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The ‘Cyber Attacks’ Winter is Coming — straight for small firms in India Inc.

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Cyber intrusions and attacks have increased exponentially over the last decade approximately, exposing sensitive information pertaining to people and businesses, thus disrupting critical operations, and imposing huge liabilities on the economy. 

Cybersecurity is a responsibility that employees and leaders across functions must shoulder simply because it is the gospel truth – you cannot protect what you cannot see. As organizations have shifted to the work-from-home model due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s increasingly important to keep your company’s data secure. 

While the pandemic has led to near or complete digitalization of operations amongst financial institutions, it’s also increased the potential for cyberattacks that lead to adverse financial, reputational, and/or regulatory implications for organizations. 

According to Accenture, cybercrime is said to cost businesses $5.2 trillion worldwide within five years. “With 43% of online attacks now aimed at small businesses, a favorite target of high-tech villains, yet only 14% prepared to defend themselves, owners increasingly need to start making high-tech security a top priority,” the report continues.

A recent McAfee study shows global cybercrime costs crossed US$1 trillion dollars in 2020, up almost 50% from 2018.

India too saw an exponential rise in cybersecurity incidents amid the coronavirus pandemic. Information tracked by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) showed that cybersecurity attacks saw a four-fold jump in 2018, and recorded an 89 percent growth in 2019.

The government has set up a Cyber Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber-attacks effectively, while also operating the Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre).

Banks and Financial Institutions (FIs) are some of the highest targeted market sectors. An analysis by Can we hyperlink this: https://www.fitchratings.com/videos/exploring-bank-cybersecurity-risk-13-04-2021?mkt_tok=NzMyLUNLSC03NjcAAAF82rxN_2lbDTsEp4tfBu4tUGP7i6wyb1OGpyNY0Z8lQPhdz9C7KQ-NIriTcJqNSDyb9qfQ_essxS-TdNWMgJesb-RA4yN4t7T-XqXmVfWW4dau36SW6ZE 

“>FitchRatings in collaboration with SecurityScorecard reveals that banks with higher credit ratings exhibited better cybersecurity scores than banks with lower credit ratings. 

Bharti Airtel’s chief executive officer for India, Gopal Vittal, in a letter to the telco’s 307.9 million subscribers, detailed out how Airtel is carrying out home delivery of SIM cards and cautioned subscribers from falling prey to cyber frauds. He cautioned them against the rapid rise in cyber frauds, highly likely via digital payments. “There has been a massive increase in cyber frauds. And as usual, fraudsters are always finding new ways to trick you,” he added in the letter. 

Barcelona-based Glovo, valued at over $1 billion, that delivers everything from food to household supplies to some 10 million users across 20 countries, came under attack recently when the “hacker gained access to a system on April 29 via an old administrator platform but was ejected as soon as the intrusion was detected”, according to the company.

The attack came less than a month after Glovo raised 450 million euros ($541 million) in funding. 

According to Kaspersky’s telemetry, close on the heels of coronavirus-led pandemic and subsequent lockdown in March 2020, saw a total number of meticulously planned attacks against remote desktop protocol (RDP) jumped from 93.1 million worldwide in February 2020 to 277.4 million 2020 in March — a whopping 197 percent increase. In India, the numbers went from 1.3 million in February 2020 to 3.3 million in March 2020. In July 2020, India recorded its highest number of cyberattacks at 4.5 million.

The recent data breach at the payment firm Mobikwik, affected 3.5 million users, exposing Know Your Customer (KYC) documents such as addresses, phone numbers, Aadhaar card details, PAN card numbers, and so on. The company, however, still maintains that there was no such data breach. It was only after the Reserve Bank of India’s intervention that Mobikwik got a forensic audit conducted immediately by a CERT-IN empaneled auditor and submitted the report. 

Security experts have observed a 500% rise in the number of cyber attacks and security breaches and a 3 to 4 times rise in the number of phishing attacks from March until June 2020.

These attacks, however, are not just pertaining to the BFSI sector, but also the healthcare sector, and the education sector.

Image Source: BusinessStandard.com

What motivates hackers to target SMBs? 

Hackers essentially target SMBs because it’s a source of easy money. From inadequate cyber defenses to lower budgets and/or resources, smaller businesses often lack strong security policies, cybersecurity education programs, and more, making them soft targets. 

SMBs can also be a ‘gateway’ to larger organizations. As many SMBs are usually connected electronically to the IT systems of larger partner organizations, it becomes an inroad to the bigger organizations and their data. 

How can companies shield themselves from a potential cyberattack: 

As a response to the rising number of attacks in cyberspace, the Home Ministry of India issued an advisory with suggestions on the prevention of cyber thefts, especially for the large number of people working from home. Organizations and key decision-makers in a company can also create an effective cybersecurity strategy that’s flexible for adaptation in a changing climate too. Here are a few use cases: 

  • CERT-In conducted ‘Black Swan – Cyber Security Breach Tabletop Exercise’, in order to deal with cyber crisis and incidents emerging amid the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting from lowered security controls. 
  • To counter fraudulent behavior in the finance sector, the government is also considering setting up a Computer Emergency Response Team for the Financial Sector or CERT-Fin.
  • Several tech companies have come forth to address cybersecurity threats by building secure systems and software to mitigate issues like these in the foreseeable future. For example, IBM Security has collaborated with HCL Technologies to streamline threat management for clients through a modernized security operation center (SOC) platform called HCL’s Cybersecurity Fusion Centres. 

Some of the ways through which companies can mitigate potential risks include: 

  • Informing users of hacker tactics and possible attacks
  • Establish security rules, create policies, and an incident response plan to cover the entire gamut of their operations
  • Basic security measures such as regularly updating applications and systems
  • Following a two-factor authentication method for accounts and more

While these measures are some of the ways to be on top of your game in the cybersecurity space, they will also help in sound threat detection while helping gain better insights into attacks and prioritizing security alerts so that India is better prepared for an oncoming attack and battling any unforeseen circumstance that might result in huge loss of data, resources and more. 

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa Source: https://www.mantralabsglobal.com/blog/the-cyber-attacks-winter-is-coming-straight-for-small-firms-in-india-inc/

Artificial Intelligence

Australian ID verification startup OCR Labs raises $15M Series A to expand into UK/Turkey/Europe

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With the gig economy came the need for ID verification, thus startups like OnFido (raised $188.8 million) appeared, alongside several others. But this sector is by no means ‘done’ yet.

Now, OCR Labs, which emerged from Australia, has announced a €12.5M / $15 million Series A funding round led by Turkish investors Oyak Group, to expand its services and team to the UK, Turkey and Europe. Halkin Ventures invested in its seed round. The startup specializes in digital ID verification, customer onboarding, identity fraud, and regulatory compliance.

OCR Labs, founded in 2018 by Daniel Aiello and Matthew Adams, says its technology uses “five proprietary technologies in one solution, including identity document optical character recognition (OCR), document fraud assessment, liveness detection, video fraud assessment, and face matching”. This supports AML and KYC regulations.

Daniel Aiello, Co-Founder, and CPO of OCR Labs, commented, “The need for digital verification is growing exponentially. This past year we’ve seen more demand from new sectors as they try to navigate the pandemic and an inability to operate in person…No one wants to spend hours trying to prove who they are, whether it’s for a job or for a bank account, and we also want to know we’re protected against identity theft and fraud. Digital ID verification has a key role to play, but this year we’ve also seen the limitations if hybrid models are used. People are a barrier and a risk, but fully automated technology can have a huge impact on many industries and privacy. OCR Labs is built to be secure, frictionless and fast, and capable of recognizing ID documents the world over.”

OCR Labs is used by recruitment business REED in the UK. Russ Cohn, an early member of the Google UK leadership team, has been appointed OCR’s General Manager of International Operations, based out of London.

Cohn commented: “The technology that Matt and Dan have created is completely automated, so it doesn’t rely on any humans behind the scenes. That’s very key at the moment. We’ve seen how COVID has impacted having that hybrid solution, so automation increases the speed and delivery of the technology to our users… A lot of competitors outsource and use different vendors to put together a solution.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/15/australian-id-verification-startup-ocr-labs-raises-15m-series-a-to-expand-into-uk-turkey-europe/

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AI

Digital Onboarding: BNY Mellon and Saphyre to Leverage AI to Enhance Customer Experience

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BNY Mellon (NYSE: BK), an American investment banking services holding company headquartered in New York City with over $380 billion in assets, and Saphyre recently revealed that they’ll utilize AI tech to enhance the customer experience while also automating and expediting client onboarding.

This partnership with Saphyre supports the bank’s OMNISM strategy to work cooperatively with Fintechs to better support customers’ investment goals.

Saphyre’s platform has been developed to provide seamless communication between customers and priority stakeholders by enhancing traditional communication methods, like email, fax, and phone calls.

This latest integration between the two firms will allow for improved communication while lowering time to market, and also enabling more efficient international trading.

Caroline Butler, Global Head of Custody at BNY Mellon, stated:

“Time is a finite and precious commodity. BNY Mellon’s work with Saphyre aims to create true savings for our custody clients and truly expedite the client onboarding process. What once took days or weeks, is now near real time. This is yet another example of the digitization efforts BNY Mellon has undertaken in the past two years with a direct client benefit.”

Gabino M. Roche, Jr., CEO and Founder at Saphyre, remarked:

“Having BNY Mellon join the Saphyre endeavor is a great honor. By applying our patented technology to their leading asset servicing operations we’ve demonstrated the ability to intelligently pre-fill client custody packs, allow for digital signatures, auto-setup SWIFT Reporting, Trade Message Routing, and Corporate Action standing instruction – while intelligently and dynamically tracking market requirements and their respective document statuses. In a post-COVID world where AI and digital is paramount, BNY Mellon is fully seizing the innovation mandate.”

Earlier this year, BNY Mellon released a report in which it noted that the bank thinks there’s now real demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In its report, the bank clarified that it’s not attempting to derive a price target or formalize “a valuation mode” for these new forms of assets. However, they intend to look into the different “analogies” and “dissimilarities” that may be applied to Bitcoin and “potentially other areas of cryptos.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/06/176551-digital-onboarding-bny-mellon-and-saphyre-to-leverage-ai-to-enhance-customer-experience/

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AI

Passengers Learn To Adapt As Airlines Adopt Dynamic Pricing

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With airlines keener than ever to maximize revenues, dynamic pricing is making inroads into the industry. Not everyone is welcoming the trend, but industry insiders say dynamic pricing can benefit both passengers and airlines.

dynamic-pricing-airline-industry
Like it or not, dynamic pricing is here to stay in the airline industry. Photo: Don Wilson / Sea-Tac Airport

Airlines know a lot about their passengers, dynamic pricing harnesses that knowledge

Dynamic pricing is a process whereby an airline will pitch a fare at you based on what they know about you or think they know about you. Airlines are masters at gathering data. They harvest your frequent flyer data and track your searches and interests online via cookies. Hand over your Amex details to buy a drink inflight or a case of wine from the airline’s wine store and that airline gets an insight into your drinking preferences. Hundreds or thousands of these tracked behaviors all add up.

Log on to the British Airways website (or any airline’s website) after cleaning up your browser, and a message like this pop up.

“By continuing to use ba.com, you will be agreeing to the website terms and conditions and the use of cookies while using the website and our services. Please also read our privacy policy under which, to the extent stated, you consent to the processing of your personal data.”

Airlines already know a lot about their passengers – we’ve largely lost or surrendered that privacy battle. Now, many airlines are harnessing that data and learning to use it to boost revenues. On an individual passenger level, dynamic pricing tries to determine what a passenger is willing to pay to fly from Madrid to Heathrow next Sunday.

dynamic-pricing-airline-industry
Your favorite airline already knows a lot about you. Photo: Don Wilson / Sea-Tac Airport

Just how much will a passenger pay to fly at a certain time on a certain day?

Justin Jander, Director of Product Management at digital commerce platform PROS  says airlines are trying harder than ever to create a sticky end-to-end passenger journey. One way they can do that is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to learn from the past behavior of a passenger. The airline can then attempt to predict what they will do next – including what they are willing to pay for an airline ticket.

“Dynamic pricing is extremely relevant to the airline industry as it allows airlines to break away from the barriers of fare classes with fixed price points,” says Jander. “Imagine a scenario where there are two filled fares, one at $100 and the other at $200. If a passenger is willing to pay $150, the airline either offers that passenger the $100 fare and loses $50 in incremental income. Or the airline can offer the $200 fare and lose the entire $150. Having this flexibility to identify an optimal price point allows airlines to be more effective in capturing revenue.”

We know airlines adjust fares according to broad seasonal factors. We also know an airline will adjust fares to a particular destination at a certain time if a big event is on in that city, say a football final. Equally, airlines will drop fares at off-peak times to stimulate travel demand. Dynamic pricing is about taking this to a more granular, individual passenger level.

dynamic-pricing-airline-industry
Passengers can stand to benefit from dynamic pricing if they learn how it works. Photo: Ontario International Airport

Dynamic pricing can work for passengers

Justin Jander says dynamic pricing can work for passengers as well as airlines. At a basic level, interested passengers can learn how dynamic pricing works and is applied. It’s like learning how frequent flyer, hotel loyalty, or shopping programs work. Once you understand the nuts and bolts of dynamic pricing, passengers can potentially work dynamic pricing to their advantage.

“It is more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain one,” says the PROS Director. “It makes sense for airlines to prioritize getting to know their existing customers.

“For passengers that are brand loyal customers of a particular airline, they will benefit from receiving personalized flight packages based on the AI that the airline has been able to leverage to understand them and their preferences.”

Most airline insiders agree dynamic pricing is here to stay. As the AI behind it gets smarter, so to will dynamic pricing. It will become more subtle and less driven by sometimes clunky algorithms. There always has been and always will be some tension between buyer and seller. Dynamic pricing in the airline industry won’t take that away> But over time, dynamic pricing may become better at fixing the median price that satisfies both airline and passengers.

Do you agree with dynamic pricing in the airline industry? Is it here to stay? Post a comment and let us know.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/dynamic-pricing-airlines/

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Artificial Intelligence

Waabi’s Raquel Urtasun explains why it was the right time to launch an AV technology startup

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Raquel Urtasun, the former chief scientist at Uber ATG, is the founder and CEO of Waabi, an autonomous vehicle startup that came out of stealth mode last week. The Toronto-based company, which will focus on trucking, raised an impressive $83.5 million in a Series A round led by Khosla Ventures. 

Urtasun joined Mobility 2021 to talk about her new venture, the challenges facing the self-driving vehicle industry and how her approach to AI can be used to advance the commercialization of AVs.


Why did Urtasun decide to found her own company?

Urtasun, who is considered a pioneer in AI, led the R&D efforts as a chief scientist at Uber ATG, which was acquired by Aurora in December. Six months later, we have Waabi. The company’s mission is to take an AI-first approach to solving self-driving technology. 

I left Uber a little bit over three months ago to start this new company, Waabi, with the idea of having a different way of solving self-driving. This is a combination of my 20-year career in AI as well as more than 10 years in self-driving. Thinking about a new company was something that was always in my head. And the more that I was in the industry, the more that I started thinking about going away from the traditional approach and trying to have a diverse view of how to solve self-driving was actually the way to go. So that’s why I decided to do this company. (Time stamp: 1:21)

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/14/waabis-raquel-urtasun-explains-why-the-time-was-right-to-launch-an-av-technology-startup/

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