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The Role of Behavioral Biometrics in Online Fraud Protection

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The modern-day hacker has an almost unlimited repertoire of potential attack vectors to choose from when aiming to steal financial or private information from users. Common tactics are being refined, leading attack tools are advancing, and groups of hackers are becoming smarter.

Online fraud protection has to go beyond the select handful of common defense tactics that individuals and businesses are used to. In this article, we’ll dive into one of the leading strategies at the forefront of fraud protection: behavioral biometrics. We’ll touch on what this form of biometrics is and how you and your business can use it to keep safe.

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What Are Behavioral Biometrics?

When a user interacts with a device, everything from how long it takes to type a sentence to the typical navigation path they use to click on an application produces data. As everyone is different, there are often subtle differences in how one person uses their phone, for example, to another person.

The unique pattern of interaction with digital devices describes their behavioral biometrics. Biometrics are biological and physical characteristics that we can use to identify people, like someone’s fingerprint. Behavioral biometrics takes this idea one step further, using the behaviors that someone exhibits as a way of classifying them.

There’s a reason that the behavioral biometrics market is growing at a CAGR of 27.3%. When building up a behavioral biometrics profile of a user, we can look at:

Touchscreen Use: When interacting with a touchscreen, everything from how much pressure someone puts on the screen when they press down to where on the screen they swipe is unique. For example, someone with longer thumbs may swipe higher on the screen than someone with shorter thumbs. While that may sound a little ridiculous, this behavioral information can prove vital when detecting fraudulent use of digital devices.

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Gyroscope Measurements: The gyroscope is a component in many phones that measures the direction the phone is pointing and how fast it changes when it moves.

Keyboard Patterns and Speeds: Typing speed and the pattern or rhythm that someone types in normally stays fairly consistent over time. If there is a sudden change, this could be a sure sign that someone else is using their device.

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Mouse Movements: On a computer, how someone uses a mouse can vary greatly based on whether they use a mouse or trackpad and how they use those instruments. If someone always uses a trackpad, then suddenly using a mouse out of nowhere while also failing other behavioral tests could indicate someone else is using their device.

Part of what makes behavioral monitoring on digital devices so effective is that it’s incredibly easy to build up a profile of a user. Even clicking on this article and reading through it would have generated data on how you use your computer, phone, or whichever device you are using.

How Behavioral Biometrics Can Help with Fraud Protection

When a hacker uses phishing to capture your passwords and usernames, there is very little you can do once they gain access to your accounts. Especially if you don’t have additional security tools, like MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), you may not even realize that someone has logged onto your accounts.

Without full awareness that someone has access to your accounts, they’re free to steal your private data or harvest your financial information. However, behavioral biometrics is increasingly proving itself to be an effective solution here.

As you constantly create behavioral biometric data, it’s extremely effective in identifying whether or not it’s you using your device. When you use a security system that has a record of your biometric behaviors, it will:

Trace Interaction on Your Devices: Whenever you or someone else interacts with your device, behavioral biometric scanners will monitor its usage and look for anomalies.

Report Suspicious Activity: If these scanners find several inconsistencies in how you are using your device, they can alert your network monitor. In organizations, this could send a direct alert to your security teams so that they can then check the device manually to judge whether or not a hacker has compromised it.

Freeze Devices: In circumstances where the tools are fairly certain that you are not the one using your device, they can directly freeze its activity. Without the ability to continue using the device, hackers will be unable to achieve any of their malicious objectives, preventing fraud from occurring in the first place.

While behavioral biometrics are a powerful solution, both businesses and individuals should remember to couple them with other security tools and considerations. For example, a hacker may not be able to enter your device in the first place if you didn’t accidentally give out your remote access password and log in.

Coupling and creating layers of security tools is the most effective way of keeping yourself safe from online fraud.

Protecting Against Online Fraud

Online fraud is more prevalent than ever. With huge volumes of financial and personal information stored on our devices, they are a prime target for hackers who want to take advantage of and steal private data.

Hackers are continually improving the attack vectors they use to breach our devices. In light of this trend, businesses and individuals need to turn to modern strategies, like behavioral biometrics, to identify and stop hackers before they can steal valuable information.

Staying one step ahead of online fraud means adapting to the modern age and using all of the defenses we have at our disposal.

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Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder & Group Editor of TechGraph.
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