Startup takes aim at online prevention

Business Signatures last month unveiled software aimed at helping financial institutions curb online fraud.

Fraud Prevention Solution works to spot fraudulent intent and prevent the perpetrators from executing bad financial transactions. It’s designed for banking, brokerage and investment management firms that do business online.

Fraud is a huge problem for financial institutions, says Karen Massey, a senior research analyst at Financial Insights, an IDC company. “Our estimates are that in 2005, fraud losses for banks in the United States alone will hit US$12 billion to $15 billion. As fraud solutions get smart, fraudsters get smarter.”

Business Signatures’ technology looks at how visitors are using a Web site and attempts to spot fraudulent intent based on their access, navigational and behavioural patterns. For example, a Web visitor who logs into an account, immediately changes the password and attempts to transfer all funds might fit the profile of an account hijacker, says Peter Relan, chairman and CEO of Business Signatures.

The software can halt suspicious transactions in real time or require additional authentication to validate the customer’s identity, he says.

Relan launched Business Signatures in July with Sunil Bhargava and Joyo Wijaya; the three partners had spent time at Oracle and online grocer Webvan Group before joining forces in 2001 to build the company’s core event-processing technology, called Intent Processor.

Intent Processor attempts to discern what customers are trying to do in the moment, rather than analyze aggregate customer behaviour after the fact. The software aggregates data from a variety of internal and external sources, including Web sessions, application logs and SNMP feeds from databases and security devices. It converts the data streams into discrete steps of an online business process, such as “login” or “set up funds transfer.”

The technology combines Web analytics features that are typical of products from vendors such as WebTrends and WebSideStory with business activity monitoring features of software from such vendors as Celequest, Metastorm, Oracle and Tib

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