SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Jan Volzke, founder and CEO of NUMBERCOP (http://www.numbercop.com/), has been selected as a winner of the FTC's Robocall Hackathon at this year's DEF CON hackers' convention. Known as "Zapping Rachel," the FTC contest challenged mobile security experts to find a cure for the epidemic of fraudulent and illegal robocalls.
"The phone channel has become the weakest link in protecting individuals and businesses from scams and fraud," explained Volzke. "The FTC's appearance at DEF CON was very well received and I was happy to share my insights and ideas on how to eradicate robocalls."
The FTC divided the Robocall Hackathon into three phases: build, attack and analyze. Volzke participated in the attack phase, which was designed to test for vulnerabilities in one of the organization's robocall mitigation strategies. He created an Android robocall-dialer named "Droid Rachel," the purpose of which was to circumvent the FTC's specially designed trap phones, or "honeypots." Droid Rachel successfully eluded each trap.
Volzke's dialer-robot demonstrated how criminals could distribute their attack across millions of Android devices while using location data and idling CPU capacity to avoid honeypots. It's a wake-up call to network providers, security experts and law enforcement that a rethinking of current solutions is sorely needed. The rapid proliferation of mobile devices, coupled with the relatively slower development of security measures, leaves millions of people vulnerable to spam calls and text messages.
Unwanted telemarketing robocalls are only one aspect of mobile phone security. Fraud and identity theft represent an equally prevalent and far more serious problem. After Internet and email, phones now represent the second-most lucrative channel for malicious attacks. Whether hocking bogus credit card deals or attempting to lift personal information from an unsuspecting victim, these attacks are nearly always initiated via calls and text messages.
According to NUMBERCOP research, more than one third of all unwanted calls and text messages delivered in the first half of 2014 had malicious intent. Cybercriminals will follow the path of least resistance, and the lack of robust protection on mobile networks and devices have until now made them an easy target. These crimes run the gamut from phishing for bank and credit card account data to the classic IRS phone scam.
Volzke added: "The trust in traditional phone calls and text messages is eroding rapidly. NUMBERCOP can help carriers, businesses and security companies to restore this trust. Meanwhile, law enforcement solutions must expand to include mobile devices, cell networks and text messages."
NUMBERCOP has developed a suite of effective tools available to consumers and businesses. These include blocking known phone scams on Android and iPhone devices as well as mobile phishing protection services for businesses. The company has also made education a focus of its mission; more awareness about phone security issues will inevitably drive innovation and improve phone spam protection for networks and devices.
NUMBERCOP has tracked phone fraud via calls and text messages since 2009 and operates one of the world's largest dedicated phone spam tracking and analysis systems. The company offers phone scam protection for iPhone and Android devices as well as professional threat intelligence and mitigation services for affected brands and security partners. NUMBERCOP is a privately held California Limited Company based in the San Francisco Bay Area.