Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, dependency on voice communications skyrocketed. Little did the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) know that when they signed the first order of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act in late 2019, a global pandemic would follow suit and affect the way the world would soon depend on the communications channel so heavily. With this dependency came an open window for bad actors in the ecosystem to take advantage of the opportunity to scam consumers.
Scammers have increasingly been spoofing, or altering, their outbound caller ID to mask their identity or appear as though their call is coming from a legitimate source to deceive unsuspecting subscribers with robocalls. These spoofed calls are usually malicious attempts to sell products or services without subscriber consent, or to take money from the receiver fraudulently.
As a result, the FCC recently passed a mandate requiring all voice service providers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN framework and register with the Robocall Mitigation Database to avoid having their domestic voice traffic blocked. To support the industry-wide initiative to cut down on the number of fraudulent calls, STIR/SHAKEN aims to operationally provide verification of the identity of an originating party into the network – across all carriers – to reduce illegally spoofed calls and assist in the prosecution of bad actors.
What Is STIR/SHAKEN?
Wikipedia defines secure telephony identity revisited (STIR) and signature-based handling of asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN), as a suite of protocols and procedures intended to combat caller ID spoofing on public telephone networks.
- STIR – A working group within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an internet standards body, has developed a set of protocols used to create a digital signature for a call. The signed call includes information about the calling party and allows for verification of the signature by the terminating provider.
- SHAKEN refers to the standards for how STIR is to be deployed by service providers within their networks. Think of it as a framework that is built on the idea of STIR protocol. It provides an end-to-end architecture for service providers to verify and attest who is originating the call so a terminating carrier can validate it, thus identifying the callers’ identity.
How Does STIR/SHAKEN Work?
STIR/SHAKEN combines to combat caller ID spoofing when an originating voice provider recognizes a phone number (or customer) and can verify where the number originated. A certificate is then added to the session initiation protocol or SIP invite, attesting the call. This certificate acts as the “telephone identity” that gets attached to the SIP invite and transported over the SIP network to the terminating voice provider.
When the terminating carrier receives the certificate, they verify the validity of the attached certificate and if it has been signed by the relevant key that has been attested, the terminating provider will then choose how to terminate that call. The levels of attestation do not necessarily correlate to their trustworthiness. Analytics will remain in place for call validation treatment to ensure that unwanted, scam or illegal phone calls will still be labeled accordingly.
How Will STIR/SHAKEN Affect My Company?
Many companies are asking, “What is STIR/SHAKEN?” “How does it affect business operations?” “How will I know if my carrier is STIR/SHAKEN compliant?”
Has your business received complaints about calls it did not make? Technological advancements in the telecommunications industry have made it easier and cheaper than ever for callers to spoof or falsify caller ID information. The industry no longer consists of a few trusted carriers, but instead, a multitude of voice service providers are now originating calls.
If your company is making calls to consumers or other businesses, you can be negatively impacted if your voice service provider fails to meet and maintain compliance with STIR/SHAKEN. Service providers who fail to meet these requirements may have calls originating on their networks blocked. As a business making calls, you should check in with your service provider directly to ensure that they are meeting all STIR/SHAKEN requirements.
STIR/SHAKEN Compliant Solutions
ATC can help remove spam or potential spam labels on calls that have been labeled incorrectly for our clients. Additionally, we can help your company move to STIR/SHAKEN compliant solutions. Contact us today for a free consultation and receive expert guidance on how to implement these solutions into your business. Count on ATC’s innovative expertise for next-gen IT services.