Exploiting VoIP for Toll Fraud – Don’t get slapped with someone else’s long distance calls!

We’ve all been there…a quick glance at the monthly phone bill, followed by a second and then the long stare and a raising of the eye brows.

‘Did I really talk for that long?’

‘He was in Singapore on that call!?!

A majority of the time, it’s a slight increase in the monthly bill that draws initial skepticism. But, when the monthly phone bill jumps up to the same cost level as a corporate party in Vegas, skepticism quickly turns into an all out fight against fraud. These targeted attacks by malicious hackers are what is known as toll fraud and it’s occurring more and more with the massive shift of businesses switching from their traditional landline based phone systems exclusively over to VoIP.

While toll fraud is nothing new and was seen as early as the 1950s, today it accounts for over a billion dollars in international fraud for not only phone service providers but businesses like yours.

What’s so appealing to these criminals aside from being able to call anyone, anywhere at any time for free? The ability to resell those stolen minutes to their own set of customers…and the internet makes easier for them to do both.

Business VoIP is particularly vulnerable to toll fraud because of its intrinsic relationship to high speed internet connections. The internet offers hackers both an easier point of entry than a traditional landline based phone as well as the possibility to sell more minutes.

Toll fraud is commonly discussed in terms of the end result – the expensive phone bill, but there are other more fundamental ways in which toll fraud affects a business’ profitability. For instance, a company more dependent on sales related to telephone usage will feel the adverse effects of toll fraud more strongly than another type of sales model. Thus, toll fraud not only affects a company when they receive a costly phone bill, but it potentially impacts a month’s worth of work as well.

As VoIP becomes more popular with businesses, it becomes ever more important to protect IP communications from hackers. The most concerning trend is that hackers are tapping into botnets and using cloud resources to brute force many of their exploits, making it easier for them to break in. Leading botnet blockers such as San Diego based, ThreatSTOP can help prevent any such fraud from happening. Better yet, it’s deployed on your existing firewall to ensure unprecedented security. Their website offers a free trial of their services along with free ThreatTOOLS to learn of the existing security threats your network is facing right now.

As with most security issues, if you don’t do something now…it’s just a matter of when.

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