Collective immunity seeks to eradicate telecoms fraud - Mobile World Live

Collective immunity seeks to eradicate telecoms fraud

26 OCT 2021

PARTNER FEATURE: Fraud schemes hit telecoms operators and other businesses every day causing billions of dollars in financial losses each year. This overwhelming threat has led operators and national regulators to try to establish new protocols to detect and prevent telecoms fraud. While these are successful in some cases, there is still too much money to be made for the fraudsters who find ways to evolve, slip through the cracks of the fragmented telecoms industry and escape with profits.

The losses are enormous and caused by a growing list of popular frauds, which the CFCA has collected data on. This has uncovered how billions of dollars in revenue is lost to telecoms companies each year. $5bn is lost through international revenue share fraud (IRSF), £4bn of revenue loss is caused by call stretching and short-stopping, $3.6bn is lost through PBX hacking and $2.7bn of revenue loss is caused by interconnect bypass fraud. These are only a few examples and many further billions are lost through CLI spoofing and robocalls.

However, fraudsters exploit telecoms industry fragmentation because information is not shared between operator groups. By uniting operators around the globe and establishing collective immunity to fraud, the team behind AB Handshake has found a way to stop telecoms fraud.

The company has developed a system that achieves collective immunity to fraud, similarly to how a vaccine establishes immunity among populations to viral pandemics. Typically, telecom services are delivered by more than one network operator and a single voice call can originate on a specific cellular network and terminate on another fixed-line network, which involves a separate provider. In another case, a more intricate session can start from a mobile phone in a particular country. It then travels the globe via a long-distance network or several networks provided by other operators before terminating on yet another mobile network.

These interconnections between multiple operators create huge opportunities for scammers to embed themselves into the call chain and abuse the service for profits. Naturally, members of the telecoms community have developed fraud management systems, but these have always taken an individual approach. Without a focus on connecting all operators into one cross-validating community, there have always been opportunities for fraudsters to succeed.

Fraud management systems have been developed, over the years, to mitigate attacks, but they have only been able to stop most fraud, not all of it. Traditional systems offer only a reactive approach to identifying and stopping fraud – and typically only within one operator’s network. This means operators can only identify manipulations in their own network and have no awareness of what’s happening on their partners’ networks. In addition, they can only detect fraud after it happens and adjust their system settings accordingly in the hope of preventing similar future attacks.

The team at AB Handshake has been well aware of these problems and has developed a system that unites operators and prevents fraud, with a 100% guarantee and no false positives. The success of the system lies in technology that unites operators into a leak-proof community that is completely free of fraud.

The basic idea is that operators need a way to communicate call details while they are happening, to cross-validate information and detect even minimum forms of manipulation. They can then see the full extent of the fraud attacks across any call from end-to-end. Not only can they detect any manipulation on a call, but they can also block attacks in real-time even before a call is connected.

The AB Handshake process works in the following way:

  1. When an inbound or outbound call is initiated, details of the call are immediately delivered to a call registry.
  2. The call registry then simultaneously sends a validation request to the terminating network, which always reaches there before the actual call.
  3. The call details then undergo cross-validation from both networks to detect even the slightest forms of manipulation.

The result is a community of operators working in a 100% fraud-free ecosystem, with full immunity to fraud. Each additional member of the AB Handshake community strengthens the ecosystem and allows validation of more and more traffic, in the same way as additional members of a population getting vaccinated strengthens global immunity to a virus. To achieve this mass uptake, the AB Handshake solution is compatible with both IP and legacy TDM networks.

AB Handshake is continuously taking in new operators to its ecosystem and joining the ecosystem is a straightforward process. Operators can install the AB Handshake software onto a dedicated or a virtual server with the help of the company’s onboarding specialists and the solution can be up and running within a week. Customers then connect it to their current network equipment and the system is ready to use. Operators can then customise their own security policy rules for in- and out-bound voice traffic.

AB Handshake understands that a fraud prevention solution shouldn’t cost more than the potential losses incurred by fraud itself so it generates revenue by charging only for validated calls. When a new operator comes on board, a portion of its traffic starts being validated. For example, if an operator has 20 connections with different operators and 10 of them are members of the AB Handshake ecosystem, the solution starts validating all traffic between these members.

Operators are charged for each validated call because this is where the value of this service lies. As more calls are validated, less fraud occurs. Specifically, the AB Handshake system charges for each validated call attempt. This also includes calls in which no manipulation is detected. This is because information on a fraud-free call is also valuable.

Collective immunity is the key to establishing a fraud-free community of operators. However, any project of this scale must be affordable so AB Handshake’s pay-as-you-grow model makes it possible for any operator around the world to join its interconnected, fraud-free ecosystem. Today, the AB Handshake ecosystem has 200+ operators at various integration stages, from negotiation to contract signing and onboarding.

If you’d like to learn more about AB Handshake and collective immunity to fraud, have a look here.

If you’re interested in joining the community today to stop attacks on your network, once and for all, feel free to contact us here and one of our specialists will respond to you today.

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