Monetize Traffic by Identifying and Preventing Grey Route Abuse

Protect and Increase your messaging based revenues by analyzing traffic and monetizing "grey route" traffic and application to person (A2P) messaging.

Businesses have embraced A2P SMS as an effective channel for customer engagement

With the Cloudmark Analytics Solution in place, mobile operators ensure that all commercial traffic use approved and vetted paths into the network and to the end subscriber—preventing mobile messaging fraud and revenue loss.

The Problem

Based on analysis conducted by Juniper Research1, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are losing greater than 15% of revenue associated with Application-to-Person (A2P) traffic. "Grey Route" traffic refers to messages and traffic that is improperly categorized and rated, sometimes by mistake and other times due to vendors, other carriers/MNOs, or aggregators intentionally mixing it with valid person-to-person traffic to conceal it and avoid higher charges. The Cloudmark Platform for Mobile with the optional Cloudmark Analytics Solution, enables reclaiming of revenue by monitoring traffic entering and passing through the MNO’s network; identifying and categorizing types of traffic, including "hidden" A2P traffic; producing evidential reporting to the MNO; while also providing for network and subscriber protections and for the operator to control their network.

Messaging security for evolving threats

Grey traffic is shown in the figure below in the Red and Orange traffic lines. The Red traffic represents A2P messages that are concealed within a Person-to-Person (P2P) link or bind. The Orange traffic represents legitimate A2P traffic that for whatever reason has been improperly represented, rated, or categorized. This traffic can enter the MNO’s network from a variety of sources and the Cloudmark Platform for Mobile with the Cloudmark Analytics Solution provides the MNO the insight and control necessary to appropriately manage this and other traffic.

1 Juniper Research, A2P Messaging: SMS, RCS & OTT Business Messaging 2020-2025, August 2020.

The Solution

With Proofpoint’s Cloudmark Platform for Mobile and the optional Cloudmark Analytics Solution in place, mobile operators ensure all commercial traffic uses approved and vetted paths into the MNO’s network and all messages are managed properly all the way to the end subscriber, preventing mobile messaging fraud and revenue loss. The Cloudmark Analytics Solution analyzes all traffic passing through the network and classifies and categorizes each message such that all messages are properly accounted for and can be managed properly. Analysis provided enables the operator to make real-time or offline decisions to better manage their traffic flow and messages. As a result, mobile operators secure their A2P revenue, reduce traffic and overhead, while also securing and protecting their end users from malicious content and attacks.

The figure below shows a closer look at the MNO network and the Cloudmark Platform for Mobile with the Cloudmark Analytics Solution components addressing this problem. The Fraud Management Console provides an interface for the MNO for monitoring and control. All these components are supported by the Cloudmark Global Threat Intelligence Network which is the world's largest and most comprehensive threat matrix.

Messaging security for evolving threats

As in the previous image, The Red traffic represents hidden A2P messages and the Orange traffic represents legitimate but mis- labeled or rated A2P traffic. The operator may choose to block the disguised traffic (Red) but will likely choose to deliver the legitimate but otherwise improperly categorized and rated traffic (Orange) to the subscriber.

The Solution Elements

  • Cloudmark Platform for Mobile – the premier solution for scalable, proven, carrier-grade sender reputation and content filtering for mobile network operators providing protects against Smishing, Spam, Grey Route Abuse, and Mobile Malware.
  • Fraud Management Console – platform for abuse categorization and interaction. It enables simple classification and immediate action via a policy engine, trains the system for automatic classification, clusters messages and provides visualization of the clusters and message traffic, and generates detailed message and traffic statistics.
  • Cloudmark Analytics Solution – add-on functionality to the Cloudmark Platform for Mobile performing detailed traffic and message analysis providing insight and visibility to trends, possible Grey Route abuse, and other improperly rated traffic. Categorizes messages and traffic and provides the MNO configurable dashboards and reporting. Cloudmark Analytics provides analysis that is real-time or offline actionable by the operator to better manage their traffic flow and messages.

The Cloudmark Advantage

Since 2011, Cloudmark solutions have been actively enabling Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to recover lost revenue by identifying and delivering Grey Traffic in real-time, at Tier 1 scales. Recent enhancements and the Cloudmark Analytics Solution provide Mobile Network Operators with the tools required to identify threats, different message varieties, and protect their revenue streams.

Mobile communications are evolving to include more MMS and RCS message growth, in addition to traditional SMS messaging. MNOs can rest assured that the Cloudmark technology is designed to support this evolution and the associated threats. The combination of proprietary algorithms for statistical linguistical categorization, clustering, and fingerprinting; predictive machine learning and artificial intelligence; automation; threat data from the world's largest Global Threat Intelligence Network; and expert security analysts, provides the most comprehensive technology platform for products and solutions to respond, expand, and grow with these evolving threats.

Patented Cloudmark Technologies

  • Statistical Linguistic Categorization
  • Percentage Matching
  • Cloudmark Authority Engine
  • Message Feature Extraction

The Key Benefits

  • Carrier Grade high availability solutions in both in-network and cloud-based deployments
  • Automated processes enabling speed and scale while increasing accuracy and predictability in messaging analysis
  • Patented clustering and analysis functionality
  • State of the art, predictive Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for rapid and accurate threat detection
  • Extensive Analytics platform provides visibility deep in to messaging trends and behaviors.
  • Critical visibility and control of all traffic maximizing revenue

Ready to give Cloudmark a try?

Let us walk you through our Cloudmark solutions and answer any questions you have about mobile security.