Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Term Tuesday - a version of 'advance-fee' fraud

This example was provided by Mitchell Hellmana former coworker

AT&T offers several free services for people with hearing related disabilities, details are available at http://relayservices.att.com/, this service is funded by the FCC.
IM Relay is a solution for individuals who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have speech loss. Request a phone number to be dialed and a AT&T Relay operator calls the phone number and translates the text to voice to the other party. There is no charge to use this service, but all users must register first.
Aside from using IM relay on PC or MACs, IM relay is accessible wherever there is AIM. Today, many mobile devices support AOL Instant Messenger applications. Just send the phone number you want to dial to the screen name  "ATTRelay" and you can make calls on the go. Remember, there is no charge to use IM relay, but if you use a mobile device to access IM relay please check with your service provider to see if there may be any applicable data fees. 
Real world example

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

History of Phone Crime - first Denial of Service (DoS) incident

Continuing the retelling of cases of telecom fraud and crime.

To review, topics I have covered were
1876 - First case of telecom related fraud - seems that Bell did not invent the phone, but that the man who did could not afford to patent it.
1889 - First denial of service (DoS) and crime _ see below.
1903-  The first telecom hacking - Marconi's demonstration and "secure" service were interrupted and listened to.

First Denial of Service (DoS) and crime
The story goes that Amon Strowger, a St. Louis undertaker, became upset on finding that the wife of a competitor was a telephone operator at the local (manual) telephone exchange who made his line busy and transferred calls whenever a caller asked to be put through to Strowger, the calls were deliberately put through to his competitor, her husband.(1)(2) 
"Necessity is the mother of invention" so Strowger developed the dial telephone system to get the operator out of the system. (1)

Now if you think about it, this was both a DoS attack, as the wife blocked calls to Mr. Strowger's company and to make it worse she illegally redirected those calls to a competitor.

(1) Bill's 200-Year Condensed History of Telecommunications at http://www.cclab.com/billhist.htm
(2) Theory of Electromechanical Switching at http://www.seg.co.uk/telecomm/automat1.htm