Artificial intelligence technologies boost capabilities of cyber threat actors

In response to cyber defenders’ increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, malicious actors started discussing their potential application for criminal use. Research from Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com), the specialist global risk consultancy, shows that the development of techniques to use these technologies and tools to enhance their capabilities is now increasingly on the agenda of cyber threat actors.

Nicolas Reys, Associate Director and head of Control Risks’ cyber threat intelligence team, explains: “More and more organisations are beginning to employ machine learning and artificial intelligence as part of their defences against cyber threats. Cyber threat actors are recognising the need to advance their skills to keep up with this development. One application could be to use deep learning algorithms to improve the effectiveness of their attacks. This shows that AI and its subsets will play a larger role in facilitating cyber attacks in the near future.”

There are currently no known attacks using AI, but these technologies could assist threat actors in a number of ways. This includes:

  • Spearphishing campaigns: In the targeting of a criminal campaign, threat actors could use algorithms to generate spearphishing campaigns in victims’ native languages, expanding the reach of mass campaigns. Similarly, larger amounts of data could be automatically gathered and analysed to improve social engineering techniques, and with it the effectiveness of spearphishing campaigns.
  • Dubbed ‘hivenets’: In the post-infection phase, clusters of compromised devices that have the ability to self-learn, so-called dubbed ‘hivenets’, could be used to automatically identify and target additional vulnerable systems.
  • Extensive, customised attacks: Based on its assessment of the target environment, AI technology could tailor the actual malware or attack in order to be unique to each system it encounters along the way. This would enable threat actors to conduct vast numbers of attacks that are uniquely tailored to each victim. Only bespoke mitigation or responses would be effective for each infection, rendering traditional signature or behaviour-based defence systems obsolete.
  • Advanced obfuscation techniques: Threat actors could evade detection by developing and implementing advanced obfuscation techniques, using data from past campaigns and the analysis of security tools. Attackers may even be able to launch targeted misdirection or ‘noise generation’ attacks to disrupt intelligence gathering and mitigation efforts by automated defence systems.

Reys continues: “The use of AI is not likely to become widespread soon, given the financial investment that is currently needed. However, as more research is produced and AI technologies become more mature and more accessible to threat actors, this threat will evolve. Organisations should be aware of the potential for these types of attacks to emerge in the course of 2018. Staying informed and being able to identify relevant emerging attacks, technologies and vulnerabilities is therefore just as important as being prepared in the event of an attack.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd.

For further information please contact:
Friederike Lyon
Email: Friederike.Lyon@ControlRisks.com
Mobile: +49 173 619 54 66

About Control Risks
Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com) is a specialist global risk consultancy that helps to create secure, compliant and resilient organisations in an age of ever changing risk. Working across disciplines, technologies and geographies, everything we do is based on our belief that taking risks is essential to our clients’ success. We provide our clients with the insight to focus resources and ensure they are prepared to resolve the issues and crises that occur in any ambitious global organisation. We go beyond problem-solving and provides the insight and intelligence needed to realise opportunities and grow.

Source:: Artificial intelligence technologies boost capabilities of cyber threat actors

      

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Cameroon Student is the 11th Commonwealth Points of Light winner

Noela Lyonga, representing Cameroon, is the founder of the ‘Noela Lyonga Foundation’, an organisation improving education for prisoners and engaging young people in volunteering.

Through her ‘Inspire an Inmate’ programme, Noela has led training workshops for over 100 prisoners to support their economic reintegration into society when they leave prison. Using sports, music and art as tools for engagement, she has also helped over 380 young people to start their own first steps in volunteering.

The award for Noela was announced on 15th February after presentation by Rowan Laxton, UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, on a visit Buea, where the Noela Lyonga Foundation is based.

Noela said:

“I really sincerely feel super, super inspired winning this award. It’s still so, so unbelievable that my heart can’t send more than enough gratitude as it is deep inside me. I believe this award will open my mind to new ideas, moves and a whole lot. For Noela Lyonga Foundation, this will inspire our volunteers and partners to engage in more voluntary moves, for youths to see volunteerism as a platform for more life experiences, knowledge, skills and networks that will develop them and their communities at large.”

“Above all, I believe this award will inspire someone out there regardless of their background to volunteer to make a difference in any little way they can, whether they have a paycheck or not, because someone out there needs what they have at all times. I dedicate this award to all those I’ve been volunteering with since 2011: my mentors, mentees, partners, women and minors in the Buea Central Prison, those in orphanages and other less privileged homes, rural community inhabitants, cancer patients and survivors, job seekers, friends, relatives and you all who inspire me to inspire others. God bless you all!”

UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, H.E. Rowan Laxton said:

“Noela has shown compassion, creativity and commitment through her focus on community development, youth empowerment and prison care. By inspiring over one thousand volunteers, she has given practical life skills and vital hope to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Cameroon.”

A student of the University of Buea, Noela is also an alumna of the British High Commission’s girl’s education flagship programme called the Cameroon Women’s Scholarship.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British High Commission – Yaounde.

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Source:: Cameroon Student is the 11th Commonwealth Points of Light winner

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags:

Cameroon Student is the 11th Commonwealth Points of Light winner

Noela Lyonga, representing Cameroon, is the founder of the ‘Noela Lyonga Foundation’, an organisation improving education for prisoners and engaging young people in volunteering.

Through her ‘Inspire an Inmate’ programme, Noela has led training workshops for over 100 prisoners to support their economic reintegration into society when they leave prison. Using sports, music and art as tools for engagement, she has also helped over 380 young people to start their own first steps in volunteering.

The award for Noela was announced on 15th February after presentation by Rowan Laxton, UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, on a visit Buea, where the Noela Lyonga Foundation is based.

Noela said:

“I really sincerely feel super, super inspired winning this award. It’s still so, so unbelievable that my heart can’t send more than enough gratitude as it is deep inside me. I believe this award will open my mind to new ideas, moves and a whole lot. For Noela Lyonga Foundation, this will inspire our volunteers and partners to engage in more voluntary moves, for youths to see volunteerism as a platform for more life experiences, knowledge, skills and networks that will develop them and their communities at large.”

“Above all, I believe this award will inspire someone out there regardless of their background to volunteer to make a difference in any little way they can, whether they have a paycheck or not, because someone out there needs what they have at all times. I dedicate this award to all those I’ve been volunteering with since 2011: my mentors, mentees, partners, women and minors in the Buea Central Prison, those in orphanages and other less privileged homes, rural community inhabitants, cancer patients and survivors, job seekers, friends, relatives and you all who inspire me to inspire others. God bless you all!”

UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, H.E. Rowan Laxton said:

“Noela has shown compassion, creativity and commitment through her focus on community development, youth empowerment and prison care. By inspiring over one thousand volunteers, she has given practical life skills and vital hope to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Cameroon.”

A student of the University of Buea, Noela is also an alumna of the British High Commission’s girl’s education flagship programme called the Cameroon Women’s Scholarship.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British High Commission – Yaounde.

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Source:: Cameroon Student is the 11th Commonwealth Points of Light winner

      

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Reported economic crime in South Africa hits record levels; cost and accountability concerns rising

  • 77% of SA organisations have experienced economic crime;
  • Fraud committed by consumers ranks as the second most reported crime in SA;
  • CEO and board increasingly being held accountable for economic crime;
  • Only 37% of respondents have conducted an anti-bribery/anti-corruption risk assessment;
  • 19% of organisations have spent between twice and ten times as much on investigations as the original amount lost to economic crime.

South African organisations continue to report the highest instances of economic crime in the world with economic crime reaching its highest level over the past decade, according to PwC’s (www.PwC.com) biennial Global Economic Crime Survey released today. South African organisations that have experienced economic crime are now at a staggering 77%, followed in second place by Kenya (75%), and thirdly France (71%). With half of the top ten countries who reported economic crime coming from Africa, the situation at home is more than dire.

The Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey examines over 7200 respondents from 123 countries, of which 282 were from South Africa.

Trevor White, PwC Partner, Forensic Services and South Africa Survey Leader, says: “Economic crime continues to disrupt business, with this year’s results showing a steep incline in reported instances of economic crime. At 77% South Africa’s rate of reported economic crime remains significantly higher than the global average rate of 49%. However, this year saw an unprecedented growth in the global trend, with a 36% period-on-period increase since 2016.”

Economic crime in South Africa is now at the highest level over the past decade. It is also alarming to note that 6% of executives in South Africa (Africa 5% and Global 7%) simply did not know whether their respective organisations were being affected by economic crime or not.

While the overall rate of economic crime reported was indeed the highest for South Africa, the period-on-period rate of increase for South Africa and Africa as a whole was below that of our American, Asian and European counterparts. From a regional perspective, the biggest increase in experiences of economic crime occurred in Latin America, where there was a 25% increase since 2016 to 53% in respondents who indicated they had experienced economic crime. The US was a close second with a 17% increase over 2016 to 54% of respondents, while Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe experienced increases of 16% and 14%, respectively.

White comments further: “We believe that these jumps in reported crime are being driven by a heightened state of fraud awareness by respondents, and in this lies the silver lining.”

“We have seen paradigm shifts in the way that businesses are being run. Notably, the accountability for fraud and economic crime has moved into the executive suite, with the C-suite increasingly taking responsibility, and the fall, when economic crime and fraud occur. Organisations are beginning to shed their denial complex regarding the many blind spots they have in identifying fraud and are learning how to address them.”

Types of economic crime

Asset misappropriation continues to remain the most prevalent form of economic crime reported by 45% of respondents globally and 49% of South African respondents. While the instances of reported cybercrime showed a small decrease in the South African context (29% in 2018 versus 32% in 2016), it retained its second place in the global rankings (31%) albeit at a lower rate of occurrence than 2016. One of the new categories of economic crimes was that of “fraud committed by the consumer”. It is the second most reported crime in South Africa at 42% and takes third place globally at 29%. This was followed closely by procurement fraud (39% in South Africa versus 22% globally). This indicates that the entire supply chain in South Africa is fraught with criminality. When combined with the high instances of bribery and corruption reported (affecting more than a third of organisations at 34%), the resultant erosion in value from the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is startling. Accounting fraud, which is usually perpetrated by senior management and results in the largest losses, increased from 20% to 22%.

Cost of fraud and prevention

As awareness, and the profile of fraud and economic crime has risen, so too have investments to combat it, linked also to the direct financial losses reported in the past two years. According to the survey 35% of South African respondents lost more than $100,000 (+/- R1.2 million) to what they regarded as the most disruptive economic crime to affect them, with 1% reporting losses of greater than $100 million (R1.2 billion). When combined with the costs to address this issue through investigations or other interventions, where 41% of respondents reported having had to spend an equal or greater amount (10% reported having to spend upward of three times the amount, with 3% spending as much as ten times the value of the initial loss), we are faced with the damning realisation that the actual cost of these crimes is crippling the economy, White comments.

Fighting fraud

South African businesses continue to take measures to combat economic rimes, with 44% (Africa: 41%) of respondents having increased their spend on combating fraud since 2016 and 46% plan to increase their spend over the next 24 months (Africa: 45%). It is positive to note that almost two-thirds (64%) of South African respondents monitor whistleblower lines as a means to ensure the effectiveness of their compliance and governance programmes (Africa: 51%). This represents a 9% increase since 2016.

It is also reassuring that business leaders are taking an active interest in their governance responsibilities and are becoming more aware of, or rather want to be made aware of, the effects and issues that economic crime and fraud have on their organisations. 95% of South African respondents (versus 91% of Global and 94% of African) said that the most disruptive incidents of economic crime were brought to the attention of the board executives or governance leaders within their organisations.

Respondents also reporting using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics as part of their efforts to combat and monitor fraud. The survey shows that companies in emerging markets, including South Africa, are currently investing in advanced technologies at a faster rate than their counterparts in developed nations.

Trevor Hills, Forensic Services Leader for PwC Southern Africa, says: “Technology is clearly a fundamental tool in the fight against fraud, but it’s not the only one. Ultimately, when it comes to blocking that ‘last mile’ to fraud, the returns from investment on people initiatives are likely to far exceed those from investing in another piece of technology. Focusing on human behaviour offers the best opportunity for reducing or preventing fraud, because ultimately, machines don’t commit fraud, people do –they just happen to be using technology more and more in these endeavors.”

Despite higher levels of understanding and reporting of fraud, blind spots still prevail. 46% of respondents globally said their organisations have still not conducted any kind of risk assessment for fraud or economic crime. Only three in four South African organisations said they had conducted any kind of fraud or economic crime risk assessment. Additionally, only around a third (37%) of respondents had conducted an anti-bribery/anti-corruption risk assessment. “This is a worrisome statistic, considering how impactful and expensive this crime has become worldwide on both the regulatory and financial sides,” Hills comments.

Regulatory risk continues to grow

Across the board, regulations and reporting requirements, touching on both legal and ethical behaviour, continue to expand. There is a greater awareness and visibility on the part of organisations regarding how and why fraud occurs. South Africa is undoubtedly undergoing far-reaching changes and visible enforcement is on the rise. 71% of local respondents expect recent changes in the geopolitical regulatory environment to have an increasing impact on their organisations in the next two years, and 63% of them expect more changes as regards the enforcement of regulations.

Accountability of the board

Hills says: “Accountability for fraud and economic crime has moved into the executive suite, with the C-Suite increasingly taking responsibility, and the fall, when economic crime and fraud occur.”

The survey shows that almost every serious incident of fraud has been brought to the attention of senior management (95%). 85% of South African respondents indicated their organization had a formal business ethics and compliance programme in place. In addition, 20% of local respondents indicated that the CEO (who is part of the first line of defence) has primary responsibility for the organisation’s ethics and compliance programmes, and is therefore more instrumental to the detection of fraud and the response to it.

White says: “Many companies are finding themselves caught in a tug of war between three business drivers: the market’s appetite for innovative disruptors; shareholders’ desire for financial outperformance; and society’s expectations for ethical conduct.”

“The truth is that when businesses misbehave, investors often tend to look the other way as long as their investment is not threatened. The C-suite should be careful not to do the same. We often see that organisations can be easily lured into a false sense of security when scenarios appear to be rosy and when the ‘tone at the top’ appears to be consistent with the right words. What really counts is not tone at the top, but rather action at the top. The market may love disruptors or outperformers – but not enough to tolerate bad behavior.”

Download Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2018 – 6th South African edition: https://goo.gl/ZCWhUd

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

Media contacts:
Trevor White: PwC Partner, Forensic Services and South Africa Global Survey Leader
Office: + 27 31 271 2020
Email: Trevor.White@PwC.com
OR
Sandy Greaves Campbell: Director, Change the Conversation, South Africa
Office: + 27 11 028 7753/4
Email: Sandy@ChangeTC.co.za
OR
Bontle Mnisi: Account Executive, Change the Conversation, South Africa
Office: + 27 11 028 7753/54 or mobile: 076 2283796
Email: Bontle@ChangeTC.co.za
OR
Sanchia Temkin: Media Relations, PwC South Africa
Office: + 27 11 797 4470
Email: Sanchia.Temkin@PwC.com

About PwC:
At PwC (www.PwC.com), our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with more than 236,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.PwC.com.
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Source:: Reported economic crime in South Africa hits record levels; cost and accountability concerns rising

      

Categories: AFRICA | Tags: