September 22, 2021

What is Audio Fingerprinting & How Can It Help Your Business?

What is Audio Fingerprinting & How Can It Help Your Business?

The late U.S. Senator Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings once famously derided robocalls as the “scourge of modern civilization.” Hollings sponsored the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, which sought to curb the avalanche of intrusive and unwanted pre-recorded messages to American households.

By the time the TCPA was signed into law, robocalls had long been a nuisance. In the 1980s, unsavory marketers realized they could weaponize then-emerging technologies to pester and scam innocent people. The practice snowballed rapidly, which prompted the TCPA in the first place.

Fast forward to today and, despite the TCPA and regulatory efforts such as STIR/SHAKEN (more on this below), robocalls are a bigger problem than ever. According to RoboKiller data, Americans are on pace to receive 71.5 billion spam calls in 2021, a 30% year-over-year increase. They stand to lose approximately $615 million in the process, a 40% hike from a year ago.

The issue isn’t just consumers’ to bear. Today, corporate lines routinely get flooded with robocalls. According to one study, 84% of small businesses get them daily, and 54% receive at least five per day.

Unfortunately, things have only gotten easier for scammers over time. With increasingly sophisticated tools at their fingertips, bad actors can now reach a virtually limitless pool of prospective victims. All it takes is a modest investment in server space and the right autodialing technology to wreak havoc on any person or company.

To compound the matter, scammers have adopted various tricks over time, such as spoofing (when a scammer disguises their identity by falsifying caller ID information).

When addressing a problem like robocalls, old ways of thinking and outdated technologies simply won’t do. The only way to stay a step ahead of scammers is to invest in innovative, cutting-edge spam blocking solutions.

Enter audio fingerprinting, a unique spam prevention tool championed by RoboKiller.

What is audio fingerprinting?

Audio fingerprinting, otherwise known as acoustic fingerprinting, is the process of digitally condensing an audio signal so that it can be used to identify or rapidly locate other identical or similar audio signals in an audio database.

When a call is placed, RoboKiller examines (fingerprints) the audio within the call to determine if it matches any existing digital fingerprints in our global database. If it does, the call is marked as spam and never reaches the recipient.

Akin to Shazam for spam, our audio fingerprinting technology creates a unique fingerprint for each and every call we intercept. Machine learning (ML), coupled with user feedback, powers our proprietary algorithm.

Unlike other scam call blocking services, RoboKiller Enterprise’s audio fingerprinting solution doesn’t solely wait for customers to report calls as spam before blocking individual numbers. Rather, it proactively analyzes the audio within a call to make a highly-accurate determination in less than a millisecond.

Why is audio fingerprinting an essential business tool?

1. It’s spoof-resistant

Scammers are known for spoofing their numbers, but audio fingerprinting is immune to such tactics. It takes spam call blocking a step further by analyzing the audio within a call rather than simply the phone number it originated from. Even if a call is distorted or staticky, the technology is precise enough to protect against matching audio.

This is especially important given the propensity for caller ID spoofing. Calls using spoofed caller IDs represented approximately 38% of all spam call traffic RoboKiller received and blocked in the first eight months of 2021.

Read Robokiller’s 2021 Mid-Year Phone Scam Report

Ultimately, by addressing spoofed calls, audio fingerprinting provides an additional layer of protection against robocalls as a whole. Because robocalls often follow a particular script and can be placed at scale, it’s an essential mechanism for neutralizing these threats.

2. STIR/SHAKEN is unlikely to eliminate spoofing

A little over two months has passed since the deadline for major phone carriers to comply with STIR/SHAKEN, the FCC’s new anti-spoofing measure. The set of interconnected standards is designed to make it harder for scammers to spoof calls. 

Essentially, STIR/SHAKEN enables voice service providers (VSPs) to authenticate caller ID information. It uses digital certificates from a trusted certificate authority to identify whether a call is secure and assign an attestation level:

  • A-Level/Full attestation in the event the VSP knows for certain who’s calling and that they’re authorized to use the number.
  • B-Level/Partial attestation if the VSP can verify who owns the phone number but not who’s using it.
  • C-Level/Gateway attestation if the VSP can say for sure who sent the call to their network but not who originated the call.

VSPs from there decide what, if anything, to do with that information.

Thus far, STIR/SHAKEN has shown mixed results.

There may be several reasons why STIR/SHAKEN has yet to make a significant dent in preventing these calls. Notably, small VSPs (100,000 subscriber lines or fewer) don’t have to comply with the regulation until mid-2023 (update: now mid-2022). As it stands, there’s a lack of cohesion from one provider to the next.

Even so, scammers adapt quickly and are adept at finding new ways to reach their targets. Chances are, even when the rollout is complete, STIR/SHAKEN will fall well short in its goal to put an end to spoofed calls. That’s why, to get a true level of protection against caller ID spoofing, you need audio fingerprinting technology on your side. By analyzing the audio within calls, it can empower your business to put an end to spoofing.

3. You can’t get this level of protection anywhere else

There are several spam prevention companies out there, but RoboKiller Enterprise is the only one that offers audio fingerprinting. Our mission is to end robocalls for good, and our relentless innovation allows us to develop cutting-edge technologies like this.

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to robocall mitigation, our Call Confidence API, augmented with audio fingerprinting, affords you the ability to stop spam and get more business done.

Questions on how to integrate audio fingerprinting technology? Contact us!

Meet Robokiller Enterprise’s Command API

RoboKiller Enterprise helps businesses of all sizes stop spam. Our Command API is supported by a robust database of more than 600 million phone numbers and 500 user feedback reports. Our AI-powered Command Center assesses call information and user feedback in real-time.

Coupled with our proprietary audio fingerprinting technology, there’s no better way to stop spam to your business. What’s more, there’s no time and money wasted building technologies that might not work or staffing a team from scratch.

We build custom solutions for you.

  • Block 99% of unwanted calls
  • Get more prospects to pick up and call you back
  • Stay safe from scams
  • Protect your bottom line
  • Be part of the solution to end robocalls for good

Stop spoofed calls with audio fingerprinting and take back control of your voice network with our full suite of products. 

To learn more about audio fingerprinting and our other call blocking solutions for business, click here.

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