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Prevent Telecoms Premium Rate Fraud over the Christmas Holidays!

December 5, 2017
Nicola Amis
Christmas Telecoms Fraud

You may be aware that your computer
networks can be open to attacks from hackers. But are you aware that your phone
systems are just as vulnerable too? Premium rate fraud is where Hackers scan
your phone network, looking for a weak spot in your Private Branch Exchanges
(PBX), hack in to it and make a high volume of calls to premium rate or
overseas numbers.

Having found a weak spot, the thieves then
crack the passcode, giving them access to the phone's voicemail. Most phone
systems allow users to dial into their voicemail and then make calls from the
exchange. It is meant to allow employees to make work calls when they're out of
the office. But it also allows hackers to exploit the system for cash. Once in,
they can basically use auto diallers to call premium lines, normally abroad,
which can charge up to several pounds a minute. Hackers would have already
leased the premium lines in advance so that they can collect a percentage of
fees charged to the small business owners for calling these numbers.

Premium rate service fraud can cost business owners thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds!

Victims are often small to medium-sized
businesses, schools, charities and medical/dental practices but any business
can be targeted by fraudsters who find a way to take advantage of flaws in
security systems. With Christmas holidays approaching, there’s a higher risk of
telecoms hacking due to premises being left empty over this time.  Monitoring of the phone usage over periods of
office closure is probably very low or not taking place at all, meaning you may
should take extra measures to lock down any call types that are not required,
such as international and premium rate access.

There are some important steps you can take
to protect your business from telecoms hacking and there may be some measures
you were not aware of that are easily implemented. Here are some
recommendations to help protect yourself from any hackers:

  • Change Passwords and access codes regularly and create strong and
    longer passwords using both alpha and numeric.

  • Disable access to your voicemail system from outside lines. If this
    is business critical ensure the access is restricted to essential users and
    they regularly update their pin/passwords.
  • If you do not need to call international numbers/premium rate
    numbers, place a restriction on your telephone line.
  • Restrict outbound calls and/or set a cap on call costs at certain
    times e.g. when your business is closed.
  • Ensure you regularly review available call logging and call reporting
    options and look out for increased or suspect call traffic.
  • Secure your exchange and communications system, use a strong IT
    firewall and if you don’t need the function, close it down!
  • Consider limiting call types by extension - if a user has no
    requirement to ring international or premium rate numbers then bar access to
  • Ensure you fully understand your systems functionality and
    capabilities and restrict access to those services which you do not use.
  • Assess security of all applications: platform, operating system,
    password and permissions scheme.

Can your current provider offer security
and advice on staying safe from hacking? At Telecoms World, we pride ourselves
on the software and phone networks we provide; offering full account management
to all of our customers and consulting on all aspects of telecoms security. Helping
prevent your business from becoming a victim of telecoms fraud.