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Combating financial payment fraud using EFT

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Security features like the hologram, PIN and magnetic strip have all evolved over the course of 30 years to make transacting in the real world safer, but credit card security has not progressed sufficiently for secure online purchasing, writes THOMAS PAYS, CEO and co-founder of i-Pay.

It is strange to think that one of the most used methods of transacting online – through a credit card – is actually not designed for the purpose. Security features such as the hologram, PIN and magnetic strip have all evolved over the course of 30 years to make transacting in the real world safer, but credit card security has not progressed sufficiently for secure online purchasing.

A solution to combatting fraud more successfully in the payment industry is at hand: EFT (electronic funds transfer). From day one, EFT was created to assist with the secure electronic transfer of funds – it is even in the name.

The fact that the i-Pay gateway allows payment using the banks’ own security measures, permits it to be extremely safe, and crucially, fraud free. Since the gateway’s launch in 2013, not a single transaction has been fraudulent, and this from a company who is looking to process R100 million worth of transactions during December 2016 alone.

Combatting fraud

Apart from combating credit card fraud by offering an alternative payment method, the i-Pay gateway offers companies further ways to combat other types of scams. To illustrate the point:

  • Fraudsters who illegally photoshopped their banking details onto ratepayers’ bills. Unsuspectingly, money was paid into the fraudsters’ account, leaving both the municipality and the ratepayers out of pocket.
  • One of the largest property management companies in South Africa which collected rent on behalf of clients. The company was hit by fraudsters who sent out false invoices to clients, notifying them to pay in advance since the company’s banking details have changed, of course with the false details included. Before the fraud was picked up on, millions of rands were already deposited in the wrong bank account, leading to the collapse of the company.

Not your regular EFT

With an EFT system such i-Pay in place, this type of fraud can be eliminated, since the beneficiary of the payment has a specific bank account connected to the i-Pay gateway. The payment link sent to clients can only be generated through i-Pay itself, and EFT payments can only proceed through the i-Pay linked account of the business. Customers can pay merchants by following an i-Pay link sent via email, SMS or QR code, with payment taking place via the costumer’s smartphone or desktop browser.

Being a newer entry to the marketplace, it is understandable that customers might have questions regarding the security of the i-Pay system. Pays is quick to point out that the company meets all the international standards when it comes to payment security and encryption standards. Included here is the essential Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification, a global standard that banks and companies such as PayPal adheres to. i-Pay is also working closely with the four major banks in South Africa to establish a regulated environment around EFT payments.

The cost of fraud?

While there are costs involved for companies that would like to receive money through the i-Pay gateway, the transaction fees are far less than via credit card, with no hidden payments to banks. So as with any good business, the benefits of using the gateway far outweighs the cost.

Apart from saving on salaries since i-Pay automatically takes care of reconciliation, the important fact to remember is nothing related to fraud will ever happen to your company through the i-Pay gateway. What is that type of peace of mind actually worth? Indeed, with hundreds of customers already signed up to i-Pay, subjected to zero fraud as far as transactions processed is concerned, the value of this payment gateway is speaking for itself.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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