05/08/2014

By Ebba Ljungdahl, Pinnacle – The Telephony Expert

Corporate networks can be vulnerable to malicious hackers. By cracking passwords and mapping handsets and telephone numbers, a hacker can gain access to a network and then sell this information on to external groups which make long distance calls on the corporate PBX, potentially racking up thousands of pounds in charges.

FIVE potential warning signs that your system may have been hacked:

• An increase in short duration calls and calls to un-provisioned numbers.

• Your business suddenly experiences heavy call volume on nights, weekends, and holidays.

• Unusual messages in your mailbox, or suspicious changes to outgoing greetings.

• You are “locked out” of your system or see PIN changes in voicemail for no apparent reason.

• A significant increase in calls from a single geographic area or from the same automatic number identification (ANI).

But what measures can help prevent your telephone system being hacked?

While there is no way to protect your company entirely from toll fraud, there are ways to reduce the risk of it happening. Pinnacle would recommend the following measures as a starting point:

Speak to your fixed line supplier about setting up fraud detection and alerts – Pinnacle works with fixed line providers who analyse our customers’ call destinations, number of calls and call attempts. If something suspicious is spotted, the providers will send us an alert to flag potential fraud. This allows us to act quickly to prevent further hacking occurring.

Ask your fixed line supplier to set a call level spend – Analysis of your bills will give you an understanding of your average spend and regular call destinations. You can then set a threshold with your supplier so that you are notified when your account reaches this limit.

Block call destinations – From Pinnacle’s experience, some call destinations are more frequently associated with fraud than others. Speak to your provider and ask them to suggest destinations to block – if you have no need to contact certain places, block them!

Restrict Ports on Firewall – Make sure ports are restricted at network level to only use those required.

Regularly change passwords – This perhaps goes without saying but Pinnacle would advise changing passwords on your telephone system regularly.

Please be aware that the points listed above are merely suggestions based on Pinnacle’s experience of fraud. Not all providers may be able to offer these services but it is worth finding out what options are available to you as hacking of telephone systems is on the rise.