Best practices for terminating providers using SHAKEN

The FCC just released a report from the CATA Working Group, Best Practices for Terminating Voice Service Providers (TSPs) using Caller ID Authentication Information. The report outlines where we are with SHAKEN and robocall prevention, where we need to be, and how to get there.

The status today

The report paints a bleak picture of call authentication today.

  1. Too few providers are doing SHAKEN to make it effective.
  2. Many TSPs have not yet integrated STIR/SHAKEN with call analytics and blocking.

Guidelines for improvement

The report outlines two broad groups of improvements that can be made to improve STIR/SHAKEN effectiveness: SHAKEN extensions, and Non-STIR/SHAKEN techniques.

SHAKEN extensions

Several extensions have been added to the STIR/SHAKEN framework. TSPs should consider supporting these extensions to better protect their subscribers from illegal robocalls. These extensions include:

  • Call diversion (e.g., call forwarding)
  • 911 support (RPH PASSporT)
  • Priority treatment of Emergency Telecommunications Service (ETS).
  • RespOrg and toll-free support
  • Delegate certificates to provide proof of the right to use a telephone number or for supporting Rich Call Data
  • Non-IP call authentication (transmitting STIR/SHAKEN information across a non-IP segment of the call path)
  • Cross-border SHAKEN

Non-STIR/SHAKEN techniques

Avoid terminating calls that show numbers that should not be originating calls:

  • DNO (Do Not Originate)
  • Unallocated by the numbering plan administrator
  • Disconnected
  • Unassigned
  • Invalid

Best practices

The report provides an array of best practices for TSPs in two categories: near-term and long-term practices.

Near term

  1. Display a verification indicator for verified calls with A attestation.
  2. Use call analytics to identify calls that are likely to be illegal or unwanted.
  3. Display call labels and enable diversion to voice mail.
  4. Offer call treatment options, such as block lists, anonymous call rejection or do not disturb.
  5. Block calls that are highly likely to be illegal, e.g., calls with invalid/unallocated/unassigned/DNO calling numbers.

Long term

  1. Use call analytics to identify SHAKEN information patterns that may improve reputation scoring for callers and service providers that signed the calls.
  2. Use the RPH field for call validation treatment when terminating calls to or callbacks from a PSAP (Public-Safety Answer Point).

Check out the full report here.

Our thoughts

We applaud the recommended best practices, especially integrating call analytics with SHAKEN validation. STIR/SHAKEN is pointless if the information isn’t used to combat illegal robocalls. The report is blunt: some calls are being signed, but terminating providers aren’t doing much, if anything, with it.

The elephant in the room is that there’s very low participation in the SHAKEN ecosystem. Our monthly SHAKEN statistics reports show participation hovering around 24%. Only one-in-four calls are signed.

This won’t improve until the SHAKEN implementation exemptions are phased out. For example, two non-IP SHAKEN methods are available and standardized. They only require action by providers that rely on non-IP technology. The FCC should begin to phase out the non-IP extension.

Did you notice the guideline to use call analytics to improve reputation scoring for callers and the providers who sign calls? That could be a powerful technique. We’ve noticed that some downstream providers are signing calls for upstream originating providers using B or C attestation. These signed calls are three times more likely to be robocalls than even unsigned calls! Imagine how powerful and useful it would be to score those signing providers and incorporate this information into call validation treatment.

What’s next

TransNexus solutions

TransNexus is a leader in developing innovative software to manage and protect telecommunications networks. The company has over 20 years’ experience in providing telecom software solutions including toll fraud prevention, robocall mitigation and prevention, TDoS prevention, analytics, routing, billing support, STIR/SHAKEN and SHAKEN certificate services.

Contact us today to learn more.

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