Tag Archives: mobile-technology

SIM swap hacker caught in Florida

Florida police have arrested a 25-year-old named Ricky Joseph Handschumacher. The young man is suspected of grand theft and money laundering. Handschumacher used SIM swapping techniques to steal thousands in Bitcoin and to “drain bank accounts,” according to security researcher Brian Krebs . Handschumacher’s scam was simple: He called telecom operators and asked them to swap his SIM card for the victim’s SIM card. This, in turn, gave him access to two-factor authentication techniques via SMS and allowed him to access email accounts, bitcoin wallets and file storage systems. I experienced this firsthand a year ago when my phone stopped working and all of my Google passwords began changing without my control. “In some cases, fraudulent SIM swaps succeed thanks to lax authentication procedures at mobile phone stores. In other instances, mobile store employees work directly with cyber criminals to help conduct unauthorized SIM swaps, as appears to be the case with the crime gang that allegedly included Handschumacher,” wrote Krebs. The takedown happened after a mother overheard her son pretending to be an AT&T employee. Police found multiple SIM cards and a Trezor in the Michigan home of the first hacker, as well as logins for Telegram and Discord channels dedicated to SIM swapping. The police found that the hackers had stolen 57 bitcoins from one victim. Handschumacher was head of the group. The hackers were allegedly targeting the Winklevoss twins before Handschumacher was arrested. According to the police complaint, “Handschumacher and another co-conspirator talk about compromising the CEO of Gemini and posted his name, date of birth, Skype username and email address into the conversation.

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App marketing platform AppLovin launches mobile application publishing studio, Lion Studios

Selling much more than breadsticks and calamari, app marketing platform AppLovin has launched a new application publishing studio to allow developers (of primarily mobile games) to concentrate on building great apps while AppLovin takes care of everything else. The company declined to comment on how much it charges, or what kind of equity it may take in a company in return for its services, but it did say that it has managed to juice downloads of a number of top games — including recent number ones like  Love Balls and Weave the Line; the game Draw In, and Cash, Inc. While the new studio and AppLovin’s other marketing services can’t assure that any developers’ apps will stay in the number one slot, the company has been making money hand over fist to use its tools to help applications get to (or at least near) the top of the charts. According to the company it has helped developers get their apps downloaded 200 million times and published five $1 overall apps. In a statement, the company’s vice president of strategic initiatives, Rafael Vivas, said: “AppLovin’s platform fuels growth of the mobile development ecosystem and helps level the playing field by allowing independent developers to create apps and get them discovered… Lion Studios is an extension of this goal, and goes one step further to help developers publish and promote their apps – empowering great talent to have access to the same resources as larger companies.”  

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Safaricom rolls out Bonga social networking platform to augment M-Pesa

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa . More posts by this contributor Business solutions firm Africa’s Talking closes $8.6M round led by IFC Uber and Taxify are going head-to-head to digitize Africa’s two-wheeled taxis When it comes to monetizing digital social interactions, Kenya’s Safaricom has its own order. American tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter offered social networks first, then moved to commercialize them. Through its  M-Pesa mobile money  product, Safaricom built one of Africa’s most robust commercial webs and now aims to leverage it as a social network. The vehicle is the company’s new  Bonga platform , something Kenya’s largest telco rolls out in pilot phase this week. An outgrowth of the Safaricom’s Alpha innovation incubator, “Bonga is a conversational and transactional social network,” Shikoh Gitau, Alpha’s Head of Products told TechCrunch. “It’s focused on pay, play, and purpose…as the three main things our research found people do on our payment and mobile network,” she said. Gitau offered examples: pay could be using M-Pesa and SMS to coordinate anything from tuition payments to e-commerce, play spans online sports betting to gaming, and purpose includes SMS or WhatsApp chat groups that raise money for weddings, holidays, or Kenya’s informal investment groups. “In our Bonga research we’ve said ‘what can we do to build upon those three network behaviors in our network that is Safaricom?,’” she said. I recently sat in on an Alpha product development session in Nairobi and talked to Safaricom CIO Kamal Battacharya on his vision for the product late last year, as reported at  TechCrunch . “Safaricom’s unique in that we have telco services and a financial services platform that connect nearly every household in Kenya largely on the basis of trade,” he said. “We’d actually like to move beyond M-Pesa by leveraging its power as a social network to connect people to other product solutions.” As a telco, Safaricom­—still  has  69 percent  of the Kenya’s mobile subscribers. Its M-Pesa fintech app―which generated $525 million of the company’s $2 billion annual revenues―boasts  27 million customers  across a network of 136,000 agents. Through in-house development and partnerships, the company continues to add consumer and small business-based products to its mobile and fintech network

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Particle brings an LTE cellular model to market for networked devices working off of 2G and 3G

Particle , a developer of networking hardware and software for connected devices, has released an LTE-enabled module for product developers. The new device specifically targets folks whose devices were reliant on retiring 2G and 3G networks, according to the company, and includes built-in cloud and SIM support. Even as big telecom companies and vendors move ahead with 4G and now 5G networking equipment, those technologies aren’t necessarily the best for most networked devices, according to Particle . LTE hardware is cheaper and has better battery life and ranges that are more appropriate for industrial devices that may need to communicate across distances or through obstacles (like walls, other machines, doors or floors). Particularly, Particle sees demand for its devices in hard-to-reach or widely dispersed sensor networks — like industrial factory floors or in an agricultural monitoring setting for a farm or field. “As US carriers are quickly moving to end 2G and 3G support, and global carriers plan for LTE network rollouts, the timing for an LTE strategy is more critical than ever,” according to a statement Bill Kramer, EVP of IoT Solutions at KORE, which provides managed IoT networks, application enablement, location-based services .  The new LTE product is part of a suite of offerings from Particle — including a device cloud, operating system and developer toolkit, the company said. By providing a pre-integrated solution, Particle said that its hardware represents a faster, far less complicated path to market. “We launched our cellular development kit, the Electron, to give our developer community access to the power of cellular,” said Zach Supalla, co-founder and CEO of Particle, in a statement . “The following industrial E Series line made go-to-market with 2G/3G scalable for enterprises. Now with our LTE module, businesses will evolve alongside the quickly-changing cellular landscape without missing a beat.” Particle’s new lineup now includes two LTE CAT-M1 models (LTE B13 and LTE B2/4/5/12) and is fully certified, low profile, surface mountable for industrial environments and powered by Qualcomm’s MDM9206 IoT Modem and u-blox’s Sara-R410-02B module. The new LTE hardware evaluation kit ships for $89 with an evaluation board, a sample temperature sensor and accessories to build out a proof of concept, the company said. Individual modules are priced at $69. Particle counts 8,500 customers and more than 140,000 developers among its customers building networking technologies for consumer and industrial devices. The company says its customers range from global energy provider Engie and design studio Ideo to indoor crops provider Grow Labs and coffee pioneer Keurig .

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