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September, 2015:

EMV credit cards – New Technology and Legal Liability standards

On October 1, 2015, new legal changes will be forthcoming which in certain circumstances will switch legal liability from banking industry to merchants who process a forged EMV credit card.  The legal liability changes may be designed to encourage retailers to move to DSS/PCI version 3 standards. 

The links below share that October target date is slowly being adopted as public education of the new credit card is lagging some.  Also, the new standards don’t address on-line controls well in the use of credit cards.  However, these new controls are beneficial where EMV credit cards are used in retail stores, restaurants, or other direct purchases.×250.jpg

NEWS ANALYSIS: Despite years of warnings, a large percentage of U.S. businesses aren’t ready for the switch to EMV cards, and many don’t even know about it. The long-awaited credit card liability shift happens on Thursday, Oct. 1, and for many businesses and consumers, it will be a total surprise.

Despite articles describing the coming change in who has to pay for purchases made with counterfeit cards that have been running for years, and despite announcements from the president of the United States and many banks, many are blissfully unaware. Unfortunately, the awareness of the change will come suddenly, and probably not in a pleasant way for most.

Just so you’re clear on what’s happening, as of Oct. 1, 2015, merchants may become liable for charges made using counterfeit credit and debit cards. The liability will happen if the merchant has a point-of-sale (POS) terminal that can read the new EMV chips embedded in credit cards. If someone copies the data from the magnetic stripe from a chip-enabled credit card and tries to buy something from a merchant, then the merchant becomes liable for any loss.

However, if the merchant doesn’t yet have a chip-enabled POS terminal, or if the counterfeit card wasn’t using magnetic-stripe data from a chip-enabled card, the issuing bank remains responsible for the liability. Banks and credit card issuers are rolling out cards with EMV chips as fast as they can print them. Credit card clearing services are replacing POS terminals with chip-enabled terminals as quickly as they can.

Part of the problem is that the process of becoming certified to handle EMV credit cards is taking longer than anyone expected, partly because the requirements and regulations are complex. “There are 200 different certifications you need,” Hoffman said. He noted that a great deal depends on third-party providers also being ready, and if they’re not ready, a merchant can’t be ready, and there might not be anything they can do about it.

The problem, unfortunately, isn’t likely to be fixed in time for the Oct. 1 deadline. “The EMV certification process is taking longer than anticipated,” said Michael Grillo, director of solution marketing for ACI Worldwide. “By the end of the year, maybe 30 percent of large merchants will be EMV-certified.”

Part of the problem is that there has been no major consumer education effort. As a result, nobody has a good idea of how to use the new cards and what they’re expected to accomplish.

Leadership – Value of Personal Transformation

John Maxwell highlights value of making positive changes to influence and encourage team members in tackling challenging and difficult goals

How do you create positive change? How do you help others do so? How do you help an entire nation embrace transformation? Just a few weeks ago, my team and I had an amazing opportunity to be part of a transformational movement with the goal of impacting an entire country. On August 31 and September 1, we traveled to Paraguay to launch an initiative that has been on my heart for a long time.

The idea of transformation has really spoken to me for a few years now. I’ve spent a long time thinking on it and trying to understand what it would mean to me personally as well as to the people I lead and teach. What would happen if individuals were equipped to become people of significance and began making a positive difference in the world around them? Could it transform their families? Their communities? Even an entire nation?

Linux – Gnome 3.18 User interface chances

The new Gnome 3.18 user interface is documentated in this eWeek slide show

The GNOME 3.18 Linux desktop, released Sept. 23, offers a milestone feature update. Code-named Gothenburg, the new open-source desktop environment benefits from 25,112 changes from 772 contributors. The GNOME 3.18 desktop includes improvements to the Files utility that make it easier for users to find, access and manage folders as well as files. There is now also a cleaner integration with Google Drive that can enable a user to directly access files from the cloud inside GNOME 3.18. Linux desktop users will also be able to choose a desktop setting that will automatically adjust screen brightness based on ambient lighting conditions. Keeping the hardware firmware on a Linux system updated is easier and more streamlined in GNOME 3.18, thanks to new support for the Linux vendor firmware update service. GNOME 3.18 includes updates to multiple GNOME applications, such as the Documents app, which benefits from a new user interface. The Calendar app has enhanced management features so users can more easily control information. The new release of Builder provides an improved developer experience with source code auto-completion for Python. Here’s a look at key features of the GNOME 3.18.

Microsoft Excel – New Features in version 2016

PC Magazine highlights some of new collaboration, portability, and other features for the newly released 2016 version of Microsoft Excel spreadsheet,2817,2491994,00.asp

Users of recent versions of Excel will find nothing to scare them off in Microsoft Office 2016. In fact, the leading spreadsheet application looks nearly identical to its 2013 predecessor, but there are deep and important differences when it comes to collaboration and mobile use.

Microsoft’s Director of Office 365 Commercial Communications, Alex Bradley, gave us a tour of the new features at a recent press event in New York. The newly built Excel 2016 is consistent across PC, Mac, Web, and mobile devices running Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile operating systems. Users on any of these platforms will be able to co-edit documents, which can be shared after they’ve been saved to OneDrive or SharePoint. During collaboration, you’ll see other people’s edits highlighted and marked by a flag that can optionally display their names.

Another highlight of Excel 2016 is the Tell Me box, which now makes a showing in all of the suite’s apps. This is a search box right at the top, even above the (hide-able) ribbon, which can take you right to a command, replacing the need to hunt through icons or menu choices to get to the tool you need.

PC MAGAZINE – FULL REVIEW OF OFFICE 2016,2817,2491223,00.asp

Microsoft Office – 2016 version release

Office 2016 improves workgroup collaboration and cloud capabilities as described below,2817,2491223,00.asp

Microsoft is giving one of its most successful products, Office, a big update. Consumers who use the software should get used to seeing more of them.

The company will begin shipping on Tuesday Office 2016, an overhaul of the software suite, which offers well-known apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook. People will be able to buy copies of the software in stores and online; or, if they have a subscription to the software though Microsoft’s Office 365 service, their existing applications will be automatically updated in the coming weeks.

There are numerous changes in Office 2016, with the most prominent ones designed to improve how the software is used by groups of people to collaborate. But one of the biggest changes is that Office 2016 signals a major push toward delivering the software as a continuing service to consumers, a model toward which Microsoft has slowly been shifting its entire business. More than a billion people use Office.

The new features get even more elaborate when you start working with other team members using timesaving Group functions built into Outlook. In all these changes, Microsoft isn’t merely playing catch-up with collaborative services like Google Apps or Zoho Office. Some of Office’s collaboration features are so effective and intuitive that you may wonder why no one thought of them before.

National Security – China to work with USA to prevent cybercrime

China has pledged to assist and cooperate with USA in combating cybercrime as shared below:

In Seattle, the talk was of cooperation. In a speech to American business leaders Tuesday night, China’s president, Xi Jinping, pledged to work with the United States to prevent cybercrime. Mr. Xi’s long-anticipated visit comes over increased tensions over what White House officials say has been a concerted effort by China to attack the computer networks of businesses and government agencies.

The Chinese government will not in whatever form engage in commercial theft, and hacking against government networks are crimes that must be punished in accordance with the law and relevant international treaties,” Mr. Xi said.  Mr. Xi is expected to arrive in Washington on Thursday


Facebook – New Dislike Button scam circulating

A new version of the Facebook “Dislike” button scam is being massively spammed and should be avoided.  Following the steps contained could lead to malware infections.

When Mark Zuckerberg recently hinted at the possibility of a “Dislike” button on Facebook, you could practically guess what would follow next: a wave of scams on the site purporting to offer the “real” dislike button. Of course, that’s exactly what has transpired, with cybercriminals using the news to help spread malware across untold numbers of News Feeds.

These spammy links offer unsuspecting users the opportunity to try out the new feature, but when they click through they are often encouraged to like a page and share it with their friends. The scams can sometimes be even more aggressive, potentially taking control of your account and spamming the link to all of your friends. Some other kinds of malware try to trick you into taking a survey or downloading a malicious program. But no matter what shape the scam takes, they are all trying to achieve the same thing: ripping you off.

Facebook – Adds email PGP encryption option

Facebook has strengthened email options by adding PGP encryption support via ProtonMail services as shared below

Facebook introduced email encryption back in June as a way of protecting users from getting their emails from the site hacked. The social media giant strengthened that protection this week, adding support from encrypted email provider ProtonMail.

Facebook added support for PGP encryption this June, enabling users to import their public PGP key to be able to encrypt any emails sent to them via Facebook.

Today, end-to-end encrypted email provider ProtonMail has added support for PGP encrypted Facebook emails — allowing Facebook users to get their encrypted missives automatically decrypted within ProtonMail. The feature works within ProtonMail v2.1, on both web and its mobile apps, once users have imported their ProtonMail public key into Facebook.

Google Chrome – 25 advanced features slideshow

Google Chrome users may benefit from some of advanced techniques shared below:

Browsers have evolved far beyond their original mission of providing one-way windows into the world wide webosphere. Indeed, as more services migrate to the cloud, browsers only reinforce their new role as multi-function boxes of digital magic.

All the important Internet things are available in browser form—from communication tools to productivity suites to disposable escapist entertainment. It’s almost like the browser has become an OS in and of itself. In fact, you could say that’s exactly where things are headed.

While there is plenty of debate out there as to which browser is best, for my money it’s the sleek, minimalist package known as Google Chrome. And the data shows that most users agree: According to the latest numbers from W3Schools, 64.9 percent of people are using Chrome, more than double the next highest, Firefox (21.5 percent), with IE (7.1 percent) and Safari (3.8 percent) trailing far behind.

Leadership – Watch out for the Blind Spots

John Maxwell encourages leaders to assess weaknesses they not readily see, by assessing the four symptoms listed below

Do you have any blind spots?…If you answered no, you now know where your blind spot is! Okay, I think most of us would acknowledge that we do possess blind spots. We assume there must be some areas where we “don’t know what we don’t know.” And we suppose that our personal blind spots have an effect on our lives – quite possibly a negative effect.

But what happens when a leader has blind spots? It affects so many more people than the leader alone. It can have a far-reaching impact — on the leader, his or her followers, and the entire team, department or organization. Here’s my definition of a blind spot: an area in someone’s life in which he continually fails to see himself or his situation realistically. This unawareness often causes great damage to the person and those around him.

Here are just a few basic blind spots exhibited by leaders:

1. A Narrow Perspective
2. Insecurity
3. Out-of-Control Ego
4. Lack of Character