Mobile Ecosystem Forum

SMS Security

The Mobile Ecosystem Forum is a global trade association for the mobile industry. It's members are some of the largest mobile service providers and financial institutions in the world. MEF's concept was to create an industry wide platform that helps service providers to identify and block fraudulent SMS text messages that cause so much damage to organisations and consumers.

The Challenge

Smishing is a text messaging scams which trick consumers into sending money or sharing their account details with fraudsters are known as ‘Smishing’ (or phishing by SMS). Criminals send bogus texts which appear to come from a trusted sender. This is a rapidly growing part of the cyber fraud industry that is estimated to costs organisations such as Financial Services Institutions, Utilities, Government Services, Messaging Aggregators and MNO's $1,800,000 per minute globally. Our challenge was to help MEF realise their concept by building a secure online reference database of Blacklist and Whitelist SMS Short Codes that could be accessed independently and trusted by MEF stakeholders.

Value add

We started by mapping the user journey for each stakeholder from the point of uploading potentially fraudulent SMS traffic through crowdsourced authorisation and publication of an agreed blacklist that each stakeholder can reference.

With design verification from key stakeholders we then built a multi portal administration system with tiered authorisation processes and multiple regionalised instances.

MEF’s SMS SenderID Protection Registry is the world's first Anti Smishing platform, established to automate cross-stakeholder processes to reliably and quickly share information between stakeholders to facilitate and orchestrate blocking of Smishing fraud.

Outcome

There are currently more than 70 bank and Government agencies being protected by the Registry, with over 24 banks and Government agencies directly participating and 352 trusted SenderIDs registered to date.

Over 1500 unauthorised variants are being blocked on an ever-growing blacklist, including 300 senderIDs relating to the Government’s Coronavirus campaign.

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