Chrome: Web Security

For the past several years, we’ve moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we’ve also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by gradually marking a larger subset of HTTP pages as “not secure”. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.

Developers have been transitioning their sites to HTTPS and making the web safer for everyone. Progress last year was incredible, and it’s continued since then:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

Chrome is dedicated to making it as easy as possible to set up HTTPS. Mixed content audits are now available to help developers migrate their sites to HTTPS in the latest Node CLI version of Lighthouse, an automated tool for improving web pages. The new audit in Lighthouse helps developers find which resources a site loads using HTTP, and which of those are ready to be upgraded to HTTPS simply by changing the subresource reference to the HTTPS version.

Chrome’s new interface will help users understand that all HTTP sites are not secure, and continue to move the web towards a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. Developers, check out our set-up guides to get started.

Source: Google Security Blog by Emily Schechter, Chrome Security Product Manager

Why Africa Must Invest in Science

It’s been massively underfunded for a long time but is it time now for African countries to grow their economies by closing the Science and Technology Gap with the rest of the world? On this episode we hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the first female president of Mauritius. She spoke on the connection between investment in science and economic development in Africa.

– Congo Bank Scam –

Congolese MicroFinance giant, Credit mutuel d’Afrique came crashing along with over 300 thousand euros of 600 customers swindled. Microfinance fraud is becoming a trend in the sub region, what will this translate to for the poor ? We talk to a financial risk analyst.

– Analysing shortages of critical supplies –

When the world shut down in March last year, global supply chains were massively disrupted as movement of people was severely restricted. Total and partial lockdowns have since been lifted in many countries. And yet because of successive variants, waves and individual countries’ efforts to recover from the pandemic, global producers and transportation systems are struggling to meet demand. The result, shortages of critical goods like cooking gas in Nigeria and medicine across the continent.

Source: Africa News

Alibaba: Shares dive after China spending slowdown warning

Alibaba shares have slumped by more than 10% in Hong Kong trade after the Chinese online retail giant warned of a slowdown in consumer spending.

The company forecast that its annual revenue would grow at the slowest pace since its stock market debut in 2014.

The weak figures underscore the firm’s struggles with increasing competition and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown.

On Thursday, Alibaba’s US-listed shares ended the New York trading session more than 11% lower.

In the three months to the end of September, Alibaba’s revenue rose by 29% to 200.7bn yuan ($31.4bn, £23.3bn), its slowest rate of growth for a year and a half.

The company also said it expects its annual revenue to grow by between 20% and 23%, which is lower than analysts’ forecasts.

Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang told investors that increasing competition and slowing consumption in China were the main causes of the weaker growth.

Chinese shoppers have become more cautious about spending as new coronavirus outbreaks, power cuts and concerns about the property market weigh on sentiment.

The latest figures do not include sales from this month’s Singles Day, or “11.11 Global Shopping Festival”.

This year Alibaba’s usually glitzy event was a more toned down affair than previously as Beijing cracks down on businesses and China’s economic growth slows.

Sales for the 11-day event rose at their slowest rate since it was launched in 2009, up 8.5% on last year.

However, customer spending still hit a fresh record high of 540.3bn yuan.

Alibaba has come under intense scrutiny from Beijing as tough new rules have been imposed on the country’s big technology companies.

Earlier this year, it paid a record $2.8bn fine after a probe found it had abused its dominant market position for years. Alibaba also said it would change the way it conducted its business.

The company’s shares have lost more than a third of their value so far this year.

Source: BBC News

Amazon will not accept Visa Cards in the UK

Amazon will stop accepting Visa credit cards issued in the UK from 19 January, the online retail giant has said.

It said the move was due to high credit card transaction fees but said Visa debit cards would still be accepted.

Visa said it was “very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future”.

Amazon said: “The cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers.”

The online retailer said costs should be going down over time due to advances in technology, “but instead they continue to stay high or even rise”.

An Amazon spokesperson said the dispute was to do with “pretty egregious” price rises from Visa over a number of years with no additional value to its service.

Amazon is offering £20 for Prime customers to switch from using Visa to an alternative payment method, and £10 for other customers, if they have a Visa cards as their default or only payment method on their account.

Visa said in a statement it was “very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future. When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins.”

It said it had “a long-standing relationship with Amazon” and that it was trying to resolve the situation so customers would be able to use Visa credit cards with Amazon UK.

Amazon declined to say how much Visa charges the retailer to process transactions made on credit cards.

Visa also declined to comment though it claimed that on average it takes less than 0.1% of the value of a purchase.

Amazon and Visa said any changes in fees had nothing to do with Brexit.

Both Visa and its rival Mastercard have raised the so-called interchange fee on cross-border transactions between businesses in the UK and the European Union following Brexit.

The dispute between Amazon and Visa is to do with the fees the credit card company charges Amazon for its services in the UK.

Amazon is also considering dropping Visa as a partner for its US co-branded credit card.

It is in talks with payment networks, including Mastercard, American Express and Visa – as part of what it calls a standard process, the BBC has learnt.

By Tom Espiner
Business reporter, BBC News