UK.gov withdraws life support from flagship digital identity system. RIP Verify. Finally.

Reposted from the original source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/10/govt_withdraws_life_support_from_gds_flagship/ By Andrew Orlowski 10 Oct 2018

It’s official: the UK state’s expensive-but-comatose digital identity system Verify has been taken off life support.
Identity disorder: Does UK govt need Verify more than we do?

The minister responsible confirmed to Parliament yesterday that it will halt funding for the project after cash has been exhausted – and it’s up to the private sector to decide whether to keep the vegetable alive.

But it’s an unenviable option. The government can no longer guarantee that Verify will be an exclusive or even preferred ID system for public services.

“The Government expects that commercial organisations will create and reuse digital identities, and accelerate the creation of an interoperable digital identity market,” said Oliver Dowden, Minister for the Implementation [sic] at the Cabinet Office. “This is therefore the last investment that the Government will provide to directly support the GOV.UK Verify programme. It will be the responsibility of the private sector to invest to ensure the delivery of this product beyond the [stated] period.”

It’s no surprise – Verify lost the confidence of Whitehall years ago. The project was launched in 2011 (as “Identity Assurance”) with the goal of providing a single sign-on ID for public services ranging from tax collection to benefits. The goal was to have 20 million users by 2020. Consultants and the Cabinet Office’s Nudge Unit dreamed (PDF) of it playing a role for consumers, too.

“The days of creating different user names and passwords for every new website are numbered, thank goodness,” promised GDS Maximum Leader Mike Bracken* in November 2011.

A successful identity framework would mean departments didn’t have to roll their own. But that’s exactly what happened. HMRC was obliged to extend the ageing Government Gateway itself, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decided Verify couldn’t cut the mustard for the Universal Credits system, as we exclusively revealed here. DWP also had to develop its own identity system. The other big service, the NHS, never took Identity Assurance/Verify serious in the first place.

People had problems too, as the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones found in 2014. Two years later, the success rate for creating new identity accounts was just 72 per cent.

,

What is the future direction of banking?

Articled first appeared at: https://www.paymentscardsandmobile.com/what-is-the-future-direction-of-banking/

Still dealing with the damage to consumer confidence after the crisis of 2008 and the new opportunities being seized by FinTech businesses the big banks are caught in a perfect storm.

FinTech in 2018As Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England has said: “FinTech…will change the nature of money, shake the foundations of central banking and deliver nothing less than a democratic revolution for all who use financial services.”

Taking advantage of new technology and crowdfunding platforms, in 2016 Monzo raised an impressive £1 million in just 96 seconds via equity crowdfunding site Crowdcube, crashing their servers and setting the record for the fastest ever crowdfunding raise – writes Marc Hurr and Daniel Eduardo Suero, co-founders of iBAN Wallet.

Monzo went on to raise another £21 million in funding and secure itself as a challenger bank, putting the wind up long-established high street banks and proving the concept of a community-owned digital bank.

Similarly, alternative banking providers, such as iBAN, are using crowdfunding to fund the launch of new banking apps and features, such as peer-to-peer lending and free international transfers.

One thing these new banking providers promise is to put the customer at the centre of their business model, rather than treating customers like a commodity to be hoarded and exploited. In fact, a recent global PwC survey found that 61% of bankers thought a customer-centric business model is very important yet only 17% were very prepared for it.

It is this disparity that challenger banks are capitalising on by offering improved services based on technological innovation, something traditional banks are struggling to adopt due to their large size, complex infrastructure and existing business models.

The same PwC survey found that innovation within the banking industry was considered to be somewhat or very important by 87% of bankers, yet just 11% said that their organisation was very prepared for it.

With all this change, the direction banking is going means banking could be very different in ten years’ time. So, what can we look forward to?
Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics

Machine learning has been around for some years now, but it still hasn’t really come of age. Essentially, they are still in school – learning now to provide future benefits.

One of the main benefits to customers will be proactive assistance, not unhelpful hindsight. For example, challenger banks already offer balance warnings and advice, not a notification that you’re already over your overdraft limit.

In future, we will see these systems become even smarter, using behavioural pattern analysis and predictive analytics to find ways to help us save money and prepare for potential financial situations we might find ourselves in. In turn, this should help customers save money, providing more capital for these new banks to operate with.
Payment Systems

We are already getting used to new forms of payment, such as contactless cards and mobile payments. So, in a sense, the future is already here.

Yet these systems still have lots of room for improvement. While convenient, contactless cards still have spending limits to avoid excessive spending through theft and fraud. They can still be lost, stolen or damaged. And you will still need your PIN at certain retailers and to withdraw cash.

The future of payment systems, however, may lie in biometrics. There are many biological features that make us unique as individuals. Even identical twins have different fingerprints, iris and blood vessel patterns, for example. These can be scanned and used to help secure our money without the need for PINs or cards, simplifying everything from purchases to online banking.
Data Aggregation

Banks have access to far more data than any other business. They know where we shop, who we work for, where we’re going on holiday, and almost everything in between. They also have access to vast amounts of data from multiple other sources, such as businesses, credit agencies, investment houses and central banks.

These data sources will increasingly be aggregated to provide a clearer picture of the world – from the micro to the macro level – allowing faster, more accurate decisions and advice. In a sense, banks can act as digital value aggregators, providing real-time value for businesses and customers.
Collaborators not competitors

In the spirit of generating value, banks can form partnerships with a network of individuals, businesses and service providers, and can leverage their power to lower costs on behalf of customers.

This stands in stark contrast to today’s approach of building more complex solutions for a higher price in order to compete against other financial institutions. It is this approach that created the complex financial instruments that, ultimately, played a huge part in the global financial collapse.
Agile and Light

Technologies like blockchain are enabling a quiet revolution – invisible and seamless – to enable more direct and transparent transactions between users. What started as peer-to-peer trading has morphed into complex networks backed by a digital ledger.

Not only does blockchain cut out the middlemen, offering traditional financial services at a fraction of the cost, it can make financial transactions more transparent and secure. Technologies built on top of blockchain, such as Etherium, are enabling the use of digital smart-contracts which make it almost impossible for financial fraud, embezzlement and dodgy trading practices to continue.

Ultimately, this technology can put users in charge of finance, rather than being at the control and whim of global financial institutions.
AI assistants

We believe machine learning, data aggregation, blockchain and greater collaboration will converge to offer users a more personalised and tailored service. Combine that with ever-improving digital assistants and you end up with a network of services that can use data to get smarter and be more helpful to customers, not ‘selling’ products in an attempt to extract ever-increasing profit from them.

Banks of the future can use their privileged position to offer a personal experience and form closer relationships with their customers. We think AI assistants will be the new, personal face of these banking services.
AR and VR

The way things are trending augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will become dominant in our everyday lives. We might interact with people and businesses via VR, gain real-time information in AR, and seamlessly switch between the two.

Imagine being able to gain a real visual understanding of your finances, where they are allocated, and what you may need to save for in the future. Almost like a time-traveller you’ll able to make highly-accurate predictions about your financial circumstances, providing unimagined confidence in your future financials.

South Africa is severely underprepared for automation – which could cost millions of jobs

Article first published by businesstech.co.za – the full reference url is at the foot of this article – 22 July 2018:

While much has been written about the incoming impact of AI and automation, limited work has been done on the potential impact of automation on economies in the developing world.

This prompted Daniel le Roux, a senior lecturer at the department of Information Science at Stellenbosch University, to investigate the situation in South Africa.

In an article for The Conversation, le Roux explained that he used data collected by Statistics South Africa for its Quarterly Labour Force Survey and an automation index produced by academics from the University of Oxford.

“From this, I was able to estimate that occupations performed by almost 35% of South African workers – roughly 4.5 million people – are potentially automatable in the near future,” he said.

“But the country appears ill-prepared for this reality. There is little discussion at policy level. Hardly any research has been done to investigate possible future scenarios.

“There’s also a great deal of uncertainty about how the uptake of automation technology may further drive inequality and preserve the asymmetry in the country’s economy,” he said.

According to le Roux’s data, roughly 14 million South Africans work in around 380 different occupation types.

64 of these occupations, employing an estimated 3.6 million workers, have a 90% or greater probability of being automatable in the near future, he said.

These occupations include, for example, cashiers, tellers, secretaries and telephone salesmen.

He found that the occupations of another 2.6 million workers, of whom 900,000 are employed as farmhands and labourers, have an 80%-89% probability of being automatable.

However he cautioned that workers of all skills levels are at risk, and that accountants, auditors and dental technicians aare extremely susceptible to automation.

“But trends suggest that people in low and medium-skilled occupations are generally more at risk than those who require extensive education,” he said.

“So it is not surprising that the country’s previously disadvantaged population groups are more exposed to job losses due to automation than their white counterparts.

“Half of all black South Africa workers are in occupations with an 80% or greater probability of automation; so are 47% of coloured workers. For white employees, however, the proportion is only around 30%.”

No preparations made

Despite the risk involved, le Roux said it was unlikely that South African business-owners would not take advantage of this new technology as it becomes available to them.

But there seems to be very limited high-level discourse about how South Africa plans to navigate this wave of technological advancement, he said.

“For South Africa, with its large number of low-skilled workers, a dramatically improved education system is an obvious and critical concern,” he said.

“Despite high unemployment, there remains a scarcity of skills in a wide variety of areas. This suggests a mismatch between supply and demand in the labour market.

“It is also important to understand how technologies will displace work in future. This understanding can help to better inform young South Africans’ career choices.”

https://businesstech.co.za/news/technology/259423/south-africa-is-severely-underprepared-for-automation-which-could-cost-millions-of-jobs/

Nedbank’s new Scan to Pay mobile app functionality takes convenient, secure payments to the next level

Nedbank clients who make use of the award-winning Nedbank Money App are about to experience an entirely new level of payments convenience and security, thanks to the bank’s addition of a digital Scan to Pay function – a first-in-market innovation by Nedbank – within the App’s already extensive range of digital money management features.

The Scan to Pay function makes it possible for anyone who uses the Nedbank Money App on their mobile phone or tablet to pay any physical or online vendors who offer MasterPass, Snapscan, Pay@ or Zapper Quick Response (QR) codes as a payment option.

According to Chris Wood, Executive: Nedbank Card Issuing and Payments, Scan to Pay is not just a first-in-market, it also has the potential to fundamentally change the way South Africans choose to make payments.

“Nedbank is incredibly proud to be leading the way in the digitisation of payments after having originally launched the MasterPass payments ecosystem in 2015,” Wood explains, “and Scan to Pay is further evidence of the fact that we are actively building on this solid reputation as a market leader in secure and convenient digital payments enablement.”

Wood explains that the launch of the Scan to Pay functionality as part of the Nedbank Money App gives Nedbank clients the option to conveniently, and quickly scan and pay for goods and services offered by more than 100 000 retailers and vendors countrywide. And because Money App users already have their credit and debit card details securely loaded onto their digital devices, there is no need for them to add these details or load multiple apps. “With Scan to Pay, our Nedbank Money App users are literally a click away from the absolute convenience of instant, secure payments on their mobile.”

The Nedbank Scan to Pay App functionality was developed in conjunction with Entersekt, a leading provider of mobile authentication and app security innovation, with which Nedbank has had a long-standing relationship. According to Schalk Nolte, CEO of Entersekt, the new feature will be made available to app users via an automatic update, and the functionality makes Nedbank the first bank in the country to make all major domestic scan-to-pay services available to its customers within its banking app.

“Nedbank’s incorporation of Scan to Pay into its app is evidence of the bank’s understanding that effortless accessibility, underwritten by established client relationships, represent an important advantage for any bank that wants to achieve a greater share of the booming global market in mobile payments,” Nolte explains.

According to Wood, while Nedbank Scan to Pay is the next in an ongoing range of innovations that the bank has steadily rolled out to South African banking consumers, it is by no means the last. “We’re very excited to be able to offer our clients this dynamic, enabling technology,” he enthuses, “but we are even more excited by the strategic plans we have to continuously deliver even more dynamic digital solutions that will enhance their mobile payments experience.”

Wood emphasises that this digital experience is still complemented by significant real-world benefits for customers. “While payments made using the Scan to Pay functionality don’t require a physical card to be swiped or tapped,” he explains, “users still qualify for all the rewards that would typically accrue to them – including Greenbacks and Nedbank Affinity donations – if they were using an actual Nedbank credit or debit card to make their payments.”

This article was published in partnership with Nedbank – https://businesstech.co.za/news/industry-news/261125/nedbanks-new-scan-to-pay-mobile-app-functionality-takes-convenient-secure-payments-to-the-next-level/

Five massive data breaches affecting South Africans

Five massive data breaches affecting South Africans
Tehillah Niselow

Liberty Life Holdings customers, including the publisher of this blog, Errol, received SMSs on Saturday alerting them that personal information related to their insurance policies could have been stolen by an external party.

The Information Regulator, which has asked for information about the Liberty breach, is clearly concerned about the increasing number of cyber attacks affecting personal data in South Africa. “Without a fully functional Information Regulator, these breaches will continue to occur without sanctions provided for in the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA),” said chairperson Advocate Pansy Tlakula. Tlakula urged “the powers that be to assist it in fast tracking its operationalisation”.

According to corporate law firm Michalsons, certain limited sections of POPIA have already been implemented. However, the bulk of the legislation will only commence at a later date, to be proclaimed by the president. As there is a one-year grace period, the POPIA deadline might only be set for the end of 2019 or in 2020. In the meantime, South Africans are coming under heightened attack from cyber criminals and hackers.

Andrew Chester, MD of Ukuvuma Security, told Fin24 that affected clients or users should immediately alert their banks and cellphone provider. They should also undertake a credit check as well as a Google search to determine whether their personal information is in the public domain.

In SMSs to clients on Saturday, financial services company Liberty informed them that its email repository had been breached by a third party trying to demand a “ransom” in exchange for the data. Liberty has not revealed much about the breach, citing a police investigation. CEO David Munro confirmed that Liberty’s insurance clients were the only ones affected, and that none of its other business had been compromised. The company said none of its clients have been impacted financially, and that individuals will be personally advised if their information has been affected.

In May the Hawks, the State Security Agency and the Information Regulator said they would probe the breach of personal records of 943 000 South African drivers, allegedly from online traffic fine website ViewFines. The information reportedly contained the names, identity numbers and email addresses of South African drivers stored on the ViewFines website in plaintext. The ViewFines website is owned by Aggregated Payment Systems. News24 reported that its operations manager confirmed the company was “implementing security measures immediately” to improve the website after being informed of the breach. The source of the data was located by Troy Hunt, an Australian security researcher and creator of the free service Have I Been Pwned, which checks whether an individual’s information has been compromised.

While Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to face angry lawmakers in the US and European Union, it was reported that the data breach involving the UK political consultancy affected almost 60 000 South African users. In May, the Information Commissioner’s Office of the United Kingdom (which regulates Facebook outside the US and Canada) advised the Information Regulator of South Africa that over 87 million people had been affected worldwide. However, no evidence could be found of South Africans having been targeted, as the majority of users involved were in the US.

Master Deed’s data breach “biggest” digital security threat in SA. Hunt was once again instrumental in revealing what was known as the “biggest” data breach in South African history, together with iAfrikan CEO Tefo Mohapi in October 2017. Over 60 million South Africans’ personal data, from ID numbers to company directorships, was believed to have been affected. The information was traced to Jigsaw Holdings, a holding company for several real estate firms including Realty1, ERA and Aida. The information reportedly came from credit bureau agencies, and was used to vet potential clients. The information trove was found not to have been hacked, as it was stored in an easily accessible manner on an open web server.

Movie theatre chain Ster-Kinekor was responsible for up to 7 million South Africans falling victim to a data leak in March 2017. Fin24 reported that Durban developer Matt Cavanagh announced he had discovered a flaw in Ster-Kinekor’s booking website, and that he had reported it to the company. There were between 6 and 7 million users in the database. Of those, 1.6 million people had email addresses linked to them on the movie theatre chain’s database.

Open Banking Selects ForgeRock to Provide Cloud-Based Reference Bank Application

Open Banking Selects ForgeRock to Provide Cloud-Based Reference Bank ApplicationForgeRock to develop, host and manage key application for demonstration and testing of the Open Banking capabilities

LONDON – December 21, 2017 – ForgeRock®, the leading platform provider of digital identity management solutions, today announced that it has been selected by the Open Banking Implementation Entity to provide a Reference Bank Application, which will be used by leading banks and third parties to build their own applications in accordance with Open Banking standards. A major milestone in the Open Banking movement, this announcement highlights the completeness of the ForgeRock Identity Platform in solving complex requirements of global enterprises.

Open Banking is an ambitious endeavour, by and for financial services organizations, to embrace technology that will give customers greater freedom and control in how they interact with their financial services providers. It intends to enable individual consumers and small businesses to share their data securely with other banks and with third parties, allowing them to compare products on the basis of their own requirements and to manage their finances without necessarily having to use their bank.

ForgeRock becomes a key enabler in making Open Banking a reality. In being selected to develop, host and manage the Reference Bank Application, ForgeRock will deliver the cloud- based application that will drive the demonstration and testing of the Open Banking API ecosystem, much more than just a simple front-end.

Built to API specifications (see https://www.openbanking.org.uk/read-write-apis/) the ForgeRock Reference Bank Application provides the agreed standard for testing the functionality of Account Information Service Providers (AISPs) and Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs). In this way, organizations in the Open Banking ecosystem will gain the ability to build their own web and mobile applications for Payment Service Users, such as personal and business banking customers. The API specifications are now in the public domain and third- party providers are registering with Open Banking, so once their applications and endpoints are developed they can be used in a production environment. Once an ASPSP (Account Servicing Payment Service Providers), PISP or AISP is authorized, they will be able to join the Open Banking Directory; all digital identities and certificates are then provided which enable organizations to securely connect and communicate via the Open Banking Security Profile.

Mike Ellis, CEO of ForgeRock, said, “ForgeRock is pleased to partner with Open Banking to deliver the Reference Bank Application as a service. It will be the true foundation for helping to ensure success with this wide-ranging set of regulations. ForgeRock already has experience in working with CMA 9 banks, so it’s fitting that we were selected. As banks work to deliver new and differentiating services to attract and retain customers, they can continue to rely on ForgeRock.”

The latest release of the ForgeRock Identity Platform introduced a variety of new capabilities to the market that brought ForgeRock’s flagship offering into compliance with both PSD2 and Open Banking.

To purchase the ForgeRock Identity Platform, or access a free trial version, visit the ForgeRock website.

About ForgeRock

ForgeRock® is the Digital Identity Management company transforming the way organizations interact securely with customers, employees, devices, and things. Organizations adopt the ForgeRock Identity Platform™ as their digital identity system of record to monetize customer relationships, address stringent regulations for privacy and consent (GDPR, HIPAA, Open Banking, PSD2, etc.), and leverage the internet of things. ForgeRock serves hundreds of brands, including Morningstar, Vodafone, GEICO, TomTom, and Pearson, as well as governments such as Norway, New Zealand, and Belgium, among many others. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, ForgeRock has offices in Austin, London, Bristol, Grenoble, Munich, Paris, Oslo, Singapore, Sydney and Vancouver, Washington. ForgeRock is privately held.

Identity Management for Banks – update & overview

There has been unprecedented change in today’s banking ecosystem: End-users are asking for more digital services, especially those they can access using their mobile devices; Fraud is increasing and becoming more complex across online, mobile, call center, ATM and other channels; Regulations are tightening worldwide; and new financial technology competitors, or fintechs, are entering the market, leveraging the banks’ infrastructure to offer innovative services to their customers.

After having navigated in relatively quiet waters for the last 20 years, banks now must reinvent themselves and be equally innovative in how they solve multiple challenges. This, of course, represents a profound opportunity for security integrators, who can help banks to address these challenges – showing them how to use trusted identities to pursue new opportunities, become more competitive and build more sustainable business strategies for the future.

Banks will also need integrators’ help to become more creative in how they deliver current services and propose new ones – and to ensure these services are secure so that their customers will trust and adopt them. Most importantly, banks must become more customer-driven, and this is where integrators can be particularly helpful, drawing on their experience working with many types of institutions and organizations to deliver a seamless user experience.

Banks are under pressure to serve more demanding customers in an increasingly competitive environment while dealing with growing fraud threats and complying with an expanding range of regulatory requirements. Integrators can help them navigate these challenges as they work together to build trusted solutions that simplify transactions and empower consumers and organizations who provide B2B customer authentication services to better protect financial information, reduce fraud and increase peace of mind.

Today’s Banks Need Biometrics

As the world becomes more and more connected, today’s increasingly mobile bank customers need better ways to authenticate and identify themselves. These customers are already able to start their cars, order a new bottle of milk from the fridge and watch over their baby using their smartphone.

These and other new usage models are driving demand for secure and trusted connected services, and banks need to meet this demand. They need to think mobile and include all the associated geolocation, mobile biometry, “always on” and other functionality.

Many banks are already heading in this direction, using today’s digital identity transformation to help drive consistency across multiple service channels – thus improving the user experience. Banks are also facing pressure to secure their new services and solutions so customers trust them.

With the challenge to substantially improve the customer experience without sacrificing trust and security, an important way to accomplish this is by using biometrics. By better associating a user’s true identity with his or her digital identities, this approach delivers the convenience necessary for driving customer loyalty and acquisition while also supporting multiple strong authentication methods to reduce fraud across channels.

Today’s biometrics solutions can be compared to the security improvement brought by EMV for the PIN – EMV enhances the security of the card; biometrics now enhances the security of the PIN and creates a much more convenient, quick and efficient experience for the bank customer than typing in passwords.

Other mix-and-match authentication options include card and biometric, phone and biometric, and “deviceless” solutions that combine an account number and biometric.

Biometrics also can be used for bank employee authentication to enhance productivity and security. Applications include logical access for networks, shared workstations, call centers and remote applications. Additionally, biometrics can be used for transaction verification in applications including working with customer records and processing approvals. Finally, biometrics authentication is ideal for controlling physical access to ATMs, branches and safe boxes.

Trust can be further reinforced through collaboration between banks and the government on identity proofing models in which citizens receive a digital certificate that allows them to sign, timestamp and seal a document to authenticate and/or identify themselves. This is what is now occurring in European countries with the advent of the European Commission’s eIDAS Regulation. It enables the use of electronic identifications means and trust services (i.e., electronic signatures, electronic seals, time stamping, registered electronic delivery and website authentication) by citizens, businesses and public administrations, for accessing online services or managing electronic transactions across the European member states.

Mobile: Another Key Component

Increasingly, the customer must be in the middle of everything the bank is doing. This is the strength of the fintechs, and this is how banks will acquire and retain end-users.

One example of new customer-centric innovation is next-generation multi-factor authentication solutions on mobile devices. The latest solutions turn smartphones into handheld validation devices or “authenticators” for verifying online access and transaction requests, such as digital banking transactions or corporate VPN access. A mobile app is combined with public key-based cryptography and push technology to create a new experience for bank customers.

These solutions provide added security that is far more intuitive and user-friendly compared to traditional methods of authentication. Ultimately, these authentication solutions can be more broadly used to help increase cybersecurity for healthcare providers and digital business and enterprises, while improving customer and employee satisfaction.

Authentication solutions like these must support all necessary APIs, including OAUTH, OpenID Connect, SCIM and SAML in order for banks to easily adopt this new opportunity and to embrace the Open API trend. They should embed mobile application security tools like jailbreak detection, anti-cloning, Runtime Application Self Protection, etc., since providing an authentication tool on a device that is not protected would be of no-use. They should also be supported by turnkey applications that are easily customizable so that the bank can present its brand without having to build and maintain a custom app.

A Software Development Kit (SDK) should also be available to help integrate the capabilities into existing bank apps. The entire solution should provide flexible policy customization, robust security and data analytics, and create an audit trail for financial institutions that enables them to comply with regulations such as PSD2, GDPR and others.

This type of mobile platform for trusted transactions, combined with new regulations now coming into play, creates an opportunity for banks to become the central point of identification and authentication for a digitally connected world that, until now, has suffered from the complexity of so many different online identities and passwords. Every end-user could potentially have his or her online trusted identity generated and held by banks, and would be able to identify and authenticate for many types of transactions – from government and utility services to commercial offerings.

These solutions will give bank customers the confidence that they have more control over who is accessing their confidential and proprietary information, and that they are protected even when they behave unsafely.

Olivier Thirion de Briel is HID Global’s Global Solution Marketing Director for Financial Institutions and IAM Solutions.

Google parent company Alphabet launches cyber security company

Google’s parent company Alphabet says it is launching a cyber security company using technology created in its research and development arm called X.

Google parent company Alphabet launches cyber security company

Chronicle will try to give organisations a much clearer view of their security situation by combining Google’s strengths in machine learning with large amounts of computing power and storage. The new company will be one of the subsidiaries called “Other Bets” alongside businesses including its self-driving cars unit Waymo and life sciences division Verily.

Alphabet is entering a fragmented cyber security industry. The largest standalone security companies such as Symantec and McAfee have been challenged by a new generation of start-ups promising more sophisticated technologies than anti-virus software, and larger technology companies such as Cisco investing in the area.

Despite the myriad of new solutions, cyber attacks continue to increase and companies struggle to protect themselves from hackers. Hackers aren’t invisible; they leave tiny clues like a virus or bacteria in the bloodstream while they quietly harm the host Astro Teller, ‘captain of moonshots’ at Alphabet’s X Alphabet styles Google X as its “moonshot factory”.

Astro Teller, its ‘captain of moonshots’, said people must look at cyber security challenges from new angles. Writing in a blog post, he said the digital world needs an “immune system”. “Most organisations currently have to work like doctors treating a disease after the symptoms have shown up and the damage has been done,” he wrote.

“But hackers aren’t invisible; they leave tiny clues like a virus or bacteria in the bloodstream while they quietly harm the host.”

Chronicle aims to help companies adapt to the hackers while they are still active, just as bodies build antibodies to identify and reject harmful things. It will be led by Stephen Gillett, who joined X from Google Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm, and was previously chief operating officer of Symantec, one of the world’s largest cyber security companies.

Smartphone (Android/Samsung) lack of security

Do you think your data and public profiles are safely stored under your PIN. Think again: