Phone hacking has been around for years. There are various different types of hacking across all areas of voice and messaging communication. We have all heard of various scandals over the years, for example, when the ‘News of the World’ were hacking voicemails came to light in 2011 or more recently the NSA sifting through a million text messages a day. The most talked about use of all hacking is for monitory gain. Again there are various types, but I would like to write about them as they have affected millions of people to date and you could be next.
In the past here at Speechpath, we have witnessed phone hacking first-hand! Hackers tried to bypass a PBX/phone system with different malicious software. When on the system, they created a phone extensions and then tried to dial a premium rate number again and again and again. Speechpath had put in place extra security measures to prevent this from happening so they failed to gain anything for their
efforts. Electronic communication is common place and hacking is a serious enterprise and that is why it is always important to think ahead and by wary of its existence.
Most individuals have a mobile phone and an e-mail address these days. This might make you an easy target! Have you ever heard of phishing? Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
You could receive an unexpected text/email – They may ask you to click a malicious link or to call them on a pay per call number. (Try to think if there’s a good reason for this business to be contacting you!)
The message seems too good to be true? Does this look right? -> eg. email@example.com
Does the text/email says you’ve won a prize, without having entered the competition?
There may be poor spelling or vague contact details. (Those committing scams often have weak English language skills.)
They might provide URL/web address of any links – check that it’s genuine, isn’t unusually long and doesn’t include special characters or letters substituted by numbers!
You are requested to act fast – you’ll often be urged to take action immediately, otherwise your account will be suspended or maybe a client of yours may lose business because?!
Another common scam is ‘Missed call dial-back fraud’, also sometimes called ‘Wangari Fraud’. This occurs when a criminal gang buy up a range of numbers and then use automated systems to make ‘ghost calls’ (calls only lasting a second) to our customers, never completing the call. You get a ‘call missed’ message from this number (usually an international number or premium rate number), call it back and it uses up a lot of your credit/builds up a large bill. If you call back you will usually here a recording which appears to be a cry for help or an automated reply saying the ‘all operators are busy at present, please hold’. These messages are designed to prolong the call and increase the revenue for the fraudsters.
Most of us have or will be scammed in our lifetimes. I implore you to at least take away this final warning, don’t ever enter/give sensitive log in information if you have any concerns at all about the website you’re on. Don’t call a phone number click a link if you are not sure it is genuine; Even if it just looks or feels a bit funny, that’s reason enough to stop and think before you make a mistake.