MEA: Why It’s Time to Get Proactive About Fraud Prevention

Posted February 18, 2015


We recently took a look at fraudulent transactions stopped by our Global Trust Intelligence Network over just one week in January 2015 and found that mobile is a growing threat vector in the Middle East and Africa region. Some 9.4% of mobile transactions were declined in MEA as opposed to just 3.2% worldwide. Android (50%), iPad (13%) and iPhone (31%) are the most popular platforms.

The fraudsters have obviously spotted what they believe to be a way to circumvent traditional fraud filters – by targeting the mobile sphere. It makes it all the more important to ensure your mitigation systems have accurate device identification capabilities. Some 6% of transactions we rejected during the period in the Middle East and Africa and 4% of those in the UAE were due to device spoofing.

Lowest hanging fruit

We can also see that the bad guys are choosing their targets carefully. In the UAE and the MEA region generally financial organisations are getting hit far more often than the global average. Although the media was the most targeted industry, finance came a close second in the MEA region, with 10.9% of rejected transactions affecting the sector – compared to 3.1% worldwide. In the UAE the figure was slightly smaller (6%) but still almost double the global number.

Fraudsters, like all cyber criminals, will always go after the lowest hanging fruit. They want maximum return from as little an investment of time and money as possible. Are they targeting financial institutions in the Middle East because they see a chink in the cyber armour here which is not worth trying to exploit in more mature markets?

Time to share

There is a way for financial institutions in the region to prevent fraud more effectively. We believe that by sharing intelligence across geographies and industries, we can spot and block illegal transactions with an incredibly high accuracy rate. The idea is that by opening up these datasets, we can then unleash the power of big data analytics and bespoke algorithms to spot the patterns and relationships which help us identify the fraudsters.

This highly sensitive data must be anonymised to head off any privacy or competition concerns, of course, but the power of collective fraud intelligence can’t be overstated. By working together we can make the UAE one of the safest regions of the world in which to do business, and help you build a competitive differentiator which banking customers are sure to appreciate.



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