Evolved Intelligence warns of a “rising tide” of SS7 based mobile network fraud

Posted Nov 2010

Evolved Intelligence, the next generation IN company, warns that new forms of SS7 based fraud threaten serious damage to mobile operators. The company, which operates SS7 monitoring services for a number of operators, has recently observed new forms of fraud which are defeating many of the counter measures that operators currently have in place.

Says Nick Jones, Evolved Intelligence CTO: “In our monitoring service, we are seeing a rising tide of new types of fraudulent activity. These range from frauds designed to allow the perpetrators to send high volumes of SMS messages, through to the interception of mobile calls. Most concerning is the fact that fraudsters have obviously learnt how to defeat a number of the existing counter measures. For example, some of the SMS fraud patterns that we are seeing today are completely invisible to SMSC based monitoring. The growing concern is that, not only will operators suffer damage to their revenue, but that they are also becoming vulnerable to denial of service and other more serious forms of attack.”

According to the company, this “rising tide” is due to a number of factors.

Says Robin Burton, Evolved Intelligence Head of Marketing: “The SS7 network was also once considered a protected area which was insulated from the outside world and used solely by trusted members. However the barriers that protect this “safe area” are being increasingly eroded. Changes in legislation, regulatory policies and customer demand have lowered the barriers to entry for new telecom operators. This has led to a rise in the number of operators, MVNOs and hub operators with access to the SS7 network. At the same time developments in advanced inter-networking, data applications and voice over IP (VOIP) have all provided fraudsters and hackers with new ways to get access to the network. The once secure world, of trusted operator members, is in danger of facing an onslaught of fraud and hacking.”