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GSMA’s anti-fraud system looks to combat “robo-calling”

Anton Potgieter, Managing Director of Trabel.
Anton Potgieter, Managing Director of Trabel.

Cape-based PBX over GSM provider Trabel says an International Fraud Deterrent System unveiled recently by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association) will help combat the global problem of “robo-calling”.

Although the company does not have data as to the size of the challenge in Africa, Trabel describes it as a “multi-billion dollar global problem”.

The company explains that GSM is impervious to many specific types of VoIP-related fraud including the ever-present toll fraud.

“The latter is best illustrated by the well-known case of a small business owner in the US who found that his VoIP PBX had been hacked to make US$900 000 worth of calls to Somalia,” the company states.

According to the company, the problem is that VoIP uses convenient but breakable technology that was never intended for secure voice calls - but is nevertheless used for these as it saves money. VoIP calls can travel across diverse networks that open them up to cyber-attack.

It believes the GSMA’s International Fraud Deterrent System can, in particular, add another layer of protection to PBX systems running over different telecommunications networks.

“When it comes to security, GSM is the undisputed gold standard for voice calls,” says Anton Potgieter, Managing Director of Trabel.

For other PBXs running over far less secure VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) networks, it’s a different story. One estimate from a few years ago has 46% of fraudulent calls being made from VoIP phones.

According to cyber security experts, mobile fraud in Africa could escalate to US$5-billion by the end of the year.

On its website, Kaspersky warns: “Billions of robocalls are made each month worldwide, and they are widely seen as a nuisance. Technology makes it cheap and easy for telemarketers and scammers to make robocalls over the internet, which is why they are so prevalent.”

The GSMA has established a Fraud and Security Group to help drive the management of fraud and security issues related to mobile technology, networks and services.

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