Hackers Hide Malware in CCleaner Software…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

(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 — Hackers hid malware in CCleaner software.

Security researchers at Cisco Talos discovered that hackers injected malware into the CCleaner app which has been used by millions of people and businesses to rid their computers of potential malware and other anomalies. Over two million users were affected when the download servers used by Avast (CCleaner’s owner) were compromised to distribute the malware. An Avast spokesperson says Avast Piriform believes it was able to prevent the breach from harming customers. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Sometimes even the apps you trust cannot be trusted.

2 — GoCardless raises $22.5 million to help companies collect payments by direct debit globally.

GoCardless, a fintech startup that aims to make it easier for companies to collect recurring payments from customers, has raised $22.5 million in a round of funding from existing investors. Some experts estimate that 35% of Fortune 2000 companies generate revenues via subscriptions, and GoCardless would help manage these payments as direct debit transactions. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

“As more and more businesses become international, they face endless frustrations in managing payments across multiple territories,” explained GoCardless CEO and cofounder Hiroki Takeuchi to Venture Beat. “What we have engineered is a way to simply plug recurring payments into their existing systems, across the world, so they can focus on the challenges that really matter.”

3 — A British supermarket chain offers “finger vein” payment.

Imagine paying for groceries by scanning your fingertip. A UK supermarket—Costcutter—is now the first in the world to let shoppers do just that. The firm offering the technology is also talking seriously with other major UK supermarkets to adopt hi-tech finger vein scanners at pay points across thousands of stores. It works by using infrared to scan people’s veins and then links this unique biometric map to their bank cards. (Source: The Telegraph)

Why this is important for your business:

Don’t accept credit cards?  How about a fingerprint? This is yet another example of the growing list of ways your customers will be paying you in the years to come. If you’re still just accepting cash you’re not going to survive.

4 —Flippy, the hamburger cooking robot, gets its first restaurant gig.

A few months ago, Miso Robotics, a startup in Pasadena, California, introduced a burger-flipping “robotic kitchen assistant” named Flippy, and it now has its first job. Caliburger, also in Pasadena, is a fast-casual restaurant that has started demoing the robot. The company was an early investor in Miso, and helped inspire Flippy’s current functionality as a burger-flipping ‘bot during early conversations with the startup.(Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Flippy is one of the first generation of robots that will replace unskilled labor doing menial tasks in small businesses from restaurants to convenience stores.  Save up.  You’ll need to invest in these technologies if you want to stay competitive.

5 — A Manchester bar puts its bad TripAdvisor reviews on staff T-shirts.

Business owners everywhere are getting more creative in retaliating against bad reviews on the TripAdvisor website. In Manchester, UK, a hot dog parlor called Dogs’n’Dough launched a food challenge to respond to one critic who claimed he was served a “sausage so small it was gone in four bites.” Altrincham Market hung framed copies of some of its worst critiques on a “Wall of Shame.” And craft beer bar BrewDog printed some of its funniest reviews on T-shirts for its staff to wear.  (Source: Manchester Evening News)

Why this is important for your business:

Many of my clients struggle with how to handle bad online reviews.  Experts recommend a professional and positive response and I agree.  However, having some fun with them isn’t such a bad idea either!