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Mastercard Acquires Digital Identity Verification Firm Ekata for $850 Million

Mastercard on Monday announced that it’s acquiring digital identity verification company Ekata for $850 million.

The acquisition of Seattle-based Ekata is part of Mastercard’s plan to boost its identity verification capabilities.

Ekata leverages data science and machine learning to help customers determine in real time whether an action — such as registering an online account or making a payment — was initiated by a legitimate user or a bad actor.

Ekata’s services have been used by more than 2,000 organizations worldwide, including by merchants, travel companies, financial institutions, digital currency platforms and online marketplaces.

Mastercard says the plan is to combine the technology and experience of Ekata with its own fraud prevention and digital identity programs.

“Together, Mastercard and Ekata will deliver a more comprehensive identity service that can power real-time decision-making needs, from new account openings to helping merchants assess potential fraud before a payment transaction is authorized,” Mastercard said in a press release.

The acquisition of Ekata, which is expected to close in the next six months, comes roughly a year after Mastercard bought risk management company RiskRecon in an effort to enhance its cybersecurity capabilities.

And in another move related to cybersecurity, shortly after announcing the acquisition of RiskRecon, Mastercard opened a new intelligence and cyber center in Vancouver, Canada.

Mastercard’s CISO, Ron Green, has been featured in SecurityWeek’s CISO Conversations series, where CISOs from critical industries share thoughts on the role of a CISO and what it takes to be a successful one.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.