The Dark Web trade exposed

It was the cover story of The Times on Saturday, and has been an infamous point of discussion since the internet became mainstream, but what is the dark web, how can I protect data from the dark web, and why should we be worried?

“Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean. While a great deal may be caught in the net, there is still a wealth of information that is deep, and therefore, missed. The reason is simple: Most of the Web’s information is buried far down on dynamically generated sites, and standard search engines never find it.” – Michael K. Bergman

The dark web refers to a huge area of the internet, untraceable by standard web browsers, and only accessible through encryption tools such as Tor. Tor hides the identity and location of the user, and is usually used by the website host as well as by the user, meaning that a huge amount of unlawful transactions involving fraudulent identity documents can take place covertly.

Research revealed by The Times this Saturday reported a shocking number of forged identity documents, including passports, utility bills, driving licenses and bank statements, were on sale on the dark web for anywhere from as little as £7 for a passport scan, or £752 for a physical UK passport.

Research leaders, Dr Lee and Dr Andres Baravalle, spent three months searching through the Agora marketplace, known as “the king of the dark web”, finding more than 30,000 illegal products on sale, many of which were fake or real identity documents. The academics found a trade of nearly £2 million in identity documents, including EU identity cards for £142 and driving licenses from EU countries for £419.

Recently Yahoo! Admitted that their database of over 500 million accounts was raided by hackers, leaving millions vulnerable to identity fraud and theft. Now they are being sued in California for failing to take due care of sensitive information under the Unfair Competition Act as well as negligence for poor security. Information stolen from the Yahoo! Database include users’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, passwords, and encrypted and unencrypted security questions and answers.


 

Our Solution

Our unique software solution can be used to identify whether your customers’ data is for sale on the dark web, providing high, medium, and low risk alerts surrounding the likelihood of ID theft so that you can quickly and efficiently identify fraud and alert your customers.

With our software you can protect data from the dark web risks, and prevent millions in losses from identity fraud.

Get in touch to find out more

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The future of marketing and how to make your brand stand out

Imagine being part of a generation who grew up with the ability to get anything they wanted from the touch of a button. That’s Generation Z. Now imagine trying to market to them.

When considering the future of your marketing methods, it is important to not only consider current spenders, but future spenders as well. On average, a loyal customer is a lot more valuable to a business than a new customer, with many sources saying it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than to sell to an existing one. With this in mind, it is vital to build a meaningful relationship with your customers from the first point of contact, which will likely be when they first start spending.

Generation Z are the cohort born after 1996, meaning the eldest of which will soon be turning 20. The late teenage years are the time when people start to take control of their own finances, and with many heading to university at the age of 18 or 19, this might be the first time that they have had to consider things like gas and electric providers, internet companies, bank accounts and credit cards, as well as getting their first job and having full access to shopping without parental oversight.

That being in mind, there is a huge opportunity for these businesses to commence potentially lifelong relationships with these consumers, but how do you stand out from the crowd when the crowd is so huge? There are 37 Gas & Electric providers listed on Which? in the UK alone, and 131 internet providers on the ISPA. To get a customer on board with you from the beginning, you need to tailor your approach to give them what they want and what they need.

This generation have grown up with personalisation being standard among services like Netiflix and Amazon that it is increasingly expected as the norm. They don’t want a bank that will block their card because they are abroad longer than they said they would be, they want a bank that can recognise that they are stuck in Egypt following the ban on flights to and from Sharm el Sheikh and extend their overdraft to help them out while they are there. Personal touches like this can mean the difference between that customer being long-term and loyal, and leaving you for a bank that will make them feel more valued.

 

So how can you make this happen?

Personalisation seems like a great idea, but how do you actually go about it? The good news is that this generation has grown up with the internet, as have many Millennials, meaning that there are vast amounts of data available to utilise in order to better understand your customer base, all you need is the right tools. 99% of consumers are happy to share data with brands in return for personalised communications, provided that they do it with their consent.

Big data analytics tools provide a particular advantage in that they take into account all available digital data with the consumer’s consent; they don’t scrape social media, and they are not social listening. This poses huge benefits for consumers and businesses, by offering more privacy and decision-power to consumers, and providing more detailed and predictive insight to businesses.

An easy mistake to make is personalising the acquisition process, for example through targeted marketing, without following through the consumer journey. Understanding consumer behaviour based on personality, interests, and life events gives you key indicators of what products and services they might be interested in. Imagine you are a T.V. and internet provider for example, with real-time insight into life events, you can identify if one of your customers is going back to university and therefore market your services as a student bundle, ideal for multiple users streaming at once. Likewise, a coffee shop can identify which of its customers have upcoming exams and offer them a revision deal of a ‘skip the library: get your 2nd coffee free for a stress-free revision session at Coffee World.’.

By harnessing the power of big data you can personalise the user journey from sign-up, throughout the entire relationship and adapt alongside your consumer’s ever-changing needs. Personalisation isn’t just offering a football fan football tickets, its offering a football fan tickets to their favourite team on their birthday.

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Your consumers can buy happiness, when you use PROFILE

If money can buy happiness, you can sell it. That is with personality insights for marketing of course.

Researchers from Cambridge University found that segmenting and targeting consumers based on personality insights benefit customers and businesses. After all, a happy customer is a returning customer.

The recent research that has taken the retail world by storm has shown that money can buy happiness. The catch? The products or services bought must match that consumer’s personality. So how can you ensure that you target the right products to the right individuals? This is where personality insights for marketing help.

 

The Study

Researchers from Cambridge University collected data from 77000 UK bank spending transactions of 624 participants. They split the transactions into 59 categories including travel, coffee shops, sports, and eating out. They then gave these spending categories human characteristics and scored them on the Big Five personality traits. The participants completed questionnaires measuring their own Big Five personality traits and their life satisfaction.

They found that those who spent more money on purchases that matched their personality were happier and reported higher levels of overall life satisfaction. Perhaps even more significantly, they found matching spending with personality is more important for an individual’s happiness than total income.

A follow-up experiment directly supports these findings. Researchers randomly allocated either a £7 book voucher (low extraversion activity) or a £7 bar voucher (high extraversion activity) to a group of introverts (people with low extraversion) and a group of extraverts (people with high extraversion) and matched or mismatched the reward to their personality. They found that participants were significantly happier when the reward matched their own levels of extraversion.

The Implications

This study provides evidence that can enable retailers to provide more bespoke advice to consumers on what products might contribute to their happiness. This can be done through personalisation systems which enable the automatic segmentation of customers based on their personality traits. Then you can target ads and campaigns to the different audiences accordingly. For example, match highly agreeable consumers to products which fulfil their desire to help others by offering a charity donation. This is particularly relevant to today’s digital world where consumers are often overwhelmed with choice.

How to put this into practice

As this study has shown, personality is a key component in what makes an individual happy when it comes to spending their hard earned money. To get the best chance of a customer buying your product (and being happy because of it) you need to consider their personality traits.

With personality insights for marketing you can deliver ads for products and services that will directly contribute to their happiness. Therefore increase the probability of them associating your brand with happiness and positivity, brand loyalty, and brand evangelism.

Businesses can utilise these personality insights for marketing to target advertisements, personalise rewards and offers, and create tailored loyalty schemes. For example, if you offer all your customers the reward of 2-for-1 drinks at a pub, this may only appeal to the more extraverted consumers. Create happier customers by tailoring your rewards so that extraverts receive the above offer and introverts receive the reward of a 20% off book voucher. This is likely to result in customers who associate your company with their satisfaction and therefore are more likely to return.

Personality insights for marketing with PROFILE

PROFILE takes thousands of data points from consumers’ digital footprints and generates scores for each of the Big Five personality traits. These are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism derived using psycholinguistics, Bayesian Belief, machine learning, and natural language processing

Personalise your automated processes and create happier customers with the click of a button. Increase customer acquisition, increasing revenue, and improve customer loyalty with PROFILE.

Contact Us to find out more about PROFILE’s personality insights for marketing and how we can help you help your consumers.

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The Dark Web: Is my data out there?

The Dark Web (which can also be referred to as “The Deep Web” or “The Invisible Web”) makes up at least 85% of the internet. With some sources stating that traditional search engines only see 0.03% of the entire web, we discuss the dark web data risks you need to know about and how you can prevent associated losses.

The Dark Web was launched by the US Naval Research Laboratory in 2003. It was indended for use in secret services, law enforcement, and to train political dissidents in countries with oppressive governments. Additionally, journalists in heavily censored countries could use it to communicate and exchange information.

The Dark Web requires specific software, configurations, or authorisation to access in order to ensure complete anonymity, and transactions are made using untraceable currencies such as bitcoin.

 

Dark web data risks you can’t ignore

Despite its original purpose, The Dark Web is mostly used for illicit trade including buying and selling Fake IDs and visas, stolen credit cards, weapons, drugs, child pornography, and even the services of hit men, all with hidden IP addresses of both hosting sites, and visitors e.g. Silk Road.

Cybercriminals are willing to pay good money for stolen data, making the Dark Web a huge target for illegal activity and giving people easy access to commit ID and credit card fraud through the untraceable internet.

 

Our Solution

Our solution, Fraud Web, enables you to see whether your customers’ data is for sale on The Dark Web, and which data is at risk. This means that you can identify whether a criminal could potentially access your customer’s data and know if your customer has fallen victim to ID fraud.

With Fraud Web, you will receive high, medium, and low risk alerts surrounding the likelihood of ID theft so that you can quickly and efficiently identify fraud and alert your customers.

 

The average cost of a single stolen data record for any business is $154.

Can you afford the risk?

 

Find out more by emailing us or call our office today.

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What is Bayesian Belief? A Dummies Guide

Bayesian Belief Networks are networks of connected variables that generate predictions based on assumptions. These are generally used when there is a lack of data available.

Bayesian Belief Networks – Example

Let’s say we are determining the likelihood of a person owning a Michael Kors handbag and the average UK person has a likelihood of 20% of owning one. If we know some additional pieces of information, we can update our model based on this. We can then use this to determine the specific probability of owning a Michael Kors handbag using the information we currently know.

The Average Joe has a 20% chance of owning a Michael Kors handbag

Person A: 1) Owns a dog, 2) Is male, 3) Has a semi-detached house

Person B: 1) Owns a Michael Kors watch, 2) Is aged 20-25, 3) Is female

Person C: 1) is aged 40-45, 2) Shops in Prada 3) Wears Chanel perfume

 

The likelihood that these users own a Michael Kors handbag is different for each individual based on the variables that are known because the statistical links are measured between these types of variables.

With Bayesian modelling, we can update the likelihood that a user owns a handbag despite the sparse details available.

With the known information, the model uses this to predict the likelihood of owning a Michael Kors handbag vs. not owning one, despite the fact there are certain elements about the user we do not know.

 

Bayesian Belief Networks are part of the various advanced analytics techniques we use in our software solutions to derive meaningful insights into consumers. Our solutions PROFILE and Discovery help businesses to personalise marketing to boost ROI.

Check out our blog on Natural Language Processing

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