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)


‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

Updated 17 June 2019
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‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

  • Fatih Birol’s comments were a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges
  • Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving problems such as global warming

DUBAI: Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, cracked a joke in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago.
“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be,” he wrote about the fuel that many experts agree could hold the key to the world’s energy problems.
It was a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen — generation, storage, and transportation — make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges.
Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving such problems as global warming and environmental degradation.
“The world has an important opportunity to tap into hydrogen’s vast potential to become a critical part of a more sustainable and secure energy future … The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future,” the report said.
That argument will get a critical boost today, when Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, opens its first hydrogen fueling station in Dhahran Techno Valley, in the heart of the Kingdom’s oil producing region.
Aramco has partnered with Air Products, a US company that has been a pioneer in the use of industrial gases, to produce a filling station for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

 

It is very much a test. “The collected data during this pilot phase of the project will provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment,” Aramco said when the project was first announced.
But it is something Aramco has been investigating for a long time. Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s chef technology officer, said: “The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport.”
Hydrogen — essentially what is left when you take the oxygen out of water — has been recognized as a potential fuel source for many decades. Motor manufacturers developed a hydrogen motor engine 50 years ago, but the ease and accessibility of hydrocarbon fuels — oil, gas and coal — made it uneconomic to develop this technology beyond the prototype stage.
Now, as the debate over the role of hydrocarbons in the global environmental balance has become ever more intense, some experts, including Birol and other influential parts of the thought-leadership establishment, believe hydrogen is the next Big Thing in global energy trends.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) said recently that “green” hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, and that is the problem the theoreticians are struggling with: Hydrogen is released naturally in the process of burning hydrocarbons, but it is self-defeating, in an environmental sense. if you have to burn oil, gas or coal to produce it.
On the other hand, renewable sources, like sun, wind and water, do not produce enough hydrogen to be practically or commercially viable, and not at the right times, when people actually need it.
But, as the WEF noted recently “low-cost green hydrogen is coming”, as technology advances mean the cost of renewable energy falls dramatically each year. The Middle East already has a very big and very cost-efficient program for solar energy generation.
The other challenges lay in how to store and transport hydrogen. It can be loaded onto a tanker like LNG, or pushed through pipelines, but it would require a huge investment to change current logistics systems — essentially designed for oil and LNG — to handle hydrogen.
Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, already have the infrastructure associated with oil and gas refining and petrochemicals production to be able to equip “hydrogen hubs,” as long as there is government will and commercial incentive to do so.
For the Kingdom, it looks like a no-brainer for the future. As Birol said: “So, hydrogen offers tantalising promises of cleaner industry and emissions-free power. Turning it into energy produces only water, not greenhouse gases. It’s also the most abundant element in the universe. What’s not to like?”

FACTOID

Technological advances mean low-cost ‘green’ hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, according to the World Economic Forum.