Are your phones protected against cyber attacks?

WE READ frequently about horror stories of individuals having their personal information hacked or their credit cards and email addresses as well as business websites hacked.

Overall we tend to rely on "other" people to protect our information - but how reliable are those we rely on?

This week I want to highlight an issue that currently lurks in the background of every business - how safe is your phone system?

Do you, as the business owner, know the passwords to your ISDN lines?

If the answer to this question is "No" then you are relying on your service provider and/or the company who service your phone network.

Our phone company recently rang us to report that the number of calls made from our system had suddenly spiked outside of business hours.

The bill arrived soon after - quadruple its usual size. The service provider was in no hurry to address the matter.

Hence we were left to seek an alternative knowledgeable technician willing to assist from Sydney.

Over the internet he found the cause to by eastern bloc cyber criminals who had hacked our network and diverted several lines to mobile phones for their personal use, making many thousands of dollars worth of calls in a short period of time (no client data was hacked). We obtained a report on the matter to find the phone provider used generic passwords that make a hacker's job easy - Administrator, Manager, Password!

The individual phone lines had passwords.

Some lines simply didn't have passwords and hence were open and available for hackers to use over the internet.

Many in business would not give this issue a second thought, but at Sothertons it's our advice to all business owners to make sure you secure every password from every system you have on a password register. Don't assume the phone company will look after you - they tend not to accept any blame. Perhaps your phone service provider won't want to know you either.

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