A recent article in Mashable highlights the vulnerability of mobile browsers. Research from Georgia Tech has found that almost all mobile browsers are vulnerable to attack. It also tells us that people using mobile are three times more likely to access phishing sites than if they are using desktop machines.
This combination of vulnerabilities, in itself, is something that the industry needs to address. But think about this from the billing – carrier billing – perspective and it gets a little more frightening. Carrier billing is not only the most effective way of converting customers while they are in the middle of shopping or playing games, it is the fastest and simplest way – and it is the way back into the value chain for operators. As Ed Finegold explains, new web technologies also allow operators to switch customers out of the clutches of OTT players such as Apple in order to avoid their billing charges. Because of this, a week seldom passes without at least one announcement about carrier billing.
Meanwhile, innovations such as ItsOn pull the industry relentlessly forward, and new mobile browser billing products and services are offered almost every day. If mobile browsers are vulnerable, it means that carrier billing itself is vulnerable.
The problem is compounded by the fact that operators, driven by the mantra of better and better customer experience, open up their systems and processes to their customers in order to serve them better. As this happens, the threat levels increase.
It does not take too much imagination to envisage customers being hijacked in the middle of their shopping trip or gaming triumph and inadvertently paying their hard earned cash to people for whom customer experience is just another opportunity to steal money on an ever greater scale. The billing community needs to check its defences.