Up to 60 million dollars a year are cheated through Twitter SMS

Elon Musk claimed that A2P SMS fraud on Twitter could cost him $60 million during Twitter Spaces.

When it comes to the messaging ecosystem, we know that the threat landscape is constantly changing as attackers change their methods to circumvent new regulations and other developments, but the significant threat to business brand reputation and profitability remains constant.

The figures shared by Twitter and Elon Musk are the latest in a series of warning shots. In the interview, Musk claimed that Twitter was “defrauded by up to $60 million per year via text messages,” suggesting that no company, regardless of size or influence, is immune to A2P SMS fraud. It’s endemic and it’s time for the industry to act to banish it for good. Twitter’s claimed $60 million represented almost a third (27%) of the company’s reported losses in 2021. Analysis by Enea shows that the problem is widespread, so any notion that A2P SMS fraud is a minor concern should now be dismissed. addressed.

You can read the recording of Musk’s December 20 Twitter Spaces conversation below, starting at 43mn. He explains that there are super dishonest telecom operators (about 390) in some parts of the world, such as SMS two-factor authentication and account creation (via bots) to literally control the tab to access Twitter. message them and Twitter will pay them millions without asking. An entire telecommunications outage clearly affects legitimate Twitter users and prevents fraudulent traffic. Musk proposed to enter into a contract with telecommunications operators who engaged in blatant fraud.

Recently, there has been an increase in a type of fraud known as artificial traffic inflation (AIT), which is probably one of the main opportunities for this type of SMS fraud. AIT is performed on revenue share numbers, short codes and premium rate numbers that cost the end user the traffic that the data provider inflates for financial gain. This inflated traffic often takes the form of spam, designed to exploit loopholes in billing systems to trick people into calling a specific number.

In addition to bots that generate traffic from the Twitter service itself, this particular type of fraud can also be perpetrated in the ecosystem of actors that transport and deliver traffic from services like Twitter to end users, including mobile operators and aggregators. In other words, when there are many “hops” in a connection, there is a risk that one of those hops will cause this kind of traffic inflation. Other practices such as “grey routing” of traffic, where unauthorized traffic enters a telecommunications network unknown to the carrier, are also of growing concern. These “leaps” are essential to ensure global connectivity in a world where digital communication has become a way of life. It is therefore increasingly important for operators to be able to see, measure and control these risks in real-time. If left unchecked, this type of fraud will continue to jeopardize legitimate A2P traffic and revenue, and may jeopardize the SMS channel and render it irreparable beyond its economic value.

There are commercial trail management solutions such as Enea that use a wide range of use cases to detect and control patterns typical of this type of fraud. They provide complete visibility into more than 50 billion daily threats and monitor traffic from more than 2.2 billion end users, giving many of the world’s largest communications providers and aggregators unparalleled insights into managing and managing A2P traffic.

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