back to article IBM highlights real-time fraud detection in z16 mainframe

IBM has lifted the covers off the z16, the newest member of its Z Series mainframe family, which focuses on the financial services industry with a processor that has built-in AI acceleration for real-time fraud detection. The z16, generally available from May 31, is the successor to the z15 that launched in 2019, and Big Blue …

  1. msobkow Silver badge

    Believe it or not, if I were setting up an on-prem system, Big Blue would not be out of contention with a mainframe running Linux VMs. I've worked in the financial industry too many years not to have great respect for the raw data processing throughput of the mainframe. Internally, the mainframe is really a whole cluster of tuned subsystems talking to each other in parallel, so buying one is like buying a whole network of machines at once.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed.

      The on/off button on a mainframe is only intended to be used twice in its lifetime.

      1. Santa from Exeter

        Pause button

        The On/Off may be *designed* to only be used twice, but you have an outage of all of your Linux guests whenever you patch an LPAR

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Pause button

          Given that you can not only migrate running guests from one LPAR to another, but from one mainframe to another, that's hardly an issue.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Pause button

            Why Microsoft don't do Mainframe OS...

            "Your PCMainframe Ran into a Problem and Needs to Restart "

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Because the Z-series from launch in 2000 was able to run large numbers of Linux VM's, it has been a little surprising that it hasn't become widely used in cloud datacentres.

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        Price/entry-point barrier. You can incrementally buy a few hundred grand worth of x64 servers and stuff them in a rack, but that won't even get you a down payment on a mainframe. Sure in the long run the mainframe investment pays off, but you need that big up front cash outlay.

        1. seven of five

          And you'll need more than just some pimples from uni to support the z.

          Without a few greybeards you'll never get close to even 3 nines availability.

          1. TimMaher Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Greybeards

            I thought “It’s Being Mended” is getting rid of all the greybeards.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          > but that won't even get you a down payment on a mainframe.

          Back in 2002 I brought 2 top of the range Z-series for a client for a £1 each. the laugh was that my previous experience was in the non-IBM systems world, so everyone thought I would choose Sun Starfire...

          Okay the annual support etc costs were another matter, but I've never been able to purchase even a single x64 server for £1, let alone 1,000.

  2. eldakka Silver badge

    It could deliver a reduction in revenue loss both for merchants and card issuers, IBM said, as well as cutting down on consumer frustration at having to deal with fraudulent transactions on their credit card.

    Excellent, I look forward to a reduction in credit card transaction fees...

    .

    .

    .

    Oh wait, I don't know what came over me, I'm sorry, for a moment I forgot the sort of world we live in. Of course the companies will just take the increased profit margin for themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great. So this will just mean that after I make a transaction, get my phone, type the number they send me by SMS into the window that pops up, they can then cancel it 5 minutes later for 'security reasons' and suggest I call an 0345 number to talk to someone for 10 minutes who will reset the block and tell me to go back to the site and make the transaction again, so I can get my phone, type the number they send me by SMS into the window that pops up again, and maybe it'll work this time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So if they invest in a bunch of $5m computers at their own expense, and buy or hire someone to write fraud-detection software for them, they shouldn't gain the benefit of decreased fraud? Especially since the cardholders also benefit by not having their time wasted disputing transactions? That seems more or less fair to me. And don't forget that merchants can also be stuck holding the bag for fraud under some circumstances, especially chargebacks, so they can also benefit even if their fees aren't reduced. If the merchants were buying the computers, then sure, they'd be right to demand the benefits.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        > So if they invest in a bunch of $5m computers at their own expense, and buy or hire someone to write fraud-detection software for them, they shouldn't gain the benefit of decreased fraud?

        It's not "at their own expense". The money comes from revenue generated by customers using credit cards. Part of the revenue generated are the transaction fees, and a big part of those transaction fees is to cover losses made by CC fraud. So when a CC company 'covers' the cost of a chargeback or similar situation, they aren't digging into their own pockets, it's coming from that revenue generated from transaction fees. Therefore a large proportion of the fees a consumer pays to use a credit card is that coverage - an insurance policy if you will. But a reduction in CC fraud won't result in savings to the customer, it'll result in increased profit to the CC providers.

        Companies are not your friend. Everything they do is to increase profits at the expense of customers. Even gestures with no obvious immediate financial benefit to a company are designed to return a long-term financial benefit to a company through 'goodwill' leading to an increase in customer base for example.

        1. msobkow Silver badge

          I think that is splitting hairs, big time. The hardware has to be deployed, the software and systems tweaked and tuned, and somewhere down the road it all shifts into production and you finally start benefitting from the new technology. Purchases like this are not a short term vision.

          Although in the long run, the fraud losses will be reduced and the card companies will distribute the profits to their shareholders and management instead of to the customer base, it isn't like the business "keeps" the money. Those shareholders also financed the deployment of the new systems, sometimes explicitly, and they want to be paid for their investment.

          The problem with customers is they think they matter to the corporations. They don't. Corporations aren't like mom and pop businesses that know their customers; to them, customers are just statistical revenue generation sources.

  3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Fraud Detection

    My credit cards "fraud detection" have only generated false positives in the last roughly 10 years. Stuff like "unusual purchase" (that looks perfectly normal to me) at the same grocery store I shop at 3 times a week and have for 17 years. Meanwhile, on business trips around the world (on my company's card issued by a bank I have no accounts with) I will make one small personal transaction on my personal card and the algorithms don't find anything odd about a lone purchase out of the blue thousands of miles away from where I live.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Fraud Detection

      I once had a very good surprise from my bank. Having ordered some work in my bathroom, when it came time to pay the bill I made a bank transfer of a few thousand euros. It was on a Saturday.

      Not really a habit.

      The following Monday, I got a call from my bank. The person confirmed my identity, then asked me about the transfer. I explained the situation and, at the question "so you do authorize the transfer ?" I answered yes, I very much did because the artisan deserved being paid for his work.

      THAT is fraud prevention.

      I like my bank.

      1. KitD

        Re: Fraud Detection

        I had a call from my bank

        "Are you in India?"

        "Err, no. Deepest Surrey"

        "Have you just used your debit card?"

        "Nope. Been at home for hours" (it was about 10.30pm)

        That was also fraud prevention.

      2. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Fraud Detection

        "I got a call from my bank. The person confirmed my identity, then asked me about the transfer."

        This really angers me and should anger you too. The bank called *you*, and asked you to divulge security info to identify yourself. You had no idea who they were (caller ID is easily spoofed), and the bank is exhibiting the same behaviour as fraudsters, thus normalising the behaviour of sharing personal info to a cold caller.

        The bank should have been confirming their identity to you. Authentication should work both ways.

        That is encouraging fraud.

        I don't like your bank. Or mine.

        1. msobkow Silver badge

          Re: Fraud Detection

          I've had it out with my bank over that when they supposedly called me. To this day I have no idea whether it was them or not; I never heard about it again so I presume it was a scam.

          But I will NOT answer security questions and the like for people who call me. I only answer those questions when I call a known number.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Fraud Detection

      Over the past decade I've had a couple instances of actual fraud (weird little charges for "online" stuff under $10) that fraud detection didn't detect, and over the same time a few false positives when I'm traveling - I wonder if the fact I use a different card for buying flights and hotels than the one I use for day to day confuses their algorithm that thinks "bought flight for day x, should not be surprised at card being used elsewhere on day x and beyond".

      At least dealing with the fraud is easier now I can just send a text back that the charge is OK. I had a huge hassle back in the 90s when my card got deactivated overseas and the only number I had for the issuer was a 1-800 number that didn't work overseas. Luckily I carried a second card just in case, but if that one had been shut off I would have had issues.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Fraud Detection

        My UK bank failed to detect as fraud the opening of online shopping accounts with two different supermarkets on the same day and the purchase of circa £300 of groceries from each for click-and-collect in towns miles apart and miles from where I lived and miles from a transaction I made shortly before the shopping fraud (and was probably the one where my card was scanned).

        The ironic laugh was, talking to the fraud department they knew about the click-and-collect scam, yet their system didn't flag such transactions and they thought my wife shopped at those supermarkets when the evidence from the account was that my partner regularly shopped in person at another supermarket.

        I detected the fraud when the bank sent an unexpected SMS message to tell me my account was overdrawn.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fraud Detection

      "I will make one small personal transaction on my personal card and the algorithms don't find anything odd about a lone purchase out of the blue thousands of miles away from where I live."

      To be fair, it was probably a card-present transaction, so no, that's not too odd. If it was a mag-stripe/signature or card-not-present transaction, they might have been more suspicious about it.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Just more of the same doesn’t cut it within IT and AI circles anymore.

    IBM has lifted the covers off the z16, the newest member of its Z Series mainframe family which focuses on the financial services industry with a new processor that has built-in AI acceleration for real-time fraud detection.

    Real-time fraud prevention would be the great gamechanger that transforms the financial services industry into a creative currency provider for novel assets rather than it being rendered in its predominant, more destructive and highly active present form as Private Pirate Bank Vault and prime bankrupt liquidator of spent and stagnant supplies/failed and corrupted goods.

    Does IBM, or anything/anyone else for that matter, have any viable plans to provide such a great gamechanger as a public service from and/or for private business[es] swimming in vast and deep sees with all manner of SMARTR Pirates and Phenomenal Sharks and Colossal Whales ..... or is that a Designedly Alien Confection of Other Worldly Construction in the Gift of A.N.Other[s] ........ such as be knocking on doors and inviting engagement with the likes of a US Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit and Strategic Capabilities Office and State Department, US Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy?

    Do you not think it is high time for a fundamentally radical change that fully realises everything will be radically fundamentally changed and has everything already full prepared for its IT and AI Presentations and Productions/Virtually Real Programs and Remotely Controlled Projects? Are you content to slowly certainly drown in the current madness and increasing chaos which media confirms to you is tomorrows fare to fear and do vain struggling battle with?

    How absolutely batshit crazy is that?

    1. jgard

      Re: Just more of the same doesn’t cut it within IT and AI circles anymore.

      Yes, it is. It’s most assuredly batshit crazy.

      I wonder if you could please help me and my coworkers settle a bet? Did you by any chance get a quantum computer to write your comment? Or is it merely the result of setting the wrong config on your bot?

      Looks to me like you have left it on number 12 - ‘Incoherent Daily Mail Commenter (5G causes Covid / Louis Theroux is a Satanist)’ by mistake. Best knock it down to about 5 on here mate.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    truly useful quantum computers may be a decade away

    Remind me - is that before flying cars and fusion power, or after?

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: truly useful quantum computers may be a decade away

      After fusion. Long after. With ITER, we'll be getting very close after banging away on the problem for 40-50 odd years. Quantum is much more recent and has a lot more decades to announce "in only xxx years" before the reach they point fusion is at now.

    2. Ken G Bronze badge
      Trollface

      Re: truly useful quantum computers may be a decade away

      Useful in Funging Tokens in real time?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fraudulent Activity Eh?

    I wonder if it will detect its own 'fraudulent and extortionate' licensing costs, the inevitable outcome of a company focussed on 'shareholder value', packaging proprietory hardware and middleware and now reliant on this as one of its most consistent revenue streams.

  7. spold Silver badge

    Enhanced Portability.

    We gave it wheels so it can roll up and down corridors, as in the photo.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "sensitive data stolen that may not be accessible today could still be exploited years from now"

    This has always been an important consideration; it has nothing to do with so-called "quantum computers" that don't exist and probably never will. It doesn't take some hypothetical breakthrough in basic physics and engineering to know that in 10 years compute power is likely to be much cheaper than it is today. This is why all serious discussions of cryptography always include considerations like how long ciphertext is intended to remain confidential and how much data you're willing to lose if a single key is compromised. Saying "quantum" is like saying "AI accelerator": it makes CIOs feel smart when they buy it even though it's completely irrelevant.

  9. Nifty Silver badge

    Claimed to be 'quantum-safe'?

    It'll be no match for my fortune-teller.

  10. Sparkus

    Has Power10 broken cover

    As the Telum CPU stack?

  11. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Fraudulent redundancy?

    Since it's an IBM product, I assume it's great at detecting fraudulent financial transactions but less great at detecting fraudulent redundancies by HR?

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