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A Journal about the experiences I have developing little applications in C#, Perl, Html and Javascript and talking about things new things that I use. Always Geeky; Always Nerdy; Always poor Grammer!

I am a Software Analyst Developer working in Southport, England but living in Liverpool. I develop mainly in C# and ASP.Net. I have been developing comercial software for several years now. I maintain this site (hosted at SwitchMedia UK) as a way of exploring new technologies (such as AJAX) and just generally talking about techie geek issues. This site is developed through a host of Perl scripts and a liberal use of Javascript. I enjoy experimenting with new technologies and anything that I make I host here.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Update to Call Detail Record Generator

I have re-uploaded the Call Detail Record Generator that I created for my final year project a couple of years ago [CDR Tool.zip]. It is a MS Access 2003 Application.

I got the Link wrong originally.

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A Little excerpt about telecoms fraud

I have just uploaded a little excerpt from my Final Year project about Telecoms Fraud. Basically I will use this as a grounding for creating my Neural Network in C#.

Enjoy! :)

Telecomm Fraud can be broken into several generic classes. These classes describe the mode in which the operator was defrauded and include subscription fraud, call surfing, ghosting, accounting fraud and information abuse. Each mode can be used to defraud the network for revenue based purposes or non-revenue based purposes.

Subscription Fraud

Subscription fraud occurs when an unsuspecting party have their identity stolen or a customer tries to evade payment. Essentially, personal details provided to the company are erroneous and designed to deceive the company into setting up an account. Reasons for this may include a customer knowing that they are a credit liability due to CCJ's or other credit problems; or a fraudster needs to obtain "legitimate" access to the telecomm network to perpetrate further modes of fraud.

Subscription fraud causes serious financial loses to the telecommunication operators, but in many instances may not be attributed to fraud. If someone does not pay their bill, then the telecomm company has to establish if the person was fraudulent or is merely unable to pay. This may result in a lot of subscription fraud being classified as bad debt. The BT Group in 2001-2002 estimated that bad debt cost the company ~£79 million.

Call Surfing

Call Surfing is when an outside party will gain unauthorised access to the operators network through several methods such as call forwarding, cloning, shoulder surfing.

Call Surfing can include gaining access to a company's PABX (Private Branch Exchange) either via social engineering, or by lack of security. Social Engineering could be considered as: A person rings the company's telephone administrators claiming to be a BT engineer performing a line test, they ask for the password so that they can negotiate access to the call-back of the PABX; or a employee in a large company receives a call from a person claiming to have got the wrong extension, and requests if they could put them through to extension 901, with 9 being the external dialling code of the PBX and 01 being the international prefix.

These may be unrealistic scenarios, but it is all too easy for someone to gain access to a system this way. Once the cracker has access to the PABX, they can use it to forward calls internationally or to premium rate service lines. All they pay for is the cost of the call to the company, while the company picks up the cost call to the proper destination. The cracker may even escape paying for the original call if they covered their tracks, for instance via subscription fraud.

Cloning of mobile phones is another issue that will arise, especially since the early mobile phones operated on analogue with the signal emanating from the phone being easy to detect and read, and thus the technology used to identify each phone uniquely was susceptible to being read. With this information, the fraudster would be able to reprogram one of their own phones to match these unique details. Once done, the con artist would be able to use the phone to make all the calls that they needed without the original phone owner knowing (until they get the telephone bill that is).

Accounting Fraud

Accounting Fraud can occur through manipulation of accounting systems and maybe used to help someone avoid having to pay for the service. Normally this is an internal problem. Accounting Fraud would normally occur, when someone would want to try and get cash back at the end of their billing period, or have their bill reduced.

Ghosting

Ghosting requires knowledge of the internal systems, maybe an employee would set up an account that would not need to be billed or remove billing details from the system. On the other hand, schemes may involve creating a piece of tone generating hardware that will fool the switch centre into thinking that a call might be a free call, or is operating from a public telephone. Essentially, they are "Ghosts" on the system as there is little or no trace of them ever being present on the network.

Information Abuse

Information Abuse occurs when an employee can use the telecommunications companies software to access privileged information about clients or systems. This information maybe passed on to third parties and used in further fraud. However, it is not solely limited to this, for instance company A might place spies into company B to find out information about any alliances that company B might have. Again, this is an internal fraud.



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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Call Detail Record (CDR) Generation Tool

I have uploaded the Call Detail Record Generator that I created for my final year project a couple of years ago [CDR Tool.zip]. It is a MS Access 2003 Application.

The application will generate thousands of "virtual" phone calls mimicing specific groups of people that would be a telecom company's customers.

You can change so many parameters that it is unbelivable. You can model many types of users, High usage users, low usage users, fraudulent users, National Rate users etc etc. You can configure the average cost of a call, the average duration of a call; you can also supply times when a type of user is most likely to make a call so you can model business users and home users etc.

Each of these models are generated and then passed through to the Nerual network for trainging.

Have a play with it. It is quite simple to use.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Upload of Final Year Project

The house move is still going on, and I don't have an Internet connection :(. Anyway, I have uploaded my Final Year Project. This was from a couple of years ago. I will post interesting bits out of it.

It is about how Neural Networks can be used to detect fraud in the Telecom's industry.

There is an ancillary application that I have also created but I will have to talk about it at a later time.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Neural Networks, C# and telecoms fraud detection final year project

One of the things I have regretted since I left university is that I have not followed up on my Final year Project [I will try and upload it soon, it was pretty smart.]. Bascially I made a system that created Telephone CDR records based off user determined call profiles. The data from these CDR was then passed into a neural network [Created using MATLAB] to see if the call history for a particalular telephone customer was fraudulent or not. It worked really well, and MATLAB was amazing for creating the nerual networks for training and validating.

I promised myself that I would create a little neural network framework in what ever language I was working with at the time so that I could learn more about the algorithms and functions of the network. MATLAB was great but it was easy to hide the detialed understanding of the inner workings of a neural network.

So, soon hopefully I will create a little C# neural network package. Just mainly as a learning exercise. I know there are a lot of resources out there that already do it in c#, but I don't really want to use them for many reasons. Some of them seem convulted, some of them seem very specialised and all of them will not really help me understand neural networks the way that I should, it will be MATLAB all over again.

On the neural network side of things I used a Multi-layer perceptron. Which had an astonishing high true-positive/negative rate.

Basically my next series if posts will be about my Final year project and the work that I did with neural networks. Additionally, I will try and talk about some of the c# aspects of me learning about neural networks again.

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Updates

I haven't had much of a chance to do much in my blog this past week. I am in the process of moving house. I am not too sure how often I will be able to update this.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Update to Retail Webservice Therapy

A little while ago I wrote a little blog entry about the fact there are not many (if any) retail based Web Serivce APIS. That is for things such as Tesco's, Dixon's and HMV etc. Well it seems that over on www.maskell.uk.com there is an answer. There is an Soap API for ASDA. All I can say is Wow. I am not too sure how he does it but it might inlvove screen scraping or something. I am not too sure. But anyway it is cool. Give it a go!

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