Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world. Headlines this week include… China’s WeChat suspends some accounts linked to NFTs, Apple rushes out patches for two zero-days threatening iOS and macOS users, Annual mobile money transactions hit $1T and much more…
China’s popular WeChat messaging app has suspended some accounts linked to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to prevent speculation in the digital assets.
The platform says it has “rectified” accounts which it found to be promoting NFT market speculation, that can help to drive up prices.
There are no regulations against NFTs in China, although the trading of cryptocurrencies was banned last year.
Apple on Thursday released fixes for two critical zero-day vulnerabilities in iPhones, iPads, and Macs that give hackers dangerous access to the internals of the OSes the devices run on.
Apple credited an anonymous researcher with discovering both vulnerabilities. The first vulnerability, CVE-2022-22675, resides in macOS for Monterey and in iOS or iPadOS for most iPhone and iPad models. The flaw, which stems from an out-of-bounds write issue, gives hackers the ability to execute malicious code that runs with privileges of the kernel, the most security-sensitive region of the OS. CVE-2022-22674, meanwhile, also results from an out-of-bounds read issue that can lead to the disclosure of kernel memory.
Mobile money platforms processed more than $1 trillion in transactions during 2021, with the number of registered accounts increasing 18 per cent year-on-year, the GSMA revealed in a report.
The industry organisation noted the $1 trillion figure was a record and was a 31 per cent year-on-year rise. By the end of 2021 the number of registered accounts reached 1.4 billion globally, with the average number of transactions per hour surpassing 1.5 million.
Technology giants Apple and Google have closed a loophole that allowed Russians to continue using their respective mobile wallets even after the firms restricted their service in the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
Apple, which launched Apple Pay in Russia in 2016, suspended its service for the Russian payment system MIR, reported Reuters.
The company restricted its service in the country at the beginning of this month, shortly after Russia began its military aggression in Ukraine.
UK consumers spent a record high of £7.16 billion (approximately $9.14 billion) on video games in 2021, according to UK games trade body Ukie.
In its latest report, Ukie highlighted that the annual figure is up 1.9 per cent from 2020, a figure that was boosted due to multiple country-wide lockdowns that in turn increased spending.
Millions of players in poor countries earned real money on Axie Infinity. Then came an economic crisis and a $620 million hack
On March 23, the world’s hottest crypto game suffered one of the largest crypto heists of all time. A hacker breached the blockchain that powers Axie Infinity, a so-called play-to-earn video game in which players can exchange virtual winnings for real money, and stole $620 million worth of cryptocurrencies from users’ accounts.
The hack, which went undiscovered for nearly a week, exposed the security vulnerabilities of Axie Infinity and walloped the reputation of its developer, Sky Mavis, Vietnam’s most valuable unicorn, which vowed to recover the lost funds and find the culprit. But the breach could also devastate Axie Infinity’s hundreds of thousands of users—the majority of whom live in one of the world’s poorest countries—whose earnings were already under pressure as the game’s booming popularity made it harder to earn meaningful payouts.
In 2009, Apple started using the phrase ‘There’s an app for that’ in TV ads to show off the capabilities of mobile apps and promote the App Store. Since then, apps have fulfilled their massive growth potential and changed billions’ of people’s behaviors – making our lives more digital. As ‘software is eating the world’, this development is still far from finished: according to PwC, digital transformation was seen as the most critical growth driver in 2022 by executives, the second-biggest problem after hiring talent.
India is one of the biggest esports markets in Asia, with a market size of INR 3bn (~£30m) in FY2021 and a projected market value of INR 100bn (~£1bn) by 2025, according to a report by EY India.
India’s esports ecosystem is largely mobile-first, and is currently centred around titles like Battlegrounds Mobile India and COD Mobile. Battlegrounds Mobile India is an India-only port of PUBG Mobile, which was previously India’s most popular esport.
Three different countries have unveiled updates to their national digital identity programs. France’s IN Groupe has announced a new partnership with the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and the Scottish Government confirmed it started working with Avoco Secure on the country’s new digital ID infrastructure. Also, the government of Queensland, Australia, confirmed it will implement mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) from Thales as soon as 2023.
Elon Musk and his Starlink internet service are playing an important role in helping Ukrainians stay connected to the internet as the Russian invasion disrupts mainstream services. The Tesla billionaire authorized the delivery of Starlink user terminals to Ukraine in response to a direct plea on Twitter from the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov.
The initiative is the latest example of the importance of being connected and is incidentally a more edifying use of social media than Elon Musk’s offer to fight Vladimir Putin which has now involved a Chechen leader insulting the Tesla founder and Musk changing his Twitter handle to Elona Musk.