The operators Claro, TIM and Vivo announced, on Tuesday (28), their adherence to a network that shares information and promises to increase the security of cell phones. Entering the Open Gateway (open portal, in free translation) allows companies to verify the telephone number without having to send a message with an authentication code via SMS, which often ends up becoming the gateway to bank fraud.
The shared network also allows operators and banks to identify whether the device’s chip has been recently changed, to block transactions with a high probability of fraud. Another measure promised with the use of new technology is to make it easier to locate stolen cell phones, preventing scammers from manipulating the GPS signal.
Open Gateway was launched by the managing entity of the global telecommunications ecosystem GSMA, at an event held in Barcelona (Spain), at the beginning of May. In Brazil, the announcement was made at a GSMA event in São Paulo with representatives from the three main cell phone companies.
The new services should be available nationwide by the end of this year, according to the GSMA.
By opening operational data on the platform, companies enable developers and cloud providers to develop new applications and services, including security ones. The idea is similar to open banking, in which banks share information with each other.
Almost 40 operators from countries such as Brazil, China, Norway and New Zealand joined the initiative. These companies account for 64% of global telephone network connections, according to the GSMA.
In Brazil, which appears among the leaders in global rankings of telephone and internet fraud, the implementation of this technology will begin with a focus on cybersecurity. “The project guarantees 100% customer privacy by design,” says the GSMA.
What new technology promises to do to reduce fraud
Initially, three services are available:
- Number Verification – Subscribing to Open Gateway allows phone number verification without the need for an SMS message. The new feature eliminates the risk of scammers diverting text messages to access authentication keys and avoids frustration if the SMS does not arrive. The feature automatically confirms the user’s phone number.
- SIM change – The new technology makes it possible to identify recent chip changes in a cell phone so that banks can block more transactions with a high probability of fraud.
- Device location – Open Gateway makes it easy to share your cell phone location and prevent scammers from manipulating your GPS signal. This novelty allows the development of new technologies, linked, for example, to the delivery of products and logistics, based on the location of workers and vehicles.
Vivo’s executive director of corporate business, Debora Bortolasi, stated during the GSMA event that Open Gateway makes it possible to transform telecommunications networks into digital platforms, which brings benefits to startups and large companies.
For Claro, joining the initiative puts Brazil on par with the most modern telecommunications technology in the world, according to a statement from the new business director, Carlos Araújo.
TIM Brasil’s vice president for new business and innovation, Renato Ciuchini, said that the company works to create a safer and more protected environment. “The opportunity to join the Open Gateway is in line with this scenario.”
Anatel has a package to suspend irregular 0800 calls
Anatel (National Telecommunications Agency) recommended a series of measures to operators to inhibit the irregular use of the 0800 prefix, such as the immediate suspension of the number when there is evidence of use for fraud. Companies have until December 27th to comply.
The objective is to prevent scams such as the fake call center, in which criminals send the victim a message pretending to be a bank or company and asking for a call back to a number, which may start at 0800. Anatel recommends that consumers that, before calling or returning a call, check the websites Which Company Called Me and Query Number to check the origin of the phone.
According to the regulatory agency’s protocol, telephone service providers must cancel the subscriber’s number if the clarifications are insufficient.
Telephones starting with 0800, 0300, 4000, 4003 and 4004 are not linked to geographic locations, which allows contact without the need to resort to a long distance call. Anatel says it monitors these numbers in partnerships with telecommunications providers.
The agency also recommends that companies establish contractual clauses that hold the number holder responsible in the event of fraud and prohibit the resale of the number.
In the opinion of the chief researcher for Latin America at the cybersecurity company Kaspersky, Fabio Assoline, the new standard helps, but leaves room for fake telephone exchanges to continue operating.
“The decision limits the granting of 0800 numbers, but these are not the only ones used in fake telephone exchange frauds — there are also numbers 4000, 4003, 4004, not to mention the short numbers used by scammers to send fraudulent SMS. For victims, it is very difficult to differentiate between a legitimate SMS sent by their bank and one sent by the fraudster, as they both arrive via the same short number.”
For Assolini, Anatel should turn its attention to SMSs with short numbers, such as (1153, used by TIM, or 27900, used by Nubank). When criminals gain access to one of these records, they guarantee more legitimacy to the message.
He says that criminals often look for smaller operators to obtain registrations starting with non-geographic or short numbers, also used by banks and other companies.
“As the volume of calls in these frauds can be large, scammers even filter incoming calls to accept only those linked to numbers that received fraudulent messages,” says Assolini.