VoIP Phreaking a concern

FILED UNDER: Technology

The cult 70’s activity of hacking telephone systems is seeing a revival through the new telephone technology, voice-over-IP (VoIP).

Back then, kids, including Steve Wozniac – who built the very first Apple computers – discovered that they could open lines for free calls when pitching tones at various frequencies.

They thought of phreaking as a victimless crime since no-one lost any money, but in this latest version, it leaves users out of pocket.

VoIP services are considerably cheaper than traditional copper wire networks (landlines), sometimes even free, utilising the Internet to route calls. If you use it to call landlines or mobiles however, it can cost more than on a regular phone service.

Dave Gladwin, vice-president of products at Newport Networks says that log-in details for VoIP accounts are up for sale on the web and they are going for more than credit-card details.

Harvesters target public hotspots as, according to Gladwin, nine out of ten providers of VoIP using the standard SIP protocol don’t support encryption.
Skype users need not worry. They encrypt traffic and use their own protocol.

Users tend to be careful to check they’re using a secure link when making purchases online, but they don’t think about it when making a VoIP call, Gladwin says.

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