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

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
742 CHARLES ALLEN DRIVE NE APT 1, Atlanta, GA, 30308-3741
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Vijay Balasubramaniyan
(908) 265-0096
Business Contact:
Vijay Balasubramaniyan
(908) 265-0096
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project will explore technologies that will enable an improvement in trust in the converged telephony infrastructure without negatively impacting user experience. Telephony has long been viewed as a trusted communications medium and a variety of transactions conducted over the telephone depend on such trust. For example, to combat credit card and other financial fraud, banks rely on their ability to securely communicate with their customers via the phone. Unfortunately, while the convergence of traditional telephony with cellular and IP networks offers many benefits, it has opened it to additional security threats. Call metadata such as caller identifier can now be easily manipulated and attacks including voice phishing have already resulted in financial losses for banks. The intellectual merit of this research project lies in demonstrating that the source and intermediary networks in a phone call introduce artifacts in the audio that can be used to uniquely identify its source. The project will investigate features that capture key call artifacts and apply machine learning techniques to fingerprint call sources. A key goal will be the validation of the preliminary results at the scale that will arise in real-world deployments. The broader impact of the project will come from the development of a secure Caller-ID alternative with applicability both in the enterprise setting as well as at the consumer end. Because the proposed approach only relies on analysis of audio at the receiving end, it requires no changes to be made to the telephony infrastructure. This is especially advantageous not only because of the complex and diverse nature of this infrastructure, but also because unlike a cryptographic solution both ends of a call do not need to participate in the process. The ubiquitous nature of the telephone and possible erosion of trust in this medium will have serious consequences for both businesses and citizens. The success of this project will help maintain this trust and thus it will have broad commercial and societal impact.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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