AT&T Wireless Services rolls out cellular fraud fighting technology

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- May 9, 1996 -- AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T (NYS:T), announces the beginning of the roll out of Authentication, a new technology that reduces the risk of cellular fraud.

AT&T Wireless Services of New York and South Florida are the company's first markets as well as the first in the country to commercially offer Authentication for their customers. All of AT&T Wireless' markets across the United States plan to introduce Authentication by the end of 1996.

This state-of-the-art technology will serve as a step toward eventually eliminating the need for customers in markets like New York to use the Fraud Protection Feature or PIN code. It works on most digital and newer model analog Authentication-ready cellular telephones.

While being transparent to the customer, Authentication works by automatically sending a series of encoded passwords over the airwaves between the cellular telephone and the cellular network to validate a customer each time a call is placed or received.

Authentication uses a complex security feature that contains a secret code and special number based on an algorithm shared only by the cellular telephone and the wireless network. Whenever a customer places or receives a call, the wireless system asks the cellular telephone to prove its identity through a question-and-answer process. This process occurs without delaying the time it takes to connect a legitimate cellular call. There is no charge for this service.

The technology is based on the same concepts and principles that the government uses to protect and access computers and telecommunications networks.

"The deployment of Authentication is a critical step in our ongoing fight against cellular cloning fraud on a national scale," said Roseanna DeMaria, AT&T Wireless vice president, business security. "It is a powerful fraud defense that uses state-of-the-art technology to protect the customer from cloning and brings us closer to our ultimate goal of making fraud protection both highly effective and invisible to our customers. This year's introduction of Authentication is an expansion of our ongoing aggressive and comprehensive fraud management program which integrates fraud prevention and detection systems with legislative initiatives and law enforcement training to reduce fraud."

Throughout the country, the company has been implementing its extensive anti-fraud measures. The fraud management program has been successful in combating the problem, particularly in New York where fraud was reduced by 50 percent in 1995.

AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. is the leading provider of wireless communications services in the United States, servicing almost six million cellular and more than a million messaging customers, and is a world leader in air-to-ground communication services.