How VR can help fight cyber fraud
Easy access to electronic money and convenient electronic payments made with the use of electronic fund transfers or credit and debit cards are undoubtedly among the biggest blessings of the Digital Age. However, while often hailed as more secure and transparent than physical currency and cash payments, they come with their own risks and vulnerabilities. Financial gain is the primary goal of cybercrimes, which include ransomware attacks, email and internet fraud, and the theft of accounts and payment card information.
Cybercriminals’ methods range from cyberextortion through identity theft to phishing campaigns. It is impossible to accurately estimate the amount of the financial damage resulting from cybercrime, but a 2018 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee assessed that its annual cost to the global economy could amount to almost USD 600 billion. According to a 2019 study by Accenture, the number of cyberattacks is increasing, they take more time to resolve and their overall cost is on the rise.
Admittedly, many efforts have been taken in recent years to improve systems’ security with authentication techniques now acting as some of the most important solutions used in the process of safeguarding computers, mobile devices and credit cards against unauthorized and unlawful use. Some of those techniques, such as textual and graphical passwords, have been in use for a long time now, but they have their limitations and drawbacks. As a result, the existing protective measures still have their weaknesses.
Textual passwords are arguably the most common, but since their users naturally tend to go for simple combinations of signs or even simple dictionary words that are easy to remember, they are also relatively easy to break. For their part, graphical passwords require space. There has been a growing need for improvements and new ideas with such innovative concepts as Virtual Reality (VR) currently being played with by those working on making the use of electronic money safer.
Perhaps less known than some of their IT industry peers including game and app developers, the people on the frontline of the fight with financial cybercrimes have a daunting and responsible job to do. Such has been the demand for payment security-related expertise, that some leading software engineers have almost built their entire careers around it. Take one of such unsung heroes of the war with financial fraud, Sudhir Gupta, a Senior Software Engineer at MasterCard India.
Virtual Reality as an Authentication Tool
Born to a family of engineers, Gupta is a technology leader with a visionary approach to software development and digital payment security solutions. He has been playing a critical role at MasterCard, but he has also been impacting the industry at large throughout his career. His patents include “Methods for Authenticating a User, Authentication Devices, and Computer Readable Media,” “Systems and Methods for Use in Authenticating Users in Connection with Network Transactions,” and “Methods for Controlling Access to a Financial Account.”
Having gained extensive experience as a software specialist at such companies as PTC, IGATE and Eka Software Solutions, Gupta joined MasterCard in 2015. The company is a leader in providing solutions that push the boundaries of what is possible in payments and he has been responsible for creating a number of solutions which allowed the company’s top financial clients, including the Bank of America, the Central Bank of Nigeria and Citybank, to prevent fraud transactions.
Gupta’s initiatives led MasterCard to file 23 new patents, a number of which concern methods of authenticating users and authentication devices. The systems devised by him gave his company’s products’ users tools for authenticating their accounts and improving their security. They serve to identify the users of home, ATM and security clearance computer systems, validate their right to access information and thus protect against identity theft. Gupta’s contribution enabled MasterCard to improve its services and protect its global reputation.
One of his innovations, for instance, enables users to replace a traditional password with an authentication that comprises a sequence of word-gesture pair indications. This novel approach, a VR password, simultaneously makes the password far more difficult to break for the hacker and easier to remember for the user. In terms of payment security, this is hugely important as a strong password is instrumental in providing protection against financial fraud with guessing predictable passwords being one of hackers’ typical ways of gaining control of users’ devices.
Gupta’s undisputable strengths are his understanding of complex disruptive technologies, and the ability to define and analyze companies’ software requirements, as well as align them with those companies’ business strategies. Such abilities are instrumental when you cooperate with such clients as banks and credit card issuers. Considering the fact that people like Gupta help refine products which have a global reach, they actually have an impact on the entire digital payments and e-commerce sectors and ultimately affect millions of individual consumers around the world.