2 December 2020
2020 has been an online year: we’ve had to socialize online, work online, learn online, and do our admin, shopping, banking, healthcare and everything else online. It’s not surprising that online crime has also increased.
More than ever before, we need to be able to check that an individual online is who they claim to be. Governments need to check the identity of people applying for support programs, banks need to check the identity of customers who can no longer come into branches, organizations running secure conference calls need to make sure that they’re not being infiltrated by the wrong people.
The answer to all of the above is biometric Genuine Presence Assurance.
We thought we’d share some of the year’s most newsworthy examples of when Genuine Presence Assurance would have been helpful:
It’s a big price to pay for leaving your laptop open: Mohammad Faraji ended up with a bill for £19,000 after his six-year-old son bought a monster truck on eBay. Mr Faraji had been using PayPal for years for small payments and was shocked that the huge amount was processed without any security check. Genuine Presence Assurance would have enabled a quick ‘step-up authentication‘ to check that Mr Faraji was indeed the person agreeing to pay £19,000.
It was audacious but they nearly got away with $58m. A group of fraudsters pretended to be Jean-Yves Le Drian, now French foreign minister but at the time the minister for defense. The criminals targeted 150 people and organizations, requesting funds by phone and video call for secret missions. In the Skype calls, one of the gang wears a custom-made mask of Mr Le Drian in a fake office, complete with flags and a portrait of the French President. Genuine Presence Assurance can verify identity on conference calls, ensuring that sensitive conversations are held in total confidence that the individuals are who they say they are. Secondly, as the name suggests, Genuine Presence Assurance detects that a user is a real human being – it recognizes masks and other presentation attacks, such as photographs.
Another example of audacity: the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported this year that the email address of a Premier League football club’s managing director was hacked during a transfer negotiation. It was only the intervention of the club’s bank that stopped £1m being paid to the criminals. Transfers are often done under intense time pressure – even if you’re not a Premiership football club, time pressure creates a perfect opportunity for criminals to dupe your employees. Genuine Presence Assurance can ensure that only certain individuals can set up new payees or authorize large payments on bank accounts.
Imagine wrapping up a work call and suddenly Elon Musk appears, apologizing for accessing the wrong meeting and complimenting you on your hair. This scenario, demonstrated by the team at Avatarify, went viral earlier this year showing the power of deepfake technology. It might not have been seamless but it demonstrated the potential of being able to take any face and make it say anything. Genuine Presence Assurance has been designed to detect deepfakes and other synthetic media – as deepfakes become more sophisticated, it is becoming impossible for people to tell the difference between real and fake. Only technology will be able to protect against their malicious use on conference calls, or for accessing devices or secure services.
This final example shows what’s at stake with insecure conference calls: a journalist managed to guess his way onto a confidential video conference of EU defense ministers when the Dutch defense minister accidentally posted some of the login details on Twitter. “You know that you have been jumping into a secret conference?” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says. “You know it’s a criminal offence, huh? You’d better sign off quickly before the police arrives.” It’s easy to blame over-enthusiastic tweeting, but the responsibility lies with the people running the conference: if it needs to be secure, Genuine Presence Assurance is the only way to ensure that only the right identifiable and verifiable human beings are joining the call.
Genuine Presence Assurance verifies that an individual is:
Read our Genuine Presence Assurance case studies, showing how banks, governments, social networks, healthcare providers, travel organizations and more are protecting their customers and organizations from online fraud and other cybercrime.