The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986


Experts are pushing for use of artificial intelligence (AI) to hasten the speed of stopping cybersecurity threats in companies.

Abdullahi Sheikh, the founder and CEO of Konvergenz, a cyber security firm in Kenya told the Business Daily that with the surge in cyber attacks as businesses migrate online, there was a need to employ fast and more responsive tech.

He said in the financial sector, AI was the best bet to curb the ever-costly intrusions.

AI employs statistical models to predict patterns, which then help to avert fraud. Unlike humans, technology works tirelessly, giving it an edge.

“The AI process of responding to any detected card fraud is if an SMS is sent to you indicating that you are making a transaction, and through behavioural analytics, the bank detects that you have not spent, there is an interface for the machine to call the bank and disable the card automatically. Then it connects to human customer care and a call is sent out to the client to inform them of an attempt on their account that was averted. The machine does 80 percent of the work,” Mr Sheikh said.

The basic principle remains that AI is just leveraging what humans can do, but at a faster rate with more accuracy backed by already existing data, to avert any risk of being hacked, scammed, or payments being transferred without user authorisation.

“The real part is the ability to confirm if your backup doesn’t have ransomware. Ultimately that is what it’s about. But how do we do that? Most backups are 3D and 4D. Currently, some solutions look at risk through 180-200 dimensions, the same set of data at milliseconds,” Mr Sheikh said.

Even with the surge in contactless payments, debit, and credit cards are here to stay, and payment companies such as Visa say the way forward is to utilise advanced authentication using AI and machine learning.

These will help secure payments and transactions to improve client interaction with financial services.

Subra Kumaraswamy, Visa’s chief information security officer said the global economy lost $7 trillion to cybercrime in 2022, which equates to $19.2 billion per day or $200,000 per second.

With this much economic activity and opportunity at stake, he said there is a need for greater security awareness and constant vigilance.

“Over the years we’ve seen e-commerce payments accelerate across Africa. A lot more of our consumers are making purchases via e-commerce. We are also seeing an acceleration in contactless payments. One other significant thing we are seeing is other forms of payments like crypto and Real-Time Transport Protocol networks as well.

Risk leaders have to look at ways of protecting consumers and complying with various regulations,” Otto Williams, Visa’s head of products and partnerships in Central Europe Middle East, and Africa told the Business Daily on the sidelines of the Visa Security Summit in Dubai held a few weeks ago.

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