Category Archives: Media Coverage

Biometric Technology Needed to Win the War against Financial Fraud, Explains Enacomm CEO in Biometric Update Byline

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October 31st is just around the corner, but as Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis pointed out in a recent guest article for Biometric Update, this month ushered in “something scarier for ill-prepared merchants than anything Halloween has to offer.” The EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) payments liability shift occurred on October 21, 2015, and now “all retailers across America will be forced to take the financial fall when card criminals successfully launch attacks that could have been thwarted.”

New payment terminals that are able to verify chip-enabled credit cards will help fight fraud at the point of sale by stopping fraudsters with counterfeit credit cards in their tracks, but Boukadakis notes that this type of trickery is just a sliver of the larger financial fraud pie. From his op-ed:

Counterfeit credit cards only account for about 37 percent of credit card fraud, and card fraud itself is just a sliver of the larger financial fraud pie. Chip credit cards can still be stolen, and card not present transactions are rife with vulnerabilities. And beyond the card front, fraudsters breach online bank accounts and devilishly divert high-risk transactions. While chip technology will help foil the false reproduction of credit, debit and prepaid cards using stolen information, biometrics must be added to the financial industry’s arsenal to win the war.

Biometrics technology, Boukadakis explains, is needed to win the war against financial fraud, and voiceprint recognition is a proven method of identification that is well-suited for multi-layered authentication systems. By conducting sophisticated analysis of hundreds of voice characteristics, a bank, credit union or prepaid company can accurately identify and authenticate a customer in real-time.

Voice authentication is Reliable with a capital R; it has a 99.99 percent success rate. From Boukadakis’ piece:

While PINs and other authentication data are codes that can be cracked, a person’s voice cannot be compromised or stolen. Tech-savvy crooks cannot reverse engineer a voiceprint to create a spoken voice, and even voice “replays” are of no concern, because next-generation technology can ask for words, numbers and phrases in random order. Stolen voiceprints and voice recordings are useless.

Whether faced with brute force attacks, credential sharing, hacking, Phishing, Vhishing, credential resets, Internet searches or social engineering, voice biometrics offers a stronger defense than traditional methods of identity verification—and, unlike a chip credit card, there’s nothing for the customer to lose.

Last year, annual fraud costs totaled $32 billion – a 38 percent jump from 2013 – according to a LexisNexis study, so “the nationwide shift to EMV should be welcomed with open arms,” says Boukadakis. But the war is far from over with attacks in the mobile and online spaces becoming more intense. To learn more about why banks, credit unions and prepaid companies should set their sights on voice biometrics as the next line of defense against financial fraud, read Boukadakis’ byline for Biometric Update, “Biometrics Needed to Win the War against Financial Fraud.”

The Prepaid Press Relays Enacomm CEO’s Predictions on How EMV Shift Will Impact Fraud

prepaidpress logoAs of October 1, 2015, all retailers are responsible for fraudulent transactions with counterfeit credit cards when the magnetic stripe is swiped instead of the EMV chip being inserted in the payment terminal. Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis recently shared his thoughts on the “EMV Liability Shift” with Arlene Hauben of The Prepaid Press.

In her article, “EMV Liability Shift is Here: Chip Cards a Milestone in Lessening Fraud,” Hauben explores how the widespread transition to chip card technology will impact the fraud landscape. From the story:

“If you’re not face to face, chip card technology doesn’t apply,” said Michael Boukadakis, founder and CEO of Enacomm. “I expect that fraudsters will focus more of their energy on card not present transactions, and fraud tied to purchases where a payment card is not physically presented will climb.”

Boukadakis says that chip technology makes both credit and debit cards much more difficult to clone, but it’s important to recognize that counterfeit credit cards only account for a little over a third of credit card fraud. New chip cards will fight fraud at the point of sale, but nevertheless, chip cards that are physically stolen can be deceptively dipped at updated payment terminals.

“Fraudsters will paint a bullseye on retailers – from big box to mom-and-pop stores – that drag their feet in adopting payment terminals that can verify the validity of the new EMV chip cards,” said Boukadakis.

The conversion to EMV will start making a difference immediately with the liability shift date finally in the past. Most retailers who have not already upgraded their payment terminals will do so in short order to avoid taking the hit for fraudulent transactions that could have been thwarted. According to Boukadakis, there will likely be a dip in counterfeit credit card fraud during Q4 2015 and a dramatic decrease in 2016.

Chip credit card technology doesn’t protect against the full spectrum of financial fraud. In addition to security issues with stolen chip credit cards and card not present transactions, fraudsters hack online bank accounts and hijack high-risk transactions.

The use of multi-modal, multi-factor authentication applications will decrease the amount of financial fraud.

The financial industry should also take a serious look at voice biometrics technology, which Enacomm offers in the form of Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA). With a 99.99% success rate, it’s a proven method of identification that is more reliable that fingerprint scanning and facial recognition and is perfect for multi-layered authentication systems.

Enacomm Voice Authentication neutralizes brute force attacks, credential sharing, hacking, Phishing, Vhishing, credential resets, Internet searches and social engineering. Card not present attacks abound and will only increase with the EMV shift.

To read Hauben’s full piece, click here. To learn more about multi-modal, multi-factor authentication and the use of voice biometric technology for customer authentication, contact the Enacomm team at sales@enacomm.net or 1-877-860-0025.

Enacomm CEO’s Expert Article on Multifactor Authentication Featured by PaymentsSource

PaymentsSourceA new guest article from Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis was featured by PaymentsSource this week with a top spot on the publication’s homepage. In the piece, Mike shares expert insight on a trend shaping the payments landscape: biometric authentication.

Mike’s contribution for what the publication calls its PayThink series is titled, “Voice Authentication Beats Fingerprint Biometrics for Data Protection” and speaks to the importance of multifactor authentication, similar to we’ve seen on the big screen in movies like Mission: Impossible.

In Mission: Impossible, extensive security measures are employed to safeguard the Government Non-Official Cover (NOC) list in the vault at the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) headquarters in Langley, Virginia. First, a voiceprint is utilized to positively identify the only person allowed inside the secured vault. Subsequently, the person seeking access is required to enter a 6-digit code in order to enter the outer room. Next up? An eye-retinal scan. Then, to deactivate the security measures, a double electronic keycard is used – and that’s all before stepping foot inside the vault. Once inside, there are three security systems armed: one that is sound-sensitive, one that is temperature-sensitive, and one that is pressure-sensitive. If someone whispers, raises the temperature just a single degree with body heat, or sweats a drop, the alarm would be set off and an automatic lockdown would be triggered.

Mike explains in the piece:

“While the average consumer’s banking information may not be considered as highly-sensitive as the NOC list, multi-layer authentication is still the best way to fend off fraudsters. And biometrics security technology like voiceprint identification isn’t reserved for the CIA.”

Mike goes on to note that biometrics can be combined with advanced Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) as part of an onboarding and authentication system. Voice biometrics, in particular, is a dependable method of identification – even more reliable than fingerprinting with a 99.99 percent success rate – that is perfect for multi-layered authentication systems.

“Government intelligence agencies worldwide rely on voice biometrics security technology, and issuers can, too,” Mike says in the op-ed. “While PINs and other authentication data can be breached, someone’s voice cannot be compromised or stolen.”

Voice biometrics technology can be programmed to ask for words, numbers and phrases in random order, making “replays” and stolen voice prints useless. This means that voice recordings cannot be used to gain unauthorized account access.

“While the series of security checks need not be as extensive as those in Tom Cruise’s secret agent series, it’s important that financial institutions and card companies deploy multiple lines of defense,” Mike emphasizes. “KBA for customer identification is another key component of the fraud prevention system.”

The next-generation KBA technology that Enacomm offers helps organizations authenticate customers to onboard and activate their accounts in real-time via their mobile devices. This “out-of-wallet” security check is particularly vital to the prepaid credit card industry. From the article:

“When a prepaid or cash card is purchased in-store, the customer often wants to cash load and use the card immediately; delays lead to loss of customer interest and failed activations. KBA enables card companies to verify personal information and authenticate identities on-the-spot. The customer can use his or her mobile device to activate and cash load the card immediately. Plus, the authentication process can take place in real-time without the costly interaction of speaking with a live customer service representative or using IVR minutes.”

Voice biometrics backed by modern KBA protects financial institutions, card companies and their customers against brute force attacks, credential sharing, hacking, Phishing, Vhishing, credential resets, Internet searches and social engineering.

To learn more about Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA) and eKBA, give us a call at 1-877-860-0025 or send an email to sales@enacomm.net.

What’s the Best Form of Biometric Security for Banks?

Biometric Update logoWriting for Biometric Update – the leading online source for breaking news, analysis, and research about the global biometrics industry – Enacomm CMO David Anderson explains in an expert guest article why voice biometrics technology may be a better choice for banking security than fingerprint or facial recognition. In the piece, “All forms of biometric authentication are not created equal,” Anderson notes that biometrics security technology is now being more widely used thanks to the proliferation of smartphones with high-quality microphones and cameras that make the process easy. While ease is a priority when choosing between biometric identification methods, he says, effectiveness is just as important.

Touch biometrics is often one of the least reliable forms of biometric authentication, as fingerprint scanners can be easily duped. From the article:

For the pros, making fingerprint dummies is relatively easy. Tsutomu Matsumoto, a security researcher at Yokohama National University, created a way to fool biometric scanners 80 percent of the time by taking a photograph of a fingerprint left on a wine glass, for example, and re-casting it in molded gelatin. Nine out of 10 fingerprint readers can even by tricked by manipulated Play-Doh from your local department store, as proven by hackers. What’s more, it’s possible for cyber-criminals to intercept fingerprint data from Internet-enabled biometric scanners as it’s sent to the computer server for processing.

More reliable than touch, facial recognition has close to a 98 percent success rate. However, fraudsters have been able to find cracks in the technology. According to Anderson:

In recent years, facial recognition technology has greatly improved its accuracy and is nearing a 98 percent success rate. Discovered methods of deception, user error and the fact that facial scanning can be faulty in direct sunlight make up the two percent gap. Hackers have been able to reverse engineer the biometric information stored in (not-so-)secure databases to print photos that dupe most face scanners. Security researchers at companies like MasterCard and USAA believe blinking is the best way to prevent a fraudster from holding up a picture of the individual being impersonated to fool the system.

More accurate than fingerprint or facial recognition, voice authentication has a 99.99 percent success rate. According to Anderson, it should be a top security choice for financial institutions, particularly when it comes to important, high-dollar transactions. From the piece:

A voice print is a sophisticated model against which future voice utterances are compared, using complex algorithmic processing. There is no physical “voice” or sound recorded on the computer. One cannot reverse engineer a voice biometric template or print to create a spoken voice.

Anderson goes on to emphasize that, “Because there is no single, perfect solution, it is recommended that multiple verification methods be employed by financial institutions.”

Click here to read the full article on Biometric Update’s website. To learn more about Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA), go here.

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Enacomm CEO Writes Expert Article for Paybefore: “5 Ways to Make Prepaid Card Onboarding Less Painful for Consumers”

In a new expert article for Paybefore, the leading provider of information to the prepaid, mobile and emerging payments industry, Founder & CEO of Enacomm Mike Boukadakis shares five keys to keep in mind to make the authentication process a positive experience for prepaid consumers:

1. Lose the in-store lag time

Customers want to be able to load and use prepaid cards immediately when they buy them in-store. The need to verify personal information and authenticate consumers’ identities before a reloadable personalized card—with higher load limits—can be mailed, causes days or even weeks of delays, resulting in loss of customer interest and failed activations. Mailing cards is also expensive. A large portion of an organization’s investment is wasted due to activation lag or abandonment. With a rapid onboarding solution, cardholders can be authenticated with accounts activated and ready to reload cash in minutes.

2. Mobilize account activation

Next-generation Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) enables organizations to authenticate customers via their mobile phones and activate their accounts in real time. A customer can use his or her mobile device to activate immediately and load additional cash on the card without leaving the store. Plus, a prepaid card company, for example, can authenticate the customer on-the-spot, without using the IVR or the costly interaction of a customer service representative speaking live with the consumer. Engaging customers in their “mobile moment” with an activation and authentication service is more comfortable and convenient for many customers.

3. Use a customer-friendly interface

Research and anecdotal evidence suggest many customers avoid calling an IVR or interacting with an agent for activation and authentication and would prefer to be helped through the process by a pleasant avatar. Alternatively, they can authenticate by landline or the Web. Using a customer-friendly interface, next-generation KBA guides cardholders through authentication using leading-edge techniques that draw on credit and non-credit databases. With the significant rise in wireless usage, mobile KBA meets the wants and needs of consumers.

4. Make the process quick and easy

The fast pace of society and business calls for quick, reliable mobile authentication. Using a layered, dynamic approach versus older static methods, new KBA technology integrates fraud detection, validation and authentication into a single process. Customers can simply tap a link, then click a few buttons and authentication will be complete.

5. Avoid intrusive requests

Financial institutions are required to positively identify and authenticate their customers—but the process shouldn’t be akin to the Spanish Inquisition. A brief explanation prior to conducting KBA—both the explanation and KBA can be automated—will put the cardholder’s mind at ease. Instead of human agents making customers feel like they’re in the hot seat with challenge questions, automated KBA asks for limited personal information and then presents questions that can easily be answered by the true user. Information, such as a Social Security number or ZIP code, can be entered using many types of mobile devices. A variety of questions, which are dynamic in nature, change with each customer’s access. Today’s KBA technology asks customers a series of multiple choice questions, and if the customers do not answer all of the questions correctly, additional questions will be posed or a call can be placed for further verification.

Enacomm offers multilayered authentication for financial institutions that combines advanced KBA with biometric technology. To learn more about Enacomm’s eKBA, click here. And for information on Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA), which harnesses voice biometrics, go here.

Head on over to Paybefore to read Boukadakis’ full guest article, “5 Ways to Make Prepaid Card Onboarding Less Painful for Consumers.”

Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis on the Shortcomings of the EMV Chip

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FindBiometrics this week published a new guest article by Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis, “EMV Chip Card Technology Leaves the Job Undone.” In the intro for the piece, Boukadakis notes that, according to the Aite Group, 70 percent of US credit cards and 41 percent of US debit cards will be EMV chip-enabled by the end of 2015. But he goes on to explain:

Embedded computer chips make EMV cards far more difficult to clone, yet it is important to understand that financial institutions, retailers and consumers will still be left vulnerable, because counterfeit cards only account for about 37 percent of credit card fraud, and card fraud itself is just one piece of the larger fraud pie.

EMV chip cards will impede fraudsters’ efforts to produce counterfeit cards, but these payment methods can still end up in the hands of the wrong person if lost or stolen and will do little to thwart card-not-present threats. Additionally, as Boukadakis points out, “fraudsters break into online bank accounts and hijack high-risk transactions” – no card needed.

So, how can banks, credit unions and prepaid companies help finish the job in the fight against fraud? Voice biometrics.

Boukadakis notes that Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) guidance recommends and sometimes mandates the use of multi-layered, dynamic forms of customer authentication, versus archaic, static methods. “Voice biometrics…is a proven method of identification that is perfect for multi-layered authentication systems,” he says.

Used by government intelligence agencies worldwide, voice biometrics technology is even more reliable than fingerprinting. By conducting sophisticated analysis of hundreds of voice characteristics, a bank, credit union or prepaid company can accurately identify and authenticate a customer in real-time.

Fraud, identity theft and security breaches have increasingly infiltrated America. Fraudsters stole $18 billion from consumers in 2013, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. To learn more about how banks, credit unions and prepaid companies can easily deploy voice biometrics authentication technology now to fight fraud, read Boukadakis’ entire article here, and contact the Enacomm team with a call (877-860-0025) or email (sales@enacomm.net).

More Smartphones, More Biometrics Technology in the Mainstream

Last week, Cisco released its “Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2014–2019”. According to the study, in 2014, smart devices and connections – those having advanced computing and multimedia capabilities with a minimum of 3G connectivity – made up 72% of wireless devices in North America that are accessing mobile networks. By 2019, that number is projected to reach 89%.

Recently, in an interview with Arlene Hauben of The Prepaid Press, Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis explained that, with the advent of smartphones, we should expect to see more biometrics technology being employed. “Now we have a vehicle to implement dual mode authentication,” he said. To read the full article, go here.

What does it all mean? Smart devices are making biometric authentication a reality.

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Biometrics and KBA Combine to Address Security Concerns

As part of an onboarding and authentication system, biometrics can be combined with advanced knowledge-based authentication to thoroughly address security concerns —for example, facial recognition by comparing a selfie with a stored photo at a records bureau.

Read Enacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis’ Paybefore guest article, “A Soon-to-Be Must-Have: Biometrics Authentication for Customer Service,” to learn more.

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The Prepaid Press Features Enacomm in Review of Technologies and Trends in Prepaid Card Security

prepaidpress logoEnacomm CEO Mike Boukadakis recently spoke with Arlene Hauben, editor at The Prepaid Press, about why this is an “exciting time for the use of security in prepaid.” Addressing how prepaid providers are responding to consumer concerns in her Technologies and Trends article, Hauben highlights which Enacomm products RushCard is utilizing to enhance card security. From the story:

RushCard will employ Enacomm’s eKBA mobilized authentication of customers. This will include caller verification methods that rely on basic information and voice biometrics technology provided by Enacomm.

In addition to putting new security measures into effect, Enacomm recently implemented its self-assisted service solution for RushCard. This solution focuses on creating intelligent customer interactions with an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

RushCard will be using ENCART, Enacomm’s Network Call Allocation Routing Tools that provide dynamic real-time load balancing among call centers for incoming calls; ViA, Enacomm’s analytics tool for call centers featuring real-time IVR and computer telephony integration reporting, monitoring and alerting; and Engage, a single, browser-based console that will allow RushCard to enhance and direct its IVR system.

In his interview with Hauben, Boukadakis explained that security systems can help prepaid be as safe as credit cards. From the write-up:

“Consumers who use prepaid want the same level of protection with prepaid cards,” said Boukadakis in an interview. “The goal in prepaid is to raise the level of comfort for the users to the same level that they have with credit or checking accounts.”

For more interesting insight, stats and trends, head on over to The Prepaid Press to read the full feature article.

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Enacomm CEO Writes on Biometrics Authentication for CRMXchange and Paybefore

CRMXchange logoRemember being fascinated by iris recognition, fingerprint scanning and voice analysis in movies like Men in Black, Mission: Impossible, and Minority Report? Thanks to new advancements, biometrics technology will soon transform the customer experience, too, allowing consumers to be identified based on their unique personal attributes.

In a new guest column for CRMXchange, Enacomm CEO Michael Boukadakis points out that “fraud, identity theft and data attacks are disproportionately plaguing our nation — breaches involving U.S. entities accounted for 41.1 percent of incidents worldwide, according to Risk Based Security.” Traditional forms of account authentication, Boukadakis explains, are no match for modern forms of fraud – but biometrics authentication can thwart sophisticated schemes. In the financial space, companies can use biometrics to control who has access to personal information and card data.

According to the article:

For organizations big and small, voice authentication is now a financially and operationally feasible application of biometrics technology…A voiceprint is distinctive like a thumbprint, but rather than an impression of the lines upon a fingertip being scrutinized, a sophisticated analysis of hundreds of voice characteristics is conducted. An algorithm is applied to break up and map each unique voice identity, which is then stored in an encrypted file. An individual can then be accurately identified and authenticated in real-time by matching particular characteristics of his or her spoken words every time he or she calls.

Not only will there be a significant increase in the adoption of biometrics to safeguard financial transactions, but the technology will also be used to improve everyday events such as turning on lights, starting a car, or buying coffee at Starbucks.

paybefore logoBoukadakis also recently penned a guest article for Paybefore, titled “A Soon-to-Be Must-Have: Biometrics Authentication for Customer Service.” Capturing the identity fraud crisis in numbers, the piece states:

There were more than 12 million identity fraud victims in 2012, and fraudsters stole nearly $21 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. This is about one victim every 3 seconds. Large data breaches provide account and personal information to fraudsters, who then use it to access individuals’ accounts. America leads the world in the number of payment card accounts, including prepaid, that have been breached. Business Insider reports that payment card breaches cost card issuers $3.4 billion in 2012 and merchants another $1.9 billion.

Boukadakis observes that “voice biometrics technology has improved along with the underlying communications channels, reducing the cost of a single authentication to pennies per instance. Compare this to the cost for a customer service representative to authenticate a customer, which could easily be $2.”

As part of an onboarding and authentication system, biometrics can be combined with advanced knowledge-based authentication. Voice biometrics authentication, in particular, is incredibly reliable and shouldn’t be compared or confused with voice recognition. A voiceprint is distinctive like a thumbprint, but even more reliable than fingerprinting with a 99.99 percent success rate. Of interest, fingerprinting can provide misleading results due to contextual bias. Making his case, Boukadakis provides an example of the FBI mistakenly matching a partial fingerprint found on a bag of detonators linked to the March 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid to Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield.

How are customers authenticated with voice biometrics? Using inbound or outbound calling, texts, a mobile application or Web browser. And voice authentication can be integrated with new or existing interactive voice response (IVR) and call center systems. When a customer calls the IVR, he or she can authenticate in real time, or if speaking with a customer service representative (CSR), the CSR can send the customer a text message with a “talk back” link. Alternatively, the cardholder could be connected to a mobile Web browser to authenticate. Because call centers and customer service reps don’t have to repeat account verification or identification questions, 20 percent or more of their time can be saved, resulting in reduced costs and a much-improved customer service experience.

While PINs and other authentication data can be breached, customers’ voices cannot be compromised or stolen. With heightened security concerns and the need for multiple methods of authentication, voice biometrics is one of the best ways to arm your organization against fraud.

To learn more about Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA), give us a call at 877-860-0025 or send an email to sales@enacomm.net.