Exposing the new face of identity theft
Received your credit card bill but it is riddled with incorrect charges? Getting repeated phone calls from banks for debts you never borrowed? These are some telltale signs of identity fraud; wherein an attacker steals the personal information of a victim to use it for fraudulent purposes. But what if fraudsters compiled a person’s sensitive data with fabricated credentials to create a fake identity that cannot be traced to one individual? A growing concern, synthetic fraud has become a major risk for companies while managing data digitally, as it is difficult to detect. In this age of widespread and high-speed connectivity, when data is produced exponentially, this task becomes even more complex. How to combat this?
The 5G Problem
Since the start of digital revolution, data generation has been growing at a compounded rate. From the mid-90s when internet users comprised 0.4% of the total world population, to today, a whopping 69% of the current population actively uses the internet every day, as per a study by Internet World Stats. 5G network is simply augmenting this connectivity, promising 5 Bn internet users by 2025, according to Incognia. But with such staggering volumes of data come the convoluted layers of 5G networks, such as edge, radio, core, or application, which are fast becoming susceptible to fraudulent activities. Today, each device that a consumer owns acts as their digital twin and contains sensitive data about their digital identity.
Even though smart devices come empowered with encryption keys, they can still fall prey to skilled hackers. Manual analysis and investigation may not be helpful for such scenarios in 5G networks due to the sheer volume of data that needs to be processed. However, if acted on immediately, suspicious traffic can be detected by deploying emerging technologies.
The 5G Solution
The advancements in fraud detection mechanisms are finally rendering plausible solutions. Firstly, identity verification on smart devices is essential to curb duplicitous practices and can be achieved in real-time through AI/ML-based technologies. Yes, autonomous learning AI has induced various risks such as privacy intrusion, algorithmic bias, discrimination, etc. However, digital authentication methods can tackle this by securing 5G-enabled intelligent devices to create safe digital identity networks.
In addition, location-sensing, a feature enabled in all smart devices, is gaining prominence in discerning identity fraud. Though location data is categorized as sensitive information it can be a secure source of ascertaining someone’s identity as no one person can be in two locations at the same time. Hence, potential fraudsters are finding it difficult to use such data while impersonating a digital identity. By extension, facial recognition techniques are also being used to diagnose fraud.
The solution to this problem mandates a multi-layered approach that addresses the issue from different angles to provide the most effective protection. To achieve this, organizations can deploy robust identity confirmation techniques such as biometric verification, two-factor authentications, and address validation services. This can distinguish fraudulent activities by identifying patterns and enables companies to install stringent measures for security.
Companies can also stem digital identity fraud by enforcing regulations for preventive specifications right from the device development stage. Smart devices are now a part and parcel of our lives; but are all users aware of the secure ways to handle and set up their devices? Hence, users require security awareness training before buying or configuring any devices. Furthermore, as IoT devices are becoming a hot target for hackers, measures such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or MFA authentication can be put into place. This ensures strong encryption for the stored and transmitted data and transparency in data usage.
Digital identities are the core supporting new upcoming technologies and fraudsters will keep developing stealthy ways to exploit these in the 5G-connected world. Organizations need to identify and close all gaps in digital identity management and implement preventive measures to avoid fraud. Only then will they promote a digitally safe tomorrow.