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What is the Sim Box Problem?

For mobile network operators, large-scale SIM Farms, either on-network or off-network, now represent  the biggest challenge to the growth of revenues from A2P messaging services. SIM Farms exploit bulk SMS  bundles available with standard SIM packages to send large volumes of A2P messages at extremely low  cost. As operators typically charge around 3 cent for legitimate A2P termination, revenue loss via  SIM Farms can be substantial. The Fraud Loss Survey Report 2021 has pegged losses from SIM box fraud and the broader interconnect bypass fraud at $3.11 billion, or 7.8% of global telecom

SIM Farms are run by a shadowy layer of micro-providers that exist alongside  the public facing aggregators that manage the termination of the bulk of A2P traffic between enterprises and operators. A significant proportion of global A2P traffic is ultimately terminated on networks via these  SIM Farms. Openmind Networks has discovered large volumes of 2FA traffic from leading social media  providers delivered on networks in this way, as well as traffic from major banks and other financial  institutions. It is unlikely that these organizations would knowingly use fraudulent routes to send content  to their customers. 

In the past, mobile operators typically relied on volume threshold settings on their SMS Firewalls to detect  SIMBOX activity on their networks. For example, any number sending more than 300 messages per day  might be considered a SIMBOX and blocked. However, the rise in large SMS bundled offerings per SIM has  made it difficult to correctly establish what the maximum message rate per day should be. It is also clear  that experienced SIM Farm providers are keeping message volumes per SIM below the network threshold  and thereby remaining active for a long period. 

It has become apparent that the only effective way to detect SIMBOX activity is to use technology that  can combine automated analysis of the content of messages with volume-based analysis to correctly  identify active SIMBOX devices without the risk of false positives. Openmind Networks has developed an advanced SIMBOX detection solution as part of our machine-learning-based Smart Services portfolio

Openmind’s SIM BOX Detection Solution  

Openmind’s solution for SIM BOX Detection uses our machine-learning Smart Control technology to detect  Application-to-Person (A2P) content coming from mobile devices. 

Mobile devices sending A2P messages  can be considered as SIMBOX devices. We further classify the type of A2P content being sent by these  devices to allow the host Operator to decide which types of devices to block.

The reason for this is that  the Operator may wish to temporarily permit the delivery of content that is essential for their mobile  subscribers. In the long term, Operators need to have a monetization plan to ensure that all legitimate  content is terminated through their official A2P channels. 

To prevent false positives, we implement SIMBOX detection in near-realtime, and start blocking  numbers once a minimum threshold for sending A2P content is hit, (for example, 10 instances of known  A2P content coming from a single device). 

Once this happens, the sender MSISDN can be automatically  added to a SIMBOX blacklist, and this list uploaded to the network firewall for blocking. 

Openmind’s Smart SIMBOX Detection Service

Smart Control  

Smart Control uses Artificial Intelligence technology to apply a classification ‘Tag’ to all incoming  messages. This Tag identifies the type of message based on its content, e.g. 2FA, Password Resets,  Targeted Financial Information etc. 

Using the Tag, any messaging platform can make an intelligent routing/charging/blocking decision based  on precise knowledge of the content. The Tags can be unique for each customer, we model your portfolio  of messaging services and implement the necessary rules controlling each service in the network. 

SIMBOX Control Tool  

The SIMBOX Control Tool uses the Tags assigned by Smart Control to present a view of active SIMBOX  devices on the network so the operator can determine what should be blocked. 

The tool can import lists  of numbers (e.g. whitelists of M2M devices and legitimate enterprises) that need to be excluded from  SIMBOX selection. The tool allows operators to manually create SIMBOX blacklists for uploading to a  Firewall, or can be used to configure automated settings. 

The Tool allows operators to identify both on-network SIMBOX devices, as well as SIMBOX devices operating on domestic or international partner networks. Operators can use the GUI to filter on  particular content types for priority blocking. 

How we help you with SIM Box detection

Tools & Software used: Openmind’s Smart Control Machine Learning Technology, SIMBOX Control Tool 

Openmind Resources: Engineering & Operations 

Customer Interfaces: A2P Business Owners (International & Domestic), Revenue Assurance, Fraud  Management, Regulatory & Customer Experience Management 

Customer Outcomes: Give you the ability to detect and block SIMBOX originated traffic on the  network. Goal of the service is to protect A2P revenues by ensuring that message delivery via SIMBOX  devices is not a quality option for important A2P customers.

If you would like to find out more or have a chat with one of the team, please reach out today by emailing or you can fill our form here

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