GPS Telecom says business owners face big bills if they fail to protect their PBX systems

Phreaking, or PBX hacking, is on the rise in the UK yet most business owners do not realise they are responsible for the financial repercussions of not protecting their telephone systems.

Telephone fraud is on the increase, costing unsuspecting customers in the UK some £1.2 billion each year, a figure that makes it a five times greater risk than credit card fraud. According to The Communication Fraud Control Association, the UK is now in the top five of the world’s phreaking and hacking spots.

However, when asked, most PBX owners do not realise that they hold sole responsibility for the financial losses incurred through a phreak attack, which can result in losses of thousands of pounds overnight, warned GPS Telecom.

Sean Le Tissier, CEO at GPS Telecom, stated: “Hackers are clever and devious; they tend to access systems during the night and make expensive calls to international or premium rate numbers at the expense of the unlucky company that has been targeted. Unless business owners take a few simple precautions, it could be them next.”

To help businesses combat the perils of phreaking, GPS Telecom has compiled its Top 10 Expert Tips to help protect businesses from unscrupulous thieves:

1.Although it may seem obvious, many companies still forget to remove and change the default manufacturer’s and admin passwords on their telephone system. Make sure that this is done as soon as possible and limit access to maintenance ports.

2.Change passwords on a regular basis, especially on voicemail options, and make passwords as difficult as possible (not the extension number).

3.Limit call types to extensions. If one particular extension user has no need to ring mobiles for example, then block mobile access on that extension.

4.Make sure that your telephone system hardware is kept in a secure place that has limited access.

5.Check telephone bills regularly and review your calls as often as you can.

6.Block access and change the passwords of unused mail boxes.

7.Make sure that you are aware of what functions your system is capable of, then deactivate the functions that you do not use.

8.Assess the security of all of the PBX telephone system applications.

9.Always be on the lookout for suspicious activity; investigate any calls made outside of business hours.

10.Ask your provider to install Call Logging, which can send an email when a high volume of expensive calls is made. This service is available through GPS Telecom for the minimal cost of £4.95 per month.

Le Tissier added: “Although we realise that these suggestions will not stop the problem of phreaking completely, we hope that they will drastically reduce the chance of illegal hacking. Our Call Logging product is a simple and affordable way to help business owners stay on top of the situation, even when the business is closed for the night which is when most of these attacks occur. Together with GPS Telecom, you can make sure your business is safe.”

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