A Tauranga man who has been left with a $26,000 phone bill is warning people to make sure their PABX phone systems are protected from phone hackers.
Alan Bray, director of New Zealand Electrical Traders, says he got the shock of his life when he was handed the account.
Alan uses a PABX phone system and says hackers typically use the voicemail section of these systems to reroute international phone calls through your lines to anywhere in the world.
“Anyone with a PABX phone system with a voicemail system attached to it is exposed to this hacking.”
“It could potentially happen to any business.” Alan says when the systems were installed in his company by his phone services provider, none of the default passwords were changed by the installers.
He was not aware of these passwords as his company had requested all voicemail services be removed from the phone system.
He says if these had of been changed from 0000 it could have prevented the hackers from being able to hijack his phone line.
“The default passwords are really easy to get into as it is common knowledge what the different brands of PABX use as passwords.”
“This period of hacking and the accumulation of the $26,000 worth of international toll charges occurred within a period of two days. It started on a Sunday and finished two days later. I was not made aware of the account until two months after the hacking happened.”
Alan wants to use his story to warn other people with PABX phone systems to make sure all their passwords have been changed from the factory default settings.
“It could have been $100,000 or $200,000, there is no limit.”
Alan is currently in talks with his phone provider to see what can be done about the bill, but at this stage he has been told he is liable for the payment of the account.