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8x8 rolls out Omni Shield, a New SMS Fraud Prevention API

8x8 is taking a step forward in the fight against SMS fraud. The cloud communication service provider launched a new solution called Omni Shield, designed to offer a robust protective layer for businesses and their customers. The solution has a pre-built SMS fraud prevention application programming interface (API) that combines multiple modes of communication, such as SMS, voice, chat, and video.

Omni Shield is part of 8x8’s expansive Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) toolset, allowing businesses to add real-time communication features to their apps without building backend infrastructure. With CPaaS, businesses can scale up and provide a better customer communication experience.

SMS fraud is a massive yet often overlooked industry. The breadth of SMS fraud, also known as SMS phishing or smishing, can vary widely depending on the region and target audience. There are many types of SMS fraud, below of which are the more common types:

  • Phishing is where fraudsters send text messages that appear to be from a legitimate company, government organization, or even an employee to trick the person into revealing sensitive information.
  • SMSscamming is where people are sent deceiving information, such as winning a lottery or contest, investment scams, no-interest loans, or fake job offers. The goal is to get individuals to send money or personal data. 
  • Malwaredistribution happens when SMS messages contain links to malware-infected sites or apps. One click of these links can lead to malware being installed on the user’s endpoint and then infecting an entire company. 
  • Identity theft occurs when messages are used to gather information like social security numbers, home addresses, mother’s maiden name, and other related facts. 
  • Subscription fraud is when messages are sent and trick the user into subscribing to services. Extended warranties, technical support and investments are examples. 

SMS toll fraud happens when hackers breach a company’s communications system and use the infrastructure to send high-volume, high-cost messages with the unsuspecting organization left holding the bag. Security Boulevard estimates that SMS fraud currently costs organizations over $10B annually without sign of abating soon.

8x8’s Omni Shield has unique features, including an advanced monitoring system for messaging across web and mobile applications. It can detect and block most Artificial Inflation of Traffic (AIT) attacks, potentially saving companies from related expenses. AIT attacks can be costly as they are designed to artificially boost traffic, often leading to unwarranted charges for businesses.

Omni Shield also provides instantaneous fraud detection with real-time traffic analysis that tracks and flags potential fraudulent activity. Real-time analysis gives businesses an up-to-the-moment understanding of their communication traffic. The faster they can identify a threat, the quicker they can act to mitigate any potential damage.

Lastly, the solution comes with an auto-block mechanism, which helps companies automatically detect and shut out messages originating from malicious sources. Manual monitoring and response can be time-consuming and might not catch every threat, especially in large-scale operations. An automated response mechanism ensures that potential threats are dealt with as soon as they’re detected.

Together, these features offer businesses a robust line of defense against SMS fraud, minimizing financial risks and preserving the integrity of their communication channels. 8x8 CPaaS is part of the company's larger XCaaS cloud, which delivers unified communications, contact center and APIs as a single platform. 

When evaluating communication providers, security is an often-overlooked area, but the reality is that the bad guys often use communication channels to gather sensitive information and breach companies. It’s important that communications professionals work with security teams to ensure they are protected against threats like SMS fraud as the cost of ignoring can be very large.