Legos Bolsters Customer Trust with Ribbon's STIR/SHAKEN Solution

By Erik Linask May 15, 2023

It’s no secret that telephony-based fraud has become a major problem globally, impacting businesses and consumers alike.  Scammers use tactics such as call spoofing and robocalls to deceive victims, leading to losses of time, money, and trust.  The total losses due to telecom fraud in 2021 were estimated at nearly $40 billion, and increase of 28% from 2019.  At the same time, robocalling and other scam calls cost Americans more than $44 billion in 2021. 

While these figures may seem out of sync, they are necessarily measuring quite the same factors, though there is some overlap between them.  One common variable between them is the huge number of robocalls consumers are subjected to every day, month, and year, to the tune of 50 million of them each year.  But it’s not purely a North American problem. While U.S. consumers receive about half of the world’s robocalls, numbers are creeping up in other countries as well and Juniper Research (News - Alert) recently projected global losses to exceed $58 billion this year to mobile subscribers alone.

There are, of course, measures that can be and are being taken to help reduce the number of completed robocalls (and their impact), including the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN.  The Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) protocol have emerged as a critical tool in the fight against these fraudulent activities.  If you haven't noticed a high volume of unknown or robocalls, you probably live in the middle of nowhere and communicate via smoke signals or carrier pigeons, or you have a carrier that has successfully and effectively implemented STIR/SHAKEN.

STIR/SHAKEN is a collection of technical standards and protocols designed to combat caller ID spoofing, a common technique used by robocallers in initiate fraudulent interactions.  In short, by ensuring calling parties are authenticated and verified, STIR/SHAKEN makes it much harder for scammers to spoof Caller IDs that allow them to masquerade as legitimate organizations.  In response to the growing threat of telephony fraud, governments worldwide have started to implement regulations requiring the adoption of STIR/SHAKEN.

In the U.S., the FCC (News - Alert) mandated STIR/SHAKEN implementation beginning in June of 2021 for certain service providers, with smaller providers having until June of this year to comply with the requirement. The idea is that STIR/SHAKEN will prevent bad actors from spoofing caller ID information, protecting consumers from misleading robocalls and illegal scams.

France, too, has seen an increase in robocalls, and has a key deadline looming this year.  The French government mandating compliance with these protocols via the Mécanisme d'Authentification des Numéros (MAN) Project, by July of this year.

To meet the French deadline, European fixed and mobile operator Legos has announced a partnership with Ribbon Communications (News - Alert), selecting Ribbon's STIR/SHAKEN solution to ensure compliance with the upcoming French regulation and to safeguard its customers against telephony-based fraud.

“Malicious calls from bad actors are on the rise. We want to help build assurances for our customers and protect network users against robocalls, fraud, and call spoofing,” said Michel Gacem, CTO & Solution Manager Director, Legos. “We're excited to be furthering our existing partnership with Ribbon, whose expertise in this field will enhance the security of our network services.”

Ribbon's STIR/SHAKEN solution is part of its Ribbon Call Trust portfolio, designed to meet requirements for caller identity authentication, signing, verification, and certificate management as defined by French law. Ribbon has undertaken other similar implementations in the U.S., giving it experience with meeting regulatory requirements. Legos will also use Ribbon's core Session Border Controller (SBC) for security and interworking, as well as its Policy and Routing Server (PSX), which delivers session control for VoIP services on SBCs, media gateways, and call controllers.

Christine Bouhiron, Head of Sales and Country Manager, France at Ribbon, explained that “Our STIR/SHAKEN solution was created to help our customers adapt to the regulatory landscape across the USA and Europe.”

With this move, Legos is not only preparing for the French regulatory deadline but also reaffirming its commitment to providing its customers with a secure and reliable telephony experience.  It’s an important step for Legos as it seeks to stay ahead of the curve in terms of regulatory compliance and battling the rising tide of telephony fraud.

It’s not just about protecting consumers, though.  Businesses are also impacted by robocalling and telephony fraud.  By implementing STIR/SHAKEN, operators not only protect businesses from direct scam losses, but related losses due to reputational damage, reduced productivity, and legal liability. 

The importance of this partnership, though, extends beyond mere regulatory compliance.  It underscores the urgency of securing telephony services against increasingly sophisticated fraud techniques.  Just as their cyber counterparts are constantly evolving their tactics, scammers are also always creating new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in communications systems.  STIR/SHAKEN is a way for Legos and other operators to protect themselves and their customers from these threats.

Customer loyalty should also not be overlooked.  With consumers everywhere having service provider options, operators are not only competing on call quality or price, but also on secure and trustworthy service.  It’s likely that customers will gravitate towards carriers who are better able to reduce or even eliminate scams and robocalls.

The Legos-Ribbon partnership serves as a prime example of how telecommunication service providers can navigate regulatory landscapes, enhance customer trust, and combat telephony fraud. It's a clear demonstration of a proactive approach to regulatory compliance and a commitment to customer security.

While STIR/SHAKEN is being mandated by government regulations, the simple fact is it’s a win for everyone – the communications industry, their customers, and their regulators.  Well, perhaps not everyone – the scammers that rely on robocalls to con people out of billions of dollars won’t win – at least that’s the goal.

Edited by Erik Linask
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Group Editorial Director


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