In recent years, several phone systems of small and mid sized businesses are being hacked. As a result, these firms are given large phone bills from the telephone company for long distance calls made by the hacker. Business firms which have a private branch exchange that connects offices or branches within a city are more vulnerable and have been under attack from hackers for nearly 20 years. However, recently these incidents have increased. This spurt in telephone hacking activities has become intense after introduction of cloud based telecom networks which are more vulnerable as these are remotely located and are internet based.
According to a recent study fraudsters walked away with around $5 billion in 2013 by using private networks to make premium calls. Small businesses use voice over IP service providers as their services are cheaper by nearly 50 percent and easier to set up when compared to national carriers. Instead of fighting with the service provider for escalated bills and hacked accounts it is advisable to take necessary precautions.
Securing your phone against hackers
The two primary methods to mitigate this are installing security patches as they become available and making sure to use strong passwords. Hackers look for vulnerable phones in a network which has premium calling facilities and then take over the system using auto diallers within US or overseas which are billed to the owner of these lines. This usually happens when careless employees allow the system to generate their voicemail passwords or use simple codes like 1234 or symbols.
- Check with your service provider if they can install a strong firewall for your phone network like a computer network.
- Maintain strong administrative control over network access so a limited number of people have access to master passwords which comprise of letters and numbers mixed together and of around 16 characters.
- Do not ask for international calling facility unless you are likely to make such calls on a regular basis.
- The best way to protect your office phone network against fraudulent international calls on VOIP systems, keep a limit on these calls.
- Install software that tracks irregularities in call patterns within a network and either sends out SMS alerts to client or shuts down the calling facility when such unusual activities occur.
To reduce risk of your phone system getting hacked take all precautions that can provided by your service provider as the saying “prevention is better than cure” holds true here.
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