Latest cyber attack on routers highlights the importance of network security

An attack over the weekend has left thousands of customers of TalkTalk, KCOM, and The Post Office without internet access – by using a type of malware known as the ‘Mirai worm’ to spread via hijacked computers, and specifically target particular types of routers with vulnerabilities.  The routers affected are:

  • Zyxel AMG1302
  • D-Link DSL-3780

If you use one of these the recommendation is to reboot which will initiate an update to the latest software. Keeping up to date with latest software versions is often recommended for this very reason.

The worry of attacks like this are the potential spread to other devices once on a network such as thermostats, Smart TVs, etc.


How can this link to phones?

As above, once someone has gained access to the network there may be an opportunity for them to use the phone system for fraudulent purposes – the main way that hackers can do this is to then make calls through the system to premium rate international numbers which will earn them a revenue on the calls.


So how do you protect against this?

Firstly, the recommendation would be to speak with whoever manages your IT and ensure all relevant safeguards are in place on the network, however if the worst were to happen and there was access to the system:

  • Speak with your Telecoms provider about the SIP networks used and the security in place
  • Set up International Call bars – most call fraud is to premium international numbers and so by barring any outbound international calls it will reduce the chance of being able to dial these number – however we accept that many companies will need to make calls outside of the UK, so:
  • Set up automatic fraud alerts & shut-down – this may be ISP specific but at Time, we are able to set daily account limits so that if a particular call spend is reached then the account will automatically shut down until we reactivate it; so at worst, the hack will be for the amount you have set.

Please note that the above are relevant for Voice over IP – SIP calls; if you are on analogue or ISDN then the international call bars will still apply and we would recommend setting this up through your Telecoms provider.

Of course these are all as a last resort and by having a secure network, and ensuring your telecoms provider has all relevant safeguards in place it should be irrelevant.

If you have any questions about fraud or setting up safeguards, please feel free to get in touch.

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