WEDO TECHNOLOGIES WORLDWIDE USER GROUP & SUMMIT 2016: The changing nature of digital communication services will present new fraud challenges for operators – and make collaboration all the more important – a panel of industry experts agreed here in Lisbon this week.

Mark Broom, group director of fraud operations at Orange and chair of the GSMA Fraud & Security group (pictured left), noted that the new types of devices and services being connected pose different levels of threats, reiterating an earlier theme that there is more to an attack than the financial loss.

“People don’t care if their fridge is hacked. They do care if their healthcare or security device is abused. And we are talking about fraud still in financial terms. Our biggest issue is the reputational and legal risks that we run by offering and supplying these services,” he said.

“If you consider a healthcare device that is essential to keeping someone alive, a dialysis machine or something like that, and it gets hacked, from a fraud management perspective it is very, very difficult to cut that off. And the way networks are it will be very, very difficult to upgrade its security,” he continued.

Broom also noted that while much of the focus on IoT is of “fun” examples – connected fridges, for example – this risks masking the potential problems which could arise.

“There is a very strong likelihood with the smart home, for example, that one access point will give access to the entire home. But people don’t understand the severity when you are talking about a connected fridge.”

Continuing this theme, Chris Walters, a board member at fraud management association CFCA, who also works for US operator Consolidated Communications (centre), noted: “I do know of a case where a SIM card was in a fridge, and it was enabled for voice, and it was hacked” – enabling it to be used for international revenue share fraud (the most prevalent form of telco fraud).

He noted that while operators have got bigger and the range of services offered more complex, fraud management teams have not grown in size. While pointing out that this can be addressed through technology to some degree – “we need to add a lot of automation” – collaboration was also high on his agenda.

“Communication with other carriers is very important. We need to use those other resources,” he said.

Jim Bolzenius, senior director of business development for WeDo (right), also noted that more collaboration could be beneficial even within a single organisation.

“A lot revolves around the fraud team working with the security group. The fraud team is looking for fraud activity, the security team is looking more around hacking and network issues, there needs to be a stronger linkage between the two, to make sure they are talking back and forth,” he said.