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Phone System Security

Published: 09 April 2012

Phone System Security

I know what you’re thinking: Is phone system security really something I have to worry about?

The answer is yes. Many local companies have fallen victim to phone hackers recently.

What is phone or voicemail hacking? 
It’s a means by which criminals gain access to your phone system, use it to make long-distance or collect calls, and stick you with the charges.

Here’s how it works
A hacker will call into your voicemail system and search for mailboxes that have default or easy-to-guess passwords in place. Once he has accessed a voicemail box, he will change the greeting to “yes” or “yes, operator, I will accept the charges.” The hacker can then use the voicemail box to receive collect calls on your dime.

Some voicemail systems have a remote notification function that allows calls or messages to be forwarded to another phone number. In these cases, a hacker can program the system to forward calls to a number of his choice. Then, any chargeable calls routed though the remote notification system will be billed to the business that owns the voicemail system.

Here’s a story about a recent voicemail hacking incident in Bangor, Maine.

How can you protect your company?

Voicemail or phone system hacking usually occurs when your office is unoccupied for a longer period of time, such as weekends and holidays. To keep your company from becoming a victim, voicemail users should do the following:

• Change default greeting to a complex password of at least six digits.
• Change voicemail password frequently.
• Avoid obvious patterns such as birthdays, sequential digits, or repeating numbers.
• Check your voicemail greeting regularly to ensure that the greeting is yours.
• Disable voicemail features not in use, such as call-forwarding or auto-attendant.
• Ensure your phone system is up to date with all releases and/or patches.

If you believe your phone system has been hacked, call the police first, and then notify us

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