Isolating and analyzing fraud activities in a large cellular network via voice call graph analysis

Nan Jiang, Yu Jin, Ann Skudlark, Wen Ling Hsu, Guy Jacobson, Siva Prakasam, Zhi-Li Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

With widespread adoption and growing sophistication of mobile devices, fraudsters have turned their attention from landlines and wired networks to cellular networks. While security threats to wireless data channels and applications have attracted the most attention, voice-related fraud activities also represent a serious threat to mobile users. In particular, we have seen increasing numbers of incidents where fraudsters deploy malicious apps, e.g., disguised as gaming apps to entice users to download; when invoked, these apps automatically - and without users' knowledge - dial certain (international) phone numbers which charge exorbitantly high fees. Fraudsters also frequently utilize social engineering (e.g., SMS or email spam, Facebook postings) to trick users into dialing these exorbitant fee-charging numbers. In this paper, we develop a novel methodology for detecting voice-related fraud activities using only call records. More specifically, we advance the notion of voice call graphs to represent voice calls from domestic callers to foreign recipients and propose a Markov Clustering based method for isolating dominant fraud activities from these international calls. Using data collected over a two year period from one of the largest cellular networks in the US, we evaluate the efficacy of the proposed fraud detection algorithm and conduct systematic analysis of the identified fraud activities. Our work sheds light on the unique characteristics and trends of fraud activities in cellular networks, and provides guidance on improving and securing hardware/software architecture to prevent these fraud activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobiSys'12 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services
Pages253-266
Number of pages14
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Event10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys'12 - Low Wood Bay, Lake District, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 25 2012Jun 29 2012

Publication series

NameMobiSys'12 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services

Other

Other10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys'12
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLow Wood Bay, Lake District
Period6/25/126/29/12

Keywords

  • cellular network
  • fraud
  • malware
  • mobile apps

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    Jiang, N., Jin, Y., Skudlark, A., Hsu, W. L., Jacobson, G., Prakasam, S., & Zhang, Z-L. (2012). Isolating and analyzing fraud activities in a large cellular network via voice call graph analysis. In MobiSys'12 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (pp. 253-266). (MobiSys'12 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services). https://doi.org/10.1145/2307636.2307660