MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry helps identify and block fraudulent SMS texts, protecting consumers, legitimate businesses and organisations falling victim to text messaging scams. Known as ‘Smishing’ criminals send bogus texts which appear to come from a trusted sender. The Registry allows organisations to register the message headers used when sending text messages to their customers and limits the ability of fraudsters to impersonate a brand by checking whether the sender is the genuine registered party. In the UK, an industry initiative is trialing the Registry with over 50 bank and government brands being protected.

The Registry relies on the mobile industry working collaboratively. Here we asked some of the messaging providers participating in the trial to share their views.

Seujan Bertram, Vice President, Global Operations, OpenMarket

In recent years, we’ve doubled down on efforts to protect the integrity of business messages sent via OpenMarket’s global messaging network. MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry has become a pivotal part of this effort. It’s helping us identify and block unauthorised SenderIDs, and whitelist trusted sources so they don’t get caught up in any spam or smishing filters.
“Many brands work with OpenMarket to improve security through SMS two-factor authentication.

This initiative further improves the security of SMS itself. In the past few months, mobile messaging has become more important than ever for businesses and government organizations. The SenderID Protection Registry shows what is possible when mobile messaging solutions providers, industry bodies, and mobile operators work together to protect the messaging network.”

  

Tim Biddle, Director of Operator Relations, UK&I, Sinch

Sinch protects consumers from harm and upholds the integrity of A2P Messaging so it can remain an efficient and secure communication tool.

Part of the Registry since its inception, Sinch is working with all parties across the industry to ensure we frustrate the efforts of the criminals and communicate effectively with our peers for swift and effective blocking and takedown of harmful messages. We’ve fine-tuned our processes and worked with the Operators to ensure maximum effectiveness. The Registry is yielding promising results.

More recently we’ve been promoting this good work that came out of the UK, consulting with our colleagues and industry bodies across other territories to help them form similar initiatives against their local SMS threats.

 

James Huff, Director and Co Founder, Firetext

With the launch of the new SMS SenderID Protection Registry, MEF has taken an important step towards helping combat smishing and spoofing in the industry. Working together with industry partners helps us all protect mobile users from bad actors. FireText is pleased to support this initiative to ensure that brands and mobile users retain trust in this convenient and powerful messaging tool.

FireText has been implementing blocking/filtering and account verification techniques since launch over 10 years ago. Trust is a key reason SMS is such an effective form of messaging, and it is vital that the level of trust remains between brands and mobile users. As such, it is essential that we join forces as an industry to eradicate bad actors, especially in these uncertain times. This new collaborative approach across the industry further strengthens our approach, and we are pleased that the initiative has been so successful. Security is our top priority and we aim to provide a trusted, safe and secure SMS platform for all of our customers and mobile users.

  

The SMS SenderID Protection Registry will play a crucial role in the future of messaging, and FireText are proud to be part of this collaborative initiative.

Nick Millward, Vice President Europe, mGage

When it comes to messaging, security is something that is a high priority for consumers – with the majority wanting brands to contact them via safe and secure messaging services. This is an expectation that is set to rise as technology evolves and more applications emerge.

We are delighted to be a part of this project in which we can collaborate with others in the industry to ensure that fraudulent messages can be easily identified and blocked, protecting essential messages to consumers from legitimate businesses and organisations.

  

This initiative/project is already producing promising results and shows how by working together alongside the government and law enforcement agencies, we can help put a stop to widespread and damaging scams in order to protect the public.
At mGage, we have been supporting all efforts with regards to blacklisting, whitelisting and reporting and have witnessed first-hand how the trial has evolved and the beneficial impact that this can have for both brands and consumers alike. Initially the process was completed manually, however this newly implemented online dashboard gives organisations the capability to limit fraudsters from impersonating their brand and sending messages on their behalf.

As stakeholders involved in business messaging we are all responsible for ensuring industry best practice is followed and by working together in this way we can become a stronger force that is one step ahead of the fraudsters – reinforcing the trust that consumers have put in enterprise messaging.

Louisa Harris, Client Services Director, Fonix

We are proud to be supporting the Registry trial to protect the public from cruel smishing and spoofing activity. Criminals often use advanced techniques to make scam text messages appear more convincing. Sometimes criminals will change the sender ID that appears at the top of a text message to mimic a genuine brand or organisation and trick the recipient into believing it is legitimate. At Fonix, we’re working very hard to ensure that consumers are protected from fraud; we do this via various filtering and verification methods, including blacklists to ensure that messages are legitimate.

The contribution from the whole industry to the Registry will help reduce the number of scam texts pretending to be from trusted brands. Essentially all of our work, across the industry is taken forwards and shared to safeguard the UK public from such SMS-related scams. The Registry also allows aggregators to register and protect the sender IDs for brands when sending out legitimate text messages. Consumers need to be protected, including the most vulnerable who are more susceptible to fraudsters – the trial is showing promising results in achieving this!

  

Chris Hughes, IT Manager, Reach Interactive

We’re thrilled to be participating in the trial of MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry. To be able to join forces with other companies in the telecoms industry to raise awareness of SMS phishing and reduce fraudulent activity is something that we care deeply about. The trial has already made great progress in protecting both our clients and their customers and we anticipate that this will continue.

Looking ahead, we hope that the industry can collaborate on similar initiatives whenever possible. This will allow us to ensure that SMS is a safe and secure channel that can be used both commercially and for personal use among consumers. The ultimate goal is to be in a position whereby consumers do not even have to consider the possibility that a message might be fraudulent.

  

We have implemented several changes since MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry was launched. We are now able to keep right up to date with potential threats as the registry is constantly updated. Not only does this save us time, it ensures that our clients and their customers are protected quicker and more securely.

Duncan Rose, Procurement and Routing Manager, Commify

At Commify we pride ourselves as a market leader when it comes to protecting our customers, through data protection initiatives and compliance.  We have teams of both technical and administrative staff and automated monitoring in place 24/7 to ensure we always operate our business to the highest possible integrity.  We are therefore the perfect partner for this industry-wide project, working closely alongside MEF since its commencement to ensure the processes developed are as effective as possible for all parties involved.

Commify already had an extremely high level of security surrounding our customers’ originator data.  Through collaboration on this project, Commify has been able to fine-tune our internal reporting and processes further in the race to combat fraudsters.

  

Marko Strisko, Senior Business Enablement Specialist, Telesign

TeleSign has been delighted to join the initiative upon receiving an invite from MEF. Partnering with MEF allows us to directly impact the traffic in the UK market and we are happy to report a significant decrease in the presence of any potentially fraudulent traffic since the initiative was set in motion.

By putting in place a robust solution preventing any unexpected traffic from reaching UK mobile subscribers in combination with an excellent alerting system we have built yet another layer of trust with our partners and clients, once again showing why Telesign is the leader in the industry. 

  

If you would like to contribute a comment to this article contact us at editorial@mefmobile.org or leave your thoughts in the replies below.

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