Hello, this is what you need to know today in tech.
1. The NSW government is changing regulations around ride sharing car insurance. UberX could take a hit if new CTP rules come into place. Announced today, the NSW government is reviewing options to hike premiums for ride sharing vehicles which could bring down their advantage over traditional taxis.
There are several options under consideration, including: creating a new CTP class for ride-share vehicles, deregulating the area which would allow insurers to determine premiums based on risk, and bringing ride-share vehicles into the same class as taxis and hire cars. Vehicle owners would be forced to declare their car to authorities if they’re using it for ride-sharing purposes.
2. Australian banking apps are being targeted with malware. ESET released research today showing malware known as Android/Spy.Agent.SI is able to steal login details by locking down a phone when you try to enter a bank’s app. From there, it will display a fake login screen for the bank and won’t let users leave that until they type in the details.
The thieves can then use the stolen credentials to log into a victim’s account and transfer money out of it. It’s incredibly sophisticated and big banks such as CBA, NAB and Westpac are all being targeted.
3. Try to guess who the third highest selling phone manufacturer in Australia is. LG? Nope. Sony? Nope. HTC? Nope. Maybe even Huawei? Nope. Try Alcatel, the French/Chinese budget phone maker who made a massive push in the Australian market last year. The company sold a whopping 261,520 devices in Australia in the final quarter of 2015, according to market intelligence business IDC. That secured the brand third spot in the extremely competitive local smartphone market, with 9.2% market share. Its quarterly growth was big, selling 69% more devices in Q4 than in Q3.
4. US tech company Qualtrics has opened a Sydney office. Data analytics and survey company Qualtrics is setting up its Asia Pacific base in Sydney, with the office opening today. Qualtrics has been around since 2002 and allows schools and businesses to survey students and employees in real time. The head of the Australian operation is Bill McMurray, former CA Technologies managing director. It already has 450 customers in Australia, ranging from small to large businesses and is hoping to triple its local sales now that an official presence is here.
5. Bluechilli has launched a female-focused startup accelerator. It’s called SheStarts, and is a program that will fund and mentor 10 female tech entrepreneurs who are launching their startups this year. Each chosen team will receive $100,000 in seed funding to help bring their ideas to market, however equity exchange amounts are not locked in.