Thursday, December 31, 2009

GSM telephony communication hacked and shown insecured

GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is the most widely used mobile communication standard nowadays, making up about 80% of the mobile market with about 4 billion users from 200+ countires worldwide.

GSM uses cryptographic algorithms for security and over-the-air privacy. Beside protecting the phone conversation privacy, GSM security is very important nowadays as services such as phone banking, mobile-commerce, SMS transaction, etc. are becoming more and more popular.

The bad news is, German computer security researchers Karsten Nohl has just shown to us in his talk at the 26th Chaos Communication Conference in Berlin that GSM encryption can be easily hacked with simple tools, and its telephone conversation or SMS text message can be intercepted by hackers.

Nohl presented 2 flavours of attack devices, which is able to do active intercept or passive key cracking.

Before this, security experts believe that decrypting the GSM signals will need at least hundreds of thousands of dollars and complicated technology. However, Nohl has shown the much cheaper and simpler way of hacking it, using hardware that cost as low as several thousand dollar and open source application such as OpenBTS.

This has definitely bring concerns to the whole world, especially those service providers and users of phone banking, mobile-commerce, SMS transaction, etc.

Click here to look at the slides of Karsten Nohl presented at the 26th Chaos Communication Conference.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

KLSE laggards against global and regional bourses in 2009

Despite a worldwide fear of recession in 2009, in fact many stock markets perform pretty well in the year, and several even achieved more than 100% gain!

World's top 10 best performing stock markets (from 30 Dec 2008 - 21 Dec 2009):

  • Brazil Bovespa Stock Index (+132%)
  • Russian RTS Index (+125%)
  • Peru Lima General Index (+116%)
  • Jakarta Composite Index (+114%)
  • Micex Index - Moscow (+113%)
  • Sri Langka Colombo All Share Index (+113%)
  • OBX Stock Index - Norway (+101%)
  • PFTS Index - Ukraine (+94%)
  • ISE National 100 Index - Istanbul (+90%)
  • Chile Stock Market Select (+87%)
Asia-Pacific's top 10 best performing stock markets (from 30 Dec 2008 - 21 Dec 2009):

  • Jakarta Composite Index (+114%)
  • Sri Langka Colombo All Share Index (+113%)
  • Taiwan TAIEX Index (+72%)
  • Shanghai SE Composite Index (+70%)
  • Stock Exchange of Thailand Index (+66%)
  • Phillipine SE Index (+64%)
  • Straits Times Index - Singapore (+61%)
  • Kospi Index - South Korea (+56%)
  • Hang Seng Index - Hong Kong (+47%)
  • NZX 50 Index - New Zealand (+44%)
Meanwhile, Malaysia FBM KLCI Index only gained by 42.42% at the same period of time, falling behind its neighouring Indonesia, Thailand, Phillipine and Singapore markets!

This is definitely not a good sign to Malaysia, especially when the KLSE a.k.a. Bursa Malaysia daily trading value and trading volume are both fallen below the billion level now!

Has KLSE become an abandoned market from investors? Will Malaysia be left over behind the global economic rebound wave? Does the government has any plan and measure to regain investors' confidence?

* Source of the above data are from the "2009 in Numbers" report in The Edge weekly.

Monday, December 28, 2009

4:1 unit split for MAAKL Progress Fund

You might have noticed that since 23 December 2009, the NAV per unit of MAAKL Progress Fund has reduced tremendously.

This is because this unit trust fund has undergone a 4:1 (four additional units for every one unit held) unit split, and the price at 22 December 2009 has been adjusted from RM1.2626 to RM0.2525 accordingly. Unit holders will find their units increases by 4 times by 23 December 2009.

Unit holders with an online account can login to their Investor Service website to see the additional units credited into their account.

This exercise didn't have any change or impact to the profit/loss of the unit holders. It just merely reduce the unit price to a cheaper rate.

To calculate your return of investment in this MAAKL unit trust fund, you can adjust all the historical prices of MAAKL Progress Fund before 23 December 2009 by dividing it with 5. This will get you the correct chart to show its price movement.

Today MAAKL Progress Fund closed at RM0.2560, which shows a 1.39% increased since the unit split last week.

Click here to read the official announcement about MAAKL Progress Fund 4:1 unit split.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.