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Scam Calls - Ofcom Acts, kinda..

pgn
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This is good news - but needs uptake from both terrestrial/landline and mobile operators:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59032795

WhatIWonNotCS

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Cleoriff
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It goes 'some way' to ease the problem. If you read on, this stops you feeling so pleased

Experts agree that the only way to completely fix the problem is to implement new telephone identification protocols that enable phone networks to authenticate that all calls and text messages actually come a real telephone number.

Scams are becoming so sophisticated nowadays, using UK mobile numbers and often generated in the UK, How can these be stopped? Short answer, they can't.

Many 'intelligent' people, out of work or with time on their hands during Covid, developed so many scams.

I think we have seen a vast increase in these over the last 18 months.

*The Game Is On*

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pgn
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Ah, yes, those experts again, who would advocate the implementation of "new telephone identification protocols that enable phone networks to authenticate that all calls and text messages actually come from a real telephone number".

What the experts are talking about there is something that is commonplace in the eponymous IP networks that enable mobiles to achieve so much more than just be a voice call handling device.

Computer IP networks have had protocols that permit reverse lookups of numbers against a directory known as DNS, the Domain Name System, for example. The DNS is a common request-challenge system that has been leveraged to permit or deny access based on records populated into DNS by number/name registries, and is leveraged by other pieces of equipment known as "firewalls" to do forward and reverse lookups to check who is coming into and who is leaving a particular part of the network.

That said, these systems can be bypassed if someone in the middle subverts the normal traffic flow - challenging, but not impossible. And easily researched as all info is in the public domain.

The telephone system blindly accepts whatever number the calling equipment sends it, admitting a call onto or through the network unless the number has been blocked or masked out based on a part of the number matching a rule.

Each piece of network equipment in the world has a unique hardware "number" baked into it, a MAC address. Voice equipment is happy to use the number assigned to a particular location on the telephone network by an authorised body, blindly (ever "changed" your phone number?) - that is where the directory of "real telephone numbers" falls down - all phone numbers are, up to a point, real.

Older voice protocols, like ISDN, maintained a simple digit-matching mechanism to achieve this, although not a "lookup" function. Newer VoIP protocols (Voice over IP) can more easily be configured to inject any digits the (ab)user wants into the string of digits being passed into the older voice call network, which is where the system breaks down and permits a call from any network to make itself look like it originated from a number on the local authority's network. And then there are VPNs, which can make the connection appear as if it is originating in-country, rather than from a sweatshop several thousand miles away...

In short: t'is complicated, but it is a start - at least. 

The old 'gentleman's agreements' for what was allowed on a voice network are outdated and open to abuse - when anyone can put whatever number they like on a call as it originates from, or passes through, their compromised equipment.

If I was an expert, I'd like to think I had a number that was immune to such calls - but as I might even choose to keep "my" number out of any such directory, I can't see how any such "telephone identification protocols" can feasibly be made to work without re-architecting the entire system... which Telcos won't do unless pressured, as the system today "works", getting calls from A to B successfully.

It's an interesting arena, @Cleoriff - and Ofcom have decided, for better or worse, to start controlling it at last, instead of "overseeing" it.

 

Let's see how those inventive scammers get around this one - as I am sure they will.

 

[Edited for typos and grammar]

WhatIWonNotCS

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Cleoriff
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Sounds promising @pgn (although I admit I can't pretend to understand half of what you've written above 😉), but I do know this, if you leave one spark in a fire you think you have put out, a few more twigs thrown on it will start another big blaze.

This should have been started years ago before scamming became so sophisticated. Even our own guides on dealing with scam calls and texts are becoming obsolete now. The advice is good on what to do if you have been a victim but when they were written, scams were more simplistic. Hackers and scum like them don't just have a target audience of scamming elderly people out of their life savings. Nowadays, we are all at risk unless you have your wits about you. When scammers can clone numbers so they appear to come from O2 (for instance) what chance have we got?

So yes, it's a start but red tape, research groups, sub research groups etc etc etc, will ensure it's all too late. By the time they are ready to implement the measures in the article above, another arm of telephone (terrorist) scammers will have grown, more sophisticated than the last.

If this sounds cynical, it's because I am.

*The Game Is On*

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pgn
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And never underestimate the ineffability of the Committee, and the Sub-Committee, and the Working-Group, @Cleoriff 😉😐

WhatIWonNotCS

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Cleoriff
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@pgn wrote:

And never underestimate the ineffability of the Committee, and the Sub-Committee, and the Working-Group, @Cleoriff 😉😐


Not forgetting the sub working groups @pgn 😂

*The Game Is On*

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gmarkj
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Or the willingness of the committee to do the bidding of the one paying for it all...

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