Arkose News / Arkose Product

Welcome to the Internet: How Arkose Labs is Enabling Digital Inclusion

May 21, 20204 min Read

Picture this common scenario: A young woman in Bangladesh has just excitedly purchased her first smartphone. She is eager to take part in the wider digital world, to sign up for payment apps, create accounts with digital merchants, and register to play popular mobile games.

Now here’s another scenario: A cybercriminal in Indonesia sets up a plan to attack online banking, payments, and merchant sites. He pays to get a clean IP address and changes his location to look like he is in California. He uses emulation software to make his mobile device look like a new release. The attacker is now ready to go about his daily job, employing automated bots to attack hundreds of different sites.

To any online business, these two individuals coming to their site appear the same: someone with little to no prior digital footprint. Someone who is, essentially, new to the internet. But obviously, they are two vastly different kinds of users.

Spotting the Doppelganger

From a digital footprint perspective these two individuals may appear to be of equal risk, but to protect your business, you must distinguish the authentic new user from the malicious actor. You don’t want to leave a wide-open door for fraudsters to attack your businesses, of course, but at the same time, it is also not prudent to simply block any users who appear to have no digital history.

In many parts of the world, internet access has spread far and wide. Having access to digital channels promotes financial inclusion and breaks down the barriers of economic stratification. The person who is new to the internet should be given a chance to participate in the digital economy and the upward mobility that comes with it.

So what are online merchants to do with this bedeviling conundrum?

That’s why Arkose Labs has created a new protection feature called “Welcome To The Internet”. It’s designed to detect and root out digital criminals using automated attacks, while still easily enabling those who are digital newbies to be able to access and purchase from online retailers, open bank accounts, send and receive payments, and all the other conveniences the modern digital world allows for.

A Friendly Greeting

Welcome To The Internet is a friendly greeting for those who are new to the internet. If an Arkose Labs customer opts to use this feature, any new user with a never-seen-before device or IP address, and who arrives at the site to register as a new user, will be asked to complete a simple challenge in order to proceed. These challenges are designed to be easily completed by humans and create as little friction as possible for authentic users.

However, the bots and scripts used by the attacker mentioned above will not be able to proceed. Our technology takes into account the latest advancements in machine vision to make the challenge unsolvable for automated attacks, rooting out bot activity from the start.

To solve this challenge, our bad actor would have to custom-write scripts specifically for the task, spending an immense amount of time and money-- something that most criminal enterprises wouldn’t bother to do when there are easier targets available. Even if the attacker did make that investment, our enforcement protocol constantly adapts and presents new and unique images, forcing the effort to be spent again and again.

The clever part is that once the new authentic user solves the challenge, that user, as well as any other users with the same kind of device, will not face any friction during future logins. Her digital fingerprint will be identified as having a good reputation, not an unknown one. Meanwhile, the attacker’s device profile will encounter increasing friction across all Arkose Labs customers, thanks to the vast shared Arkose Labs global network. If the fraudster fakes yet another new-looking device, that device now encounters “Welcome to the Internet”, and the cycle repeats.

The internet equalizes people of all demographics, granting access to information, commerce, and employment opportunities. That’s why we at Arkose Labs are proud to create an environment for new internet users to access digital services safely and securely.

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