Firms Add Prominent E-Discovery and Forensics Professionals from Deloitte and Alcatel-Lucent;
Introduce New Hardware and Software Tools to Streamline Data Collections and Enhance Analysis
MWE China Law Offices, together with its strategic ally, McDermott Will and Emery, is expanding its industry-leading MWE China Data Center to provide a fuller range of sophisticated legal and forensic technology services.
The groundbreaking Data Center – the first full law firm discovery platform in China – was opened in 2014 as a new extension into data and technology services, continuing MWE China’s innovations in the market. The unique Data Center is designed, operated and staffed by locally licensed lawyers with a focus on finding and delivering legal value inside of large data sets and helping clients navigate China’s challenging data privacy and security laws.
The MWE China Data Center has recently expanded through new e-discovery and forensic hardware and software tools to meet the emerging data needs of multinational companies in China. Local data protection laws are evolving rapidly and have critical implications for the way companies undertake business deals and commercial matters as well as financial audits, corporate due diligence, litigation, and especially sensitive investigations and government enforcement matters that demand rapid reviews of large amounts of electronically stored information.
As a primary focus, the Data Center is expanding its core team of locally qualified reviewer attorneys to meet the continuously growing market demand for document review and evidence analysis by Chinese lawyers. In addition to the growth of the core review team, McDermott and MWE China have also hired two highly experienced e-discovery and forensic professionals to further strengthen the leadership and provide deeper technical expertise and experience. Mark Schroeder, who recently joined from his role as Associate Director of Deloitte China, has been named Foreign Consultant. Eric Dai, previously Manager of Legal and Compliance at Alcatel-Lucent as well as Senior Consultant for Forensic Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been named Compliance Advisor.
Mr. Schroeder, who has worked in China since 2002, has deep compliance, policy and FCPA/anti-corruption investigations experience utilizing digital forensics and e-discovery. He combines his legal and commercial background with more than twenty years of consulting for multinational corporations and Chinese organizations focusing on compliance and business issues. He earned his law degree, Certified Fraud Examiner certification and Hong Kong mediation license while working in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
Mr. Dai’s practice has focused mainly on regulatory compliance, FCPA/anti-corruption investigations, fraud detection, forensic accounting, e-discovery and white collar crime. At Alcatel-Lucent, he was responsible for identifying potential areas of compliance vulnerabilities and evaluating risks in order to develop and implement corrective action plans, as well as drafting and updating local compliance policies to meet global requirements. At PwC, he provided forensic services to clients – including digital evidence collections, forensic accounting, fraud investigation and fraud prevention – in a wide range of industries.
In addition to these significant new hires, the MWE China Data Center is also continuing the expansion of its technology through new hardware and software tools. Most significantly, the Data Center has added full data collections capabilities, which now enables the team to complete the entire lifecycle of the projects, from the initial collection through the processing, review, analysis, and onto the final production or report. In addition to this major advancement, the core technology is also being upgraded and scaled to accommodate larger cases, new visualization and investigative tools are being adopted to more quickly and accurately conduct trend analysis and find key red flags, and new forensic software is now available for deep metadata analysis, deleted file recovery, and improved fraud detection.
These important new additions and improvements will allow the MWE China Data Center to continue leading the market in data-related legal services. The Firm’s successes in this area over the past few years have included:
- Guiding a leading technology company through a massive cross-border e-discovery matter that required review, analysis, and production for a U.S. litigation case involving more than one million documents that were collected from more than one hundred custodians in China.
- Finding, organizing, and analyzing critical digital evidence for a global manufacturer ensnared in one of China’s largest recent government investigations, and proving rapid fact-finding and defense reviews for the subsequent criminal trial.
- Conducting metadata and forensic analysis to evaluate whistleblower claims against the top local management of a large multinational European company, resulting in crucial findings that led to significant terminations for fraud and embezzlement.
- Devising and implementing a unique and flexible evidence production protocol to help facilitate the cross-border provision of key electronic documents in one of the largest recent FCPA cases.
- Investigating multiple claims of FCPA violations by local management and efficiently guiding a leading healthcare company through major subpoenas by the U.S. government for documents and data in China, while still complying with local data privacy and data export restrictions.
- Advising dozens of clients for critical data privacy, data security, and data transfer concerns for their growing business needs in China.
“Our recent enhancements to the MWE China Data Center are designed to shepherd clients through commercial and corporate work in the PRC, a legal environment unlike any other,” said Jeffrey E. Stone, co-chair of McDermott Will & Emery. “Whether that means more efficient due diligence for M&A deals, more accurate analysis for white-collar and government investigations enforcement actions, or more sophisticated privacy and data protection measures, MWE China can do it all in a way that no other law firm operating in China can. We are enormously proud of what we’ve been able to build here.”
Unlike other service providers in China that are not law firms, the unique MWE China Data Center is staffed and managed by PRC-qualified attorneys. As a law firm, MWE China has a heightened duty of confidentiality and specific legal ethics rules that require it to protect its clients’ confidential and sensitive information at a level that is over and above its competitors. MWE China Data Center’s role as a trusted legal advisor allows it to seamlessly integrate knowledge and analysis produced during document review into any subsequent legal work led by the broader MWE China team.
“Virtually every business, from startups to multinationals, has come to depend on electronic storage to achieve greater levels of efficiency, information management, profitability and competitive advantage,” said John Z.L. Huang, Managing Partner of MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai. “We are dedicated to working with our clients to establish appropriate and secure asset management, protection and disposal strategies that can be easily implemented at every point in the information chain. We also help clients prevent potential data leakage during data or hardware disposal, enabling them to avoid the financial penalties, lost business opportunities, reputational damage and other consequences that can be the result of lost or stolen information.”
“MWE’s China Data Center is among the most advanced, resource-rich destinations for helping international companies navigate China’s complex data security regime in a variety of contexts,” adds Leon C.G. Liu, who is responsible for overseeing the work of the Center. “Our Data Center provides uniquely advantageous insights for transactions, due diligence, investigations and prosecutions, regulatory reviews and normal course of business with employees and stakeholders in this country.”
To take the nation’s financial pulse, we must go digital
By Pete Bulley, Director of Product, Aire
The last six months have brought the precarious financial situation of many millions across the world into sharper focus than ever before. But while the figures may be unprecedented, the underlying problem is not a new one – and it requires serious attention as well as action from lenders to solve it.
Research commissioned by Aire in February found that eight out of ten adults in the UK would be unable to cover essential monthly spending should their income drop by 20%. Since then, Covid-19 has increased the number without employment by 730,000 people between July and March, and saw 9.6 million furloughed as part of the job retention scheme.
The figures change daily but here are a few of the most significant: one in six mortgage holders had opted to take a payment holiday by June. Lenders had granted almost a million credit card payment deferrals, provided 686,500 payment holidays on personal loans, and offered 27 million interest-free overdrafts.
The pressure is growing for lenders and with no clear return to normal in sight, we are unfortunately likely to see levels of financial distress increase exponentially as we head into winter. Recent changes to the job retention scheme are signalling the start of the withdrawal of government support.
The challenge for lenders
Lenders have been embracing digital channels for years. However, we see it usually prioritised at acquisition, with customer management neglected in favour of getting new customers through the door. Once inside, even the most established of lenders are likely to fall back on manual processes when it comes to managing existing customers.
It’s different for fintechs. Unburdened by legacy systems, they’ve been able to begin with digital to offer a new generation of consumers better, more intuitive service. Most often this is digitised, mobile and seamless, and it’s spreading across sectors. While established banks and service providers are catching up — offering mobile payments and on-the-go access to accounts — this part of their service is still lagging. Nowhere is this felt harder than in customer management.
Time for a digital solution in customer management
With digital moving higher up the agenda for lenders as a result of the pandemic, many still haven’t got their customer support properly in place to meet demand. Manual outreach is still relied upon which is both heavy on resource and on time.
Lenders are also grappling with regulation. While many recognise the moral responsibility they have for their customers, they are still blind to the new tools available to help them act effectively and at scale.
In 2015, the FCA released its Fair Treatment of Customers regulations requiring that ‘consumers are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale’.
But when the individual financial situation of customers is changing daily, never has this sentiment been more important (or more difficult) for lenders to adhere to. The problem is simple: the traditional credit scoring methods relied upon by lenders are no longer dynamic enough to spot sudden financial change.
The answer lies in better, and more scalable, personalised support. But to do this, lenders need rich, real-time insight so that lenders can act effectively, as the regulator demands. It needs to be done at scale and it needs to be done with the consumer experience in mind, with convenience and trust high on the agenda.
Placing the consumer at the heart of the response
To better understand a customer, inviting them into a branch or arranging a phone call may seem the most obvious solution. However, health concerns mean few people want to see their providers face-to-face, and fewer staff are in branches, not to mention the cost and time outlay by lenders this would require.
Call centres are not the answer either. Lack of trained capacity, cost and the perceived intrusiveness of calls are all barriers. We know from our own consumer research at Aire that customers are less likely to engage directly with their lenders on the phone when they feel payment demands will be made of them.
If lenders want reliable, actionable insight that serves both their needs (and their customers) they need to look to digital.
Asking the person who knows best – the borrower
So if the opportunity lies in gathering information directly from the consumer – the solution rests with first-party data. The reasons we pioneer this approach at Aire are clear: firstly, it provides a truly holistic view of each customer to the lender, a richer picture that covers areas that traditional credit scoring often misses, including employment status and savings levels. Secondly, it offers consumers the opportunity to engage directly in the process, finally shifting the balance in credit scoring into the hands of the individual.
With the right product behind it, this can be achieved seamlessly and at scale by lenders. Pulse from Aire provides a link delivered by SMS or email to customers, encouraging them to engage with Aire’s Interactive Virtual Interview (IVI). The information gathered from the consumer is then validated by Aire to provide the genuinely holistic view of a consumer that lenders require, delivering insights that include risk of financial difficulty, validated disposable income and a measure of engagement.
No lengthy or intrusive phone calls. No manual outreach or large call centre requirements. And best of all, lenders can get started in just days and they save up to £60 a customer.
Too good to be true?
This still leaves questions. How can you trust data provided directly from consumers? What about AI bias – are the results fair? And can lenders and customers alike trust it?
To look at first-party misbehaviour or ‘gaming’, sophisticated machine-learning algorithms are used to validate responses for accuracy. Essentially, they measure responses against existing contextual data and check its plausibility.
Aire also looks at how the IVI process is completed. By looking at how people complete the interview, not just what they say, we can spot with a high degree of accuracy if people are trying to game the system.
AI bias – the system creating unfair outcomes – is tackled through governance and culture. In working towards our vision of a world where finance is truly free from bias or prejudice, we invest heavily in constructing the best model governance systems we can at Aire to ensure our models are analysed systematically before being put into use.
This process has undergone rigorous improvements to ensure our outputs are compliant by regulatory standards and also align with our own company principles on data and ethics.
That leaves the issue of encouraging consumers to be confident when speaking to financial institutions online. Part of the solution is developing a better customer experience. If the purpose of this digital engagement is to gather more information on a particular borrower, the route the borrower takes should be personal and reactive to the information they submit. The outcome and potential gain should be clear.
The right technology at the right time?
What is clear is that in Covid-19, and the resulting financial shockwaves, lenders face an unprecedented challenge in customer management. In innovative new data in the form of first-party data, harnessed ethically, they may just have an unprecedented solution.
The Future of Software Supply Chain Security: A focus on open source management
By Emile Monette, Director of Value Chain Security at Synopsys
Software Supply Chain Security: change is needed
Attacks on the Software Supply Chain (SSC) have increased exponentially, fueled at least in part by the widespread adoption of open source software, as well as organisations’ insufficient knowledge of their software content and resultant limited ability to conduct robust risk management. As a result, the SSC remains an inviting target for would-be attackers. It has become clear that changes in how we collectively secure our supply chains are required to raise the cost, and lower the impact, of attacks on the SSC.
A report by Atlantic Council found that “115 instances, going back a decade, of publicly reported attacks on the SSC or disclosure of high-impact vulnerabilities likely to be exploited” in cyber-attacks were implemented by affecting aspects of the SSC. The report highlights a number of alarming trends in the security of the SSC, including a rise in the hijacking of software updates, attacks by state actors, and open source compromises.
This article explores the use of open source software – a primary foundation of almost all modern software – due to its growing prominence, and more importantly, its associated security risks. Poorly managed open source software exposes the user to a number of security risks as it provides affordable vectors to potential attackers allowing them to launch attacks on a variety of entities—including governments, multinational corporations, and even the small to medium-sized companies that comprise the global technology supply chain, individual consumers, and every other user of technology.
The risks of open source software for supply chain security
The 2020 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis (OSSRA) report states that “If your organisation builds or simply uses software, you can assume that software will contain open source. Whether you are a member of an IT, development, operations, or security team, if you don’t have policies in place for identifying and patching known issues with the open source components you’re using, you’re not doing your job.”
Open source code now creates the basic infrastructure of most commercial software which supports enterprise systems and networks, thus providing the foundation of almost every software application used across all industries worldwide. Therefore, the need to identify, track and manage open source code components and libraries has risen tremendously.
License identification, patching vulnerabilities and introducing policies addressing outdated open source packages are now all crucial for responsible open source use. However, the use of open source software itself is not the issue. Because many software engineers ‘reuse’ code components when they are creating software (this is in fact a widely acknowledged best practice for software engineering), the risk of those components becoming out of date has grown. It is the use of unpatched and otherwise poorly managed open source software that is really what is putting organizations at risk.
The 2020 OSSRA report also reveals a variety of worrying statistics regarding SSC security. For example, according to the report, it takes organisations an unacceptably long time to mitigate known vulnerabilities, with 2020 being the first year that the Heartbleed vulnerability was not found in any commercial software analyzed for the OSSRA report. This is six years after the first public disclosure of Heartbleed – plenty of time for even the least sophisticated attackers to take advantage of the known and publicly reported vulnerability.
The report also found that 91% of the investigated codebases contained components that were over four years out of date or had no developments made in the last two years, putting these components at a higher risk of vulnerabilities. Additionally, vulnerabilities found in the audited codebases had an average age of almost 4 ½ years, with 19% of vulnerabilities being over 10 years old, and the oldest vulnerability being a whopping 22 years old. Therefore, it is clear that open source users are not adequately defending themselves against open source enabled cyberattacks. This is especially concerning as 99% of the codebases analyzed in the OSSRA report contained open source software, with 75% of these containing at least one vulnerability, and 49% containing high-risk vulnerabilities.
Mitigating open source security risks
In order to mitigate security risks when using open source components, one must know what software you’re using, and which exploits impact its vulnerabilities. One way to do this is to obtain a comprehensive bill of materials from your suppliers (also known as a “build list” or a “software bill of materials” or “SBOM”). Ideally, the SBOM should contain all the open source components, as well as the versions used, the download locations for all projects and dependencies, the libraries which the code calls to, and the libraries that those dependencies link to.
Creating and communicating policies
Modern applications contain an abundance of open source components with possible security, code quality and licensing issues. Over time, even the best of these open source components will age (and newly discovered vulnerabilities will be identified in the codebase), which will result in them at best losing intended functionality, and at worst exposing the user to cyber exploitation.
Organizations should ensure their policies address updating, licensing, vulnerability management and other risks that the use of open source can create. Clear policies outlining introduction and documentation of new open source components can improve the control of what enters the codebase and that it complies with the policies.
Prioritizing open source security efforts
Organisations should prioritise open source vulnerability mitigation efforts in relation to CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) scores and CWE (Common Weakness Enumeration) information, along with information about the availability of exploits, paying careful attention to the full life cycle of the open source component, instead of only focusing on what happens on “day zero.” Patch priorities should also be in-line with the business importance of the asset patched, the risk of exploitation and the criticality of the asset. Similarly, organizations must consider using sources outside of the CVSS and CWE information, many of which provide early notification of vulnerabilities, and in particular, choosing one that delivers technical details, upgrade and patch guidance, as well as security insights. Lastly, it is important for organisations to monitor for new threats for the entire time their applications remain in service.
On the Frontlines of Fraud: Tactics for Merchants to Protect Their Businesses
By Nicole Jass, Senior Vice President of Small Business and Fraud Products at FIS
Fraud isn’t new, but the new realities brought by COVID-19 for merchants, and the rising tide of attacks have changed the way we need to approach the fight. Even before the pandemic broke out earlier this year, the transition to digital payments was well underway, which means fighting fraud needs a multilayered, multi-channel approach. Not only do you want to increase approval rates, you want to protect your revenue and stop fraud before it happens.
A great place to start is working with your payment partners to refresh your company’s fraud strategies with emerging top three best practices:
- AI-based machine learning fraud solutions helps your business stay ahead of fraud trends. Leveraging data profiles to model both “good” and “bad” behavior helps find and reduce fraud. AI-based machine learning will be increasingly essential to stay ahead of the explosive and sophisticated eCommerce fraud.
- Increasing capabilities around device fingerprinting and behavioral data are essential to detect fraud before it happens. While much of the user-input values can be easily manipulated to look more authentic, device fingerprinting and behavioral data are captured in the background to derive unique details from the user’s device and behavior. Bringing in more unique elements into decisioning, can help authenticate the users and determine the validity of the transactions.
- Prioritize user authentication. User authentication is a vital linchpin in any fraud defense and should receive even greater priority today. Setting strong password requirements and implementing multi-factor authentication helps curb fraud attacks from account takeover.
As well as working with your payment partners it’s more critical than ever to protect online transactions while not jeopardizing legitimate purchases. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do right now to address these concerns:
- Monitor warning signs
Payment verification is an important part of protecting your business. There are a variety of strategies to employ including implementing technology utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to help catch certain patterns. In addition to technology, here are a few other tips that may serve as warning signs. These are not a guarantee fraud is occurring, but they are flags to investigate.
o The shipping address and billing address differ
o Multiple orders of the same item
o Unusually large orders
o Multiple orders to the same address with different cards
o Unexpected international orders
- Require identity verification
Finding a balance between protection and ease of purchase will ultimately help you protect your customers and your business. The following tactics can make it more difficult for fraudsters to be successful:
o For customers that have a login, require a minimum of eight characters as well as the use of special characters in your customers’ passwords
o Set up Two-Factor Authentication that requires a One-time Passcode (OTP) via SMS or email
o Use biometric authentication for mobile purchases or logins
- Monitor chargebacks
Keeping good records is essential for eCommerce. If a customer initiates a dispute, your only available recourse is to provide proof that the order was fulfilled. Be prepared to provide all the supporting information about a disputed transaction. Worldpay’s Disputes solutions can connect to your CRM and provide you dual-layer protection against friendly fraud, first deflecting them before they arise and then fully managing chargeback defenses on your behalf.
- Monitor declines
Credit card issuers mitigate fraud by automatically declining payments that look suspicious, based on unusual card activity such as drastic changes in spending patterns or uncommon geolocations of spending. You can check your own declined payment history to help spot a potential problem. When volumes increase, the help of a payments fraud management partner is beneficial.
- Protect your own wallet
While you take the steps to protect your business, it’s also important to be mindful of your own protection—it’s incumbent on all responsible consumers to be vigilant about their data. Whether it’s simple awareness of how the fraudsters are operating today, sticking to trusted brands when shopping online, and thinking twice about what data you share and who you share it with, you’ll soon see how often you are sharing personal information about yourself.
Research exposes the £68.8 billion opportunity for UK retailers
Modelling shows increasing the proportion of online sales by 5 percentage points would have significantly boosted retailers’ revenues during the...
Want to serve your customers better? An effective online strategy is what financial institutions need
By Anna Willems, Marketing Director, Mention A strong online presence matters. Having a strong online presence, that involves social media...
The rise of AI in compliance management
By Martin Ellingham, director, product management compliance at Aptean, looks at the increasing role of AI in compliance management and just...
Simplifying the Sector: How low code can aid digital transformation in financial services
By Nick Ford Chief Technology Evangelist, Mendix From online banking to contactless payments and Apple Pay, it has been well...
Why the Boom is Long Overdue (and Here to Stay)
By Roger James Hamilton, CEO, Genius Group Virtually every aspect of our lives has been taken over by tech, so...
5 Sustainability Lessons That Are Crucial For Business Success
By Michael Stausholm, founder of Sprout World (sproutworld.com) Sprout World is the eco-company behind the world’s only plantable pencil, with...
Why financial brands need to understand consumer vitality
By Carolyn Corda, CMO at data consortium ADARA Our day to day lives have been turned upside down. Office workers have...
Why and how a modern marketing strategy should put customer experience first
By Jim Preston, VP EMEA, Showpad In 2004, the Leading Edge Forum coined the term ‘consumerisation of IT’, defining a...
Leading from the front – why decision makers must embrace automation
By Jeppe Rindom, Co-founder & CEO, Pleo Ask any decision maker at a business about admin and you’re likely to...
Business first, not compliance only is the future for accountants
By Peter Bracey, MD at Bracey’s Accountants. The past few months have underlined the need for better business insight to reduce...