In terms of technology, artificial intelligence is being used increasingly by both sides of this issue. While the fraudsters seek out the chinks in the armour of the given IT system and thus the vulnerabilities, the combatant tries to anticipate a possible fraud by identifying certain behavioural patterns of the invader. Here, “false positives” and the related misleading reports are quite frequent and costly. However, many major high-tech companies already offer solutions to safeguard computer systems and data storage media. For instance, Hewlett Packard recently acquired “Bromium”, which provides a solution that protects each user application individually. This significantly reduces false alarms and, in an emergency, ensures that not the entire network but only individual applications fail.
Along with the surge in cybercrime, a new business field is opening up for the insurance industry. Companies can now insure themselves against digital fraud or online attacks, whereas the insurers first require that additional protective measures be taken. For example, Germany’s Allianz Group is cooperating with Cisco as well technology giant Apple. With its “Ransomware Defense”, Cisco offers protection for open operating systems, including Windows from Microsoft or Android from Google. The solution is part of an integrated portfolio of safety measures and includes enhanced e-mail security, internal and external network protection, as well as a functionality that detects infected websites. Apple takes a different route by offering a closed provider platform. Apple’s operating system is installed on its own devices and is accessible solely by qualified third parties, thus making it easier to protect. Apple not only ensures stronger protection for industrial digitalisation but also safeguards the data of private users.
The industrialisation of private data
In contrast to companies, private users are behind the curve when it comes to the protection of their data and identity. Many people have no qualms about their data being used by third parties. They consider their own movement profile and purchasing behaviour to be of relatively little importance, claiming that they usually ignore Internet advertising to the greatest extent. However, the hunt for much more sensitive information has already begun. Through its recent acquisition of fitness bracelet manufacturer Fitbit, Google has gained access not only to data on users’ pulse rate, sport activities and movement data, but also recordings of their sleep patterns dating back almost a decade. These people have no idea what Google intends to do with the data. Today, this datastream captures central areas of users’ life, and the evaluation and exploitation of the data are directly tied to the specific person. So you can imagine what happens when personal health-related data is manipulated by unauthorised third parties and in consequence improper medication is administered, or access to crucial medical treatments is prevented by criminal malware until ransom money has been paid. This type of heist can cost not only money, but lives. In the quest to counter such attacks, technological protection is just one part of the solution. More than anything else, the way personal data is dealt with needs to be rethought and adapted.
Digital transformation also means investing in digital security. This awareness is becoming increasingly widespread in the business world, whereas private users still pay little attention to the protection of their personal data. Providers of platforms like the one Apple has built are beginning to offer solutions and raise people’s awareness of the threats that exist in the digital domain. Thus the coming years will be increasingly marked by the discussion concerning the ownership and ultimate application of user data. In addition to regulatory measures and more conscientious users, technical solutions to protect digital identities will certainly play an important role in this regard.
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Responsible for this content
Bernd Hartmann, Head CIO Office
Harald Brandl, Senior Equity Strategist
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