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May 2015

Paper: How to Defend Your Network Against the New SIM Server Threat

Paper: How to Defend Your Network Against the New SIM Server Threat

Dear Colleague:

SIM Box bypass is an old fraud problem that refuses to go away.  In 2013 the CFCA estimated the telecom loss through bypass to be about $2 billion a year.  Other reports claim losses of $3 billion to $5 billion per year.

In fact, operators in some countries affected by SIM box fraud will privately tell you that their international inbound traffic has decreased by as much as 50% in recent years!  Plus these same operators have invested heavily in anti-fraud campaigns — and they actually do detect and block fairly large volumes of SIM boxes on a daily basis.

Well, the unmistakable conclusion is that the fraudsters are succeeding despite the anti-fraud efforts of the carriers.  They are replacing the blocked SIM cards with fresh supplies of SIMs and continue their bypass.

So how are the SIM boxers evading the defenses and what steps can your organization take to cure the problem?

Answering those questions is the subject of a new TRI white paper I wrote based on detailed conversations with LATRO Services and other fraud management experts.

SIM Box White Paper

Click the image above to download the paper.

The paper explains how the SIM box threat is changing, how fraudsters are getting around current defenses, and what technologies and anti-fraud strategies are likely to be the most effective.  Key issues discussed include:

  • Why current Anti-Fraud Solutions no longer stop SIM box fraud like they used to. The paper examines the three key methods used to block and frustrate the fraudsters — Test Call Generators, Fraud Management Systems, and SIM Card Distribution Control — and shows how new schemes and technological advances are enabling the fraudsters to get around these defenses.
  • The Impact of New SIM Server Technology. Fraudsters have stepped up their game: they are moving toward large-scale automation and the use of advanced technology on a global scale.  The best example of this is the recent rise of the SIM Server and its associated banks of thousands of SIM cards.  The SIM server is a major breakthrough for the fraudsters because it “virtualizes” the SIM card.  The paper provides key details and shows why carriers who have their SIM box fraud problems under control today are now quite vulnerable to the new SIM Server threat.
  • The Rise of Network Protocol Analysis as an Anti-Fraud Tool. While the SIM Server has given fraudsters a powerful new stealth technology, all is not lost.  Carriers have a new technological trick up their sleeves that can help them meet the SIM Server challenge.  The paper explains all about this new technology, Network Protocol Analysis — how it recognizes the signature (or fingerprint) of a SIM Box, how it stops SIM boxes from generating revenue, and how deploying it in concert with other anti-fraud technology allows carriers to gain an edge over the fraudsters.

Researching this new SIM Server issue and the challenges it raises for traditional anti-fraud solutions was a real eye-opener for me.  This 7-page paper will get you up-to-speed on a fraud problem that’s likely to get much worse till the new threat is fully understood and carriers improve their SIM box defenses.

Dan Baker
Research Director, TRI

P.S.  One feature of the paper I think you’ll especially like is the explanatory diagram on page 5 entitled, The Battle to Stop International Bypass: Why the Fraudsters are Winning. The diagram summarizes the major anti-fraud techniques and fraudster counter-measures.  Enjoy reading.

Copyright 2015 Black Swan Telecom Journal

Dan Baker

Dan Baker

Dan Baker is research director of Technology Research Institute (TRI) and editor of the Black Swan Telecom Journal.

Technology Research Institute (TRI) has been writing analyst reports and researching telecom software and systems markets since 1994.

For the last several years, TRI has been following developments in telecom Fraud Management, Revenue Assurance and Analytics solutions.

Most recently, TRI is exploring telecom opportunities in IoT, connectivity, AI/ML and edge computing (4G and 5G) in the Asia Pacific market.   Contact Dan via

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