PBX hacking back again

Tal Eisner
cVidya Networks
When starting my career in the telecom fraud arena 12 years ago around mid-2000, PBX hacking was one of the first fraud types I learned about.
 
It was mysterious, and had a James Bond quality about it…"They would call late at night… use several codes to hack in… call continuously for hours to a destination far away, on an island…"
Indeed, it was just like in all the action movies.
 
And here we are, fast forward to the present over a decade later and PBX hacking is here, again - big time! How did that happen?
 
PBX's of all shapes and sizes have been sold in the millions over the past years. PBX’s are an attractive product sold not only to large corporate companies, but also to SOHO (Small Office Home Office) companies and even private residents.
 
This fact has not gone un-noticed by fraudsters and hackers around the world who are constantly on the look-out for new, creative and original methods to increase their revenues.
 
In a market where competition is fierce, reputations are everything and customers have no qualms about switching from one operator to another, PBX hacking has become a plague and a huge headache for carriers and, more specifically, fraud managers.
 
Just last year, CFCA (Communications Fraud Control Association, www.cfca.org) ranked PBX hacking as the number one fraud type globally, inflicting over $4.5 billion in damages every year.
This is partly due to the shifting trends of telecom service provision.
 
In the past two to three years more and more operators, both fixed line and mobile, have shifted towards what is commonly known as "unlimited plans". Simply put – customers pay a small monthly fee and get unlimited usage of both calls and SMS, often even international calls.
 

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