Corporate identity fraud is plaguing various industries, but one of the most heavily impacted could well be the telecommunications market.
A recent incident, not widely reported other than on Linkedin, is the corporate identity theft perpetrated using belgian national telecoms operator, Proximus www.proximus.be. By using Proximus credentials, several other companies were possibly defrauded. The real Proximus is a part of a group of companies that include remittance platform HomeSend www.homesend.com, which remittance and mobile money operators use as an exchange between their networks.
Nobody knows yet exactly when and how this fraud happened, nor how big the breach is. The crime has been downplayed because there is evidence that the identity of a Proximus employee was used. There seems to be some confusion over whether the person exists, and whether he still works for the company. The case is now in the hands of the police with no further information being given out.
One of the companies that has been targeted by the scheme, a wholesale voice termination company, US based Global Net Holdings, has disclosed that the sum of their losses were luckily very small, but still a significant portion of their profits.
Who is Global Net holdings? The company has been operating for over 10 years, but in an interesting development it has come to light that they are connected to Drachmae Project. The creator of the Drachmae Project is also owner of Global Net Holdings. The purpose of the project in relation to telecoms is serendipitous.
Drachmae project has been working on use cases for Blockchain Technology, and was searching for a live use case to validate its platform. This may well be what it has been looking for.
Lee Gibson Grant Says:
“I have been experimenting with blockchain technology to solve issues in the telecoms sector but, due to data privacy, many companies do not give access to internal information. Even though this fraud has impacted my business directly it has conversely provided the information we needed to propel the project.
The theft of the corporate identity of Proximus was very well executed. Information on this cannot be shared, as it is in the hands of the police, but it has provided the required information on how the blockchain can be effectively applied to reduce and potentially eliminate bad actors. Already dozens of providers have expressed their willingness to participate in the use case to safeguard their businesses in the future.
The first phase of the project will involve the Interconnect and payment term agreements between players. The first mover will be Global Net Holdings, offering a new solution. This will bring in its partners willing to accept the new digital contracts. We are confident we will migrate all our reliable partners and only offer this business model to new interconnects going forward.
The Second Phase will extend to the billing process. This will be enforced by Global Net Holdings as the only method of accepting and issuing invoices. We are again confident that other participants will adopt the same processes.
Currently Global Net Holdings has in the order of 200 Interconnection Agreements globally, ranging from Calling card providers to Tier 1 National operators.
Partner companies will be first movers in the marketplace and we will see increased participation when these first movers see the benefits of reducing the risk of fraud, and also the other functions that will not be made public initially. These features will increase profits and reduce costs for the companies involved in the network.”
Drachmae Project has extended an invitation to Proximus to participate. It is clear that their inputs and size would help speed the process up, and show their support of the initiative to eliminate bad actors from the industry. Drachmae is still waiting on the response from Proximus. In the meantime Global Net Holdings and other victims are also eagerly awaiting feedback on the fraud investigation. Everyone is concerned because of the extent and sophistication of the attack.
This use case in telecommunication could disrupt the industry in more ways than just mitigating against fraud and corruption. It could grow into the industry standard since all participating companies will be required to be node owner of the DT Chain Permission based blockchain network. This will in turn make the DT Chain a vast network able to compete in the blockchain space beyond telecoms.
About Drachmae Project:
Drachmae project acts as an incubator for use cases to discover potential opportunities in real life scenarios that are not paper based. This is achieved by working with channel partners running parallel services to their existing infrastructures. The core objective is to provide viable hybrid solutions, from SME up to Large Enterprise level business models that onboard businesses to blockchain technology. This may, in turn, roll out to consumers in a practical way.