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March 24, 2020

Is coronavirus leading to more financial crime?

By Patrick Brusnahan

With the Covid-19 outbreak, there are a number of factors of which financial institutions, including private banks, need to be wary. Financial crime and cyber crime is something that could very feasibly spike in the time of coronavirus.

What can firms do to combat this? The sector is constantly focusing on security, so is this just another string to that bow?

ThetaRay CEO Mark Gazit said:”The coronavirus crisis is creating a very severe threat for banks. Throughout modern history, every time there’s been a crisis, crime has reared its ugly head. Naturally, when there’s a crisis, the ability of people to find the means of living are much more limited, and unfortunately, many decide to engage in criminal activity  This is nothing new.  But what’s unique about the coronavirus situation is a combination of things that are happening right now.

“First of all, today’s financial crime is financial cyber crime, which is much more severe. Criminals no longer need to risk getting shot or captured while holding up a bank; they can sit at home and use computers to steal money. Secondly, customers cannot come to the physical bank branch even if they have to, because of the mobility restrictions.  Normally, if a bank requires a customer to present a driver’s license, passport or other document, the customer can just drop by the local branch.  This is not currently an option, so banks are much less capable of confirming their customers’ identities. Furthermore, more and more banks are letting their employees work from home, which leaves the banks’ systems much more open with many more vulnerabilities.

“We all know that rules-based threat detection systems are not able to protect organisations against unexpected and unknown events — and that’s exactly what the world is experiencing in real time right now. In many ways, it’s still unknown, and will likely get worse before it gets better.  And just like human beings, banking systems also have to face situations that they’ve never faced before. This is where AI comes into play, with advanced flavors like ‘artificial intuition’ that can mimic human intuition and identify brand new, unknown threats and criminal schemes.”

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