WE URGE YOU TO COMPLETE BOTH STEPS AS LISTED IN RED BELOW!!!
Phone System Hacking is becoming a huge criminal enterprise throughout the world. One report showed it to be a $42 billion crime in 2014 worldwide! No set up, no brand of phones, dial tone provider, or even device (phone, networked printer/fax, SIP, VOIP, etc.) is completely immune. Professional criminals are using sophisticated means to break into phone systems mostly to gain access to make outbound calls. Even the US Drug Enforcement Agency was reportedly hacked for more than $1 million in fraudulent phone charges.
Some long distance providers will waive some or all of the fraudulent charges, it is better to help prevent an intruder than to deal with a large phone bill after the fact. While no brand of system is completely immune from hacking there are steps you can do to help lock down your phone system and minimize the damage a hacker can do.
New threats to businesses, either through their office phone equipment or other devices at your business, are emerging every day and we are working hard to be ahead of the hackers. Right now, the staff of BPS are working with members of the Idaho State Legislature to propose a consumer rights law that will clarify and limit customer liability for fraudulent charges, much like the protections consumers have with fraudulent charges on their credit cards. Even if one day we are successful with legislation, we still urge you to do these 2 steps below.
STEP 1-SYSTEM PROGRAMMING:
We urge you to program certain calling restrictions on your phone system. We have attached instructions and user videos on pages linked below.
Partner Systems: If your phone sets look something like these below click here:
IP Office Systems: If your phone sets look something like these below click here:
Other Phones: If they don't look like any of the above please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 208-523-0006. 208-232-2224 or 307-733-8700 and we can help you determine what model you have. Regardless please make sure you do step 2 below also!
STEP 2- CARRIER SETTINGS
We also urge you to contact the company that provides your dial tone and your long distance. This will help protect against hacking of current or future devises outside your actual telephone system like networked printer/fax machines, and also help if your phone restrictions get over ridden some way. Please call your dial tone provider (if it is CenturyLink call 800-603-6000) and request:
1. A “PIC Freeze”. This prevents your long distance from changing without your written authorization.
2. A “1010” block which will prevent hackers and inside users from accessing alternative and often expensive long distance services. This is critical!
3. A “3rd Party Billing Block” which prevents unneeded and often unwanted charges crammed onto your bill.
4. An “international call block” as most hackers try to call internationally. If you do need to call internationally we recommend blocking your service and buying an inexpensive calling card on line where you dial 1800 to access that service.
5. Require all your internal users that have voice mail change their passwords regularly – we recommend monthly.
6. Ask your dial to provider to disallow any 3rd party charges. This keeps people in prisons and others from charging calls to your number.
7. On a regular basis please check with your dial tone and long distance provider for any updates or suggested prevention techniques. There might be some new hack in the future which could be a side door hack or some other intrusion not even dealing with your actual phone equipment. Others exploits might be through a remote phone off your system or through a mobile smart phone application.
We also strongly recommend you have your IT professional verify your internet router is secure and ports are closed as they recommend. We also recommend your IT provide a managed firewall. Also if an employee leaves employment, immediately change all passwords for that user. Also, we ask you to regularly require employees to change their passwords on their voice mail and on their phone extensions if they have one.
We ask you print this page and keep it on file and document the date when you made these seven changes listed above with your carrier and completed our recommendations for your phone system just for your future reference.
If you ever notice ANY suspicious activity on your phones (most common are lights for lines are lit up, calls ring and no one is there, etc.) call local law enforcement first, then call us ASAP, and also call the Fraud Department at your dial tone provider. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on line. We appreciate your business and are pleased to provide this information to you.
The Staff of Business Phone Specialists, Inc.
523-0006, 232-2224 or 307-733-8700