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Online security – Watching for what we don’t want to see

Former US football coach and sports commentator, John Madden, once observed that, ‘Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.’ If that’s the case, those of us in the online security community are all coaches. Our role is to anticipate future card fraud schemes and guard against them, ensure the true identity of online shoppers, and design systems that fight theft before it occurs.

According to the 2015 MasterCard Online Shopping Behaviour Study, 86% of South Africans say that website payment security is the top consideration when deciding to shop online. Other priorities include the convenience of payment methods and the price or value of items.

The bottom line? Consumers want to shop online. However, they are increasingly looking to online retailers and the payments industry to deliver on the promise of e-commerce as a truly secure environment to transact.

MasterCard delivers programmes that enable us to both watch and listen for fraud, and to proactively combat the risks of website hacking. Yet, we can’t fight this battle alone. The provision of safe and secure e-commerce platforms is critical. Fortunately, defending yourselves and your customers has never been easier.

Safeguard data

E-commerce retailers work with a great deal of cardholder account data. To ensure their customer’s data is protected, MasterCard, along with our industry colleagues, developed the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). To help acquirers, retailers and service providers achieve compliance with this critical standard, MasterCard offers the Site Data Protection Program (SDP). The Program details the data security and compliance validation requirements to protect stored and transmitted MasterCard payment account data.

Authenticate payments

To drive fraud out of the online shopping experience, reduce the number of chargebacks, and boost consumer confidence, online verification of cardholders was mandated in South Africa last year via 3D Secure. Our solution, MasterCard SecureCode, ensures that cardholders enter a code or One Time PIN (OTP) in a pop-up box from their issuing bank before their online transaction is authorised. This secure code gives them the added peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else can access their account.

It’s an exciting yet challenging time for South Africa’s online retailers. Our technology has revolutionised the way that commerce is done today, but more importantly, it has also made it extremely secure.

Article written by Mark Elliott, Division President: MasterCard, South Africa. MasterCard is a proud partner of the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).