Auditors find lack of planning, coordination in traveler quarantine program

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – As the state prepares to launch a traveler testing program Thursday to reboot tourism, a new audit is raising …

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – As the state prepares to launch a traveler testing program Thursday to reboot tourism, a new audit is raising questions about the state’s oversight of its quarantine mandate and how it will be managed once federal funds run out in December.

Quantum Resistant Ledger Team Performs Proof of Stake Updates, Says “Massive Advances” were …

The team at Quantum Resistant Ledger (QRL), which claims to be the “first-of-its-kind,” post-quantum value store and “decentralized” communication …

The team at Quantum Resistant Ledger (QRL), which claims to be the “first-of-its-kind,” post-quantum value store and “decentralized” communication layer that’s proactively tackling the threat from quantum computers, has confirmed that x41 D-Sec has started their audit of project enQlave, which is an Ethereum (ETH) web or online wallet that allows users to secure their ETH or any other ERC-20 compliant token balances from “quantum theft.”

As noted by the QRL team in their September 2020 monthly report, x41 D-Sec was one of the two external auditors that were tasked with auditing cryptographic portions of the QRL source code (security audit report available here).

As mentioned by QRL in a blog post:

“[x41 D-Sec’s] expertise is fitting for auditing the smart contract code for any possible issues as well. Audits, along with code review and testing coverage, will continue to play a vital role in ensuring the security fundamentals that underpin our codebase.,,,The audit has begun and is expected to be completed within the coming weeks.”

The QRL team also revealed that Insight research has joined QRL so that they can work on QRL’s Proof-of-Stake network. They’ll be conducting research into lattice cryptography and signature aggregation which are important elements that can help QRL reduce the overall block-size (of transactions). This can “allow for a higher number of validators per epoch, and improve its scalability,” the QRL team claims.

As explained in a whitepaper published in 2016 by Peter Waterland (CEO at the QRL Foundation):

“QRL is to be an open public blockchain ledger secured by a proof-of-stake algorithm. An epoch lasts for 10,000 blocks. Stake validators are determined from stake transactions in the previous epoch. The general idea is that each stake validator signs a transaction containing the final hash of an iterative chain of length 10,000 hashes (a bitmask XOR may be applied during each iteration to reduce security requirements of the hash function). With the stake transaction confirmed in the chain, every node on the network can now tie the cryptographic identity of the stake address to the hash chain for the next epoch.”

Other proof of stake or PoS related updates performed by the QRL team includes testing transactions and almost completing their peer to peer code. (Note: for more details on these updates, check here.)

QRL team members noted that there were “massive advances” in quantum computing as companies have been working hard to improve their computing algorithms..

As reported last month, China has claimed quantum supremacy with a new machine that could potentially process data a million times faster than Google’s Sycamore. However, the researchers clarified that they needed to do more work before they could officially confirm any details.

The QRL team also mentioned in their monthly report that a quantum startup’s CEO had claimed that we’re currently only about 5 years away from a quantum desktop computer. IBM has also released an updated quantum roadmap, which reveals that the tech giant is on track to have a 1,000-qubit machine by 2023.

IBM and Cambridge Quantum Computing have also unveiled a new random number generator service.

Deloitte dives into blockchain

“We were in an ideation phase with blockchain, which was a really long phase,” said Amy Steele, a partner at Deloitte who leads audit initiatives for …

Deloitte is helping more of its clients leverage blockchain technology as it sees the distributed ledger technology gain increasing usage after years of experimentation with the technology.

“We were in an ideation phase with blockchain, which was a really long phase,” said Amy Steele, a partner at Deloitte who leads audit initiatives for Deloitte’s digital assets and blockchain emerging sectors and also chairs the American Institute of CPAs’ Digital Assets Working Group. “Now we’re seeing a pivot, with more companies moving to the implementation phase, which is also going to be a lengthy phase. But as companies start to implement this more, we’re seeing a pivot from companies that are more emerging disruptor companies to larger enterprises that are using blockchain for business purposes. We are definitely seeing that shift.”

Deloitte released a report last month based on a survey of 1,488 senior executives and practitioners in 14 countries and territories, indicating that 88 percent of them believe blockchain will eventually achieve mainstream adoption, up from 86 percent last year and 84 percent in 2018. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents said they have already incorporated blockchain into production, up from 23 percent last year. Fifty-five percent of the respondents see blockchain as a top strategic priority, up from 53 percent in 2019 and 43 percent in 2018.

Nearly 89 percent of respondents believe digital assets will be “very” or “somewhat” important to their industries in the next three years. Eighty-two percent of the respondents said they are hiring staff with blockchain expertise or plan to do so within the next 12 months, compared to 73 percent last year. Eighty-three percent of respondents indicated in this year’s survey their companies will lose competitive advantage if they don’t adopt blockchain (compared to 77 percent last year). In addition, 70 percent of the respondents see the pace of regulatory change for blockchain and digital asset solutions as “very” or “somewhat” fast.

“We see this as almost an inflection point,” said Brian Hansen, the U.S. audit and assurance blockchain and digital assets leader at Deloitte. “We’ve seen a big movement within the whole ecosystem. It’s going to have significant impacts for auditors and accountants. They need to understand how they’re going to handle all the unique risks and auditability issues that come along with blockchain.”

Deloitte conducted the survey before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit. “Since then, we have seen what’s happened with COVID is that things continue to support the survey results,” said Hansen. “When you think about what organizations are focused on in this environment now with COVID, it really puts importance on information innovation. Blockchain is one of those really important things that we’ve seen organizations accelerating as they think about digital transformation to move forward and implement this.”

Blockchain may help biotech and healthcare supply companies, for example, keep better track of their supply chains and provide much-needed medications and personal protective equipment, which are running dangerously low at hospitals around the country or turn out to be defective or of dubious provenance.

“With blockchain, one of the big selling points is that it can increase efficiency and reduce the costs of doing business,” said Steele. “I think that has been an area of focus in this COVID world: how do we do things better. Blockchain is potentially a solution in a number of areas.to do that. We’ve seen a heightened focus on how blockchain can solve the business challenges. I think that will continue in the post-COVID world, where we’re trying to innovate and do things smarter, better, faster.”

Steele has been working with the AICPA and the Center for Audit Quality on ways for accountants and auditors to assist their clients with blockchain technology. Last week, the AICPA updated its accounting and auditing guidance for digital assets to provide more information about how blockchain can be used (see story).

The CAQ has also been working on helping auditors understand the technology. “From a Center for Audit Quality perspective, we have the Emerging Technologies Task Force, which is really looking profession-wide at how emerging technology is impacting professionals, in the tools that we use as an auditor to perform audits. They’re thinking through AI, robotics and machine learning. What are some tools that we can use to take big data, synthesize that data and perform higher-quality audits? And from a client perspective, it’s thinking through the different technologies that our clients are using, and how that impacts audit. It dovetails quite well with the AICPA. The CAQ is not creating guidance, per se. It’s more about helping the profession think through it. The AICPA is really tasked with, ‘Hey, we know these challenges related to blockchain and digital assets. We know it’s an incredibly hard area to audit and account for. How do we inform professionals and management to operate appropriately in this area?’”

Some initial guidance last December from the AICPA dealt with the classification and measurement of digital assets. Last week’s guidance added audit content focusing on client acceptance and continuance at firms like Deloitte.

“It’s really thinking through the unique risks and skills that you need in this space before you take on a client,” said Steele. “We do very robust client acceptance and continuance work to understand the companies that we may potentially engage with. What is their business purpose? What are management’s skill sets? What are our skill sets? We marry that up, so when we do take on these audits, we can execute appropriately and address all the extremely hard topics in a thoughtful manner.”

Auditors at Deloitte and other firms need to take many different factors into consideration when working with blockchain. “It’s so important to surround yourself with the right people involved in the process and surround yourself with the right considerations around who the stakeholders are and the key considerations around adoption because all of those things are important at the outset,” said Hansen. “For auditors, you need to think about auditability and what the control environment looks like because at the end of the day, controls are so important to the work that an auditor does. You need to think about all the IT controls, cybersecurity, legal compliance and all the KYC [know your customer] requirements related to regulatory, and then tax is also an important question. All those things are really important to think about when you’re working with clients.”

Armorblox Achieves SOC 2 Type I Attestation

… 2017, Armorblox is headquartered in Cupertino, CA and backed by General Catalyst. For more information, please visit https://www.armorblox.com.

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Armorblox, the company bringing Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to information security, today announced that it has successfully completed the Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type I audit. Conducted by A-LIGN ASSURANCE (“A-LIGN”), an independent auditing firm, in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) practices, the audit certifies that Armorblox’s information security practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet the SOC 2 standards for security, availability, and confidentiality.

“Here at Armorblox, we are relentless about keeping our clients’ data safe. We have always taken a proactive approach to our security posture and governance. We see the SOC 2 certification as an affirmation of our commitment to our customers and to a security-oriented development and operations process,” said Arunkumar Eli, Head of Operations at Armorblox. “Armorblox is pleased to demonstrate its commitment to security by achieving SOC 2 Type I certification, and the reassurances that such a trusted standard brings with it.”

The Armorblox NLU platform leverages Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and deep learning to analyze the context, tone and writing styles across communications platforms, preventing attacks that occur across employee communications – including socially engineered Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, email phishing, accidental data disclosures, and insider threats. With Armorblox, organizations gain visibility into sensitive information in email, messages, and documents, enabling them to detect, alert and protect against attacks that other security solutions miss.

The SOC 2 audit reports focus on a service organization’s non-financial reporting controls as they relate to security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality of a system. The SOC 2 attestation achievement audit report verifies the suitability of the design of Armorblox’s controls to meet the standards for these criteria.

Armorblox customers, prospects, and partners can receive a copy of the SOC 2 audit report upon request. For more information on Armorblox and the Armorblox NLU Platform, please visit www.armorblox.com.

About Armorblox

Armorblox has built the world’s first Natural Language Understanding (NLU) platform, providing a new way to intelligently detect, alert and protect against identity-related attacks and data loss. Enterprises use Armorblox to automatically create and adapt policies, continuously measure risk exposure, and reduce alert fatigue. Founded in 2017, Armorblox is headquartered in Cupertino, CA and backed by General Catalyst. For more information, please visit https://www.armorblox.com.

Infosys climbs 5.5 percent on no prima facie evidence to corroborate whistleblower allegations

Mumbai: Shares of software major Infosys jumped over five per cent on Monday after it said there is no prima facie evidence yet to corroborate any of …

“With respect to the anonymous complaints, there is no prima facie evidence that the company has received until date to corroborate any of the allegations made,” it informed the National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India Ltd.

“In any event, the audit committee has retained the services of law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Company to investigate the matter. Moreover, even before the appointment of independent investigator, the audit committee began consultations with independent internal auditors Ernst & Young.”

Infosys said the anonymous complaints were placed before the audit committee on October 10 and non-executive members of the Board on October 11 in accordance with the company’s whistleblower practice.

“Given the circumstances at this stage, where there is a complete absence of prima facie evidence and the anonymous complaints are still under investigation, the company is not in a position to determine the concreteness, credibility and materiality of the anonymous complaints,” it said.

Infosys is one of India’s most respected companies that was set up in 1981 by corporate icons N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani and S Gopalakrishnan among others.