CPaaS, Voice

WHAT IS STIR/SHAKEN?

George Perry
George Perry
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Image for a blog on STIR/SHAKEN

You’ve probably seen or heard talk of STIR/SHAKEN recently, especially if you’re in the telecom industry. But knowing what it is, and what it means for you and your customers, are two different things.

So let’s (briefly) talk about what STIR/SHAKEN is.

So what does STIR/SHAKEN mean?

Let’s go ahead and get the obvious joke out the way—it’s not a reference to how you prefer your martini (which should always be stirred. Always). 

STIR stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited. SHAKEN stands for Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs. It’s a bit of a forced acronym.

Together, STIR/SHAKEN refers to new techniques  intended to ensure that telephone numbers associated with phone calls are more secure. The STIR/SHAKEN standards have been developed by telecom industry experts as a step to help stop fraud and abuse in the form of robocalling and inappropriately spoofed numbers.

STIR it up

Alright, let’s break down these two things, starting with STIR. While STIR does a lot of things, it’s really focused on the process of providing attestation that an initiated call is legitimate. With the proliferation of robocalls and spoofed numbers, this is a big deal.

There are 3 levels of attestation. They are:

  • Full attestation, where the service provider has authenticated their customer originating the call and that they are authorized to use the calling number
  • Partial attestation, where the service provider has authenticated their customers originating the call, but can’t verify if they are authorized to use the calling number
  • Gateway attestation, where the service provider has originated the call onto the network but can’t authenticate the call source.

SHAKEN (not stirred)

So while STIR deals with whether or not a call is legitimate, SHAKEN is focused on what to do with those calls. SHAKEN defines the extensions and industry framework for the deployment and interworking of the technology in service provider networks.

That’s a lot of technical words to say that SHAKEN takes the information from STIR and tells the carriers how to ensure that numbers aren’t being spoofed.

That’s it? That’s all there is to STIR/SHAKEN?

No, not even close, but it’s a start. We actually have a great (much longer) article on our support site about STIR/SHAKEN, and I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, here’s a link. If you’re a Bandwidth customer and have questions about STIR/SHAKEN, reach out to our team and they can talk to you about what it is, how it impacts you, and what Bandwidth is doing to implement it (it’s a work in progress).

Talk to an expert Learn more about STIR/SHAKEN