James O'Hare2023-06-15

Mobile Security and Identity Fraud Protection: Prepare & Prevent

The rise of mobile devices and the scale of mobile connectivity has transformed the way we live and work. With mobile phones, we can communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Mobile devices are also rapidly becoming our primary means of accessing online services, including banking, shopping, and social media. However, this convenience also comes with a growing risk of identity theft, fraud, and other malicious activities that can compromise our privacy and security. I’d place bets that your monthly news feed will likely include at least one headline about an individual falling victim to a scammer’s latest works. This just comes to show how prevalent of an issue this is really becoming for organisations and their customers too.

Mobile identity and authentication are critical to safeguarding our personal and financial information.

Two of the most important tools for mobile identity are One-Time Passwords (OTPs) and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). These tools help ensure that only authorised users can access online services and sensitive information.

Customer Facing Security

One-Time Passwords (OTPs) are temporary codes that are sent to a user's mobile phone via SMS or voice. These codes are used as a second factor of authentication to verify a user's identity when accessing online services. The advantage of OTPs is that they are generated on the fly and are only valid for a short period of time, typically a few minutes. This means that even if an attacker intercepts an OTP, it will be useless after a short period of time. The accessibility of both text and voice formats also aids customers with all needs and preferences. At LINK, we can see the popularity of both voice and SMS OTPs with customers requesting hundreds of thousands of OTPs in both formats. Our solutions and results seen in this area of security have also recently been shortlisted for data, risk, and fraud awards.

Similarly to OTPs, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a two-step process that requires both a password and a second factor, such as an OTP, fingerprint, or facial recognition. 2FA adds an additional layer of security to online authentication, making it much harder for attackers to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information. By requiring both something the user knows (a password) and something the user has (a mobile device), 2FA significantly reduces the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Regulatory Compliant Security

Know Your Customer (KYC) is another critical tool for mobile identity. KYC is a process used by financial institutions, telecom operators, and other businesses to verify the identity of their customers. Bought into regulation standards, KYC typically involves collecting personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, and government-issued identification documents. This information is used to ensure that the customer is who they claim to be and to prevent fraud, money laundering, and other criminal activities.

KYC is essential for ensuring the integrity of the financial system and protecting consumers from fraud and identity theft. However, KYC can also be a cumbersome and time-consuming process, particularly for mobile users who are accustomed to quick and easy access to online services. To address this challenge, companies are utilising data held by mobile networks to confirm the identity of potential customers behind the scenes. Such activities occur within seconds and cleverly avoid the disruption of the customer’s user experience.

Mobile Identity Fraudster Prevention

SIM swap fraud and call diversion technology are two of the most significant threats to mobile identity and security. SIM swap fraud involves an attacker convincing a mobile carrier to transfer a victim's phone number to a new SIM card that they control. This allows an attacker to receive all calls and messages intended for the victim's phone number, including OTPs and 2FA codes. With control of the victim's phone number, the attacker can access their online accounts, steal their identity, and commit fraud.

Call diversion technology is also another technique used by attackers to intercept calls and messages intended for a victim's phone number. Call diversion works by forwarding all incoming calls and messages to a different phone number controlled by the attacker. This allows the attacker to again intercept OTPs and 2FA codes and gain access to the victim's online accounts.

To protect against SIM swap fraud and call diversion, mobile users should take several precautions. First, they should enable a PIN or password on their mobile account to prevent unauthorised access. Secondly, they should be wary of unsolicited calls or messages from unknown numbers, as these may be a pretext for a social engineering attack. This could see criminals try to determine their personal details through conversations and by impersonating an organisation. Finally, organisations can protect customers against such scams by running checks to determine if a new SIM card has recently been authorised and make decisions according to the results they see returned.

Mobile Security Round-Up

Mobile identity and security are critical to protecting our personal and financial information in an increasingly connected world. OTPs and 2FA provide a strong defence against identity theft and fraud, while KYC helps ensure the integrity of the financial system. However, SIM swap fraud and call diversion technology remain significant threats to mobile identity, and mobile users should take steps to protect themselves against these attacks.

As our reliance on mobile devices for accessing online services grows, so does the need for robust mobile identity and authentication. Mobile users must stay vigilant and take proactive steps to safeguard their personal and financial information. By using OTPs, 2FA, KYC, and other security measures, we can enjoy the convenience of mobile connectivity without sacrificing our privacy and security.

Thinking of Your Own Security Needs?

If your organisation is looking to protect itself, its customers, and customers of the future, get in touch and we will be happy to discuss the right solutions for your needs. Our security accolades and experience within the financial and insurance industry have given us the expertise and knowledge needed to combat the latest criminal behaviour seen when it comes to mobile fraud.