Crowdsourcing underpins some of the most successful businesses in the digital economy - Google's search rankings are essentially a product of crowdsourcing, as are Amazon's product recommendations. Even Apple crowdsources apps for its phenomenally successful devices and then uses the wisdom of crowds to rank these apps in the App Store.
It is time to apply similar principles in the global battle against fraud. Although communications service providers compete vigorously day in day out, in some areas they need to co-operate. Fraud Management, which is not a source of competitive advantage, is one of those areas.
Less piecemeal, more systematic
Although there is already some crowdsourcing in the Fraud Management market, it tends to be piecemeal - information sharing within a particular telecoms group. The global trade body the GSMA also encourages broader sharing of information, but this process tends to involve the exchange of periodic, high-level updates, rather than a continuous flow of information between carriers. These initiatives need to be bolstered by a more systematic approach incorporating the exchange of real-time or near real-time data, so individual operators can take timely steps to protect their networks from the latest fraud-related threats.
cVidya and BICS, a global provider of wholesale carrier services, recently took a major step in this direction. Together, cVidya and BICs are creating a global fraud knowledge center to share valuable information, such as latest trends, hotlists, PRS lists and other fraud information, between multiple users of our FraudView solution around the world, paving the way for more joint initiatives to fight fraud. The partnership will use this information to continuously update and improve the core Fraud Management system. cVidya also continues to update FraudView, which has been deployed by more than 100 operators worldwide, to better detect new kinds of fraud encountered by our customers.
As a wholesale operator, BICs is well placed to act as a hub in the fight against fraud. With connections into many other telecoms networks across the globe, BICS has a high degree of visibility. Rather than looking at the behavior of specific end-users, a wholesale Fraud Management unit looks to detect trends on the network, such as spikes in traffic, and understand the driving forces behind these trends. This is essentially a big data challenge - wholesalers need to be able to analyse vast amounts of data in near real-time, so they can spot the abnormalities that might signal fraudulent behaviour on particular routes.
To meet the challenges faced by wholesale fraud managers, we have built specific controls and specific algorithms into our FraudView solution. These analytical tools enable wholesalers to sift through vast volumes of traffic data and detect patterns we know, from experience, are typical of fraudulent behaviour.
Time to get on the front foot
Partly for self-defence and partly to add value, wholesale carriers need to use their extensive reach to proactively support the efforts of their customers to reduce fraud. The vast volumes of traffic on their networks mean wholesale carriers tend to have a much broader picture than their retail counterparts and can act as an early warning system for their customers.
In summary, more wholesale carriers need to get on to the front foot and work with their retail customers to share fraud-related information in a timely fashion. At the same time, the industry as a whole needs to become much more systematic in the fight against fraud. Crowdsourcing will improve our intelligence and help us win this war. We believe the global fraud knowledge center we are creating with BICS will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal.
United we stand, divided we fall.