Fraud prevention is a top priority for telecom operators and enterprises as they attempt to eliminate exposure to hacking and the revenue losses caused by fraudulent traffic on their networks.
We spoke with SFR’s Head of International Carrier Services, Franck Ravier, who tells us how the company utilises the Oculeus Anti-Fraud System to monitor and prevent fraudulent activity for the telecom traffic that the company manages.
Oculeus positions itself as a leading provider of OSS/BSS solutions for telecommunications service providers and network operators. The company’s Oculeus Anti-Fraud System is used by its telecoms customers to protect against fraudulent telecommunications traffic and the revenue losses caused by fraud.
Oculeus states that its Anti-Fraud System provides an automated framework to efficiently identify and prevent fraud. According to the company, the solution starts by building a baseline profile of expected telecommunications activity and then continuously monitors all telecommunications traffic using call attempt evaluations, call records and commercial data to check for traffic anomalies and patterns that are typical of fraud.
Oculeus recently announced that the company won the Cybersecurity Excellence Award for its Oculeus Anti-Fraud System in the category for communication fraud protection.
The Cybersecurity Excellence Awards is an annual award competition honouring individuals and companies that demonstrate excellence, innovation and leadership in cybersecurity.
In addition to rapid post-call fraud evaluations, the Oculeus’ fraud prevention system performs fraud evaluations before the start of a call by working with a SIP redirect server and a pre-call fraud detection engine in order to evaluate all pre-call attempts and immediately block traffic that is identified as fraudulent.
The company highlights that its system allows an unlimited number of scenarios to be analysed for instances of fraud, which includes parameters for time, frequency, call value, destination and origin. By performing fraud evaluation and blocking in near real-time before the start of a call with automated processes, the Oculeus Anti-Fraud System eliminates or significantly reduces potential revenue losses caused by fraudulent telecommunication traffic.
“Our application of anomaly detection combined with automated processes is extremely fast and rather unique for telecoms fraud prevention practices,” said Arnd Baranowski, CEO of Oculeus.
Baranowski also explained that Oculeus is planning to launch a new version of its Oculeus Anti-Fraud System that will specifically focus on near real-time and real-time PBX hacking protection. The new version will allow telecommunications and managed service providers to host the system and provide their enterprise customers with communication fraud protection services.
We asked Franck Ravier further questions about how the Anti-Fraud System has benefited SFR.
What sort of communication fraud is SFR suffering from?
Fraud from corporate businesses is the main type of communication fraud we deal with. We have some customers, which are small corporate companies, who are generally suffering from attacks over weekends.
They receive traffic on their switch, so it’s a sort of hacking incident of their switch in order to generate traffic to several international destinations.
But, of course, it was not the company that generated the traffic, but the fraud or attack. So this is the biggest part of the fraud that we have to contend with.
How has the Oculus solution helped SFR tackle fraud?
Thanks to the Oculeus tool, so far we have been able to lower the amount of fraud by 50%. We did a calculation at the end of last year and when we compared 2017 and 2016, we had 53% less fraud thanks to Oculeus’ automatic fraud detection and blocking tools.
So would you say you’ve found the solution beneficial for SFR?
Yes, I consider it very beneficial and it is a very productive tool.
When the system discovers fraud, what does it do to block it?
When we discover fraud, we kill the traffic because in general it occurs at night or during the weekend so there is an automatic blocking of the fraudulent traffic. Then we carry out some analysis to find out the origin of the fraud and sometimes we also have a discussion with the suppliers to inform them of the fraudulent traffic that we have revealed.
Is the solution quick and has this been beneficial for SFR?
The solution had a very quick effect and we saw an immediate drop in fraudulent traffic when we implemented the automatic system onto our network. The solution did not take several months to see the impact, rather it was immediate.
What are the other advantages of the system?
First of all, you reduce the fraud attacks, so of course it is an advantage in terms of these reductions. We don’t know who is offering this money behind these fraud attacks, some people are using cash for maybe ransom or other criminal acts.
The solution is described as being able to identify and fight nearly every type of fraud within minutes. Could you expand on this?
I can give you an example of traffic to several destinations but we can’t detect fraud traffic coming from customers going to expensive destinations. We know that this traffic is perhaps not going to this destination, but to the fraud equipment and there is a flow of cash afterwards following this flow of traffic. There are some countries using termination of traffic so in this case, it is huge volumes generated from fake customers on the corporate side and there is also fraud traffic coming from wholesale.
This means that this traffic is coming from our customers which are advert operators. For example, a large Tier 1 operator could be hacked or generating some fraudulent traffic which it hasn’t detected and it is part of our responsibility to warn it of this as we sometimes receive some traffic when using the automatic tools. We avoid having to discuss fraud too much with our customers.
What are the hackers interested in gaining from the fraudulent attacks to the system?
The objective of the hacker is to find a way to go into the system, so in general they are using a corporate switch to generate lots of traffic without paying for it at the beginning.
You have people involved in this fraud at the beginning and at the end, so at the beginning they generate traffic without paying for it and at the end they receive this cash because it is very hard for the operators to detect this transmission.