Doesn’t it seem that every time you look at a newspaper or watch the news, there’s mention of a big new cyberattack or data breach? The hacking game has moved on and now, once hackers have had time to trawl through the mountain of data they have get access to, following a breach they quite literally hold the owner of that information (usually a corporate) to ransom, blocking their access to it, unless a ransom is paid. And we’re talking a payment of millions. And the people perpetrating this are not teenagers sitting in their bedrooms, curtains closed, but highly organized and sophisticated criminal gangs.
With so many millions more of us working from home, our mobile phones (particularly smartphones) have become a critical work tool but this fact alone brings with it more opportunities for things to go wrong. Securing enterprise networks is now even more important than it ever was with employees’ own devices being used to carry out much of their work now.
And let’s not forget the growing number of fraud attempts aimed at individual mobile subscribers, SMS phishing being something we are seeing more and more of. So much is being done to lure subscribers to share huge amounts of personal information, allowing a bad actor to assume their identity and defraud them in a myriad of ways.
All of the above are existential threats to our digital lives. They truly are. If you’ve ever had your identity stolen online, you’d definitely know what we were writing about! Failures to properly secure digital lives endanger privacy, finances, wellbeing and ultimately has the power to destroy community
So, how should any organization go about protecting their own data, the digital identities of their clients and all whilst actually being able to confirm their customers REALLY are who they say they are? One of the answers to this for so long has been SMS, text messaging.
Talk to well-known research companies in the area of mobile messaging such as Juniper and Mobilesquared and all agree that the number of Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS (basically B2C and B2B SMS) transactions exceeds 2 trillion (yes, TRILLION!) a year and a good percentage of these are related to two-factor authentication (2FA).
There are over 5 billion people with mobile phones that can handle SMS and given no internet access is required and there is no requirement for a smartphone, SMS is truly ubiquitous and has become an easy way for organizations of all shapes and sizes to uplift their security. Relying on knowledge factors alone such as IDs and passwords alone is no longer enough though and if you have some form of 2FA in place, this is often enough to get hackers to back off. But there is far more to 2FA than SMS. Take Flash Call identity verification.
Now many of you may not be familiar with Flash Calling at all so how does this type of authentication work? Well, with Flash Call the subscribers receives a missed call to their mobile and the one-time password (OTP) is intercepted automatically. This makes the customer experience seamless from the first touchpoint and there’s no manual process of users having to enter received codes. The calling party number (A-Number) functions as the one-time code.
Usage of Flash Calling for 2FA around the world has accelerated rapidly and almost all of this growth has not happened because those using it are thinking about improving the experience for us customers. Oh no. Their reason is far more selfish – to lower costs!
WhatsApp announced they will be making Flash Call authentication available on their next app release and WhatsApp alone is estimated to generate almost 10% of all international A2P SMS. Facebook (which generates getting on for 20% of all international A2P SMS) will no doubt follow suit soon after too. Telegram already uses it.
Vox Technologies helps mobile network operators (MNOs) around the world secure their SMS channels, effectively monetizing all inbound traffic in the process. Whilst there is scope to charge a premium for internationally originated SMS traffic being terminated into any network, so many mobile operators are now charging so much that companies are looking for cheaper 2FA methods. And with 80% of all international A2P SMS being 2FA related in some way, shape or form, there is clear impetus to do so. Flash Calling fits the bill.
Similar to where A2P SMS was over a decade ago, most mobile operators do not understand Flash Calling (Voice A2P) at all, have little visibility of it within their network and definitely do not have a platform capable of controlling and billing them. As a result, many MNOs either totally block it or, at the other end of the spectrum, have no clue what is happening with it on their network at all. Flash Calls are not being monetized at all even if they are allowed on the network.
The problem until now has been that there was no seamless solution for MNOs to be able to totally control the Flash Calling environment, allowing them to define related trunks and a rate (A2P), all whilst rejecting calls coming from other (P2P) trunks. They need this technology and we now have it. This is a real game changer.
In most markets, the cost-comparison of each Flash Call to each A2P SMS is often much less but MNOs don’t want to cannibalize or destroy their nice existing A2P SMS revenue stream.
We allow MNOs to control every aspect and there is scope to price (for example) Flash Call marginally below SMS, bringing perhaps 2FA capabilities to an audience that could previously not afford it. You’re actually EXPANDING the 2FA market.
We strongly recommend all MNOs start monetizing Flash Calls right now. There is absolutely no logical reason to delay doing so.
The Flash Call user experience on Android truly is seamless but on iOS is it admittedly a little more clunky so we think there is nice scope for MNOs to take a blended approach. Organisations can continue (for example) use SMS as a default on iOS and Flash Calls as a default on Android. So, there we have it. What’s not to like? A new source of revenue. Securing an existing one, A2P SMS. The ability to offer an enhanced 2FA offering, blending both A2P SMS and Flash Call to suit the device. And total control of A2P Voice also known as Flash Calls in your network. No nasty surprises. Give us a call and let us help you with all this right now. Nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain.
The Global Carrier Awards are the most prestigious awards programme in wholesale telecoms. This year, the awards ceremony […]