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November 16, 2023

Hidden Threats of Flash Calling

Hidden Threats of Flash Calling

In today’s digital landscape, the concern over securely logging users into applications or verifying crucial transactions is growing. How many different apps do people use today? On average, each mobile phone has 80 applications installed. Of course, not all of them are used. But when it comes to mobile banking, social networks, or other applications with sensitive data, users want to be 100% sure of security but do not want to deal with unnecessary inconvenience.

This is where flash calling steps in, offering a swift and user-friendly two-factor authentication solution. What challenges does this growing trend present, and why should Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) pay attention to it?

How Does Flash Calling Work

A flash call is a type of call that does not require a response. Numerous companies employ this tool as the second step in their two-factor authentication process. In this procedure, a company dials a client’s phone number. At the same time, a client need not answer the call to gain access to their account or verify a particular transaction. All that’s required is the entry of the last 2 or 4 digits of the calling number. Additionally, due to automation capabilities, this input may not even be necessary, as mobile phones can automatically detect the required codes from call logs without any action from the customer. Nevertheless, granting applications access to calls is a prerequisite for this functionality.

Many analysts have already called flash calling the quickest, most cost-effective, and secure method of two-factor authentication for clients worldwide.

A Win-Win Strategy, Isn’t It?

The advantages of flash calling are undeniable.

  • Businesses gain a convenient tool for engaging with users and ensuring their security, enhancing the overall user experience, and consequently boosting customer loyalty. At the same time, it brings significant cost savings: according to various experts, utilizing these unmissed calls allows companies to reduce costs by 25% to 60% when compared to the previously popular A2P SMS with authentication passwords.
  • End users also reap benefits from flash calling as it offers reliable protection for their accounts and is far more convenient than SMS passwords, as it eliminates the need for manual code entry.

If everything seems so promising, what’s the catch?

A Reason for MNOs to Pay Attention

A seemingly straightforward and convenient multi-factor authentication tool presents a hidden threat to mobile operators. But why?

Consider the following statistics:

  • Approximately 5 billion flash calls were made in 2022.
  • According to experts, the flash calling market is projected to reach nearly £66.8 million in 2023.
  • By 2026, this market could potentially grow to a staggering £130 billion.

An increasing number of software developers are now offering flash-calling solutions, with many global companies actively embracing this method and directing their clients’ attention to its advantages. The issue at hand is that flash calling is gradually but inexorably displacing a tried-and-true two-factor authentication tool, A2P SMS. For comparison, in 2020, roughly 400 billion messages were dispatched to customers containing one-time passwords to validate various account actions.

Moreover, while MNOs receive payments for transmitting A2P SMS, unanswered calls can be placed entirely free of charge. After all, the client need not answer the call, resulting in no charge for the connection.

Prohibit or Take Control?

Multi-factor authentication isn’t merely a passing trend; it’s an imperative in our digitally interconnected world, where cyber threats continue to grow. Moreover, flash calls are legal in most countries, with the exception of Japan, where this form of communication is prohibited. Concurrently, this method of authentication offers convenience for both clients and businesses.

However, this is not about giving up profits for MNOs. Operators have the option to either outright prohibit such calls on their networks or impose a specific fee for their use.

It’s crucial to remember that you can’t manage what you can’t monitor. Therefore, MNOs will require dependable tools to track flash call traffic effectively, aiding in its accurate identification. Such tools will enable an assessment of the extent of the issue within your network — potentially revealing that there isn’t an issue at all. They will also provide the opportunity to assume control over flash calling and make informed decisions regarding the emerging threat of loss of budgets.

TelcoGuard offers solutions can identify Flash calls and protect mobile operators’ revenues. Our experts are ready to help you audit your network, identify existing and potential threats, showcasing how our platform can strengthen your network integrity, ensure compliance and unlock new monetisation opportunities.

Contact us today to learn more about how TelcoGuard can protect your revenue and ensure the financial future of your network.