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Oculeus: Changing The Game in Telecom Fraud Protection

Pipeline had the opportunity to catch up with Arnd Baranowski, the CEO of Oculeus, at International Telecoms Week event in Atlanta, GA to hear more about the company’s approach to preventing telecoms fraud.

Is it true that Oculeus is helping telcos generate revenue from telecoms fraud?

Yes, this is certainly true. I know that it sounds a bit strange at first, although we have created a very interesting framework that benefits telcos, their enterprise customers and of course Oculeus.

At the end of last year, we launched a Cloud-based product for protecting PBX systems from hacking and toll fraud. This system, which is named Oculeus-Protect, uses anomaly detection techniques and artificial intelligence to identify, confirm and block fraudulent telecommunications traffic inside enterprise PBX systems and communications networks within milliseconds.

A telco or even a managed service provider can host Oculeus-Protect in its Cloud-environment and offer a telecoms fraud protection service designed to protect the PBX systems of its enterprise customers.

This is a win-win situation in that with Oculeus-Protect the telco can improve its overall fight against telecoms fraud and have the framework to offer a valuable new service at an attractive rate.

What is the model you offer to telcos for working with Oculeus-Protect?

The idea is that we enter into revenue sharing partnerships with telcos.

Together with each telco, we define a PBX protection service that is appropriate for the requirements of the local market. This service of course needs to be integrated into the telco’s network as well as its billing and other corporate systems.

We maintain responsibility for setup of the system and maintaining the protection settings, while the telco manages the customer relations with the system.

In this model, a telco is not just our customer as with our other products lines, but rather becomes a large sales channel partner with a significant market reach.

What is problematic about protecting enterprise PBX systems and why are they exposed to telecoms fraud?

From the perspective of a telco, protecting PBX systems and enterprise communications networks as part of its overall telecoms fraud protection effort is highly problematic. This is because PBX systems are generally installed on an enterprise’s premise or in its Cloud environment. This situation positions these PBX systems outside the reach of the existing fraud management practices of a telco.

Oculeus-Protect solves this problem by extending the telecoms fraud protection reach of a telco to cover enterprise PBX devices. With Oculeus-Protect, there is live verification on all enterprise calls. Those calls that are not legitimate like the ones injected by fraudsters are blocked instantly before financial losses are incurred.

According to the telecoms market research firm, Technology Research Institute (TRI), US enterprises suffer an estimated $2 billion dollars a year in financial losses caused by PBX-based telecoms fraud.

Specifically, how does the Oculeus-Protect system work to address this problem of PBX fraud?

The first step is that the enterprise’s PBX systems must be configured so that the call signaling flows can be monitored by Oculeus-Protect. The company states that this configuration process only take a few minutes and can be performed by the PBX system administrator.

As soon as this configuration process is completed, Oculeus-Protect begins protecting the monitored PBX systems. The company ensures that this monitoring has no noticeable impact on the quality of the calls.

Oculeus-Protect profiles the enterprise’s communications network and baselines expected telecommunications activities. The enterprise’s communications network is continuously monitored for traffic anomalies. Any suspicious traffic is immediately evaluated and, if confirmed to be fraudulent, is blocked instantly.

What do the industry analysts have to say?

Dan Baker is the research director at TRI and he has closely reviewed the Oculeus-Protect solution.  Dan said “In TRI’s opinion, Oculeus-Protect delivers a breakthrough that could have a lasting impact on curtailing PBX fraud across the board.”  

Thank you for sharing your insights and perspective with us today.

Arnd Baranowski, CEO, Oculeus

Source: Media interview with Arnd Baranowski at ITW2019

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