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Interviews

Fighting fraud with behavioural biometrics - exclusive interview with BioCatch

Friday 30 March 2018 | 08:38 AM CET

BioCatch has won the Florin Award for “Best Innovation in Securing Transactions” at European Payment Summit 2018.

Curious to know more about their services, we sat down with Frances Zelazny, Vice President at BioCatch to learn about behavioural biometrics.

Could you introduce BioCatch to our readers? What types of services do you provide, what markets do you address and how did your company start in the industry?

Founded by experts in big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, BioCatch set out to address the next generation of cyber threats by focusing on the behaviour of the fraudster as opposed to adding new endpoint security layers.

BioCatch proactively collects and analyses more than 2,000 parameters to generate user profiles and model different types of genuine and malicious behaviour. The company’s platform can address a wide range of threats at login and beyond by identifying malware, robotic activity, social engineering (phishing, etc.) and other cyber threats, which is a differentiator from traditional fraud approaches and other behavioural biometrics providers.

The company monitors more than 5 billion transactions per month and generates real-time alerts when behavioural anomalies are detected, stopping fraud at the source and reducing the significant operational costs associated with managing the fraud. BioCatch also has a robust IP portfolio and over 56 patents that are either granted or pending. With more than 70 employees, the company is located in its Tel Aviv headquarters and has satellite offices in New York, Boston, Sao Paolo, Colombia and London.

You have just received the Florin Award for Best Innovative Practices in “Securing Transactions”. What, would you say, are the main elements that make BioCatch stand out from other services and enable it to address payment fraud issues in order to protect customers?

Traditional cybersecurity measures involve securing the endpoints and adding multiple layers of access security that are not only disruptive to the user experience, but are static and based on specific pieces of data that can be stolen, copied or bypassed. BioCatch changes the game by looking at all types of user interactions with a device or application to answer the question, ‘who are you’ in an online world where fraudsters operate with the legitimate credentials of others, making it very hard to distinguish them from authorized users.

More than 9 billion records have been stolen since 2013, making this a very real threat, and by proactively collecting and analysing more than 2,000 parameters on the way people type, scroll, hold their devices, enter information into an online application, toggle between fields, etc. we are able to generate user profiles and model different types of genuine and malicious behaviour.

Some users have shown privacy concerns surrounding biometric systems. What encouragement is needed in order for customers to place trust in biometrics?

GDPR provides a good framework for privacy. The notion of anonymity and privacy by design plays well into behavioural biometrics as this technology does not rely on personally identifiable information (PII). This modality leverages keyboard meta data and mouse movements as indicators of behavior, which once established as a user profile, can be used as a basis of comparison to spot anomalies and generate risk scores, that are then typically fed into a business rule engine.

Congratulations for closing a USD 30 million round! Could you give our readers more insights into further investments and developments of BioCatch after this funding?

The funds are being invested to fuel our growth and vision to redefine digital identity and enable renewed trust in online interactions.

What now and where next for biometrics in payments?

There are multiple roles for biometrics in payments, especially as seen through the lens of PSD2, enabling open banking, strong authentication and risk-based authentication to ensure security without additional friction. We are entering a phase where multiple modalities will work together to enhance the customer experience, facilitate commerce and enable transactions across devices, point of sales and even borders.

The Florin Awards were created in 2010 and they are hosted each year by the European Payments Summit, Currency Research and The Paypers to recognize and stimulate innovation in the transaction services industry.

The jury panel for the Florin Awards was made up of key independent and objective experts in the field, including: Rob van der Staaij (Principal and Director - Cybersecurity, Innopay, and Lecturer - Cybercrime & Cybersecurity, University of Groningen); Vikas Munshi (Creative Technologist, ING Bank); Mélisande Mual (Managing Director, The Paypers); and Joris den Bruinen (Deputy Director, The Hague Security Delta). This panel, as well as the public, selected BioCatch as the winner from among 10 other nominees.

About Frances Zelazny

Frances is a seasoned marketing strategist and business development professional with nearly 20 years experience with startup companies. Prior to BioCatch, Frances ran an independent consulting company focused on helping early stage and midsize companies with their business and marketing strategies. Among her clients were MyCheck, a leading mobile payment technology platform, Morpho, a global biometrics and identification company, Center for Global Development, Interamerican Development Bank and others. Prior to this, Frances was Corporate Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Operations, for L-1 Identity Solutions, a premier biometrics and identity solutions.

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