China’s Alipay: Stolen Apple IDs behind thefts of users’ money

Apple Pay, while not as popular as WeChat Pay and Alipay, has become increasingly popular in China’s large eastern cities. (Reuters)
Updated 11 October 2018
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China’s Alipay: Stolen Apple IDs behind thefts of users’ money

  • ‘Alipay has contacted Apple many times...and the issue has not been resolved’
  • Apple Pay, while not as popular as WeChat Pay and Alipay, has also become increasingly popular in China’s large eastern cities

BEIJING, Oct 11 : Ant Financial’s Alipay, the operator of one of China’s top two mobile payment apps, said hackers have taken an unknown amount of money from accounts using stolen Apple Inc. IDs and the issue remains unresolved despite reaching out to the US giant.
Alipay said in a post on its Toutiao social media account on Wednesday that users who have linked their accounts using Apple IDs should lower transaction limits.
“Alipay has contacted Apple many times...and the issue has not been resolved,” the post said.
The breach has affected users of both Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat and some users lost up to 2,000 yuan ($288), state media outlet Xinhua said on Thursday.
A Shanghai-based spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment. Representatives for Tencent did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment.
Ant Financial is the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
It is not clear how many users were affected by the breach, and Alipay’s statement urged affected users to contact Apple.
The potential breach underscores the security challenges facing China’s huge mobile payments market, where WeChat and Alipay services have become ubiquitous in daily life.
It also highlights the pitfalls facing tech firms in China, where smartphone scams and personal data breaches are more common than other markets.
Apple was chastised by Chinese state media in July for the amount of spam being sent on iMessage, with media saying with the company’s strict stance on privacy was hindering its ability to crack down on illegal behavior.
The company has since said it is contact with telecom companies on how to reduce the amount of spam received through iMessage.
Apple users in China are required to link their IDs to their phone numbers, which are in turn linked to their national identification numbers. Apple Pay, while not as popular as WeChat Pay and Alipay, has also become increasingly popular in China’s large eastern cities.
For WeChat Pay and Alipay, which each have around half a billion users, breaches are rare though users are frequently warned not to send money to unidentified people using the platforms. ($1 = 6.9305 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.