An Amazon Hacking Threat And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them? 

1 — If you sell on Amazon, you may be a popular target of hackers.

The ecommerce giant has run into difficulties recently with many of its merchants being scammed by cybercriminals. Amazon sellers whose accounts are dormant are particularly at risk because the hackers can steal their passwords and sell fake goods without them being aware of it. Active sellers should also be concerned as some criminals are changing bank deposit information so that they can steal thousands of dollars. (Source: PYMNTS)

Why this is important for your business:

Amazon’s policy is that sellers who lose money “will be made whole,” and the company tries to immediately alert merchants of suspicious activity. But if you’re an Amazon merchant, update your security settings and change your passwords.

2 — Facebook now has five million advertisers.

Whereas in September Facebook only had four million advertisers, the impact of 65 million small businesses using the platform has helped the company generate $26.9 billion in advertising revenue in 2016. (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

Forbes’ Kathleen Chaykowski noted that “the social network expects small businesses to be a major contributor to its future businesses growth, so Facebook has been bolstering feedback gathering and digital tools for small businesses, especially those prioritizing mobile.” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company is working hard to “give small businesses the same opportunities to create, share and target that large businesses have.”

3 — Scanning baked goods is becoming a big deal in Japan.

A new technology called “Bakery Scan” by a Japanese tech company has been unveiled to the general public. It scans each item, determines the specific types of food and how many a customer would like and then totals up everything for purchase. The Bakery Scan is only available in Japan now, but will most likely arrive in the United States soon. (Source: Geek.com)

Why this is important for your business:

Places selling freshly baked goods often have checkout difficulties since they typically do not use barcodes, so this technology seems especially useful for those types of restaurants. Brittany Vincent of Geek.com said, “It not only means a quicker experience for the customer but an easier and more simplified experience for the cashiers and workers, as well as those that run the shops.”

4 — For the first time in five years, PC sales are going up again.

According to numbers recently released by the International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments have increased by .6 percent in the first quarter of 2017. This marks the first improvement in over five years for the troubled market, with 60.3 million units being shipped and HP taking the lead as top vendor. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

Sure, tablets and smartphones are popular. But whenever I visit clients, there are still plenty of people sitting behind desks working on PCs. Like your mother-in-law, PCs aren’t going away anytime soon.

5 —  The fingerprint scanner on your smartphone may not be as safe as you think. 

The New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan State University College of Engineering have released a new study that shows fingerprint-based authentication scanners are not secure because partial fingerprints can be more easily matched than complete fingerprints. Arun Ross, a Michigan State University professor who worked on the study, said, “As fingerprint sensors become smaller in size, it is imperative for the resolution of the sensors to be significantly improved in order for them to capture additional fingerprint features.” (Source: TechRepublic)

Why this is important for your business:

Really? A highly touted method of security isn’t so foolproof after all? Gee, what a surprise. If your company is considering fingerprint-based authentication, you might want to combine it with something else (iris-scanning, passcodes, etc.) just to be sure.

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