Now the guardian of FCS’s newest member benefit — the FCS Mark of Excellence for Fraud Mitigation over SIP — the FCS Fraud Group was created in 2013 in response to members’ frustration at the level of fraud to which customers are subjected, the lack of reliable data, and the need for best practice and common policies around managing customer expectations.
The most common problem is Dial Through Fraud (DTF) which occurs when someone hacks private phone systems so that unauthorised and illegal calls can be routed through them without the knowledge or authorisation of the owner. Unfortunately the victims are left to pay the cost of the calls that have been made.
The group has already prepared best practice documents, both for commissioning engineers and for the customers of their new phone systems, containing basic advice like password protection and by-default switching off of outgoing international calls to help safeguard against DTF. The best practice checklist can be found here.
It is also engaging with the insurance industry to share statistics and to seek for specific anti-fraud measures to be included by default in business insurance policies, as a stimulus to customers to act responsibly to reduce risk.
Model terms and conditions for contracts have been produced, with assistance from Eversheds, to make it plain to customers that protecting their systems against attack is their responsibility, and to create clear contractual conditions for the avoidance of any dispute in the event of a security breach.
The Fraud Group brings together experts from across the fixed-line telephony space, who can act as advisors or referees for industry initiatives like the re-cast of the NICC Code of Practice on dial-through fraud to include SIP.
Even the most slipshod business person wouldn’t think of putting a new computer into the office without buying some anti-virus software to protect against hackers and viruses. FCS campaigns vigorously for the same common-sense approach to telecoms systems.
Once hacked, a modern business phone system can be made to dial out to an overseas premium-rate destination in a matter of seconds. Over the course of a bank holiday weekend, it can quietly rack up thousands of pounds’ worth of calls, for which the subscriber is then responsible. It’s not unusual for ‘bill shock’ to run into tens of thousands of pounds. And it’s not unheard of for the fall-out to so damage a company that it can no longer continue to trade. None of this worries the fraudsters one iota, of course. The FCS Fraud Group has produced guidance for members on how to help customers protect against hacking and what to do if things do go wrong – see here
FCS works with industry stakeholders, including TUFF, the Telecomms UK Fraud Forum, with whom FCS has a long-standing joint heritage stretching back to the early days of the mobile phone market. Fraud affects businesses of all shapes and sizes. It brings competitors and technologies together to share intelligence and shape industry best-practice. FCS and TUFF are in the middle of this process: interfacing with networks and resellers, and liaising with insurers and crime prevention agencies.
FCS fixed service provider members have formed a Fraud Group where best practice can be shared and specific objectives can be set to reduce the risk to CPs of having to bear the costs of their customers’ failure to take basic precautions to secure their telephone systems against hackers.
This group also provides vital evidence for FCS’s ongoing work of demonstrating how the poor wording of the Communications Act has been used to discriminate against business subscribers. FCS has succeeded in obtaining confirmation from Ofcom that BT Wholesale accepts that dial-through fraud (DTF) falls within the Artificial Inflation of Traffic provisions in the SIA, and PhonepayPlus have now agreed to investigate DTF under their Code provisions.
FCS’s long-standing work with the recycling industry through the FCS Communications Environmental and Recycling Consortium provides powerful intelligence around checking the receipt of end-of-life handsets against police records of stolen goods. It also informs the FCS policy position that government must recognise the complicated and international nature of the re-working/recycling trade, and ensure legislation does not inadvertently stifle a thriving and vital industry. In particular, the failure of the current TUFF recyclers code of practice needs to be addressed by proportionate secondary legislation, accompanied by detailed guidance.
Mark of Excellence
FCS launched the first in a suite of telecoms service standards called the Mark of Excellence (#MoE) at Convergence Summit North 2015 to help excellent comms providers stand out from the crowd. This Mark of Excellence has been created specifically for fraud mitigation (#fraudmitigation) over SIP.
For the full press release, click here.
A full copy of the Fraud Mitigation Standards Specification can be seen here.