Following the latest terror attack attempts using explosive parcels in air freight, INFORM’s risk and fraud and airport systems divisions are urging the aviation industry to adopt profiling techniques currently being used in the finance industry to identify suspicious cargo items.

At present, fraud experts estimate that only 1% of packages are security-checked. INFORM believes that the air freight industry should adopt fuzzy logic based profiling procedures, which have already proved their worth in the prevention of credit card fraud. At banks and credit institutes, software using fuzzy logic monitors 4,100 credit card transactions a second.

The software recognises suspicious transactions among the payment and cash movement patterns and is able to stop them. It is not a matter of simply identifying the actual fraud attempt, but also allowing as many genuine transactions as possible to go ahead unhindered.

“The same approach can be used for profiling air freight”, explains Andreas Meyer, head of the risk and fraud division at INFORM. “From the combination of information such as origin, sender, address, addressee, specific place of posting, freight declaration, any previous movements the parcel has made, software using fuzzy logic can identify suspicious items of freight at the time and point of registering the shipment electronically.”

Should the German government go ahead with its five-point plan for air freight safety in the EU, allowing safety authorities to obtain electronic access to logistics companies data bases containing senders name, addressees and freight declarations, then it is only a matter of time before freight profiling software could be implemented all over Europe.

“It may also be conceivable for freight companies, in the same way as banks, to be recognised for their proactive approach to freight security by receiving international certification once they have installed such a profiling solution,” concludes Meyer.