A recent New York Times article may beg your business to think twice about VoIP business telecommunications solutions. We’ve been receiving all sorts of inquiries about the security of our hosted solution in the face of international fraudsters.
The New York Times does a very good job of explaining how the fraud (which amounted to a whopping $4.73 billion in damages in 2013) “goes down”:
Hackers sign up to lease premium-rate phone numbers, often used for sexual-chat or psychic lines, from one of dozens of web-based services that charge dialers over $1 a minute and give the lessee a cut. In the United States, premium-rate numbers are easily identified by 1-900 prefixes, and callers are informed they will be charged higher rates. But elsewhere, like in Latvia and Estonia, they can be trickier to spot. The payout to the lessees can be as high as 24 cents for every minute spent on the phone.
Hackers then break into a business’s phone system and make calls through it to their premium number, typically over a weekend, when nobody is there to notice. With high-speed computers, they can make hundreds of calls simultaneously, forwarding as many as 220 minutes’ worth of phone calls a minute to the pay line. The hacker gets a cut of the charges, typically delivered through a Western Union, MoneyGram or wire transfer.
FluentStream feels very bad for the businesses who are suffering financially because of these fraudulent attacks. In a perfect world, these things would not happen. With that being said, VoIP providers should think carefully about and feel responsible for the security of their customer’s accounts. With the right hosted VoIP service, these fraudulent attacks are impossible.
Here’s what makes FluentStream’s solution immune to devastating international “traffic pumping” fraud :
- International calling is, by default, disabled on FluentStream accounts. If your business uses international calling, the ability to make outgoing international calls will be password-protected by a unique 5-6 digit PIN number.
- High-cost phone numbers are blocked and are only reachable when requested by the businesses we serve.
- We have many levels of proactive monitoring in place, meant to detect calling patterns that are out of the ordinary. Large amounts of international usage, or usage after hours or on weekends will trigger a notification and temporarily disable the account.
- Our infrastructure is hosted in highly secured Tier IV data centers that have implemented very high security standards.
The bottom line: if your business has chosen an experienced and advanced Hosted VoIP solution (like FluentStream’s), your phone system is NOT a six figure liability waiting to happen.