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5 WAYS BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CAN FIGHT FRAUD THIS SHOPPING SEASON

– Mark Crichton

 

For many retailers and consumers, Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, that lasts all the way through to the January sales. This year, spending over Black Friday rose 12.5 per cent compared to 2018 according to Barclaycard, and in America, Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion.

As spending skyrockets, so does the risk of fraud, as cyber-criminals look to take advantage of the spikes in transaction volume to try and evade fraud detection processes. Last year it was estimated that almost a quarter of UK customers faced attempts at fraud over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and there’s no indication that 2019 will be any different.

Avoiding public Wi-Fi, understanding what a phishing email looks like, and only shopping with trusted brands are all ways consumers can stay protected over the holiday shopping season, but the responsibility to stay protected shouldn’t lie solely at their door. There’s also plenty that banks and financial institutions can do to protect customers from fraud. Here are 5 tips:

 

Mark Crichton

Stick to the script

It can be tempting for staff monitoring transactions to cut corners, as the volume of transactions being processed increases and they try and clear their workload. Unfortunately, this plays directly into the hands of cyber-criminals, who are looking to hide amongst the volume of traffic, and evade security measures that are in place for a reason.

Remind staff that it’s more important than ever to stick to the processes and procedures defined throughout the entire year. Security standards don’t need to slip, and extra attention should be paid to activity that seems a little out of the ordinary.

 

Watch out for mobile

Last Black Friday more than a third of purchases were made on mobile, and PWC estimated that more than three quarters of Black Friday transactions now take place online. For hackers, this shift has the potential to become a very lucrative business opportunity, as they look to take advantage of vulnerabilities in emerging channels that may be less secure than traditional channels.

One way banks and FIs can secure the mobile channel is by protecting their apps with mobile application shielding technology. This prevents attackers from injecting malicious code into an app, and it’s also context-aware, so that if a customer’s mobile is rooted or allows for side-loaded apps and is potentially infected with malware, the app itself it still protected.

Given the number of vulnerable apps that have been detected in Apple and Google’s app stores this year, it’s evident that banks and FIs can no longer rely on the two tech giants to provide security for their apps. By protecting their apps with mobile application shielding technology, their apps will be able to protect themselves in untrusted device environments, and consumers who accidentally download a malicious app won’t risk having their financial credentials stolen by criminals.

 

Implement MFA and transaction signing solutions

Multi-factor authentication and transaction signing solutions are technologies that can contribute significantly to fraud detection and prevention, so banks and FIs should make implementing these a priority.

However, not all authentication methods should be treated equally. There are some, such as SMS, that are known to be less secure than others, as one-time SMS codes can easily be intercepted by hackers. By adopting risk-based multi-factor authentication that takes into account data from a variety of sources, such as behavioural biometrics, biometrics, voice recognition, the trustworthiness of the device, geolocation and so on, ensures that the appropriate level of authentication is provided for the situation. This is also a great way for banks and FIs to ensure they’re providing robust security without compromising on the user experience.

 

Take advantage of AI and ML

The emergence of AI and ML has transformed how banks and FIs can detect and prevent fraud, as the algorithms are capable of analysing vast amounts of data from a variety of channels in near real-time. This is particularly important over the holiday shopping season when there’s likely to be a spike in transaction volume, and thus the amount of data being processed and analysed. By taking advantage of these technologies, banks and FIs can detect and prevent attempts at fraud before the damage is done, achieve regulatory compliance, and reduce false positives.

 

Communicate with customers

Finally, it’s important to communicate with customers, and let them know that you will never ask them for credentials via email, text or chat. Hackers can take advantage of the rise in communication between banks, retailers and customers, to try and convince customers to part with sensitive information.

It’s clear that there are steps banks and FIs can take to keep customers protected from fraud during the holiday shopping season. However, fraud is a yearlong threat, so it’s important that combatting it remains a top priority for banks and FIs all year round.

 

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Business

THE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL COST OF WORKING WITH OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY

technology

Slow Tech Could Waste 24 Hours of Worktime a Year

In this digital age, businesses are hugely reliant on technology to get work done. And this is especially the case for one-man-bands and small home-based businesses who may count on a single computer to keep things running smoothly from their home office space.

This said, if the technology at hand is slow or outdated, it could become more of a hinderance than a help. Investing in upgraded tech may seem like a steep expense, however, delays cost time and time is money. In fact, recent research looking at the impact of tech troubles in the workplace found that delays caused by slow technology could add up to a hefty 24 days’ worth of worktime a year per person.

Here’s why keeping hold of outdated tech when its past its best could cost your business in the long run.

 

The biggest tech hold-ups

Delving deeper into the research, it’s evident that the most time can be lost on some of the smallest of tasks. Simply waiting for your computer to boot up, for example, can add up to 8.8 days of lost time over the space of a year (17 minutes a day), while 8.5 days can be lost to opening emails (16.5 minutes a day).  Slow software has the most to answer for, however, contributing 10.4 days’ worth of wasted worktime (20 minutes a day). When you think about your own day rate or that of an employee’s, this lost time all adds up to some serious money, right? Probably more than it would cost to upgrade your tech.

Productivity can suffer too

Glitchy tech may not only cost your business time and money; productivity can take a serious hit too. According to the study, a third of workers admit losing motivation when they have to wait on tech to respond. And this comes as no surprise. When faced with freezing programmes and buffering browsers every day, frustration can build up. And when someone’s suffering frustration, productivity and motivation can drop. As a result, it may turn out it’s not just the tech that is slowing down tasks, but a reduction in employee efficiency too.

Tech expert and anti-futurist, Theo Priestley, argues that the issues caused by outdated tech at work can even have a negative effect on someone’s work-life balance and wellbeing. He explains, “not being able to complete work or feel productive or have a sense of accomplishment in a task can be a stressful experience. And depending on the nature of the work, more often than not, employees will need to work additional hours to compensate for the wasted time, which has a knock-on impact on personal and family life.”

 

Outdated tech can put your business at risk

Beyond the costs to your business, outdated tech can also put it at increased risk of cybercrime. The older the technology, the easier it is for hackers to exploit it. What’s more, if you don’t update your security software regularly, it won’t be equipped to address the latest security threats.

Priestley explains “outdated technology and software means easy exploitation from inside and outside the organisation. If you’re not using the latest versions of operating systems, or software that you’ve invested in, then there’s greater chance for someone to exploit known weaknesses in that system and expose or steal data or valuable company information from them.”

 

What is the solution?

Regularly assess what condition your hardware and software are in and where delays are occurring. If you find yourself waiting on the same problem day in day out, it’s probably time to do something about it. But how often should you be upgrading your IT equipment?

In general, a computer being used for business could do with being upgraded every two to three years for optimal performance. Alternatively, sometimes simply upgrading the memory or hard drive can help applications run more quickly. Any other equipment such as printers, keyboards, etc. only really need to be replaced when they break.

As for software, upgrade it regularly. While it can be a temptation to stick with older versions that you’ve grown accustomed to, the newer versions will offer improved capabilities, efficiency and security.

While computers slowing down over time seems inevitable and something that we’ve accepted will happen, it’s important for businesses to recognise the problem can have a bigger knock-on effect than you may think. By investing in updated, efficient technology, the savings experienced via productivity are likely to vastly outweigh the price of the tech itself. So, next time your computer freezes, perhaps consider whether it’s time for an upgrade.

 

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Business

OFFSHORE COMPANY FORMATION TACTICS FOR SMEs

Company

James Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little

 

Starting a business brings with it its own set of challenges, as well as opportunities. But when setting up a business, the where is often as important as the how, and knowing what to expect in terms of company formation regulations and requirements is key, so you can start your entrepreneurial journey on the right foot.

 

James Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little, takes us through what we need to consider when it comes to offshore company formation, and the benefits it can offer start-ups and SMEs.

 

“Despite what the media will have you believe, there are numerous legitimate reasons to use an offshore company. Offshore companies can often provide SMEs with access to better infrastructure and legal frameworks. Regulations in different parts of the world could prove to be restrictive for businesses by preventing foreign entities from launching factories, buying property or investing in local companies. In this instance, setting up an offshore company can help in completing transactions and provide you with the ability to hold any local assets necessary,” says James.

 

“However, one of the fundamental reasons for setting up an offshore company is often privacy. Moving assets or setting up a business is often done in a country that offers more tightly protected data security, has a robust legal framework and a network of service providers that streamline the setting up process. Switzerland is often the country of choice when it comes to privacy, as it’s synonymous with security and data privacy. Another reason SMEs should consider setting up an offshore company is tax efficiency. Tax advantages are offered by different jurisdictions. For example, Singapore has one of the lowest corporate tax rates, while the Cayman Islands might be more ideal for freelancers who are looking to minimise the effective tax rate on their businesses,” adds James.

 

“Offshore companies provide SMEs with the ability to mitigate risks that arise from political instability or currency volatility. We have already seen businesses starting to register European entities in order to limit their exposure to the fallout that may result from Brexit. Whatever the reason, spreading your operations across jurisdictions may be the best long-term business strategy SMEs can adopt to secure future growth,” adds James.

 

Turner Little specialises in creating bespoke solutions for individuals and businesses of all sizes. The knowledge and expertise of their specialists will be able to assist with any enquires, no matter how complex.

 

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