A New Security Layer for Networks, Cloned Voices and Fraud Disinformation: Episode 8 of The Commsrisk Show

The guest for yesterday’s episode of The Communications Risk Show teased us with the outline for an additional new ‘light speed’ layer of information exchange between telcos that would ‘change the landscape of communication’. This new security layer would complement and harden existing networks, with the result that telcos which terminate a call would know where it has come from before it has reached them via the ‘ancient’ infrastructure we have to come rely upon worldwide. Having advanced knowledge of incoming calls would let telcos stop lots of crimes involving bypass or spoofing before they have even begun. At the same time, our guest played down the hype surrounding artificial intelligence, telling us that it can be used to reduce fraud but that its usefulness was being exaggerated. And he should know, because Arnd Baranowski, CEO of Oculeus (pictured above, right) takes pride in his company focusing on leading-edge research into telecoms fraud prevention.

Our regular team also discussed how artificial intelligence can be exploited by criminals, such as the use of cloned voices for social engineering or CEO frauds. Communications providers need to be conscious that they are at particular risk because their staff tends to be spread across many sites or countries. Most telcos remain vulnerable to an imposter making a call or sending a message so that it appears to come from inside the company. If telcos fail to take action to protect themselves then it is no wonder that the rest of the society also faces the same threat.

Perhaps I am getting too carried away with the audience figures for the show; our April 26 episode set two new benchmarks with a total of more than 2,600 viewers at the time of writing, of which over 800 watched via LinkedIn. Nevertheless, comparing those stats with rival output led me to rant about industry collaboration in general, and about the CFCA in particular. Both are dominated by people who spend more time talking about collaboration than doing any, with the result that every telco then relies on regulators to force collaboration to happen, often at much greater expense than if telcos worked together voluntarily. A quick look at the figures on the CFCA’s YouTube channel illustrates why talk is cheap; there is an enormous difference between the number of businesses that pretend to follow the CFCA’s advice and the tiny number of people who watch what they produce. My co-presenter Ed Finegold then elaborated upon the danger that misinformation is spread because too few take responsibility for checking the quality of sources or the accuracy of quotes they repeat.

We broadcast live because we want you to engage with the conversation. I am grateful to everyone who leaves comments during the show, and I try to read as many as I can in the time available, though that just means each show overruns by an even larger margin! Join us for the live show each Wednesday, 4pm UK time, at tv.commsrisk.com. But if you missed yesterday’s show then you can catch up with all the chat by playing the video embedded below.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.