Blockchain Technology and Fraud Prevention from Armen Najarian
Armen Najarian from Sift explaining blockchain technology and fraud prevention.

Fraud, AI, and Pig Butchering with Sift’s Armen Najarian

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Welcome to an insightful episode of PayPod. We get into the evolving landscape of fraud prevention and cybersecurity with Armen Najarian, the Chief Marketing Officer of Sift. The conversation delves into Armen’s unique career journey, from opening a coffee shop to becoming a key player in the tech world. They explore how Sift uses AI-powered technology to combat the impact of blockchain technology and online fraud prevention on the industry. Armen shares insights on various types of fraud, including social engineering attacks like pig butchering and romance scams, and how businesses can protect themselves and their customers.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

Listeners will gain a comprehensive understanding of the latest trends and challenges in fraud prevention. Armen Najarian discusses the importance of scalability in fraud detection and how adaptive machine-learning models help keep up with evolving threats. He also highlights the role of blockchain technology in fraud prevention, emphasizing its potential to enhance transparency and trust in financial transactions. Additionally, Armen offers practical advice for consumers on protecting their personal data and maintaining good cybersecurity hygiene. This episode provides valuable knowledge for both industry professionals and everyday users looking to stay informed about cybersecurity and fraud prevention.

About Our Guest:

Armen Najarian is the Chief Marketing Officer of Sift, a leading company in AI-powered fraud prevention. With a diverse background that includes accounting, entrepreneurship, and a successful transition into the tech industry, Armen brings a wealth of experience to the conversation. At Sift, he oversees marketing and also holds the title of GM of Threat Research, a role that combines his expertise in marketing with his passion for cybersecurity. Armen’s journey from running a coffee shop to leading efforts in fraud prevention is both inspiring and informative, offering listeners a unique perspective on the importance of adaptability and continuous learning in one’s career.

Topics Covered:

The episode covers a range of topics, including the significance of blockchain technology and fraud prevention in today’s digital landscape. Armen Najarian explains how Sift uses AI and machine learning to detect and prevent fraudulent activities in real time. The discussion also touches on the various forms of social engineering attacks, such as pig butchering and romance scams, highlighting the sophisticated methods used by fraudsters. Other topics include the importance of consumer awareness and the growing need for skilled professionals in the cybersecurity field.

Our Guest: Armen Najarian- Integrating Blockchain Technology and Fraud Prevention at Sift.

Armen Najarian is a seasoned marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in the fields of fraud prevention, digital identity, and cybersecurity. Currently serving as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Sift, a leader in digital trust and safety, Armen has a notable history of driving strategic marketing initiatives and building high-performing teams. Before joining Sift, Armen held prominent roles at several industry-leading companies, including Outseer, Agari, and ThreatMetrix, where he played pivotal roles in rebranding efforts, market positioning, and revenue growth. His journey through these companies has equipped him with a deep understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and the evolving challenges in fraud prevention​​​​.

Armen’s career trajectory is marked by significant achievements in both corporate and entrepreneurial settings. He began his professional journey with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMass and later pursued an MBA from USC, which facilitated his transition into the tech industry. His early career includes founding a successful gourmet coffee shop that was eventually acquired by Dunkin Donuts, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen. Armen’s diverse background allows him to approach marketing from a unique perspective, integrating financial acumen with innovative marketing strategies to drive growth and brand recognition​​​​.

At Sift, Armen is not only responsible for overseeing the company’s global marketing efforts but also plays a critical role in shaping the company’s approach to digital trust and safety. His work involves leveraging AI and machine learning to develop scalable fraud prevention solutions that protect businesses and consumers alike. Armen’s leadership is instrumental in navigating the complexities of the cybersecurity industry, ensuring that Sift remains at the forefront of technological innovation and market relevance. His dedication to the mission of protecting online transactions and building trust in the digital space is evident in his strategic vision and execution​​​​.

Episode Transcript

Armen Najarian: It’s a long duration, socially engineered attack from very organized groups. Ultimately, what they’re after is looking to gain your trust, build a relationship. Oftentimes, it can be a person of the opposite gender with the insinuation that there’s a romantic possibility there. They’ll earn your trust, and then they’ll casually say, hey, I’ve got the I’ve been doing so well in cryptocurrency through this app. And they’ll say, hey, you might want to give it a try. So it’s not them taking your money, it’s them introducing you to an app that is nefarious. And then it plays out further. So through this app you’ll invest 5000, 10,000 into the cryptocurrency. You’ll see some gains. You’ll see some returns. We might put a little bit more money in. And then lo and behold, you won’t have access to your funds when you want to remove them. The person who you are collaborating with claims they have no idea what’s going on, but it’s just a highly orchestrated campaign to extract your funds through the guise of crypto investing, and you’re left high and dry.

Kevin Rosenquist: Hey, welcome to PayPod, where we bring you conversations with the trailblazers shaping the future of payments and fintech. My name is Kevin Rosenquist. Thanks for listening. Today I’m chatting with Armen Najarian, the CMO of Sift. Sift uses AI-powered technology to revolutionize the way businesses protect themselves from online fraud and abuse. We talk about a variety of topics, from Web3 to pig butchering, which isn’t at all what it sounds like. Welcome to the show, Armen Najarian. So you got your bachelor’s in accounting at UMass, and after graduation, you opened a Dunkin Donuts in Massachusetts, correct?

Armen Najarian: Close. I opened up a gourmet coffee shop and cafe, which was acquired by Dunkin. Oh, okay. My first exit in my career began very early.

Kevin Rosenquist: So what drove you to open up a coffee shop?

Armen Najarian: Well, I started accounting without having any intention of being an accountant or a CPA. Great foundation to learn, and then, you know.

Kevin Rosenquist: Is there any reason that you chose that if you didn’t want to go into it?

Armen Najarian: I guess, the challenge. I felt good learning foundation. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do post-graduation. So I figured, hey, accounting feels like a rigorous enough curricula, and I could learn a thing or two.

Kevin Rosenquist: Okay, that makes sense.

Armen Najarian: So I’m very glad I did that. But after graduating, not knowing what I wanted to do but entrepreneurial activities were always of interest. So kind of right moment in time to launch into a business with another family member. We got the coffee shop off the ground. It was a successful and profitable business and ran for multiple years until Dunkin Donuts came knocking. We couldn’t resist their offer.

Kevin Rosenquist: I didn’t even know they did that sort of thing. I mean, I suppose they probably don’t anymore.

Armen Najarian: It’s done at the franchise level oftentimes. So you’ve got a franchisee in the local market who would like to have a piece of real estate. So that’s what it came down to. They wanted to own our lease, which was a 15-year lease in a prime location. They made it worth our while.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s a pretty cool story though. Did you enjoy the time when you were back there like making coffee and stuff?

Armen Najarian: I was in the shop every day at 5:45 a.m., opening it up Monday to Friday. So it was nice weekends. I was in the trenches, setting up the business, running it, trying to market the business, and just keeping the production at a very high level of quality.

Kevin Rosenquist: Did you enjoy it?

Armen Najarian: It was hard work. I did love it. I learned a lot. I did enjoy it, but it was also nice to break away and move into the corporate world.

Kevin Rosenquist: Well, that’s a good segue into the next question. So you got that up and running, and then you moved to the opposite side of the country and got your MBA at USC. Were you following the tech world? Was there any particular reason you went out there? I mean, that’s about almost as far as you can go in the continental US. So is there any particular reason you went out there?

Armen Najarian: Yes, I would say USC made me the best offer. The business schools I applied to with a pretty generous scholarship and then just the adventure of moving to the other side of the country, where I do have some family in the LA area. So that made it a little bit more attractive. But I’d say it was the adventure and the chance to immerse myself for two years into an environment and build an amazing network that was very attractive to me.

Kevin Rosenquist: That makes sense. It’s a big move.

Armen Najarian: It was a big move. But I have zero regrets. It was a lot of fun, for sure.

Kevin Rosenquist: As I was going over your experience, I saw the title of CMO plus GM of Threat Research, for two different fraud prevention companies Outseer, and Agari. GM of threat research isn’t a job title I see very often, and generally not one that coincides with a CMO. Talk about what that entails and how you found yourself going from marketing professional to leading security efforts.

Armen Najarian: You’re touching upon what I’d call a mega trend in the world of being a CMO. There are many career CMOs who do an amazing job, and that’s all they ever want to do, and they do it successfully. However, there is a shift taking place where CMOs can play a broader role if they want to, raising their hand to take on GM roles with PNL responsibilities. If you find that attractive, it’s a good way to augment your CMO footprint and build more experience that could present new and interesting career opportunities. So I’d say, in the two companies, consecutively where I held that role at Agari and Outseer, these were revenue-generating threat intelligence or threat research functions that had revenue and profit. It was a good balance of time to be a CMO and also be able to focus on product and revenue. It was a product line, and I loved it. It was an interesting and valuable part of my career.

Kevin Rosenquist: Did you ever see yourself getting involved in cybersecurity?

Armen Najarian:  Early on in my career, definitely, not. When cybersecurity was

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s true. It wasn’t a thing for a while.

Armen Najarian: It was a thing. I will say, though having worked in a few different categories in the world of consumer marketing with some of the food products companies, the office products business, and the computer business, and then moving over into the world of B2B and specifically, cyber, and then more specifically, fraud prevention, there’s something to be said for serving a higher purpose in terms of waking up and doing what you do, almost a mission-driven philosophy that we’re helping to enable the fight back against a very organized and efficient fraud actor and threat actor community. When you wake up every day and have that as your overarching mission, it does bring a sense, an interesting sense of responsibility and purpose to one’s career. So I do love it.

Kevin Rosenquist: Well, I read recently that there’s a real shortage of cybersecurity professionals out there, and that need is only going to get greater each year. Do you agree with that assessment, and if so, why is there such a shortage in your opinion?

Armen Najarian: It is hard to find great talent in any function. At all the cybersecurity companies I’ve been at, it’s perplexing. I do see college curriculums and courses now tuned to cybersecurity, which is awesome to see. I think we’ll see kind of this next crop of talent peaking very, very soon. I think one of the root issues of why maybe historically over the last 10 or 15 years, not enough people have chosen to focus on cybersecurity is they might not understand what it’s all about, or they have a misperception about cybersecurity being something they’re just disinterested in or would not find exciting. But when you give it a moment and give it a chance, it’s an amazing universe with a close-knit community with amazing job security, if you will. Just a lifelong of opportunities to expand your influence. So I think part of it’s awareness, as a marketer, bringing more awareness to the amazing career value in the world of cybersecurity. Until you try it, you might not know what that experience is like.

Kevin Rosenquist: I wonder if people are also intimidated by it a little bit.

Armen Najarian: I’m sure there’s part of that. You know, we skew heavily male as well, there’s just not enough women in this space. That’s starting to correct itself a little bit. But I think this space is vague to a lot of people or if you’re not in it, you just don’t quite understand what it means to build solutions to fight cybersecurity or fight fraud. It can be intimidating, I’m sure.

Kevin Rosenquist: I asked this question to someone else before and I’m curious to get your take on it in the broader sense. Are most people naive about threats? Are we too cavalier with our data? Do we need to be more diligent?

Armen Najarian: I think there’s been a lot of consumer awareness over the last five years. All the publicity about the data breaches we’ve kind of become numb to that reality. many of us as consumers not in the industry, have generally accepted that all of our information is out there. There have been enough breaches that accept the fact that nothing is confidential anymore.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s a good point.

Armen Najarian: I think, as a society, we’ve gotten to that pivot point. So as, as consumers, the awareness is pretty strong. I think the next question is, okay, what can I do about it as a consumer? Can I trust the merchants or the banks that I’m doing business with? Do they have the right controls in place? As a consumer, am I taking enough responsibility to set up the right alerts and just practice good hygiene to prevent future breaches and exploitation of my information that might that I know is already out there?

Kevin Rosenquist: Are you one of the super careful people like, do you stay off public Wi-Fi and read through the agreements and things like that?

Armen Najarian: Not at all. I’m probably the worst example of a cyber security practitioner exercising good control as a consumer. So I don’t update my passwords nearly enough. I use the same password across too many properties. There’s a lot more I should be doing that I’m just not.

Kevin Rosenquist: Give me some of the scary stuff. How prevalent is fraud in the current fintech landscape? Because I think the masses are led to believe that the apps, platforms, and products that we all use are doing everything that can keep our data and our money safe. Again, maybe not naive, but are we being tricked or are they as secure as as they say?

Armen Najarian: You have to look at it through two lenses. So what I’d call transactional fraud is when you pay for a product, when you sign in and log in to your bank or to your account on some merchants’ websites, there are great controls in place from companies like Sift and others for doing great at the moment real-time fraud detection. Is this person who they say they are? Is this credit card authentic? What is the relative risk of this person who might be using a new device or a new email address? There’s a lot of intelligence and telemetry out there to drive good in-the-moment decisions and root out the bad. The reality is that in the world of transactional fraud, far fewer than 5% of all transactions are suspicious, let alone fraudulent. So the vast majority of transactions are safe. So rest assured that the consumer web is well-equipped to stop transactional fraud. Where the challenge right now is on other forms of fraud that don’t involve transactions social engineering fraud. You might hear about romance scams and real estate scams Something called pig butchering, which is becoming a big problem.

Kevin Rosenquist: I don’t even know what that is like. I can’t imagine it’s pig butchering.

Armen Najarian: It’s a thing. It’s a thing. I’m happy to explain it.

Kevin Rosenquist: I’d love to know.

Armen Najarian: Those types of attacks are scary and are underreported. So, just to give you a quick preview, pig butchering, it’s a long-duration, socially engineered attack, highly orchestrated by very organized groups. They’re targeting people, typically engaging, if you get one of those random text messages, hey, how are you doing? I get them all the time now.

Kevin Rosenquist: I’ve been getting them a lot within the past six months. I would say.

Armen Najarian: Right, or they might say, hey, Peter, are we going to be meeting up this Saturday? These are organized, social engineering attackers casting a wide net. It’s a number game. So 1 in 100 will respond saying, hey, you might have the wrong person, you might have the wrong number, who is this? There begins a conversation. In many cases, ultimately, what they’re after is looking to gain your trust, and build a relationship. Oftentimes, it can be a person of the opposite gender with the insinuation that there’s a romantic possibility there, but ultimately, what they’re after generally is going to be to get you to invest some dollars into some cryptocurrency. Literally, that is the playbook. So there’ll be this long-form relationship built and they’ll earn your trust and maybe insinuate that there’s some romantic possibility in place, and then they’ll casually say, hey, you know I’ve been doing so well in cryptocurrency through this app, and it’s all about this app. They’ll say, hey, you might want to give it a try. So it’s not them taking your money, it’s them introducing you to an app that is nefarious. It’s a nefarious app, and getting this unwitting consumer to put some money into this app.

Armen Najarian: Then it plays out further. So through this app, you’ll invest 5000, 10,000 into the cryptocurrency. You’ll see some gains, you’ll see some returns. You might put a little bit more money in and then lo and behold, you won’t have access to your funds when you want to remove them. The person who you are collaborating with claims they have no idea what’s going on, but it’s just a highly orchestrated campaign to extract your funds through the guise of crypto investing, and you’re left high and dry. The other form of this is a romance scam where it’s not about the crypto, it’s just about your former relationship with someone, and all of a sudden they’re in a far-fetched place in the world and they get arrested and need money. They need money to get out of prison. They’re asking you to wire some funds. So these things sound ludicrous on the surface, Kevin. But these things happen all the time. The losses from these types of socially engineered attacks run in the billions. That’s just reported. We know there’s a lot of unreported fraud loss. People are embarrassed.

Kevin Rosenquist: I was just going to say no one wants to admit that they were taken in a romance scam.

Armen Najarian: They don’t. But this happens to educated people. Of all walks of life, it is remarkable. This is where the threat is.

Kevin Rosenquist: Well, I’m glad you mentioned that because I’ve often wondered, I know it’s a scam when I see them, hey, how are you? Or hey, what did you do last night? What did you end up doing last night? That kind of stuff. It’ll be like a Sunday. So it’ll be, what did you do on Saturday night? I know it’s a scam because I know I have a pretty tight-knit friend group, so I’m not worried about it. But I did wonder what they’re after. So they do form a relationship, or they try to form some sort of trust in you throughout over time.

Armen Najarian: 100% and I will admit. I’m the guy who engages with these. Partly for my professional interest. I engage in many of these and carry them forth as long as I can. Until it becomes time where I just punk them and reveal, like, who I am. But I learned from it. Absolutely, humans want to trust humans is what it comes down to. Especially, if there’s a potential romantic interest or just a friend, a lot of lonely people.

Kevin Rosenquist: I was just going to say that you catch the right lonely person at the particularly lonely time.

Armen Najarian: So these social engineers are exploiting people’s general, good nature to want to form a connection and maybe fight some loneliness.

Kevin Rosenquist: Wow. That’s sad and scary at the same time.

Armen Najarian: It is, and it is trending up in a very concerning way. Back to your question, this is the number one threat to us as consumers that we should all be vigilant about. There’s innovation. These fraud actor communities are highly organized groups. This is not a person sitting in a hoodie behind a laptop in some far-fetched place in the world. These are organized groups typically with housing provided in large complexes in parts of South Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa. There are organized groups with their own systems, processes, and organizational structures. These are big businesses, multiple lines of business, etc. It’s remarkable.

Kevin Rosenquist: I’d imagine AI is making it easier for the bad actors to put on schemes like this, too.

Armen Najarian: It has changed the game in the last year to 18 months generating fictitious profiles as an example and generating a fictitious set of emails or text messages. Leveraging AI has just made it more efficient for these fraud actors and these organized groups to perpetrate at-scale attacks. So it’s just in the realism of the messages. Years ago, you could tell when those Nigerian prince schemes began, well, just the syntax was off. The word choices just didn’t make sense. They were told in there. But now it’s very real. It’s very thick. Take it a step further, some of these especially romance scams where the victim wants to communicate and see the person through Zoom. So there are great ways to spoof a person. DeepFake videos are leveraged to conduct a conversation leveraging AI with the victim. It just becomes a very real experience from the victim’s perspective.

Kevin Rosenquist: That’s a good segue into Sift. So you’re CMO of Sift, an AI-powered fraud platform. The company was founded in 2011 and initially relied on rule-based systems and human analyst reviews, and then dove into machine learning around 2015. At least that’s what I found. Correct me if I’m wrong but I know you’ve only been with the company for a little over a year, but it seems like Sift was pretty early in efforts to use machine learning, at least in terms of an AI-first company with that allowed for one of the best features of Sift, which is its scalability. Can you talk about the importance of scalability when it comes to effective fraud prevention?

Armen Najarian: Super important. The majority of what you said is true. Sift has been in the use of decision sciences and machine learning since day one. We might not have messaged it but the company was called Sift Science. On day one, we acquired the domain a few years ago and simplified the brand structure. But we’ve been in the world of artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning, to drive decisions at scale since 2011. We augment that with rules. So it’s pairing science with some transparency and control. So if you’re a fraud manager at a merchant or a bank, you have some visibility and control. I’m losing my train of thought in your question, Kevin.

Kevin Rosenquist: No problem. I know I asked kind of a long question too, but I’m just kind of interested in the importance of scalability when it comes to effective fraud prevention because of what we just talked about.

Armen Najarian: It’s a really important product. The reason it’s important is because we live in a networked world. So as I’ll speak for myself as a consumer, I shop within the digital realm a half a dozen or a dozen different digital properties in any six-month window, I bank with 2 or 3 different banks, and I have a digital footprint. So scale becomes very important because the signals that I leave and when interacting with these different properties form the basis of my identity. In my relative trustworthiness, if you will. So companies like Sift, the more we work with a broader swath of the digital web, the better signal we have to build a more accurate risk model of each persona that’s out there. The bottom line, what that means as a consumer is I’m trustworthy, you’re trustworthy. When you’re out shopping, the worst thing that can happen is you can be challenged when you’re otherwise a trustworthy person. You might be stepped up. You might have a worse than an SMS challenge. You might have to complete the captcha, or you might have to do some sort of a knowledge-based assessment, very time-consuming and disruptive. No one wants to deal with that. The vast majority of us on the consumer web are trustworthy. So scale matters because having more signals, working with more and customers gives fraud prevention providers like Sift better telemetry to make better risk assessments. At the moment, we see more than 1 trillion transactions. We’re scoring on an annual basis across over 35,000 consumer apps and websites. Through that scale, we’re able to build just very accurate models and lower the probability that you, as a trustworthy consumer, are going to be inconvenienced.

Kevin Rosenquist: And the adaptive models continuously learn from new customer data. I’m no cybersecurity expert, but I have to imagine that’s vital to keeping up with threats.

Armen Najarian: It’s all real-time. So yes, you have a split-second decision. These decisions are returned within a couple of hundred milliseconds when you hit the login button, or you hit the buy button or the transact button, what’s happening behind the scenes is like a split-second decision. Checking the network of a company like Sift, using all the latest information that’s built into the graph to return a decision. Trustworthy, not trustworthy, or move into a review a review cycle.

Kevin Rosenquist: Sift does a lot, I was on your website, and more than we have time to talk about it here. For those interested, the website is Check it out to see all their products. But one of the ones that kind of fascinates me is the content integrity product because I think content fraud is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about fraud. We don’t necessarily think about that. But when scammers or spammers start posting on your platform or marketplace, it can destroy trust. In your company, it pushes misinformation. I’d love to hear more about this and how it works and the results that you guys have seen.

Armen Najarian: You’re right. It’s not what you think of first when thinking about transactional fraud and risk on the consumer web. But if you’re a marketplace operator where consumer-generated reviews become the basis for how consumers are making buying decisions, the integrity of the content the veracity of the content, and the integrity of the person posting the content becomes vital. So maintaining trust in that marketplace, that’s exactly what we do is that’s one of our offerings. It’s one of the use cases or products that we offer to authenticate that the person submitting that post is, in fact, a person of trust, based on all the signals that we see and not some bot just churning out reviews. for bad intent. And to your point, this user-generated content is the foundation of trust in these marketplaces. It’s what drives the engine. It’s a very important offering or use case that we deliver to the marketplace.

Kevin Rosenquist: How have the results been? Good this far that you’ve seen? Are you able to catch a lot of the bad actors?

Armen Najarian: Absolutely. Across all of our use cases, our catch rate is very high. We’re catching when there’s a known fraud taking place, we’re catching close to 98% or 99%. You’re never going to catch them all. There’s a lot of innovation in the fraud actor community. But if you can catch most of it as it’s happening and as importantly, don’t disrupt the good people or the good, the good users that are just trying to do business. If you can do both of those well, then you’re keeping fraud loss at an acceptable level within the organization. You’re never going to bring it to zero, but you can keep it within an acceptable level and maintain a positive consumer experience for the vast majority of users who are authentic.

Kevin Rosenquist: Again, I was very fascinated by that product when I was going through your site because no one thinks about that. You have a marketplace, you’re selling your stuff online, you’re offering a service, whatever it is, you don’t think of fraud or bad actors, if you will, just being out there to post negative reviews about you that aren’t real. We’ve all seen those. I feel like a lot of times like I’ll go on a restaurant website or something and Google and I’ll look at the reviews and it’s all five stars, and then there’s one very bizarre one-star review and you kind of think, well, that guy’s probably not real, but enough of those, then the overall percentage goes down.

Armen Najarian: That’s right. Think about it on two levels. One is the individuals who have a gripe with someone or just don’t like a certain brand and want to spread misinformation about that brand. That happens all the time. Certainly, you can catch that. But there are also organized groups that are either representing another brand or want to dilute the value of a competitor. So at scale across all the marketplaces injecting just negative reviews to bring back, bring down the score or the reverse acting on behalf of the brand to boost up the score of that brand that they’re supporting. So this done in an organized way is a real threat both at the individual level and at the organized level, and it’s a very real problem that can be brought under control.

Kevin Rosenquist: This is a broad question, but with AI moving as fast as it is, it’s got to be hard to keep up with the new stuff that’s happening. Is the team of smart people or how do you keep up?

Armen Najarian: You’ve got to fight fire with fire is the only way to do it. So that’s, fortunately, where we are in the industry and Sift specifically has been leveraging artificial intelligence and deep machine learning models since day one, and continuing the innovation. We have 40 patents. Most of those patents are tied to our machine-learning techniques. So there’s a heavy ongoing investment. Again, back to our heritage as Sift Science, it’s the only way you’re going to keep pace with the Fraud Act community, which itself is very innovative, very quick to adopt technologies and processes, and exploit the next greatest tool to inflict harm on society.

Kevin Rosenquist: Yes, it’s always been that way, I suppose, but it feels more rapid I guess with AI. It feels more like we can be duped even more than ever before because we can be between deepfakes and everything else. So it feels like the threat is changing and morphing quickly.

Armen Najarian: The game is changing. I mean, 18 months ago, ChatGPT wasn’t in the consumer conversation. It is here and now every LM out there is getting smarter by the day. These are being translated into tools that the fraud actor community is all over and has been all over for many months. So especially, in the last 18 months, or last 12 months, it’s just the game has changed fundamentally. So the velocity of new attack types, attack sophistication, and scale of attacks, is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Kevin Rosenquist: I was going to ask, is this the most significant change to the cybersecurity world that you’ve seen in your career?

Armen Najarian: It is. I’ve been in the space for ten years. Absolutely, without a doubt, the most significant change. It’s an inflection point, if you will, and the company is on the stopping side, on the solution side that is investing and keeping pace and has a deep investment in science. We’ll be able to support putting good tools into the hands of the fraud fighters. those that don’t are going to fall behind.

Kevin Rosenquist: Quickly, too.

Armen Najarian: They already are.

Kevin Rosenquist: They’re gone.

Armen Najarian: Yes.

Kevin Rosenquist: I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds on this one, but I’m always curious to talk about things like Web3 and blockchain. How do you see blockchain technology affecting the larger fintech and payments industries from a fraud perspective? Do you see it helping to improve transparency in overall trust on a larger scale in the near future? Do you even see that blockchain technology making an impact?

Armen Najarian: I do, I see potential, I see a lot of potential. It’s less on the transactions themselves, and it’s more around the identity of the user conducting the transaction. So there are some, I’d say early stage, but interesting technologies that are leveraging a blockchain, a distributed ledger framework to manage the identity of a user. So it’s GDPR compliant, it’s privacy-compliant. There’s a lot of goodness in having a distributed identity that can be reused in different transactional worlds. It puts a little bit more control and injects a lot more trust into the buying equation and into the selling equation. So that’s one good example of where a distributed ledger is helping and has the potential to materially help both the world of banking and the world of, let’s say, transactional commerce on the consumer web.

Kevin Rosenquist: Do you see it making any shift in cybersecurity? Will it help things just because of the identity of being able to track better and having the connected blockchain and all that?

Armen Najarian: Absolutely. There’s a saying in the world of cybersecurity that identity is the new perimeter. So if you can get identity right, and you have trust in identity or trust in the decisions that you’re making as a cybersecurity company or as an enterprise around identity, then you’re starting from a much higher basis of trust. So to answer your question, yes, if the use of new technologies like blockchain, and distributed ledger are helping to form the basis of stronger trust in the identities that are being invoked in a transaction, it’ll help bring some much-needed trust to the equation and make life better for us as consumers, make life more challenging for organized fraud actors that are in the business of doing bad things.

Kevin Rosenquist: The decentralized nature of blockchain technology, Would that make your job harder in any way?

Armen Najarian: I don’t think it would make it harder. I think what it means is coexisting with these new technologies. So we have an understanding of identity in the world of Sift and leveraging some of these new techniques for the formation of an identity and how that identity is stored. We either need to build some connectors to that world or partner with that world as well. We’re beginning to do that already as an industry and as a company. That becomes, I’d say, the next frontier in our world’s drive to better score and decision accuracy. This is a pattern. Over the course of the last 15 or 20 years since this whole space has emerged fraud and cybersecurity, there’s always a new technology right to consider into your roadmap and start to build connections to you’re not going to be able to build everything as a, as a software company. So partnerships become very important. choosing your battles of how you invest yourself versus partnerships versus acquisitions, it’s all part of the decisions we have to make as a software company. But absolutely, I wouldn’t say it makes it harder. It provides more opportunities for us to place our bets as a software provider to build relationships or build technologies ourselves, leveraging some of these new techniques to drive better score accuracy, better outcomes for our customers, and better experience for consumers who are transacting.

Kevin Rosenquist: Again, the site is So I sift my bed, Armen, thanks for being here and sharing your expertise with us.

Armen Najarian: That’s been awesome. Great questions, Kevin. I didn’t know how deep we were going to go, and you pushed on some important areas, so I appreciate it. This is a fascinating world for me, so I appreciate it.

Kevin Rosenquist: It is a fascinating world. The majority of us don’t know nearly and very little about it, I should say. So it’s always nice to talk to someone in your realm who has a lot of experience and expertise.

Armen Najarian: I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Kevin Rosenquist: Thanks, Armen.