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Summary:

The Israeli startup examines precisely how people use the banking and e-commerce sites it is protecting, in order to spot when something is out of the ordinary.

Online shopping / ecommerce / e-commerce / online payments / micropayments
photo: Shutterstock / jocic

BioCatch, a Tel Aviv-based security firm that monitors the use of banking and e-commerce sites in order to pick up fraudulent activity, has raised a $10 million Series A round through venture capital firm Blumberg Capital and the high-stakes equity crowdfunding site OurCrowd.

The company looks at around 400 behavioral signs to spot where things are not as they should be. It examines how users move their mouses and use their trackpads; if they’re using a mobile device, it taps into the gyroscope and accelerometer to see how they’re holding it. If someone is entering payment details, it will study whether they use the numberpad or the keypad. It even checks how long the user takes to respond to prompts.

As BioCatch cyber strategy chief Uri Rivner explained to me, the point of all this is to apply a statistical model for normal use, specific to each account. That way, even if the user accesses their account from a new device or location – something that will sometimes trigger an anti-fraud response from banks using more traditional systems – “we don’t worry about that.”

“The problem today is not necessarily fraud, but [that] they want to make sure it’s really you, so they add a lot of security, which is friction,” Rivner said. “We’ve demonstrated that we can reduce that friction and operational costs. We can find things other technologies can’t find, looking for user interaction.”

Rivner claimed there were no privacy concerns here: “It does create a model for [an account] but without knowing the identity for that user. Let’s say you have an account for several users. The technology wouldn’t know that this was the husband and this was the wife. It would know this is the typical behavior of the user or users inside the account.” The monitoring only goes on while the web service or app is in use, he added.

BioCatch already counts top-5 banks in the U.K., Spain, Italy and Brazil as customers, Rivner said, as well as a top-50 bank in the U.S. The company intends to use its funding to boost research and development, as well as sales, in the key European, Brazilian and North American markets.

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Friday, August 29, 2014
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