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IBM Beefs Up Criminal Detection/Analytics Software

Entity Analytics Solutions 4.1 determines identities, finds criminals, and discovers non-obvious relationships between identities like shared phone numbers or bank accounts

IBM has taken the SRD fraud detection software it bought a year ago, added new features to it, and released it today as Entity Analytics Solutions 4.1. SRD was a Las Vegas-based company whose software helped casinos recognize card sharks, con artists, and criminals as they walked in. Its entity resolution software determines identities, finds criminals, and discovers non-obvious relationships between identities like shared phone numbers or bank accounts. The IBM instantiation of the software is intended to integrate customer data from different sources (web site, CRM database, etc.), identify relationships and criminal activity, and alert customer service reps -- bank tellers, insurance agents, flight attendants and such -- when they look up a customer name. Industry specific workflows can take the issue from there (for instance, a money laundering investigation). For this release, IBM added additional language support (French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese) so that global companies can use the tool and better recognize names in foreign languages, support for Linux and IBM's system Z mainframe, an improved GUI for building queries and managing the process, and simpler installation and administration.

A government agency might use the identity resolution in EAS 4.1 to analyze passenger lists before letting people board a plane. "It's become very important for agencies responsible for border security to recognize and identify the bad guys in real time to prevent them from entering the country or boarding an airplane -- it becomes much harder to find them inside the country later on when we realize they're a bad guy," says Tim Paydos, Director of Strategy, Entity Analytics, IBM Information Management.

The fraud detection component of the software could be used to catch people who try to defraud welfare, Medicare or Medicaid. A bank could use it to find money laundering or fraudulent use of identities. "Our clients are telling us they face intensified challenges in the threat and fraud area and that these challenges mandate a fresh approach," Paydos says. "We're seeing a multiplication of threat types and greater frequency with which they're occurring. The threats are increasingly asymmetrical -- it used to be that you had to be a fairly sophisticated organization to threaten a bank or government agency or society. Now a small guy without a lot of money with a good laptop can cause an immense amount of damage. These guys are getting better at doing what they do and at being able to hide who they are and hide the threat."

Pricing for the software starts at about $300,000. This product is part of IBM's plan to become the dominant player in the area of threat and fraud intelligence. Later this summer the company intends to release an update of the Language Analysis Systems software it recently acquired, which specializes in recognizing and handling cross-cultural names. Other products to be included in the framework include pattern recognition, text analysis, and perhaps biometric capabilities.

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