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The Annual Fraud Indicator estimates that fraud costs the United Kingdom approximately £190 billion every year. The private sector is hit the hardest and loses around £140 billion a year, while the public sector loses more than £40 billion, and individuals lose roughly £7 billion. The effects of fraud can be devastating on both individuals and organizations. Companies can suffer irreversible damage to reputation and be forced to close, and individuals can experience significant personal losses. Everyone should be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves against fraudulent activity. Fraud detection technology Fraud detection technology has advanced rapidly, over the years and made it easier for security professionals to detect and prevent fraud. Here are some of the key ways that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising fraud detection - with insight from Tessema Tesfachew, the Head of Product at Avora. An anomaly can be described as a behavior that deviates from the expected An anomaly can be described as a behavior that deviates from the expected. According to Tessema Tesfachew, “Autonomous monitoring and anomaly detection specifically, have made detecting fraudulent activity faster and more accurate. Machines can monitor data 24/7 as it comes in, build patterns of behavior that take into account seasonality and shifting trends, and identify events that don’t fit the norm.” For example, banks can use AI software to gain an overview of a customer’s spending habits online. Having this level of insight allows an anomaly detection system to determine whether a transaction is normal or not. Suspicious transactions can be flagged for further investigation and verified by the customer. If the transaction is not fraudulent, then the information can be put into the anomaly detection system to learn more about the customer’s spending behavior online. Accurate root cause analysis Root cause analysis goes one step further than anomaly detection, by allowing security professionals to pinpoint what caused the anomaly. Tessema explains how an example of this would be if a system detects that the rate of fraudulent transactions has increased. Root cause analysis would pinpoint the specific ATM or point of sale, where this increase is occurring. Swift action can then be taken to prevent fraudulent activity at that location in the future. Fewer false positives As mentioned, false positives can occur if a fraud detection system identifies behavior that goes against the norm, for instance, if a customer makes a transaction in a new location. In many cases, customers are required to complete identity verification to prove that a transaction is not fraudulent. Digital customer identity verification can help brands build a strong and reputable image. That said, forcing users to complete identify certifications regularly can cause frustration and harm the customer experience. AI anomaly detection AI fraud detection systems can carry out accurate data analysis in milliseconds and identify complex patterns in data AI anomaly detection is far more accurate and results in fewer false positives. Increasing the accuracy of anomaly detection helps companies improve customer relationships and build a strong reputation. This will have a positive impact on brand image and sales revenue. AI fraud detection systems can carry out accurate data analysis in milliseconds and identify complex patterns in data. Machines are more efficient than even the most skilled fraud analysts and make fewer errors. This is why AI fraud detection software is the preferred option in larger organizations. Importance of fraud analysts However, fraud analysts still play an important role in fraud prevention. Using a combination of human intervention and AI is usually the most effective approach when it comes to fraud detection. According to pymnts.com, innovative organizations now use a variety of AI and supervised and unsupervised machine learning to identify and protect against fraud. AI systems can complete time-consuming and repetitive tasks, such as data collection and analysis. This means that fraud analysts can focus their time and attention on critical tasks that require human intervention, e.g. monitoring risk scores. AI can automate processes and enhance the quality of the fraud analysts’ work. Conclusion In to Tessema Tesfachew’s opinion, “Fraud detection has become vastly more efficient and effective with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Previously, methods for detecting fraudulent activities were still data-rich, but relied more on human intervention and expert bias, and were thus, more time consuming and prone to error.” AI technology, particular anomaly detection, has streamlined fraud detection and created a more efficient, and accurate system for detecting and preventing fraud. Covid-19 has increased the number of online transactions, which creates more opportunities for fraudulent activity. However, it also allows businesses to gain more information on their customers and enhance the capabilities of AI security software. It is more important than ever for organizations to utilize AI technology in fraud detection strategies.
The SolarWinds cyberattack of 2020 was cited by security experts as “one of the potentially largest penetrations of Western governments” since the Cold War. This attack put cybersecurity front and center on people’s minds again. Hacking communication protocol The attack targeted the US government and reportedly compromised the treasury and commerce departments and Homeland Security. What’s interesting about the SolarWinds attack is that it was caused by the exploitation of a hacker who injected a backdoor communications protocol. This means that months ahead of the attack, hackers broke into SolarWinds systems and added malicious code into the company’s software development system. Later on, updates being pushed out included the malicious code, creating a backdoor communication for the hackers to use. Once a body is hacked, access can be gained to many. An explosion of network devices What has made the threat of cyberattacks much more prominent these days has been IT's growth in the last 20 years, notably cheaper and cheaper IoT devices. This has led to an explosion of network devices. IT spending has never really matched the pace of hardware and software growth Compounding this issue is that IT spending has never really matched the pace of hardware and software growth. Inevitably, leading to vulnerabilities, limited IT resources, and an increase in IoT devices get more attention from would-be hackers. Bridging the cybersecurity gap In the author’s view, this is the main reason why the cybersecurity gap is growing. This is because it inevitably boils down to counter-strike versus counter-strike. IT teams plug holes, and hackers find new ones, that is never going to stop. The companies must continue fighting cyber threats by developing new ways of protecting through in-house testing, security best practice sources, and both market and customer leads. End-user awareness One of the key battlegrounds here is the education of end-users. This is an area where the battle is being won at present, in the author’s opinion. End-users awareness of cybersecurity is increasing. It is crucial to educate end-users on what IoT devices are available, how they are configured, how to enable it effectively, and critically, how to use it correctly and safely. Physical security network A valuable product that tackles cybersecurity is, of course, Razberi Monitor™, which is new to ComNet’s portfolio. Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem. Monitor™ is a software platform that provides a top-down view of the physical security network and ecosystem It monitors and manages all the system components for cybersecurity and system health, providing secure visibility into the availability, performance, and cyber posture of servers, storage, cameras, and networked security devices. Proactive maintenance By intelligently utilizing system properties and sensor data, Razberi’s award-winning cybersecurity software prevents problems while providing a centralized location for asset and alert management. Monitor™ enables proactive maintenance by offering problem resolutions before they become more significant problems. Identifying issues before they fail and become an outage is key to system availability and, moreover, is a considerable cost saving.
The transition to remote working has been a revelation for many traditional office staff, yet concerns over data security risks are rising. Mark Harper of HSM explains why businesses and their remote workers must remain vigilant when it comes to physical document security in homes. Pre-pandemic, home offices were often that neglected room in people’s homes. But now things are different. After the initial lockdown in 2020, 46.6% of UK workers did some work at home with 86% of those doing so because of the pandemic. Semi-Permanent workspaces Since then, many have found that over time, those semi-permanent workspaces have become slightly more permanent – with official hybrid working coming into effect for an assortment of businesses and their teams. The adoption of hybrid working can in fact be seen as one of the few positives to come from the pandemic, with less travel, more freedom and higher productivity top of the benefits list for businesses and their employees. The handling of sensitive documents, is a growing concern for office managers But those welcomed benefits don’t tell the whole story. The transition to remote working has undoubtedly impacted workplace security, with various touch points at risk. The handling of sensitive documents for example, is a growing concern for office managers. In simpler times, sensitive data was more or less contained in an office space, but with millions of home setups to now think about, how can businesses and their office managers control the issue of desk data? Physical document security As of January 2021, it’s said that one in three UK workers are based exclusively at home. That’s millions of individuals from a variety of sectors, all of which must continue in their efforts to remain data secure. With that, reports of cyber security fears are consistently making the news but that shouldn’t be the sole focus. There is also the underlying, but growing, issue of physical document security. The move to remote working hasn’t removed these physical forms of data – think hard drives, USBs and paper based documentation. A recent surge in demand for home printers for example, only exemplifies the use of physical documents and the potential security issues home offices are facing. Adding to that, research conducted in 2020 found that two out of three employees who printed documents at home admitted to binning those documents both in and outside of their house without shredding them. Data security concern Without the right equipment, policies and guidance, businesses are sure to be at risk Those findings present a huge data security concern, one that must be fixed immediately. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has since released guidance for those working from their bedrooms and dining tables. Designed to help overcome these challenges, the ‘security checklists’ and ‘top tips’ should be the first port of call for many. Yet throughout, the ICO make reference to ‘following your organization’s policies and guidance’ – highlighting that the onus isn’t solely on the individuals working from their makeshift offices. Office managers have a monumental task on their hands to ensure teams are well equipped within their home setups. Without the right equipment, policies and guidance, businesses are sure to be at risk. But it would be wrong to insinuate that unsecure desk data has only now become an issue for organizations. Modern office spaces Keeping clear desks has long been a battle for many office managers. In fact, clear desk policies are practiced in most modern office spaces, with it recognized as a key preventative to personal information being wrongly accessed and so falling foul of GDPR legislation. Throwing sensitive documents in the bin was never an option pre-pandemic However, the unsupervised aspect of home working has led to a potentially more lax approach to these policies, or in some cases, they can’t be followed at all. For those taking a more laid back approach, organization leaders must remind staff of their data security responsibilities and why clear desk policies have previously proven effective. Ultimately, throwing sensitive documents in the bin was never an option pre-pandemic and this must be carried through to home workspaces now. Securely destroy documents There are also concerns over the equipment people have access to at home. For example, without a reliable home shredding solution, data security suddenly becomes a tougher task. To add to that, several recommendations state that employees working from home should avoid throwing documents away by instead transporting them to the office for shredding once lockdown rules ease. While this is an option, it does pose further issues, with document security at risk of accidental loss or even theft throughout the transportation period, not to mention the time spent in storage. The best and most effective way to securely destroy documents is at the source, especially in environments where higher levels of personal data is regularly handled. Correct shredding equipment The recent findings on home office behavior represent a true security risk Only when home workers implement their own clear desk policies alongside the correct shredding equipment (at the correct security level), can both home office spaces and regular offices become data secure. Realistically, these solutions should, like the common home printer, become a staple in home office spaces moving forward. The likelihood is that many UK workers will remain in their home offices for the foreseeable future, only to emerge as hybrid workers post-pandemic. And while the current working environment is more ideal for some than others, the recent findings on home office behavior represent a true security risk to organizations. With this in mind, it’s now more key than ever for business leaders, their office managers and homeworkers to all step up and get a handle on home data security policies (as well as maintaining their standards back at the office) – starting with the implementation of clear desk policies. After all, a clear desk equals a clear mind.
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