The Many Applications of Predictive Analytics

September 29, 2015

The article on Computer World titled Technology that Predicts Your Next Security Fail confers the current explosion in predictive analytics, the application of past occurrences to predict future occurrences. The article cites the example of the Kentucky Department of Revenue (DOR), which used predictive analytics to catch fraud. By providing SAS with six years of data the DOR received a batch of new insights into fraud indicators such as similar filings from the same IP address. The article imparts words of wisdom from SANS Institute instructor Phil Hagen,

“Even the most sophisticated predictive analytics software requires human talent, though. For instance, once the Kentucky DOR tools (either the existing checklist or the SAS tool) suspect fraud, the tax return is forwarded to a human examiner for review. “Predictive analytics is only as good as the forethought you put into it and the questions you ask of it,” Hagen warns….  Also It’s imperative that data scientists, not security teams, drive the predictive analytics project.”

In addition to helping the IRS avoid major fails like the 2013 fraudulent refunds totaling $5.8 billion, predictive analytics has other applications. Perhaps most interesting is its use protecting human assets in regions where kidnappings are common by detecting unrest and alerting organizations to lock up their doors. But it is hard to see limitations for technology that so accurately reads the future.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 29, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



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