Category Archives: News & Analysis

Enacomm’s David Anderson to Share Expert Knowledge on Payments Security at The Prepaid Press Expo

David Anderson - high resPrepaid providers and their customers are prime targets for modern banking bandits. One week from today, David W. Anderson, vice president & chief marketing officer of Enacomm, Inc., will share his expert knowledge on “Securing the Mobile and Digital Prepaid World” at the 2015 Prepaid Press Expo. The event will be held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, from Tuesday, August 11th through Thursday, August 13th. The theme of the 2015 conference will be “The New Face of Prepaid: Mobile Wallets, Alternative Banking and Telecom Mix it Up”.

David will speak on Wednesday, August 12th from 2:00-3:00pm PT as part of the Financial Mobility Summit. His session will focus on how prepaid providers, gift card companies and alternative financial services firms can protect their customers’ transactions. Nate Moshkovich, executive vice president of ClearLine Mobile, will join Anderson for a discussion that will be moderated by T. Jack Williams, President of Paymentcard Services.

“The role of prepaid in the world of personal banking is ever-increasing, and so is the sophistication of white-collar criminals with this segment on their radar,” said Anderson. “Older, static security methods like pins and passwords are no longer sufficient for fraud prevention and should be traded in for a layered, dynamic approach.”

Enacomm is a leading provider of intelligent customer interactions solutions and security technology that utilizes biometrics and Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA). With a 99.99% success rate, Enacomm Voice Authentication™ (EVA) harnesses voice biometric technology to enable reliable log-in and transactional authentication of customers from any phone, any time. Enacomm’s eKBA uses leading-edge knowledge-based authentication databases and techniques for customer identity verification and can integrate biometrics technology into the authentication process.

To stop fraudsters’ attempts to rip off your organization and customers, contact the Enacomm team at sales@enacomm.net or 1-877-860-0025.

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.

The Latest Battle between Security Technologists and Law Enforcement

This week, a new report authored by 15 cybersecurity and computer science experts warned that the FBI’s goal of gaining “exceptional access” to tech companies’ encryption systems could pose an even bigger risk than anything fraudsters or terrorists could cook up. The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Technical Report—issued by MIT—is titled “Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications”.

The report was a grenade from technologists and privacy advocates in their ideological war with intelligence and law enforcement leaders. The group of security technologists intentionally issued the 31-pager the day before FBI Director James Comey and Sally Quillian Yates, the deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Comey fired back in a LAWFARE op-ed that there are lots of good things about universally strong encryption (e.g., expanded privacy and protection from cybercriminals), but the benefits must be weighed against the potential risks of making it harder for the government to access the digital communications and data of likely wrongdoers.

Scott O’Connell of the Telegram & Gazette paints a picture of the U.S. government’s concerns:

Somewhere in cyberspace, ISIS operatives are busy planning something and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s concern is that thanks to today’s stronger encryption technology, it’s increasingly difficult to figure out what that something is.

Here’s to hoping that both sides continue their efforts to come together and reach a balanced solution through fair-minded and healthy discussion, as encouraged by Comey.Keys under Doormats - Meme

Freedom and Security in Cyberspace with Multi-Factor Authentication

Today, with nearly every aspect of Americans’ everyday lives tied to the Internet, online security has never been more important to protecting our freedoms. When it comes to personal banking, Mercator Advisory Group reports that 86% of U.S. adults now manage their bank accounts electronically. However, only half of smartphone owners with a bank account did at least one mobile banking transaction last year, according to a report from RateWatch. Nearly two-thirds of those who did not use mobile banking cited security concerns, and RateWatch contends that mobile banking will only increase if those concerns are addressed. When it comes to banking transactions, passwords are not enough – and The White House agrees.

Earlier this year, the federal government released a Fact Sheet tied to its Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. From the release:

“As a nation, the United States has become highly digitally dependent…But this dependency also creates risks that threaten national security, private enterprises and individual rights. It is a threat not just here in the United States, but one that everyone, everywhere who is connected to cyberspace faces.”

President Obama has been committed to strengthening our country’s cybersecurity since he first took office, but cyber threats “have grown more diffuse, acute, and destructive”. Fraudsters take advantage of the reach and anonymity that cyberspace presents.

Banks are top targets for cybercriminals. Multi-factor authentication, which means that a user’s identity is verified for a transaction or login using more than one method of authentication, is critical to protecting financial institutions and their customers. Enacomm offers new authentication technology that does not rely solely on a password, but instead employs Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) and biometrics. Enacomm’s mobile eKBA uses a layered, dynamic approach – versus older static methods – and integrates fraud detection, validation and authentication into a single process, while Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA) authenticates and protects customers using voice biometrics with a 99.99 percent success rate.

Combining KBA with biometrics creates a robust defense against fraudsters. Enacomm’s security technology for financial institutions is compliant with FFIEC guidance, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the USA Patriot Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and it’s aligned with The White House’s new Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Initiative.

To learn more, reach out to the Enacomm team at 1-877-860-0025 or sales@enacomm.net.

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What can financial institutions learn from the White House’s 30-day cybersecurity sprint?

Nextgov reports that “the White House has directed all federal agencies to take a series of swift measures to lock down government systems, in the wake of a devastating hack that possibly delivered Chinese spies data that could compromise national security.”

During the mentioned data breach that hit the Office of Personnel Management, records on more than 4 million current and former civilian agency and military employees were leaked.

In a statement, the Office of Management and Budget officials said:

Recent events underscore the need to accelerate the administration’s cyber strategy and confront aggressive, persistent malicious actors that continue to target our nation’s cyber infrastructure.

U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott has launched a “30-day cybersecurity sprint”, which includes accelerating the widespread use of multifactor authentication or “two-step ID checks”, because passwords alone are insufficient access controls, officials said. From Nextgov:

Requiring personnel to log in with a smartcard or alternative form of ID can significantly reduce the chances adversaries will pierce federal networks, they added, stopping short of mandating multi-step ID checks.

Multifactor authentication use is needed beyond the federal government. Financial institutions, for example, are prime targets for fraudsters seeking to steal personal information. Enacomm enables organizations to implement multifactor authentication by combining next-generation Knowledge-Based Authentication and biometric authentication.

What might that look like? A bank customer takes a selfie with her smartphone. Next, Enacomm’s system uses facial recognition to compare the photo with her driver license picture, which is stored in a national database. Next, Enacomm’s technology eKBA could prompt the bank customer to answer a few quick questions for which only she — the true user — would know the answers (verified through credit and non-credit sources). Voila! Multifactor authentication.

To find out more about Enacomm’s eKBA and EVA (Enacomm Voice Authentication), which employs voice biometrics technology, visit our products page.

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VBC Opus Conference

Enacomm CMO to Speak on Improving the Mobile, Multichannel Customer Experience at VBC New York 2015

Enacomm will join Opus Research for VBC New York 2015 (Voice Security & Authentication Conference) next week. At the event, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Enacomm David W. Anderson will speak on the role of voice biometrics authentication in creating simple, secure customer communications channels.

On May 4-5, 2015, VBC New York will bring  together leaders who are integrating voice into multi-layered and multi-factor communications for authentication and security. The event will showcase an array of technologies that support trusted communications over the web, mobile phones and tablets. A focus of the conference will be voice biometrics in conjunction with other technologies that lower the incidence and impact of phone-based fraud while making the world safe for mobile commerce, transaction authentication and cloud computing.

The VBC session during which Anderson will speak is titled, “Improving the Mobile-First, Multichannel Customer Experience.” Anderson will join a lineup of customer experience (CX) executives to tackle the pressing issues for creating simple, secure communications lines with customers. The panel will take place from 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM ET on Tuesday, May 5.

“Voice biometrics are more reliable than fingerprinting and more customer-friendly than static security questions and passwords, with nothing for customers to remember or lose,” said Anderson. “Voice biometrics authentication cuts costs, saving 20 percent
or more of customer service reps’ valuable time, while providing a superior service experience.”

Enacomm Voice Authentication™ (EVA) is an application that enables reliable log-in and transactional authentication of customers from any phone, any time. To watch a short video on EVA, click here.

For updates on Enacomm’s presence at VBC New York 2015, follow @Enacomm on Twitter.

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David W. Anderson

Enacomm Voice Authentication Fights Phishing Flagged by Akamai in New Report

This week Akamai Technologies released its Q4 2014 State of the Internet Report . Section 1 of the report focuses on security and details escalating, advanced attacks. Phishing, for instance, is a form of fraud that involves defrauding an online account holder of financial information by posing as a legitimate company.

To help prevent fraudsters from compromising online banking accounts and, for example, wiring a victim’s funds to a third-party account, the report emphasizes user awareness. An excerpt:

Because end users are the target of these attacks, training and education are needed to help them identify suspected phishing attacks…Users should not respond to e-mail requests with sensitive information and should contact their financial institutions with questions about suspicious banking emails. It’s a good idea to browse directly to a financial institution instead of clicking a link.

Banks, credit unions and prepaid companies can help thwart online account break-ins and wrongful transactions, too. Enacomm Voice Authentication (EVA) utilizes voice biometrics technology to protect financial institutions, customers and members, fulfilling Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) guidance. Click here to learn more. Enacomm’s team is available to help with questions about EVA – call 1-877-860-0025 or email sales@enacomm.net.

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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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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.

Enacomm Joins Customer NetSpend in Giving over $30K

Today, Enacomm joins NetSpend and other sponsors to give over $30,000 to individuals and organizations in our communities. Paying bills, buying groceries, pumping gas, and donating to local nonprofits – giving back with gratitude!

NS gives back

A customer of Enacomm, NetSpend is a leading provider of reloadable prepaid debit cards and related financial services. To learn about the products and services that Enacomm provides NetSpend and other organizations in a variety of industries including Prepaid/Cash Card, Financial, Health Care and Utilities, click here. To speak with an Enacomm team member, call 1-877-860-0025 or email sales@enacomm.net.

Enacomm looks forward to bringing intelligence to your customer self-service!