Fraud used to be such a dirty word – especially in connection to telemedia. However, as this year’s show proved, it is very much an accepted part of doing digital business – and one that the industry has never been more on top of.
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Back in the day, fraud in telemedia was often something perpetrated by a few bad apples within the industry. Now that telemedia sits very much in the mainstream of the digital economy, it is falling foul to cyber crime just as much as all other ecommerce and digital businesses.
However, as the event this year showed, it is now one of the leaders in fighting that fraud.
Click jacking, rogue adverts, bad traffic, DCB fraud, cyber hacking, fake sites and fake apps are all things that the digital world has to contend with – but using monitoring techniques that are getting ever more sophisticated the likes of Opticks, Empello and MCP are all helping to keep the industry just one step behind the criminals.
And fraud comes from some unlikely places. Asking the audience to guess the top five countries of origin for fraud, Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Opticks, surprised us all when he revealed that top of the list – which already contained Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Iraq and India – was in fact Italy.
“Regulators have to be on top of it” Cleaves said knowingly. Italy stands out as there is probably – and these are my words, not Geoff’s – rife with corruption.
How Opticks tracks fraud is a closely guarded secret, but I can reveal that it involves more than just odd looking traffic patterns, but also odd ways things appear on the screen.
Speed of fraud
The key thing that the panel mentioned was that fraud is now happening at an alarmingly fast pace – and in many new places. “Back in the day it used to take hackers two or three weeks to create a new hack and for it to spread,” said Shwetank Tamer from OnMobile Global. “Now it is more like two to three days and so we are constantly catching up. Add in that all these new things like Alexa and smart TV are also getting hit and the problem is huge.
What can we do to combat fraud?
The big questions is what can be done about it? Jonathan Redvik from Appland AB believes that the industry needs to take more responsibility for fraud and work collectively together on it.
“OTP messages can be hacked by bots and are a nightmare for consumers and expensive for brands,” we need better solutions,” he told delegates.
This was backed up by Jacqui Jones from Worldplay in South Africa, which has seen all the main network operators and aggregators get together out there to form WOSPA, a collective body that shares data on fraud and works together to beat it – as she outlines in the video below.
Think like a fraudster
The other tack being taken to combat fraud is to think like a fraudster. David Lotfi from EVINA says his company does just that. EVINA has devices set up all over the world to get infected and to be hacked, so it can see precisely what is going on and how the fraudsters are operating.
It then looks for the kind of kit needed to perpetrate the fraud on the dark web and reverse engineers it all. Hear how he does it in the video below.
This approach – along with the tireless monitoring by Optiks et al are helping the industry stay on top of fraud. We will never get ahead of the fraudsters, but keeping them at bay is another step towards growing the telemedia industry further still.