Safe, friction-free user interactions

Issue 2 2021 Cyber Security

F5 announced the addition of new SaaS products to its application security portfolio. Device ID and Shape Recognize make use of unique data and analytics capabilities, streamlining customer experiences by removing login friction for users while guarding against fraud.

“APIs play an essential role in unlocking and extending the reach of digital experiences for organisations in every industry sector—a scenario that, unfortunately, also constitutes a larger attack surface for hackers,” said Haiyan Song, EVP of Security at F5. “Accordingly, we believe that the new epicentre for cybersecurity is around applications and APIs and that the most significant challenge for security professionals is to safeguard an ever-growing number of digital experiences. To help today’s customers succeed, security must be native to applications and APIs, continuous, applied in real time and powered by data and AI.”

Today’s announcement comes ahead of the publication of F5 Labs’ 2021 Application Protection Report, which attributes more than two-thirds of API security incidents to incomplete authentication and authorisation at API endpoints.

Combining strategic fraud defences with application security

F5’s new solutions represent a notable security portfolio enhancement for the business and follow on from the acquisition of Shape Security, which was completed in January 2020.

Device ID is a real-time, high-precision device identifier that helps customers better understand the devices interacting with websites and mobile apps. The solution uses advanced signal collection and proven machine learning algorithms to assign a unique identifier to each device based on its browser, OS hardware and network attributes. For returning devices, usage behaviours can be analysed to facilitate the reduction of fraud and a smooth experience for known good users—meaning they can spend more time enjoying digital experiences and less time proving (and re-proving) device legitimacy. Previously free to Shape customers, the solution is now being made available to all F5 customers at no charge, helping jumpstart customers’ data and analytics journey with security.

Shape Recognize leverages the intelligence of Shape’s extensive telemetry, building on the capabilities of Device ID with insights around login history, environment and integrity across the network to further enhance the consumer experience and remove authentication friction. The solution delivers top-line revenue through recognition of legitimate users, rescuing known, good consumers from the frustration of excessive logins and re-authentication. Recognize achieves this by accurately identifying returning consumers and other legitimate users in real-time through the power of deep analytics, behavioural and contextual awareness and the broad reach of the Shape network. With this level of insight, web and mobile applications can dynamically reduce or eliminate login friction, leading to increased revenue and vastly improved consumer convenience.

Both solutions complement the Shape AI Fraud Engine (SAFE), which was launched in October 2020. SAFE uses a closed-loop machine learning approach to detect and block fraud in real-time. SAFE identifies and stops account takeover, malicious account origination, exploitation of stolen accounts and other fraudulent activities. Powered by Shape’s AI engine and data-driven insights generated from evaluating over a billion transactions a day, SAFE seeks out and eliminates fraudsters’ efforts across all points of the user’s journey, including login, account creation and other activities that could otherwise serve as potential targets. As a fully managed service, SAFE also reduces the often-overwhelming workload on fraud teams, blocking threats that would otherwise require costly investigation and remediation.

For additional perspective on today’s news and F5’s approach to security, please see Haiyan Song’s blog at

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