Tag Archives: New York

Tech Jobs Underpay Black Women and Minorities

Unless you’re a white man working in the tech industry you can forget getting top pay. Hired.com recently published a study indicating that two out of three women working in the technology industry are paid less than men. That’s an improvement over last year when 69 percent of women were paid less compared to 63 percent this year.

But black women appear to be the hardest hit by pay disparities. According to the study African-American women make only 79 cents for every dollar a white man made. Black men made only 88 cents for every dollar paid to white counterparts. This pay gap can cost African-American tech workers as much as $10,000 a year in salary.

Because of the intense interest in increasing diversity in the tech industry blacks are 50 percent more likely to get hired but they are likely to be offered less pay. The study revealed Latino candidates are 26 percent less likely to get hired than a white candidate and Asians are 45 percent less likely. However they are still paid more than blacks but less than white hires. For example Latinos received only $5,000 less that white hires while Asians averages $2,000 less than whites.

Courtesy USAToday

Hired’s study revealed an interesting situation. The average white software engineer in San Francisco and New York asked for $126,000 in annual salary and usually recieved an average offer of $125,000. But blacks seem to be asking for less salary and getting it. Blacks in the San Francisco bay area/Silicon Valley asked for $115,000 and in New York $113,000.

Why are black technology workers asking for less money? According to the report’s author, Jessica Kirkpatrick, blacks maybe asking for less because people base their salary expectations on what they are currently earning. According to Kirkpatrick blacks lower expectations are a reflection of past salary history and being denied raises and promotions.

This pay disparity is not going unnoticed. Google is currently under scrutinity because of accusations that it is underpaying women.  Google recently announced on Equal Pay Day that it hadclosed the gender pay gap globally.But testimony from a Department of Labor official in federal court stated that Google systematically  discriminated against women. The official went on to say that Google’s discriminatory practices were “extreme” even for the tech industry. Google has been under pressure from the federal government to produce pay data to ensure the company is in compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Google has failed to produce the information so far and called the government request a “fishing expedition.”

Race and Technology – Algorithms

Algorithm– a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

AlgorithmsIf you think computing, technology and the Internet is color blind you would be wrong. We are learning that race plays a big part in the way computers operate because people operate computers.

Amazon is currently under fire because its algorithms have told it not to offer Amazon Prime service to minority areas of Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York City and Washington, D.C. The algorithm basically figured out that these areas are unprofitable. According to Amazon it was not a racist act but instead a simple business decision based on an algorithm.  But the question remains; is this racism?

Algorithms can be racist and sexist. Algorithms decide what ads minorities and women see on websites. Studies have shown that marketing algorithms recognize certain patterns that indicate the race and gender of the person by the websites they visit.  This is called bias. Because of algorithms women will see jobs that pay less than men and Black people see ads for certain neighborhoods but not others.  The result is that certain information and opportunities are hidden or withheld from women and Black people.

An analysis by Bloomberg reveals that Amazon has some explaining to do. Amazon claims that it cares not who shops at their online stores. According to Craig Berman Amazon’s Vice President of Global Communications, ““We don’t know what you look like when you come into our store, which is vastly different than physical retail. We are ridiculously prideful about that. We offer every customer the same price. It doesn’t matter where you live.”

Amazon has been working to compete with the retail stores by meeting the need for immediate gratification of buying something and having it right then and there. Amazon’s same day delivery is meant to do just that. It promises same day delivery on millions of products for Prime members in cities where the service is available. The service is available in 27 cities with coverage in most areas within the city limits.  However Bloomberg’s analysis shows the service is not available in predominantly black neighborhoods in six major same-day delivery cities. African-Americans are about half as likely to live in neighborhoods with access to Amazon same-day delivery as white residents.

Amazon is not deliberately making decisions on where to deliver based on race. According to Berman the ethnic make up of neighborhoods isn’t part of the data Amazon uses to make decisions on where to deliver.  “When it comes to same-day delivery, our goal is to serve as many people as we can, which we’ve proven in places like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Demographics play no role in it. Zero.”

After coming under fire for its algorithms Amazon has changed some of its delivery areas as a result.  In Boston, Amazon has expanded to the predominantly Black community of Roxbury. Amazon has also responded to complaints in the Bronx, New York and Chicago.

But there is clearly more to algorithms than just performing calculations. A recent discovery by an MBA student revealed a  search on Google for unprofessional hairstyles returned hundreds of pictures of black women with natural hairstyles. A search for professional hairstyles returned  pictures of  white women.  In many of the images the hairstyles were similar with the color of the woman’s skin the only difference. This is the algorithm at work.

But you have to ask; how does an algorithm recognize a black sounding name?  If a person were to Google search a black sounding name the ads that appear with the search return are often for services that let you look up arrest records.  Another example occurred last July when  Google’s facial recognition software tagged black faces with the word gorilla. A Google engineer apologized and fixed the problem. But another search using the word “nigger house” or “slave quarters” returned images of the Whites House. How does this happen?

Some researchers believe that search results that reveal racial or gender biases is the result of the programmers working on an algorithm. Programmers are overwhelmingly white men. Could this be an extension of the lack of diversity in the technology industry? Researchers cite the disproportionate ratio of 2:1 male to female ratio in students seeking coding careers and an even more dismal ration of black programmers. This diversity gap of racial and gender bias in algorithms demands urgent attention and correction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

App of the Week – See Something Send Something

See SomethingSadly terrorism has become a part of life. People are more aware than ever before of extremism for various causes. This atmosphere has resulted in a hyper state of alert for law enforcement and the average citizen. That is why See Something Send Something is the App of the Week.

New York state officials unveiled the app in an effort to enlist citizens in the effort to keep them safe and fight terrorism.  The app is designed to encourage citizens to report suspicious activity to the police.

See Something Send Something is not new and is currently in use in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Colorado, and Virginia. New York however seems to be the most inviting target for terrorist. Most recently the terrorist group ISIS released video of a suicide bomber with New York’s Times Square as a backdrop. The implication was clear.

Because of this threat and the past history of terrorists targeting New York the use of the app there will be its biggest test so far.

“It is important to remember that all New Yorkers have a role in keeping our state safe,” said state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner John Melville.

Police are however cautious about the app as it could be used to feed useless information based on prejudices.

New York Governor Cuomo said, “Of course, it’s also important to note that such apps are easily abused — particularly in times of extreme tension, users have been known to send in “tips” that are based more upon their own prejudices than legitimate concerns. When you ask for anonymous tips, you very well could get false information or information the person believes is true, but turns out not to be correct,” Cuomo admitted. “As such, significant vetting will be needed in order to ensure that the information being passed along holds water, and doesn’t simply flood the system with racist comments.”

See Something Send Something is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

 

Breach Brief – Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, California State University

September 10, 2015

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield

ExcellusBCBSExcellus BlueCross BlueShield reported a long running cyber-attack that began in December 2013 but wasn’t discovered until Aug. 5, 2015. The breach may have exposed information on as many as  10.5 million individuals. Information exposed includes individual’s names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, member IDs, financial account information, claims data and clinical information.

Cyber security firm Madiant was hired to conduct a forensic assessment of Excellus’ IT systems and discovered the breach. Excellus which is based in Rochester, N.Y., took the action after a wave of similar major cyber-attacks on other health insurers, including Anthem Inc.Premera Blue Cross, and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

According to an Excellus spokesman of  the 10.5 million people affected 7 million were health plan members. Data belonging to another 3.5 million individuals belonged to Excellus’ holding company, the Lifetime Healthcare Companies. The individuals affected are Blue Cross Blue Shield plan members who sought treatment in the New York state service area. In a statement Excellus said,  “Individuals who do business with us and provided us with their financial account information or Social Security number are also affected.” Company officials said the that the data was encrypted but that hackers had access to administrative controls making the encryption a moot point.

 The company is cooperating with an FBI investigation.

California State University

California_State_University_SealOfficials of the Chancellor’s office of the California State University System confirmed on Tuesday that a third-party vendor had exposed the personal information of 79,000 students in late August. 

We End Violence, the San Diego based company that operated with the university to offer the course, has contacted students affected by the breach. The chancellor’s office said officials took immediate action to safeguard student information. 

The CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach said the breach, discovered on August 28th, included information such as sexual orientation, gender, email and mailing addresses. According to school officials the breach did not reveal Social Security, driver’s license numbers or credit card data. The data breach affected students at eight CSU campuses who had enrolled in a required sexual assault training class. The affected campuses included Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Los Angeles.

 

August 24, 2015 

IRS Breach

IRS_LogoThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) widened the scope of the breach first announced in May. The government agency is saying that as many as 390,000 taxpayers are now at risk. The hack was centered around the IRS’ Get Transcript system.

The IRS suspended the Get Transcript online service in May. The service was intended to simplify how taxpayers retrieve their tax records, review their tax account transactions, get line-by-line tax return information or wage and income reported to the IRS for a specific tax year.  Hackers circumvented the Get Transcript’s authentication safeguards and are believed to have gained access to taxpayer information, including Social Security numbers.

According to an August 17th statement the IRS stepped up its investigation of the breach. A deeper review of the compromised system included analyzing over 23 million system uses, including the 2015 filing season. Investigators were looking for suspicious activities and identified “more questionable attempts” to obtain taxpayer records through the Web application.

No details were provided on how the agency uncovered the additional taxpayer account breaches. But it is believed that the hackers were very skillful and probably covered their tracks to make it more made it difficult for the tax agency to quickly assess the extent of the breach.

Update-Ashley Madison Breach

ashley-madison-hed-2014Hackers who stole profile and customer data from Ashley Madison have released the data online. According to multiple reports a 10GB file of customer’s personal data including email addresses, member profiles and transaction data is now available online. Some reports say as many as 32 million customer’s information was released including one million UK civil servants, U.S. officials, members of the U.S. armed forces and top executives at European and North American corporations. There already reports of blackmail and divorce petitions because of the data release.

Impact Team, the hacker group claiming credit for the data theft,  released the data after Avid Life Mediawhich owns Ashley Madison and Established Men failed to meet demands that they permanently shut the sites down down. Cougar Life, another Avid Life Media site, was not mentioned and seems to be unaffected.

Additional information;

The Blackmail of Ashley Customer Has Already Begun

People are already starting divorce proceedings because of the Ashley Madison leak.

After the devastating hack, these lawsuits are threatening to wipe Ashley Madison out altogether.

A chart made from the leaked Ashley Madison data reveals which states in the US like to cheat the most.

The Pentagon Is Investigating the Ashley Madison Leak.

How to check if an account was exposed in the Ashley Madison hack

August 4, 2015

United Airlines

united_continental_logo_detAccording to Bloomberg Business United Airlines has reported that it’s customer flight records have been lost to a data breach.

The breach was detected in May or June of this year and involved flight manifests. Chinese hackers are suspected. These same Chinese hackers are suspected of stealing more than twenty million OPM records. Experts believe that Chinese intelligence is constructing a massive database.

United Airlines is one of the government’s largest contractors. It is believed that the stolen data contains vast amounts of information on military and government officials and federal employee’s travel.

Experts have also questioned a possible connection between the hack and the computer glitch that caused flight delays on July 8th. Evidence from the investigation reveal that hackers may have been inside United’s computers for months.

A spokesman for United Airlines declined to confirm that a breach occurred and insisted that customer’s private data is safe.

One of the major concerns is that hackers, tinkering with sensitive systems, could accidently or deliberately, cause massive flight delays or even cripple a major airline causing nationwide and potentially global aviation gridlock. Another concern is backdoors left inside computer networks that allow hackers back in at will.

United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said of customer information that United “would abide by notification requirements if the situation warranted.”

Medical Informatics Engineering

mielogolargeA data breach at Medical Informatics Engineering has compromised the data of over 3.9 million people nationwide. According MIE the information loss includes names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, user names, hashed passwords, security questions and answers, email addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, lab results, health insurance policy information, diagnoses, disability codes, doctors’ names, medical conditions, and spouses’ and childrens’ names and birthdates.

MIE creates electronic medical records software for health care providers and the result of the breach could impact as many as 11 healthcare providers including local, national and the federal government.

According to the company the hackers had access to the MIE servers for three weeks and have stolen the information to sell on the black market. Experts suspect the theft was likely and inside job.

MIE has reported the breach to the FBI Cyber squad and said the investigation into the security breach is ongoing. MIE  is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. The company has established a toll free hotline available Monday-Friday 9:00AM-9:00PM EST at (866) 328-1987.

 July 28, 2015

Experian

ExperianLogo

Experian Credit Reporting Services is the target of a class action lawsuit filed in California. The amount is to be determined. According to the suit Experian was negligent and violated consumer protection laws because it failed to realize that for nearly a year a customer of it’s data brokerage subsidiary, Court Ventures, was actually a criminal gang specializing in selling consumer data to identity thieves. Experian purchased Court Vnetures in 2012.

The leader of the identity theft ring was sentenced to 13 years in prison last week in New Hampshire. Hieu Minh Ngo accessed as many as 200 million consumer records by posing as a private investigator based in the United States.

According to the government Ngo collected nearly $2 million from his scheme. The IRS has confirmed that 13,673 U.S. citizens had their personal information stolen and sold on Ngo’s websites Superget.info and Findget.me. The stolen identities were used to file over $65 million dollars in fraudulent tax returns.

Plaintiffs in the case have asked the court to compel Experian to notify all consumers affected by the breach, provide free credit monitoring services, turn over all profits made as a result of the Ngo relationship and to establish a fund to reimburse victims for the time and expenses of fighting fraud and correcting identity theft caused by customers of Ngo’s ID theft service.

U.S Census Bureau

2000px-Census_Bureau_seal.svgThe U.S. Census Bureau reported a data breach early last week. In a written statement released on Friday Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said a database belonging to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse had been attacked. The FAC collects audit reports from the government agencies and other organizations spending federal money. 

According to Thompson the information included the names of people who submitted information, addresses, phone numbers, user names and other data. According the Bureau no household or business data was lost.

In the statement Thompson wrote that the intruders accessed the database through a configuration setting on an external IT system. That system is separate from the Census Bureau internal systems that stores census data.

In the statement Thompson went to say, “Over the last three days, we have seen no indication that there was any access to internal systems.”

The attack was apparently in protest of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment PartnershipBoth are pending trade agreements that have been widely criticized. A group calling itself Anonymous Operations claimed credit for the breach and posted a link on Twitter to four of the stolen files.

July 20, 2015

Ashley Madison

ashley-madison-hed-2014A hacking group calling itself the Impact Team has hacked into the sex hookup website AshleyMadison.com.

According to Krebsonsecurity.com massive caches of customer and company data have been stolen and posted online. The group claims to have totally penetrated the company’s networks taking control of the company’s customer database of 37 millon users, financial records and other proprietary information. As a website dedicated to cheating spouses the damage could go well beyond lost data.

Avid Life Media, which in addition to Ashley Madison also owns hookup sites CougarLife.com and EstablishedMen.com, was attacked in retaliation for lying to customers. According to the Impact Team hackers ALM advertised to customers  a service allowing members to completely erase their profile information for a $19 feeAccording to the hackers the company is not fully deleting user’s information including personally identifiable information, user’s purchase details and real name and address.

The hackers have demanded that Ashley Madison and Established Men websites be taken down immediately and permanently or more information will be released online.  The hackers are threatening to release customer records, including profiles with their secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.

Avid Life Media CEO Noel Biderman believes the attack maybe the work of one or more persons, possibly an employee or contractor, who had legitimate access to the company’s network.

July 18, 2015

CVSPhoto.com, Costocophotocenter.com, RiteAid Photo, Sams Club, Walgreens & Tesco

CVS PhotoPNI Digital Media  is a third party vendor that handles transactions for these retailers according to KrebsOn Security.com PNI has suffered a data breach of unknown size. But it is known that customer payment information has been compromised.

Neither PNI nor any of the retailers connected with the breach have said much only saying that more information will be released as it becomes available. CVSPhoto.com took down its photo site and posted an announcement indicating an investigation is under way and that other CVS sites such as it’s pharmacy were unaffected by the breach. CVS has asked customers who used the photo service to check and monitor their card statements for suspicious activity or transactions. If anything looks strange they are to contact their bank or card company immediately to report it.

Costcophotocenter.com and RiteAid photo also took their sites down.

UCLA Health

UCLA Health has confirmed health information for as many as 4 million individuals has been exposed as a result of a data breach that may have began last September. The FBI is investigating and UCLA has hired a private forensics experts to beef up the security on it’s servers.

According to a UCLA Health statement released on Friday “criminal hackers” hacked into parts of the organization’s computer network containing personal and medical information.

UCLA Health began investigating suspicious activity on its networks in October of 2014. At the time they  did not believe the attackers gained access to areas of the network containing personal and medical information.

“As part of that ongoing investigation, on May 5, 2015, UCLA Health determined that the attackers had accessed parts of the network that contain personal information such as names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers, Medicare or health plan ID numbers and some medical information. Based on the continuing investigation, it appears that the attackers may have had access to these parts of the network as early as September 2014. We continue to investigate this matter.”

Office of Personnel Management

Even though OPM suffered a data breach and the loss of information of 24 million Americans the government still has not notified those invividuals. Its been two months.

Officials from multiple agencies familiar with the investigation say that OPM is working with other agencies to set up a system to inform the victims.

An OPM official, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that because of the complicated nature of the data and movement of contract and federal employees it would be weeks before a mechanism was in place.

According to the official the government is attempting to establish a central notification system rather than rely on separate agencies to make notifications. An outside contractor  is being considered for the task but OPM has not yet asked for bids for the job.

July 16, 2015

OPM Data Breach

An interagenOPM Sealcy task force investigating April’s OPM hacking has determined with “high confidence” that as many as 21.5 million people had their personal information stolen. This includes social security numbers .

The Office of Personnel Management updated its website last Thursday with the startling new information.

According to the OPM 4.2 million former federal employees’ personnel data was stolen. While investigating that theft investigators found a much larger data theft. OPM has not yet notified the 19.7 million additional individuals affected. Those are the people who requested a background check normally for employment purposes or acces to classified information. An additional 1.8 were people were not job appicants but were either married to or co-habiting with an applicant.

In addition to personal information the hackers stole as many as one million fingerprint records.

Applicants who applied for employment had their user names and passwords for investigation forms stolen. It is also highly possible that information such as mental health history and financial history many have also been stolen. Applicants that were interviewed as part of their background investigations often reveal this sensitive information when applying for security clearences.

OPM attempted to take some of the sting from the bad news by saying “there is no evidence that health, financial, payroll, and retirement records of federal personnel or those who have applied for a federal job were impacted by this incident (for example, annuity rolls, retirement records, USAjobs, Employee Express).” The agency assures the public that it’s working to create safeguards to prevent such incidents in the future.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta resigned her position last week after whitering criticism over the data breach.

Army National Guard Data Breach

Seal_of_the_United_States_Army_National_Guard.svgCurrent and former members of the Army National Guard members dating back to 2004 had personal information including social security numbers, birthdates and home addresses stolen. 

National Guard Spokesman Major Earl Brown, said “The National Guard Bureau takes the control of personal information very seriously,” said Brown. “After investigating the circumstances of these actions, and the information that was transferred, the Guard has determined, out of an abundance of caution, to inform current and past Guard personnel that their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) was among the files that were transferred.”

“The issue was identified and promptly reported, and we do not believe the data will be used unlawfully,” Brown said. “This was not a hacking incident, in which the intent was to use data for financial gain. Nonetheless, the Guard believes that individuals potentially affected need to know about the breach and what actions they can take to protect themselves from potential identity theft.”

If you are a member of the Nationa guard and need more information please  go to http://www.nationalguard.mil/Features/IdentityTheft.aspx or call  toll-free 877-276-4729 8AM to 4PM EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email any questions you have to dod.data.breach.questions@mail.mil

Obama Launches ConnectHome Initiative


connected-504President Obama announced a broad initiative intended to provide high-speed Internet service to low-income households. The announcement came last Wednesday.

The pilot program, named ConnectHome, hopes to deliver high-speed broadband access to over 275,000 low-income households across the U.S. The pilot program will launch in 27 U.S. cities including New York, Boston and Seattle and the Choctaw Tribal Nation in Oklahoma. According to the White House the program will connect almost 200,000 underpriviledged children to the Internet. The program will be kept small to prove it can work.

ConnectHome is part of the Obama administration’s continuing effort to close the digital divide and ensure that all people have access to high speed Internet service regardless of income level.

In March, President Obama created the Broadband Opportunity Council, made up of 25 federal agencies and departments. The group was given the objective of giving more people access to broadband. The Obama administration sees broadband access as a critical component for U.S. economic growth and competitiveness.

According to a 2014 report from the Pew Research Center African-Americans were less likely to use the Internet and also less likely to have broadband Internet access.

African-Americans fall behind whites by seven percentage points (87 to 80 percent) when it comes to Internet use. Black people follow whites by 12 percent in home broadband adoption.

The Obama administration continues to fight against the digital divide and government agencies are backing him up. Most recently the FCC announced an effort to allow Americans on public assistance to use their benefits to pay for stand alone Internet access.

“Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  “But the fact of the matter is that the majority of Americans earning less than $25,000 a year don’t have broadband at home.”

The ConnectHome program is a partnership between the U.S. government and a group of organizations from both the private and public sector. Google Fiber has agreed to connect public housing communities in Atlanta, Durham, Kansas City, and Nashville with home Internet service.

CenturyLink, will provide broadband service to HUD homes in Seattle for $9.95 a month for the first year. That rate will increase to $14.95 in the next four years. Other corporations that are participating include Cox Communications and Sprint.

ConnectHome goes beyond simply providing an Internet connection. Other companies are stepping in to provide training and devices to low income Americans. Best Buy, a major electronics retailer, will train HUD residents and provide technical support.

The James M. Cox Foundation will provide 1,500 tablet computers to familes and students in Macon, GA for $30 a piece. The Cox Foundation is a not-for-profit associated with Internet service provider Cox Communications.  GitHub, an open source project,  is kicking in $250,000 to pay for digital literacy. The Public Broadcasting Service is producing new programs for children and the American Library Association will provide on-site training.

ConnectHome will link the president’s ConnectED initiative. That program is a five year initiative which was announced in 2013. ConnectED intends to get 99 percent of US students, grades K-12, on high-speed Internet access in school and libraries within five years.

Breaking It Down

As a nation we must avoid creating a permanent under class of citizens. There is much talk of ending poverty and improving education. So the imperative must be to create total access to information. The ability to acces the Internet literally means to open the world to the economic disadvantaged. We will never have economic equality. That is contradictory to the economic system we live under. But we must provide equality of economic opportunity. Leaving people in poverty creates anger and resentment leading to violence and crime. How is that good for anybody? Knowledge, education, ConnectHome and the ConnectEd initiative can help bring people out of poverty. Children who are unable to complete homework assignments because they have no Internet are victims of a sub-standard education. It’s a sentence to a life below economic standards. The Internet is the greatest communication tool yet in human history. It can literally provide the user an education to the college level or higher if they have it and know how to use it.  President Obama is right to point out that the nation’s economic might is tied directly to the ability to access the Internet and limitless information. Ignoring the needs of the poor is a threat to national security. The president of the United States swore an oath to combat the nation’s enemies foreign and domestic. Ignorance is the enemy. Poverty is the enemy. And they are within our borders.

 

App of the Week – Zumper

square-logoApartment hunting is a time consuming and frustrating task. It can come down to finding the right place at the right time and being the right applicant with the right qualifications, i.e credit. That’s why Zumper is the App of the Week.

Zumper, a real estate start up, is offering tools that connect brokers and property managers with potential renters. The company recently released a new mobile application that allows apartment hunters to fill out their rental applications and pull their Experian credit report from their iPhone. The company claims over a million monthly visits from web and mobile devices.

The feature is called  “Instant Apply.” It is intended to help give rental applicants an edge over others in competitive real estate markets. In prime rental markets like San Francisco, where Zumper is currently headquartered, apartment hunters need every edge they can get, as the average apartment lasts only four to five days on the market. If it ever gets to market. You need to have effective strategies when it comes to securing an apartment in the most competitive markets.

According to CEO Anthemos Georgiades, there are always multiple offers on the same apartment, so being able to apply immediately from your phone can help you beat others looking at the same property. “Using Zumper’s iPhone app, renters can apply for the apartment from their phone in the open house,” he says. “And because Zumper has very strong business-to-business (B2B) adoption through more than 10,000 Zumper Pros, renter’s applications are guaranteed to be reviewed when they carry the ‘Instant Apply’ symbol,” he adds.

Apartment hunters using the app can file an application and also purchase a $10 Experian credit report directly from the new iPhone app using Apple Pay. Their credit report is then submitted along with the application. This streamlined process speeds up the application process. 

According to Georgiades,  Zumper is now handling over 10 percent of the rental applications in San Francisco. San Francisco was the first market where Instant Apply went live. The company claims that its Zumper Pro, a business-to-business tool, originates over 25 percent of all the rental listings in major U.S. markets like New York, Boston and Chicago.

“Because the majority of applications and Experian credit reports are submitted when one of our B2B Zumper Pro users requests a renter’s application, well over 75 percent of applications are successful in closing the apartment,” the CEO claims.

 Zumper is currently available in over 30 cities and can be downloaded free for Apple and Android platforms.