Uncovering illegal activities in companies – using tools from security authorities

June 26, 2020

Purchasing, production, logistics, distribution and markets form a network spread over continents and nations, the details of which are difficult for companies to keep track of. However, such an overview with the focus on one's own company contributes to the company's success in many ways. The project "Fraud Information-Fusion Intelligence" by Fraunhofer FKIE adapts proven approaches, procedures and tools used by security authorities to the requirements of companies, develops them further and thus makes them usable for the detection of irregularities. Interested companies are currently invited to apply as associated partners for free participation in the project and to contribute their views and wishes. This project is funded under PMI IMPACT, a global initiative against illegal trade.

Fraud of all kinds, theft and brand piracy – all such illegal activities, damaging to companies, are on the increase and pose a massive challenge to global trade. Since they can occur both from outside and from within the company, they are usually difficult to identify. Police and other security authorities are powerless, as their exchange of information often fails even within national borders. What helps companies, however, is to collect information and evaluate it for indications of illegal activities. If such activities are found, they can be investigated and, if there is concrete evidence, targeted countermeasures can be taken.

"We use tried and tested security concepts organized by the public authorities, i.e., best practices from the security authorities, and combine these with proven company-specific security architectures," explains Dr. Ralf-Michael Vetter, head of the project "Fraud Information-Fusion Intelligence", or FIFI for short, and a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE. "The starting point of the project is the realization that comprehensive, up-to-date situation information is the most important and effective basis for corporate security".

Company information and external information interlock

Not only internal company data but also external data contribute to a reliable picture of the situation: "Information from the press and media, social media channels, the Internet and darknet; but of course information on the political situation or from market participants, competitors and customers must also be continuously included in the analysis," explains Vetter. "What information can I trust? How do they interact? Questions like these, as well as different language areas and legal systems, play an aggravating role in this context".

Combined with the technical expertise of the project partners involved in the analysis of structured and unstructured data as well as the latest developments in the field of artificial intelligence, FIFI will develop a system that is able to detect irregularities and anomalies in the constantly growing amount of data available in a company and thus provide information on illegal activities and the resulting damage.

Part of a global initiative against illicit trade

The Fraud Information-Fusion Intelligence project is funded by "PMI IMPACT", a global initiative by Philip Morris International to support programs against illegal trade and related crimes. The project is managed by Fraunhofer FKIE, which as an institute supports the German Armed Forces, Federal Police, German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and numerous other security authorities. With two research departments, "Information Technology for Command and Control Systems" (ITF) and "Sensor Data and Information Fusion" (SDF), it contributes to the project in the areas of semantic analysis, tracking analysis and anomaly detection. Other partners are DITS.center e.V., which has a team of experts from all parts of the security sector and is providing consulting support for the project, Analytical Semantics AG, which specializes in the deep semantic analysis of large amounts of data and has developed and is contributing its own analysis approach for this purpose, and Traversals Analytics and Intelligence GmbH, whose task is to bring together the different partner approaches in one system and to integrate further own analysis tools.

Companies interested in participating in the project as associate partners are encouraged to contact us.