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Identity in a Digital Age

By Amy Zirkle, Vice President of Industry Affairs, ETA

We live in a digital world. We shop online – this year, ecommerce will generate over $400 billion in revenue in the United States alone. We manage our lives online – from rent to utility bills to car insurance and even taxes, there are very few transactions that cannot be made electronically. The rapid growth of online commerce is creating new opportunities for consumers and merchants alike. But as transactions increasingly take place behind a computer screen, a new challenge has emerged: how do you identify whom you’re interacting with?

The flood of phishing scams, botnets, and card-not-present (CNP) fraud underscores the urgency of this challenge. This year, CNP fraud losses in the US will top $5 billion. In 2015, consumers lodged nearly 500,000 complaints of identity theft with the Federal Trade Commission. As the line between online and offline reality blurs, the stakes will rise even higher.

To solve this challenge, we must leverage another byproduct of the digital age: the proliferation of data. Consumers leave vast digital footprints every time they interact online. Much of it is innocuous, noisy, and seemingly indecipherable. But it also contains patterns that are key to confirming a user’s identity. Machine learning can help distil the noise into signals and construct a profile to prove that the user is who they say they are. This profile, based on interactions and networks accumulated over the user’s online history, would be nearly impossible for a criminal to synthesize.

Social data is one potential solution to the problem of online identity. The winning solution will most likely combine a suite of security measures: data mining using artificial intelligence and machine learning, multi-factor authentication incorporating biometrics, and tokenization and encryption to devalue data in case it is compromised, to name a few.

To help merchant service providers learn more about the challenges of identity and authentication in the digital age, ETA is pleased to present the third installment of our Payments Secured webinar series: New Frontiers in Identity and Authentication. This webinar will examine the problem of identification and authentication in a payments context, and identify potential solutions. Sunil Madhu, CEO & Founder of Socure, will explain what’s working well, what the danger spots are, and where the industry is headed.

This webinar is designed for merchant service providers who focus on ecommerce transactions and who face unique challenges in identifying their customers. To learn more and register, click here.

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