MNOs and enterprises relying on Application-to-Person message ecosystems need to join forces to battle grey routes and spam, among other threats.

With more brand-to-consumer interactions moving to digital channels, enterprises and mobile network operators (MNOs) are facing negative factors such as fraud and the revenues lost to fraud, in their Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging ecosystem.

A2P messaging is defined as the process of sending text messages from an enterprise application directly to a mobile user. It is commonly referred to as “enterprise” or “professional” short messages. A2P is a one-way communications system for MNOs and enterprises to send automated, event-based SMS alerts and other important time-sensitive messages.

However, cybercriminals and fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in using A2P messaging systems to entrap people. According to Cédric Gonin, VP, Global Business Support, Orange International Carriers, his organization has witnessed a steady increase in the number of attacks over the years, with fraudsters getting smarter and new types of fraud emerging, causing financial and reputational losses to telcos and businesses but also emotional distress for the end-users.

Five critical A2P security challenges

A2P security is only as strong as the weakest link, so MNOs and enterprises should adopt the latest technology to combat fraudsters and protect their customers and business.

According to Infobip, five critical security challenges need to be addressed:

    • Artificially-inflated traffic: Fraudsters use bots to generate one-time PIN requests to generate undue costs and financially benefit from the fake messages
    • Flubot: Fraudulent links are being used to lead users to a malicious site to download an app or fake security update that infects a smartphone with this sophisticated SMS malware and trojan
    • Smishing: SMS phishing, also called smishing, is where fraudsters deceive consumers into revealing sensitive data which is misused.
    • Grey routes: Routes that bypass an MNO’s charging systems to deliver messages to end users, are costing MNOs revenue and leaving mobile users unprotected from security and privacy risks
    • Spam: Unsolicited messages have been plaguing mobile users and consumers for some time now

Infobip notes that MNOs should work with well- established messaging providers that have direct relationships with the large brands, and also introduce advanced firewall solutions to their networks to protect the A2P ecosystem.In Europethe firm is callingfor regulatory change to remove the restrictions on MNOs using particular modules like content analysis to protect the end users from different fraud scenarios.

Finally, content analysis is crucial for improving security standards while maintaining high privacy norms. For enterprises, a good way to fight the five A2P security challenges is to collaborate with messaging providers that have direct connections with MNOs, protecting consumers security and privacy through established communications platforms with global infrastructures.