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Businesses across the UK are falling victim to telephone fraud and PBX hacking. Over this last few years it has cost companies in excess of £1bn a year for their criminal and terrorist activities and is thought to be on the increase.
‘Phreakers’ as they being called, spend their time exploiting loopholes in business telephone systems. Once in, they take great pleasure in making calls to international or premium rate calls (09 numbers) at £1.50 per minute and have even been known to sell phone calls to unsuspecting members of the public.
The charges that these fraudsters incur is phenomenal and can end up leaving unsuspecting companies liable for bills that can run into thousands of pounds, and with the UK being one of the top 5 hotspots worldwide for hackers, if you’ve not already taken action and protected your company against these fraudsters, then it’s time to act now.
Company owners need to work closely with telephone service providers to help ensure every step possible is taken to protect their business telephone systems.
Unfortunately no business who has PBX is safe because the Phreaker knows how to exploit the omissions of security controls in your system that occurred during installation or repair. The Phreaker steals from your system without the need to change any of your parameters. The only tools required to be a good phreaker are patience and social engineering skills.
So what can you do to protect your business from telephone hackers?
Hackers find it easy to gain access to passwords and because of this the standard security that comes with your telephone system is not always enough to give you the protection you need. However, there are still security measures you can put in place to protect your system and defend your business from unwanted fraudsters.
Action you & your telephone provider need to take:
1. Check the user name and password for remote access to your business telephone systems. Ensure you have strong passwords that are confidential to your business. Many phone system engineers simply leave the default password when carrying out an installation, making the system more vulnerable to hacking. Anyone trained in programming and installing a phone system like yours could dial in and make fraudulent calls easily without your knowledge. If necessary, ask your provider to change the user name and password
2. Make sure your telephone extensions are barred from making calls to premium rate numbers. Small businesses often choose not to put restrictions in on the phones but locking this down can prevent fraudulent attacks and misuse by staff
3. Ask the provider if they can place call barring on your telephone network which will also stop calls being made to premium rated numbers.
4. Request your provider to flag up any expensive calls over a certain value. Many can offer this facility, and while it won’t stop the hackers it can quickly alert you to potential fraudulent calls so you can take action.
5. Restrict “off-site call forwarding” from telephones. Only permit extensions which absolutely need to forward calls to do so. Many telephone fraud attacks use this feature to forward calls made directly to internal extensions through the normal UK landline number which then dial out to a premium rate number.
If you’re worried about telephone fraud or want to find out more about how you can protect your business telephone systems call Intouch Advance today 0844 568 0003.