Vodafone Customer Bank Details Accessed in Hack

Just over a week ago, TalkTalk’s website fell victim to a cyber-attack and revelations have emerged regarding the company’s poor security infrastructure. It seems these attacks are becoming more prevalent as today, Vodafone admitted a data breach involving 1827 customers’ personal information. This include their bank details and telephone number. A spokesperson from Vodaphone confirmed the attack, and reaffirmed that it wasn’t due to their security measures:

“This incident was driven by criminals using email addresses and passwords acquired from an unknown source external to Vodafone. Vodafone’s systems were not compromised or breached in any way.”

“Whilst our security protocols were fundamentally effective, we know that 1,827 customers have had their accounts accessed, potentially giving the criminals involved the customer’s name, their mobile telephone number, their bank sort code, the last four digits of their bank account,”

“Our investigation and mitigating actions have meant that only a handful of customers have been subject to any attempts to use this data for fraudulent activity on their Vodafone accounts.” 

A number of sources on Twitter have suggested the attack came from The Dark Web:

The spokesperson went on to discuss the data loss’ ramifications and said:

“However, this information does leave these 1,827 customers open to fraud and might also leave them open to phishing attempts,”

“These customers’ accounts have been blocked and affected customers are being contacted directly to assist them with changing their account details.”

I do find Vodafone’s excuse to be fairly laughable and they have to take responsibility for the data loss. Professionals aren’t going to hack a major network without some form of protection and will make it difficult to trace. The information gathered is more than enough to cause chaos in terms of a person’s bank balance and can be used to help find other details like an email address.

Deutsche Telekom First to Introduce Fast Lanes Under New EU “Net Neutrality” Laws

Mere days after the European Parliament voted in broken net neutrality laws that allow for traffic shaping and internet fast lanes, the first EU telecoms company has announced plans to introduce a two-tier internet, allowing priority access to paying customers. In a statement on the company’s website (in German), CEO Timotheus Höttges said Deutsche Telekom will introduce charges for startups to access specialised internet services.

“There needs to be the option of giving priority to data associated with sensitive services if the network is congested,” says Höttges (translation courtesy of Euroactiv). “Developing innovative internet services with high standards of quality will continue to be possible.”

“Start-ups need special services more than anyone in order to have a chance of keeping up with large internet providers,” Höttges argues. “If they want to bring services to market which require guaranteed good transmission quality, it is precisely these companies that need special services. By our reckoning, they would pay a couple of percent for this in the form of revenue-sharing,”

In response to Deutsche Telekom’s plans, Vodafone Germany told German newspaper Der Spiegel, “Vodafone is not currently pursuing such plans [for internet fast lanes], but in our view, Deutsche Telekom’s position is correct,” adding that, “an equal internet does not even exist today.”

Image courtesy of Acoustic Branding.

Voice-over-LTE Set to Launch in the UK on Three This Summer

The UK is laying the ground for an intense competition between carriers this summer. Three, the 4th largest mobile carrier in the country, has just announced that it will be launching its VoLTE feature in Q3 this year.

This means that Three will be competing with carriers such as Vodafone, who has already announced that it will be launching VoLTE, and EE, the UK’s largest carrier, who has similar plans in enabling the feature on its networks this year as well.

VoLTE is similar to VoIP, but operates over the 4G/LTE networks as data, compared to the previous “closed-circuit” calls on 2G and 3G. The result is said to bring faster call setup and crystal clear audio, while in turn making better use of the available spectrum.

This sounds pretty amazing, but there have also been a lot of battery performance issues with 4G smartphones in the past using this type of feature. However, new chipsets are said to be rolling out more optimized than their predecessors. But questions regarding what handsets will be compatible with the VoLTE networks still remain.

Three has not stated which devices will be compatible with its future VoLTE network, however handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 onwards should have no problem in connecting to it once it is launched.

EU Committee Delays Roaming Fees Removal

There have been a lot of talks these past two years regarding the abolishment of roaming fees in the European Union’s member states. Last year, we heard that the EU Commission was voting to scrap the fees altogether and have them removed by 2016.

However, this might not be the case. The European Parliament does have its mind set on removing the roaming fees, but it seems that it also backs carriers who claim that they need to charge customers due to the space taken up on foreign carrier networks. To be noted is that carriers such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefonica, and Telenor already have networks in almost every EU country, but there are still some carriers who cannot cope with a big changes just yet.

While there has been a steady drop in roaming prices in the past two years, along with a variety of tariffs added to reduce prices even further, we won’t be seeing a total removal of roaming fees next year. A more realistic target now points to 2018, making some room for everyone to cope with a big change on a large scale.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Vodafone Makes Deal with Dropbox for Smartphone Data Backups

Vodafone has secured a significant deal with cloud storage provider Dropbox that will provide its customers with 25GB free space and integration with Vodafone’s new Backup+ service.

Backup+ allows Android and iPhone users to restore content to their devices, but can also be used for device migration, making the switch between Android and iOS smartphones much easier. The service also allows customers to share data with other people.

New Vodafone customers who set up a Dropbox account through Backup+ will receive a free gift of 25GB storage for a year. Other offers, yet to be unveiled, will be made available to all Backup+ users.

Though the Backup+ app will be made available to customers on the Vodafone network by the end of March, it will take a few months to roll out to most Vodafone areas.

Source: Engadget

Sky and TalkTalk Compete With Three for O2 Purchase

Until this week, Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the Three mobile network in the UK, was thought to be in pole position to buy rival network O2 from Telefonica. But now, Sky and TalkTalk have entered the fray, with Telefonica eager to sell its asset for £9 billion to pay off existing debts.

Sky and TalkTalk, both major UK providers of broadband services, are eager to expand into the mobile communications sector, with TalkTalk already engaged in a partnership deal with the Vodafone network, and running its own small network hosted by O2. Financial Times sources claim that Sky, carrying a large debt after a £7 billion European expansion, is thought to prefer a partnership deal with O2, rather than an outright buy-out.

BT is not considered to be interested in O2 since its £12.5 billion takeover of EE.

Source: Wired

German Chancellor Disputes Net Neutrality

The battle for net neutrality has spread across Europe and the US, with President Barack Obama throwing his support behind a free and open internet. But influential German Chancellor Angela Merkel has scoffed at the idea, voicing her approval for a two-tier internet, with a premium channel operating above standard traffic on the same network.

Merkel made the declaration during the Digitising Europe conference, run by the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communication. “An innovation-friendly internet means that there is a guaranteed reliability for special services,” she said. “These can only develop when predictable quality standards are available”. Merkel sees this special channel of the internet as supporting innovations in telemedicine and driverless cars, which would require transmission that is “reliable and always secure.” Then, with the disingenuous suggestion that this practicality is dictated by current technology, Merkel argued, “we can’t talk about net neutrality if the capacity to have it isn’t available.”

Though the European Parliament voted against two-tier internet back in April, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine reports that the German government is still exploring the possibility of implementing some form of premium internet split service.

Source: Electronista

UK to Introduce 25% ‘Google Tax’

George Osborne, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced during his Autumn Statement that the Conservative government are to introduce a 25% ‘Google tax’ to prevent multinational corporations from tax dodging.

Companies such as Google, Amazon, Starbucks, and Vodafone have all been accused of paying less tax than should be expected of them. The move is designed to close the loophole that companies operating in the UK have been taking advantage of. “Today I am introducing a 25 percent tax on profits generated by multinationals from economic activity here in the UK which they then artificially shift out of the country,” said Osborne. “That’s not fair to other British firms. It’s not fair to the British people either. My message is consistent and clear. Low taxes; but taxes that will be paid.”

The tax is estimated to generate £1 billion over the next five years, and will come into effect from 1st April, 2015.

Source: ars technica

Vodafone in Talks to Buy Video Streaming Service Blinkbox

Struggling video on-demand platform Blinkbox, owned by Tesco, is set to be snapped up by the ambitious Vodafone mobile network, according to The Telegraph newspaper. Vodaphone are said to have made such a forceful move that other competitors have withdrawn their bids.

Tesco is desperate to sell the struggling video service. Earlier this year, Tesco’s accounts revealed that Blinkbox had lost the company £18.5 million.

Last week, it was revealed that Vodafone is strongly considering buying Liberty Global, owner of Virgin Media, the UK broadband, TV, and phone provider. The further purchase of Blinkbox would provide Vodafone with a significant boost in content for its streaming and pay-TV services, launching next year.

Source: TNW

Vodafone Could Become Largest Telecoms Company in Europe With Takeover of Virgin Media

 

UK telecoms company Vodafone are exploring a possible takeover of Liberty Global, owner of internet and cable operator Virgin Media, making it the largest phone, internet, and TV provider in Europe.

Anonymous sources close to the deal revealed the news to Bloomberg. No deal has been agreed, nor have any negotiations have taken place, and Vodafone are said to be concerned about any potential debt the move might accrue, but serious internal deliberations are on-going.

Liberty Global has a market capitalisation of $38.3 billion, but $41.1 billion in debt after a number of European acquisitions, Virgin Media encluded. Vodafone’s market value is $97 billion, and the company has been buying up cable assets across Europe, including Spain’s Ono SA and Kabel Deutschland of Germany.

Both Vodafone and Liberty Global have so far declined to comment on the prospective deal.

Source: Bloomberg

Vodafone Glitch Shuts Non-Emergency NHS, Police Phone Lines

A major fault with Vodafone’s network today (Saturday) meant non-emergency phone lines for the UK’s NHS and Police went down.

The NHS lost service to its 111 helpline, while 23 police forces, including the Metropolitan Police, lost their 101 non-emergency service. All lines were reinstated by 1pm GMT.

The fault, which also resulted in the road recovery company RAC losing its phone service, is now being investigated by Vodafone, who apologised for the problems.

“Our engineers have worked hard to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and services have now been restored,” Vodafone said.

It said it would continue to monitor the service closely, adding: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Source: BBC News

Samsung Galaxy Edge UK Release Delayed Until 12th December

Just as the Galaxy Note 4 release was pushed back by seven days, Samsung have announced that the launch of their Galaxy Note Edge has been delayed by two weeks, now due on 12th December. This is the second hold up to befall Samsung’s experimental smartphone, having initially been slated for release on 14th November. That date came and went without any sign of the handset. A new date of 28th November was scheduled, but that too has been revised.

So far, Vodafone is the only network to have confirmed carrying the device on contract, but the handset alone will be available from Carphone Warehouse and the Samsung UK website, with both stores taking pre-orders from 5th December onwards.

Source: Engadget

Galaxy Note Edge Set For UK Launch

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, given its experimental nature and bold aesthetic – the right-hand side of the device’s screen tapers into an arched curve – was far from guaranteed a release in the United Kingdom, but today mobile network Vodafone confirmed that the device will be available from their stores, though when and for how much is yet to be revealed.

In addition, other online phone retailers, such as Clove and MobiCity, have the device listed for pre-order, priced £540 for the handset alone. If the Note Edge’s novel design appeals to you, though, make sure you order early – sources at SamMobile suggest the phone will only be available in limited quantities.

Source: Engadget.

Vodafone to Launch Home Broadband, Again

Three years after its first attempt, mobile network provider Vodafone is set for another foray into the home broadband market. The move mirrors a number of UK internet service providers, such as TalkTalk, offering their own mobile phone services.  The company already owns the infrastructure to support its network, having bought Cable & Wireless Worldwide for £1 billion two years ago.

Even given their failure on their last attempt, the move is especially surprising since it pits Vodafone up against Sky’s broadband service, with the two companies recently forming a partnership to offer 4G and virtual mobile network service packages.

Vodafone are due to launch their new home broadband package in Spring of 2015.

Source: engadget

Blue HTC One Now Available In The UK and Blue One Mini To Arrive Shortly

The blue HTC One launched in the US last month, and now the handset is available in the UK from mobile retailer the Carphone Warehouse. The Blue HTC One is available with a number of different carriers through the mobile retailer, the handset is available from free on contracts which start at £32 per month. The Carphone Warehouse are offering the Blue HTC One with all of the major UK carriers, the list includes EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three.

Hardware wise the handset has the same specifications as the existing model, which include Android Jelly Bean, and a 4.7 inch full high-definition display. The display on the HTC one comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the handset is powered by a quad-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 processor from Qualcomm, and it also features an Adreno 320 GPU. The devices features 2GB of RAM and a choice of either 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, it also features HTC’s new Ultrapixel camera.

There are no details as yet on when the blue HTC One will be available off contract SIM free, however it should be made available in time.

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Images  courtesy of Geeky Gadgets.