Massive Phone Bills & PBX Hacks

On December 16, 2011, in Fraud, Security, Telephones, by Edel

Last night I got a high rated warning alert from the “Irish Reporting and Information Security Service” outlining the rise in PBX Hacks.  ComReg (Commission for Communications Regulation in Ireland) have announced that there has been an increase in  reported cases of PBX Fraud.

PBX fraud occurs when someone connects to your phone system, for example they dial into your voicemail and once connected to your system they can make outbound calls.  The calls are usually made to international numbers and premium numbers.  The result is a massive bill for the company.

Yesterday I was on the phone to ComReg to follow-up on a PBX hack that happened last week in an office in Co. Clare where there are 3 phones on the phone system.  Over the course of the weekend, Saturday & Sunday, 160 calls were made to international & premium lines.  The bill for those calls is nearly €4,000.  This is crippling for a small business.  They have 2 phone lines and the criminals ran up a bill of €4,000, if these criminals get in to a system with more lines you can imagine the size of the bill the company would be facing.

The calls are generally made when the office is closed so weekends and the upcoming Christmas holidays are prime times for PBX fraud.  

Take steps to protect your business from pbx fraud:

  • Check with your phone system supplier if your system is secure.
  • Ensure they have not left any passwords at the default settings
  • Ask them to turn off any services that you don’t use 
  • Contact your telephone provider and ask them to block premium calls and international calls if you don’t use them. 
  • If you need international or premium calls turned on, it may be an idea to get them blocked over the holidays if your business will be closed for a week or more, you can get them switched back on when you return in the New Year.

You don’t need the hassle of PBX fraud so please take steps to protect your systems.

Don’t forget to protect your mobile as well during the holidays! Make sure you have at least a PIN on it for security.  Contact your mobile provider immediately if you lose it, they won’t have to cancel it but can suspend it just in case it turns up.


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Happy Cyber Monday

On November 28, 2011, in Online Security, by Edel

Today is the busiest day of the year for online shopping, it is known as Cyber Monday.  

Money is tighter than ever and people will no doubt flock to online stores to do some Christmas shopping and grab a bargain, as well as saving themselves the hassle of hitting the shops.  In the rush to save a few Euro, shoppers need to be aware of some of the pitfalls of online shopping. 

The old saying caveat emptor (buyer beware) is more relevant than ever when you are shopping online.  Of course there are great deals to be had online, but always use common sense and a pinch of paranoia when you shop online.  These are some simple steps to help you avoid online shopping headaches:

  1. Always ensure that the website you are buying from is processing your credit card details securely.  On the page where you are asked to enter your credit card details, make sure you can see the “padlock” icon which signifies that you are on a secure part of the website.  You will see that on the secure pages of a website, the web address starts with https, unsecured pages of the site will start with http with no “s”.  Never enter your credit card details on any webpage that does not have the https 
  2. Make sure the site you are buying from is a legitimate store. Many fake websites pop up around Christmas “selling” gifts at unbeatable prices. The problem with these sites is that they won’t ship your purchase to you. They are online scams, “selling” products that they don’t have. 
  3. Be careful when clicking links in emails. Phishing attacks are not confined to asking for your banking details.  Cybercriminals may put up sites that look like a known online retailer, again so they can collect credit card details without shipping any goods.
  4. Some websites are selling replica goods which look like, and are advertised as, the genuine article, always read the small print and buy from reputable websites.
  5. Never send your credit card details to anyone in an email. Email is not secure.
  6. Try not to order at the last minute. Many online shoppers got caught with the big freeze last year when deliveries were held up. Leave yourself enough time.
  7. Be aware that purchases of items from outside the European Union may incur customs charges.

Trust is a significant element of any purchase. When you buy online you are trusting the vendor to keep your credit card details safe and to uphold their part of the bargain by shipping you the products you have bought.

Help yourself by being aware of online scams, using common sense and getting a second opinion on a website if you’re not sure about it. 

Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Comment and share your online shopping experiences – good or bad :)

Ready, Steady….

On November 22, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Edel

I’m hoping to to gather my thoughts and get my ramblings out of my head with the help of this blog.  Not sure what it’s going to turn into, maybe it will grow into some uncontrolable monster, or maybe it will die a death because despite the best will in the world I forget to update it!

Whatever happens I’ll try to make the posts interesting, useful  and might throw in a bit of sarcasm from time to time ….let’s just wait and see :)

N.B. If you are offended by an overuse of exclamation marks (!) or smiley faces :) this is not the place for you.