The future of security is tech but companies, consumers should remain cautious

International financial consortium SWIFT (the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) warned its customers this week that “malicious insiders or external attackers” had exploited vulnerabilities in software and made off with millions of dollars. The announcement was particularly disturbing since it was the second such incident this year within one of the world’s most used and respected institutions.

Customers at financial institutions, as well as those who conduct business in the ecommerce environment want to ensure that their transactions and investments are secure. It’s imperative that software be impenetrable.

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A similar incident this week resulted in the announcement by professional networking social media channel LinkedIn that 170-million accounts had been exposed by hackers who were demanding Bitcoin in exchange for not selling the passwords on the Dark Web. LinkedIn had experienced a similar problem back in 2012, and this recent repeat is reportedly an extension of the 2012 event. While changing passwords can aid in avoiding being hacked, many users stick to the same password across multiple platforms. One hack can mean extreme damage.

It’s not just about cash; passwords, data, private information, contact details: all of these demand privacy. With digital transformation on the way companies need to safeguard these kinds of data even more than before. Consumers are using multiple channels to conduct business with companies and even multiple devices so business solutions providers need to take these things into account when developing security measures across communication platforms.

What can be done? Well, there are solutions in place that can aid in thwarting malicious attacks from fraudsters. Biometric identification measures are becoming incredibly sophisticated, which include (among others) the use of “voiceprints” to isolate the speech patterns of an individual. Voiceprints aid in identifying known fraudsters according to a database, preventing them from trying to adopt someone else’s identity. Similarly, speech patterns of customers are also identified, aligned to the person’s record, and used to verify the true identity of the caller. This is particularly important in the banking or financial services industry where customers often engage with a company via their contact centre and sensitive information is often captured and stored.

From a customer perspective, those who use devices can use apps to cover their tracks, including password vaults and other software that protects their log in information. In the contact centre environment, hackers will attempt to collate as much information as they can, maliciously using the security questions to learn the customers’ private conformation details. All security solutions must take this form of attack into consideration to avoid losing the trust of their valued customers.

The onus is both on the customer and the company to protect sensitive information. When it comes to companies phoning overdue accounts to ask for payment, companies are employing a variety of methods to enhance security. It’s now possible to conduct secure payments over the telephone without disclosing any credit card details to the contact centre agent. All details are entered by the customer using the keypad, and without the agent being able to “see” any details beyond the fact that the payment has been completed.

In addition to these innovations, there are compliance measures in place for companies dealing with transactions online and over the phone. Consistent monitoring will ensure that these measures are being adhered to in the contact centre environment in particular.

Most people don’t have billions at risk of being stolen by hackers, but companies can lose credibility if they don’t provide a secure environment. If you ever suspect that there is a security vulnerability, a proactive approach could be more beneficial to your company in the long-term – particularly when your brand or company reputation is at stake.

Feature image: Susan Dussaman via Flickr

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