It was  a great pleasure to welcome some of the leading experts from across the mobile telecommunications sector to Malta, to discuss some of the industry’s most pressing issues at the fifth GSMA Fraud and Security Group (FASG) meeting last week.

While our island is a great source of pride (and there were plenty of opportunities for delegates to explore the sights of the capital, Valletta), it was the high level of discussion that was most satisfying, as attendees sought out solutions to assist MNOs in overcoming some  very topical issues such as SS7 vulnerabilities and protect subscribers and their networks, in the process.

The presentation that I delivered on the first day of the conference explored the significant positive impact of the implementation of SS7 firewall solutions across some of the networks we support in the APAC region, and highlighted how important it was for MNOs to stay in control of their network traffic to ensure they offered the best possible customer experience.

This sentiment was echoed by Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at SRLabs. In a group discussion, he explained to delegates how hackers use the SS7 network to acquire subscriber location data. He gave some helpful guidance to MNOs on implementing strict rules to control traffic on their networks to minimise the risk to their customers.

Another key topic discussed by FASG delegates was the continuing challenge of A2P SMS bypass. In light of the growing importance of A2P as a revenue stream for MNOs, attendees were interested in discovering new ways to eliminate grey route fraud, to help them further improve the customer experience and optimise the monetisation of their A2P traffic.

FASG wasn’t all business though. Delegates had lots of time to unwind and network in the evening, and enjoy some of the landmark sights around the island as well as Maltese hospitality.

Overall, this latest installment of FASG was a fascinating and highly informative one. By meeting and sharing information in this way, delegates will be able to work together to find the right solutions to further improve protections for subscribers in the future, and ensure the sector continues to grow.

We hope that the delegates enjoyed the Maltese hospitality as much as we enjoyed hosting them. But even more than that, I hope the work that we carried out will have a lasting impact in helping to secure the international telecommuncations ecosystem.

To find out more about the work of FASG and the GSMA, visit the website here.