Featured IT News

More F-35 issues discovered, but Australia firm on purchase

17 June 2019 in Government Tech Policy

The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of 72 F-35A fighter aircraft, the Department of Defence says, in response to…

NSA's EternalBlue exploit surfaces in bog standard mining attack

15 June 2019 in Security

A bog standard attack aimed at planting a cryptocurrency miner has been found to be using advanced targeted attack tools…

Sec firm Dragos warns of threat group targeting electricity utilities

15 June 2019 in Security

Industrial security intelligence provider Dragos has issued a warning about a threat group it has baptised Xenotime, which it says…

Broadcom says Huawei ban will mean US$2b less in revenue

14 June 2019 in Business Telecommunications

Semiconductor and hardware manufacturer Broadcom has said it will take a hit of about US$2 billion in annual sales for…

Australian, NZ enterprises ‘global leaders’ in cloud adoption: report

14 June 2019 in Cloud

Australian and New Zealand enterprises are global leaders in cloud adoption, with many having implemented cloud programs across all or…

Mail servers running Exim come under attack

14 June 2019 in Security

Mail servers running the Exim mail transport agent are being exploited, with the attackers using a vulnerability disclosed a few…

Assange extradition order signed, matter now in hands of court

13 June 2019 in Strategy

The extradition of WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange is now up to the courts when he faces a hearing…

Pushed too hard, more Australians want to quit jobs: survey

13 June 2019 in Recruitment

A survey of 1909 Australians has found that an increasing number want to quit their jobs because they are being…

Huawei ups ante in US spat, asks Verizon to license patents

13 June 2019 in Government Tech Policy

In what appears to be an escalation of the row between the US and China, the telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei…

Huawei puts CES Asia laptop launch on hold: report

13 June 2019 in Government Tech Policy

Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies has put on hold the launch of a new laptop in its Matebook series…

Melbourne, Dallas and LA to test Uber Air taxi service

12 June 2019 in Automotive

Global ride provider Uber will launch its air taxi service, Uber Air, in Melbourne, Dallas and Los Angeles, with test…

5G uptake even faster than expected, says Ericsson

11 June 2019 in Telecoms & NBN

An extra 400 million enhanced mobile broadband subscriptions globally by the end of 2024 has been forecast by Ericsson in…

Breaking IT News

Black Hat pulls keynote speaker due to stance on women's issues

17 June 2019 in Security

The Black Hat security conference has changed its mind about having Texas Republican Will Hurd as keynote speaker for its…

Move to pay Debian devs for project work rears its head again

17 June 2019 in Open Source

The idea of paying developers to work on Debian GNU/Linux packages has reared its head again, with senior developer Raphael…

5G technology forecast to drive growth in robotics, artificial intelligence sectors

14 June 2019 in Business Telecommunications

The arrival of 5G technology will drive a new wave of growth in the rapidly evolving robotics and artificial intelligence…

Commvault says new leadership team boosts Australia, NZ business

14 June 2019 in Strategy

Global enterprise software company Commvault has announced a new business strategy for Australia and New Zealand and appointed Brisbane-based Craig…

Rights body calls for govt to put people, not cost savings, first

14 June 2019 in Government Tech Policy

The Federal Government is putting cost savings first and people second through its increasing use of technology and algorithms to…

Spectur secures agreement for $1 million debt facility with Westpac

14 June 2019 in Listed Tech

Australian-listed security technology company Spectur has announced it has secured agreement with Westpac Bank for a debt facility of $1…

Netgear announces two new switches for AV over Ethernet

14 June 2019 in Hardware

Networking equipment maker Netgear has launched two new switches in its M4300 line, the M4300-16X and the M4300-24FX, at the…

Security pros trade barbs over Microsoft bug disclosure

14 June 2019 in Security

Well-known Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy has taken a swipe at security industry veteran Richard Bejtlich, after the latter chided…

CERN decides to jettison Microsoft after steep price hike

14 June 2019 in Business Software

Microsoft's revocation of the "academic institution" status granted to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, has…

Trust in news sources down 6% in Australia: Reuters study

14 June 2019 in Data

Trust in news sources has fallen by 2% globally, but in Australia the fall is much steeper, at 6%, according…

Pega central to CBA customer conversations

14 June 2019 in CRM

Pegasystems' software is "driving our customer conversations", Commonwealth Bank head of data and decisioning strategy, retail bank, Alex Burton has…

Huawei re-signs as major sponsor of NRL’s Canberra Raiders

14 June 2019 in Strategy

Huawei Australia has signed a new two-year contract to continue as major sponsor of the National Rugby League team, Canberra…

Ethics and governance 'important for analytics and AI'

13 June 2019 in Enterprise Solutions

Australian organisations are getting past the "science experiment" stage of applying analytics and AI, to making important ethics and governance…

Technology, science sectors see ‘modest growth’ in job ads: report

13 June 2019 in Enterprise Staff

The technology and science sectors are amongst the strongest contributors to the employment market, with the sectors experiencing a modest…

HSBC revamps marketing efforts with Pega

13 June 2019 in CRM

Traditional marketing (eg, segmentation and campaigns) wasn't working for HSBC Australia or its customers, according to head of data, analytics…

Triton Digital snaps up Melbourne's Omny Studio

13 June 2019 in Entertainment

Digital audio and podcast software provider Triton Digital has acquired Melbourne-based Omny Studio, claimed to be the creators of the…

ACS appoints Khimji Vaghjiani as head of growth for Harbour City Labs

13 June 2019 in People Moves

The Australian Computer Society has appointed ICT industry veteran, Dr Khimji Vaghjiani, as head of growth at Harbour City Labs.

New D-Link surveillance cameras

13 June 2019 in Security

D-Link ANZ has announced two new 5-megapixel outdoor surveillance cameras, both of which are available now.

 

Popular News

 

Telecommunications

VENDOR NEWS & EVENTS

REVIEWS

Recent Comments

Wednesday, 25 October 2017 23:03

Using big data in the fight against slavery

By

What can one person do to combat the evils of human trafficking? Can we, as technology professionals, use our skills to effect good in the world? The answer is yes, says the Global Emancipation Network.

This may be the most important story I've written. In The Wired CIO, I speak of the wonders of technology for business excellence, and the need for today's IT leader to transform business. Yet, not all is so well in the world. Human trafficking exists for forced labour and sexual purposes. Trafficking is a big business model and enslaves and holds captive real, live human beings. It can only be described as evil.

The Global Emancipation Network, or GEN, is a non-profit organisation committed to the fight against traffickers, leveraging big data to unite international partners and law enforcement in this fight. It's no hyperbole to speak of trafficking as "big business"; it brings in roughly US$150 billion annually, according to the International Labour Organisation. Around 21 million women, children and men are trafficked annually, but fewer than 50,000 of these victims are identified and rescued.

Human traffickers in developed countries such as the United States and Australia are keeping up with technology to increase their revenue and stay one step ahead of law enforcement. They use the marvels of the Internet to find and groom victims, to transport them, and to advertise their services. Yet, this same technology can be used against them.

Here's where GEN comes in, making use of big data tools and analytics from Splunk via its charitable arm Splunk4Good and its Splunk Pledge which last year committed $US100 million over 10 years for research, education and non-profits. Splunk Pledge has in its first year already distributed millions of dollars in licenses and trained thousands in the use and administration of Splunk.

GEN was founded by Sherrie Caltagirone, who told iTWire the threat intelligence and security community is a small one. Caltagirone knew Monzy Merza, Splunk's Head of Security Research, who was working with Splunk Pledge's Corey Marshall to identify the right partner for Splunk's non-profit commitment. "Not just a partner, but the right partner," Caltagirone says, "someone doing something tangible."

Thus, GEN signed up with Splunk Pledge for education credits, expertise and licensing. "We hit the ground running," Caltagirone says. "We brainstormed, flew out to Seattle and put the plan together."

GEN describes itself as the global clearing house for trafficking intelligence, and its mission as facilitating communication and technology-sharing initiatives between anti-trafficking organisations.

Specifically, GEN collects data from the open Web, the deep and dark Webs, and anywhere it thinks trafficking is happening in all its many forms. The organisation looks to find patterns in the data - perhaps the same phone number appearing at the same time in different places, or maybe where a dark web screen name is used on public Internet social sites. All of this effort works towards GEN's mission – to identify and rescue every victim, to identify and stop every trafficker.

Much of this data may be seen as disparate or useless in isolation, but by correlating all this information together through big data analytics GEN is able to identify human trafficking activity and rings and to work with law enforcement in real time to act fast in tracking them down.

As well as its software, Splunk brings its smarts and its people. Merza has applied his learnings from cybersecurity practices — whether using machine data to detect ransomware or other anomalous activities — to get crafty to identify these traffickers and make this data usable to non-data scientists, like police and detectives. Data analytics are used to find correlations in advertisements and phone number origins. GEN’s Splunk system is connected to the law enforcers’ text message systems so they can be alerted in real time.

"The other thing that's really important to GEN," Caltagirone says, "is people can use their skills for good. People have their day job but then can use their skills for human impact. Not just with trafficking, but to other non-profits.

"People in the tech sector with cyber-threat backgrounds or web developers and coders can help us at any time. We have tonnes of projects. I love watching the light bulb click when people can apply the same skills they use during the day to a different problem. Really, it's the same methodology to hunt traffickers as it is to hunt hackers."

"We believe everyone has the responsibility and the ability to end human trafficking."

Caltagirone's background has been in legislation, drafting anti-trafficking laws, and sought to identify metrics to measure impact. It struck her there was no easy way to measure success. These ideas percolated with her and she realised sharing data made the most sense, leading to the creation of GEN.

It's no easy task. Countries around the globe have a wide range of attitudes towards trafficking. Some will do anything to tackle the problem while others are closed. Additionally, the European Union mandates any personally identified European information must be hosted in that region.

Despite obstacles and compliance overheads, GEN remains undeterred in its mission. "Sharing data helps find the victims and find the traffickers. The more I share this, the more the walls come down," Caltagirone says.

"The number of victims ranges from 20 million to 46 million," she says. "There's no hard data to back any figure up, and there is no repeatable methodology. Every single report that comes out identifies the magnitude of the report, but can't say with authority if there are more men or more women, or more labour or sex trafficking."

In fact, in this arena, the only number which can be taken as credible is the 9,000 convictions recorded each year.

Historically, data sharing problems and technology limitations have hindered collaboration and precision in reporting, so Caltagirone sought to launch GEN akin to a technology startup, seeking to measure success from the beginning.

"Using these methods coupled with Splunk we have brought about world change already," Caltagirone says. "We just completed an investigation that identified 167 users in a small area. This is now in the hands of law enforcement."

In this domain, a "user" is someone who is engaged in trafficking activities. "One example is an escort review forum, a place where people buying sex can review providers. Each user has an account. Our goal is to find the traffickers, seeking attribution, names, addresses and other information, enriching it with public records. We can find the same user handle in the open web," she says.

Trafficking and exploitation of people is not confined to remote, far-flung third-world countries. "Australia has a trafficking problem," Caltagirone told iTWire. "It is a transit and destination country, and sex tourism takes place from Australian nationals to South East Asia."

"Trafficking is going on under law enforcement eyes. Corruption is a big issue we face from the ground up."

GEN carefully vets those to whom it gives platform access. "We spend a lot of time in conversation with law-enforcement. We have four different levels of access – the investigator's portal is the most secure. People who share data can choose who they share with and which fields to share. We vet individuals and agencies while information owners can control and share the data with who they wish. The insider threat is real."

You can reach GEN via the Web, Twitter, or Facebook. GEN gratefully receives donations of funds and time.

Splunk4Good has also reached US Veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Splunk is helping Wounded Warrior Project place veterans on the path to cutting-edge careers by equipping them with tangible and marketable skillsets,” said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington, chief executive, WWP.  “We are excited to partner with Splunk through our Warriors to Work initiative because careers requiring analytics and cyber security skills are in high demand, and there are thousands of available opportunities available globally. Partners like Splunk help us to better connect, serve and empower wounded warriors every day.”

The Splunk Pledge was announced at Splunk .conf2016, providing free Splunk Enterprise licenses, e-learning and support to any non-profit organisation in the world.

“I am deeply proud of Splunk Pledge as we work with the community around us to drive awareness and delivery of education and access to information. Among many successes, Splunk Pledge has already helped nonprofits use analytics to combat human trafficking, optimize solar power in transportation and accelerate humanitarian and disaster response,” said Doug Merritt, president and chief executive, Splunk.

“Data analytics through Splunk enables businesses to grow and succeed, and now Splunk is enabling individuals, diverse communities, nonprofits and educational institutions around the world to similarly succeed. Splunk, together with our partners, is using machine data to change the world.”

LEARN HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF A CYBER ATTACK

Australia is a cyber espionage hot spot.

As we automate, script and move to the cloud, more and more businesses are reliant on infrastructure that has high potential to be exposed to risk.

It only takes one awry email to expose an accounts payable process, and for cyber attackers to cost a business thousands of dollars.

In the free white paper ‘6 steps to improve your Business Cyber Security’ you will learn some simple steps you should be taking to prevent devastating malicious cyber attacks from destroying your business.

Cyber security can no longer be ignored, in this white paper you will learn:

· How does business security get breached?
· What can it cost to get it wrong?
· 6 actionable tips

DOWNLOAD NOW!

David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.