Spoofing Against Spoofing: Towards Caller ID Verification In Heterogeneous Telecommunication Systems

by   Shen Wang, et al.

Caller ID spoofing is a global industry problem and often acts as a critical enabler for telephone fraud. To address this problem, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated telecom providers in the US to implement STIR/SHAKEN, an industry-driven solution based on digital signatures. STIR/SHAKEN relies on a public key infrastructure (PKI) to manage digital certificates, but scaling up this PKI for the global telecom industry is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Furthermore, it only works with the SIP (VoIP) system, leaving the traditional SS7 (landline and cellular) systems unprotected. So far the alternatives to the STIR/SHAKEN have not been sufficiently studied. In this paper, we propose a PKI-free solution, Caller ID Verification (CIV), to combat caller ID spoofing. CIV authenticates the caller ID based on a challenge-response process instead of digital signatures. It supports both SIP and SS7 systems. Perhaps counter-intuitively, we show that number spoofing can be leveraged, in conjunction with Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF), to efficiently implement the challenge-response process, i.e., using spoofing to fight against spoofing. We implement CIV for VoIP, cellular, and landline phones across heterogeneous networks (SS7/SIP) by only updating the software on the user's phone. This is the first caller ID authentication solution with working prototypes for all three types of telephone systems in the current telecom architecture. Finally, we show how the implementation of CIV can be optimized by integrating it into telecom clouds as a service, which users may subscribe to.


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