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Computer Crime In The 90's Essay

2338 words - 9 pages

We're being ushered into the digital frontier. It's a cyberland with incredible promise and untold dangers. Are we prepared ? It's a battle between modern day computer cops and digital hackers. Essentially just think what is controlled by computer systems, virtually everything.By programming a telephone voice mail to repeat the word yes over and over again a hacker has beaten the system. The hacker of the 1990's is increasingly becoming more organized very clear in what they're looking for and very, very sophisticated in their methods of attack.. As hackers have become more sophisticated and more destructive, governments, phone companies and businesses are struggling to defend themselves.Phone FraudIn North America the telecommunications industry estimates long distance fraud costs five hundred million perhaps up to a billion every year, the exact the exact figures are hard to be sure of but in North America alone phone fraud committed by computer hackers costs three, four maybe even up to five billion dollars every year. Making an unwitting company pay for long distance calls is the most popular form of phone fraud today. The first step is to gain access to a private automated branch exchange known as a 'PABX' or 'PBX'. One of these can be found in any company with twenty or more employees. A 'PABX' is a computer that manages the phone system including it's voice mail. Once inside a 'PABX' a hacker looks for a phone whose voice mail has not yet been programmed, then the hacker cracks it's access code and programs it's voice mail account to accept charges for long distance calls, until the authorities catch on, not for a few days, hackers can use voice mail accounts to make free and untraceable calls to all over the world. The hackers that commit this type of crime are becoming increasingly organized. Known as 'call cell operators' they setup flyby night storefronts were people off the street can come in and make long distance calls at a large discount, for the call cell operators of course the calls cost nothing, by hacking into a PABX system they can put all the charges on the victimized companies tab. With a set of stolen voice mail access codes known as 'good numbers' hackers can crack into any phone whenever a company disables the phone they're using. In some cases call cell operators have run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in long distance charges, driving businesses and companies straight into bankruptcy. Hacking into a PABX is not as complicated as some people seem to think. The typical scenario that we find is an individual who has a 'demon dialer' hooked up to their personal home computer at home that doesn't necessarily need to be a high powered machine at all but simply through the connection of a modem into a telephone line system. Then this 'demon dialer' is programmed to subsequently dial with the express purpose of looking for and recording dialtone. A demon dialer is a software program that automatically calls thousands of...

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