A Louder Voice Required
Posted on 28/03/2012
PBX hacking or ‘phreaking’ remains a growing global menace but in many cases resellers have been slow to address the full impact of the threat posed.
Tom Maxwell, Dealer Sales Director at Nimans, says resellers are gradually becoming more aware of the potentially disastrous consequences, but feels the industry as a whole, must do more to raise awareness and stimulate pre-emptive action. Resellers should also take more individual responsibility and ‘grasp the nettle’.
Tom fears the full extent of the multi-billion-pound fraud empire is probably much worse than official statistics show – where the UK remains one of the top global hot spots.
“There’s more work to be done. As technology evolves it’s not just traditional phone lines that can be hacked; with IP services and broadband lines often on the same network, there’s a data element that can be accessed at the same time.”
He pointed out: “There’s a general fear factor and a reluctance to highlight the threat of hacking when selling systems. Whilst this is understandable to a degree, dealers should be more honest and open. Ignore this threat and it could come back and haunt you further down the line. Unprotected PBX phone systems are particularly vulnerable because hackers want a multiple number of lines to target. Standard password protection is simply no longer sufficient.”
Nimans offers a range of solutions to protect resellers and their customers, such as a proven PBX firewall, call barring and a built-in call recording solution.
Tom says there are healthy margins from selling security as they are not ‘consumer items’ readily available from multiple sources. Solutions are often remotely installed by the manufacturer, generating annual recurring subscription revenue for dealers.
“It’s likely that the current estimations are just the tip of the iceberg and that the true problem is much bigger than anyone imagined,” he emphasised.
“Through dialogue with resellers and industry experts we are finding that some customers are reluctant to report they have become a victim. Solicitors and security firms for example are embarrassed to admit they have been hit. They like to keep things as quiet as possible as it doesn’t look good on their businesses. Schools and colleges are also sites where reputations are important - and these are particularly vulnerable as they get targeted when they are closed, perhaps during holiday periods.”
Tom concluded: “The voice industry is beginning to catch-up with IT suppliers who always sell firewalls and anti-virus software with all relevant products. Fifteen years ago that wasn’t necessarily the case, but it’s a very different scenario today. The voice industry is gradually beginning to take up the challenge but there’s still a lot more work required.”