MTN announced in May 2018 that it had made it compulsory for all WASPs which operate on its network to subscribe to an industry-approved anti-fraud software solution.
MTN executive Jacqui O’Sullivan told MyBroadband the reason for the requirement is that the mobile industry has been hit by malware and “click-jacking” attacks.
“These are tactics that are used by unscrupulous advertising networks to drive up their revenues. More customers than ever are being affected and as a responsible corporate citizen, we felt it necessary to intervene on behalf of our customers,” said MTN.
The move was welcomed by consumers, who said it was a step in the right direction for mobile operators.
To see what Vodacom, Telkom, and Cell C have planned in the anti-fraud space, MyBroadband spoke to the networks about the potential of implementing similar systems.
Vodacom told MyBroadband it has implemented a number of measures in a concerted effort to eliminate fraudulent WASP activity on its network.
“For instance, last year we made an anti-fraud solution compulsory for all WASPs. In March 2018, Vodacom implemented a best-in-class anti-fraud solution called BlockFraud,” said a Vodacom spokesperson.
“In early April, we went a step further by curtailing new WASP activations until Vodacom is given auditable validation of a WASPs security processes and tools, as well as the implementation of a more robust network-initiated USSD mechanism whereby Vodacom directly receives confirmation of a subscription to a service from customers.”
“Once a WASP is fully compliant with these measures, only then can they operate on our network,” said Vodacom.
Cell C stated that it has a double opt-in platform in place, and is introducing additional mechanisms on its systems that “will make it more robust to address potential malicious software-related vulnerabilities”.
“Cell C also works closely with WASPA to ensure that malware and click-jacking attempts are addressed promptly if they manage to bypass the solution. We are continuously applying security updates to our platforms to ensure that these issues are always addressed,” said a Cell C spokesperson.
The network added that it will always prioritise its customers when it comes to dealing with fraud or rogue WASPs.
“Customers authorise all subscriptions against their mobile accounts and have the ability to view and cancel any subscription via a USSD menu (*133*1#). Cell C also provides customers with the ability to block their mobile accounts from any WASP subscription service.”
Telkom told MyBroadband it is reviewing similar solutions to the one implemented by MTN to address WASP fraud.
“We currently use the double opt-in method where our customers will receive an SMS after subscribing to a service, requiring the customer to reply YES or NO to confirm if they want to subscribe to a WASP service,” said a Telkom spokesperson.
Telkom also allows users to block all WASP subscriptions by default, a feature which can be enabled through the Telkom app.