Vodafone Hacker Accesses 2 Million Customers’ Banking Data

An intruder hacked into a Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) server in Germany, gaining access to 2 million customers’ personal details and banking information.

A person with insider knowledge stole data including names, addresses, birth dates, and bank account information, the world’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier said in a statement today. The hacker had no access to credit-card information, passwords, PIN numbers or mobile-phone numbers, Vodafone said.

The attack was detected by Vodafone at the beginning of September, stopped and reported to the police, Kuzey Esener, a Vodafone spokesman, said. Clients can check on Vodafone’s German website to see if they are affected, and will also be informed by mail, he said. While the data stolen does not allow criminals to access bank accounts, Vodafone will warn clients of the possibility of so-called phishing attacks, he said. more

Milestones in Mobility

The mobility revolution seems to be on the verge of yet another breakthrough with the announcement last week of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch, with its 320 x 320-pixel display, 1.63-inch AMOLED touchscreen, camera, speakers, apps, and, of course, a watch!

Samsung’s GG — along with Google Glass and Apple’s much anticipated iWatch due out within the next year — represent the next generation of mobility devices that analysts predict will grow from a $750 million to a $5.8 billion business in six years.

That’s a lot of Dick Tracy watches and Star Trek Tricorders.

Then again, 10 years ago, the smartphone was in its infancy, tablet computers barely existed, and for all but the largest companies, serious business was conducted on the phone or in person. In 1964, a jazz musician named Teri Pall invented the first cordless phone. Only problem was that the phone had only a two-mile range and it interfered with aircraft radio signals.

Flash forward to today, and you probably don’t need a study to convince you that even the smallest businesses rely on wireless technologies in their daily operations. (In case you do, consider this one from AT&T, which reports that 98 percent of SMBs rely on wireless technologies for daily business operations and two-thirds would face major challenges trying to to survive without them.)

The graphic below, developed by mobile payment company SwitchPay, goes even further back in time — to 1946 — when a driver in St. Louis, Mo. pulled out a handset from under his car’s dashboard, placed a phone call, and made history. read more

Mobile-First Banking App Numbrs Bags Further $3.8M For U.S. Launch

Numbrs, the mobile-first banking app founded out of Swiss company builder Centralway, has raised a further $3.8 million from its parent — money that will be ring-fenced for a planned U.S. launch early next year. In addition, the young startup is opening a New York office for which it’s hiring a marketing team.

The new investment adds to the original $7.7 million put into Numbrs by Centralway to continue making headway in Germany, while I’m told that the previously announced plans to enter the UK market this Fall are still on track, including moving into a London office in the next few weeks, to be shared with Centralway and another of its portfolio companies, Sandbox Network. (In fact, they’ll be based at Summerset House, sharing the newly-developed top floor with hail-a-cab startup Hailo.) more

Africa’s mobile market set to quadruple

The African mobile telecom market is forecast to grow from a combined value of over US$60 billion in 2013, to a value in 2020 of almost US$234 billion – with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.27%.

This is according to new research conducted by Manifest Mind, a sustainability research and consulting company based in Boulder, Colorado.

The firm says that mobile network operators will generate the largest portion of this revenue throughout the forecast period, followed by mobile distributors and retailers.

Application developers and content providers will also benefit, the research notes.

“Africa is a market which is largely misunderstood due to cultural and social issues. While African countries include half of the top 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, it is a very challenging marketplace to penetrate,” said Carol Stimmel, founder of Manifest Mind, LLC. read more