Case Study

Social Media Platform Saves Millions in SMS Fraud with Arkose Labs


Social Media Overview

The client is a global social media platform and a premier hub for sharing content. It has millions of active users worldwide and enables users to connect, share, and engage with a diverse and global community. To validate users during the onboarding process, they request either email or phone number to confirm a unique customer identifier. Fraudsters collude with high-cost telcos and use automated bots to make accounts with phone numbers where they profit on every SMS message sent to numbers they own. These attacks were causing millions of dollars in fraudulent SMS bills to the client. By putting Arkose Labs in front of their SMS validation process, they eliminated the fraudsters from being able to take advantage of this attack vector.

The Business Problem

As social media has continued to grow in popularity, the increased traffic made the platform a high-value target for fraudsters looking to make a profit. The platform implemented one-time passwords (OTPs) sent to a user’s phone or email upon registration as a security measure to verify a user’s identity and protect their account (when returning to login) from unauthorized access; however, attackers flocked to the platform to abuse the OTPs at registration, which is known as international revenue share fraud (IRSF).

IRSF, also known as SMS toll fraud, occurs when cybercriminals illegally intercept networks or use compromised carriers to redirect calls and texts to premium rate numbers. Attackers deploy malicious bots to carry out automated attacks on digital touchpoints that trigger OTPs to premium numbers, granting them unauthorized access to users’ accounts. These attacks can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the case of the social media company, attackers utilized bots at scale to mass trigger phone number validation at registration/signup. Bots were able to fraudulently validate information using premium numbers from foreign countries, like Vietnam, Russia and Iran, increasing the company’s SMS costs significantly which was detrimental to the company’s revenue.

The company needed a cybersecurity solution that would not only protect them from fake account signups, but additionally save costs by drastically slashing the amount of SMS fraud impacting the platform.

The Arkose Labs Solution

Social Media Arkose Labs Solution

The social media company’s SMS bill was dramatically reduced after deploying Arkose Labs on their website and apps to detect bots carrying out IRSF, mitigate that malicious activity and protect the company’s revenue. The flexible solution protected any user touchpoint that could be accessed in either a web or mobile application. In doing so, they were able to save millions with the Arkose Labs solution.

The Arkose Labs platform was implemented to fight IRSF by preventing script attacks, which are critical for fraudsters to make profit. Embedded machine learning assessed devices in real time, alongside behavioral intelligence to identify and ultimately, in scenarios deemed to be fraudulent, challenge.

Demonstrated Cost Savings

The platform saved $3 million per month in fraudulent SMS charges. By putting Arkose Labs in front of the SMS flow, the platform saw an immediate reduction in infrastructure costs by removing high volumes of malicious bot traffic.

As a result of Arkose Labs’ distinct approach, the company saved millions of dollars on downstream benefits, such as reducing support time managing compromised accounts, decreasing fraud case management for payment teams, lowering disruption rates for new customers and reducing infrastructure cost by removing high volumes of bad bot traffic.

By partnering with Arkose Labs, the social media platform was able to effectively mitigate cyberattacks and improve the security of its platform which has measurable ROI. Arkose Labs helped the platform detect bogus account sign-ups and malicious logins, and eliminate the persistent attacks on user touchpoints that trigger OTP verifications. The implementation of Arkose Labs’ advanced technology and expertise allowed the social media company to successfully defend against IRSF, ensuring the safety and integrity of its user data, while demonstrating significant ROI through cost savings and reduced overhead.

Now your business can estimate the cost savings associated with stopping SMS Toll Fraud, also known as IRSF.

SMS Toll Fraud (IRSF) is a type of cybercrime in which hackers use stolen accounts/numbers to send large volumes of SMS messages to premium rate numbers, resulting in significant charges for the account owner. IRSF can disrupt business operations, damage a company's reputation, and lead to major financial losses, as well as a diminished ROI.

Quickly and easily estimate the potential cost savings associated with stopping SMS toll fraud, to make better decisions about cybersecurity strategies for the new year.

Use our calculator to estimate the potential cost savings from stopping SMS toll fraud in the new year!

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Total monthly SMS bill


Percent of SMS monthly bill from high-risk countries
i High Risk Areas: ‘TD’,‘NG’,‘KW’,‘SD’,‘AZ’,‘BO’,‘ID’,‘EG’,‘MY’,‘TZ’,‘KE’,‘YE’,‘JO’,‘RU’,‘LK’,‘OM’,‘GB’,‘IL’,‘VN’,‘BA’,‘BH’,‘GE’,‘RE’,‘MW’,‘PH’,‘BJ’,‘TN’,‘KG’,‘SI’,‘BD’,‘UA’,‘CO’,‘PR’,‘TJ’,‘IQ’,‘LY’,‘SN’,‘BF’,‘UZ’,‘PK’,‘PS’,‘ER’


Estimated percent of fake accounts being opened/fake SMS messages being sent


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