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AT&T Spam Android Cellphones Communications IOS Network Networking

AT&T Is Adding a Spam Filter For Phone Calls (theverge.com) 66

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Today, ATT introduced a new service for automated blocking of fraud or spam calls. Dubbed ATT Call Protect, the system identifies specific numbers believed to be sources of fraud, and will either deliver those calls with a warning or block them outright. Users can whitelist specific numbers, although temporary blocks require downloading a separate Call Protect app. The feature is only available on postpaid iOS and Android devices, and can be activated through the MyATT system. Phone companies have allowed for manual number blocking for years, and third-party apps like Whitepages and Privacystar use larger databases of untrustworthy numbers to preemptively block calls from the outside. But ATT's new system would build in those warnings at the network level, and give operators more comprehensive data when assembling suspected numbers. More broadly, marketing calls are subject to the national Do Not Call registry. Specific instances of fraud can still be reported through carriers or directly to police.
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AT&T Is Adding a Spam Filter For Phone Calls

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  • by Mister Transistor ( 259842 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @05:02PM (#53526201) Journal

    Except the spammy douchebags are just spoofing local numbers to fool people into picking them up. They seem to change them weekly or so.

    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      No kidding, almost every call I get that not already in my address book, but is in one of my local prefixes, is some dude from india, or someone trying to sell me a timshare

      • Timshare? Sounds like a San Francisco startup to me.
        • The calls must be from Canada. Tim Hortons to be specific. If they offer you Timbits, just hang up, eh?
          • One thing I miss about Michigan... Michigan has Tim Hortons. When my buddy came to visit (before he moved down here) I made him bring me some Timbits. No joke, we almost got jumped by two Canadians on the way out of the airport.
    • Except the spammy douchebags are just spoofing local numbers to fool people into picking them up.

      The phone companies could easily detect and block that behavior, if they chose to do so.
      The problem is that they have no incentive to care.
      Hopefully, when AT&T starts blocking spam calls, the others will do the same to stay competitive.

    • If AT&T can tell that it is a spoofed caller ID, then they could automatically block the call. AT&T being AT&T who handles the call routings should be able to tell if the call (at least the phone bill for the call) is based on the given service area.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If AT&T can tell that it is a spoofed caller ID, then they could automatically block the call.

        There are a lot of legitimate reasons why caller ID might not match the AN setting up the call. Unless the caller is actually an AT&T customer, there is not much they can do to determine if it's a legit spoof or not.
        One example of legit spoofing is when you have two or more phone numbers, and only want to get Inbound calls on one specific number, or possibly have inbound calls go to an 800 number you own. You can have your telco spoof the caller ID on all your lines to deliver the same number. You'll se

    • I use Hiya [hiya.com] on my iPhone to tag fraud and spam calls. (Not affiliated in any way; I just like the app.) It regularly pushes updated lists of current bad callers to my phone, and iOS 10's CallKit API queries it every time I get a phone call. I can decide whether I want to accept or automatically reject labeled callers. Numbers in my phonebook are automatically whitelisted by the OS.

      That's pretty much the perfect solution in my book. Hiya sends me the lists but it doesn't have any information about what the OS

    • Phone companies are the only ones able to detect spoofed caller ID. Even if the number is spoofed overseas they will know where the call entered their network, and the phone companies can work together to pass along that information. If the "local" call is coming from India then it's not local.
    • Except the spammy douchebags are just spoofing local numbers to fool people into picking them up. They seem to change them weekly or so.

      My method works better, If I don't know who it is, if it isn't in my address book I don't pick up the phone. Don't give a shit any more. The telephone system has been ruined, and is essentially worthless.

  • Some providers are already doing something similar, and have been for a while. Ooma has had this as part of their 'premier' service for years.

    http://support.ooma.com/home/call-blocking-meta-article [ooma.com]

    This unfortunately doesn't help for all the spoofed callerIDs that are being used though - especially for pure fraud (not just simple telemarketing).

    • time warner cable (now spectrum) also has this they are simply affiliated with www.nomorobo.com. I wonder if its the same backend
      • time warner cable (now spectrum) also has this they are simply affiliated with www.nomorobo.com. I wonder if its the same backend

        According to Ooma's FAQ, they also use NoMoRobo.

  • Does anyone know if political calls are exempt? I'm asking for a friend.
    • Does anyone know if political calls are exempt? I'm asking for a friend.

      Political calls are exempt, and are the moral equivalent of the Bob from India telling you your PC has an infection they can help you with. They don't get answered.

  • They should shadow-block them! If you block them it gives the spammers feedback that the number they're using is burned and they will cycle onward to more numbers. If you shadow-block them instead and hang up after a "typical" number of seconds it'll make it much harder for them to know if they've reached an actual person or are being spambinned.

  • Seems like it's rife for abuse. The "numbers" used by spammers are just spoofed local phone numbers, and heaven help you if you have one of the numbers they spoof, you won't be able to call anyone.

    Plus, I'm sure this will be used to block communications from subversi^W terrorists and everyone else they deem unworthy of being able to communicate.

  • So how do I enable this on a landline?

    Or ATT still operating under their policy of !@#$ landline users?

    • Pretty much, yeah. You can BUY 10 (yeah, 10) number blocks for like 5 bucks a month. Fuck them. I'm going to Magic Jack. I also got a call blocker from Amazon (Sentry II). Best $50 I ever spent in my life!

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        I bought a jf teck caller id with phone ring controller a couple years ago.

        It was chosen because it was the only one I could find that was able to handle whitelist only at the time.

        There is a phone on both sides of the device so I can turn the ringer off and still get important calls.

    • Or ATT still operating under their policy of !@#$ landline users?

      Landliners generally can't switch providers, so why should they care?
      Why do you have landline?
      If you only have it for emergencies, then set the volume to zero, and only use it for outgoing calls.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Business requirement and it makes fax use easy.

        • Business requirement and it makes fax use easy.

          Oh right, I remember learning about faxes in history class.

          • You've never dealt with state government or anyone who handles confidential information then, eh?

            I send/receive at least one fax per month, even at the tail end of 2016. Why? Because explaining how to do secure file transfers to secretaries is something that either a) you're not paid enough to do, or b) you're paid way too much to do. There is no single solution that everyone can use. Every online solution requires a different piece of software, different account, different licensing. Far easier to

  • It's not in AT&T's best interest to limit phone spam, because they're customers.
    Who would be best able to detect and prevent boiler-room callers? The phone companies.

    I'm worried that If I ever meet "Heather from Card Member Services" I may not be responsible for my actions.

  • by c ( 8461 )

    I wonder how much AT&T will charge telemarketers to get around the spam filter?

    Or does everyone think AT&T is adding this feature to help customers?

  • This is merely a rebranded version of Hiya [hiya.com], which still requires surrendering your entire contact list and conversation metadata to a third party without any masking.

    Then again, even if each phone number was stored as a PBKDF2 [wikipedia.org] hash, since there are only 3-4 billion legal phone numbers in the NANPA [wikipedia.org] numbering system (given 370 [answers.com] area codes). I estimate [stackexchange.com] this would take under 45 minutes on a quad-GPU system (divide by the number of nodes in your cluster). I suppose this is a decent hurdle, but not quite good

  • The spoofing issue makes a blacklist almost as useless for phone spam as for email spam.

    What I want instead is a whitelist. Everything goes to voicemail, without ringing my phone, not even once, unless it's on the whitelist.

    If someone not on the whitelist wants to talk to me, they can darn well leave a message, or I will never know or care that they called.

    People I call automatically go on the whitelist unless I say otherwise

    And, just to mess with <redacted> robocallers, my voicemail message is "Hell

  • For various reasons, I must maintain a POTS line. It rings incessantly with scammers, spammers, politicians (but I repeat myself), and bill collectors looking for someone I don't know but has the same last name.

    Simple solution: A DTMF circuit and a PIN, and turn off the ringer. Someone calls in, gets a message "Please enter the extension you are calling", and if they don't enter the correct pin, it hangs up the call. If they enter the correct pin, then the Pi fires a buzzer and the answering machine. Whitel

  • Doesn't work for business accounts, so no good for folks that put their mobiles under a business account (like many consultants).

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