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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