Cataleya—a Value-Added Distributor of the AB Handshake service
Real-time in-call validation is making it easier than ever for switch providers like Cataleya to prevent A-number spoofing and other types of fraud.
Cataleya, a global leader in software solutions for operators and a leading switch provider, joined the AB Handshake community because they needed a better solution to prevent A-number spoofing, which has been on the rise following the introduction of origin-based surcharges for calls coming into the EU and some countries in West Africa. Andreas Hipp, the CEO and Chairman of Cataleya who led the decision, has a career that spans decades of experience in almost every aspect of the telecom industry, from laying new fiber optic networks to creating the dispute resolution system used by the British ombudsman. An Austrian expat who now lives in Singapore, he has worked in the telecom industry throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East giving him a wide perspective on the industry.
Cataleya had fraud protection system in place, but like many of the options on the market, it focused on diagnostics after-the-fact according to samples and statistics and had poor performance in diagnosing A-number spoofing. “Cataleya has its own fraud prevention solutions for key anomalies, but A-number spoofing is especially difficult to detect by analyzing media and signaling,” Hipp explains. “The detection of A-number spoofing cannot be perfect if you’re just looking at the information coming into one business. I think most telcos probably look at their own problems and think that A-number spoofing is too big a problem to solve in a holistic way. I don’t think it’s too big—it just needs a different approach.”
Hipp found what he needed in AB Handshake, a solution developed by group of entrepreneurs who are tackling A-number spoofing and other types of telecom fraud using in-call verification that stops the call in real time if it isn’t verified by both the A and B sides (the handshake). Since AB Handshake validates each call rather than working with sampling, patterns, or statistics, it is 100% accurate with no false positives. This innovative strategy avoids the loopholes of traditional fraud mitigation systems and protects both the operator and subscribers in inbound and outbound voice traffic. It is structured upon the AB Community, a group of telcos and switch operators that have come together to use a common ‘handshake’ that prevents the spoofing of caller IDs. “AB Handshake complements what we already do,” says Hipp. “Adding the handshake capability makes for a comprehensive anti-fraud strategy.”
Unlike other fraud prevention systems which are extremely expensive and difficult to implement, AB Handshake is easily integrated using existing data from soft switch systems (modern cloud phone switch boards) in standard formats and with common protocols. It requires zero investment from the soft switch providers—no time, money, or manpower. It’s also seamless for the operators—the system is automatic once it has been implemented by the switch providers. so the operator benefits from the improved fraud protection without making major investments in infrastructure.
Cataleya works in Singapore, where 70 percent of the network infrastructure is TDM. Since AB Handshake works with both TDM and IP networks, it offered the perfect solution when Singapore’s regulator ordered operators to take steps to reduce abuse. For Cataleya, it was a value-added service that they could offer to their operators. There is also no risk for the operators—operators can try the system, and if they’re happy with it, AB Handshake integrates it immediately using a pay-as-you-go model that can be turned on and off with the click of the mouse. Installation is free, there is no commitment, no maintenance or upgrade fees, and operators pay only for actual validated traffic.
As a switch provider, Cataleya decided to market it under their own brand and AB Handshake licensed them to collect the fees directly from the operators they work with. Hipp encourages other switch operators to join the AB Community. “There is no way for fraudsters to work around the AB Handshake. The fraudster can no longer win by being smarter because the handshake means you cannot manipulate the A-number without being found out. I think it will change the landscape and will certainly make it very, very difficult for fraudsters.” Hipp concludes.