Tag Archives: FedEx

E-Commerce Delivers

E-commerce war is raging! E-commerce players are going all out to get your money doing whatever it takes to get you shopping on their website. The war has changed they we shop, probably forever.

Electronic or e-commerce, the act of shopping online and having the goods delivered directly to your home, is exploding. More and more online stores and regular brick and mortar stores are offering to deliver your purchases to you anywhere.

Amazon Prime customers can get their purchases delivered on the same day with Amazon Prime NowCustomers need only check the item description to see if it is available for same day delivery in their zip code. Amazon claims it has over 1 million items available for same day delivery in 8,000 cites.

Now Amazon has stepped up its game by announcing a new service that gives its couriers access to your vehicle for the purpose of placing your purchases inside.  Amazon is planning to use the Internet connected capabilities in many modern vehicles.  In cooperation with GM and Volvo Amazon will be launching the new service in 37 cities in the U.S.

In order to use the service the car owner must add their car to the Amazon Key app with a description of the vehicle allowing Amazon’s couriers to locate it. The vehicle must be parked within a certain radius of an address used for Amazon deliveries, mostly likely home or work. Driveways, parking lots, parking garages, and street parking are all eligible locations.

Amazon has also asked its customers for permission to enter their home when they are not home to drop off packages. The program, known as Amazon Key, relies on Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock connected to the Internet using your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol used by many smart home devices.

When a delivery person arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the package barcode that sends a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud then triggers the camera to start recording the entry and delivery. The courier then swipes the screen unlocking the door. They enter, drop off the package and re-lock the door with another swipe. The customer is then notified of the delivery accompanied by a short video showing the drop-off to confirm everything was done properly. Amazon also owns Whole Foods which also offers grocery deliveries in an hour.

Amazon is deadly serious about perfecting the art of delivery. The company is planning to create its own delivery service that will go into direct competition with FedEx and UPS. Its also planning to use drones for delivery a program it has already launched in the U.K.

But brick and mortar retailers are not standing still while Amazon perfects the art of delivery. Walmart, America’s largest retail chain store, is teaming up with with DoorDash for its online grocery delivery service. The program is set to kick off in Atlanta and eventually expand across the United States.

The service builds upon a previous Walmart delivery program. If the customer is within one of the new delivery areas they will be able to request delivery and set up a time for the delivery.  A Walmart employee will pull all your items together and handoff the groceries to DoorDash for delivery. In a challenge to Amazon Walmart is also offering two day delivery for selected online purchases but, unlike Amazon, no membership is required.

Target stores are also getting into the delivery game as well. Target is planning delivery  to nearly 60 locations across five major cities, Boston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. As part of the checkout process the retailer will offer customers the choice of having their purchases delivered to their homes. The key factor to the city selection for the delivery program is that these cities have a high concentration of car-less consumers who routinely use public transportation.  The delivery service will cost the $7.

Groceries delivery is slowly becoming the most in demand service for e-commerce shoppers. More and and more retail grocers, in addition to Whole Foods, are fighting for your dollars with on demand grocery deliveries. Walmart expects to be delivering groceries in over 100 markets by the end of the year. This includes a new meal kit service from Walmart’s Culinary and Innovation Center. If you are Sam’s Club customer you can also take advantage of its delivery service.

But keep in mind that its not just groceries that can be purchased online and delivered to your home. Used car buyers can use Carvana to shop, select, finance and have the car of their choice delivered right to heir driveway.

Breaking It Down

Customer convenience is the new standard. E-commerce, like retail, must compete. And we live in a service based economy. So delivery is the new frontier of customer service. Fast and when and where the customer demands it. This is the evolution of service and customer satisfaction. I am not surprised. The Internet is changing everything.

But is all this online shopping and on demand delivery hurting retail businesses?  Not exactly. Many consumers, and experts, believe that retail stores are dying but that is not true. What has actually happened is that brick and mortar retailers have modified their operations to actually become part of the e-commerce experience. Many retailers, like Walmart, are offering customer the option to buy the product online and pick it up in the store. In addition, retailers will encourage shoppers to go online if they can’t find the item they are looking for in the store and will sweeten the deal with free delivery. Some stores will even go online for you to locate your product and you can complete the purchase in the store. The brick and mortar retailer seems to be safe for now. Of course e-commerce explodes during the holiday season and that can be attributed to the crowds and ugliness of Black Friday sales.

According to Forbes there are five signs that retail is still king of the shopping hill.

  1. All but one of the top ten U.S. retailers are brick and mortar chains.
  2. Brick and mortar stores are more profitable that e-commerce.
  3. Amazon purchased Whole Foods.
  4. Millennials And generation Z prefer real-life stores.
  5. Online retailers are being eaten by legacy retailers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WannaCry Ransomware – So Whats Happening?

WannaCry notice

A worldwide ransomware attack launched this past weekend hit computers in over 150 countries. The United States was less affected than other countries. Security experts estimated that the cyber attack crippled 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. But that number could be low. Scarce reports have Russia and China as being especially hard hit by the malware.

The global attack was carried out by hackers who exploited a flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system first discovered by the National Security Agency (NSA).  In April of this year the flaw and a hacked NSA cyber tool to exploit it became public when they were posted on the Internet by a hacker group known as Shadow Brokers.

In Great Britain the loss of computing systems prevented doctors from accessing patient files and caused emergency rooms to divert patients. According to Prime Minister Theresa May there is no evidence that patient data had been stolen. British officials stated 48 of Britain’s 248 public health trusts had come under attack. All but six are back to normal.

A spokesman for FedEx said:  “Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware. We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible.”

One reason the U.S. seems to have been spared from this global attack may have been the work of a British researcher.

The unknown attackers included a “kill switch” in the form of a URL in the malicious code. Experts believe it was a way to control the malware. The kill switch would shut down the attack when the virus sent an online request to a specific website. 

A 22-year-old British researcher whose Twitter handle is @MalwareTechBlog discovered the kill switch’s domain name had not been registered. Thinking quickly he purchased the domain name for about $11.00. According to security experts the researcher shut down the malware before the it could reach the U.S. The cyber hero probably stopped a catastrophic malware attack from taking place on U.S. soil. The researcher has confirmed his involvement in a blog post but has insisted on anonymity.

Matthieu Suiche founder of Comae Technologies a cyber security company located in the United Arab Emirates said, “That kill switch is why the U.S. has not been touched so far. But it’s only temporary. All the attackers would have to do is create a variant of the hack with a different domain name.” These variants have sense been discovered on the Internet.

The hackers who launched the attack asked for $300US or $600 in bitcoins to unlock computers but experts advise not paying the hackers. According to security experts victims are left waiting and hoping WannaCry’s hackers will remotely free the hostage computer. The process is done manually over the Internet. That means hackers may have the near impossible task of unlocking thousands of computers one at a time. But the real issues is the payment method, usually in bitcoins. The hackers have no way to know who paid the ransom.

Owners of the locked computer may become desperate and pay the ransom. “But don’t count on getting your files back,”said Matthew Hickey, director of security provider Hacker House.

“The culprits can only restore user’s systems by manually sending the decryption key to each affected computer, which will amount to a time-consuming process,” he said.

“You’re really at the mercy of the human operator. Someone at the other end of the connection,” Hickey said.

Was the malware attack the work of inexperienced cyber criminals or so called script kiddies? Evidence indicates that this could be the case. 

First of all the perpetrators included an obvious kill switch in the code but failed to register the domain name. Perhaps they were afraid it could lead back to them.

According to some reports the hackers did manage to rake in about $56,000 in bitcoin payments. But according to Hickey the inefficiency of the payment model may indicate the hackers were not after money at all. “If it was done for money, it wasn’t the smartest way to get it,” he said.

Hickey pointed out that because of the large number of computers infected the asking price could have been much lower and still brought in a nice pay off.

But these hackers do not appear to be experienced or ambitious cyber criminals. They demanded a large ransom and used, at best, a sloppy payment method leaving victims wondering if they were paying for nothing.

According to Hickey, “It removes the incentive to send any money to the attacker.”

But some experts see the fingerprints of North Korea on the malware attack. A New York Times report revealed that intelligence officials and private security experts have found digital evidence pointing to North Korean connected hackers.

The evidence is not definitive but security experts at Symantec believe they have found the same tools used in previous hacks of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Bangladesh central bank last year and Polish banks in February in the WannaCry malware attack.

Regardless of who carried out the attack make no mistake WannaCry did indeed work and encrypted any machine unlucky enough to encounter it. Security experts and cyber sleuths are working to rescue computers already infected.

 

CryptoLocker Threatens the Holiday Season

cryptolocker-2.0Ransomware is not hard to understand. Its simply software, or malware, that takes control of your computer, encrypts all your files and threatens to destroy them unless you pay a ransom. Right now CryptoLocker is terrorizing people all over the world and destroying the joy of the holiday season.

CryptoLocker is probably the nastiest and most infuriating malware to ever cruise the information super highway. It’s primary target are users of Windows computers and devices running Windows 7, 8, Vista and XP operating systems. Most African-Americans use Windows computers. Apple users you are safe…for now. This particular malware has taken over even police computers not once but several times. The last thing you need this holiday season is the joy of paying hundreds of dollars for a computer you already own.

What makes this malware particularly nasty is that it gives you 96 hours to pay up. And some variations of the malware actually have a timer displaying the countdown until your files are destroyed. This adds significantly to your anger and frustration To get your files back you can be charged anywhere from $300-$800. Tracing the pay off ransom is next to impossible since it must be paid using Bitcoin or some other digital currency. The large ransoms combined with deadline make this malware far more aggressive than other malware. Another ugly fact is that it’s spreading faster than any other malware currently known.

The holiday season is one reason that the malware is spreading so fast. According to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, it appears in email in boxes appearing to be a tracking notification from UPS, FedEx or USPS.

Corey Nachreiner, Director of Security Strategy at Watchguard Security says, “This lure is far more common for the holiday shopping season,” he said. “As people are doing more shopping online, they’ll be more likely not to suspect emails about packages. My guess is we’ll also see CryptoLocker mimicking emails from Amazon and other shopping sites, too.” During the holiday season African-Americans send and receive packages by the millions. So a notice from a delivery service would not draw a lot of attention. That’s why this malware is so dangerous. But fortunately you have to do more than just open the email. You have to actually click on the attachment or link to download the malware.

There are a few ways to stop the spread and keep yourself safe.

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date and scan emails and attachments before you open them.
  • Keep track of packages you are expecting and their tracking numbers. Tracking numbers sent in an email do not normally require you to download anything.
  • Examine the mail for double extension files. They have .pdf.exe extensions. If you see this at the end of an attachment or web address use extreme caution.
  • Make sure you have your files backed up on a separate drive or storage device.

If you do get this malware and you are backed up then its becomes a lot easier to clean up your system. According to Nachreiner, just about every anti-virus vendor has a CryptoLocker cleanup tool. A victim can use their regular anti-virus software or Nachreiner suggests the tutorial at FAQ at Bleeping Computer, which he links in his own blog post. You can also find some free tools from a few good Samaritans. These good guys have developed tools to stop CryptoLocker before it starts. One is called CryptoPrevent, and it prevents your computer from downloading double-extension files.

You can get more information about fighting CryptoLocker and eradicating it from your computer at these sites;

Answer.Microsoft.com

CryptoLocker: How to Avoid Getting Infected and What To Do If  You Are

New Site Recovers Files Locked by Cryptolocker Ransomware

Now you know.