We sat down with Sam Bouso, Founder of fraud prevention and authentication company Precognitive Inc. as well as the newest member of Security Baron’s Expert Network, and asked him a few questions about cybersecurity, fraud prevention and his top picks for password managers and VPNs.
Tell us a little bit more about Precognitive Inc and what it does.
Precognitive is an enterprise cybercrime prevention platform that services businesses spanning several key industries, including banking, fintech, travel, insurance, entertainment and retail e-commerce. For the companies it serves, it is revolutionizing the way they fight online fraud and protect their customer accounts by leveraging advanced behavioral analytics.
Unlike most fraud protection companies that provide point solutions, Precognitive offers a modular suite of products which includes device intelligence, behavioral analytics, behavioral biometrics, a rules engine and machine learning. It is a one-stop-shop for our clients – offering all the services they need in one place to prevent a variety of fraud and cybersecurity challenges.
The loosely coupled technology stack allows for business to mitigate online fraud, account takeover, bot attacks, and even detect user deception in processes such as online account applications.
What do you wish the average consumer knew about fraud prevention?
Most fraud that occurs is the fault of a third party, like a poorly secured e-commerce site, or payment processor getting breached. You want to make sure when that happens you’re protecting yourself from the fallout.
Consumers can take simple steps to help remove themselves as being the weakest point in the security chain:
- Secure your devices like your laptop with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA), and use the biometric thumb/face print features when available (e.g. on your smartphone).
- Ensure you have updated antivirus and malware software when applicable.
- Enable MFA on important accounts like your bank account, mobile phone accounts and primary communication tools (e.g. WhatsApp, Email, etc.)
- Make sure the primary email you linked to those “important” accounts is also protected with MFA and not just a password.
If you take these steps and employ common sense, you can fortify yourself against many digital fraud acts where we see the “consumer” helped cause it.
Do you have any preferences for password managers or VPNs?
I use the built-in Chrome password manager on my laptop and Safari manager on my iPhone. I lock those devices down using biometrics for my iPhone and a FIDO key for my laptop. It’s convenient, free and secure as long as you protect the integrity of those devices and avoid viruses and malware.
I don’t use a VPN for daily browsing. I do while traveling, but that is mostly so I can watch HBO GO while outside of the US using my home VPN server.
How common are phishing scams and how can users recognize them?
Phishing scams are becoming more and more common. Humans are still often the weak point in security and phishing is an ongoing problem. For example, Gizmodo recently stated that 83% of phishing scams involve impersonations of a brand a consumer trusts. Users should hover over the links in email to check its destination by reading until the very last extension. Past the last extension is the actual destination and that will tell the user if it’s the official site or not.
Furthermore, when you’re unsure, don’t click. If there is something you need to do or supply, you should be able to do it by going directly to the site through a URL you know and trust to perform the action.