Data Breaches in 2019 – A Year in Review

Data Breaches in 2019 – A Year in Review

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Stepping into 2020, the year 2019 has been on the rollercoaster in terms of security breaches. Data breaches continue to make headlines all across the globe. And with every passing year, there has been a significant increase in the numbers. No matter what the size of an organization is, no business is too small or large to fall victim to a data breach. 

Every industry whether healthcare, financial or e-commerce, is equally immune to threats and attacks. The increased security breaches make it evident that attackers are able to circumvent the defensive measures put in place. Entering into the fourth industrial revolution, data is the new currency. Regardless of the type of organizational data, it is always useful for the attackers.  

Factors Fueling Data Breaches

To say the year 2019 has been a year of data breaches won’t be an understatement. During the first nine months of 2019, around 7.9 billion records have been compromised according to Risk-based Security Reseach and are expected to be 8.5 billion in the whole year. As per statistics, these numbers are up 112% as compared to mid-year 2018.

The data exposed included the personally identified information (PII), email addresses, passwords, bank account information, social security numbers, etc. This increased ratio of data breaches is raising serious concerns for businesses. It is important to know what’s causing the rise in data breaches. Here are the core three drivers

1. Excess Information to Steal

When a robber was asked why he robbed a bank, the reply was “because that’s where the money is.” The same is the situation with increased data breaches; since there’s more information to steal. Living in the digital era, businesses actively rely on cloud technology and data banks to conduct business operations and store valuable information.

The stored information not only includes business data but also the consumers’ information. This data holds a crucial value in the digital world, not in just terms of personalized marketing. In fact, the consumers’ data is sold on the dark web for criminal and fraudulent gains. To access this data, hackers and cybercriminals are extensively working hence resulting in data breaches.  

2. Technology Facilitates Hacking

While the advancement of technology is shaping the business industry, it is also being misused by the bad boys out there. Technological innovations have made it easier for hackers to use specialized hacking tools to target businesses and individuals. Through automated attacks, for instance, brute force attacks, keylogging, dictionary attacks, etc., hackers are getting successful in breaking into the businesses and gathering the valuable data stored. 

The exploited data often leaves the victims vulnerable to identity theft, account takeovers and other digital frauds. Moreover, the business’ reputation is ruined and they fall under strict regulations hence held liable for compliance violations. 

3. The Crime of Opportunity

Hacking and data breaches often considered as the crime of opportunity because of people being careless about security. Upon investigation of the breaches, multiple reports highlight the slack handling of data and inefficient security practices as the core reasons for data breaches.

While the attacks on renowned and large cooperations are disclosed and receive media coverage, the small organizations are often ignored. It makes the smaller businesses to be under greater risks because even they contain more valuable data yet have poor security measure than large firms.

data breaches 2019

Tips to Prevent Data Breaches

Considering the above mentioned first two drivers, there is nothing much business could do. Abandoning the technology to go back in time is not possible right? But what you can do is just take some precautionary measures, follow security practices and consider technology solutions to reduce the vulnerability and threat to attackers. Some of them are:

Update your Software

Non-updated software can prove to be fatal for an organization because it opens up backdoors for hackers to exploit the system. Make sure all of your software are always up to date and protected. Sometimes, the new updates contain the latest patches to protect possible threats and address the previous loopholes. Hence, it’s important to install updates timely. The failure to do so can make your operating system vulnerable to data breaches and other malicious viruses. 

Practice Advanced Authentication Methods

Passwords have always been the primary line of defense against hacking. But the technological advancements have made passwords an inefficient authentication method. Through phishing and brute force attacks, breaking a password is no more of a difficult task. Businesses need to pay attention to their authentication checks. Most of the time, data breaches are influenced by a company insider.

Integrating the advanced authentication checks such as AI-powered face verification and ID verification can protect unauthorized access to the companies data. 

Educate your Employees

According to IBM, the average time to recognize a data breach in 2019 was 206 days. The reason is the lack of awareness among the company employees. Businesses need to educate their employees about online threats and how to protect themselves in the digital world. Moreover, it is the duty of organizations to ensure that their employees clearly understand the practices hackers use to trick the employees and target companies, so that they can recognize signs of a data breach at initial stages.

Set Security Policies

The well-designed company policies are essential for the success of any business. While we are talking about data breaches, the company’s security policies must be put in place that must be made mandatory for every employee to follow. For instance, since many employees use personal mobile phones at their work station, the security guidelines for the usage of devices can be set.

4 Fraud Prevention Tips For Your E-commerce Business this Holiday Season

4 Fraud Prevention Tips For Your E-commerce Business this Holiday Season

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With the holiday shopping season in full swing, e-commerce fraud risk is a glaring reality that needs to be accounted for before it translates into large business losses. By 2019, there will be an estimated 1.92 billion global digital buyers that need to be served, as well as authenticated. While this opens up countless business opportunities for vendors, it also indicates the need to single out bad actors that commit high-value identity fraud every year. 

Cybercriminals and scammers are catching up growing digital buying trends and breaking their way into legitimate online transactions. The holiday season is the ideal time for hackers and identity thieves to commit identity fraud due to the large volume of sales that are processed in a small amount of time. 

According to data from ACI Worldwide, fraud attempts spiked by 30% over the previous holiday season, in millions of online transactions especially on Christmas Eve. Fraudsters are trying to get past busy sales representatives and burdened software that miss the smallest details required to a naughty holiday buyer. 

Here are 4 tips for your business to defend itself from E-commerce Fraud this holiday season: 

1- Understand holiday e-commerce fraud types

With every passing day, we’re looking at innovative forms of online buying options, such as P2P payment gateways and social media buying solutions. While it’s not fair to say that the digital buying economy is a new concept, it is also true that firms are still struggling to understand the types of risk they are faced with. 

Digital ID theft and fraud is the most common and well known type of online scam that has affected millions of people across the world, and caused consumers to lose up to $1.48 billion in 2018, according to the Insurance Information Institute. During the holiday season, the percentage of fraudulent transaction is expected to increase manifold, especially card-not-present fraud. 

Other types of fraud include: 

  • Account Takeover Fraud – Legitimate accounts are hacked by imposters to make purchases 
  • Phishing Scams – Fraudulent attempts to gain personal user information
  • Credit Card Fraud – Fraud committed using a credit card as illegal source of funds in a transaction 
  • Card-not-present Fraud – Absence of actual card when carrying out a transaction
  • Friendly Fraud – Actual transactions made by cardholders, later disputed by themselves to claim chargebacks

2- Upgrade fraud prevention tools and identity verification services

To find out if your holiday season customers are actually who they claim to be use authentic and reliable verification services. Security barriers in online environments are becoming easy to intercept, as technology lands in the hands of both good and bad actors. 

With the types of frauds listed above, hackers are learning to commit financial crimes without leaving a trace. This is where automated identity verification services with AI based features need to be utilised for strong risk prevention shield. Identifying users at source entails thorough KYC, AML and KYB checks with the following services: 

Specialised features such as liveness detection and consent verification provide users and businesses with a level of trust that is otherwise impossible to achieve with manual verifications for large sales volumes. In this respect, biometric verification is also gaining popularity due it its convenience, especially for mobile users, and can be employed to verify users in a matter of seconds. 

At the same time, it is important to note that automated fraud prevention and identity verification processes need to be used with caution due to the inevitable risk of accepting fraudulent orders, resulting in high chargebacks. Human intelligence is therefore an integral part of the verification process for complete accuracy. 

3- Monitor key e-commerce sales metrics

With fraud prevention software and human review of transactions, it is possible to identify red flags during peak season. Narrowing down geographical location through IP and browser information also helps preventing fraud well in time. Suspicious orders can be identified by looking at buying patterns and understanding how a sudden change in purchase activity can really be from a fraudulent source. 

Marketing and sales metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates and chargebacks must be reported on an ongoing basis by business executives to stay on top of any irregular patterns in e-commerce sales. Sometimes, indicators as simple as unusual delivery addresses or inaccurate customer credentials can impact sales trends for a busy quarter. However, additional authentication methods must be placed to review such anomalies before taking stern action and blacklisting authentic customers erroneously. 

Read more about how you can prevent frauds by following AML and KYC regulations

4- Customise a fraud mitigation plan for the holidays

In 2018, holiday season retail e-commerce spending totalled almost $120 billion, and Cyber Monday in 2019 alone racked up close to $9.4 billion in online spending, the biggest ever recorded. This means greater handling of customers, sales and transactions by regular as well as temporary staff. A fool-proof plan to handle these both manually and digitally must be developed well in advance to ensure the security of successful deliveries. 

To process more orders than usual, sales reps will have to think about the numerous queries that new and returning customers will have. Moreover, process to approve and decline orders also need to be streamlined in order to check for inconsistent personal details such as delivery address and credit card details. 

Well coordinated marketing and sales team are always able to maximise returns from promotions, deals, coupons and website traffic. Any miscommunication at this stage can lead to large financial losses as well as tangible damage to brand reputation. Examining historical patterns in consumer history are also helpful indicators for discerning fraudulent transactions and saving both time and money. 

All in all, e-commerce vendors must steer clear of impending online fraud schemes by employing strict safeguards, as well as becoming aware of newer types of threats that may hurt them, especially in busy holiday season. 

The FinTech Industry: A Snapshot

The FinTech Industry: A Snapshot

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What is FinTech?

Financial technology, known more commonly as FinTech, is a term that refers to the use of technology to improve financial services and make them more efficient. As a driver of the digital economy, FinTech has the potential to revolutionize financial sectors through innovative financial solutions. 

The global FinTech industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%, making it worth $26.5 trillion by the year 2022. Using software or other technology, FinTech powers mobile payments, crowdfunding platforms, insurance, investment, lending, as well as blockchain and cryptocurrency. In simple terms, it’s an emerging industry that aims to streamline financial flows and manage finances to enhance user experience and service delivery in the industry. 

Taking the financial services industry by storm, FinTech companies are valued in billions of dollars, with companies such as Adyen, Qudian, Avant and Ant Financial topping the list. In 2019, FinTech investments reached $55.3 billion, with close to half the amount coming from China. For the common man, services like Square, Swipe, Venmo, WePay have altered the way they perceive lending and payment transactions.

The mobile cash app, PayPal, recorded a 17% year-on-year growth and 286 million accounts active worldwide in the second quarter of 2019. Relatively traditional credit cards, such as Visa, are also catching up on the trend and making the move towards software technology. 

From businesses to consumers, the term encompasses all kinds of technology used in financial services, including mobile, software or cloud services. This has made consumers less reliant on traditional banking services and financial institutions. 

In 2019, 64% of consumers used at least one or more FinTech applications. This steep rise in the use of FinTech services reveals a new consumer pattern, in that users now prefer a digitized experience when it comes to accessing their finances on the go. 

With consumer-focused applications, technology has moved from the back-end of banking platforms directly into the hands of the end-user. Managing and tracking funds, insurance, and investments are easily just a tap away, with most of the services accessible from hand-held devices like smartphones and tablets.   

FinTech Categories

Personal Finance


  • Alternative Financing  

As a substitute for traditional financial institutions, Fintech lenders provide customers with loans based on credit scores and peer-to-peer loans. Budget apps provide financial advice and opportunities for individuals and households, as well as retirement and investment advice. 

  • Crowdfunding

Raising capital has become easier for firms, startups, and entrepreneurs through online crowdfunding platforms. Social projects, innovative products, and causes manage to raise equity capital by connecting with established investors. This virtual technique for fundraising also provides transparency to lenders and borrowers alike. 

Digital Banking


  • Consumer Banking

Consumers currently outside the formal banking sector can be reached with digital banking services, for example, in the form of prepaid cards. 

  • Mobile Payments

Banking services such as bill payments, funds transfer, and virtual access to bank accounts have been made possible on mobile devices through FinTech. A number of banking operations can be performed online using biometric technology. This includes payment back-end and infrastructure required to run payment processing, electronic payments and other points of sale terminals. 


As a more flexible option than conventional insurers, the use of software technology to provide insurance services has become common. Personalized offers and pricing, data-driven insurance plans and risk management allows users an enhanced experience. 


FinTech investment solutions allow users to manage their investments in one place. Using a smartphone, financial instruments can be bought and sold. Augmented investment management analytics, offered as part of the digital service, allows users to better manage their next investment move. 

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Blockchain technology and digital currencies provide secure transactions that can be implemented to business-to-business (B2B) transactions. FinTech companies can leverage this technology into finance and banking realities and extend their user base. 

FinTech Use Cases

Inclusive Banking 

An estimated 2 billion people do not hold a bank account. Tapping into this market segment, located mainly in South Asia and parts of Africa and South America, is a key business opportunity for FinTech firms. This follows from the basic premise that FinTech builds on: reaching the end-user without friction. 

This outreach of Business to Client (B2C) budget apps and cash apps has the potential to revolutionize finances as we know it. Anyone with a mobile device can have direct access to their financial assets and make transactions without having to go through formal, and somewhat outdated, banking formalities. 

Easy Lending Solutions

Banks have served as the primary source of loans and financing for businesses for a long time. With the advent of FinTech, this is about to change. Through mobile technology, companies and individuals can now find a greater mix of lending avenues and make the process more transparent as they go. 

Lending and payment services were amongst the first few services offered with the intention of supplementing established financial institutions. Access to financial data through cloud-based platforms and Customer Relationship Management software also lends a hand in supporting businesses. 

What’s Next for FinTech?

The fact that FinTech has infiltrated the financial services industry does not indicate the demise of conventional banking just as yet. While financial institutions may not be able to turn the tide, they can draw level with disruptors by incorporating innovative technologies in their offerings. Innovation incubators, labs, and other investment vehicles have been put in place by large institutions with a view to adapt to changing times. 

As a strategy, understanding FinTech will be part of business acumen, for a future outlook on financial services. As opposed to being considered as alternatives, technological solutions will need to be considered as permanent collaborations between the new and the old. The eventual outcome will be based on the extent of cooperation that can be achieved before innovations start to pay back.  

The Internet of Things (IoT), AI and APIs will transform the way businesses plan to use technology to complement their services. Blockchain, for instance, has untapped potential for redefining payments by amplifying the speed at which transactions can be made. Big data is revolutionizing decision making in areas of investment, customer engagement and outreach, as well as product/service development.

Facial Recognition: Worries About the Use of Synthetic Media

Facial Recognition: Worries About the Use of Synthetic Media

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In 2019, 4.4 billion internet users were connected to the internet worldwide, a rise of 9% from last year recorded by Global Digital 2019 report. As the world shrinks to the size of a digital screen in your palm, the relevance of AI-backed technologies can hardly be overstated. Mobile applications took over marketplaces; cloud storage replaced libraries, and facial recognition systems became the new ID. 

On the flip side, this has also exposed each one of us to a special kind of threat that is as intangible as its software of origin: the inexplicable loss of privacy. 

AI-powered surveillance, in the form of digital imprints, is a worrying phenomenon that is fast taking center stage in technology conversations. Facial recognition is now closely followed by facial replacement systems that are capable of thwarting the very basis of privacy and public anonymity. Synthetic media, in the form of digitally altered audios, videos, and images, are known to have impacted many in recent times. As the largest threat to online audiovisual content, deepfakes are going viral, with more than 10,000 videos recorded to date. 

As inescapable as facial technology seems, researchers have found a way to knock it down using adversarial patterns and de-identification software. However, the onus falls on the enablers of technology who must now outpace the rate at which preparators are learning to abuse facial recognition for their own interests. 

Trending Facial Recognition Practices 

Your face is your identity. Technically speaking, that has never been truer than it is today. 

Social media, healthcare, retail & marketing, and law enforcement agencies are amongst the leading users of facial recognition databases that stock countless images of individuals for various reasons. These images are retrieved from surveillance cameras embedded with the technology, and from digital profiles that can be accessed for security and identification purposes. 

As a highly controversial technology, facial recognition is now being subjected to strict regulation. Facebook, the multi-billion dollar social media giant, has been penalized for its facial recognition practices several times by legal authorities. Privacy Acts accuse it of misusing public data and disapprove of its data collection policies.

In popular use is Facebook’s Tag Suggestions feature using biometric data (facial scanning) to detect users’ friends in a photo. Meddling with the private affairs and interests of individual Facebook users, the face template developed using this technology is stored and reused by the server several times, mostly without consent. While users have the option to turn off face scanners at any time, the uncontrolled use of the feature exposes them to a wide range of associated threats. 

Cautions in Facial Replacement Technology


As advanced as technology may be, it has its limitations. In most cases, the accuracy of identification arises as a leading concern among critics, who point to the possibility of wrongly identifying suspects. This is especially true in the case of people of color, as the US government has found them to be wrongly identified by the best facial algorithms five to ten times higher than whites. 

For instance, a facial recognition software, when fed with a single photo of a suspect, can match up to 50 photos from the FBI database, leaving the final decision up to human officials. In most cases, image sources are not properly vetted, further dampening the accuracy of the technology underuse. 

De-identification Systems


Businesses are rapidly integrating facial recognition systems for identity authentication and customer onboarding. But while the technology itself is experiencing rampant adoption, experts are also finding a way to trick it. 

De-identification systems, as the name suggests, seek to mislead facial recognition software and trick it into wrongly identifying a subject. It does so by changing vital facial features of a still picture and feeding the flawed information to the system. 

As a step forward, Facebook’s AI research firm FAIR claims to have achieved a new milestone by using the same face replacement technology for a live video. According to them, this de-identification technology was born to deter the rising abuse of facial surveillance. 

Adversarial Examples and Deepfakes


Facial recognition fooling imagery in the form of adversarial examples also have the ability to fool computer vision systems. Wearable gear such as sunglasses has adversarial patterns that trick the software into identifying faces as someone else, as found by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. 

A group of engineers from the University of KU Leuven in Belgium has attempted to fool AI algorithms built to recognize faces, simply by using some printed patterns. Printed patches on clothing can effectively make someone virtually invisible for surveillance cameras.

Currently, these experiments are limited to specific facial software and databases, but as adversarial networks advance, the technology and expertise will not be limited to a few hands. In the current regulatory scenario, it is hard to say who will win the race: the good guys who will use facial recognition systems to identify criminals or the bad guys who will catch on to the trend of de-identification and use it to fool even the best of technology? 

AI researchers of the Deepfake Research Team at Stanford University have delved deeper into the rising trend of synthetic media and found existing techniques such as erasing objects from videos, generating artificial voices, and mirroring body movements, to create deepfakes. 

This exposure to synthetic media will change the way we perceive news entirely. Using artificial intelligence to deceive audiences is now a commonly learned skill. Face swapping, digital superimposition of faces on different bodies, and mimicking the way people move and speak can have wide-ranging implications. The use of deepfake technology has been seen in false pornography videos, political smear campaigns and fake news scares, all of which have damaged the reputation and social stability. 



Humans Ace AI in Detecting Synthetic Media


The unprecedented scope of facial recognition has opened up a myriad of problems. Technology alone can’t win this war. 

Why Machines Fail 


Automated software can fail to detect a person entirely, or display improper results because of tweaked patterns in a deepfake video. Essentially, this happens because the machines and software understand faces can be exploited.

Deep learning mechanisms, that power facial recognition technology, extract information from large databases and look for recurring patterns in order to learn to identify a person. This entails measuring scores of data points on a single face image, such as calculating distance between pupils, to reach a conclusion.

Cybercriminals and fraudsters can exploit this weakness by blinding facial recognition software to their identity without having to wear a mask, thereby escaping any consequence whatsoever. Virtually anything and everything that uses AI solutions to carry out tasks are now at risk, as robots designed to do a specific job can easily be misled into making the wrong decision. Self-driving cars, bank identification systems, medial AI vision systems, and the likes are all at serious risk of being misused. 

Human Intelligence for Better Judgement


Currently, there is no tool available for accurate detection of deepfakes. As opposed to an algorithm, it is easier for humans to be prepared to detect altered content online and be able to stop it from spreading.  An AI arms race coupled with human expertise will discern which technological solutions can keep up with such malicious attempts. The latest detection techniques will, therefore, need to include a combination of artificial and human intelligence. 

By this measure, artificial intelligence reveals undeniable flaws that stem from the abstract analysis that it relies on. In comparison, human comprehension surpasses its digital counterpart and identifies more than just pixels on a face. 

As a consequence, the use of hybrid technologies, offered by leading identification software tackles this issue with great success. Wherever artificially learned algorithms fail, humans can promptly identify a face and perform valid authentications. 

In order to combat digital crimes and secure AI technologies, we will have to awaken the detective in us. Being able to tell a fake video from a real one will take real judgment and intuitive skills, but not without the right training. Currently, we are not equipped to judge audiovisual content, but we can learn how to detect doctored media and verify content based on source, consistency, confirmation, and metadata. 

However, as noticed by privacy evangelists and lawmakers alike, the necessary safeguards are not built into these systems. And we have a long way to go before relying on machines for our safety. 


Data Breaches – Types, Sources, and Preventive Measures

Data Breaches – Types, Sources, and Preventive Measures

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A large number of well-renowned companies are under the threat of high-scale data breaches. After one data breach, it does not mean that the same company could not again be exposed to a data breach. Exceptions are there if that company successfully take in place stringent actions after tackling the vulnerabilities exploited before. An example of frequent data breaches is Yahoo data breach. Statistics show that in August 2016, Yahoo hack was uncovered that took place in 2014. It affected user accounts of around 500 million people. The same company faced another hack in December 2016 due to which 1 billion accounts were affected. In October 2017, this report was updated, stating a total of 3 billion affected users and is considered biggest data breach in history.

With the advent of digital file transfers and reliance on digital communication means by multiple industries, data breaches are residing fairly at a high rate. In the U.S, in 2015 data breaches increased to 781 million which were 157 million ten years back i.e. in 2005. In the same time period, compromised user records increased from 67 million to about 169 million. An aforementioned data breach of Yahoo was absolutely contributing to these exposed records. The company advised its users to immediately change passwords and guarantees its users that it will take stringent measures to eliminate the risks of further attacks.

There is a lose-lose situation when a data breach occurs. It is not only the customers whose information is compromised, not just the deceived organization which is dealing with the recovery of hijacked information, meeting legal compliance needs and doing the aftermath of reputational damage. This breach cycle has to break. Otherwise, the lose-lose situation will never end. 

What Data is Breached?

Personal, as well as a sensitive chunk of information, is breached. The information which online platforms ask to recognize some identity is compromised. This data includes first and last name, email address, residential address, contact number, username, passwords and some encryption keys that are a secret between user and organization for identification purposes. This information is called personally Identifiable Information (PII). 

This hijacked information is sold to third parties and are also weaponized by cybercriminals who use this information to conduct a large number of fraudulent activities. Credit card information is stolen through which fraudsters perform transactions, account takeover frauds are done, real identities are used in several other cybercrimes. Identities of children and adults are used to perform money laundering and terrorist financing. The reason is that these names have not been previously used or involved in any criminal activity before.

Emerging Forms of Data Breaches 

The dark web and emerging data breaches are threatening industries. Phishing attacks and account takeover frauds are looming online websites. E-commerce businesses, online gaming, charity, banking websites, etc. are highly prone to cyberattacks because of the assets it deals with. Any loophole in the system can cost businesses with heavy monetary and reputational loss. Online websites need to ensure that they authenticate each onboarding entity thoroughly against a bunch of checks that are enough to filter out bad actors from honest ones. Along with this, existing users should continuously be verified to make sure that identity is not switched with any fraudulent entity. 

Identity Theft


It is one of the most common data breaches. Identity theft was estimated to be accounted for about 50% of data breaches globally in 2015. It included about 40% of compromised records in the same year. Due to identity theft, a large number of financial institutions are affected. These sectors hold highly sensitive information in which financial information is common. This information if gets compromised results in huge damage for both the victim and the organization. Among this, the second most common type is the financial data breach. The financial sector lost 120 million identities in 2015. Cybercrimes are high in these sectors due to the attracting opportunities that fraudsters look for. The annual loss is an average of $13.5 million, which is highest as compared to other industries.

Phishing Attacks

The emergence of social engineering is giving rise to multiple other frauds. Among which, email phishing attacks and website phishing attacks are common. End-users are targeted with email phishing attacks. A phishing email from a renowned brand is sent to the legitimate customers which ask users to enter their credentials and credit card information. This email is from a fraudster who is trying to hack the account of end-users. This could be done by clicking the malicious link which redirects the user to a website that seems real but is just a clone of that website. Right after suer enter credentials, the account is hacked through that phishing attacks. 

Last year, most of the phishing attacks targeted e-commerce businesses, financial systems, and payment websites. Hackers are all active to exploit weaknesses in the system thorugh innovative tricks. On the same side, online businesses should take in place technological solutions to acter to these tricks.  

Credentials Stuffing

Credential stuffing is more or less similar to account takeover fraud. It is a cyberattack in which username and password related information are compromised and that account is hijacked. Fraudster gets unauthorized access to the account by stuffing combinations of username and passwords through automated requests for login. This stuffing is done by automated bots who fit in every possible combination to hack the account and use it for malevolent purposes. Research shows that stuffing attacks are 8% successful while attempting to account for takeover.

Overcoming Data Breaches with Biometric Authentication

Understanding the nature of data breaches, now there is a need for taking into account measures that mitigate future damage. Considering the common methods of user authentication i.e. 2-factor SMS based authentication ensures security when a user tries to access the account from different devices or locations. But unfortunately, this method of user verification is not most adopted. Only 10% of Gmail users use two-step verification. 

Well, that was one choice, data breaches take place as a result of unauthorized data access. Therefore, this should be catered with the immediate security layer that ensures an authentic user is trying to access the data/account, edit it or delete it. 

Biometric authentication is another option. For identity proofing and online user verification, a prompt, efficient and robust method is to verify the end-user based on biometrics. This could be through fingerprint scanning, iris/retina scanning or face verification.

Face Verification: Through unique facial features, an end-user can be verified. Every time a user gives an access request to the backend system, it will ask to verify the face biometrics. If the traits match, the user will be authenticated and get access to the account. Face verification uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning technology to map the facial features and decide in real-time whether the characteristics match the real user or not. 

Yes, fraudsters use tricks to fool the system, but facial recognition systems are strong enough to cater to those. The tricks of the printed image, or already taken selfie are used, which are tackled through liveness detection. Liveness detection ensures that the user is physically present at the time of verification. This can be done by recognizing the blinking of an eye, minor facial movements, 3D depth perception, etc. It ensures that the end-user is not fooling the system in any way. 

Biometric authentication is the primary step to cut the roots of growing data breaches. All possible cyberattacks are the result of unauthorized access which compromises user data and costs the businesses way more than the technical solution installment. Also, the regulatory authorities are set up to evaluate industries that are prone to data breaches and whether or not they take in place security measures to deter the risks. Identity verification through biometrics contributes to combat the risks of cyberattacks and hefty compliance fines.

Initial CCPA Compliance Costs Could Hit $55 Billion: Report

Initial CCPA Compliance Costs Could Hit $55 Billion: Report

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According to an economic impact assessment prepared for the state attorney general’s office by an independent research firm, California’s new privacy law could cost companies a total of $55 billion to get in compliance. Total CCPA compliance costs are likely to vary considerably based on the type of company, the maturity of the businesses’ current privacy compliance system, the number of California consumers they provide goods and services to, and how personal information is currently used in the business.

CCPA provides sweeping privacy protection to California’s residents. It includes a provision that will allow consumers to know what data companies are collecting on them. The bill grants rights to California residents to be informed about how companies collect and use their data, and allows them to request their personal data be deleted, among other protections. It represents the start of a new era of privacy laws designed to protect personal data, says Kelsey Finch of the Future of Privacy Forum. CCPA’s section gives consumers the right to delete personal information from the company’s database. 

CCPA Affecting Businesses :

CCPA will affect three types of businesses based in California:

  • Companies that have gross revenue of at least $25 million.
  • Companies that buy, sell and share the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices.
  • Companies that get 50 percent or more of their annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

By estimates, companies with less than 20 employees have to pay $50,000 for compliance. Large companies having more than 500 employees will have to pay an average amount of $42 million. This will make up for 1.8% of California Gross State Product. According to a report, total compliance costs for the companies subject to the law could range from $467 million to more than $16 billion over the next decade.  Researchers estimated that as many as 75% of California businesses earning less than $25 million in revenue would be impacted by the legislation. States have begun to take efforts for privacy legislation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg advocated for creating a nationwide policy in this regard. Cost and complications will be lessened by setting one legal standard for tech firms than a piecemeal approach to compliance. 

Since many businesses in California that operate in Europe had to make changes to comply with the GDPR which went into effect last year, CCPA has taken some elements from GDPR. The research suggests that the compliance costs for California’s law will be reduced this way. The EU estimated average incremental compliance costs for the GDPR would total about 5,700 Euros a year (nearly $6,300), according to the report, though there is also evident that the regulation lost productivity in sectors that rely heavily on data. Smaller firms are likely to take on a disproportionately larger share of compliance costs compared to larger firms with GDPR.

CCPA- An Inherit Part of GDPR:

Over a year after the introduction of the GDPR, concerns regarding its impact on larger firms appear to have been overstated, while many smaller firms have struggled to meet compliance costs. Resources explain this dichotomy as large technology companies are often several steps ahead of both competitors and regulators. In the long term, however, it is believed that the differential impact will likely shrink, driven in part by competition among third-party services that will help small businesses comply with the legislation. 

Economic Impact on Companies:

Companies are going to face an economic impact due to CCPA. As smaller companies with less than 20 employees are expected to spend about $50,000 in initial CCPA compliance costs, while mid-sized firms with between 20 and 100 employees could incur costs of $100,000 to start, according to the study.

The expenses come at a time when companies are reaping big rewards from the buying and selling of personal consumer data. The use of personal data in online advertising is a $12 billion annual business in California. When combined with the buying and selling of information from data brokers, the number rises to $20 billion annually.

California businesses could spend an additional $16 billion over the next decade after initial compliance expenses to keep up with changes and other expenses, according to the report. Those expenses could include hefty fines for those who violate the law.

A recent report from the International Association of Privacy Professionals found that as of this summer, only 2 percent of affected businesses were fully compliant with the law.

Meanwhile, some other state legislators are using California law as a model. In Nevada, for instance, a new privacy law went into effect on Oct. 1. That law, known as Senate Bill 220, will give consumers more ways to keep websites from selling personal data.

 Businesses that need to comply with CCPA:

Following are some businesses that have huge private data that needs to be protected by CCPA:


  • E-Commerce:


Online businesses have a huge private date of which they are taking advantage. The user surfing through the internet is analyzed by AI-based products and products of their interest are shown to get him attracted. This means that user data is being used to get more sales of their desired products by advertising it. So CCPA will enhance the privacy policies of businesses across the globe. The so-called rights over consumer data will be exploited by CCPA.


  • AI-based Verification Services:


As the regulations regarding KYC and AML are becoming more stringent businesses are adopting identity verification services for their customers and for other businesses. For this, they have huge data of clients that they have to verify. Identity verification service providers have the most confidential data on hand, hence they must follow the provisions of the California Consumer Privacy Act.


  • Social media:


Social media plays a vital role in their shopping decisions. Its a platform to target audience of interest. According to a study, 87% of shoppers are satisfied with the shopping experience through social media. There are many social media marketing tools that are employed to get to the audience of interest and to improve the sales of a particular product. Businesses are aware of these tools and deploying them well. The use of these marketing products employe available information on social media platforms. Social media sites have to change their practices of selling the personal information of users to third parties. The consent of the user must be required for selling this data to a third party business.

So, businesses need to comply with CCPA for the protection of private data of consumers. Since many California businesses had to comply with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation last year, some of the compliance costs for the new state law will likely be reduced, according to the report’s authors. Many businesses need to comply with CCPA to mitigate the risk of a data breach. The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Face Verification –  One Solution for Several Identity Frauds

Face Verification – One Solution for Several Identity Frauds

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Biometrics is the technology that verifies the unique personality traits of a person to identify him. Biometrics include face verification, eye retina screening, voice recognition, and fingerprint scanning. All types of biometric verifications are used widely for customer onboarding, security protocols, regulatory compliance, phone unlock, etc. 

Face verification bears huge potential for businesses. The businesses are required to run complete KYC and AML screening on their customers and face verification is a feasible real-time solution for thorough compliance. Other than that, face verification helps businesses in fraud prevention, customer onboarding, customer verification at the time of making transactions, verification of vendors and other businesses in B2B or B2C relationship. Biometric Verification is like by consumers as well, a study found that 74% of consumers believe biometrics are safer and more secure than businesses. 

Businesses in financial, non-financial, e-commerce, legal, retail, etc. all can utilize face verification for above mentioned benfits. 

One of the major threats to businesses is the people connecting to them with fake identities. Such fake identities can take several facets to defraud businesses. Below is a list of some major fraud scenarios that are conducted through fake/stolen identities. 


  • Stolen Identity


Criminals steal the identity of a person, by using his ID card, driving license, or account credentials to access his account, to get free services entitled to the original person, to execute illegal acts. This is one of the most common crimes that hit businesses of all types and sizes. The reason why such businesses are required to practice KYC and AML screening on their stakeholders. 


  • Fake Identity


Criminals make fake identity cards and other identity documents that neither belong to any real person nor are issued by some authority. Such cards often appear real to the naked human eye but if screened through document verification software they are identified as a fake one within seconds. Because the human eye could be manipulated through look alike QR codes but an AI-powered software could identify such frauds within seconds. 


  • Synthetic identity 


Synthetic identity is a type of planned fraud. In this case, the criminals build a new (synthetic) identity by using some of the original information and some fake information. As per payment frauds insights (2019) of federal reserves, synthetic identity fraud is the fastest-growing fraud in the united states. Also, synthetic identities are created by using the identities of children, homeless and elder people, because such identities remain unused for a long time. 

Synthetic identities often get them past weak security protocols, especially when manual verification is adopted or the software only verifies the ID card number and does not verify the originality of the identity document. Synthetic identity is not like “fake identity”, because it is a combination of fake and original identity. This lethal combination makes it difficult to identify a synthetic identity by just verifying the ID card number. It requires a thorough screening solution that verifies the document, face, and the ID card number simultaneously to identify a synthetic identity among the original identities.


  • Ghost Identity


This is also a type of stolen identity but of a dead person. Criminals use the identities of dead people to develop synthetic identities and to get free benefits that were associated with that person, e.g. pension, insurance, etc. Ghost identities could also hit all types of businesses, government organizations, banks, insurance companies, etc. 

Face Verification is the Ultimate Solution

Face verification is one of the dearest biometric technologies of this age. Why? Because it is easy to use, integrate, and is becoming more refined with every passing day. It is proved time and again that face verification along with document verification is a feasible solution to detect all types of identity frauds. The process adopted in the face recognition solution does not leave any loophole for criminals. 

Face matching

The face verification process screens a person’s face in real-time and matches it with the face on the identity document (the document is already verified through “document verification” solution). If a criminal is using a stolen, fake or synthetic ID card he would be identified at this stage as a criminal could steal the identity but he could not steal someone’s face. 

Liveness detection 

Face recognition technology detects liveness through minor facial movements. The AI-based system detects minor movements like the blink of an eye, smile, etc. So there are no chances that a  criminal could show a picture of a person, a printed photo, etc. In the case of video verification, the user is asked to take a selfie video and to make some facial movements like a smile or blinking eyes. The AI-based system detects the movement and verifies that an original person is making the verification. 

3D depth perception

This feature leaves no loophole for fraud, as the picture or video uploaded by the end-user is screened for unique facial features. In case a criminal has developed a synthetic identity by using the ID card number of a person with alike facial features, 3D depth perception will detect the minor difference in the facial features so, identity theft will be detected at the very first stage. 

3D depth perception detects the face image for unique facial features shown in the photo in an identity document. Also, it screens the depth on the contour points and edges of the face to detect a picture taken from a paper-backed photo or photoshopped images. 

To wrap up, face verification is the ultimate solution for several needs of the businesses. Face verification delivers highly accurate results within a minute. The easy integration of such solutions is easy ad swift, making regulatory compliance, customer onboarding, and fraud prevention an easy affair for global businesses. No matter how many facets a criminal changes to get into a business’s system face verification eliminates all such attempts at the very first stage. 

Multi-factor Authentication is being defeated’ warns FBI

Multi-factor Authentication is being defeated’ warns FBI

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For years, online businesses and organizations have been adopting various strategies and defense mechanisms to protect themselves from every kind of cyberattack. Cybercriminals are actively embracing technology to conduct sophisticated attacks online. This increasing trend of data breaches and digital frauds is a striking example of growing cyberattacks. Defending against these attacks has become a new normal for businesses worldwide.

One of the widely used methods to prevent these frauds is multi-factor authentication (2-Factor being the most common one). Although businesses and organizations are proactively using multi-factor authentication to protect their systems and data from perpetual business email compromise (BEC) attacks, the new warning from the FBI has surprised them unanimously.

According to the FBI, cyberattacks are circumventing multi-factor authentication through various social engineering tactics and technical attacks. In multi-factor authentication, the use of a secondary token or one-time generated code verifies and authenticates the identity of the user. But with the FBI’s new warning, businesses are quite bewildered. 

FBI Warning: The Surprise Factor?


The reason for this perplexity is that businesses have yet to come across such attacks on MFA. So far, such attacks have been rare to witness. 

Microsoft azure claims that multi-factor authentication blocks an unbelievable 99.9% of enterprise account hacks. Adopting this method is the least the organizations can do to protect their accounts as the rate of compromise of accounts is less than 0.1% for the companies that are using any type of MFA.

Even with the least compromise rate, the use of MFA is uncommon with less than 10% of the users per month (for enterprise accounts) – claims Microsoft. This statistic alone contradicts the FBI’s threat of MFA compromise, and businesses were not expecting it. However, the FBI states that the use of one-time codes and secondary tokens is not enough to back up the user and his credentials, nor is it sufficient to protect his identity.

How MFA is vulnerable to cyberattacks


Despite the endless struggle of businesses to protect the user’s information, by making account access harder and complex through two-factor and multi-factor authentication, it can still be vulnerable to breach. There is a high-risk that cybercriminals can attack and trick users into disclosing their credentials and authentication codes through social engineering. Or, they can create an account for themselves through the use of technical interception.



Phishing attacks are a great example of social engineering. They can be used to lure victims into providing their credentials through a fake login page. Due to readily available technology and APIs, it is not difficult for criminals to create a fake login page. Attackers make use of different social engineering tricks (for example emails, fake job alerts, etc.) through which they tempt the users to click the link which is a clone of the original login page.

When the victims enter their credentials, the hackers fetch that information and pass it to the real login page, henceforth triggering the multi-factor authentication procedure. The victim is shown fake prompt requiring the texted or mailed code. Just like before, the hackers catch the code and complete the authentication process. 

This is not as easy as it seems. Hackers need to be fast enough due to the limited time-factor associated with the code. But once the process is successful, there’s nothing that can stop them from carrying out their activities.

Password Reset


Many times, the authentication process can be bypassed through the “Forgot Password” procedure, if a hacker is in possession of “something you have” item (for example, email). 

If the criminal/hacker has gained access to the victim’s email account where the verification link or code is sent, the attacker can easily use the “Reset Password” link and change the passwords to something else by following the instructions. Moreover, once he has access to the account, he can even change the recovery email and phone number, giving him complete access. 

Third-Party Logins


The explosion of online platforms has introduced a new authentication process for enhanced user-experience – through third-party logins. 

In this process, the user is offered an option to log in using third-party accounts and bypass the 2-factor authentication procedure. An example of such a case is “Login with your Facebook Account” or “Login with your Gmail Account”. In this case, an attacker can easily take over the accounts once they have access to your Gmail or Facebook credentials (through phishing and forget password procedures).

Brute Force Attacks


With the advancement of technology and automated tools, hackers have the opportunity to obtain user passwords and verification codes through brute force attacks. Through brute force, the attackers can gain limited-characters tokens. The tokens or verification codes are quite useless if the attackers get enough time to apply brute force and obtain the token. 

Advanced Tools and Techniques


On the one hand, technology has helped organizations in securing their digital presence, while on the other, it has also contributed to the innovation of advanced hacking tools.

In its investigation, the FBI has highlighted different examples of tools and techniques that are being used to defeat multi-factor authentication. It includes web hacks, cyberattack tools like NecroBrowser and Muraen, not to forget straightforward SIM swapping. The main issue with MFA is that organizations find it an ultimate solution for the security of the institution.

Solutions to Cyberattacks


While massive data breaches and identity theft are on the rise, multi-factor authentication is becoming the standard procedure for most of the organizations to secure themselves from attackers. 

No doubt, it is quite a secure method but hackers are now finding ways to get around MFA. While the risks are rare, the fact that a growing reliance on MFA can lead to growing attacks on MFA can’t be ignored.

FBI states that as per research 99% of the attacks are triggered by the person’s activities i.e. through clicking the link and falling victim to phishing scams as well as social engineering hacks. The most effective solution is to educate employees and consumers to recognize the phishing attacks so that they can try to avoid them.

Use of Biometrics


Use of Biometrics


The multi-factor authentication can be secured just by adding an extra layer of security i.e. Biometrics. 

The hackers can access something you know (credentials) and something you have (authentication codes) but they can’t access something you are (biometrics). Biometrics are the unique features of a person that can’t be stolen or changed. Incorporating biometric verification with 2-factor authentication can provide the most effective and secure authentication process.

Facial Recognition: Burgeoning Threat to Privacy

Facial Recognition: Burgeoning Threat to Privacy

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The expanding use of facial recognition technology for ID verification, user authentication, and accessibility is finally coming under fire from privacy evangelists worldwide. Proponents of digital privacy are talking about user consent, data context, transparency in data collection, data security, and lastly accountability. Adherence to strict principles of privacy, as well as free speech, entails proper regulation aimed at controlled use of facial technology. 

Facial scanning systems are used for a variety of purposes: facial detection, facial characterization, and facial recognition. As a major pillar of digital identity verification, facial authentication serves as a means of confirming an individual’s identity, and stores critical user data in the process. The technology is keeping the trade-up by allowing users broader use of digital platforms and enhanced knowledge of data collection.

The Digital ID Market: A Snapshot

Digital identity verification is changing the way companies are working. In Europe alone, the expected growth of the identity verification market is found to be 13.3% from 2018 to 2027. By then, the market will have grown to US$4.4 billion. By the year 2030, the McKinsey Global Institute puts value addition by digital identification at 3 to 13 percent of GDP for countries implementing it.


The Digital ID Market: A Snapshot


At the same time, cybersecurity threats are also on the rise, indicating a glaring need for enhanced security solutions for enterprises. According to Juniper, cybercrimes have cost $2 trillion in losses in 2019 alone. By 2021, Forbes predicts this amount will triple as more and more people find ways to mask identities and engage in illicit activities online. 

As a direct consequence of this, the cybersecurity market is also expected to grow to a humongous $300 billion industry, as apprehended in a press release by Global Market Insights. 

As technological advancement fast-tracks, this figure will probably grow in proportion to the growing threats to cyberspace, both for individuals and enterprises. 

Facial Recognition Data Risks


Formidable forces tug at the digital user from both ends of the digital spectrum. Biometric data, while allowing consumers to avail a wide range of digital services without much friction, also continue to pose serious risks that they may or may not be aware of. 

Facial recognition data, if misused, can lead to the risks that consumers are generally unaware of, for instance,

  1. Facial spoofs
  2. Diminished freedom of speech 
  3. Misidentification 
  4. Illegal profiling

Much has been said about the use of facial recognition technology in surveillance by law enforcement agencies. At airports, public events and even schools, facial profiling has led to serious invasion of privacy that is increasingly gaining public traction. While most users are happy to use services like face tagging and fingerprint scanning on their smartphones, privacy activists are springing into action with rising knowledge and reporting of data breaches.

Let’s dig deeper into one of the most potent cybersecurity threats linked to facial recognition technology: Deepfake. 

How Deepfakes Impact Cybersecurity


In the world of digital security, deepfakes are posing a brand new threat to industries at large. To date, there are 14,678 deepfake videos on the internet. As barriers to the use of AI are lowered, adversaries share the same access to advanced technological capabilities as regulators. High rates of phishing attacks are targeting financial institutions, service providers and digital businesses alike. Representation of enterprises is at risk as deepfakes are fully capable of altering videos and audio without being detected. 

This has profound security implications for identity verification processes based on biometrics, which will find it harder to identify the true presence of a customer. 

With the pervasive use of evolving technology, cybercriminals will find it easier to access sophisticated tools and nearly anyone can create deepfakes of people and brands. This involves higher rates of identity threats, cyber frauds and running smear campaigns against public personalities and reputable brands. 

For facial identification software, this means fake positives created by deepfake technology can assist cyber criminals in impersonating virtually anyone on the database. Cybersecurity experts are rushing to integrate better technological solutions such as audio and video detection, in order to mitigate the impact of deepfake crimes. More subtle features of a person’s face will be recorded in order to detect impersonators. 

However, it is impossible to turn a blind eye to the raging speed at which the use of generative adversarial networks is making deepfakes harder to detect. According to experts, the underlying AI technology that supports the proliferation of such impersonation crimes is what will fuel more cyber attacks. 

Blockchain technology might also help in authenticating videos. Again, the success of this solution also depends on validating the source of the material, without which any individual or enterprise is at high risk of being maligned. 

Implications Across Users


Gartner warns enterprises about the use of biometric approaches to identity verification, as spoof attacks continue to riddle the digital security landscape. While popular celebrities can be exploited by incorrectly using their facial identity in pictures and videos, large corporations are also at high risk of being targeted.

Sensational announcements about the company or industry trends can lead to stock scares and other financial repercussions. Fake news and misinformation have the potential to cause meltdowns in political landscapes. Additionally, doctored videos on social media can cause an uproar among certain demographics, leading to social unrest. 

Identity Verification Technology – A win-win approach


With more and more companies using digital onboarding solutions, the threat of deepfakes is real and must be effectively countered. Companies are no longer looking only for identity solutions that make the best use of customer biometrics. Instead, they now have an increasing interest in how the stored information is safeguarded against burgeoning cyber threats. 

The first step in resolving digital impersonation crimes is to be fully aware of the possibilities as such. Enterprises and professionals need to be apprised of the rising misuse of digital verification software, and the likelihood of personal data being compromised. 

Face swapping technologies must now be matched with face detection software that helps identity fake videos and content that misleads. In addition, digital security solutions must be ramped up, especially those involving the use of sensitive client data. 

Biometric authentication and liveness detection solutions


Liveness detection, as an added feature of facial recognition, provides an efficient solution to deepfakes as fraudulent attempts at using past photos/videos to bypassing biometric identification increase. The same technology behind deepfakes can also be employed to counter frauds and spoof attacks, to ensure that personal data is not compromised for cybercrime. 

Differentiating between spoofs and real users became easier as additional layers of security are added to the verification process. Users are required to appear in front of a camera and capture a selfie or a live video. 

Shufti Pro performs biometric analysis to validate true customer presence, with markers that check for eyes, hair, age, and color texture differences. Coupled with microexpressions analysis, 3D depth perception and human face attributes analysis, this ID verification process ensures maximum protection against digital impersonators. 

More on Liveness Detection as an AntiSpoof measure here
Account Takeover Frauds –  Impact, Causes, and Prevention

Account Takeover Frauds – Impact, Causes, and Prevention

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Living in the era of technology, the world is rapidly moving towards digitization. From banking institutions to shopping stores, every organization is shifting its operations online. Going digital is no doubt providing a competitive edge to organizations to meet customer demands. On the other hand, the online presence has raised serious concerns for both individuals and businesses by exposing digital information to cybercriminals. As a result, there has been a significant increase in digital fraud, specifically account takeover (ATO) fraud. 

What is account takeover fraud?


Account takeover (ATO) fraud is the type of identity fraud that involves unauthorized criminal access to a user’s account to use it for some type of personal and financial gain. The increased presence of people on the internet and involvement in activities like online shopping and banking and convenient funds transfer has opened new opportunities for criminals looking to make extra cash.

ATO fraud can involve the exploitation of multiple types of online accounts, including online banking, eCommerce, mobile, and social media accounts. Generally, cybercriminals and fraudsters lookout for the accounts from which they can steal money and gain monetary advantages. For instance, targeting bank accounts for fund transfer to own account or eCommerce accounts to make fraudulent purchases. Also, the imposters can take over social media accounts and request money from the family and friends of the victims.

Ecommerce platforms are the most profitable for criminals due to frictionless payment systems. In e-commerce sites, due to instant purchase functionality, all the billing information is stored in the user account that makes it convenient for the customers to make purchases. But it also makes it handy for criminals to simply change the shipping address and start making a purchase, once they discover the login credentials.

Impact of ATO Frauds


Account takeover fraud rates have been on the rise for the last few years. Every year the individuals and businesses incur huge losses due to ATO frauds. Mostly customers are the ones who endure monetary losses. In addition, in most cases, they not only lose time in resolving fraud but also suffer a damaged reputation and relationships, for example, in the case of social media account take over. Businesses, however, suffer losses in the form of chargebacks and bruised reputation. 

Last year in May, KREM2 reported a case ATO fraud in which the victim, “Allie Raye” wasn’t aware of the fraud until she started receiving shipping notices and orders from Amazon. Even after discovering it, it was very difficult for her to stop the fraudulent orders – that included several gift cards. It took her around three weeks to regain hold of her account and all this while she lost $1,640 in fraudulent purchases. In that case, the Amazon had to suffer the actual loss by ultimately refunding Raye the whole amount.


Factors fueling ATO frauds


Account takeover fraud is a serious concern not only for the individuals but businesses as well. The technological innovations have made the fraudsters more sophisticated in accessing users’ information. There are multiple factors that are fueling ATO frauds, some of them are: 


  • Data Breaches


One of the main driving factors behind account takeover frauds is the increasing trend of data breaches. The purpose of a data breach is to access the records of the customers containing their information – for example, usernames, passwords, account numbers, and card numbers, etc. The list obtained from the breach is sold in the black market where the numbers of cybercriminals are readily looking for users’ data.

When the username and password of an account are known, hackers try the same combination on multiple online platforms through various automated tools – known as credential stuffing. According to Perimeterx Research, there is an 8% success chance of these attacks. Moreover, if criminals have access to the username and email address they can use multiple attacks, for instance, brute force, to guess the passwords. 


  • Weak Password Practice and Inefficient Authentication


More online presence of individuals means more accounts. It means users have to remember all the usernames and passwords for different accounts. The difficulty memorizing them encourages the users to set the same passwords for multiple accounts. This is a very common yet highly risky practice. It is found that 21% of people use passwords that are 10 years old and at least 71% reuse their passwords. This weak password practice exposes users to cybercriminals. Through brute force attacks and credential stuffing, they can easily take hold of users’ credentials and accounts.

Most of the organizations still rely on the binary authentication method i.e. using username and password. Anyone having access to those credentials can easily log in to the account and do whatever they want. This is one of the main reasons for account takeover.


  • Social Engineering Tactics


The advent of technology has significantly provided fraudsters and imposters with advanced social engineering tactics; phishing is one of them. Through phishing attacks, cybercriminals are accessing user credentials by tricking the users. There are multiple ways through which these attacks can occur – including through email, text message or even over the phone. However, the purpose is the same, i.e, trying to get the users to hand over their information.

An example of such an attack is receiving an email that persuades you to click the link and prompt the login page to enter your credentials which are stolen by criminals.


  • Threat by Device


Another factor that is driving the ATO fraud threat is through smart devices – mobiles and mobile applications are prime targets of cybercriminals for ATO fraud. One of the major reasons for this is the technology lag. Regardless of advanced tools designed to protect users on web browsers, those tools don’t work for mobile apps at the same time. According to Rippleshot’s State of Card Fraud 2018 report, mobile phones are becoming increasingly vulnerable targets of ATO frauds and would rise in the future as well.


Factors fueling ATO frauds

How to prevent ATO frauds?



No doubt ATO fraud is the major concern for the businesses especially for e-commerce, however, they can be prevented using proper user verification at the time of onboarding. Sometimes after committing the ATO fraud, the fraudsters use that information of the user to create another account. Through digital identity verification services, businesses can ensure the identity of real users and hinder the fraudster from creating fake accounts – i.e. committing identity theft.


  • Identity Authentication


The main factor that fuels ATO frauds, is the lack of proper authentication checks. In this world of no trust, stealing someone’s credentials is no more a difficult task. By applying the social engineering phenomenon, the fraudsters can trick users to provide their information. If online businesses follow proper and advanced authentication services like 2-Factor Authentication and Biometric verification through Face verification, then the account takeover frauds can be prevented.

The users who fail to verify and authenticate their identity can be hindered from accessing the account in real-time. 


  • Monitoring Payments


ATO frauds are done to gain monetary benefits mostly. The frictionless mobile and online payments are no doubt enhancing the user experience, but at the same time, it is grabbing the attention of cybercriminals. Whenever the imposters take over the account, let’s say bank account, the first thing they do is transfer money to their account.

Due to a lack of payment monitoring or authentication before processing transactions, the cybercriminals are successful in making fraudulent payments. Monitoring the payment every single time when a user request a transaction can combat fraudsters in real-time. 

Face Verification – A Strong Weapon against ATO frauds


Face verification is the advanced form of biometric verification powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. The traditional verification and authentication check have failed to prevent the fraudsters from accessing the users’ data and personally identifiable information (PII). Integrating face verification API with the existing platforms can identify the fraudsters beforehand who may try to enter the system through spoofing measures.


Face Verification - A Strong Weapon against ATO frauds

Identity Theft Frauds – How can you stay a step ahead?

Identity Theft Frauds – How can you stay a step ahead?

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Identity theft is ‘a hot potato’ these days. Every day we come across news of online fraud that happened due to identity theft. The technology advancements have made fraudsters more sophisticated in committing identity frauds. In this case, fraudster carries out an online purchase using a different identity. This enables the fraudster to order items online under a false name and using someone else’s credit card.

Identity verification services can mitigate this fraud right from the root, saving your business. We often relate identity theft with account takeover and credit card fraud, but this is not about it only. There are multiple other types of identity theft that are not related to financial industries only, in fact, every organization having an online presence can fall victim to this fraud; the reason being the lack of identity verification systems and advanced security protocols. To deal with such fraud, it is essential to understand them first.

Types of Identity Theft

To cope with the identity theft issue one should be aware of all the types this term covers. Here are some of the types of identity theft:

Synthetic Identity Theft

Synthetic identity theft is the latest form of identity theft that combines a piece of a person’s original information and some fake information to build a synthetic identity. Due to its hybrid nature (i.e real information combined with fake information) these thieves can go undetected for a long period of time. Even if the synthetic identity fraud is detected, the thieves leave no trace behind to trace them.

Synthetic identity theft is sometimes also used by criminals to prove or convince someone that they are not the same person but someone else. This mostly happens in the case when the fraudsters try to enter the territory from where they have been blacklisted or restricted. Using the synthetic identities they show themselves as other citizens and easily gain access to the region or service. However, you can never know the intentions of the person using synthetic identity.

Child Identity Theft

According to Javelin’s research, 2017 out of all the reported breaches, 39% of the victims of the fraud were children in comparison to 19% of adults. As per another study, more than 1 million children fall victim to identity theft every year.

With the explosion of technology and smart devices, every child is exposed to the use of the internet and mobiles. This makes them the perfect target for identity thieves. From a practical standpoint, no child pays attention to his/her credit card statement, even most of the teenagers don’t do it unless they are up for getting a car or insurance. Fraudsters take advantage of this and use children’s identities to commit fraud and go on undetected for years. By the time parents and children are aware of identity theft, the criminals have already moved onto other prey leaving a burden of long credit reports. 

Medical Identity Theft

Healthcare data breaches are rising. A huge data breach named Anthem breach affected about 78.8 million people in 2017 which include not only the patients but employees too. Medical identity theft is one of the most critical forms of identity theft and also quite difficult to fix. The hospitals and pharmacists both can be fooled by the fraudsters and they aren’t able to differentiate between the fake and original patients. The perpetrators pretend to be someone else to get free medical services and get restricted drugs/ medicines from the pharmacy without getting suspicious. The world health organization finds medical identity theft to be the dangerous one claiming “the information crime that can kill you”. 

Financial Identity Theft

The first thing that comes to mind after hearing “identity theft” is credit card reports and bank accounts. Such type of theft that targets individuals’ financial statements and accounts are known as financial identity theft. With the increased data breaches in the industry, millions of customers’ accounts are compromised every year that results in billions of loss not just for the organizations but for the individuals as well. 

The data stolen from these breaches is sold in the black market, where cybercriminals are already set to impersonate an individual and carryout the illegal activities and fraud. The fraudsters can use credit card information to make unauthorized and fraudulent purchases. Sometimes, they can open new accounts using the stolen information of the individuals.

Social Security Identity Theft

The social security number of the person is the most sacred and critical information that one must not leak under any circumstances. There are multiple people who don’t want to pay taxes and find ways to manipulate tax regulators. Your social security number can be their escape from withholding taxes. The SSN of the person can be the most valuable information for identity thieves since they can register the company or work as independent contractors and can avoid paying taxes by using someone else’s SSN.

How can you Protect Yourself from Identity Theft Frauds?

           Identity theft is a growing concern. Cybercriminals are gaining grounds. They are coming up with different and unique ways to get to your privacy. You can always stay a step ahead just by taking some of the preventive measures against these identity theft types. These are:

  • Adhere to KYC:

           The intervention of government and regulatory agencies enforcing the businesses to meet the know your customer (KYC), Customer Due Diligence (CDD), Anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. Failure to do so can land them into some serious legal liabilities imposing a hefty fine and even imprisonment.

  • Use Identity Verification Solution:

          To deal with fraud and enhancing customer experience while meeting regulatory compliance, it is essential for businesses to adopt the latest identity verification solutions. 

  • SaaS-Based on Hybrid Technology:

          The services based on hybrid technology (i.e. artificial intelligence and human intelligence) can verify the identity of a person in real-time and detect the fake and synthetic identities hindering them from accessing the system. 

  • Be Vigilant against Suspicious Activities:

         Always keep a tight eye on your financial statements and go through them every now and then. If you find anything suspicious don’t wait for the action first, report it immediately to the respective organization responsible for it. 

Multiple IT companies are providing such digital IDV services including KYC verification, face verification, AML screening, address verification, and document verification, etc. which make the whole verification process frictionless, saving time and cost. Moreover, it isn’t just the businesses that are responsible for protecting their customers’ identity, the individuals are themselves equally in charge of protecting themselves from fraudsters. 

Credit Card Frauds- How Can You Prevent It?

Credit Card Frauds- How Can You Prevent It?

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Ever since credit cards were introduced, credit card fraud has been elevating. One needs to stay a step ahead to avoid credit card fraud because the security mechanisms get tougher hackers to get smarter too. However, it is not always some clever or sophisticated hack that compromises your data – sometimes it’s you! Surprised? Well, don’t be. In an overwhelming number of credit card fraud cases, users themselves have been careless with their passwords and PINs, clicking on fraudulent links, sharing personal data, making them an easy target for such hackers.

Credit card fraud has many shapes and forms. The purpose of doing credit card fraud also varies. Some frauds are done in order to perform a huge transaction and some are done to purchase expensive goods for free. Any financial institution is exposed to a large number of attacks that are performed through credit cards. 30% of credit card fraud are recorded in businesses and financial sectors. Many e-commerce companies face great losses due to credit card fraud.

Types of Credit Card Frauds:

There are different techniques of credit card fraud that are adopted by fraudsters to perform malicious activities.  Following are the most common types of credit card fraud:

Stolen and lost credit card fraud

In this fraud, the card is either stolen or lost. The thief then uses that card for his good. Although stolen and lost cards cannot be used in the machine but it can be used in order to make online purchases. The way to avoid such transactions is to report the bank as soon as possible to reject the request asked from that credit card.

Application credit card fraud

This fraud happens when someone has requested the bank for new credit card issuance. The identity is first stolen by the thief and then use that identity to write an application. Thieves take help from the supporting documents which make it possible for them to write an application through which they substantiate the application. In such cases, banks often call the applicant to identify the identity, which can also be forged by the thief. 

There are many ways to investigate the true owner, although these ways are time to time forged by the fraudsters and vice versa.

Card Not Present (CNP) fraud

If someone has stolen or knows the expiry date and account number of your card, they can perform CNP fraud against you. This can be done through mail, phone or the internet. Some merchants need verification code which is of form xxx. A fraudster can apply all possible combinations while performing small transactions and can get the number.

Fake credit card fraud

Although creating fake credit cards is much hard. There is a magnetic stripe, a chip or in some cases hologram associated with each credit card and to forge it a difficult task. A fraudster having all that information can do this.

Fake Identity

A fraudster uses a temporary address and false name to obtain a credit card. In many cases, banks keep a checklist in which they acquire a passport or driving license for verification purposes. This fraud is hard to do, but a determined criminal can do this.

Stolen ID fraud

This fraud is done by the person who knows your card number and password. He can perform a huge transaction from it or issue a new card from this. This is the hardest fraud when it comes to recovering it. Many times, this fraud is revealed when the transaction is already done.

Counterfeit fraud

An accurate copy of the card is created by fraudsters by having all the required information. He swipes it on the machine to perform a transaction.

 Tips To Prevent Credit Card Frauds:

 Here are some tips to avoid falling yourself prey of credit card frauds:

Card lost or stolen? Report on it ASAP!

When you realize your card is lost or stolen, call your bank and report it right away so they can block it, preventing credit card scam. Banks limit your liability for transactions made on the card, depending on which card you have, from the time of loss to the time of reporting.

Opt for Email Statements:

People usually crumple up and throw away old credit card statements. Shredding your invoice before throwing it away is a good practice. So Always shred your statements as they contain information that can be useful for a fraudster. Do not throw away expired cards as is – always cut them into pieces, especially remove the credit card number. 

Credit card frauds are on the rise. Credit card scammers are getting smarter they use all sorts of tricks from phone calls to Email, credit card skimmer and even Wifi hotspots to steal your personal information. You could be a victim of credit card fraud or falling for it soon and not even know it. All that is required is you to be more vigilant and monitor your transactions. If you find any fraudulent charge on your credit card, contact your card provider without wasting a minute.

Beware of phishing scams:

Phishing is one of the most common methods that fraudsters employ to trick you. Phishing is sending an apparently genuine email with a malicious link that prompts you to enter your card number, code, PIN etc on a fraud site set up just for credit card scams.

According to Mark Hmarick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, there is a constant stream of phishing attacks where someone is constantly trying to lure as into providing the passwords so they can steal funds or commit identity theft.

Always carefully check the source of the call and sender of such emails. If unsure, call the authorized number of the bank and re-confirm to halt yourself from falling victim to credit card fraud or identity theft.

Paying online? Check if the site is genuine and secure

Just as people discover the ease and convenience of shopping and paying online, fraudsters are coming up with innovative ways to online scam people. Statistics from the Australian Payments Network has revealed “card not present” fraud has surged from 1.02 million transactions in the 2016/17 financial year to 1.8 million transactions in the 2017/18 financial year. This represents an increase of a staggering 76 percent year on year.

Thankfully there are some steps you can take to limit the chances of becoming a victim of online fraud. Always ensure the website you’re shopping on is genuine and is secure. In the site address bar, the company name and security certificate details are visible and which you can click on. There is also an image of a lock and the URL begins with https.

Internet of Things: B2B IoT Segments about to hit $300 Billion by 2020

Internet of Things: B2B IoT Segments about to hit $300 Billion by 2020

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The Internet of Things is growing exponentially with respect to its usage and capabilities. A whole new ecosystem is developed with the adoption of internet-connected devices whose infrastructure varies entirely different from the centralized base, a base to which we were previously used to. A remarkable and fascinating device-connected world has introduced smooth means to exchange massive data through wireless mediums and clouds transfer. IoT transformation in multiple industries has connected the mainframes.

With internet popularity, industrial use-cases are innovating ensuring efficiency and security at the same time. The global IoT market has grown from $157 billion in 2016 to $457 billion by 2020 with the increasing Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.5%. Statistics show that by 2020 consumer applications will be generating $150 billion and B2B applications will be anticipating revenue of worth twice i.e. around $300 billion.

IoT systems are giving wing to enterprises to potentially increase the use-cases that provide big benefits to the organizations. The ability of IoT devices to collect, monitor, transfer and control the data enables huge efficiencies and cost-effective solutions that can be endorsed at an industrial level for easy task management. With these promising benefits, a hoard of security concerns come along that can be hazardous if overlooked.  

IoT devices and their Security

The inclination of IoT devices and their applications have raised several challenges that could be highly effective for the businesses directly or indirectly. The investment decisions in IoT applications are complicated with respect to the fragmentations of industries in subsectors. The use-cases vary which makes it hard for the owners to mold the mission-critical fundamentals with a technology niche accordingly. Still, large firms are investing in IoT platforms.

Secondly, even on a smaller scale, industries are hindered to analyze the struggle and integration requirements. But, here the common point to ponder for both small and large businesses is the security of these IoT devices. 

The building momentum of the Internet of Things (IoT) is welcoming the scalability. The connection of IoT with other devices, integrating it with cloud services, sharing data with third parties and suppliers contribute towards the value of the business. The security risks that are associated with the scalability of applications and interfaces should be catered efficiently to avoid the chances of fraud and tampering.

Leading platforms are utilizing this technology to gather customer data using the sensors embedded in IoT devices and aggregate them into the cloud services. This data is then used to run a bunch of smartphone and desktop applications with real-time data that is used in automated broadcasts. For legitimate firms, this data is the next growth driver that opens the doors of business extensibility. 

IoT Connections Verification

Considering all this discussion, let’s dive into the need for IoT security implementation. The data flowing from one node to another should be protected with controlled data access and stringent security measures. IoT developers can use several verification methods while programming IoT devices. A large number of security attacks are as a result of unauthorized access. To combat the risks of data tampering and data breaches, developers must take into consideration the verification methods in conjunction with several other security measures:

  • While programming an IoT device, developers can use encryption using a strong cryptographic hash function to secure data transfer from one node to the other. Devices should be given a serial number for device identification
  • For the approved devices along with their serial number, a database should be maintained to verify the request for device connection against that list
  • Keeping alive the concept of public and private key pair, device connection request should be approved while matching the secret key with the public key
  • Verify the IP address of the device to allow connection with it. Understand the behavior of device to make sure that connection request is not coming from some malicious packets flowing in the network
  • Every time the device is disconnected, verify the device before connected it if the connection is not aborted it is trusted in that situation

A best practice to secure the IoT devices from data tampering, data alteration in the transit and hacking of devices, is to take added security measures to eliminate the chances of a data breach in any way. A highly sensitive data is more prone to cyberattacks, smart fraud prevention strategies should be taken to avoid data theft.

With technology adoption, the scalability would also be increasing in the future, and yes, malevolent actions are a never-ending story. To compete with these fraudulent activities, IoT devices must ensure verification methods to avoid authorized data access. While enjoying the services of IoT devices, big data analyst platforms need to endorse the security for the elimination of breaches that can be costly for industries.

Face Verification Technology Grooving in the Education Sector

Face Verification Technology Grooving in the Education Sector

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We are now in a golden age of face recognition. The main reason for rapid adoption is recognition accuracy has improved astronomically in recent years with 20 times better accuracy from 2014 to 2018. Face recognition technology is being employed almost in every sector not only for security purposes but this technology is molding the ways we perform work. 

Face verification is one of the most common and low budget methods to perform biometric authentication. It is creeping in almost all business sectors. People on one side enjoy how it has eased their lives, on the other hand, they have concerns about their data being misused. Though this debate goes, a necessary tool to combat crime or an unlawful breach of privacy, this technology is being widely adopted in many sectors and education is one of them.

Wonders of Face Verification In Education Sector

 Face verification can be of great help in the education sector from assisting the online admission process to provide a secure environment in schools. The technology is enhancing many sectors and education is one of them. Following are some ways in which this technology is reshaping education sector:

Behaviour Analysis Of Students In Classrooms

Face Verification System can be used to judge students’ acceptance in the classroom. It tracks facial expressions and analyzes it. Such systems can be employed to observe perfectly when students are attentive or distracted. By capturing a student’s facial expression it becomes easy for faculty to know how much understanding a student had during the class.

This could go beyond facial expressions to analyze reactions to various topics at various points in a lecture. A student raising his eyebrows at the mention of a new word could depict confusion. Without the artificial intelligence system, lecturers would be incapable of understanding such expressions as its almost impossible to read faces of all the students in the class.

Such a system helps the lecturer with the necessary information they need to gauge the points during the lecture in which attention distracted or waned hence enhancing the learning experience. Computer vision experts have identified the benefits that facial recognition and behavioral analysis systems would bring to the educational system that is why they have begun to develop and install such systems already.

Provides Intelligent Access

Applied to the library, dormitory, labs, etc., to improve traffic efficiency as well as protect students’ safety. It also helps to restrict access to unauthorized persons in these areas. It will help in identifying a person or student doing something wrong on the premises and will help in restricting their entrance. 

Validation of Student’s Identity For e-Learning Program

     Facial identity verification can verify students’ identify more intelligently. Online face verification services are a great help for student’s identification before enrolling them for e-learning programs or online courses. By using the 3D liveness detection feature of this technology risk of identity theft and online scams can be eliminated. It can be used instantly to validate individual identity to mitigate any risks. This can also be used in schools to check that individuals present inside the premises are students of the school or members of the faculty or staff. 

To Eliminate Identity Risk

   Online face verification technology can be used for identity verification at the time of enrolling students so that no student with a database of the potential threat is admitted. For instance, individuals who pose a threat may include: 

  • Expelled students from other school or college 
  • The student who are local drug dealers 
  • Gang members (non-students) with a history of trespassing on school grounds 
  • People who have threatened a school or college

Protect School Premises On Events

      Video surveillance using facial recognition can help ensure that all school events are safe. This technology can help event security personnel do a better job of ensuring the safety of events by restricting the entry of banned persons. Likewise, face authentication technology can be used to instantly recognize potential stalkers, violent criminals and individuals on terror watchlists.  

Face verification can keep schools safer by providing a multi-layer of protection. This technology has made ease for security professionals to gain valuable data, that may even save lives, in real-time. Face identification apps can be used by parents for video surveillance so that they can see a child’s activity anytime anywhere. 

Ensuring Security & Safety

      In the wake of increased school shootings, Facial Recognition Systems can be used to buff up security systems. With increasing concerns for security in schools, these systems can help prevent suspicious people from gaining entering into the school and getting students picked up by pre-authorized guardians and parents.

Security can be alerted whenever the presence of any suspicious individual is captured by the system. Access to this information in real-time because of facial authentication technology can help to secure school grounds and proactively preventing drastic incidents.

Privacy Concerns

Privacy is often the raised concern when talking about face recognition technology and this issue can never be dismissed. Objections are mostly based on the collection and distribution of the photos. All schools are taking pictures of students already to maintain a record and they have strict control over the distribution or misuse of these photos. This technology has only digitized the whole process. It’s now the computer that recognizes the student and verifies his documents instead of manually doing it by staff. Concerns over implementation and privacy related to this technology may slow down adaptation in some areas but the tide has already come in and is changing every sector across the globe.

Identity Theft – One Fraud Multiple Facets

Identity Theft – One Fraud Multiple Facets

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Identity theft is a global crime. All types of identities, including the financial, medical and business identities of common people and business executives are stolen and exploited to defraud businesses and institutions. 

As per the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 2019 report, 1.4 million identity theft fraud reports were processed. A total of $1.48 billion were lost in those frauds. The most common frauds that surfaced were imposter scams, credit card fraud and debt collection through stolen identity scams.  

Symantec’s internet security threat report stated that account takeover fraud rose by 79% and new account fraud rose by 13% in 2018 as compared to 2017. 

These fraud reports are raising unease among the business circles and they are very keen to find an ultimate solution to eliminate these frauds. One of the most common counter fraud techniques employed by businesses globally is real-time identity verification of the stakeholders of an entity. It provides a risk cover while enhancing the compliance and customer onboarding procedures of the company. 

A 2018 survey of identity-theft-related crimes in the UK based banks revealed that banks are using enhanced due diligence tools (online identity verification, and AML compliance tools) to mitigate the risk of identity fraud with them.

Industries targeted by identity thieves 

Contrary to the common notion, all types of businesses are targeted by identity thieves. Whether it is a financial institution or a non-profit organization, all industries are the targets of identity-theft-related fraud. 

Every business has a unique business model, but fraudsters do find a way to invade the protocols using a stolen identity. The following discussion will provide an insight into how a stolen or fake identity can take different facets to defraud several businesses. 

Financial industry

Key motive behind fraud is monetary gain. So, fraudsters commonly target financial institutions. And most common frauds conducted with a stolen identity are credit card fraud, account takeover fraud, money laundering, mortgage fraud, and wire transfer fraud, etc. 

Insurance institutions, mortgage houses, banks, stock exchanges, investment companies, etc. are the common victims of these frauds. 

A 2018 survey of Insurance Information Institute(III) of the USA revealed in its 2018 survey that 3 million identities were stolen in the USA alone and more than 50% of those identities were used to defraud businesses. 


Fintech is growing at a rapid pace. Fintech startups raised more than $16.4 billion in VC/PE investments. The growth potential of fintech is huge, so is the risk involved in this industry. Technological solutions used to transform the traditional financial processes have left some loopholes for cybercriminals. 

Common frauds in fintech using stolen identities are money laundering, payment frauds, illegal funds transfer, etc. 

Online payment solutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, online mortgage, and rental service providers, etc are common victims of these frauds. 

One instance of fraud in fintech using the fake identity is when inmates in Florida county jail laundered $8000 through bitcoin. The inmates bought fake identities and credit card credentials through the dark web and used them to buy bitcoins. Once the bitcoin was purchased they converted it into fiat and transferred it into mysterious accounts outside the jail. The jail authorities found about this crime when they investigated a certain pattern of fund transfer, from the accounts of inmates. 

If the cryptocurrency exchange would have conducted identity verification before selling the bitcoin, the fraud could have been traced at the very first stage, because the criminals were using stolen identities and credit card credentials to make transactions. 


The healthcare industry is considered a pure industry, free of any fraud. Contrary to the common belief, cybercriminals are posing a threat towards the healthcare sector as well. They target patients, hospitals and other healthcare institutions, equally.

Common fraud in the healthcare sector are getting free medical services and buying prescription drugs using a patient’s identity. These frauds affect the credibility of the healthcare institutions and their doctors. 

1.3 million child identities are stolen every year and these identities are often used to defraud the hospitals. For example, a teenager in the USA was not allowed to donate blood on the basis that she was treated for HIV in the past. When investigated it was found that the identity of that girl was used to defraud a hospital in some other state to get an HIV treatment. The hospital did not verify it’s patient’s identity and gave a clean chit to a person with HIV. 

In another instance, the woman’s identity was used to get free treatment and her medical credentials were manipulated. When the real patient went for heart surgery, doctors cross-checked her medical credentials and found that the data was manipulated. In case the medical credentials would not have been checked the woman might have lost her life. Because the major credentials of her height and age were changed, that is used by doctors to decide medication dose for a patient. 

Such frauds are often conducted with the intention to get free services or prescription drugs but it can affect the credibility of a hospital.  

Education sector

Education is no more limited to brick and mortar schools and universities. Educational institutions are onboarding students online and are providing online courses. Other than the institutions, many online platforms are offering free as well as paid courses and material to the students. 

Commonly the stolen identities are used to imitate a credible students to get free education services. Also, online educational institutions are defrauded to get access to free study material for selling it to other websites.

In case a website is exploited to get a copy of content protected with copyrights, that website will be deemed responsible for the loss of the original owner of the content (books, research papers, etc). Because only a few credible sites are allowed to give access to the books and notes that have copyrights. 

The website loses its credibility if the identity of a student enrolled in an online course is used by an identity thief to attend online courses. Educational institutions and online educational platforms also need to perform due diligence on their participants to mitigate the risk of serving an identity thief. 

Travel/hospitality industry

The travel and hospitality industry caters to a wide range of clientele, so their risk is high. The common frauds that occur in the travel and hospitality industry are, imitating a guest to get free services or travel free of cost. Also, the criminals at large use stolen identities to use the hotel as their hideout. 

The travel industry is exploited by criminals for human trafficking, drug and money laundering. For instance, human traffickers use fake identities to fool the airport authorities to deliver underage children to other states for child labor. 

The above-discussed industries are just a few examples of the risk that stolen identities pose towards several industries. Other common victims that have been highlighted in the news are the e-commerce industry, real estate industry, government institutions, etc. 

How Identity verification is the savior of multiple industries?

Frauds related to identity theft are the risk for several industries. One stolen identity can be used in multiple ways to defraud businesses. Real-time identity verification can identify an individual within a minute.

Identity verification is a feasible and cost-effective solution to mitigate the risk that identity thieves pose towards a business. 

Real-time identity verification not only provide businesses with a risk cover but also helps them in seamless KYC and AML compliance and improves their customer trust. Customers feel more comfortable and secure with companies that run due diligence on their clients without any long delays. Also, it increases the credibility of an organization and prevents any penalties due to non-compliance.

6 Steps of Online Fraud Prevention for Businesses

6 Steps of Online Fraud Prevention for Businesses

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With the rapid development in the online retail industry and banking industry, there is an increase in the fraudulent activities accordingly. New and emerging technologies are on one side serving the businesses in multiple ways, but on the other side, they are giving them a tough time. Fraudsters find loopholes and vulnerabilities in the system and exploitation allows them to perform malicious activities. These activities result in heavy fines and risks.
A huge amount is spent on online stores. According to a study, global e-retail sales amounted $1.9 trillion in 2016 which is estimated to rise to $4.06 trillion in 2020. Fraudsters have endless opportunities in the face of online stores and businesses. The businesses failed to comply with the security measures are prone to the cost of loss. Every $1 of the fraudster orders cost an additional of $2.62 to online stores and $3.34 in case of transaction done through mobile phones. The countries which issue cards are 2-3 times more affected by online fraud than the ones who do not. Credit card fraud is the most common. Fraudsters use fake credit card information and perform online transactions which at the end costs the online business.
How can online businesses prevent themselves? What steps should be taken into consideration? The techniques of fraudsters are getting advance. Therefore, the pace of online businesses to introduce betterment in the system should also increase. For any business, it is important to take serious steps in order to prevent themselves from online payment scams and credit card fraud.
Following are 6 steps that can ensure safety in their customer onboarding process:

Need of Online Fraud Prevention System

Need of Online Fraud Prevention System

54% of businesses are somewhat confident about the security of their system. Only 40% are confident, who say that their system is unaffected by any attack or bad activity. The reason is that most of the businesses give more importance to conveniency than security. These businesses then face heavy loss which costs much more than the cost of security adoption.

Customers need Protection

66% of the customers want a secure online Fraud Prevention System. They want their identity and personal information to be protected and not to be used in any malicious activity. These concerns demand online marketplace to take serious measures in order to prevent the data and money of their customers.

Prevent Money Laundering and fraudulent transactions

67% of fraudulent transactions remain undetected. Who belongs to these transactions? What is their identity? These questions should not remain unanswered as they carry a heavy cost. For money launderers, the online marketplace is an attractive target which can help them in money laundering.
There should be proper AML checks in the system which catches them on the spot and suspend their activities and transactions.


Fraudsters activities fluctuate with respect to time and behaviours. These activities must be monitored actively and so the adoption of updated technology should be ensured. The above steps are the primary ones which need to be the part of any online business. The need for security measures varies according to the business type and fraud potential risks associated with it. To mitigate these risks, a proper protection curriculum should be shared in the business environment. This can help in remarkable business development with respect to both revenue and reputation.

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