Hackers Slipping Under the Radar

A new industry study has revealed that a shocking 45 per cent of IT managers are not aware of PBX phone fraud – a malicious practice which leaves businesses at risk of footing huge phone bills from fraudulently made calls.

The figures come from a new survey by Timico, the business internet, hosting and communications service provider and also reveal that 59% of those surveyed have a PBX system that is more than five years old – or are unaware of its age altogether.

As voice networks have become more sophisticated, so have the scams used by phone hackers, fraudsters and other malicious perpetrators to make an illegal profit – meaning that PBX hacking is now a growing threat to any business connected to the public telephone network.

Estimates as to the scale of the problem vary, but hacking of PBX and voicemail systems is on the rise, with fraudsters generating calls worth billions which customers are legally obliged to foot the bill for.

Charlie Whelpton, Director of Unified Communications at Timico, said: “While protecting a company’s data storage and internet connections is par for the course, telephone systems often get neglected. In these days of sophisticated hacking, this leaves businesses at huge risk – with many hackers targeting a business over a weekend or bank holiday – racking up days of expensive calls abroad which the victim is legally obliged to pay for.

“Profit is hard-fought these days, the last thing businesses need is a large bill and an even larger headache. Responsible providers should be educating their customers about this risk and also putting steps in place to prevent it happening altogether. It is partly their responsibility to educate IT managers about the importance of maintaining and protecting PBX systems.”

Thankfully, a new generation of technology solutions is making it much easier to proactively detect and block fraudulent call activity on networks. These innovative voice firewall products are designed to automatically identify and stop criminals routing expensive telephone calls across trunk lines.

The latest systems automatically detect and block fraudulent call activity in real time, whilst also reducing the administrative burden by removing the need for in-house management of complex PBX user passwords and remote maintenance port protection.

Charlie concluded: “By mirroring the principles used to protect your email and web products for voice services, businesses can greatly enhance their cover. Ignoring the risk is not a sensible option.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine