew up during the Great Recession, and now they're facing "bloated" student loans.
"'It's not so much (that millennials are) anti-credit card, but it's more the risk of debt' that they fear," Eric Lindeen, director of marketing at Zoot Enterprises, told Bankrate.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Business Insider

Monday, 15 September 2014

India World’s Fourth Largest Victim Of Malware: F-secure

Growing popularity of smartphones and rising data usage in India is also making the country a favourite among cybercriminals, who are increasingly attacking mobile phones using malware.
India, the world’s fastest growing handset market, is the fourth most affected globally by mobile malware, a report by security solutions provider F-Secure said on Monday.
According to F-Secure Lab’s Threat Report H1 2014, India follows the UK, France and Saudi Arabia in reporting of mobile malware incidents.
In April-June 2014, 295 new threat families and variants were discovered – 294 on Android and one on iOS. That’s up from 277 threats discovered in January-March 2014, of which 275 targeted Android, the report said.
Top Android threats in Q2 were Trojans that either send SMS messages to premium numbers or harvest data from a device and forward it on to a remote server. Slocker malware reported in June, which pretends to be a legitimate app, was the first ransomware to appear on the mobile platform, it added.
Commenting on the India findings, F-Secure Security Advisor (ASIA) Goh Su Gim said: “India is seeing a rise in premium content SMS type malware.”
Besides, mobile ransomware is going to be the next wave of attack for handsets and it is being increasingly seen that these ransomware is also targeting enterprises. Earlier they were confined to individual users, he added.
Ramsomware, a kind of malicious software, is designed to block access to a computer until a certain sum of money is paid. Generally, it targets individuals.
F-Secure India Country Head Amit Nath said there is a rise in botnet cases in India. “India is also a centre for botnets – as bot infecting viruses like Ramnit and Sality are rampant. PC’s in a botnet are used mainly by hackers for distributed denial-of-service (DDOS), spamming and possibly Bitcoin mining,” he added.
Bot is short for robot. Cybercriminals distribute malicious software that can turn a computer into a bot. These bots can be networked together as ‘botnet’ that can perform automated tasks over the Internet, without owners knowledge.
In mobile malware, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and New Delhi are three top 5 infected cities, while tier II cities are becoming a favourite destination for mobile malware.
“Many incidents as highlighted in our threat report shows that cybercriminals constantly adapt to new trends whether by utilising new malware or targeted attacks techniques to continue with their attacks,” Nath said.
In PC threats, of the top 10 detections, the largest share (31 percent) were of six-year-old Downadup/Conficker worm. The worm has infected millions of computers in over 200 countries, the report said.
This worm’s long life is mostly due to computers that run old software – illustrating the importance of keeping a computer’s software up to date, it added.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: First Post

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Five Reasons Why Your Credit Card Is Your Smart Manager

Does your credit card always burn a hole in your pocket? Or it actually doubles up as a smart finance manager? BI India deciphers it for you and reveals how your credit card can help you manage your finances.
Record Keeping
Keeping a track of your expenses is a tedious job. But hang on! Your credit card actually does it for you. Check out your credit card statements, and you would know how much you have spent and where. In fact, some cards even provide year-end summaries that are a real help during tax times. So, throw away your old diaries and save your credit card bills for record keeping purposes.
Credit History
No bank would offer you loan without performing a background check and checking your CIBIL score/history. However, they would expedite the process if you have a clean credit card history. Timely payment of credit card bills is the greatest testimonial to your credit history. And if you have applied for a loan, banks would need nothing if they have your sane credit card statements to ensure that you would not run away with their money.
Zero percent EMIs are the biggest benefit that retailers offer only on credit cards. So, every time you shop a generous amount with your credit card, check if your bank can convert your purchase into EMIs—the rate of interest could be as low as zero percent. Sounds like deal right?
Let's admit, we Indians love perks and free benefits, and credit cards offer exactly that. Every time you make a purchase with your credit card, you can earn benefits like frequent flyers miles, reward points, cash back, free movie tickets and extra discounts. What's more, loyal customers can also win prizes as big as a free air ticket or other gifts.
At a time when online frauds are so common, do you think shopping in cash is a safer option? You are wrong. While fraudulent transactions on your debit cards translate into instant loss of money, a similar transaction from your credit card doesn't mean loss of money. If someone uses your credit card without your permission, you will instantly get an SMS notification, thus giving you the chance to raise an alarm, inform the bank and cancel the transaction. 

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Business Insider

Friday, 12 September 2014

Why It Is Important To Effectively Manage Your Credit Score

In the rapidly-evolving credit landscape, it has become almost impossible for defaulters to get a loan from banks who actively use credit bureaus. The increasing significance of credit reports to the loan seeker prompts questions like what a 'credit report/ score' is and how it affects them.
A credit report is a compilation of information about the individual and his or her credit history that has been reported to the credit bureau by those who granted credit to the individual. This report reflects details of all the individual's loans, credit cards and other borrowings. It contains information like the date opened, credit limit, outstandings , overdues and written-off amounts among others. An individual's credit score is generated by information on their credit report, but is not part of the credit report itself.
Credit scores can project the amount of risk posed by the individual to a lender. When lenders request an individual's credit report, they often choose to receive a credit score at the same time, and will select which scoring model they want to use. Large lenders may use a customised scoring model. For example , for auto loans, a lender may use a scoring model that focuses on car payment history.
Lenders will typically evaluate an individual's credit report and credit score along with other key information, such as income, against their own internal decision criteria to determine the individual's ability to qualify for a particular loan type. In future, lenders are also likely to use the credit scores to decide on interest rates. The rates will factor in the perceived credit risk depending on one's score.
Credit scores can change gradually over time as one's overall credit picture gets better. This happens by consistently engaging in credit-worthy behaviour going forward, such as paying one's bills/EMIs on time and using credit conservatively.
There are a few good habits to keep in mind to maintain creditworthy behaviour. The first one is paying bills on time. Delinquent payments can have a significant negative impact on your score. If one has missed payments , they should do their best to get current and stay current. Debt should be paid off rather than shifting it to other accounts. One should look to re-establish their credit history if they have had problems. Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time may help in the long term. One should also be prudent in applying for and opening new credit accounts.
Credit cards can be kept, but they need to be managed responsibly . In general, having credit cards and instalment loans (and paying timely payments) may favourably impact your credit score in the long term. If one is having trouble making ends meet, one should contact his or her creditors. Lastly, one should keep balances as low as possible on credit cards and other revolving credit.
There are also some areas one should tread with utmost caution . One should not close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to try to raise their score. Also, one should avoid opening a number of new credit cards, just to increase the credit available. This approach could actually have a negative impact on one's score. If a person has been managing credit for a short time, avoid opening a lot of new accounts too rapidly. Adding new accounts will lower the average account age, which could have a negative impact on the individual's credit score, particularly if s/he is a new credit user.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Economic Times