Accenture to develop new border security app for Canada

02 March 2018

The federal government of Canada has hired Accenture to develop a new border security application. Upon its test launch, the digital program will allow ‘known travelers’ to pass between the countries of Canada and the Netherlands more quickly, using their mobile devices.

According to the World Economic Forum, international traveler arrivals are expected to increase from 1.2 billion in 2016 to 1.8 billion by 2030. The rise in volume will increase risk and security requirements for the aviation and travel and tourism sectors.

Increases in international travel have already put numerous industries under pressure to meet skyrocketing levels of demand. Most notably, surging demand has seen the global commercial aviation space project to grow its fleet by more than 10,000 planes over the next decade. However, growing levels of cross-border travel are forcing immigration authorities to explore new strategies for expediting border security protocol.

The Known Traveler Digital Identity – announced at the Davos World Economic Forum in January – is a joint venture between the governments of Canada and the Netherlands, and will be pilot-tested on travelers moving between the two countries. Similar to other trusted-traveler programs like Nexus – which allows people quicker movement between Canada and the US – the Known Traveler Digital Identity program will ask travelers for detailed personal information for pre-screening, including university degrees, bank statements, and vaccination records.

Accenture helps Canadian government with new border security app.psd

The new pilot program gets ‘trusted travelers’ through border checks more quickly in exchange for a digital profile filled with their personal information – including biometrics like retina and facial recognition – located on their mobile devices. In addition to providing additional personal information before travelling, user profiles would also be automatically updated as they fly around the globe. The more borders they cross without incident, the more ‘trusted’ the traveler’s profile becomes.

The app is planned to get a wider global rollout in 2020. To ensure that the project meets the end-of-decade deadline, global technology and consulting firm Accenture has been enlisted to help develop the program.

With the imminent arrival of GDPR looming over global businesses, Accenture has stated that user information will be properly safeguarded. The system will utilize blockchain, leveraging the technology’s encryption and decentralization to ensure privacy and security. The consultancy also confirmed that users will be able to decide which parties they wish to share their information with, and when, on a case-by-case basis.

In a statement to CBC News, the Accenture said, "No personal information is stored on the ledger itself, ensuring that personal information is not consolidated in one system, which would make it a high value target for subversion.”

The ID scheme will theoretically reduce wait times at the airport security and controls, and making the traveler’s overall experience more efficient. In the new system, passengers would only be required to scan their smartphone – presenting their biometric, biographic, and personal data, securely stored in a blockchain-based ID. Critics, however, are concerned that the new app will create a two-tier system, with those unable or unwilling to purchase a capable smartphone and system membership – the US-Canadian Nexus traveler program costs $50 per 5 years – receiving lower levels of service.


Edmonton Economic Development hires Deloitte to investigate phishing attack

01 February 2019

On Wednesday, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) said it has been defrauded of $375,000 by as-yet-unknown entities. The agency has brought in Deloitte to provide investigation services.

“We are working with authorities and legal counsel to determine if the funds can be recovered,” the EEDC said in a statement.

The municipal agency receives money from various sources to spur Edmonton’s economy. A common task at the EEDC is collecting money from entities like the federal and municipal governments, then funneling it to particular projects, making it a juicy target for fraudsters.

“We were notified by our bank in late 2018 that there were irregularities in a transaction and at the beginning of January, we confirmed that there was fraudulent activity and we commenced an investigation,” Terry Curtis, EEDC vice president of corporate relations, said in an interview with Global News. “I can’t give a lot of information on the phishing scheme itself because there is an ongoing investigation with the authorities as well as some third parties that we’ve invited to do some cybersecurity investigations for us.”

In addition to a cybersecurity investigation, Deloitte will also provide the EEDC recommendations for preventative measures. This sort of project is likely to be handled primarily by the firm’s forensics practice, under its Financial Crime Advisory service line. Within, Deloitte helps clients address the entire financial crime lifecycle, including compliance, prevention, detection, investigation, remediation, testing, and monitoring, drawing on experts from multiple practices (such as tech and cybersecurity).

Edmonton Economic Development hires Deloitte to investigate phishing attack

EEDC will also work with auditor Grant Thornton to dig into the details of the particular transaction to ensure it was a solitary occurrence. Curtis said the EEDC will also educate and retrain its employees to be more cyber-savvy.

The details of the phishing scam are as yet under a veil of secrecy because of the ongoing police investigation. The agency did not divulge which individual or company was impersonated by the unidentified digital fraudsters. The EEDC has, however, put in place new log-in verifications for employees who use the agency’s online systems.

"We understand the nature of the attack; we don't know where the bad actor is, who the bad actor is, how it transpired," Curtis told the CBC.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, meanwhile, was understandably perturbed by the financial loss, calling the situation "very concerning."

"Those are public dollars in the hands of EEDC to achieve economic goals," Iveson told the CBC. "EEDC is not unique, but clearly this will need to be investigated."

As organizations and payments march towards full digitalization, the threat of cyber fraud swells - especially for those sending out large sums of money. A lack top-notch processes or properly trained staff magnifies the risk.

In 2017, MacEwan University in Edmonton was defrauded of $11.8 million after staff failed to make a verification call to a vendor after receiving fraudulent emails requesting a change in banking information. As such, the university mistakenly paid out the amount to the fraudulent account. Most of the money was recovered after being traced to accounts in Hong Kong and Montreal.