The telecom industry has witnessed rapid development in recent years. It has ushered in a global era of connectivity. Whether it is the IoT, 5G, or Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, the telecom industry has been responsible for simplifying communication and making it faster. The transition to wireless connectivity, implementation of 5G, and increased usage of IoT devices are just a few of the several advancements made by the industry in recent years. It’s fair to call the telecom sector the backbone of life and business worldwide.
No wonder the global telecom services market size was $1657 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% between 2021 and 2028.
However, the rapid transformation and innovation have also led to rising security concerns such as cyber risks, revenue leakage, and even espionage or security compromises in the industry.
What Are The Security Concerns That Worry The Telecom Industry?
Telecom fraud is one of the leading reasons for revenue losses in the industry. According to a joint report published by Europol’s European Cybercrime Center and Trend Micro, telecom frauds lead to a revenue loss of $32.7 billion. This has negatively impacted operator revenue margins across the board. As telecom networks expand and more data gets exchanged through connected devices and users, telecom operators will have to find ways to counter these issues. Although new offerings such as 5G and IoT are laying the ground for ever more sophisticated ways to secure the network, hackers always find a way to breach the system and impact operations. Telecom operators must continuously audit their security framework and processes and establish ways to eliminate frauds and prevent revenue losses.
Recently, the telecom giant T-Mobile reported a security incident that compromised the data of 200,000 customers. A similar incident occurred early last year when Japan’s telecom company Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) reported that the data of 621 customers from one of their subsidiaries were stolen. The hackers had hacked the multiple security layers of their IT infrastructure to steal the data. Data breaches have become one of the common concerns for telecom operators. A 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report stated that hackers have been using IoT devices as a common entry point for cyber-attacks. As more businesses and individuals continue to work from home, edge points grow and so does the vulnerability. Telecom operators will have to build robust security architecture to reduce data breaches. They must incorporate data encryption, tokenization, authorized access, and firewalls to safeguard their network infrastructure and prevent data breaches.
Unplanned network downtime can cost telecom operators $15 billion per year. Of course, it’s bad for the users too. Businesses and individuals are dependent on good internet and telephone connectivity for day-to-day operations. Hence, unplanned downtime impacts their work and affects the operator’s bottom line revenue. If severe outages occur frequently, the telecom operator will risk losing their reputation and customers. While there are many reasons behind unplanned system outages, one of the major causes is a system upgrade. The operators are unable to reconnect the network after an upgrade or change in infrastructure. Other reasons include – routing problems, network congestions, and operational error. Taking proactive measures, communicating any upcoming outages, and anticipating and solving the issue within the decided SLA are ways to counter these issues.
Recently, India recorded an 845% increase in cyber-attacks between October 2020 and March 2021. According to Check Point Software, 93% of such attacks occur because the users are lured into installing malicious apps, which compromises the enterprises’ network security. Weak network infrastructure has led to an increase in ransomware incidents. Social engineering, DDoS attacks are some other kinds of attacks that operators are witnessing right now. Auditing the network infrastructure regularly and fixing vulnerabilities will enable operators to safeguard the infrastructure from malicious attacks. Resilient infrastructure is the only way forward for telecom operators. It’s also time that operators build a security-focused culture within their organization and take proactive measures to prevent malicious attacks.
Ever since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come into existence, enterprises have become conscious of data privacy threats. The onus now lies with telecom operators to protect the subscribers’ privacy. In its whitepaper, Ericsson recommended that the first step towards safeguarding the privacy of subscribers is to include privacy at every stage of the product or service development and in operations. This will enable the operators to proactively protect the subscribers’ privacy rather than taking remedial actions. They need to embed privacy controls within the processes to give subscribers the confidence that their data is fully protected and aligned with the regulations.
As the industry advances, the incidents of security threats will keep increasing. Hence, there is no better time than now for telecom operators to find ways to combat the rising security concerns. Operators can use SMS and voice firewall solutions to safeguard the network from threats and vulnerabilities. They can also invest in fraud detection and security solutions such as access and identity management, content filtering, and perimeter protection to protect the networks from threats.
At Globe Teleservices, we offer end-to-end network security solutions to telecom operators. We offer:
- Gateway solutions with fraud management that detect and block frauds entering the network
- SMS firewalls to block illegal SMS traffic
- Direct routing that prevents A2P SMS grey routing
- Protection from SMS spamming, flooding, spoofing, phishing, and viruses
To know more about our security solutions, contact us.