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IVR Systems: Efficiency, Cost Savings -- and a Security Threat
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IVR Systems: Efficiency, Cost Savings -- and a Security Threat

 
December 19, 2014

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  By Christopher Mohr, TMCnet Contributing Writer
 


IVRs are everywhere in our lives; so much so, that it seems impossible to conduct any business without encountering one at least periodically. Although they have evolved into sophisticated systems that can efficiently route calls and save companies in labor costs, many have one major concern: security.


Many kinds of attacks have plagued IVR systems over the years. Some use computers that can quickly go through different permutations of account numbers and PINs to take over an account. Others set it up so that they can capture this information as a customer enters it over the phone.

Attacks can cause damage in other ways that don’t involve theft of login credentials. Denial-of-service attacks can prevent customers from accessing their accounts and inhibit a company’s ability to conduct business.

One company based in Reston, Va., Contact Solutions, has teamed up with IDology and Pindrop Security to develop a solution they call Adaptive Fraud Protection (AFP). With this product, companies that use IVRs have many different ways to fight IVR hacking.

Just as the police seek people with a criminal history when investigating a crime, AFP has a component that examines phone numbers against a database of known offenders or for other suspicious characteristics. Transactions that are more sensitive than the norm can be set up to require multiple methods of authentication. AFP also has the ability to suppress new forms of fraud.

While companies and their customers benefit greatly from new technology, one downside that it brings is that it adds a conduit for hackers to go in and cause serious damage. Target (News - Alert) is probably still hurting from last holiday season’s security breach which recently cost the retailer an estimated $146 million.

IVRs are another conduit open to attacks from cyber-criminals. In addition to installing fraud detection and prevention software, call centers must regularly audit their IVR systems to catch attacks as early as possible. Failure to do so could end up being a costly mistake no one can afford. 

 
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