Technology Focus

Cybercrime: A Continual Threat

Despite gains, cybersecurity remains critical.

By Michael Scheibach, Contributing Editor

Some 12 billion records are expected to be compromised globally by cybercriminals this year. That’s a pretty incredible number. Now try this: In 2023, just five years away, more than 33 billion records will be stolen — an increase of 175 percent. As if that’s not bad enough, more than 50 percent of data breaches in 2023 will occur in the United States. The reason? Consumer and corporate data are maintained by a wide range of institutions with disparate safeguards and regulations, making it easier for cybercriminals to exploit systemic weaknesses. So says Juniper Research in its new report, “The Future of Cybercrime & Security.”


High-Tech, High-Touch Loans

It’s time to streamline small-business lending.

By Michael Scheibach, Contributing Editor

A small-business owner needs a loan. This requires a visit to the bank during business hours to meet with a loan officer and complete a paper-based loan application form. Before being approved, however, the application must be reviewed, which might take a day or more. Rather than wait, the owner decides to pursue an alternative lender that offers faster loan processing — even though the terms are not as attractive as the bank’s.


Five Popular Myths about AI

By Christian Engel

July 19 — The concept of artificial intelligence has provided fodder for science fiction writers for decades. Today, narratives that we will soon see a malevolent super-intelligence like Skynet from “Terminator” have become commonplace. But a dark future with a fight against monsters like the Terminator seems a bit far-fetched. Yet if you’ve been reading up on artificial intelligence recently, you’ve come across plenty of myths almost as scary as the Terminator: All our jobs are going to disappear! Robots are going to take over our business activities! Every company has to purchase AI very soon in order to survive in the market!


Banking’s New Ecosystem

The future requires a customer-first approach.

By Michael Scheibach, Contributing Editor

“For financial services organizations, success in the coming decade depends on how well they transform ‘business as usual’ with technology to create new value, becoming indispensible partners in increasingly interdependent networks and complex value chains that cross business and industry boundaries.”

Thus concludes Microsoft’s report, “The Future Banking Ecosystem: Evolution and Innovation in the Digital Era.” At the midway point in 2018 — now just 18 months away from the “Year of Banking Disruption” — the pressure for banks to transform themselves has never been more urgent. Banks must have in place, or have in the final planning phase, a roadmap for the new banking ecosystem.


Disruption Is the Status Quo

Payments Summit highlights next-generation technology.

By Michael Scheibach

If you are not familiar with the acronym FIDO, it’s time to learn. FIDO — Fast IDentity Online — consists of open standards for simpler, stronger authentication. As explained by Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance (, “With FIDO protection, you are totally protected against hackers.” In contrast, OTP credentials (i.e., one-time six-digit codes) go over the internet and can be compromised; and PAN, or primary account number, credentials are vulnerable to data breaches. The goal of the FIDO Alliance, said McDowell, is to reduce the reliance on passwords and enhance the protection against such threats as phishing, man-in-the-middle and replay attacks using stolen passwords — an important step to counteract the growth in card-not-present fraud, estimated to hit $5.6 billion by 2019.


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