Fraud Prevention in the 5G Era - VoltDB
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VoltDB / Solutions  / 5G: Telecom & Beyond / Fraud Prevention in the 5G Era

Fraud Prevention in the 5G Era

Detecting & Blocking Fraudulent Transactions with Intelligent Operational Insights

Fraud has been an ongoing problem for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and their customers for decades, with a ever evolving cat and mouse game being played out between CSPs and fraudsters. Unfortunately telecom fraud claims billions of innocent victims across the globe. The cost of fraud to CSPs in 2017 was nearly $30 Billion. What is even more concerning however is that with 5G; the magnitude of the fraud problem will rise hundredfold. The surge in the amount of connected devices and sensors will lead to an exponential rise not just in the volume and velocity of data streaming in, but also significantly increase the level of complexity associated with processing the data to identify and prevent scams. Traditional fraud prevention techniques implemented by CSPs will just not be viable anymore.

CSPs have to constantly contend with hundreds of distinct fraudulent schemes; the ever changing schemes, along with their high frequency, globally dispersed origins, and multiple layers of machine and network generated anonymity makes these schemes extremely hard to detect and prevent.

It is important to note that when it comes to fraud, in-event detection and prevention is far more desirable than post-event reconciliation. Once the fraud occurs charges are levied either on the CSP or the subscriber and revenue is lost. At 5G scale and speed however, in-event fraud detection and prevention is easier said than done.

VoltDB Whitepaper: The 5G Revolution

Featured Content

Whitepaper: 5G Revolution

Examine the 5G revolution from a data perspective – what fast data is, what are the opportunities it creates, and what challenges exist in operationalizing fast data in real-time.

New Considerations for the 5G Era

So how can CSPs effectively manage the sheer volume, velocity, variety and complexity of fraud threats in the 5G era? They need to:

Analyze data available from multiple channels

Fraudsters try to veil attacks with complexity. Traditional fraud analysis involved analyzing CDR records, CDRs however lack crucial information and are generated after the call is complete (when it is too late to stop fraud). Signalling System No. 7 (SS7) however contains additional information that may be crucial to fraud prevention such as: subscriber location, inter switch call attempts, request for subscriber information, and more. External radio probes or automated subscribers can also be used in conjunction with SS7 to detect fraud.

Automatically monitor and prevent of fraudulent transactions

In addition to monitoring and identifying fraud correctly (without blocking legitimate subscriber activity) it is crucial to block the fraudulent calls / texts, etc before they are placed. The database needs to be intelligent and agile enough to detect changing fraud threats and counter threats.

Implement real-time Intelligence (Machine Learning) & Complex Event Processing

To block fraudulent transactions and users, the underlying database needs to analyze thousands of attributes such as subscriber behavior, geolocation, device information, transaction type, etc in real-time. Using built-in machine learning algorithms these attributes are compared to correct behavior and statistical anomalies are identified and blocked in real-time / in-event, prior to the transaction occurring.

All of the above at 5G scale

5G is expected to deliver microservices such as IoT at massive scale. The database engine must be able ingest data from multiple channels and automatically apply thousands of rules with built-in machine learning in milliseconds to prevent fraud, while processing millions of operations/second.

The VoltDB Database

VoltDB is the only database that offers all the functionality required to fulfill all of 5G’s data processing requirements. VoltDB can seamlessly:

  • Scales to millions of events per second.
  • Ingest and analyze fast streaming data for real-time decision making based on complex Machine Learning rules, while simultaneously querying historical data to continuously improve the model.
  • Import complex models built by data scientists through PMML, PFA, and other standards ensuring quick implementation and consistency.
  • Real-time queries at high throughput with an in-memory, distributed architecture.
  • Seamless deployment on large-scale distributed cloud environments.
  • Core based data and processing distribution.
  • Orchestrate VoltDB with Kubernetes; to easily spin-up new instances and scale-out dynamically, and monitor running clusters.
  • Guaranteed ACID compliance, ensures the consistency and integrity of your data.
  • Complex event processing, to seamlessly normalize data streams in mediation.
  • Unparalleled high performance with sub millisecond response times, enabled by a distributed scale out architecture. Fast edge analytics supports the stringent QoS metrics dictated by 5G. Several 3rd party TAS applications can run concurrently without any performance degradation.
  • Dynamic service delivery leading to high agility and reduced TCO. VoltDB is cloud native, so real-time applications can run smoothly in the cloud.
  • Resiliency, high availability, active active disaster recovery are fundamental features of VoltDB, that are not compromised for applications running in the cloud.
  • Proven security technology such as TLS & Kerberos built-in, along with auditing and monitoring tools to verify usage, and identify attacks on system.

Benchmark Report: VoltDB vs. 5G Requirements

VoltDB Benchmark Report

Fraud Prevention Use Cases

In the following sections we will cover how VoltDB’s architecture was designed from the very first line of code to meet the rigorous demands of the 5G network.

Fraudsters hack into the CSPs network and make expensive calls to international phone numbers resulting in high bills for subscribers. Once the calls are made and billed, either the subscriber or the CSP have to bear the costs. Learn more from our recent blog post, “Preventing Telecom Fraud in the 5G Era”.

Hackers utilize illegal routes to deliver international text messages at lower costs, depriving CSPs of the revenue derived from routing messages from legitimate international routes. Hackers also send out scam texts to trick subscribers into making calls to expensive international phone numbers (similar to making a call to a 900 number). Hackers also transmit spyware, bots, adware, and viruses via text messages that can take control of the subscribers device to make unauthorized calls and texts or steal personal information.

IP Exchange (IPX) – IPX is used by CSPs to exchange IP based traffic between subscribers of different cellular and fixed operators along with other ISPs via an IP based network-to-network interface. Fraudsters often exploit the vulnerabilities between the network interface to hack into a subscriber’s device and rack up large bills. Learn more from our recent blog post, “Preventing Telecom Fraud in the 5G Era”.

Gartner is predicting over 20 Billion connected things by 2020. What gets overseen in the IoT hype, is the sheer amount of “connected things” that will be left unsecured. The massive scale of IoT and the access to valuable data offers up a very compelling opportunity for fraudsters. IoT devices have already been used to make fraudulent purchases, and even to launch DDoS attacks. Learn more about IoT applications and VoltDB.

eSIMs are embedded SIM cards that replace physical SIM cards that were used in cellular phones. eSIMs allow for easy provisioning and connectivity, and eliminate the need for having physical SIMs. However, along with the benefits of eSIMs, they also offer a new path for hackers to infiltrate subscribers electronically and to steal and misuse subscriber data.

Technical Paper:
VoltDB and the 5G Revolution

Stonebraker VoltDB 5G Revolution Case Study

Case Study: A European Cloud Managed Services Provider to the Telecom Industry

A European Cloud Managed Services Provider to the Telecom Industry Embeds VoltDB in Telecom Fraud Detection Solution to Detect and Avoid Fraud in Real-time

The Challenges:

Having to combat a variety of fraud, such as international-bypass fraud in real-time.
Taking actionable decisions, such as: blocking fraudulent transactions before they are approved.

The Solution:

VoltDB powered
Combine core networks, real-time network testing and big data analytics to detect telecom fraud in real-time and kill it.
Real-time decisioning leveraging VoltDB’s ML capabilities.

The Results:

Management of 50M calls per day per CSP.
Perform 30,000 ACID compliant TPS per customer.
Telco grade platform with HA, XDCR.