Computer Crime In The 1990\'s


We\'re being ushered into the digital frontier. It\'s a cyberland with
incredible promise and untold dangers. Are we prepared ? It\'s a battle between
modern day computer cops and digital hackers. Essentially just think what is
controlled by computer systems, virtually everything.
By programming a telephone voice mail to repeat the word yes over and over
again a hacker has beaten the system. The hacker of the 1990\'s is increasingly
becoming more organized very clear in what they\'re looking for and very, very
sophisticated in their methods of attack.. As hackers have become more
sophisticated and more destructive, governments, phone companies and businesses
are struggling to defend themselves.

Phone Fraud

In North America the telecommunications industry estimates long distance
fraud costs five hundred million perhaps up to a billion every year, the exact
the exact figures are hard to be sure of but in North America alone phone fraud
committed by computer hackers costs three, four maybe even up to five billion
dollars every year. Making an unwitting company pay for long distance calls is
the most popular form of phone fraud today. The first step is to gain access to
a private automated branch exchange known as a "PABX" or "PBX". One of these can
be found in any company with twenty or more employees. A "PABX" is a computer
that manages the phone system including it\'s voice mail. Once inside a "PABX" a
hacker looks for a phone whose voice mail has not yet been programmed, then the
hacker cracks it\'s access code and programs it\'s voice mail account to accept
charges for long distance calls, until the authorities catch on, not for a few
days, hackers can use voice mail accounts to make free and untraceablecalls to
all over the world. The hackers that commit this type of crime are becoming
increasingly organized. Known as "call cell operators" they setup flyby night
storefronts were people off the street can come in and make long distance calls
at a large discount, for the call cell operators of course the calls cost
nothing, by hacking into a PABX system they can put all the charges on the
victimized companies tab. With a set of stolen voice mail access codes known as
"good numbers" hackers can crack into any phone whenever a company disables the
phone they\'re using. In some cases call cell operators have run up hundreds of
thousands of dollars in long distance charges, driving businesses and companies
straight into bankruptcy. Hacking into a PABX is not as complicated as some
people seem to think. The typical scenario that we find is an individual who has
a "demon dialer" hooked up to their personal home computer at home that doesn\'t
necessarily need to be a high powered machine at all but simply through the
connection of a modem into a telephone line system. Then this "demon dialer" is
programmed to subsequently dial with the express purpose of looking for and
recording dialtone. A demon dialer is a software program that automatically
calls thousands of phone numbers to find ones that are connected to computers. A
basic hacker tool that can be downloaded from the internet. They are extremely
easy programs to use. The intention is to acquire dialtone, that enables the
hacker to move freely through the telephone network. It\'s generally getting more
sinister. We are now seeing a criminal element now involved in term of the
crimes they commit, the drugs, money laundering etc. These people are very
careful they want to hide their call patterns so they\'ll hire these people to
get codes for them so they can dial from several different calling locations so
they cannot be detected.
The worlds telephone network is a vast maze, there are many places to hide
but once a hacker is located the phone company and police can track their every
move. The way they keep track is by means of a device called a "DNR" or a dial
number recorder. This device monitors the dialing patterns of any suspected
hacker. It lists all the numbers that have been dialed from their location, the
duration of the telephone call and the time of disconnection. The process of
catching a hacker begins at the phone company\'s central office were thousands of
lines converge to a main frame computer, the technicians can locate the exact
line that leads to a suspected hackers phone line by the touch of a button. With
the "DNR" device the "computer police" retrieve the number and also why the call
was made and if it was made