Email a colleague    

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

Black Swan Solution Guides & Papers

cSwans of a Feather

Related Articles

  • Subex’s New HyperSense AI-Platform Aims to Turn Telcos into Agile, Analytics-Driven Ubers and Rakutens interview with Rohit Maheshwari — An expert explains why telcos must swiftly adopt the AI/analytics methods of hyperscaler firms.  Giving telco examples where cross-company data sharing can make a difference, he explains the 12 key features of a new platform designed to deliver more agile and collaborative intelligence across a telco.
  • Subex’s COO: Machine Learning, Disruption & Adaptive Biz Models to Impact Telecoms in 2020 interview with Shankar Roddam — In our dynamic and digital-driven world, telecoms and enterprises face many business risks.  So what can you do to plot a successful future?  Hear 5 prophecies on 2020 telecom trends from the Chief Operating Officer of Subex.
  • TELUS Analytics Users Get Productivity Boost from Internal Team of Data Access & Showcasing Experts-for-Hire interview with Mange Kumarasamy — How a large organization with hundreds of analytics users gets help from an  internal Big Data team who sources multiple back-end databases; builds tailored reports; and drives campaigns that answer strategic questions for users.
  • Non-Verbal Speech Analytics: Monitoring Voice Calls in Real-Time for Customer Care, Sales, Retention & Onboarding interview with Yoav Degani — Non-verbal speech analysis studies the emotional context of voice qualities like intonation, tone, emphasis and rhythm.  A pioneer in voice analytics explains how its technology benefits customer care, sales, retention and onboarding.
  • Telecom CVM: From Scattered Campaigns to Unified & Consistent Communication with Customers interview with Cretièn Brandsma — Despite the many failures Customer Value Management has faced in telecom, CVM’s future is very hopeful.  A carrier expert explains why telecoms have faltered, how customer experience programs can be revitalized, and where telecoms should invest in better tactics and technology.
  • The Key to Driving 4G Profit: Sell Value, Not Bandwidth by Miri Duenias — Are you struggling to earn a profit on your 4G investments?  Many operators are failing today on the marketing side.  But aligning 4G products with a customer’s personal preferences and desires provides the necessary sizzle to boost sales and earn a handsome ROI.
  • Will Real-Time Decisioning Save Big Data Analytics from Overblown Hype? interview with Tom Erskine — Telecom analytics is more than just collecting and analyzing data.  It’s also about taking action — correct action — often in real-time and across a complex provisioning environment.  In this interview you’ll hear how next best actions are creating value in retention and upselling through a more flexible, business-process driven approach.
  • A Big Data Starter Kit in the Cloud: How Smaller Operators Can Get Rolling with Advanced Analytics interview with Ryan Guthrie — Medium to small operators know “big data” is out there alright, but technical staffing and cost issues have held them back from implementing it.  This interview discusses the advantages of moving advanced analytics to the cloud where operators can get up and running faster and at lower cost.
  • The Customer Engagement Era: How Personalization & Backend Integration Leads to a Richer Mobile Biz interview with Rita Tochner — How does a mobile operator move its subscribers to higher levels of spending and profit?  Fierce competition, social media scrutiny, and the high cost of new networks all conspire against these goals.  In this interview, however, you’ll learn how engaging better with customers, getting more personal, and being more sensitive to their individual needs is the path forward.
  • Telecoms Failing Badly in CAPEX: The Desperate Need for Asset Management & Financial Visibility interview with Ashwin Chalapathy — A 2012 PwC report put the telecom industry on the operating table, opened the patient up, and discovered a malignant cancer: poor network CAPEX management, a problem that puts telecoms in grave financial risk.  In this interview, a supplier of network analytics solutions provides greater detail on the problem and lays out its prescription for deeper asset management, capacity planning and data integrity checks.
  • Batting for More Churn Reduction and Revenue Assurance Home Runs interview with Peter Mueller — What’s it like to transform an IT shop to big data and cloud?  In this interview, the CTO of a boutique revenue assurance explains how his firm made the leap.  He shows how project-oriented programs and working with carrier customers to explore RA and churn reduction “hunches” is where much of the action is.
  • History Repeats: The Big Data Revolution in Telecom Service Assurance interview with Olav Tjelflaat — The lessons of telecom software history teach that new networks and unforeseen industry developments have an uncanny knack for disrupting business plans.  A service assurance incumbent reveals its strategy for becoming a leader in the emerging network analytics and assurance market.
  • From Alarms to Analytics: The Paradigm Shift in Service Assurance interview with Kelvin Hall — In a telecom world with millions of smart devices, the service assurance solutions of yesteryear are not getting the job done.  So alarm-heavy assurance is now shifting to big data solutions that deliver visual, multi-layered, and fine-grained views of network issues.  A data architect who works at large carriers provides an inside view of the key service provider problems driving this analytics shift.
  • The Shrink-Wrapped Search Engine: Why It’s Becoming a Vital Tool in Telecom Analytics interview with Tapan Bhatt — Google invented low cost, big data computing with its distributed search engine that lives in mammoth data centers populated with thousands of commodity CPUs and disks.  Now search engine technology is available as “shrink wrapped” enterprise software.  This article explains how this new technology is solving telecom analytics problems large and small.
  • Sharing Intelligence, Services, and Infrastructure across the Telecom Galaxy interview with Gary Zimmerman — The telecom industry is an industry of sharing.  In fact, the rise of mobile broadband is driving a greater reliance on real-time intelligence, services trading, and infrastructure exchange.  In this article, a leading info exchange provider explains the value of its services portfolio and points to other interoperability and sharing ideas under development.
  • Data Monetization: Why Selling Intelligence is a Hot New Revenue Stream for Mobile Carriers interview with Joe Levy — Data monetization is a revenue dream come true for mobile carriers: a highly profitable sideshow where the carrier analyzes and sells data it already collects for other purposes.  In this article you’ll learn how operators monetize their data through use cases in corporate advertising and media branding.
  • Harvesting Big Data Riches in Retailer Partnering, Actionable CEM & Network Optimization interview with Oded Ringer — In the analytics market there’s plenty of room for small solution firms to add value through a turnkey service or cloud/licensed solution.  But what about large services firms: where do they play?  In this article you’ll learn how a global services giant leverages data of different types to help telcos: monetize retail partnerships, optimize networks, and make CEM actionable.
  • Raising a Telco’s Value in the Digital Ecosystem: One Use Case at a Time interview with Jonathon Gordon — The speed of telecom innovation is forcing software vendors to radically adapt and transform their business models.  This article shows how a deep packet inspection company has  expanded into revenue generation, particularly  for mobile operators.  It offers a broad palette of value-adding use cases from video caching and parental controls to application-charging and DDoS security protection.
  • Radio Access Network Data: Why It’s Become An Immensely Useful Analytics Source interview with Neil Coleman — It’s hard to overstate the importance of Radio Access Network (RAN) analytics to a mobile operator’s business these days.  This article explains why the RAN data, which lives in the air interface between the base station and the handset --  can be used for a business benefit in network optimization and customer experience.
  • Back Office Streamlining to Enterprise Support: The Many Flavors of Wireline Analytics interview with Tom Nolting — Mobile analytics gets plenty of press coverage, but analytics is just as crucial for wireline operators.  In this article, a billing VP at a leading wireline operator discusses several diverse uses of analytics in billing, enterprise sales/retention, and network partner margin assurance.
  • Analytics Biology: The Power of Evolving to New Data Sources and Intelligence Gathering Methods interview with Paul Morrissey — Data warehouses create great value, yet it’s now time to let loose non-traditional big data platforms that create value in countless pockets of operational efficiency that have yet to be fully explored.  This article explains why telecoms must expand their analytics horizons and bring on all sorts of new data sources and novel intelligence gathering techniques.
  • B/OSS Mathematics: The Quest to Analyze Business Problems & Drive Operating Decisions interview with Matti Aksela — Analytics is the glory of mathematics brought to practical use.  And in telecom, analytics has merely stratched the surface of its full potential.  In this article, you’ll learn how machine learning is being combined with the power of CDR number crunching to optimize mobile top-ups, control churn — and in the future, help telecoms make critical network and operating decisions.
  • Leveraging the RA/FM Platform to Deliver Business Insights to Finance & Marketing by Amit Daniel — Carrier professionals using RA and fraud management tools are getting requests from internal customers who want the role of RA/FM platforms expanded to deliver up-to-date analytics data for finance and marketing purposes.  This article advocates a cross-product layer to serve such broader use cases.  The effect would be to transform the existing RA/FM platform into a combined business protection and business growth analytics engine.
  • A Mobile Marketer Service: Bridging Personalization & B/OSS Flowthrough interview with Efrat Nakibly — Marketing analytics is a prescriptive program for driving  actions such as sending a timely promotion to a mobile subscriber.  But completeness demands that you also be able to provision that treatment, qualify the promotion, and keep billing fully in the loop.  This article shows how a managed services program can deliver such an end-to-end process and manage customer life cycles on a one-to-one basis.
  • Science of Analytics: Bringing Prepaid Top Ups & Revenue Maximization under the Microscope interview with Derek Edwards — Prepaid subscribers are the customers that carriers know the least about.  The operator is not interacting with prepaid customers on a monthly basis.  You’re not sending a bill, nor do you have detailed profiles on these customers, especially in the developing world where customers are buying SIMs at a grocery store.  This interview explains how contextual marketing meets the unique analytics challenge of prepaid customers.
  • Connecting B/OSS Silos and Linking Revenue Analytics with the Customer Experience by Anssi Tauriainen — Customer experience analytics is a complex task that flexes B/OSS data to link the customer’s network experience and actions to improve it and drive greater revenue.  In this article, you’ll gain an understanding of how anayltics data needs to be managed across various customer life cycle stages and why it’s tailored for six specific user groups at the operator.
  • Profitable 3G: China’s Mobile Operators Monetize Networks with Retailers & Partners interview with Kevin Xu — Mobile operators are at the center of explosive growth in wireless services.  But to exploit this opportunity requires IT ingenuity and a broader view on how the mobile user can be served.  In this article you’ll learn the innovative techniques Chinese operators use to monetize 3G networks via analytics and partnerships with retailers, social networks, and advertisers.
  • Customer Analytics: Making the Strategic Leap From Hindsight to Foresight interview with Frank Bernhard — Are your company’s analytics programs scattered?  Is there a strategy in place for customer analytics?  This interview with a leading telecom analytics consultant explains why strategy and planning around the analytics function is crucial to getting your money’s worth.  Topics discussed include: hindsight vs. foresight; an advanced analytics program; and the interface sophistication required to support high end vs. low end analytics users.
  • Meeting the OTT Video Challenge: Real-Time, Fine-Grain Bandwidth Monitoring for Cable Operators interview with Mark Trudeau — Cable operators in North America are being overwhelmed by the surge in video and audio traffic.  In this article you’ll learn how Multi Service Operators (MSOs) are now monitoring their traffic to make critical decisions to protect QoS service and monetize bandwidth.  Also featured is expert perspective on trends in: network policy; bandwidth caps; and  customer care issues.
  • Analytics Meditations: The Power of Low-Cost Hardware and the Social Network Within interview with Ken King — Analytics didn‘t arrive yesterday.  Data warehousing and BI have been in the telecom vocabulary for twenty-five or more years.  In this interview, you’ll gain a perspective on why “big data” changes the game and why social network (or social circles) analysis promises the next level of insights.  Other interesting topics include: segmenting the analytics market, engaging with carrier clients, and upgrading from older- to newer-style methodologies.
  • LTE Analytics:  Learning New Rules in Real-Time Network Intelligence, Roaming and Customer Assurance interview with Martin Guilfoyle — LTE is telecom’s latest technology darling, and this article goes beyond the network jargon, to explain the momentous changes LTE brings.  The interview delves into the marriage of IMS, high QoS service delivery via IPX, real-time intelligence and roaming services, plus the new customer assurance hooks that LTE enables.
  • Shared Data Plans: The Challenge of Managing a Family of Pricing, Revenue Assurance, Fraud, and Network Policy Issues by Amit Daniel — Verizon Wireless‘ recent announcement of its move to shared data plans for families shook the mobile industry.  In this column, cVidya’s Amit Daniel shines a spotlight on the knowhow and analytics tools that operators now deperately need to offer the right  shared data price plans, ensure bandwidth throttling is handled correctly, and address new fraud concerns.
  • Analytics Guru: Are Telecoms Ready for the Biz Intelligence Explosion? interview with John Meyers — Business intelligence is evolving from the creation of dashboards and reports to taking action based on a deep knowledge of the environmental context.  The article explores the implications of “big data” in terms of IPTV, storage requirements, hardware, event collection, and deep packet inspection.
  • Social Networking for Telecoms: How To Enlist Friends and Family as Mobile Marketers interview with Simon Rees — Social Network Analysis (SNA) is about exploiting data on “friends and family” connections to combat churn and win new CSP business.  The article explores how an analysis of the ebb and flow of CDRs, phone calls, and messages, can identify key influencers and drive powerful marketing campaigns.
  • Making the Strategic Leap From Billing to Merchandising interview with Humera Malik — Today billing/charging technology has progressed to the point where the usage intelligence, the charges, the user behaviors, and the analytics can all come together in near real-time.  This article discusses the organizational and marketing strategies that enable a operator to create a true “merchandising” system that can revolutionize a CSP’s business.