Phone System Hacking…
Have you been hearing about the latest rash of hacking? Of course you all know of the hacking that goes on with your computer and computer networks and have spent both time and money preventing that, but in the telco industry there has been a proliferation of instances of Voice Mail hacking. The hackers take advantage of either software weaknesses in your voicemail system, a lack of secure passwords, or worse, no passwords at all on voice mail boxes.
So you say to yourself, “Why do I need security on my voicemail box?” “What could someone gain by getting into my voicemail?” Just this year alone, we have had to provide support to over 20 companies that have had their system hacked at the cost of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars of charges from their carriers.
Many end-users, for the sake of expedience, use simple passwords on their mailboxes – passwords like 1,2,3,4 or 1,1,1,1 or 0+mailbox number or the phone number of the office. The hackers know of these habits and therefore I recommend not using simple passwords that follow an easily recognizable pattern.
The latest rash of hacks take advantage of the vulnerabilities and call forwards your phone lines to foreign countries, racking up outrageous bills. Some of the carriers have gotten wise to this issue and when they see instances of this kind of fraud, they shut down all long distance service from your phone lines. As usual the hackers have a work around to that and simply take advantage of the “1010” dialing feature that routes your long distance calls to alternate carriers (continuing to incur large fees).
What should *I* do?
Strong measures should be taken to help prevent this fraud from happening to you. Check with your phone vendor and make sure all of your system software is up to date, have call forwarding removed from your lines if you don’t need that feature (this could even save you some $$), have international dialing removed from your phone service or have account codes required to make those calls. Last but not least, be sure to use good passwords on your mailboxes!