There are plenty of defining years in the history books, and as 2020 draws to a close, it’s almost certain that the global pandemic will ensure that this year is featured prominently. With events cancelled, launches delayed, and country-wide lockdowns, the way we work has changed forever. Still, for financial technology and surrounding industries, this was also a year of challenge and opportunity.
This December, The Fintech Times is asking industry leaders for their ‘View from the Top’ to gain an insight into the decisions behind the last 12-months. Today, we’re looking at the issue of Cybersecurity, hearing from Monica Eaton-Cardone, Andrew Bud, and Mark Gazit on their 2020 thoughts, plus a look ahead to 2021. Will there be a Happy New Year? Read on…
With people having to live the majority of their lives online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an unfortunate bi-product has been the increase of cybersecurity attacks and incidents of fraud. As a solution to this, fintechs have risen up to fill the increased demand for cybersecurity, which is unlikely to wane any time soon. In this View from the Top, companies Chargebacks911, iProov and ThetaRay outline their own 2020 experience.
Monica Eaton-Cardone is Co-Founder and COO of Chargebacks911, a global company fully dedicated to mitigating chargeback risk and eliminating chargeback fraud. She has seen an increase of fraud this year, that she thinks will carry on into the new year.
“This really has been a year like no other. With Covid-19 sweeping across the globe and strict lockdown measures in place, businesses across all sectors have had to enter the digital sphere, stimulating a 74% growth in online shopping.
“While this has been a hugely positive step for many, those operating in the online space have faced challenges, especially when it comes to chargebacks. Some industries have experienced 10 times the amount of payment disputes prior to the pandemic. This has happened for several reasons.
“Merchants have been facing issues with orders, deliveries, spikes in web traffic, new technology integrations, UX, and more. Simultaneously, friendly fraud has become increasingly easier to commit, since consumers are shrouded by anonymity when shopping online and contactless deliveries mean merchants can’t confirm if packages arrive safely.
“Changing consumer behaviour has also fuelled the growth of friendly fraud. Sadly, some customers impacted by furlough and job losses have turned to the chargeback system to recoup money spent on previous purchases.
“As we head into 2021, these issues aren’t likely to disappear, even when we dare to explore a world after the pandemic. Customers have become comfortable with e-commerce being a staple point of their shopping experience and businesses are embracing their newfound online capacities.
“Following this mass digitisation across many industries, it will be more important than ever for businesses to mitigate chargebacks. It will go a long way towards protecting bottom lines as merchants start to recover.”
For Andrew Bud CBE, Founder & CEO of iProov – a provider of online biometric authentication – his thoughts remain around onboarding and the potential security issues around it.
“Within the next 12 months, banking regulators in global territories – including Europe and the Far East – will authorise the use of automated biometrics instead of video calling for remote Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.
“Just as in 2019, when a well-publicised voice fraud scam duped a high-profile CEO, by the end of the year there will have been several criminal money-laundering scandals arising from the use of deepfakes in video calls.
“Countering this could very well mean that several countries, including the United States, also take concrete steps towards instituting government-backed digital identities. This will be an important step towards enabling financial institutions and government departments to verify identity and mitigate fraud in bank onboarding and government support programmes.”
“Recent months have seen all parts of the family, and all age groups, being forced to familiarise themselves with apps, web and video-calling technology out of necessity. This should be treated as a real opportunity to provide them with access to services that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. In 2021, this will result in three things.
“First, the password, which has long been the bane of many people’s online interactions, will be replaced by simpler authentication methods. Passwords are too complicated – they prevent people from using online services and don’t offer the inclusivity that simplified authentication via biometrics provides.
“Second, if progress in this area continues to be made in 2021, it’s possible that worldwide as many as 100 million people over the age of 70 will possess digital IDs, with the concept of the ‘digital power of attorney’ very soon becoming a reality.
“Third, many of the people using technology for the first time – elderly people or those less experienced with tech – are also often the ones who are most susceptible to online manipulation. Creating ways of safeguarding individuals online will move further up the agenda.”
Mark Gazit is president and CEO of ThetaRay and a top financial crime and cybersecurity expert. He thinks that the use of artificial intelligence is going to become crucial in the cybersecurity world.
“I predict that AI will become even more important to the financial industry, especially during the current global health crisis. The ability of banks to know and identify their customers has become more difficult. It has become incredibly challenging to create rules and build automation-based systems when customer behaviour has changed so drastically. Banks now require computers that can take the place of very senior, experienced bankers and investigators. Criminals are increasingly using AI to commit financial cybercrime, so banks need an advanced level of Artificial Intelligence and intuition to detect and defeat them.
“The world of international payments is also changing before our eyes. Due to the global health crisis, international travel has come to a near-standstill. Cash is being controlled more stringently all over the world, and some countries have even banned its use. However, global payments are crucial, and bank customers need new solutions. The correspondent banking system is historically the most effective method of connecting developing economies to the global financial system, but criminals are increasingly using it to launder funds related to narco-trafficking, terrorist funding and human trafficking. I predict that 2021 will find banks investing in advanced AI technologies that can detect criminal activity hidden within complex correspondent banking transactions and stop the money laundering crisis for good.
“Finally, I believe we will see the government developing stronger controls on money movement to make sure national aid payments get where they are supposed to go and aren’t stolen and laundered by criminal organisations or nation-states.”