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Africa’s mobile ecosystem on high alert as fraud escalates

By , Portals editor
Africa , 30 Apr 2021

Paris-based anti-fraud and cybersecurity specialist Evina has joined the over 400 companies and 750 operators that are part of the GSMA, the international association that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

Evina said its cooperation with the GSMA’s Fraud and Security Group (FASG) to proactively share information crucial to educating the mobile market will help keep the pressure up on the mobile fraudsters that cost Africa over US$4-billion in 2020.

The FASG group’s mission is to keep players informed and protected from the dangers of mobile fraud.

According to Evina, cyber security used to be a secondary priority for many companies and mostly handled by CTOs. Now, it has become one of the main priorities, directly managed by CEOs.

The company said that fraud is considered as one of the main threats to mobile payments, especially for MNOs, and that since mobile payments are the future, mobile fraud had become an "existential issue" for mobile players. If players don't face this issue the right way they risk becoming extinct.

David Lotfi, CEO at Evina, said: “Mobile fraud has become a dire issue for MNOs. In fact, we first came into contact with the GSMA to explain to MNOs that operated in Africa how mobile fraud works and to what extent it affects their business and the wider mobile ecosystem. Joining the GSMA as an associate member was a way to be part of the most important conversations happening around mobile and to highlight the importance of strengthening cybersecurity on mobile payments.”

Evina said it protects up to 90% of mobile direct carrier billing (DCB) transactions in Ivory Coast, Morocco and Senegal.

It also secures traffic in African countries such as Mali, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Botswana, Angola and all countries in the Middle East including Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.

The company leverages its 15 years of R&D in cyber security for mobile payments and analyses over 16 million transactions per day worldwide: 99.94% of fraudulent transactions are detected, 0.06% false positive rate recorded, and <100ms latency.

Evina added that its technology employs anti-fraud sensors positioned across the continent “and enables it to offer the only tool on the market that can differentiate between a bot and a human and therefore know who exactly is behind a transaction.”

This technology allows Evina to gather precious data that offers insights into the mechanisms of mobile fraud.

In November 2020 the company identified the top five African and Middle Eastern countries where mobile fraud is most prevalent as Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, Jordan and Oman.

The percentage of mobile-based billing transactions in each country that have been identified as suspect by Evina’s network of fraud sensors are 51%, 30%, 20%, 18% and 10%, respectively.

"A major west African MNO with whom we work has recently decreased its fraud rate from 18% to 1%,” added Lofti. “We've identified that one in four mobile subscriptions in Africa are fraudulent, many news outlets have re-shared this information pointing to the fact that this information is precious and that there is a real interest regarding cyber security.” 

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