Typically, the stories we here about hackers stealing data involve home computers, mobile devices and company database theft, but there are also profitable attacks being conducted on landline phone networks as well. According to a recent report from The New York Times, landline attacks have generated billions of dollars in illegal revenue for attackers over the last year.

While there are a number of cases of companies falling victim to these sorts of vulnerabilities, back in March a small architecture firm ran up over $160,000 in premium, long distance charges, while no one was at the office. This is because hackers broke into the company’s network, and placed hundreds of automated long distance charges to numbers they currently lease. 

In most cases, hackers simply lease premium phone lines in countries outside the US where they can make as much as $0.24 per minute, and then break into company phone networks to place fraudulent calls at a profit. It appears that companies who are with a major phone network will have the illegal phone charges covered for them for the most part, however smaller providers may not extend the same courtesy.

It is an escalating problem as well. In 2011, nearly $1 billion in illicit landline charges were incurred by companies, a number that has more that quadrupled since last year at $4.7 billion. It is an issue that is hard to manage, according to reports. Law enforcement sometimes has to juggle three or more different jurisdictions to track down and convict attackers involved in landline schemes of this nature.

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