A revolutionary system boosts electronic payments in Bulgaria

Prof. Georgi Dimitrov, Member of the Board of Directors of EuroTrust Technologies:

Learn how to make compliant digital customer onboarding at SECURITY OF DIGITAL PAYMENTS

Mr. Dimitrov, why are digital services in Bulgaria at such a low level? Could you please give examples with other EU countries?

According to an analysis by the European Commission's Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2018 Report, the major challenge Bulgaria is facing is the very low level of use of digital technologies in business and among the population, including among young people. This fact, as well as the shortage of IT specialists and the insufficient investment in digital infrastructure, are among the reasons for the slowdown in the digitization in Bulgaria, both in the private sector and in the public sector. 

The overall level of digital skills is among the lowest in the EU. Less than one third of the Bulgarians have such skills, their number growing insignificantly. In addition, Internet users are only 62% of all people aged 16-74.

In Bulgaria, we rely on the Internet mainly for telephone and video calls: 85% of Bulgarians have used the Internet for these purposes over the past few months. Bulgarians use social networks the most but avoid e-commerce. In 2017, the share of Internet users who ordered goods and services over the Internet was 27%, against an EU average share of 68%. Online banking is also a service that is used by a very small proportion of the population – 9% of all Internet users (corresponding to 5% of all persons). The users of cloud services are 5.5%. 

The adoption of digital technologies by businesses is also slow. Bulgaria ranks 26th by the introduction of digital technologies in the industry, not having made much progress since last year. Investments in the digitization of the economy are still limited. In 2017 the number of digitalized enterprises was among the lowest in the EU – 12%


Is it possible for digital payments and the identification related to their security to be quick and easy but also secure?

Of course. Developments in technology and competition create ever more comfortable and secure solutions for identification and digital payments that are quick and convenient for the consumer but at the same time with a sufficiently high level of security. In practice, the lack of an adequate mechanism for rapid but legally compliant identification was one of the impediments to driving the used of modern methods of digital payments forward, including electronic and mobile wallets, mobile banking systems, and so on.      


Are hacker attacks in Europe and related court cases on the rise? What is the scale of the fraud in Europe? Is statistical data being collected in Bulgaria?

Nearly 9,000 cases of data theft and misuse have been registered between 1 January 2005 and 18 April 2018. There is no doubt that the situation with regard to cybercrime is more than serious. Luckily, when you assess cybersecurity risks for your business, you make changes to the entire company and improve your overall behaviour with respect to security. This way, it is possible to protect your business from most types of data misuse.

The average cost of cybercrime is rising dramatically and this can be detrimental to companies which have not set aside cyber security contributions in their regular budget. With the emergence of new threats every day, the risks of unprotected files are more dangerous than ever before, especially for companies. Unfortunately, the uncovering of hacker attacks very often remains without the perpetrators being revealed. For this reason, a specific directive on the protection of information systems was adopted at the EU level, which was transposed in Bulgaria in a special Cybersecurity Act. The establishment of an adequate national and pan-European model to signal network security breaches, their analysis and the measures taken to prevent and detect such attacks today are a matter of state policy today.   


Which is the latest project you are working on?


I am currently working on the development of an extremely modern and secure electronic identification system for the needs of the financial sector and the state.

I am convinced that it will stimulate the development of digital services and the payments related to them. The unique fact is that the system will be used via a mobile device without any knowledge and skills being required on part of end users, thus making it extremely accessible.

It enables a complete digital transformation of businesses and a possibility of remote electronic signing with a qualified electronic signature, time stamping of the occurrence of events on the electronic network, serving of notices by registered e-mail and others – all at the click of a button or with face recognition over the mobile phone. The system was developed by the Bulgarian company Eurotrust Technologies and was already recognized as a champion in digital transformation not only by the European Commission but included as an example of a revolutionary solution in the field of digitalization in the investment development report at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The system has already been implemented by almost all banks in Bulgaria, but also many PSD2 providers, big telecom companies and many others. It is already being implemented in Austria and Hungary, and soon it will appear in many other countries in Europe. The forthcoming SECURITY OF DIGITAL PAYMENTS Conference at the Inter Expo Center on 6 March will present how electronic identification drives electronic payments and how a compliant digital customer onboarding can be done.