Describing how his company’s fraud prediction system is like an unaccompanied child visiting a zoo, is when Wally Wang becomes the most animated… and the unsupervised machine-learning approach starts to make sense: “There’s no mom to teach a child what a tiger is. The child by intelligence will automatically get the point of how to recognize a tiger or a goose. The connection will be built by the child. That’s how the AI part plays here, the algorithm does the detection… We build up a model, making the child more intelligent, to be able to tell automatically when an animal is evolving into another species.”

DataVisor uses unsupervised machine learning to predict fraud attacks on companies. Founded by two women originally from China, DataVisor claims that using big data AI rather than databases and blacklists gives it greater accuracy and makes it better able to deal with the fast-changing world of online fraud. Tackling the attacks on China’s vast e-commerce sector has allowed it to build models that can be used anywhere in the world and win clients such as Pinterest. The global big data security market is estimated to reach $26.85 billion by 2022, according to a report by MarketsAndMarkets.

Cyber attacks on businesses come in many guises. At one end of the spectrum are the widely-reported ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and thefts of data such as those experienced by Equifax and Uber. But businesses are also faced with the constant bombardment of small-scale hits, from fraudulent transactions to fake reviews and account registrations, organized groups abusing new promotions and even their own staff fiddling the figures for their own achievements.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...