In conversation with Voice and Data, Arnd Baranowski, CEO, Oculeus, talks about the key focus areas of the company, how telecom fraud evolved over the years, etc. Excerpt:
Q. What are the key focus areas of Oculeus today?
Oculeus has been in the OSS/BSS telecoms business for fourteen years and today we offer a mature portfolio of solutions for service providers and network operators to better manage their wholesale voice and SMS business with efficient and automated operations.
Our key focus today is bringing to market the new version of our telecoms anti-fraud solution. We have developed a unique approach to preventing telecoms fraud that holds the potential as we see it to revolutionize practices to fight telecom voice fraud. Our approach offers benefits to both the service provider and its enterprise customers.
Q. Telecom operators face a lot of issues towards securing their networks from fraudulent operations. How has telecom fraud evolved over recent years?
Over recent years with the introduction of IP-based telephony and the move to SIP as the standard protocol, the networking and integration capabilities of service providers and network operators as well as their enterprise customers have been significantly improved.
However, this move has opened a Pandora’s Box. These technologies are well known and for fraudster it is relatively easy to gain access to the communication networks of a telecom operator in order to inject fraudulent traffic. Really, the only thing that is required to inject fraudulent traffic is to get access to one communication link within the enterprise customer’s communication network.
Once this has been achieved, fraudulent voice traffic can be injected until the telecom operator realizes that it is receiving fraud traffic through this customer.
Q. Have the fraud prevention efforts of telcos kept pace with the changing technologies of performing fraud?
Unfortunately for service providers and network operators, their existing practices and tools used to combat fraud are well behind the advanced and innovative methods used by those perpetrating the fraud.
Today, fraudsters are capable of executing and completing an attack, causing thousands of dollars in financial damage, even before the telco is aware that fraudulent traffic was injected to its communications networks.
This is happening because the revenue assurance and fraud management teams of telcos still rely on manual processes and cross department interactions. These existing practices are time consuming and create a large window of opportunity that fraudsters are taking advantage of on a daily basis.
Q. What is driving the market need to adopt fraud prevention systems today?
The obvious answer to this question is the need to prevent the financial losses caused by telecoms fraud is driving the demand for fraud prevention solutions. Protecting the brands and reputations of service providers and network operators is also an important factor.
More than this and on a broader level, there is a growing need to automate operational processes and workflows. It’s no secret that prices are constantly dropping and margins are razor thin. As a result, service providers and network operators need to maintain highly efficient operations and must automate as many processes as possible to maintain profitable.
All of our OSS/BSS offerings can position a service provider or network operator to achieve a high level of automation, especially our fraud protection solution.
Q. What benefits does Oculeus offer in this scenario?
Our Oculeus Anti-Fraud System improves the fraud prevention practices of service providers and network operators by creating an automatic framework to rapidly identify and block telecommunications fraud.
We have combined anomaly detection and automated processes to detect and stop fraudulent telecommunications traffic in near-real-time before significant revenue is lost.
The system starts by building a baseline profile of expected telecommunications activity and then continuously monitors all telecommunications traffic. Any anomalies in expected traffic or traffic that has patterns that are typical of fraud are immediately sent to a fraud detection engine to evaluate the suspicious traffic against an unlimited number of scenarios of fraud. For this we use call attempt evaluations, call record and commercial data as well as time, frequency, value, destination, original and other call parameters.
Traffic that is confirmed to be fraud is blocked immediately.
This entire process is completely automated and can take just minutes and even seconds.
Q. What market segments and geographies are you targeting?
We currently have around do have 120 customers worldwide in all areas of the telecoms industry from small Tier 3 operators up to larger Tier 1 operators. These customers are mainly in Europe and the Americas.
For the new version of our anti-fraud solution, we are experiencing strong demand in our traditional markets as well as in developed and emerging markets across the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia and India.