RoboKiller “kills” at DEF CON
For the second year in a row, the FTC traveled to DEF CON, an annual hacker conference, to enlist tech gurus to help fight robocalls. This year, the FTC hosted Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back, which challenged contestants to create tools people could use to block and forward robocalls automatically. Forwarded calls go to a honeypot — a data collection system that researchers and investigators can use to study the calls.
Today, the FTC announced the results of the contest. Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles will receive the top prize of $25,000 for their solution, RoboKiller, which relies on call forwarding and works on both landline and mobile phones. RoboKiller gives people greater control over how and when they receive calls by sending robocalls to a SpamBox and using personal filtering lists. Runner-up Hemant Sengar applied similar audio analytics in his solution and will receive a $10,500 prize.
The FTC also announced the winners of DetectaRobo, a contest that asked participants to develop an algorithm that could predict which calls were likely to be robocalls. Team HaV was named Champion RoboSleuth, and the runners-up, Team Milibo and Team RDAC, were each named Master RoboSleuth.
Both contests are part of the FTC’s larger efforts to combat illegal robocalls, a problem that has grown worse since advances in technology have made it easy for robocallers to send out thousands of calls every minute and to display fake caller ID information.