London, GB, United States, 09/03/2021 / UK News Bureau /
The fear of having a scammed call or message has grown so much that now we feel reluctant to attend calls from unknown numbers and reply to such messages as well. And our such concerning behavior is quite right as according to a report in last 12 months to March, the fraud through fake phone calls and messages has raised to 83 percent across England, Whales and Northern Ireland from the previous year. According to the reports from Action Fraud, which is the national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime in the UK, this ratio is the biggest among all the fraud attacks in history.
According to reports, the increase in such attacks is due to the shifting of business online because of pandemics and increased internet use. The attackers find it an opportunity and commit fraud by sending fake parcel delivery messages with fraud links attached.
According to Matthew Gribben, a cyber-security expert, due to the vulnerability of the telephone networking system in the UK and its surroundings, the criminals make phone calls and messages from numbers that look similar to the official ones. “There’s no way for the current UK phone network to guarantee 100% that the presentation number it is being told is the actual originating number – it has to take your word for it,” Mr. Gribben shares his thoughts. Katia Gonzalez, the head of fraud prevention and security at BICS, says, “SS7 was developed assuming there would always be legitimate activity [and] goodwill around the use of it, there’s too much legacy technology [reliant upon it] that we can’t move away from – we’re going to have these SS7 2G/3G networks for at least another 10 years.”
“These criminal scams are becoming more sophisticated, and tackling them requires efforts from a range of bodies,” says an Ofcom spokesperson.
“We’re working closely with the police, industry, and organizations such as NCSC [the National Cyber Security Centre] – which is responsible for cyber-security standards in the UK – to help tackle the problem.”
“I don’t think there’s a world anytime soon where we can train people not to be fooled, so the solution has to include a way to block the response the text messages are trying to elicit,” says Robert Blumofe, chief technology officer of cloud security firm Akamai.
Jon France, the head of industry security, says “a lot of these problems will disappear” after 5G networks have been fully rolled out. This will mean that SS7 – and 2G and 3G – can be replaced.
“It took some time to understand these flaws and how they were exploited. Now with 5G, there will be security from [the center] of it.” Mr. Gribben seems to be agreed at this point.
According to GSMA, telecoms firms are making extra efforts and investments to efficiently tackle this fraud.
“Greater collaboration between telecoms firms and governments, better relations between countries, and more effort from the companies on sharing information on the latest vulnerabilities,” says BICS.
According to Ms. Gonzalez, the only way to prevent such fake phone calls and messages is to introduce Al so that the system would be sufficient to scan the fraud messages and phone calls and takes action accordingly.
An increase in ‘robocalling that is automated phone calls has been observed that is also a big concern for investigators of fraud calls and messages. To prevent this so-called robocalling, the US-based Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been working on developing new systems and protocols accordingly.
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