Online transactions, both monetary and non-monetary, have been a welcome change in the early 21st century in terms of accessibility and transparency. With more and more organizations going online in a bid to provide gold standard customer experience, online transactions have gradually increased in the last decade. From booking movie tickets to transferring huge amounts between bank accounts, Rs. 230Cr worth of online transactions occurs every day on an average in India. While companies are adopting technology to deliver the best to their customers and stay ahead of the competition, they are not able to prevent the damages caused by the increasing number of cyber crimes.

Given that most of these online misconducts are a direct result of silly human errors, not updating their legacy systems periodically is just icing on the cake for hackers. As per the latest reports by the Reserve Bank of India, 2017-18 saw a spike in cyber crimes (2,059 cases) amounting to Rs. 109.6 Cr. This is almost three times more than the amount recorded in 2016-17 i.e. Rs. 42.3 Cr.

One of the key reasons why the banking sector needs to adopt smart systems is the cyber threat that is looming over their defenseless servers. IBM’s report suggests that 95% of these crimes are a result of human errors. These are the most simple and silly errors like clicking on infected files, using weak passwords, poor patch management, etc. These easily avoidable mistakes are causing losses in crores across the industry.

The AI technology offers these industry leaders a protective layer throughout the processes to maintain high standards of operations without any discrepancies. Artificial Intelligence is also proven to combat the ever-evolving threats of hacking and fraudulent claims.

UNDERSTAND THE THREAT

To fight against the evils of cybercrime, you must know how they operate, who they target and their pattern of attack to ensure a win. A few pointers mentioned below, as derived from Forbes, explains how cyber criminals are evolving and getting creative with their work.

Context-based attacks: With the use of relevant and appropriate context, these cyber criminals are getting extremely skillful in marking strategic individuals and functions in enterprises as targets. Most commonly, mergers are used as a context for phishing activity against top-level management. In other cases, cyber crime syndicates are also taking advantage of the difficulties in double checking and re-verifying important decisions taken by the decision makers in the company who are traveling.

Cloud-based attacks: Many companies are uploading their data on the cloud today as a storage device and for processing data. This is one of the most favored targets of cyber criminals. In many cases, the hacking into the cloud system where the company has stored important data results into deletion or unethical use of information. These malpractices could also lead a company to bankruptcy. The hackers are known to extort money in exchange for access to the company data.

Trojan attacks: Attackers are also known to be present in the target’s system undetected for a long time, waiting for the right moment to strike. These are usually harmful programs disguised as commonly known files that are either transferred through emails as attachments or on local drives in servers. This type of attack mainly depends on the individual’s input (eg. opening an infected file) to spread through the system as a virus and do its job. Human error is responsible for the most number of security breaches.

ACT ON IT

Cyber security can benefit from the application of AI as recent developments in the technology have given rise to smarter security systems. By using Machine Learning techniques, these systems are capable of self-learning which makes it better at tracking and identifying cyber attacks in time. The AI algorithm blends with cyber by first defining what is normal. Thereafter, a thorough examination of abnormal activities can be made to detect attacks. This is called unsupervised learning. The supervised algorithms, on the other hand, are trained on the threats beforehand. For example, for detecting malware, supervised learning algorithms can be used that has already been provided with numerous instances of malware codes. This will then enable the AI to understand if the new code provided is malware or not.

OUTCOMES

The companies that have adopted AI technology have seen considerable progress in terms of detecting and overcoming cyber threats. The banking and financial services industry is one of the earliest users of AI to make transactions more secure and maintain the customer’s confidence in the company.

The implementors have exhibited the following benefits of AI:

  • The operational cost of identifying threats went down considerably.
  • The use of AI to detect and counter the threats in-time minimized data violation.
  • The AI technology has the ability to work real-time which enabled quick detection of threats.
  • The processes to detect a threat was automated which enhanced the executive’s productivity by allowing larger bandwidth for other tasks.
  • AI’s capability of identifying and analyzing the suspicious transactions quickly, helped lower the investigation time considerably.

Human error is responsible for 95% of all cyber crimes according to IBM’s study. These are instigated through minor blunders that can be avoided by investing a few dollars in technology.

Ultimately, every cent spent today is a billion saved tomorrow.

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