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Convenience vs. Confidence in Digital Transformation

  • Jordan Blake
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Digital always wins – you don’t see many slide rules or typewriters around anymore. Yet the path forward is always rocky where security and trust are concerned. Every new electronic platform for communications and commerce, no matter how celebrated, soon becomes rife with fraud and imposters jeopardizing users’ confidence. Consumers then find the tipping point between whether they feel new digital services make their lives easier – or fear leads them to sit things out for a while.

Today the booming fintech and online payments market is witnessing a classic iteration of digital tug-of-war between convenience and security. By letting individuals send money to friends, get a mortgage or pay bills almost exclusively from a smartphone, fintech start-ups and the biggest financial brands alike are trying to tilt everything toward mobility and convenience. Yet, recent headlines show the risk side of this equation as these digital transformations face stark security and trust problems. For example, fraud reportedly became a major issue at Venmo, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported Venmo executives felt frustrated at having to restrict certain features in order to stem scams and abuse.

Weeks earlier, the South China Morning Post reported on individuals’ concerns with HSBC’s mobile app implicated in compromised accounts at the bank. According to media reports, criminals could access others’ accounts through the bank’s PayMe mobile app if they knew a victim’s password – something easy to obtain from caches of breached data throughout the cybercrime underground.

There is no single answer to the balancing act of convenience vs. confidence in security. Every consumer and corporate stakeholder has to decide what matters most to them. Regardless of everyone’s different risk appetites, we can all agree it makes sense to build anti-fraud measures into digital apps and services as much as possible to cut down on chronic, unnecessary problems like exploiting reused passwords.

At BehavioSec, we work with banks, fintech developers and payment handlers every day to add behavioral biometrics safeguards to the Web’s biggest banking portals and mobile apps. By helping these customers authenticate their users based on innate human traits like touchscreen pressure and typing patterns, we identify and eject otherwise relentless credential attacks against these platforms. This frees businesses and consumers to focus on the main convenience and usability factors that matter most in practice.

What is the safest way to bill, bank and pay online? The choice is up to you – but expect every serious app or service you consider to have behavioral biometrics in place for your peace of mind.