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Dealing with Digital Fraud in the U.S.

Digital fraud has never been more prevalent, potentially costing the world $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, a truly staggering sum. In the U.S. alone, $382 million was stolen in COVID-19 related scams, often by fraudsters registering for stimulus checks and unemployment benefits with stolen identities. Criminals have used multiple avenues to steal money from unsuspecting Americans, including crimes around financial relief like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, fake treatments for COVID-19 and fraudulent charities.

Americans began submitting more than 3,000 complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords nearly every month starting in April 2020, according to the Bureau, a federal agency that polices financial wrongdoing impacting consumers. Identity theft has also been a frequent problem relative to unemployment benefits collected during the pandemic. Around 60,000 people have reported identity theft to the FTC since last year. The U.S. Labor Department on Monday launched a website for Americans whose personal data was stolen and used to claim fraudulent unemployment benefits.

The fundamental problem at the heart of online fraud is how can organisations tell that a person is who they say they are? In real life, there are clearly identifiable identity markers – from faces to fingerprints and DNA are supplemented by certified documents like passports and driver’s licenses – that limit a person’s ability to pass themselves off as somebody else.

Online, a bad actor (or increasingly an automated bot) who enters the correct username and password on a website has access to everything the person who set up the account does. Digital identities clearly must be as strong as offline identities.

Congress has already identified this problem and introduced a bill aimed at providing a solution. The Improving Digital Identity Act aims to develop standards to guide government agencies when providing digital identity services, upgrading existing systems and creating interoperable tools for verification. It is a promising start, but it may be hampered by the lack of clarity around digital identity itself.

Digital identity documents are already used in applications like the biometric IDs that are issued but these are not interoperable – they have specific use cases and are not an “all in one” digital identity that could be used anywhere. Even with the Improving Digital Identity Act, there is unlikely to be a single government-mandated ID in the U.S., but there may be multiple private-sector suppliers offering approved digital IDs under a regulatory framework established by the legislation.

Any framework will have to be based on a public-private key architecture. Asymmetric cryptography, where freely available public keys can be used to verify a private key held by one person, is a highly scalable, robust method for keeping digital IDs secure. It is already used in thousands of applications in the public and private sectors.

The private keys must absolutely remain secret, which makes hardware security modules the ideal choice for generating and securely storing strong private keys. Unlike software solutions, the keys themselves are not read into the main memory of a computer, which means that they cannot be compromised remotely.

With online fraud as pervasive as it is, it is no surprise that the government is looking for digital identity solutions for immigration, deterring identity theft and speeding up government services, even those as mundane as renewing a driver’s license. Given how important getting it right will be and the substantial benefits from doing so, both the government and private sector must work toward meeting the very highest standards of security.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.