Ransomware Attacks Increase and Demand Bigger Payouts

An increasing number of cities, hospitals and businesses are being attacked by ransomware, by which bad actors shut down the victim’s computer network until a ransom is paid. Up until now, these attacks have been hard to measure since many of those impacted quietly paid the ransom without notifying any authorities. Security firm Emsisoft just reported a 41 percent increase in ransomware attacks between 2018 and 2019, with 205,280 businesses and other groups submitting evidence of such intrusions in 2019. Continue reading Ransomware Attacks Increase and Demand Bigger Payouts

Coalition of Banks Launches Bitcoin for Cross-Border Trade

Led by UBS Group, 14 financial firms including banks in the United States, Europe and Japan are using blockchain technology to settle cross-border trades. The group, which spent the last four years developing this project, invested £50 million ($63.2 million) to establish Fnality International, a company to control the bitcoin token, dubbed the utility settlement coin (USC). Trades can take a long time to clear and failed trades are common; the USC token would both carry all the information to complete a trade and be payment for it. Continue reading Coalition of Banks Launches Bitcoin for Cross-Border Trade

Apple and Goldman Sachs to Launch Apple Pay Credit Card

Apple and Goldman Sachs Group are readying the launch early next year of a joint credit card branded with Apple Pay. This will be Goldman Sachs’ first credit card, and it will also replace Apple’s current rewards-card with Barclays. Apple Pay, which generates revenue with every transaction, has been slow to take off, and Goldman’s move into consumer banking is intended to compensate for a significant dip in securities trading. In 2016, Goldman Sachs also debuted Marcus, retail banking for online savings and personal loans. Continue reading Apple and Goldman Sachs to Launch Apple Pay Credit Card

Amazon Prices NFL Thursday 30-Second Spot at $2.8 Million

Amazon revealed to Reuters that it will charge advertisers $2.8 million for 30-second commercials during the NFL Thursday Night Football games it will stream live to Prime customers this upcoming season. Amazon is paying the NFL $50 million to stream the season’s 10 games, the company’s first major push into live sports. In addition to Amazon Prime streaming, the games will also be available on either CBS or NBC, each of which are airing five games. Last season, Twitter paid $10 million to stream Thursday night NFL games. Continue reading Amazon Prices NFL Thursday 30-Second Spot at $2.8 Million

AT&T Could Offer its Customers DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket

With AT&T’s $49 billion planned acquisition of DirecTV, the phone company may offer NFL Sunday Ticket programming to its wireless customers. Sunday Ticket, a premium service that allows DirecTV customers to watch out-of-market NFL games, also allows users to stream to mobile devices at an extra cost. If AT&T is able to extend Sunday Ticket to its customers, it would further compete with Verizon, which already has streaming rights to Sunday, Monday and Thursday night football games. Continue reading AT&T Could Offer its Customers DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket

Disney Partners with Techstars to Launch Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company has announced a partnership with Techstars to launch an accelerator program that will help 10 startups get off the ground, while potentially providing the media giant insight into new innovation and creativity. Disney Accelerator plans to invest $120,000 in each startup, and provide them with the opportunity to work with Disney for three months starting in June (the application deadline is April 16). At the end of the program, Disney and Techstars may take a stake in one or more of the startups. Continue reading Disney Partners with Techstars to Launch Accelerator Program

Cable Companies Move Toward Cloud-Based Set-Top Boxes

For the first time in more than six years, Comcast gained more video subscribers than it lost last quarter. The cable provider can attribute that growth to its new set-top boxes, which feature a searchable, cloud-based interface resembling that of a Roku, Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Time Warner Cable, which saw a decline in last quarter’s numbers, plans to release its own set-top box in hopes of boosting its subscribers and preventing cable cutting by customers. Continue reading Cable Companies Move Toward Cloud-Based Set-Top Boxes