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LiveNet CTO granted US patent

A Bermuda company executive has been granted a US patent for software that is a powerful defence against cyberwarfare.

But the application has been engineered into an integral part of a suite of services being offered by Bermuda telecommunications company, LiveNet Comunications, that consequentially provides free roaming – free incoming and outgoing phone service originating from, or terminating in, Bermuda, the US and the UK.

The application developed by an ethical hacker – a longtime LiveNet employee – was a classic case of necessity as the mother of invention.

The ethical hacker is Ragunathan Ramanathan, the LiveNet Comunications chief technology officer.

Certified ethical hackers assess the security of computer systems by looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities, using the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker, but in a lawful and legitimate manner to help shore up the defences.

Troy Symonds, LiveNet president, said two major things have happened for the company in 2022: the roll out of their cellular phone service; and, the production of a patented security service.

He said: "The mobile phone service not only works in Bermuda, but it works globally and is highly secure. That is something that everyone is looking for and we have been able to produce it at 512 kilobit encryption. That is something that is just not found everywhere.

"And most importantly, we have on island the only ethical hacker who has been registered for the last 15 years."

During that time, Mr Ramanathan has seen a number of attempts to hack phone switches and data services.

As a result of that experience he has been able to build a system which detects when those types of attacks are happening, and which then immediately takes action to send all of those attacks elsewhere.

As a result of this development, he does not have to get physically involved with every attack, as he did in the past.

The equipment will automatically thwart those attacks. And that is something that is so exciting, he has gained a patent in the US.

He said: "I started with the LiveNet Group 15 or 16 years ago. We were the internet service provider FKBNet, at the time at Southside.

"We were doing just internet, and then we started doing a VOIP service (voice over internet protocol) from 2008.

"But using VOIP, you are exposing your telephone switch to the internet. Since 2009, Bermuda was highly targeted. We were under attack all the time. "From 2010 to 2013 customers were getting huge bills from phone providers because their switches were being compromised.

“The result was that customers were being billed for calls they did not make or expect to pay for. We saw US based providers go out of business because of these attacks.

"So when I saw these attacks coming to our network, we would manually jump in and deal with it. But this was happening at 3 O'clock, and 4 O'clock in the morning.

"So, I created a script to run on top of the switch which enabled us to address and mitigate the attacks (automatically) the same way I did it manually."

Previously, every time an attack was detected, he had to create a small software module to address it.

He said: "In 2016, I created a module that would address the whole thing. The production switch now acts like a barrier.

"I specifically tested this on our own network with the whole module from 2017. And we successfully handled all the attacks without compromising our quality of the service.

"We included all of our technology into the mobile service we offer and right now, that is useful to people travelling.

"Other benefits that reduce costs are created because at the moment, with other service providers you take your phone to the UK and you get charged for incoming and outgoing calls because you use the cell network.

“But because ours is all VOLTE or VOIP, we can dramatically reduce the cost.

"Traditionally when you are using your phone on the internet, you are exposing your mobile device to attacks, but the technology I have created can address this and mitigate all the hacks. We successfully tested this for two years.

"This technology will be useful to telecom companies for their voice traffic. The patent is for the detecting, diverting, mitigating the traffic, and sending it to a different switch, fooling the hackers.

“For Live Net, this is just the beginning, We are going to expand the technology."

Mr Symonds said: “Yes, there are other telecom companies that could use this technology. And some, outside Bermuda, have already expressed such an interest.

“In the US, robo calls and other marketing tools have made receiving calls onerous, so companies are seeking ways to mitigate this problem so that their clients can use the phone with comfort.

“This can be one of the tools that place integrity back into the mobile phone service.

“Our suite of secure services will become a must for business clients, so we are excited.“

LiveNet Communications: Ragunathan Ramanathan (CCNP, MCTIP, CCSA, CCSE.CEH) Chief Technology Officer and Troy Symonds HND, MBA Chief Executive Officer (Photograph supplied)

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Published August 15, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated August 15, 2022 at 7:54 am)

LiveNet CTO granted US patent

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