Joanna Kuligowska, Head Of Global Market Intelligence at A2P network security specialists HAUD discusses how artificially inflated traffic (AIT) impacts mobile network operators’ P&L in the long term.
SMS artificially inflated traffic (AIT) refers to the practice of generating fake or fraudulent text messages, often with the goal of defrauding the enterprises which send A2P SMS to their customers.
This can happen in a number of ways, including using automated bots to send large numbers of messages, or using stolen identities to send messages on behalf of other users.
As a mobile network operator, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and effects of SMS artificial traffic inflation. The effects of SMS artificial traffic inflation on a mobile network operator’s profits and losses (P&L) can be significant, boosting revenues in the short-term but with potential catastrophic consequences for the medium and long term.
One of the key reasons why a mobile network operator should worry about AIT is that it can be difficult to detect. Many of the techniques used to generate fake messages are sophisticated and can bypass traditional security measures. This means that the mobile network operator may not be aware that they are being targeted until it’s too late, and the damage has already been done.
Artificial Traffic Generation currently poses the biggest threat to the A2P industry as it affects both the customer experience and the enterprises who are losing trust in A2P and actively looking for alternative channels to reduce their inflated spend on SMS messaging”
But what is that damage? Put simply, it’s the erosion of trust from the enterprise who will look for alternative channels to reach their customers, ultimately diverting revenues once destined for MNOs to other channels within CPaaS environments.
Another reason to be concerned about AIT is that it can have wider implications for the mobile network industry as a whole. If consumers lose trust in the security of text messaging, they may be less likely to use this communication channel, which could impact the mobile network operator’s overall revenue.
It is a simple but stark message to take home, ‘Artificial Traffic Generation currently poses the biggest threat to the A2P industry as it affects both the customer experience and the enterprises who are losing trust in A2P and actively looking for alternative channels to reduce their inflated spend on SMS messaging.’
So What Can Be done?
To protect against AIT, mobile network operators can implement a number of measures to detect and prevent the majority of fraudulent activity.
One effective strategy is to use Next-Generation SMS firewalls like HAUD’s SMART Nforce to analyse incoming and outgoing messages and filter out those that are likely to be spam or malicious.
These systems use a combination of behavioral algorithms, number verification along with user-defined rules to identify and block unsolicited messages, while minimizing the risk of false positives and legitimate messages being blocked.
In addition to using SMS firewalls, mobile network operators can also implement other security measures to protect against SMS artificial traffic inflation. This can include implementing strong authentication protocols such as implementing HAUD’s SMART Xchange which can be used to compliment SMART NForce by monitoring, authenticating and validating trusted partners.