RAG London 2021

Timo selected to the 'Wise Head" Panel
Timo Selected to the ‘Wise Head” Panel

We are only a couple of days away from the Risk and Assurance Group (RAG) London 2021 Conference. I am beyond excited to be able to attend a live, in-person event after so many virtual conferences on Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic

The conference will cover revenue assurance, fraud management, cybersecurity, credit risk, billing accuracy, enterprise risk management, data integrity, nuisance prevention, margin optimisation, cost management and other kinds of business assurance.

The formal agenda will be completed by our traditional ‘Wise Heads’ panel of industry veterans who will review the themes covered during the conference and the state of the telecoms industry as it stands in 2021. The wise heads will include: senior manager and long-standing RAG contributor Andreas Manolis of BT; expert consultant and former Ooredoo Group Risk Director Lee Scargall; and Timo Vainionpää, the owner of Canadian wholesaler AurorA International Telecom.

I am honoured and humbled that they would include me as a “Wise Head”

As in previous RAG events, I hope to be able to provide some coverage of the days events here on my blog. Stay tuned as I cross the Atlantic to join my telecom industry fraud experts at the fabulous Sheraton Skyline Hotel.

You can find more details about the RAG London 2021 conference here.

Global Telecom Fraud $92B

At AurorA, we pride ourselves on serving our customers premium quality voice termination services. One of the differentiators of the service offering is also fraud protection-as-a-service bundled into the product. Is telecom fraud a big enough issue to make this a compelling reason to trust AurorA with your voice traffic over the competition that offers cheaper rates for an LCR approach ?

How big of a problem is telecom fraud anyway ?

Well, we now have some very reliable numbers to be able to estimate the scale and scope of the telecom fraud problem.

The Risk & Assurance Group (RAG) Survey of Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management (RAFM) received 175 responses from professionals who work in the RAFM functions of communications providers. Extrapolating from the answers they gave showed that during this year:

• telecom service providers collectively lost $44 billion US$ to fraud
• telecom service providers also collectively lost $50 billion US$ to non-fraudulent revenue and cost leakages
• criminals tricked the customers of communications services into losing a further $48 billion US$

The total estimate for global telecom annual risk assurance and fraud losses is $142 billion US$

Telecom Fraud is a HUGE problem. This is why we bundle fraud protection-as-a-service with our premium quality. Cheap rates do not save you any money over premium quality rates, especially if you get hit with even one fraud attack. This is why we consistently advocate choosing quality over Least Cost Routing. Read more here.

You can download the survey report here. Everyone is licensed to share and reproduce the report on condition that they give credit to RAG.

Stay safe my friends !

Hackoween !

Trick or Treat !

Halloween is a time for dress-up, spooky decorations and children going door-to-door trick-or-treating. We want something normal in this pandemic-crazed world, hence we decorate the house, buy the candy and try to have a normal a Halloween as possible.

But while your attention is drawn away to making sure your kids, family and your neighbourhood have as safe a Halloween as possible, there are malicious actors out there looking to take advantage of your desire for a bit of respite, a bit of normalcy.

It is an unfortunate fact that the hackers of the world like to plan their attacks on public holidays when network supervision may not be at its highest. Halloween may not be a pubic holiday, but it might as well be given that everyone will be out celebrating; kids, parents and adults going to costume parties. On top of that we are still in the fight against COVID-19, and the criminals have escalated their attacks.

Please remember to be vigilant this Halloween and guard access to your switches. We don’t want to find out that instead of the expected treats that the criminals have tricked us !

You are responsible for any unauthorized access to your network, but we can help you mitigate your exposure to fraud. AurorA will immediately pass on alerts that it gets of suspicious traffic patterns. AurorA has also implemented automatic blocking of A numbers, and B numbers once we detect a suspicious fraudulent traffic pattern to minimize losses. Also we have also implemented blocking of entire routing destinations after a threshold is breached to further protect you, our customers, from these threats and mitigate the damage.

Make no mistake, these frauds are perpetrated by criminals; sometimes organized crime, sometimes terrorist groups looking to raise funds for their causes.

Have a safe and happy Halloween. Thank you for choosing AurorA and trusting us with your international traffic.

Least Corrupt Routing

“Awake” by Vickie Vainionpaa, https://vickievainionpaa.com/

LCR is no longer about Least Cost. Least Corrupt Routing provides better long term value.

That was the theme of the presentaion that I made on Sept 16, 2020 at the Risk and Assurance Group (RAG) Americas Online Conference.

The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/462621895

RAG Americas Online – Day 1

Matt hard at work getting RAG Americas Online ready to rock !

This spring I was invited to be a speaker at the next Risk and Assurance Group (RAG) Conference. It was to be held in Denver, CO at Century Link. Alas , the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled those plans so until we can meet-up again live, it was decided to move the conference online and RAG Americas Online virtual conference was launched. Today, September 15, 2020 was Day 1.

There was a mix of about a dozen presentations and panel discussions interspersed with commentary from the Wise Heads comperes; Eric Priezkalns, Rachel Goodin, Nixon Wampamba and Tony Sani . Canadians were well represented with 3 speakers today and 3 tomorrow (including me) from companies like Telus, Rogers and Xplorenet.

From my vantage the most relevant panel was the discussion on Trends in Fraud Management, especially during this pandemic. Which frauds are up, which are down and what is new ? The consensus was a large increase in social engineering and identity fraud (all manner of phishing schemes), as well as increases in CLID spoofing. Reinforcing that was an expert panel just on stopping the spoofing of calls !

A recurring theme through many of todays presentations was Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) and their application in Revenue Assurance and Business Assurance. It appeared as more than just a way to automate fraud management, more as a set of tools to be able to transform the entire discipline and provide better business results.

If the telcos manage to move their massive data sets (the industry with the biggest data sets apparently) into the public cloud and could use AI/ML tools along with the other benefits that cloud brings, we could really see a profound transformation of the telecom industry ! That will be the panel discussion on Day 2 that I am most looking forward to; Moving Telcos to the Public Cloud.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the live stream today, the videos of the presentations will be available to view at the RAG website;

I will post a summary of Day 2 later followed by a separate post of my own presentation on Least Corrupt Routing.

RAG Americas Online: Sep 15-16

Coronavirus may have prevented RAG’s North American conference from being held at the offices of CenturyLink in Denver CO, but it will not stop us from running the biggest conference for telecoms risk professionals. Over 2,000 people from 93 countries watched RAG London Online in May (see my posts here and here) and we intend to do even better with our online North American conference, which will stream live on September 15-16, 2020.

RAG was kind enough to ask me to be a speaker this go around. I will be exploring how telecom carriers can meet multiple goals such as increase revenues, reduce costs and improve their customer’s satisfaction via one action; their LCR. The new LCR is Least Corrupt Routing and it provides better long term value and business outcomes than traditional Least Cost Routing by prioritizing Quality over simple cost per minute.

Most of the RAG members come from large global carriers like Vodafone, MTN, Deutsche Telekom, etc so AurorA will provide a different perspective; one from a smaller, niche, nimble pure international carrier that has been serving its wholesale customers in Canada, the United States and overseas since 1994

Come watch and ask questions live from 8am to 5pm Eastern time each day; click here to save the event to your calendar. You can watch the entire conference at the RAG webpage, without needing to register in advance.