An unaffiliated group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers calling itself “Anoymous” finds itself short a few member this evening as multiple alleged culprits were arrested on Thursday in the U.K. The BBC reports that five men were arrested in a series of raids, and they are being held in various locations across England. Allegations against the men are described as “recent and ongoing attacks by an online group that calls itself ‘Anonymous’.” The two adults and three teenagers were allegedly involved with a series of DDoS attacks carried out last year, aimed at various websites the group felt stood in opposition of notorious news agency WikiLeaks and its famed leader Julian Assange. Targets included websites belonging to Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and Paypal. This is not the first time arrests have been made in connection with Anonymous’ attacks; two Dutch teenagers allegedly involved with the group were arrested last year, but charges were never formally filed against them. More →
SpendingPulse, a MasterCard Advisors service that monitors national retail and services sales, has an early Christmas gift for all of us this year. According to tallies of MasterCard payments along with survey-based estimates for other forms of payment, MasterCard Services estimates that online spending this holiday season hit $36.4 billion in the U.S. The massive number represents a 15.4% increase compared to the holiday season in 2009. “Today eCommerce accounts for a much larger share of overall retail sales compared to a few years ago. And during this holiday season, it registered double digit growth for 6 out of 7 weeks,” said Michael McNamara, VP for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, in a statement. Daily online spending in the U.S. topped $1 billion six times during the holiday shopping season this year, compared to three times in 2009. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
A global, ever-expanding team of hackers called “Anonymous” has announced its next target in a series of cyberattacks that have taken down multiple websites over the past few days. Among its targets were the websites of both Visa and Mastercard following news that the institutions would cease delivery of funds that had been donated to WikiLeaks. Using Twitter to announce the attack, the group is preparing to take down Amazon.com, presumably due to the company’s abrupt cancellation of its hosting agreement with WikiLeaks after being pressured by the Department of Homeland Security. The attack on Amazon.com will begin at 11:00am Eastern.
Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless are in talks to bring cellphone based payments to the States. Bloomberg cited, “three people with direct knowledge of the plan,” when they wrote that the three wireless vendors “may work with Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc to test a system at stores in Atlanta and three other U.S. cities that would let a consumer pay with the contactless wave of a smartphone.” Currently, Visa and MasterCard handle 82% of consumer credit card spending; a $2.45 trillion business. The reported system would see payments processed by Discover’s network (currently the fourth largest credit card network in the U.S.) and Barclays would be the bank managing the accounts. The contactless cellphone payment system is already in use in Japan and the United Kingdom. What do you think? Do you see value in a service like this, or is it more inclined to just creep you out? More →
If you are not familiar with Square, it is a mobile payment service (hardware and software) that hopes to change how mobile transactions are processed. Now available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android devices, all you need to get going and accepting credit card payments is Square’s credit card reader. If you have been down the merchant account road before, you are probably asking how much the device costs, right? Square is giving out the reader, which plugs into the 3.5mm headset jack on your smartphone, for free. Their transaction rates are also pretty competitive at 2.75% of the transaction + $0.15 for all major credit cards. If you have always wanted to pay that shady guy off of Craigslist with plastic instead of paper, your dream might finally come true as this propagates throughout the wild. Check out a video of the service after the jump! More →