Combating Digital Fraud in APAC: Q&A with Richard Booth, Head of Sales, APAC

Oct. 12, 2018 | by BioCatch

Cybercriminals are using new attack vectors and techniques, and the epidemic is reaching all four corners of the earth. Digital fraud in APAC, in particular, is set to be a rising threat. In this Q&A, Richard Booth, BioCatch Head of Sales in APAC, shares his thoughts on 2018 cybersecurity trends in the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on Australia.

Tell us a little about your professional background and your role at BioCatch.

Richard Booth: I have been working in the IT Security space for more than 15 years now, with the last 11 of those focused specifically on fraud detection and prevention solutions. I started out in the UK working with many of the tier-1 retail banks there before expanding into Europe and Africa. More recently, I relocated to Australia to help the APAC market through my extensive experience and knowledge gained in the European market. I now lead the APAC business for BioCatch, helping to build market awareness of our capabilities in the behavioral biometrics space.

What are unique APAC banking trends you are seeing, with a focus on ANZ?

Booth: APAC is a large and diverse region. North America, which is dominated by the U.S and Canada, and Europe, with the Single European Payments Area (SEPA), have a long history of traditional banking models that are now being challenged by more modern services. APAC, on the other hand, has such national, cultural, and technical diversity, that some of the more exciting innovations in mobile banking have sprung up out of necessity in a very short space of time rather than growing organically over a longer period.

While this is a great experience for consumers, it also creates an immense opportunity for digital fraud in APAC. In Australia specifically, in the space of a few years, we have rolled out chip and PIN payments, full feature mobile banking, and now this year, real-time payments. It shows a commitment to innovation but creates risk and security challenges for the financial services sector.

From your perspective, what are the main cybersecurity/digital identity challenges potential customers are facing in your geography?

Booth: Each country has their own unique set of challenges given the diverse regulatory environment. If I take Australia as an example, I believe the reliance on static data to identify customers is coming to the end of its effectiveness. Criminals are showing how easy it is to compromise a customer identity, and with the advancements in malware and social engineering scams on the rise, time is running out to progress beyond simple static data solutions or outdated SMS one-time passwords. The real challenge for banks is that when removing these controls, do they have the ability to manage risk and customer experience effectively in real-time?

Can you tell us about an interesting case of digital fraud in APAC that you encountered and how BioCatch can help in these types of situations?

Booth: Recently, I was discussing with a customer at an industry event about how they wanted to ensure customers weren’t disadvantaged by using the mobile channel through lack of features and functionality available in the branch or web channels. Some tasks, such as high-value transfers, opening a new line of credit, or viewing your ATM PIN were not yet available on the mobile channel due to perceived risks.

As we explored their challenges further, it became evident that it wasn’t lack of control over the mobile environment, but rather a lack of visibility into customer behavior that was the cause of the perceived risk. After explaining how BioCatch’s mobile solution is able to profile over 2000 parameters in the mobile app and thus provide deep insights into customer behaviors, they understood how easy it could be to unlock the true potential of their mobile channel.

Tell us a little about how behavioral biometrics resonates with prospective customers and how it is different from other technologies.

Booth: I believe that customers are beginning to understand that criminals are outsmarting legacy controls like device fingerprinting, IP geo-location, and malware detection. These capabilities are no longer new and are the minimum table stakes in the modern fraud detection and prevention market. Nowadays, criminals are able to mimic the customer too easily using stolen credentials, hijacked browser sessions, or even remotely controlled devices.

BioCatch is different. BioCatch uses behavioral biometrics to look at the consumers’ behavior patterns. The best way to distinguish between a customer and a criminal is to actually look at what they are trying to do. By layering behavioral biometric analysis with transaction monitoring data analysis, banks will have a much higher confidence in the legitimacy of an activity.

What makes BioCatch's solution superior in today's marketplace?

Booth: I believe there are three things that set BioCatch apart. First, the solution has been built with privacy in mind and therefore doesn’t add to a bank’s data security or data privacy woes. Many other fraud detection and prevention systems require large amounts of PII for the purpose of profiling, whereas BioCatch does not.

Second, our analysis gives the greatest level of detail into user behavior available in the market today. With over 2000 parameters in mobile/web, the level of uniqueness in our behavior profiles is market leading.

Third, our time to value is very quick. Too many other solutions require long and costly deployments of complex, code, integrations, and technology. BioCatch allows customers to derive value within a few days rather than waiting many weeks or even months.

Where do you think behavioral biometrics is going in the next five years?

Booth: In terms of adoption, this is still an early phase for the APAC market. The behavioral biometric technology is proven to work, and some high-profile UK and US banks are big fans. For us in APAC, it’s a matter of generating awareness of the capabilities and helping banks understand the value that can be driven from such a solution.

The digital banking market is growing very fast in APAC, with millions of new consumers coming online every month. All those users make an attractive target for criminals, meaning digital fraud in APAC is set to grow. If banks are going to embrace digital banking wholeheartedly, then finding the best balance between fraud prevention and a frictionless customer experience is going to be critical. Behavioral biometrics gives banks the “between the clicks” visibility that will help them create a genuinely frictionless digital experience without risking increased fraud losses.

Topics: Cybersecurity