Avivah Litan

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Who is the Government of North Korea?

by Avivah Litan  |  December 19, 2014  |  1 Comment

There is so much talk and skepticism about the perpetrators of the Sony attack – are they representing the North Korean government or are they a small band of crazy hackers? The discussion makes me recall a dinner I had about a year ago with a respectable Chinese Factory owner when I asked him if […]

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Where does North Korea get its cyber-hacking skills from?

by Avivah Litan  |  December 5, 2014  |  1 Comment

Many months before the alleged North Korean attack on Sony Pictures took place, a widely known fact in intel circles is that the Chinese and Russians are training North Koreans how to hack. Apparently, North Koreans are holed up inside a cement building inside China, learning these hacking skills, and after they are trained, these […]

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Retailers Brace for the Holiday Breach Season

by Avivah Litan  |  November 19, 2014  |  1 Comment

Holiday shopping season is upon us and is the busiest season of the year for hackers and shoppers alike. 2014 will be no exception and we should brace ourselves for more high profile cyber-attacks although this time, they are likely to gain much less public attention. Consumers have rightfully learned that they suffer little harm […]

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Token Collision and Point to Point Encryption Confusion ala ApplePay

by Avivah Litan  |  November 7, 2014  |  1 Comment

With all the excitement about ApplePay, big systemic problems are starting to surface on the retailer side. Here they are: a) Point to Point encryption confusion – Some vendors who certified their payment card applications for point to point encryption left out certification of the contactless payments since there was very little volume in the […]

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Apple Pay vs. CurrentC; will Merchants lose out again to Visa and MasterCard?

by Avivah Litan  |  November 3, 2014  |  1 Comment

The recent ruckus in the media about Wal-Mart, CVS and RiteAid and other national retailers refusing ApplePay has created bad PR for the fragmented retail sector. News commentators have been ranting on about how these merchants need to give consumers free choice and turn back on ApplePay acceptance. These comments reflect the great job Visa […]

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Can Credit Report Monitoring become more useful?

by Avivah Litan  |  November 3, 2014  |  Comments Off

For years companies whose troves of credit cards have been data breached have been offering potential fraud victims’ credit report monitoring as relief. I always cringe when I hear about this because I view this largely as a PR move on behalf of the breached entity that does virtually nothing to protect a cardholder from […]

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2014: The year of the worst data breaches and highest profits at U.S. credit card issuers

by Avivah Litan  |  October 14, 2014  |  2 Comments

It looks like the credit card companies keep winning and the retailers keep losing when it comes to making money on credit cards. R.K. Hammer, a consulting firm in Thousand Oaks, Calif., estimates that U.S. card issuers will generate $158.6 billion in 2014 revenue, a 9% jump over the $146 billion they earned in 2013. […]

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Lessons from the Israeli CyberFront

by Avivah Litan  |  September 22, 2014  |  3 Comments

I just returned from a week in Israel, which always seems to me to be Ground Zero for CyberSecurity. Here are some of the takeaways I came back with from my visit: a) Life goes on – and the security community continues to innovate I attended and spoke at one of the major Israel cyber-tech […]

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Will Apple Pay Save Merchants from Data Breaches?

by Avivah Litan  |  September 9, 2014  |  6 Comments

Apple has finally gotten into the payments business with its Apple Pay announcement. While details on Apple Pay security features are still scarce, it sounds like they are working with Visa, MasterCard, the other card brands and the major issuing banks behind them to use a payment card tokenization scheme that these financial services companies […]

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Big Banks hit by CyberAttacks – Alarming but not Surprising

by Avivah Litan  |  August 28, 2014  |  2 Comments

Today’s headlines report that big banks have been hit by cyberattacks, according to the FBI. While this news is alarming, it certainly is not surprising. Hackers are always probing bank systems and even a year ago or so, law enforcement authorities and regulators put out an advisory to banks about criminals hacking into bank employee […]

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