Mastercard Says its AI and Machine Learning Solutions Aim to Stop Fraudulent Activites which have Increased Significantly due to COVID

Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions, Mastercard, notes that artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are part of the payment company’s “first line of defense” in protecting over 75 billion transactions that Mastercard processes on its network every year.

Bhalia recently revealed the different ways that Mastercard applies its AI expertise to solve some of the most “pressing” global challenges – from cybersecurity to healthcare – and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the way we conduct our lives and interact with those around us.

Cybersecurity fraud rates have reached record highs, with nearly 50% of businesses now claiming that they may have been targeted by cybercriminals during the past two years. Fraudulent activities carried out via the Internet may have increased significantly due to the Coronavirus crisis, because many more people are conducting transactions online.

Mastercard aims to protect consumers from becoming a victim of online fraud. The payments company has added AI-based algorithms to its network’s multi-layered security strategy. This allows Mastercard’s network to support a coordinated set of AI-enabled services to act within milliseconds to potential online security threats. Last year, Mastercard reportedly helped save around $20 billion of fraud via its AI-enhanced systems (which include SafetyNet, Decision Intelligence and Threat Scan)

In statements shared with Arab News, Bhalla noted:

“One of the impacts of this pandemic is the rapid migration to digital technologies. Recent data shows that we vaulted five years forward in digital adoption, both consumer and business, in a matter of eight weeks. Whether it’s online shopping, contactless payments or banks transitioning to remote sales and service teams, this trend is here to stay — it is not the ‘new normal,’ it is the ‘next normal.’”

Bhalia also mentioned that with many more consumers interacting and performing transactions via the Internet, we’re now creating large amounts of data. He revealed that, by 2025, we’ll be creating approximately 463 exabytes of data per day and this number is going to keep increasing rapidly.

He further noted that more professionals are now working from the comfort of their home and that this may have also “opened new doors” for cybercriminals and hackers.

He remarked:

“The current crisis is breeding fear, anxiety and stress, with people understandably worried about their health, safety, family and jobs. Unfortunately, that creates a fertile breeding ground for criminals preying on those insecurities, resulting in more cyberattacks and fraud.”

He confirmed that Mastercard’s NuData tech has seen cyberattacks increase in volume and their level of sophistication has also increased, with around one in every three online attacks now being able to closely emulate human behavior.

Bhalla claims that Mastercard has made considerable investments in AI for over a decade and it has also added AI capabilities to all key parts of its business operations.

He also noted:

“Our AI and machine learning solutions stop fraud, reduce credit risk, fight financial crime, prevent health care fraud and so much more. In health care, we’re working with organizations on cyber assessments to help safeguard their cyber systems, staff and patients at this challenging time. In retail, criminals are increasingly targeting digital channels as we shift to shopping online.”

He revealed that the “Card Not Present” fraud currently accounts for about 90% of all fraudulent activities carried out via online platforms. This type of fraud accounted for 75% of all Internet fraud before COVID, Bhalia said. He claims that Mastercard’s AI was able to “rapidly learn” this new behavior and changed its scoring to “reflect the new pattern, delivering a stronger performance during the pandemic.”

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