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white paper

never underestimate the power of identity

hackers in an increasingly vulnerable digital world

Without question, the power of the digital economy permeates nearly everything we do. Evolving well beyond eCommerce and mBanking, the connected society includes social media, video subscriptions, file sharing, ride hailing, and homestay, all of which have quickly become a regular part of our lives every day. While the convenience is alluring, the risk can be alarming. These applications often contain payment and other confidential information that need to be secure in order to ensure that only the right people are properly entitled to access the information or assets involved. To complicate matters further, applications are constantly trying to improve the user experience by reducing the friction in the authentication process. Unfortunately, making access easier for the customer is also making it easier for fraudsters. According to a 2016 article in Forbes, hackers compromised a victim’s email account once they had control of the victim’s mobile phone number and then proceeded to compromise 30 other accounts within seven minutes. Hackers can have access to your bank accounts, bitcoin, payment services and many other aspects of your digital life before anyone is the wiser. That is a powerful proposition for fraudsters.

Clearly, the digital world is increasingly vulnerable. Fraud is getting progressively sophisticated and more difficult to prevent resulting in billions of dollars in financial losses annually. Victims are not only unsuspecting senior citizens and always-connected millennials, but also bitcoin entrepreneurs and everyday consumers. Even the chief technologist of the very organization vested with the responsibility to protect consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace has been a victim of fraud. Interestingly, the telephone number, which is the entryway for much of this fraud, is being exploited by adept criminals in novel ways. Fortunately, the victims no longer need to be victimized because much can be done to protect consumers from this type of identity theft and related harms.

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