Despite the many forms of authentication put in place to protect your devices and accounts these days — biometric (face or fingerprint identification), knowledge-based (a password or security question) or contextual information like your environment — hackers still find ways to get into your devices.
Entersekt, a South African security company that recently put its North American headquarters in Atlanta, believes that there is one authentication factor above all that is most difficult to hack: the user’s possession of their actual device. In other words, the hacker would literally have to travel to you, gain access to your device and unlock it for use.
“The primary thing has to be the possession factor, the mobile device in your hand,” explains Sherif Samy, Entersekt’s SVP North America, in a panel at the Technology Association of Georgia’s FinTech South conference. “The reason for that is if I’m a fraudster, the other things are digital, but I can’t fly to the other end of the world to actually have that device.”
Since 2008, the company has been providing their technology solutions to banks, e-commerce clients and financial institutions to power secure mobile payments and digital banking. They have clients across 45 countries, securing 150 million digital transactions every month.
On the consumer side, the solution is seamless: whenever you want to access an account, the technology recognizes the individual, unique mobile device and pushes an authentication request to your phone. You tap ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject’ and are in. You know when your information is being used, and nobody can gain access without your approval.
Samy joined the company last year to build out their North American customer list beyond a few initial clients. The former financial services and fintech executive plans to take his team from four at the start of this year to about 20 by the end of 2018.
They’ve already begun working with Atlanta-based financial clients, including credit bureau Equifax, whose widely-publicized breach last year affected approximately 143 million in the U.S. Entersekt’s solution has been licensed and integrated into Equifax’s online and mobile services to provide an additional layer of security for consumers.
Financial technology company FIS is another client. During the panel, Esther Pigg, SVP of the Product Strategy team for FIS Payments, explained how the product has the added benefit of improving the customer experience, because the bank or business doesn’t need to question whether they are who they say they are.
“They are not an unknown entity anymore, they are a known person,” she said. The data reflects that: Samy claims that one large financial institution saw their transactions increase by 29 percent, with fraud reduced 95 percent, after implementing Entersekt’s solution.
Samy is focused on growing their roster of North American clients and says Atlanta is the perfect home base for them to do so.
“It’s called Transaction Alley here for a reason,” he says.