SnapChat introduces Snapcash for mobile cash

SnapChat may be introducin a new mobile money service. This was announced in the post extract below

Today is a big day for us – we are launching our first product created in partnership with another company. We’re huge fans of the folks at Square and have been big admirers of Square Cash since it launched – just type a dollar amount into the subject line of an email and send cash to friends. Genius!

We loved it so much that we wanted to create something with them that felt Snapchat-y. So we built a Snapcash prototype and shared it with the team at Square. Luckily for us, they were just as excited as we were and wanted to build it together.

The product you’re seeing today is fast, fun, and incredibly simple. After you enter your debit card, it’s securely stored by Square, who will swiftly process your payment and send cash directly to your friend’s bank account. Just swipe into chat, type the dollar sign, an amount (e.g. $11.25), and hit the green button.

We set out to make payments faster and more fun, but we also know that security is essential when you’re dealing with money. Square has a ton of experience in this area and our teams have been hard at work to make Snapcash a great experience for everyone. For now, Snapcash is available to Snapchatters in the United States who have a debit card and are 18 or older.

We hope you enjoy Snapcash as much as we do.

Happy Snapcash-ing!

AccessKenya To Invest Kes. 300 Million In 2015 For Fiber Roll-out

AccessKenya GroupAccessKenya (AccessKenya) has completed the roll-out of its metropolitan fiber network in key target areas around Nairobi and its environs. This is expected to grow its Nairobi Internet connectivity penetration in the Industrial area, Ruaraka, Westlands, Parklands, Mombasa road and the Central Business District among other localities.

AccessKenya also plans to invest Kes. 300 Million in fiber technology next year in Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa. AccessKenya’s CEO Jonathan Somen said that the company would target new business by offering cloud solutions and managed services that require high speed connectivity to data centres for delivery. “All our fiber installations are future proofed with capabilities to traffic massive data rates of up to 2Gbps if necessary”, he explained

Fiber-based Internet connectivity is preferred for higher speeds and reliability so AccessKenya sees this as an advantage in accessing new corporate customers. Clients will now be able to layer many services on top of its high speed Internet connectivity such as real-time CCTV monitoring, VOIP, Video on Demand and other key services.

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Sony Xperia Devices Secretly Sending User Data to Servers in China

If you own a Sony smartphone either the Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4 KitKat firmware then inadvertently you may be transmitting your data back to the servers in China, even if you haven’t installed any application.
Quite surprising but it’s true. I know many of you haven’t expected such practices from a Japanese company, but reports popping up at several forums suggest that some new Sony Xperia handsets seem to contain the Baidu spyware.
MYSTERIOUS BAIDU SPYWARE
About a month ago, a group of community users of Sony smartphone detected the presence of a strange folder, named “Baidu”, mysteriously appeared from among those present in various versions of Android for these handsets.
The creepy part is that the folder is created automatically without the owners permission and there is no way of deleting it. Even if someone tries to remove it, it instantly reappears as well as unticking the folder from device administrator equally seems to do nothing, neither does starting the phone in Safe Mode.
Just unpacked my Sony Z3 compact, haven’t installed a single app and its connecting to China. I am not so concerned about the folder itself but my phone now has a constant connection to an IP address in Beijing which I am not too happy about.” Reddit user commented.
The Baidu folder appears to be created by Sony’s ‘my Xperia’ service each time a connection is made and is reported to be sending pings to China. There is no further information known on what these pings are transmitting but nevertheless they do seem to be transmitting.
PERSONAL INFORMATION SEND TO CHINA
Going deep, several users reported they found that the Chinese government is able to detect the status and identity of the device, take pictures and make videos without the consent of the user. A user, going by the handle Elbird, posted on Sony Forums that with the help of Baidu folder, the Chinese Government can:
  • Read status and identity of your device
  • Make pictures and videos without your knowledge
  • Get your exact location
  • Read the contents of your USB memory
  • Read or edit accounts
  • Change security settings
  • Completely manage your network access
  • Couple with bluetooth devices
  • Know what apps you are using
  • Prevent your device from entering sleep mode
  • Change audio settings
  • Change system settings
AFFECTED PRODUCTS
Sony Xperia Devices Secretly Sending User Data to Servers in China

Thankfully this is a spyware and you can check to see if you have or not. If you see the folder named Baidu in your device then your device contains the spyware. But, for users it isn’t the folder which seems to be the real cause for concern, though; it’s the fact that the phones open a connection to servers.

According to the reports affected devices include the new Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact, and several users from the Reddit community have also reported about the presence of this folder on their mobile phones, too — and not necessarily phones made by Sony. One owns an HTC One M7, another an HTC One X, a few others the OnePlus One.
STEPS TO DISABLE BAIDU SPYWARE
  1. Backup your important data and factory reset the device.
  2. Turn on the device and go to Settings -> Apps -> Running and Force stop both “MyXperia” apps.
  3. Then remove the baidu folder using File Kommander app.
  4. Go to Settings -> About Phone -> Click 7 times on the Build Number to enable developer mode.
  5. Download or Install the Android SDK on your computer and then connect the Sony device to it using USB cable.
  6. Run the adb tool terminal : adb shell 
  7. In adb shell, type the command: pm block com.sonymobile.mx.android
  8. Exit adb shell
  9. Reboot the device.
Note that the spyware does not necessarily affect the process or functionality of your mobile devices, so you shouldn’t be worried in this respect. Sony has not officially responded to this ‘baidu’ folder issue.
However, the company has recognized the issue and has said that in the next release the problem will be fixed. Unless Sony can roll out some kind of fix in the near future then it seems you might have to wait until Lollipop rolls out in January before you can get rid of Baidu.
Recently Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has been called out for spying on personal user data using their smartphones. According to F-Secure Xiaomi Smartphones were sending user data back to the servers based in China. Read more

4G LTE broadband network launched in Rwanda

Rwanda has stepped forward and launched a high-speed (4G LTE) broadband network. The service has gone live after it was launched in Kigali.

Speaking at the launch of the service, the Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana stated that: “The rollout of 4G LTE will speed up national development goals by speeding up ICT based services as well as creating jobs and proving new opportunities to deliver better services across the country.” Read more