With the recent Equifax breach coming back into the limelight due to the cancellation of the $125 check the FTC promised to those impacted by the breach, we want to take a look at possible prevention for the breach in the first place, or at least ways that the damage could have been minimized.
Earlier this month, the heart of Manhattan was struck with a major power outage estimated to have impacted up to 72,000 Con Edison customers. While dangerous and definitely hard to look on the bright side of things, there are reports that do bring good news concerning the power outage. NBC reports that terrorism and cyber-attacks were ruled out following an investigation ordered by Mayor Bill De Blasio. So what could have caused this major blackout?
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A very interesting application of high-fidelity synthetic data generation techniques is to reduce credit card fraud. By 2025, the global losses to credit card fraud are expected to reach almost $50 billion. Detecting fraudulent transactions in a large data-set poses a problem because they are such a small percentage of the overall transactions. Banks and financial institutions are in need of a solution that can correctly identify both fraudulent and non-fraudulent transactions, and detect false/true negatives and false/true positives, enabling the creation of receiver operating curves and tuning the system to optimize for the cost to correct the fraud payment versus the cost of the payment. High fidelity synthetic data solves this dilemma by generating volumes of non-fraudulent transactions while interweaving complex fraud patterns into a very small subset of the overall transactions. The fraud patterns are known, enabling the credit card fraud detection system to be optimized.
Most applications testing, both performance and in development environments, is being done today utilizing production data that has been extracted utilizing an ETL (Extract Transform Load) process and then manually modified to create specific use cases. For example for cyber applications, most testing is being done by replaying network traffic. Due to the labor intensity of this process, use case coverage is generally very low and most of the business logic and workflow rules go untested. This is where the concept of sufficiently complex data comes in. Test data should be of large enough volumes to cover peak processing volumes and have sufficient complexity to cover almost all of the business logic and workflow rules. Utilizing large amounts of sufficiently complex test data will exercise algorithms at peak processing volumes to expose failures before moving to the production environment and enable precision error measurement for ambiguous, true and false errors. Systems can then be optimized for the cost of errors versus the cost to correct.