Fraudulent calls using fake numbers, originating from the so-called “Department of Justice” in the US or Canadian tax authorities, have not disappeared despite orders and ultimatums from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Posted at 6:00 am
And if the vast majority of Canadian suppliers have agreed to combat this scourge, a regulatory obligation since November 30, 2021, “many technical problems” have complicated their task, said Ian Scott, president of the CRTC, on Thursday. , before the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology.
“There is no single solution, no magic bullet, that can end this scourge,” he admitted. That is why we have implemented a solid strategy that is based on a series of technical and regulatory solutions. »
The essence of the CRTC’s strategy centers on the implementation of a standard called STIR/SHAKEN, an acronym for ” Revised secure telephony identity/signature-based handling of asserted information using tokens In a nutshell, “this technology allows service providers to verify whether the caller’s identity is trustworthy,” Scott said, for voice calls using Internet Protocol. A first deadline was set to force Canadian suppliers to implement it by March 31, 2019, then postponed to September 2020, June 2021, and finally November 30.
it’s not a panacea
Most Canadian providers, including major ones such as Bell, Rogers, Telus and Shaw, believe they have met this deadline. Thirty-one of them submitted their first required report last May. These documents, very redacted in their version available to the public, do not really make it possible to assess the effectiveness of this initiative.
But we still find in more than half of these reports one of the reasons why the STIR/SHAKEN standard is not a panacea. This is only effective with calls that use end-to-end Internet Protocol (IP). However, many fraudulent calls use multiple connections, some of which are non-IP, which is called in technical jargon ” Time difference multiplexing “. The acronym TDM is mentioned in 16 of the progress reports submitted last May.
“A TDM voice circuit [est] not considered suitable [à la norme STIR/SHAKEN], explains in particular in his report Quebecor, owner of Videotron. As of June 30, 2021, we have not yet upgraded our voice systems to STIR/SHAKEN standards. As a result, we did not have a proper voice circuit for authentication and for SHAKE/SWIVEL verification. »
Videotron claims to be “currently in the process of identifying meters and defining the methodology” to make their network compatible.
“A significant percentage of interconnections between providers is still in TDM, adds Telus in its report from last May. As Telus continues to encourage its partners to migrate to IP interconnections, it will take some time to fully achieve this goal. »
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the equivalent of the CRTC, has been asking the industry since 2020 to correct this weakness. A first standard was approved in June 2021.
According to CRTC president Ian Scott, artificial intelligence is “a promising new weapon” in the fight against fraudulent calls. After a 15-month trial, Bell was given the go-ahead in December 2021 to implement its AI-based technology. “To date, including the trial period, more than 1.5 billion calls have been successfully intercepted and blocked on the Bell network,” said Scott.
As for the national do not call list, put in place in 2008 and allowing Canadians to say no to receiving certain unsolicited calls, it now has 14.6 million numbers, he said. This method, however, is of little use with IP calls where the originating number can be easily changed.
“The problem of fraudulent calls is not limited to Canada; it is a problem in most English-speaking countries, the CRTC president concluded before the committee. In the United States alone, approximately 2,100 automated robocalls are sent to consumers every second. »
- Number of extortion scams reported in 2021 where scammers impersonated by phone or email.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Center
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