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Collective Immunity - A Vaccine for All Telecom Fraud

11 min. read

Fraud schemes hit telecom 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 for telecom fraud management to detect and prevent telecom fraud. While they are successful in some cases, there's too much money to be made. The fraudsters find a way to evolve, slip through the cracks of the fragmented telecom industry, bypass telecom fraud management solutions and escape with profits.

The key word here is fragmented. This is a key issue in the fight against telecom fraud.

Any attempt to eliminate telecom fraud must address this aspect, like a vaccine for a viral pandemic, uniting operators into a community with 'collective immunity' against fraud.

While that sounds great, what exactly does it mean in the context of telecom companies? That's what we're going to discuss in this article.

Let's have a look.

Traditional Telecom Fraud Management - Individual approach leads to enormous losses

Telecom fraud management has been around since the beginning of telecommunications. While technology has evolved to stop most of the fraud over the years, we haven't been able to stop all of it.

While that sounds pretty good, even if a small percentage of the total fraud attacks succeed, it still leads to billions of dollars in losses for operators and other businesses around the world each year.

These fraud schemes go by some of the following dubious names, though this list isn't conclusive:

And many others.

The CFCA has collected data indicating that each of these schemes, alone, cause billions of dollars in revenue losses for telecom companies each year:

  • $5bn in losses caused by International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) each year
  • $4bn caused by Call Stretching and Short-stopping
  • $3.6bn caused by PBX hacking
  • $2.7bn caused by Interconnect Bypass
  • $2bn caused by CLI Spoofing
  • $0.9bn caused by Robocalls

These are staggering numbers. But, moreover, they illustrate the importance of constantly innovating on existing telecom fraud management technologies to stay ahead of scammers.

Because even if fraudsters gain a small foothold in our market, it leads to billions of dollars in losses. It's estimated that most companies lose about 5% of their yearly revenue to fraud. While that may not sound too intimidating, 5% of yearly revenue can equal millions of dollars in losses.

In short, we've come a long way with telecom fraud management. However, the fragmented nature of telecommunication processes has always made it almost impossible to stop this problem, once and for all.

Today, telecommunications fraud continues on a scale depicted by the above CFCA numbers.

However, by uniting telecom providers around the globe and establishing a "collective immunity" from fraud, this can change.

This idea came about as the team behind AB Handshake, a telecom fraud management company, set out to find a way to stop telecom fraud around the globe, once and for all. Certain pieces were missing from traditional telecom fraud management systems that were leaving holes for fraudsters to take advantage of. Upon seeking a way to 'plug' these holes, a solution emerged.

The result is a system that achieves 'collective immunity' to fraud, akin to the way a vaccine establishes collective immunity among populations to viral pandemics.

To better understand why and how this solution of 'collective immunity' works, it's best to understand the interconnection of a call between operators and why it's so vulnerable.

Let's have a look.

Many Moving Parts - Many opportunities for telecom fraudsters

The fragmented nature of the telecom industry is the main reason there have always been opportunities for fraudsters to abuse telecom services and bypass telecom fraud management systems.

Different regions of the world have different regulations; however, more importantly, telecom services are usually delivered by more than one network operator. A single voice call can originate on a specific cellular network and terminate on another fixed-line network, which involves a separate provider.

This is a simple example.

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 telecom 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 telecommunications community have developed telecom fraud management solutions to mitigate fraud, but they 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. We'll discuss the concept of cross-validation later.

But, for now, let's take a quick look at traditional telecom fraud management solutions to understand the shortcomings of the individual approach.

Traditional Fraud Fighting Solutions - Telecom fraud management

Telecom fraud management systems have been developed, over the years, to mitigate fraud attacks, but they have only been able to stop most fraud, not all of it.

The shortcomings in traditional telecom fraud management solutions have lied in two key areas:

  • Operators only being able to monitor activity on their networks, but not their partners' networks
  • A lack of communication between operators

Let's look at each of these components, in detail:

Limited Range And a Reactive Approach

Operators have invested in telecom fraud management systems to identify and mitigate fraud. However, their ability to monitor activity has been limited to the activity occurring on the operator's own network, and nothing more.

Also, traditional telecom fraud management solutions offer only a reactive approach to identifying and stopping fraud. They use their own data and analyze a call's journey only as it takes place on their own networks.

In short, operators can identify manipulations in their network but have no awareness of what's happening on their partners' networks. Additionally, they can only detect fraud after it happens and adjust their system settings accordingly in the hope of preventing similar future attacks.

Lack of Communication Between Operators

It's also important to note that fraud isn't only a matter of financial losses. Increasingly, the costs of telecom fraud also cause reputational damage to operators and the brands they serve.

This has led to mistrust among operators.

In response, individual operators have established and implemented various telecom fraud management systems that are incompatible with those of other operators. This further compounds the problem.

Without such compatibility between telecom fraud management systems, operators have no way to interlink fraud-related information between one another.

This has been the nature of telecom fraud management software for decades. As such, there's never been a solution that could completely eliminate the threat of telecom fraud.

However, there is now a technology for preventing attacks in telecom that addresses all of the above-mentioned problems. Which makes it an exciting time to be a part of the telecommunications industry.

'Collective Immunity' - The answer to stopping telecommunications fraud

The team at AB Handshake has been well aware of these problems and has been developing a telecom fraud management solution, behind the scenes, for years. By addressing the above issues, they developed a solution that unites operators and prevents fraud, once and for all, with a 100% guarantee and no false positives.

The success of their telecom fraud management solution lies in technology that unites operators into a leak-proof community completely free of fraud. The concept is akin to the 'collective immunity' established by vaccines to fight a viral pandemic.

The basic idea is that operators need a way to communicate call details while they are happening, to cross-validate information and detect even minute forms of manipulation.

When operators can collaborate and cross-validate call details as they are happening in real-time, they can 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.

This allows modern-day telecom operators to shift from the days of reactively understanding attacks after they occur to proactively co-operating to validate calls in real-time across many operators and stop fraud before it occurs.

In other words, the telecom community can now shift from being fragmented, with a lack of communication, to being united and fully sealed off to outside influence.

Let's look at how this technology works, in detail.

AB Handshake - Telecom fraud managment solution - How it works

Here's how the AB Handshake solution works:

  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 uses special technology to simultaneously send 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.

Operators within the AB Handshake community can cross-validate inbound and outbound call details in real-time before a call is connected. This allows them to detect all forms of manipulation and stop 100% of fraud attacks before they occur, with no false positives.

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 (akin to additional members of a population getting vaccinated and strengthening global immunity to a virus).

The beauty of this telecom fraud management solution is in its simplicity and its affordability. If you're curious about how to implement such a solution into the global network of telecom operators, we're pleased to inform you that it's very simple.

Let's look at how such a 'collective immunity' can be achieved and the associated costs.

Integration - Can AB Handshake Work With My System?

AB Handshake's goal is to establish a global fraud-free community of telecom operators to eliminate telecom fraud, once and for all.

To realize this vision, we understand that any telecom fraud management solution we create not only has to be effective, but also affordable and compatible with the default settings of any operator's system. Otherwise, the solution wouldn't be adopted on a meaningful scale.

Firstly, the AB Handshake solution is compatible with both IP and TDM networks. Therefore, every kind of operator can use the system. This is another game-changer for the telecom industry, as all traditional telecom fraud management solutions have always been network-specific systems.

AB Handshake is continuously taking in new operators to its ecosystem. To attract operators, we offer integration without any upfront capex required while minimizing the complications of integration.

Traditionally, integrating a telecom fraud management system takes time, which is a cost in terms of hours spent. AB Handshake can take as little as a week to integrate. Such quick implementation allows us to reduce integration costs.

Joining the ecosystem is a straightforward process. Operators can install the AB Handshake telecom fraud management software onto a dedicated server with the help of our onboarding specialists and the solution can be up and running within a week.

They then connect it to their current network equipment. Then, the system is ready to use. Operators can then customize their own security policy rules for in- and outbound voice traffic.

Once up and running on your local system, you can monitor the whole validation process via an online interface that provides transparency and allows operators to see exactly what is happening within the system.

The interface also gives you the needed logging and export capabilities to enrich the information processed within your existing fraud management system.

In short, integration takes one week, on average, and the solution is compatible with the current settings of any operator's system.

Now, you may be wondering how much it costs, in the long run.

This is an important factor for any operator, large or small. As we mentioned above, during development, the team behind AB Handshake ensured that their solution would be affordable to all operators around the globe.

Let's have a look, in detail.

How Much Does it Cost?

AB Handshake understands that a telecom fraud prevention solution shouldn't cost more than the potential losses incurred by fraud itself. Here's how much it costs operators to integrate.

AB Handshake generates revenue by charging for validated calls. When a new operator comes on board, a portion of their 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.

The team behind AB Handshake is keen to point out that charging is not excessive with our solution.

While onboarding to AB Handshake, we identify an ideal integration option for your specific network, taking into account that each network operator's system is unique.

'Collective immunity' is the key to establishing a fraud-free community of telecom operators. However, any project of this scale must be affordable. AB Handshake's pay-as-you-grow model makes it possible for any operator around the world to join our interconnected, fraud-free ecosystem.

Final Words - Telecom fraud management

'Collective immunity' is the strongest weapon the telecom industry has to stop fraud. Moreover, it achieves what we set out to do - it stops 100% of telecom fraud on all traffic between each member of the ecosystem.

The wider the community grows, the more each member wins. The value of the AB Handshake solution increases as new members join the community and the solution validates a larger share of operator traffic around the world.

As more and more inbound and outbound traffic becomes fraud-free, a global 'immunity' can be reached, leaving the fraudsters with nowhere to go and solving the problem of telecom fraud, once and for all.

With collective immunity to telecom fraud, we can finally eliminate the billions of dollars of financial losses and the irreparable reputational losses that telecom companies face each year as a result of telecom fraud.

Today, the AB Handshake ecosystem has 200+ operators at various integration stages, from negotiation to contract signing and onboarding.

We are now actively onboarding providers around the globe and the system already validates live traffic to every country in the world.

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.

We're waiting for you.

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