Math, Artificial Intelligence and Data – A Whole New World

Math - Machine Learning

Traditionally, a love for math used to be associated with someone you would call a ‘nerd’, however, technologically revelations have proven math to be a fundamental concept in the 21st century. In our data-driven world, companies and corporations are all using math, formulas and computations to ensure optimal efficiency. Without the use of math, there would no artificial intelligence (AI) and no computer science, we would be stuck in a world of slower and more mistake-prone business. Math, AI and automation provide solutions to time-consuming and complex problems where humans would be much less efficient in resolving. So what is the connection between math and AI?

How and where is Math used in Artificial Intelligence?  
Some of the fundamental topics that math holds for machine learning are:

  • Linear Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Probability
  • Optimisation
    • Heuristics
    • Iterative Methods

These areas of math each contain a multitude of further, and much needed, topics to fully understand machine learning. We may not realise, but every day we face examples of AI where math has contributed highly towards. From the most menial of examples such as sending certain emails to spam or, on the other end of the spectrum, self-driving cars, AI and machine learning is all around us.

“The need for remedial math seems widespread enough that even a simple Google search for ‘calculus and artificial intelligence’ turns up a bunch of blogs and additional courses on how to understand the math underlying these assignments.” Forbes, 2019

Math - AI - Data

A few years ago, Apple’s Siri and Tesla’s self-driving cars were something unthinkable or impossible to have. Today, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are unlocking capabilities everywhere around the world; businesses are learning to use new technologies to create intelligent products, personalised experiences, and smarter business functions. What are some examples of artificial intelligence in business?

Business AI
The world is becoming faster, smarter, more complex and more efficient, and we owe a big part of this to artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, which all derives from math. Let’s have a look into the everyday AI applications that is commonplace for businesses:

  1. Spam filters,
  2. Personal Assistants (Siri/Cortana/Google),
  3. Automated online chat responses,
  4. Automated insights – used from collated data from a company
  5. Smart searches – according to an individual’s history
  6. Product recommendations,
  7. Fraud detection,
  8. Personalised news feeds,
  9. Language recognition,
  10. Ad targeting.

These are only a few applications of AI that we experience in our day-to-day routines. The evolution and application of math to AI has been an incredible phenomenon and it continues to enhance every day. So the main question is:

Are you using Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence to add value to your business?

Here at Cedar Rose we have used both Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to help us process, translate, transliterate, organise, standardise and analyse large amounts of data. It is our love of mathematics, our close attention to detail and our drive to be the best that keep us ahead of the game.
Finally, for Nerds everywhere now is our time to shine!

Have you seen our latest article on fraud?

Written By Angelique Assaf, Data Strategist

Sourced Image: Freepik

 

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Hackers Look to Target New Avenues through Payroll Fraud

Hackers - Cedar Rose

Continuing with the theme of evolved technologies (see here) and the ‘new age’ problems that come with it, hackers are now draining money directly from the source. Essentially, fraudsters are diverting direct deposits from accounts of employers straight into the accounts of criminals through phishing.

Phishing scams

These scams are a fraudulent attempt to acquire sensitive information via means of electronic communication. Disguised as trustworthy individuals, the scammers pilfer data that will be criminally manipulated, resulting in disastrous effects.
“Fraudsters use a phishing scam by sending an email from an address similar to a legitimate company account. The email requests that an employee answer a brief survey then hit ‘confirm,’ then directs them to enter their credentials in an online form to confirm their identity. Those credentials are then used to access payroll portals and redirect payroll funds into fraudulent accounts.” (PYMNTS, 2018)
Cybercriminals are constantly thinking of innovative ideas to steal, manipulate and acquire illegal data and assets, which creates a niche in the market for increased security protocols. Don’t let yourself be on the end of a phishing scam – if something seems fishy, make sure you report it immediately.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Payroll fraud is also notable under the headline of BEC where criminals are essentially gaining access to a business email account in an attempt to defraud a company and its employees. Payroll fraud focuses on the attainment of money, yet it is much more serious than that. When the fraud has been committed, along with stolen money, there is a huge breach in data security. The ownership of data can be manipulated for multiple purposes, depending on the fraudster’s motives. Remember to protect yourself in the best way you can. Here are a few ways you could minimise phishing scams and BEC attacks:

  • Prohibit wire transfers from going out without an in-person conversation or phone call. Even with a phone call, take caution if the only contact information is that included in the potentially fraudulent email.
  • Take caution with emails from CEO accounts, as those professionals are most likely to be impersonated. If the CEO makes a request that seems unusual, the user should confirm its legitimacy before taking action.
  • Implement a training program to teach employees how to identify a BEC attack.
  • Deploy an email protection system to automatically stop spear phishing and cyber fraud attacks that can lead to a successful BEC scam. (Rayome, 2018)

Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Intern

 

Sourced Image: The Blue Diamond Gallery

PYMNTS, 2018. Hackers Targeting Payroll Direct Deposit. [Online]
Available at: https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2018/payroll-fraud-direct-deposit-cybercrime/
[Accessed 14 September 2018].

Rayome, A. D., 2018. Beware: Hackers are trying to scam your company with this attack. [Online]
Available at: https://www.techrepublic.com/
[Accessed 14 September 2018].

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Technological Evolution – A New Era of Cybercrime

Society is advancing through a technological paradigm shift into a world of internet currencies, quicker modes of file transport and easier methods of transferring data. Our society is essentially ‘online’, but what are the repercussions of this new age. Businesses and everyday people enjoy the effectiveness of new technologies, but fail to acknowledge the double-edged sword that is creeping into the backdoors of companies around the world. Take the right precautions or face the inevitable consequences.

Fear The Dark Overlord – Data Ransom

The Dark Overlord is a hacking group at the forefront of technological upheaval and a prime example of the dangers to our beloved technologies. The group is infamously known for their blackmailing of schools, medical providers, Hollywood studios and it doesn’t stop there, your business could be next. “Larson Studios, Hollywood post-production studio, paid $50,000 in bitcoin after a season of the series ‘Orange is the New Black’ was stolen from its network in 2016.” (Kirk, 2018) These cyber-criminals are holding private data hostage, then blackmailing businesses to pay for their private data through the means of virtual currency (Bitcoin). Allegedly, a key member of the organisation was recently arrested. The police collected evidence of personal details in the form of 78 million usernames and passwords and 63,000 debit/credit card details, furthermore, it was said that the police seized $500,000 in Bitcoin, resulting in the first ever seizure of virtual currency! (Kirk, 2018)


Money Over Morals

The terror that The Dark Overlord had caused is unaffected by morals and it is simply motivated by money. “As far as what motivates us to continue our good work: internet money […] we’re motivated only by our desire to acquire internet money.” (Kan, 2018) No matter your motives, if you’re a private school or a governmental institution, your business is a threat to The Dark Overlord and other hackers. As recent as May 2017, The Dark Overlord has been active in sending death threats to students and parents of public schools across the United States, forcing 30 of them to close down for at least one week (read the full article here). The Dark Overlord doesn’t stop here, there’s said to be evidence of attacks on major corporations such as: Uber, Sainsbury’s and T-Mobile. Whether your business is big or small, private or public, you are at risk of hackers if you do not deal with online threats properly.

Technological
 

What Can You Do? – Stay Ahead of the Game

Make sure you know who you are getting into bed with and pre-emptively avoid threats that may be thrown your way. Whether you are making a transaction, investing in another company or simply answering an email, you never know what can be lurking around the corner. At Cedar Rose, privacy is of the utmost importance to us, to provide our clients with a trustworthy solution for any investment. We offer a variety of products to help you securely make decisions for the future of your company. 

If there are red flags, our reports can find them for you today. Keep ahead of the technological uproar and secure the future of your company in the best way you can, remember, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Keep up-to-date and informed on the latest technological news through our similar articles on cybercrime and more, see here for a similar release.

 

Written by Jack Evangelides, Marketing Intern

Sourced Image: Images3
Sourced Image: Pixabay

Kan, M., 2018. ‘The Dark Overlord’ Hackers Shrug Off Reported Arrest. [Online]
Available at: https://www.pcmag.com/news/361299/the-dark-overlord-hackers-shrug-off-reported-arrest
[Accessed 13 September 2018].

Kirk, J., 2018. Noose Tightens Around Dark Overlord Hacking Group. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/noose-tightens-around-dark-overlord-hacking-group-a-11014
[Accessed 13 September 2018].

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Cybercrime in the UAE hits 3.2m Consumers, Losing US$1.1 Billion

UAE Cybercrime

Consumers residing in the UAE have been affected by an alarming level of cybercrime, resulting in over $1 billion in financial losses – which have affected over three million people.

UAE legislation is in place to safeguard the public although new coming businesses are being formed to also help counter against cybercrime, such as start up VUL9; a group of advisory professionals who look to ask UAE residents to become more aware of the threats. Similar new releases from the Norton Security Middle East department indicate that the public simply don’t know enough about how they are exposing themselves. Data holding companies of all sizes have been targeted by cybercrime… which is the reason for Cedar Rose’s decision to branch out into aiding companies looking to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect their business. However, first it’s important to consider the hefty penalties which are published frequently as a reminder…

UAE Cybercrime Legislation

In 2012, the President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa introduced a range fines which can range up to 3 million Dirhams (approx. $800,000):

  • Those caught gaining access to a website, network or system without authorisation are to be imprisoned and fined at least Dh50,000, but fines can go as high as Dh1 million if personal information is stolen or deleted.
  • Those caught using technology to invade someone else’s privacy – which can even include eavesdropping, copying photos or publishing news – can be jailed for six months and face fines of between Dh150,000 and Dh300,000.
  • The most severe penalty – five years in jail and a Dh3 million fine – is reserved for those who run malicious software that causes a network or IT system to stop functioning ‘or results in crashing, deletion, omission, destruction and alteration of the programme, system, website, data or information’.
  • Additionally, the law stipulates various penalties for a number of other cybercrimes, including insulting religions and their rituals, slandering public officials, forging electronic official documents, sending or re-publishing pornographic materials, reproducing credit or debit card data, and obtaining secret pin codes or passwords.

Sourced: Khaleej Times

These fines are clearly spread across the public, possibly due to publicising such hefty fines; the targeted inhabitants of the UAE may be overlooking their options for mobile protection against hackers. Arguably this is because government policy regarding heightened laws, may have led the public to believe that they are protected, and thus overlook their own security options for security.

Millennials Overlooking Protection

Millennials are considered the most technology savvy with averages of four devices per person, however bad habits, such as poor password management or sharing passwords with trusted friends, leaves them exposed. A large number, 28% in fact, of millennials are using the same password for multiple accounts and people in general are not taking enough precautions, the threat landscapes are constantly evolving and the public need to be more aware of exactly how a hacker can access their mobile device.

Dubai is a high profile destination for tourists and business travellers, and the targeting rate is higher than the global average. The need to connect through mobile while on the move, with less installed antivirus software, acts as a breeding ground for hackers and scammers, people are generally not using enough device security applications. Knowing where to go and what to do when being attacked is equally important.

The last year has seen a significant rise in global attacks via ransomware. Ransomware cases – locking files and demanding money to unlock these files – of late, targets the mass public for smaller amounts, with hundreds coming up in the UAE cybercrime daily reports. Norton Security advises the public not to pay as there is no guarantee that the money will be returned.  Millennials are more inclined to use up to date protection, however exhibit low levels of protection across the population.

“Consumers’ actions revealed a dangerous disconnect – despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves,” explains Tamim Taufiq, Norton, Head of Norton Middle East. “This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime.”

It is becoming clear in Dubai the general public need more information which clearly explains that the UAE is prone to cyber-attacks, more so than any other country in the world. Free services are available to them such as password managers which according to Norton is the primary entry gate to personal files, used by cybercriminals.

In similar news our other article 5 Tips to Protect your Business Online may help to
ensure you and your business is taking the appropriate precautions
.

 

Written by Mark Bowers

Sourced Image: Pinimg

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Cyber Offences – Secure Your Business Against Them Now

Cyber Offence Prevention Cedar Rose

Cybercrime is evidently on the rise and there are some very important measures you and your business should take to protect yourselves. Cyber-security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks and data from malicious attacks. Having anti-virus software installed is just one of the means to defend against malicious attacks, but it could also be one step behind the hackers. A quick look on this page from Kaspersky, one of the world’s top providers of IT security software, which shows – in real time – attacks that are detected around the globe every second. When visualised in this way, the magnitude of the problem is quite astounding.

Cybercrime in Business

Cyber-attacks can be extremely costly to a business, especially where they lead to a data breach. According to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of Data Breaches Study, in 2017 the average cost to an organisation was reported to be $7.35 million in the USA and $3.10 million in the UK. Those figures may not include the final cost of the Equifax breach in 2017, which is estimated to run to over $600 million. The personal data of over 145 million people was stolen in the Equifax hack, primarily Americans, but also some Canadians and British citizens. It was the largest single data breach reported in 2017 – but certainly not the only one.

Costs can also be incurred by the individuals, businesses, insurance companies, banks and financial institutions that deal with the aftermath of their hacked personal data and the fraudulent use of it. With GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) coming into effect in Europe and the UK in May 2018, the cost of data breaches may soar, where reporting of breaches will become mandatory and fines for noncompliance with the regulations – even at the lower level – could be up to €10 million or 2% of the worldwide annual revenue of the prior financial year. For many organisations, this could be catastrophic.

So, cyber-security is something every organisation and individual should take extremely seriously. If you hold a large amount of personal data, there is even more reason to ensure the data is well protected and your company is cyber secure, but even if you hold personal data on one EU or UK citizen the rules of GDPR still apply and you need to ensure that you can prove you have taken steps to secure, protect, correctly store and when appropriate properly destroy any applicable personal data.

Mitigating risks

Mitigating risk allows you to understand what the actual dangers are, and how they can get into your framework; the top sources of data breaches (according to K-Cura.com) are as follows:

  • Around 30% occur due to hacking or malware – electronic entry to your system by an outside party
  • Around 22% are due to lost or stolen devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones
  • Another 18% are due to unintended disclosure of sensitive information, eg; posting on social media or accidentally sending to the wrong third party
  • Approximately 10% due to physically lost or stolen non-electronic records eg; paper files
  • Worryingly, 10% are due to an intentional breach by someone with legitimate access
  • The remaining 10% are due to lost, stolen or discarded hardware such as servers and computers, credit card fraud and other means, sometimes never known.

Over 90% of cyber-attacks start with a phishing email. Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in an email or another communication channel, such as Skype, and uses phishing emails or messages to distribute malicious links or attachments. These links may contain malware (malicious software) which can perform a variety of functions, including stealing, encrypting or deleting sensitive data, altering or hijacking core computing functions and monitoring users’ computer activity without their permission. One type of malware is ransomware which prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid. More modern ransomware, collectively categorized as crypto-ransomware, encrypts files on infected systems and attempts to force users to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods to get a decrypt key.

As you can tell from the above, your people are both your highest source of risk and your best line of defence. Just one of your employees clicking a link in a phishing email can lead to your organisation losing data, being unable to perform your usual daily business or having critical documents destroyed – and you could face blackmail too, as well as fines for a data breach.

Fortunately though, there are a host of sensible measures you can take to help prevent such an attack. Follow our Company Page in the coming weeks for updates on how you can protect your organisation against cyber-threats and what steps to take should a cyber-attack occur.

Written by Christina Massaad, Managing Director

Sourced Image: FT.com

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Our article about:
ID verification for Arabic, Russian and Romanian individuals
is going viral ->

 

Instant Identity Verification of Arabic, Russian and Romanian Individuals

Identity Verification

Not having an instantly verifiable identity online can cause all kinds of problems for people in countries where – until now – this has not been available. It feels good to be able to provide a solution to identity verification which will increase trade and make people’s lives that little bit easier.

In a recent example of the issues caused, a company in Cyprus was unable to accept online payments from a senior manager of one of the Big 4 audit firms in Romania, because their very well-known and long-established online payment processor could not process payments from Romania without the “white-listing” of the credit card by the customer in Cyprus. The company in Cyprus would have had to carry out a lengthy due diligence process to ensure that the customer was in fact a legitimate representative of the audit firm before any online payments could be accepted. This Cyprus company lost the Romanian customer – who wanted the services delivered urgently – simply because their payment processor could not instantly verify the identity information of individuals in Romania. Checkmate!

In the UK and USA (at least), online shopping is a convenience most people take for granted. Everything from gifts to food, printing services to furniture can be bought online simply, securely and in seconds. This has been standard procedure for more than ten years now. However, in many parts of the world this luxury is still not available or widely used because the risks of selling to unknown, un-checkable entities have outweighed the rewards.

These barriers to digital progress and online trade have been making entire markets unavailable or undesirable to e-commerce traders, e-gaming companies, online service providers, internet merchants and online payment processors – but not for long.

Cedar Rose now offers electronic identity verification (see here) of individuals in Russia, Romania, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates via secure API – opening up the opportunity to verify millions of adults instantly.

This brings a whole new world of possibilities for online commerce in these countries.

Contact us if you would like more detailed information.

Follow us on our company page to stay up to date with new developments.

Did you enjoy our article on identity verification? Want to read more articles like this? Keep up-to-date with Cedar Rose’s developments by checking out our newsroom.

Written by Christina Massaad, Managing Director

Sourced Image: Trustworks

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Due Diligence and Why You May Need It..

Article - Due Diligence

The term “Due Diligence” is widely used to describe the standard of care a person or business entity should take to protect themselves when entering into a relationship, whether that be a marriage, a business arrangement, extending a loan or employing somebody.

There are several reasons one might need to conduct due diligence, apart from the obvious personal or business risk management. In some cases due diligence is a legal requirement – for example:

  • Allowing a person or company to open a bank account or online payment facility
  • Extending a loan or large amount of credit to a person or company
  • Merging with, or acquisition of, another company
  • Entering into a Joint Venture arrangement with another company
  • Appointment of a Company Director
  • The employment of a person who would be in charge of children (in many countries)
  • The employment of a person with major financial or managerial responsibilities
  • The employment of a person in a security position
  • Almost any relationship if you are politically or publicly at risk yourself – as an organisation or individual

Thorough and comprehensive due diligence would uncover the relationships already held by the entity being investigated. For example, a person’s education and employment history might be verified, their local reputation within their industry or neighbourhood may be sought from their peers in their local language, their name could be checked against a number of watch-lists such as international sanctions lists, criminal watch-lists such as those maintained by Interpol, the CIA, FBI, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as well as various Treasury and United Nations databases. If they already have links to any of the following crimes, these could be uncovered during the course of due diligence:

  • Arms Trafficking;
  • Bribery;
  • Corruption;
  • Counterfeiting;
  • Fraud;
  • Human, Stolen Goods and Migrant Smuggling;
  • Money Laundering;
  • Organized Crime;
  • Piracy;
  • Racketeering;
  • Registered Sexual Offences
  • Terrorism & Terror Financing.

In addition to this, a real estate search might be conducted, or a directorship and shareholding search to see what assets they already hold or are connected to. Family relationships may also be investigated – perhaps they have links to politically exposed persons (PEPs) which may be significant, or there could be media searches conducted to discover whether they already have adverse media published around them, their family members or their company.

So, an investigation into a person could be extremely in-depth, or it may just involve a simple identity verification, conducted electronically in a fraction of a second – just to verify that the identity number and/or address they provide matches their record.

With regards to due diligence on companies – the directors, shareholders and senior managers may all be subject to the above checks when a company is investigated. In many countries, even court records can be searched and details obtained of any cases involving the subject individual or company. Also, relationships to other companies could be established so that the ultimate beneficiary owners could be identified, and these may then also be subject to scrutiny to ensure peace of mind for those trading with the company.

So whether you need to KYC (know your customer), conduct AML (anti-money laundering) checks, stay legally compliant or just want to sleep well at night and are not entirely sure which type of due diligence report you really need – contact our Client Services Team on orders@cedar-rose.com or check out the pdfs available to download from the Solutions section of our website at www.cedar-rose.com which detail the content of each type of report.

Cedar Rose specialises in due diligence for the Middle East and North Africa.

Please follow our company page on Linked In to get regular updates.

Increase your knowledge of due diligence and understand what the risks are if not reported correctly by reading our article on cyber crime here.

Written by Christina Massaad, Managing Director

*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Sourced Image: Auxadi

Getting out There

Meeting - New

Limassol, Cyprus. It’s great to be back home after an action-packed week spent travelling and meeting lots of new faces. Last Monday I was in Lebanon visiting our new Beirut office, which is coming together very well, and from there it was on to Ireland, to present at Forums International’s ICF International Credit Forum in Dublin together with my colleague Ms Cynthia Gebeily. Technology has changed a lot in business, but it hasn’t changed the need to get out there, find out what’s happening and connect with people in person.

I first heard about Forums International through Mr Laurie Beagle, and we were quickly convinced that this kind of event is the perfect vehicle to share our experience about how to safely pursue business opportunities in the MENA.

The Forums International attendees were from a wide range of backgrounds, and this for me was one of the main strengths of the event because it meant that we were able to share perspectives and ideas with people from small and medium sized enterprises as well as with representatives of household names like Microsoft, Facebook and Logitech. I was particularly impressed by the workshop sessions, which involved us splitting into two groups and working through a risk mitigation case study – it’s great to see first-hand how our solutions and technologies could help so many companies, and it gives me ideas for how we can continue to improve our services.

So, after a busy week it’s good to be back in the office – not that I’ve got time to be putting my feet up on the desk! Our Electronic Identity & Verification (eID&V) services are now starting to cover more of Eastern Europe and over the next few months there should be more growth in our level of coverage. And, of course, I’ll find time to get out and spread the word about all things Cedar Rose. I’m scheduled to attend the BIIA Business Information Industry Association conference in Bangkok, from the 18th-20th October so drop me a line if you’re going. There really is no substitute for meeting face to face.

See you soon!

———————————————————————————————————

Antoun Massaad is the co-founder and CEO of Cedar Rose, the MENA region’s leading Business Intelligence services provider. With unrivaled insight into the region and access to its most comprehensive database of individual and company records, Cedar Rose works with some of the world’s largest companies to provide KYC, AML and Due Diligence solutions that are helping to bring business practices in the region up to international standards. See what Cedar Rose can do for you at www.cedar-rose.com.

Speaking of ‘the new’ here at Cedar Rose we are constantly providing new articles for anyone and everyone to read (see here).


Written by
Antoun Massaad, CEO


*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***

Sourced Image: LinkedIn