Press Release

BICS blocks 87 million Euros’ worth of fraud attacks

by BICS | April 4, 2024

BICS blocks 87 million Euros’ worth of fraud attacks
clock 2 mins read
  • 507 million spam calls and robocalls blocked by BICS in 2023, up from 395 million in 2022
  • Smishing attacks on the rise: 473 million smishing attacks blocked by BICS globally.
  • 80 percent of global smishing attacks targeting EU citizen

New data from international connectivity enabler BICS reveals it blocked 507 million fraudulent spam calls and robocalls across its network in 2023 – up 28% from the 395 million calls blocked in 2022. In total, BICS saved its customers 87 million EUR in estimated costs of wholesale fraud exposure

The figures reveal an alarming persistence – and growing complexity – in telecom fraud schemes. The ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF) recently reported 92 percent of carriers are prioritizing fraud prevention. To block the amount of calls it did in 2023, BICS utilized its FraudGuard solution, leveraging an extensive network of over 900 service providers. It uses a crowdsourcing model to automatically analyze BICS’ global traffic and protect it from attacks 24/7.

“Trust in communications is being diminished by robocalls,” says Jorn Vercamert, VP for Customer Solutions and Products at BICS, and Board Member of GLF. “It’s not just the volume, but the sophistication of fraudulent attacks swarming operators, that is causing significant financial and reputational loss. That’s going to make industry collaboration initiatives between telcos and regulators more important than ever. BICS has been advocating for greater industry collaboration for years, actively contributing to discussions being held by the i3Forum, andwe’re proud to have recently joined its One Consortium initiativewith this aim in mind.”

Beyond robocall attacks, SMS frauds, more specifically smishing attacks, are on a steep rising curve. In total, BICS proactively blocked 473 million smishing attempts. This aligns with industry findings from the GLF in 2023, where 61 percent of operators reported higher messaging fraud – double that of 2022 (35 percent). European citizens are the main target: 80 percent of the smishing attacks identified by BICS have targeted EU citizens (54 million individuals), and 80 percent of attacks originated using EU calling numbers.

The top countries originating smishing attacks include France, Poland, Chad, Spain and Germany, while 30% of those smishing attacks detected and blocked by BICS targeted Belgium and UK users as the intended destination.

“Robotexts are on a ticking time-bomb trajectory to overtake robocalls, and in my view, will become a much greater threat to consumers and enterprises than voice fraud,” says Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud Prevention and Security Services at BICS. “It is easier to get someone to engage with over SMS than a call, meaning it’s a lot easier for fraudsters to maximize impact via SMS. Unfortunately, it is more complex matter compared to Voice fraud and operators and businesses have less experience when it comes to staving off SMS fraud.”

“There’s generally a good amount of regulatory pressure already coming in on the voice front these days, but we need the same for SMS.  Telcos and government bodies should unite around creating a regulatory framework that allows for utilizing SMS content in a controlled and privacy-sensible manner to spot fraud.”

The GLF recently named BICS among the list of 22 carriers compliant with the GLF Code of Conduct for combatting fraud traffic. The code, established in 2018 in partnership with the i3Forum, sets forth principles for improving collaboration and effectiveness in fighting fraud.  Juniper Research also recognized BICS’ FraudGuard platform with a Telco Innovation Award for its effectiveness in mitigating international voice fraud.