Technology solutions can be the resolution to terrorist threats

Governments have been encouraged to consider data integration and complex event processing to help foil possible terror and infrastructure attacks.

Last week, former Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair spoke at the SC Magazine Executive Network on how terrorism may move into cyber attacks. He said specific targeting of infrastructure during the Olympics ‘could be a major embarrassment, and it would be a disaster for the UK'.

John Poulter, senior vice president EMEA sales at Informatica, said that the monitoring of information, whether financial transactions or flight passenger details may seem like a daunting task for many, particularly as managing growing amounts of information is not confined by either industry or geography.

He said that as every person leaves a digital footprint, the only way to manage this is by increasing the level of automated data integration, with alerts being escalated to individual teams when further investigation is required.

He said: “Without this, it becomes increasingly challenging to fight terror, particularly to verify that people are who they say they are. With identity theft and manipulation costing millions of pounds every year this is not an area that can be left unaddressed, either by governments or businesses. Without being able to connect the dots between the data that departments gather and maintain, we will not be as effective as possible in lessening the threat of terrorism.

“Now that legislation exists to stop suspected terrorists accessing their assets, organisations need to step up and utilise the data they have access to so that the law can have the maximum impact. A reliable, accurate and consistent identification process ultimately helps governments to preserve public safety and uphold public trust. How data is integrated and profiled is key to ensuring that the dots are joined up and there are several different technologies that offer a way of doing this.”

Poulter said that when it comes to areas such as fraud detection and anti-money laundering (AML), identity resolution technology can assist financial institutions in combating identity fraud and leverage name matching of hidden patterns and correlations to prevent attempts to disguise identity. A single view of this information plays its part in the fight against terror, giving authorities a greater ability to prevent money laundering, which may lead to the funding of terrorist campaigns.

He said: “In the war against terror, data integration addresses the need to combine data from multiple sources and provide a unified and accurate view of these. This ensures that increasing volumes of information managed across departments, agencies and countries would be made accessible.

“Even when naturally occurring data degradation, such as data entry errors, threaten to further complicate data management, integration solutions can reduce false positives through a series of algorithms, which score the likelihood of a match, and improves match rate through techniques such as the use of name variations.”

He also referred to complex event processing where seemingly independent events - such as multiple users trying to log in from the same IP address and continual behaviour changes-are flagged, and an immediate alert prompting further investigation is generated, which could help identify issues such as money laundering.

“Governments and organisations need to look again at how multiple sources of global information can be managed effectively to collectively benefit the organisation and aid governments in their battle against terror. Technology can enable security agencies to cut down the time required to detect and respond to threats, by automating the analysis of data and delivering instant intelligence to an individual or enterprise,” said Poulter.

Sign up to our newsletters