When I tell people that I work for Humbug Telecom Labs I get asked one of two questions. The second one is what does Humbug do, and by now most of you know about our telecom analytics and fraud detection service (or you would not be reading this blog).

The first the things I get asked is “Humbug? What is Humbug?”

Wikipedia defines Humbug as “an old term meaning hoax or jest. While the term was first described in 1751 as student slang, its etymology is unknown. Its present meaning as an exclamation is closer to ‘nonsense‘ or ‘gibberish‘, while as a noun, a humbug refers to a fraud or impostor, implying an element of unjustified publicity and spectacle. The term is also used for certain types of candy.”

We should not be confused with the band Arctic Monkeys who put out an album by the name Humbug. Nor are we related to the Unix (*BSD, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, etc.) user group that meets fortnightly at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Now it was surprising to me to learn that not everyone knows of the usage of humbug in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where the character Ebenezer Scrooge is quoted as saying “Bah! Humbug!” declaring Christmas to be a fraud.

Now to be perfectly honest the name Humbug Telecom Labs actually means the opposite of what Ebenezer meant when he used it. Humbug Telecom Labs is not here to figure out better ways to commit fraud, quite the opposite. We are out to prevent companies from suffering telecom fraud and have a great track record doing so. In a future post I will discuss our statistics and successes, but now I need to go get a candy.