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Etisalat and Noor Bank Offer Mobile Digital Payment Service

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Etisalat and Noor Bank have announced the launch of eWallet, a new digital payment service aimed at empowering UAE customers with safe, convenient, and flexible payment solutions using a mobile device. The eWallet service is offered by a fintech company ‘Digital Financial Services’ — a joint venture establishment between Etisalat and Noor Bank, regulated and licensed as a Retail Payment Service Provider by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates.

Etisalat and Noor Bank have brought their key strengths in technology, banking, marketing, distribution networks, and superior digital experience to launch this new service, which is safe, convenient, flexible and easy to use. The partnership is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 of creating smart knowledge economies that will enable a shift to a cashless economy.

Eng. Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat Group, said: “Capitalising on the current digital wave, Etisalat has transitioned to an integrated ICT solutions provider by digitising consumer needs across our markets. This is in line with the transformation of the telecoms industry, which has enabled consumers to adopt increasingly tech-savvy lifestyles, businesses to change the way they operate and deliver value, and governments to offer ever-smarter solutions on the route towards smart governments and cities. Our powerful digitally inspired vision ‘To Drive the Digital Future to empower societies’ has opened the doors of innovation by facilitating multiple modes of digital interaction that are customer centric and improve the overall experience.”

“Mobile banking today has the potential to be a game-changer, rapidly gaining ground across the globe and opening up a new dimension for daily transactions undertaken by consumers. This new digital mobile service will usher in a new era of digital payments in the country, changing the very definition of service for both the telecom and banking sector. This was made possible due to the continuous investments by Etisalat’s and Noor Bank’s infrastructure to enable a conducive ecosystem that is compliant, robust and flexible to provide a cashless future to all our customers.”

John Iossifidis, CEO of Noor Bank, said:  “Noor Bank is committed to championing a robust digital payments landscape in the UAE. The launch of the eWallet solution, in partnership with Etisalat, is well aligned to our strategy of innovation and digital transformation. This first-of-its-kind partnership aims to develop a comprehensive eco-system in the digital wallets space regulated by the Central Bank of the UAE.”

He added: “At Noor Bank, we pride ourselves on adopting collaborative business models that deliver greater value for our customers. We are pleased to partner with Etisalat to accelerate the use of fast, secure and convenient cashless payments across the nation through the eWallet.”

eWallet will register customers – from individual users to business entities – who can share money through individual to individual transfers, merchant purchases, bill payments and salary payments, among many more services to be rolled out in due course. 

Using a smartphone app, customers can easily manage their account, know their balance, and transfer money. Android users can download the eWallet app by visiting the Google Play Store while the iOS version can be downloaded from the App Store. 

In addition to the digital registration, cash in and cash out, customers can perform all these activities physically by visiting Etisalat and Noor Bank branches. More services will be added through our preferred partners’ network to facilitate these activities in the future, to provide customers with nationwide coverage.

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Free Fire to Celebrate 5th Anniversary with Justin Bieber

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Free Fire’s 5th-anniversary celebrations are off to an exciting start as it launches a spectacular 5-part extravaganza to delight fans and players. The festivities are set to culminate on 27 August with several in-game content drops involving global icon Justin Bieber, who is headlining this special anniversary collaboration. The Free Fire community can revel and reminisce iconic anniversary celebrations over the years with the weekly rollout of 5 specially-designed chapters – Battle, Style, Map, Hero and Memory. Experience new in-game events, gain exclusive rewards, and enjoy Free Fire like never before. 

Free Fire will host its first ever in-game performance on 27 August, with Justin Bieber set to debut an exclusive track “Beautiful Love (Free Fire)” as part of the 5th-anniversary celebrations. Players can look forward to immersing themselves in an interactive set-up, groove along to custom emotes, participate in minigames and potentially even perform with Justin Bieber’s avatar on stage. A permanent in-game character modelled after Justin Bieber will also be unveiled and distributed to all players.

To commemorate this unique celebration, Free Fire will also give away the highly coveted Magic Cube to players, allowing them to easily redeem their favourite exclusive costume bundles and battle in style. Players will be able to try their hand at various daily and time-limited missions, accumulating tokens which can be swapped for exclusive rewards in the exchange store. With iconic costumes and classic guns available to unlock during these missions, players can expect a nostalgic and exciting experience every day.

Expansive, dynamic maps are iconic features of Free Fire and players can look forward to the release of a new map Nexterra, which has been enhanced with various elements to elevate and diversify the battle experience for players. There will also be new game modes for players to explore, including:

  • A new limited-time mode Free For All. Set against the backdrop of El Pastelo, it will simulate intense close combat point-based matches where up to 16 players will battle it out. Players will be able to select their own weapons and can obtain points by eliminating other players. Matches will be decided by the first player to accumulate a predetermined amount of points.
  • An exclusive 5th-anniversary mode Droid Apocalypse, which will see 12 players compete in each match, vying to become the ultimate droid. Players will get to select their own type of droid and convert as many humans as possible before the timer runs out. When only a predetermined number of humans remain, they will transform into hunters and have enhanced stats, as well as the ability to permanently eliminate droids. Points can be gained based on performance and the player with the most points after three rounds will win the match.
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New Malicious Campaign Hunts Discord Messenger Users

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On July 26, using the internal automated system for monitoring open-source repositories, Kaspersky researchers identified a malicious campaign dubbed LofyLife. The campaign employed 4 malicious packages spreading Volt Stealer and Lofy Stealer malware in the open-source npm repository to gather various information from victims, including Discord tokens and credit card information, and to spy on them over time.

The npm repository is a public collection of open-source code packages widely used in front-end web apps, mobile apps, robots and routers, and also to serve countless needs of the JavaScript community. Its popularity makes the LofyLife campaign even more dangerous, as it could potentially have affected numerous users of the repository.

The identified malicious repositories appeared to be packages used for ordinary tasks such as formatting headlines or certain gaming functions, however, they contained highly obfuscated malicious JavaScript and Python code. This made them harder to analyze when being uploaded to the repository. The malicious payload consisted of malware written in Python dubbed Volt Stealer, and a JavaScript malware dubbed Lofy Stealer, which possesses numerous features.

Volt Stealer was used to stealing Discord tokens from the infected machines along with the victim’s IP address and upload them via HTTP. The Lofy Stealer, a new development from the attackers, is able to infect Discord client files and monitor the victim’s actions – detecting when a user logs in, changes email or password details, enables or disables multi-factor authentication and adds new payment methods, including full credit card details. Collected information is also uploaded to the remote endpoint.

“Developers rely heavily on open-source code repositories – they use them to make IT-solution developments faster and more efficient and significantly contribute to the development of the IT industry as a whole. As the LofyLife campaign shows, however, even reputable repositories cannot be trusted by default – all code, including open-source code, that a developer injects into his products becomes their own responsibility. We’ve added detections of this malware to our products, so users who run our solutions will be able to identify whether they have been infected and remove the malware,” comments Leonid Bezvershenko, a security researcher at Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team.

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Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) Removed From Google Play Store and Apple App Store in India

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India blocked a popular battle-royale format game from Krafton Inc, a South Korean company backed by China’s Tencent, using a law it has invoked since 2020 to ban Chinese apps on national security concerns, a source said. Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) was removed from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store as of Thursday evening in India.

The removal of BGMI, which had more than 100 million users in India, comes after India’s 2020 ban of another Krafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). The PUBG crackdown was part of New Delhi’s ban of more than 100 mobile apps of Chinese origins, following a months-long border standoff between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The ban has expanded since to cover more than 300 apps, including popular gaming app ‘Free Fire’, owned by Singapore’s technology group Sea Ltd. Tencent held a 13.5% stake in Krafton as of end-March through an investment vehicle, according to Krafton’s regulatory filing.

Krafton shares slumped more than 9% on the news on Friday, later paring losses to trade down 4.5% as of afternoon trade in Seoul. The company said in May India accounted for a high single-digit percentage of its revenue in the first quarter of this year.

According to news reports, a Google spokesperson said it blocked the game following a government directive. In Seoul, a Krafton spokesperson said the developer was talking to relevant authorities and companies to figure out the exact situation regarding the suspension in the two major app stores in India.

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