How e-payment providers are on the front lines of the fight against cybercrimes

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(Photo: Handout from Network International)
AMMAN  — Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity concerns had become a significant source of apprehension for both public- and private sector entities across the globe. Worldwide, cyberattacks were already on the rise—and when the pandemic ushered in a series of rapid digital shifts in everything from consumer behaviors to corporate operations, these attacks only increased.اضافة اعلان

The surge happened almost instantaneously: by the end of March 2020, cybersecurity companies were already witnessing enormous, multifold increases in hacking attempts on both organizations and private citizens—and this trend has shown no signs of abating.

Like many other types of crimes, cybercrimes tend to be opportunistic— hackers look for easy targets and ideal circumstances. And while the shift toward online payments and eCommerce has been a net positive for consumers and businesses alike, it has also created a much greater breadth of opportunities for hackers to strike.

No one is immune from the risks of cyberattacks: government entities, businesses across all sectors, and private citizens alike have been targeted with increasing frequency. But while everyone must do their due diligence to secure their data and digital assets, it’s the financial sector in general, and the e-payment industry in particular, that is truly on the front lines of the fight.

Payment providers haven’t shown up unprepared. These attacks, while unwelcome, were not unanticipated. For years, companies in the e-payment industry have been building up and reinforcing their cybersecurity measures in an effort to stay ahead of the growing and evolving threats.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—which went into effect in 2018—created a widespread push towards better online data security to protect customers. The GDPR was among the most comprehensive data protection and security legislation ever passed. Because of the global nature of the digital world, its reach and impact spread far beyond European borders.

Compliance with GDPR regulations pushed companies across all industries and sectors to prioritize cybersecurity, mainly when it came to controlling or processing consumer data.

However, for businesses operating in the e-payment sphere, it isn’t enough to merely shore up their own security systems and protocols: payment transactions involve multiple parties, from vendors and payment platforms to banks and financial service providers, and any weakness in this chain spells trouble for everyone.

That’s why many players in the e-payment universe are now taking significant steps to increase communication and coordination between these different parties.
This can be done in numerous ways:

Visa, for example, has a system that updates merchants and card issuers with information about potential cyber threats in real-time. Similarly, solutions like 3D Secure provide extra layers of security, coordination, and protection against online fraud, working across multiple domains to authenticate e-payments and online transactions.

This kind of strong customer authentication (SCA) is already a requirement for payment service providers in Europe; given the global nature of e-payments, it should be considered essential for payment providers everywhere.
At Network International, we also offer card issuers tools like our Falcon Fraud Manager system, which uses machine learning, data-driven insights, and intelligent consumer profiling to apply a fraud score to every consumer transaction.

We provide Falcon as a turnkey tool or as a fully managed service handled by our internal fraud experts. Again, this service depends on the collaboration of multiple parties: with Falcon, we leverage our partnership with leading analytics software company FICO in order to derive insights from their Global Intelligence Network—allowing us to stay on the cutting edge of the ever-changing battle against fraud and other cybercrimes.

And perhaps that is the biggest lesson one can learn from being on the front lines of the cybersecurity fight: that the rules of engagement are continuously evolving. Cyber-attackers are constantly developing new techniques to perpetrate their crimes, and all parties to e-payments—from merchants to payment providers to customers themselves—need to work hard to stay several steps ahead.

Being on the front lines, payment providers, in particular, have a responsibility not only to innovate technologically but to provide their partners with the tools, resources, and insights needed to keep up their own defenses as well.

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