Bizarre hacking incident comes to a happy conclusion
Naoki Hiroshima, original owner of the @N handle on Twitter, claims he routinely fielded offers for his coveted username, including one that was as high as $50,000. People have also tried to steal the rare username from him, though those attempts were unsuccessful until a hacker applied some social engineering skills to ultimately force him to hand it over. It's a bizarre story that involves ineptitude on the part of both GoDaddy and PayPal, though there's a happy ending -- Hiroshima has his username back.
Auction site eBay is rolling in riches as its online business continues to boom. Revenue for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012 spiked 23 percent year-over-year to $3.4 billion, eBay said. Second quarter income on a non-GAAP basis reached $730 million, up 16 percent compared to one year ago, while GAAP income hit $692 million. PayPal is a big reason why eBay is doing so well these days.
Cynics say that the world runs on money, but money wouldn’t run as smoothly on the World Wide Web if it wasn’t for SSL/TLS. It’s the go-to encryption protocol for a lot of the Internet, and it’s supported by every major browser and many of the top websites around. But how secure is it? A pair of security researchers plan on demonstrating a serious TLS security flaw at the Ekoparty security conference later this week, and they plan on doing it with a bang: by decrypting a Paypal authentication cookie.
As law enforcement and content associations alike slowly recognize the fact that trying to track down and prosecute millions of illegal file sharers is nothing more than a high-tech game of whack-a-mole (that they're losing), they're turning to commercial help in combating the threat of piracy. American ISPs have already voluntarily signed as copyright cops. In Britain, the real copyright cops – i.e. the London Police – are relying on payment processors to help put a halt on music sold without proper licenses. Yesterday, PayPal UK announced it had signed on to the coalition.
First, a confession: I'm an absolute Xbox 360 fanatic. I stream music and video from my computer to my TV almost every hour of every day using the thing, and I've dropped some serious cash on add-ons and accessory packs. I'm one of those suckers who bought Oblivion's "Horse Armor" pack. Unfortunately for my wallet, Major Nelson says the console's new update makes it even easier to spend money by allowing users to purchase Microsoft Points using PayPal.
While the announcement may not strike a chord with Xbox Live users who've already linked a credit card to their account, it's sure to bring joy to gamers who use disposable Microsoft Points cards to refill their virtual pockets. No more running to Wal*Mart at midnight just because you're 20 points short for a new Avatar accessory.
If Google is one of the most prominent Linux stalwarts around, Android is undoubtedly the public face of its love affair with the open source operating system. But its Linux affection runs deeper than that as the Internet behemoth uses the OS on everything from back-end servers to employee machines. Now, that deep-rooted love is beginning to cost Google, for a jury has fined it $5 million for infringing on a patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,893,120) held by Texas-bases patent troll Bedrock Computer Technologies.
Postfinance, the financial arm of Swiss Post, has made the decision to close the bank account of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This was one of the main ways Assange took contributions to fund the secret document posting site. According to the AP, Postfinance investigated the claims Assange made when opening the account, namely that he was a Swiss resident. They found that he provided no evidence of that, and closed the account.
Assange will get the cash from that account, but this further reduces Assange's options for fundraising after PayPal cut ties with the organization. WikiLeaks is also still under attack online as groups attempt to knock the site offline. They were forced to move to a Swiss host last week and adopt a new domain name, WikiLeaks.ch.
As various services flee, others are seemingly happy to have WikiLeaks around. Both Facebook and Twitter have allowed WikiLeaks to stick around. Perhaps the dividing line that of financial ties. A business may feel very wary about taking money from an organization so openly despised by the US administration. What do you think WikiLeaks' next step will be?
We noticed quite a few vendors getting a jump on Cyber Monday this year, posting Black Friday deals online. As a result, Paypal benefited from a 27 percent increase in total payment volume on Black Friday 2010 compared to one year ago, Yahoo News reports.
"The tough economy has made shoppers more price-conscious, and this year's Black Friday results show that they're going online to find the best deals," said Amanda Pires, senior director at Paypal. "With the convenience of shopping from a laptop or mobile phone, more people are choosing to avoid the long lines, parking chaos, and early morning rush in exchange for great online deals available from the comfort of their homes."
Not surprisingly, mobile shopping proved popular this year, too. Paypal noted a whopping 310 percent increase in overall mobile shopping compared to last year's Black Friday, while Ebay -- the online auction site that owns Paypal -- saw a 30 percent increase in mobile bidding.
Until now, payment options for Google's Android market were slim. Users had to use either Google Checkout, or T-Mobile USA billing. But now sources are claiming that Google and PayPal have signed a deal to allow the payment processor to handle Market transactions. The deal could be announced at PayPal's October 26th developer conference.
Users have cited a number of issues with the Google Checkout system, chiefly that it is not available in many locations. Many consumers also do not have Google Checkout sign-ins when purchasing an Android phone, and the set up process is not very clear. Some developers also tell tales of huge numbers of rejected sales due to problems with Google Checkout.
PayPal integration could bring some uniformity to the system, and it's clear developers and users would benefit from the choice. Have you had issues with Google Checkout on Android? Let us know about it in the comments.
If you have a PayPal account connected to your iTunes login, now might be the time to decouple the two for a bit. At least one group of scammers has managed to find a security hole allowing them to charge thousands of dollars to users' iTunes accounts via PayPal. In some cases the amounts taken were obscene, with one would-be victim telling TechCrunch, "My account was charged over $4700. I called security at PayPal and was told a large number of iTunes store accounts were compromised." This user was able to keep his bank from disbursing funds to PayPal, but others are not so lucky.
Users are reporting all over the web that PayPal is promising to contact Apple to investigate the issues. PayPal seems to be working to set things right for their customers, but Apple hasn't been involved as of yet. Have you been a victim of this offense? Let us know in the comments who you've talked to, and what they told you.