Q&A: How AI-Powered Risk Intelligence Can Help Stop Fraud and Drive Growth

This interview was first published on Cybernews.

While a VPN or malware protection can enhance protection, the foundation of any company's cybersecurity framework is a robust risk intelligence provider. These providers offer real-time identification of potential threats and vulnerabilities, helping businesses to take proactive measures against cyberattacks and data breaches that can lead to financial loss and damage to their reputations.

In this regard, SHIELD – a global risk intelligence company – stands out in the market. Today, its Chief Product Officer – Jake Ooi, explains how businesses can better understand and mitigate potential risks with the aid of risk intelligence.

Can you tell us more about your fraud prevention solution? What are its key features?

Businesses are increasingly cognizant of the fact that fake accounts are associated with a significant proportion of the fraud attacks plaguing tech platforms. Our Device Intelligence solution goes one step further by pinpointing the physical devices behind fake accounts.

In short, our AI technology accurately determines the devices, users, and accounts that companies can trust - and those they shouldn’t. Our SHIELD ID is the global standard for device identification and is extremely persistent and accurate. It enables our clients to weed out fake accounts and multi-accounting even if fraudsters attempt to factory reset or mask their devices.

Additionally, the Device Intelligence solution can pinpoint in real time the activation of suspicious tools or apps, such as app cloners and emulators, even if the devices or accounts had not previously displayed suspicious activity.

Our industry-agnostic technology gives clients the confidence to stop fraudsters before they can conduct any type of fraud or impact genuine users - whether it be payment fraud, promo abuse, or multi-account collusion. In doing so, we help companies stop fraud losses, grow their base of genuine users, and improve profitability.

What are some of the best practices organizations should follow when developing mobile apps?

User experience is king when it comes to mobile apps. That means that while security should be a top priority for businesses, security measures should be implemented in a way that does not degrade app performance or the overall user experience.

Businesses should consider investing in fraud prevention solutions that minimize the use of personally identifiable information, or avoid its use entirely if the situation does not require it. This would mean that companies are able to control when authentication is applied within the user journey. Risk-based authentication or roadblocks can be applied specifically to fraudsters without impacting genuine users.

This disincentivizes fraudsters by making it more difficult and time intensive for them to conduct fraud. Conversely, by ensuring that genuine users no longer need to worry about being targeted by fraudsters, the overall user experience is improved.

Did you notice any new threats emerge as a result of the pandemic?

The pandemic accelerated the virtualization of our lives, with many of our interactions and transactions continuing to take place online even after the threat of the pandemic subsided. Fraudsters have noticed this and are increasingly targeting mobile apps and digital platforms.

They are constantly expanding their arsenal of fraud tactics, and organizations should do their due diligence by researching the types of fraud that commonly plague other companies in that sector or industry. For example, fraudsters targeting ride-hailing apps might use fake accounts to complete ghost rides - rides that do not actually happen - to quickly rack up ride completion incentives, draining a company’s resources.

At the same time, fraud prevention can no longer be a siloed effort. Many modern strategies use insights gleaned from other countries and other industries to stay ahead of the incredibly varied fraud patterns emerging worldwide. This will ensure that fraud teams can proactively avoid fraud attacks even if they have not yet been experienced by the organization, within their country, or even within their industry globally.

What actions can average individuals take to combat these threats?

Fraudsters are always developing new techniques to conduct fraud, and individuals need to be proactive about keeping themselves updated on the latest threats. Government agencies and large organizations share fraud prevention tips on a regular basis, which can help consumers better understand the latest fraud trends and take the appropriate steps in suspicious situations.

Some common best practices include using password managers, frequently changing passwords, and thinking twice before clicking links or downloading attachments. Social engineering tactics are evolving and everyone should be cautious about providing financial information; they should also be wary of unsolicited emails and texts, and verify messages’ authenticity before acting on them.

What fraud methods do you think are the most prominent nowadays? Are there any signs that can help identify them before any damage is made?

Aside from fake accounts, there are three types of fraud that all businesses need to be increasingly aware of.

The first type is account takeovers, which refers to fraudsters gaining access to user accounts through social engineering attacks or through the dark web. This could lead to fraudsters purchasing items through stored credit card credentials; on e-wallet services, they could even gain direct access to stored funds. Fraudsters would also be able to retrieve personal information such as phone numbers, emails, and addresses.

The second type is identity fraud. With deep fake technologies allowing fraudsters to imitate genuine users’ voices and appearances, we may see the creation of synthetic identities explicitly for fraud.

Last but not least is friendly fraud. This refers to instances where individuals make claims that seem genuine, but actually aren’t. For instance, they could claim that delivered products were ordered by fraudsters who had taken over their account, or simply that products were not delivered. With inflation becoming a significant issue for multiple markets around the world, we may see genuine users attempt friendly fraud to save money.

Besides quality risk intelligence solutions, what other security measures do you think should be a part of every modern company?

Companies should consider several security measures to protect themselves against a wide range of potential threats:

  • Businesses should conduct regular audits to identify potential vulnerabilities and ensure security works as intended.
  • Companies should have plans for responding quickly and effectively to any security breach if it happens, ensuring it is contained and remedied.
  • Regular updating and patching of all software and hardware are necessary to add new security features and address potential weaknesses.

What aspects of our daily lives do you hope to see enhanced by AI in the next few years?

Advancements in AI have already improved many facets of our lives – getting us to places faster, accessing information quicker, improving customer service, and more. It will continue to do so through advances in healthcare, diagnosing disease more accurately and quickly; transportation, more autonomous vehicles will improve safety and optimize driving efficiencies; improve education and customize our entertainment options even more. I also expect AI to enhance sustainability in energy and agriculture industries to reduce waste, conserve resources, and more.

Share with us, what's next for SHIELD?

Fraud is ever-evolving, and our Global Intelligence Network will continue to expand even as new threats emerge. We’re also continuing to build partnerships with global trailblazers setting standards for trust and transparency within their respective industries. For example, we recently partnered with the global ride-sharing company, InDrive, the world's second-most downloaded-mobility app, serving 100 million users in 700 cities across 47 countries.

Our risk intelligence platform will allow InDrive to detect fraud patterns on its platform and stop dishonest users and fraudsters before they cause issues like unwanted price hikes. Fraud syndicates targeting the ride-hailing industry have proliferated exponentially, and InDrive is committed to keeping their platform fair and transparent for all users; we're thrilled to be on that journey with them. Exciting times are ahead!

Find out how SHIELD can help safeguard your online business from fake accounts today.