‘To the Verge’ had an enlightening conversation with Shahid Hanif, CTO and co-founder of Shufti Pro. His company focuses on digital KYC, KYB, and AML screening services mainly targeted at businesses, from small to large scale, to help them authenticate the identity of their clients and fulfill global regulatory requirements.

About Shufti Pro

Shufti Pro is one of the leading identity verification service providers in the world that specialises in a complete suite of KYC, including AML screening, risk assessment, face bio authentication, e-IDV, and NFC verification. The platform is primarily based on artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, providing an accuracy of up to 99%.

Born out of the Frustration of Manual KYC verification

When we asked Shahid Hanif about his vision behind Shufti Pro, he told us:

“In the past, KYC was mainly based on the manual process, it used to take days or even weeks for the customers to pass their verification, and businesses struggled to provide customers with a fast and reliable validation service. I wanted to create a platform enabling SMEs and large-scale organisations to verify their customers quickly, reliably, and accurately all without high operations cost.”

Upon asking Shahid Hanif about the idea behind Shufti Pro, he told us:

“My vision behind Shufti Pro was to automate the conventional KYC and fortify enterprises against the growing threat of online ID fraud and financial crimes. In 2017, I founded this company, which is an AI-powered identity verification solution provider that reduced the verification time from weeks to minutes or even seconds and increased the customer satisfaction rate up to 98%. Since then, Shufti Pro has been working to facilitate businesses in the fight against online fraud, and that’s our main objective.”

A Digital KYC and KYB Provider Powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Superior Performance

Shufti Pro offers state-of-the-art solutions powered by proprietary AI and ML. When we asked Shahid about his reason for focusing on artificial intelligence, he said:

“When I was in university, doing my bachelor’s, I knew that AI is a powerful tool that can accomplish tasks more efficiently than humans, with a level of intelligence identical to humans. It doesn’t require breaks or produce human errors but provides far better accuracy than manual work. It is highly cost-effective to operate, making it a revolution in the tech industry.”

“One day, I was doing regular KYC Verification for my finance-related work. At that moment, I noticed the flaws in the manual KYC. It took me a complete week to pass it. On further research, I found out that manual KYC was never a good solution; human errors, long delays, and high operational costs made it an inefficient approach.

“Frustrated by a bad experience, I thought to automate the KYC process. Eventually, in 2017, we opted for a custom training model of the AI to identify users and verify documents, making the complete process automated, cost-effective, with much higher accuracy than the conventional process.”

Training and Implementation of AI

The reliability of any platform offering automated services depends heavily on the training of artificial intelligence. Here’s what Shahid told us about training of the Shufti Pro’s core AI:

“Instead of employing other 3rd party APIs, we used a proprietary machine learning algorithm in our platform. We knew that 3rd parity APIs couldn’t provide the accuracy we were striving for. That’s why we opt for the custom AI approach. It did take a lot of time, effort, and resources in the training. But the result was exactly what we were looking for. We trained our AI with hundreds of thousands of images to detect human faces and ID documents and made it skilled at differentiating between genuine and spoofing attempts, with a false positive acceptance rate of up to 1%. This proprietary approach makes our AI capable of passing ID verification with up to 99% accuracy.”

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Prevention of Deepfakes

Deepfakes are paramount in the growth of ID scams and spoofing attacks. They are so accurate that even humans can’t differentiate if it’s a genuine person or a CGI in the first go. In a research, Bloomberg stated:

“Computer-generated children’s voices are so realistic they fool their own parents. Masks created with photos from social media can penetrate a system protected by face ID. They sound like the stuff of science fiction, but these techniques are already available to criminals preying on everyday consumers.”

We asked Shahid Hanif about Shufti Pro’s capability of resistance against deepfakes and what kinds of techniques the platform uses to spot this manipulation, he told us: “Concerns are rising among businesses about whether deepfake attacks will sabotage the integrity of identity verification processes, and yes, they will. AI-enabled attacks like deepfakes are so manipulative that a regular biometric verification system can’t catch this deception, enabling false-positive acceptance.”

“We noticed that this kind of manipulation lacks depth perception, it’s a 2D CGI technology while real human faces have depth, making it easy to spot deepfakes if we implement this method. Ultimately, we built a 3D depth perception algorithm and incorporated it into our face bio authentication solution. It provides the ability to deter the modern spoofing attempts, fortifying businesses against the wave of deepfake scams.”

Navigating Through the Tough Times

It’s no exception that every business, at some point, faces a difficult time, no matter how successful it’s going. We asked Shahid about his, what it was, and how he coped with it:

“Being a new business in the market, it was a challenging moment for us to get clients due to no portfolio. Eventually, we tackled this issue by providing free trial services to our potential leads, while that wasn’t the practice in the market at that time.”

“For an entrepreneur, what matters isn’t how often you face tough times. It’s how you cope with them. A true entrepreneur will find a solution, and instead of regretting it, he will try to avoid the mistakes in the future that lead to difficult times. Still, today, I encounter many challenges, and I am never overwhelmed by them. Instead, I look for a possible solution with a calm mind. That’s what makes you a successful entrepreneur.”

Business Model of Shufti Pro

Shufti Pro is a B2B business, here’s what Shahid told us:

“We deal with organisations looking for KYC, KYB, AML screening, and risk assessment solutions. Our services are integrated into their platform, mainly in the user onboarding process, but it’s adaptable depending on the client’s demands and configurations. Once the services are integrated, Shufti Pro acts as a security gateway, verifying the identity of customers before letting them enter their business ecosystem. Moreover, we provide ongoing monitoring of the users and other KYC services per the clients’ demand, including AML screening, risk assessment, e-IDV, and others.

We also asked Shahid how Shufti Pro earns money:

“You can call us a SaaS provider. We earn money through providing KYC services to our clients. I can’t reveal to you the pricing of our services since it’s customizable as per the business’s needs. What I can tell you is we offer customer-centric packages to our clients.”

The latest Innovations and Plans for Shufti Pro

Innovation is a critical element in any company’s ability to succeed in the long run. Particularly for a digital anti-fraud provider like Shufti Pro, it is essential to keep an eye on the evolving fraud techniques and create innovative solutions that can deter those scams. Here’s what Shahid told us on this matter:

“The problem is that no one can predict what new technology scammers will use, but we are doing our best and constantly bringing innovations and technologies to overcome and deter modern cyber-attackers.

Earlier this year, we launched e-IDV, a revolutionary approach to eradicate document tampering scams by using government-issued e-IDs for verification.

Moreover, we also launched an enhanced face bio authentication solution that incorporated 3D depth perception to deter masking attempts and risk assessment for ongoing monitoring of the users.

We’re constantly investing in our R&D to develop better, improved, and more accurate anti-fraud technologies, fortifying businesses against modern cyber threats.“

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Future Trends of Online Scams and Demand for ID Verification Solutions

We questioned Shahid regarding his perspective on the future of online scams and identity verification solutions.

“Online ID scams are at an all-time high today, and there are various reasons behind this inclined growth trend. Technologies like generative AI are making fraudsters more sophisticated and sound legitimate, making it difficult for people to detect deception. Additionally, businesses and consumers are shifting towards the digital world, attracting more scammers on the internet, and it doesn’t seem like online fraud will decline in the future. These trends are evolving the buyers’ needs beyond standard know your customer (KYC). Identity verification is now being used more extensively by businesses and security-focused sectors, increasing the need for identity verification solutions that can offer resistance against modern online fraud.