Equifax may be best known as being a consumer credit reporting company, but that's not all the company does. This week, Equifax launched its FraudIQ suite in a bid to help organizations detect and prevent digital fraud.
"There are hackers that are trying to sneak in through the back door and attack systems while no one is looking—that's not what we're focused on," Daniel Jean, associate vice president of identity and fraud management at Equifax, told eWEEK. "We focus on fraudsters; these are folks that are going in through our customers' front door."
The fraudsters that Equifax is defending against are those who are using stolen or fabricated identities, Jean said. Among the technologies that the FraudIQ suite includes are verification tools that check to see if an individual element of an identity is correct. For example, they can check to see if the inputted name, address or Social Security number is in fact authentic. The system then can make sure that the various pieces of identity information all match—for example, the given name is the one that is associated with a specific Social Security number or phone number.
"We can increase the verification complexity with behavioral analytics looking at data that we have on identity as well as customer data to corroborate identity," Jean said.
In addition, the system can integrate with biometric as well as device authentication mechanisms. As such, if a user is attempting to access an online service, Equifax will seek to verify whether the device being used matches the device the specific account holder has used in the past. The overall goal of all the verification and authentication checks is to look for warning signs that there is something suspicious about a user that could be an indication of a fraud attempt.
From a technology perspective, big data plays a role, though for Equifax, big data isn't exactly a new thing.
"Equifax has been around for over 100 years, and the amounts of data that we process are pretty substantial," Jean said. "Our technology group stays on the cutting edge just because of the sheer volumes of transactions we look at."
Jean added that in some areas, Equifax is making use the Hadoop big data platform as well as different search technologies, including ElasticSearch. In addition, Equifax is working with noDB database technology, which is a real-time database that is not using SQL but rather is flat-file based, he said.
"We have seen some significant processing improvements using noDB," Jean said. "We try out as many different technologies as we can to see what works best."
The market for fraud detection solutions is a crowded one and, Jean noted, Equifax has its fair share of competitors. That said, he's confident Equifax has a large volume of unique data thanks to its consumer credit business that helps differentiate it against others.
Looking forward, Jean said that mobile applications and increasing use of biometrics will be a focus as Equifax continues to improve the FraudIQ platform.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.