While the iPhone may be Steve Jobs' most notable contribution to the telecom industry, his start in telecom dates back to the 1970s when, like many other young computer whizzes, he learned how to construct a "blue box" to pirate long distance service. A lot has changed since then, but the threat of fraud still plagues our industry. Today, telecom fraud, like the iPhone, uses the latest in technology and generates huge profits.
Several key factors now make the proposition of telecom fraud more attractive to fraudsters than ever:
1. Access—the ubiquity of IP access to the telecom network makes it possible for bad guys to launch probing attacks from anywhere, in a completely automated fashion.
2. Revenue—utilizing seemingly legitimate international revenue share providers, bad guys pump traffic to premium rates service numbers they own and profit from.
3. Impunity—a bad guy in the Philippines, hacking a PBX in Detroit, serviced by a carrier in Dallas, to make calls to Lichtenstein has little to fear from the authorities in any of those jurisdictions.
Thus, for service providers, the impact of fraud is only increasing, in terms of financial losses, reduced customer satisfaction, and resource hours lost to combatting the ever-changing schemes used by fraudsters to gain unauthorized access. "It's not a matter of if or when your network will be attacked; instead, it's a question of how often and how quickly you'll be able to detect and shut the fraud down." points out Mark Iannuzzi, President of TelNet Worldwide, based in Troy, Michigan.
Fortunately, Equinox continues to lead the fight against this growing menace. With over twenty-five years of experience and a customer base that includes most large CLECs and Cable MSOs, as well as scores of smaller carriers, Equinox's Protector fraud management system has proven its ability to evolve and address the various hacking iterations over the years. The system's automated notification and escalation features have saved these carriers hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud losses. In a recent sample of over 1,300 cases identified using Protector, more than 80% were identified and stopped before actual losses reached even $100—while the total potential losses were in excess of $11.5 million.
Protector provides a proactive approach to distinguishing communications fraud from legitimate customer usage to help combat even the newest fraud schemes. Rather than hardcoding or targeting a specific fraud type or method, Protector employs dynamic usage profiling and other proprietary monitoring metrics to identify suspicious activity regardless of the manner in which unauthorized access was gained. Protector instantly notifies analysts when suspicious activity occurs and uses a weighted scoring algorithm to determine the fraud risk of each violation. The score determines when notifications are sent, with higher scores triggering additional, more frequent notifications, including escalation alerts.
A recent case demonstrates how effective Protector is despite the relentless efforts of the fraudsters.
Shripal (Shri) Daphtary is the Director of Operations at PressONE. Recently, Shri took vacation time and headed from New York to California, where he went hiking in the mountains. He took his cell phone on the hike. Although he didn't have cell service during the hike, he got his phone out to snap pictures at the mountain's peak. Having reached the summit, he was able to get a cell signal. And that is when he saw that he had received several email alerts from Protector.
Protector's dynamic profiling had detected usage anomalies in real time and generated alerts. After viewing the alerts, Shri knew he had to take action to stop fraud that was already in progress. From atop the California mountain, Shri used his cell to connect to his NY office. In minutes, he blocked the calls and shut down the fraud. Had the fraud continued undetected, the losses would have easily surpassed $100,000 before the day's end!
Unfortunately, the issue of telecommunications fraud doesn't look to be going away anytime soon. As long as there is a way for fraudsters to monetize their efforts, they will continue to find new ways and methods of gaining illegal access to your network. Purposeful and dedicated fraud management is absolutely essential to protecting your profit margin—just one incident of telecommunications fraud can be financially devastating.
Protector is an automated fraud management system that is built upon a quarter century's worth of experience gained by working with a consortium of similarly-situated companies. Protector's tools enable you to quickly and cost-effectively stop fraud in progress. And its integrated case management tools give you access to data, including details of resolved fraud cases, to aid in investigation of suspicious events.
Protector's reputation in the telecommunication industry has stood the test of time because it continues to produce reliable results—mitigating exposure to fraud and avoiding hard dollar losses—despite the relentless and ever-evolving fraud schemes.
Equinox Information Systems offers a full range of business assurance solutions for the telecommunications industry and has served hundreds of customers worldwide since 1986. In that time, Protector has earned a reputation as the most reliable and affordable fraud management system on the market. The system currently processes hundreds of millions of call records per day. Equinox offers solutions in areas critical to profitability and network efficiency, including revenue assurance, fraud management, expense management, mediation, network analysis, and custom application development. Equinox's customers include 6 of the top 10 ILECS, 5 of the top 10 cable companies, and most of the tier 2 U.S. carriers. For more information about the company, its products, and staff, visit www.equinoxis.com.Request a System Demo