What is Phone Fraud?
Whether your phone system is office-based or in the cloud you are vulnerable to attack if the system can be managed remotely.
The UK is the third most targeted country for phone fraud with 85% of UK businesses at risk and set to rise by 15% year on year. This is a multi-billion-dollar industry with monetary damages more than double that of Credit Card Fraud.
- It may seem obvious but using a strong password is one of the best ways to fend off a hacker. If the factory-set default password for a phone system has not been changed it could leave a business wide open for attack. Creating a strong password with two-factor authentication where possible is an essential weapon.
- Make sure systems are in place to change passwords regularly, especially when an employee who previously had access leaves the company.
- If your phone system is accessible via the internet, a firewall that can block access from unrecognised sources is essential. If this has the facility to inspect both voice and data packets as they pass through the internal network even better.
- Older systems - a modem or terminal adapter. Simply unplugging it when you don't need maintenance is a good idea. You can also have it set up to call the provider if maintenance is required, so it can only dial the right people.
- All phone systems can be configured to restrict certain types of calls.
- Block calls to international destinations if you don't make any in your normal operation.
- Lockdown international calls to a limited number of handsets and make sure those handsets are in secure areas.
- If international calls are made, consider an extra layer of security by adding an authorisation code before a call can be placed.
- Make sure you have blocked outbound calls to premium-rate numbers.
- Keep an eye on the calls being made on a weekly or even a daily basis. Most systems allow tracking on incoming and outgoing calls. If the business is primarily domestic, international calls should be a red flag.
- Consider adding a fraud monitoring system from your provider.
- Keep up to date with international fraud hotspots. In 2018 the Electronic Communications Committee Report identified the top five countries where fraudulent calls terminate which were Cuba, Latvia, Lithuania, UK, and Tunisia, and where fraudulent calls originate were United States, Spain, UK, Russia, and Palestine.
- As well as backing up your data stored on computers, you should ensure both you and your maintainer have a good backup of your system configuration in case it is compromised (find out more about backups HERE).
- Rebuilding a system from scratch can be complicated and expensive.
- Unfortunately, fraud doesn’t end here. Businesses need to take security seriously and look across systems and processes to ensure a robust plan is in place. Check out the blog on Cyber Security HERE.
- Speak to your maintainer and get advice on how best to protect your business from the increasing threat of Cyber Crime, Data Loss, and Phone System fraud here.
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