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As IT & Business Communications specialists we always make sure that we are up to date with the latest news within IT, Fixed Line and Mobile.

Recently Myla, our Head of Fixed Line Sales, noticed that our customers were not aware of ‘phone phreaking’, which is a form of hacking that takes place over the telephone. As phone phreaking is claimed to be five times bigger than credit card fraud and costs $60 billion per year, we wanted you to be aware of this global telecommunications fraud.

Here is a quick summary of everything you need to know:

What is phone phreaking?

Phone phreaking, in simple terms, is when your phone system is exploited without your knowledge so that criminals can gain access to services such as international calls or your voicemail. Once phreakers gain access to a number of phone systems they then gather them together to create their own networks and use them all over the world. Each call is then routed via a network of these phreaked phone lines which makes them hard to trace. The result? A financially crippling bill for the owner of the phone line, with some people losing millions at the hands of phreakers. It is important to note that if your phone line is hacked the bill payer will be liable to pay for the calls, whatever the cost.

Who are phone phreaks?

Phreakers are people that hack into public and private phone systems specifically. Phreaking is a huge business as they are able to make billions through illegal phone calls. These criminals are able to break through passwords easily, meaning that traditional security methods do not protect against phreakers. Phone phreaking has also been linked to terrorists.

When did phone phreaking begin?

Phone phreaking started in the late 1950s, but in the 1960s and 1970s it was reported that there were a group of people who would hack telecommunication systems to make free calls. They were very interested in how the telephone system worked and used their knowledge to hack the lines.

Why does it happen today?

One of the reasons why this occurs is because people are failing to see the value of information and phreakers have found ways to use personal information to call up and hack the personal verification process. Phreakers are then able to call up and use the information to get access to people’s details. Therefore it is really important to choose a supplier which has a secure verification process. Also, if you are installing apps on your mobile or computer from unofficial sources, you run the risk of infecting your device with software that can be used for phreaking. It is essential that no one underestimates the risk of phone phreaking as anyone can be targeted. Businesses, charities, schools, public bodies and individuals are all at risk and a high-profile victim of phone phreaking was New Scotland Yard, as hackers stole millions from them.

How can I prevent phone phreaking?

In the modern world, frequently changing passwords are not enough to keep phreakers away from your phone line. Instead, Foresee have a system which will protect your phone lines and keep criminals locked out.

What do I need to do next?

Nothing! From 1st October, Foresee will be launching a service that will protect your services with us. This service costs £1 per phone line per month and it will make sure that you are protected in the event of an attack. The service is called Fraud Protect and this will appear on your bill from October.

If you have any questions about phone phreaking or want to discuss the IT security within your business, please do not hesitate to contact us via the form below.

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