SBIR Phase II: A Robust Caller-ID Alternative for Securing Telephony Based Transactions

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Telineage, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30308
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


The innovation in this project comes from the novel call audio analysis techniques that can be used to create a fingerprint of the source of a telephone call. Such fingerprints can reveal valuable information about the call source, including the type of the calling device (landline, Voice-over IP or mobile), its geographical location and the networks over which the call audio may have been transported prior to it reaching the called party. To detect potentially fraudulent calls in real-time with such fingerprints, this proposal plans to extend the identification of the geography of a call source and the creation of an active call analyzer that performs audio analysis in real-time. The focus of this Phase II project is on exploring design options for an active call analyzer; including accuracy, scalability and timeliness tradeoffs and its integration in call center infrastructures. The call analyzer will also be used to build a phone fraud intelligence service that proactively detects phone numbers used for committing fraud. Such a service, including mechanisms for sharing of intelligence with partners and customers, can help secure the telephony channel from a variety of attacks. The broader impact and commercialization potential of this project can be seen readily from the observation that phone fraud is already a serious problem for multiple sectors, including banking, healthcare and even law enforcement. Also, because fraudulent calls are already responsible for considerable financial loss, customer agents in call centers are asking multiple knowledge-based questions to authenticate a caller. This leads to higher costs for call handling and also degrades customer experience. A successful active call analyzer solution that can automatically generate a risk score for caller authentication will have broad impact because the entire service sector relies on call centers for customer contact and it could reduce costs and improve customer experience. The project will also enable Pindrop to play a leadership role in organizing the broader community to launch a phone anti-fraud alliance similar to the anti-phishing working group. The thought leadership provided by such a group will be necessary to define the telephony security challenges and approaches for addressing them. Again, this will ensure broad impact of the project across several industries.