Ensuring 360° defense – for a safer environment

A Total Telecom interview with Stephan Schroeder, Vice President Internet & Content at Deutsche Telekom ICSS

If the destruction caused by the recent cyber security incidents is any indication, we should brace ourselves for more sophisticated and frequent cyber attacks. Data of close to 200 million customers of US credit report giant, Equifax, was compromised recently in one of the biggest data breaches. Not too long ago, many users across the globe found themselves locked out of their systems as a result of `WannaCry’ and `NotPetya’ malware attacks.

Our growing dependence on digital infrastructure and easy availability of malware over the Internet is making us more vulnerable to intensive cyber attacks. The future is not encouraging either. The intensity of the attacks is only going to increase as the number of connected devices grows, and the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes pervasive. According to Gartner, 20.4 billion devices are likely to be in use by 2020 and potentially each one of these devices can be a weak link in the chain, making the entire system vulnerable and open to hackers.

Disruption of day-to-day operations, potential loss of revenue and customers, are just some of the consequences of a data breach. It is imperative to take a proactive approach to ensure the safety and security of your IT assets. Only a comprehensive solution that fights the battle on multiple fronts will be able to guarantee the security of your systems and infrastructure. It is this holistic approach to ensuring security at all possible levels that governs Deutsche Telekom International Carrier Sales & Solutions' 360° Defense Strategy.

Prevention is better than cure where ensuring the security of your customers’ vital data and infrastructure is concerned. Being a Tier 1 service provider means that we are extremely conscientious of our customers’ network infrastructure and assets. The threats are so vast now with far-reaching consequences that it is important to address the different entry points at the same time,” says Stephan Schroeder, Vice President, Internet and Transport, ICSS.

Addressing all battle fronts simultaneously - For a safer environment
The telecom service providers face threats at multiple points. ICSS has recently expanded its portfolio to address the evolving security needs of its customers. 

Securing SS7 protocol
A key pain point for the operators is that the hackers take advantage of the gaps in the Signalling System 7 (SS7) protocol to intercept and listen in on calls and messages. Lately, the hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and are using advanced tools to break into SS7 to not just intercept the calls but to also pinpoint the location of the subscriber jeopardizing the physical security of the customer. The onus is on the service provider to protect the privacy of their customers.

“We launched SS7 Firewall earlier this year to stop hackers and malicious elements from listening to calls and messages of our customers. We are one of the largest signaling providers in the world, and we provide this service to other service providers who want their customers to enjoy communication services without any fear of hackers. We also recently launched SMS+ Protect to help fight against ever-growing text messaging fraud,” explains Schroeder.

Providing secure mobile access
Security concerns should not hinder the use of technology and with this in mind ICSS recently launched its IP-VPN Mobile Access, which essentially allows the user to securely access crucial business documents from mobile devices.

“This is a first-of-its-kind service and allows service providers to address clients in difficult to reach locations or those customers who need temporary sites,” says Schröder.

Addressing the voice fraud

Another kind of fraud that eats into the revenues of the service provider is the voice fraud. The telecom industry loses $38 billion in fraud every year, according to Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA). Hacking of private or corporate PBX systems and subsequent abuse of voice networks is one of the biggest threats facing the industry. To combat this, ICSS has a dedicated fraud management team, which uses the advanced automated monitoring system to identify and address the problem quickly. 

Managing DDoS attacks
A key component of ICSS 360° Defense Strategy is helping the service providers in managing the growing number of Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks. Hackers attack numerous computers and devices at the same time to devastate a network. The service providers experiencing number of DDoS attacks  grew  86% in 2016, up from 77% in 2015, according to Arbor Networks. Such attacks are only going to increase in the IoT era. 

“DDoS attacks are increasingly becoming more complex, and while we have a range of products and solutions to address it, we realize that we need to collaborate with other industry players,” says Schroeder.

ICSS has tied up with security specialist Arbor Networks to further enhance the effectiveness of its strategy. In addition to the multi-Tbps backbone protection within DT’s Tier-1 IP network, the company can now handle over 4 Tbps of mitigation capacity in the cloud and plans to double this to 8 Tbps by the end of this year. In case of a volumetric attack, traffic is re-routed to Arbor’s centers where it is cleaned before being sent to the client.

“Many of the malicious attacks now are multi-vector where both the network layer (OSI Layers 3 and 4) and the application layer (OSI Layer 7) are attacked simultaneously. To address this kind of attacks, it is important that we extensively work with our clients to formulate the right solution in keeping with their unique requirements,” says Schroeder.

The proactive ICSS 360° Defense Strategy ensures that the security issues are addressed even before they emerge. Deutsche Telekom’s experience of managing a world-class secure network enables them to provide a safe and secure network to their clients and thus safeguarding their revenue and reputation.

Deutsche Telekom were voted Best Security/Fraud Solution at the 3rd annual Carriers World Awards for their ICSS 360° Defense Strategy.

Related Links: 
360° Defense Strategy
Best Security/Fraud Solution

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