Cyber Attacks on Telecom Rack Systems

Welcome back!  This week we continue our look a vulnerabilities for Server and Telecom Racks as we look at Cyber Attacks on Telecom Rack Systems.

As we walk through this blog series, please keep one fact always in mind: Cybersecurity is all about the data that resides in your rack. It doesn’t matter whether that data happens to be in a server, a storage system or a telecom system.  Any data can be stolen can be used to gather information about your organization and can be used against your organization. A cyber criminal can do everything from steal that data to erase that data and everything in between. If you have data, it is valuable to someone and, in today’s world, people will steal or destroy it for the right price.

Data about your organization lives in many places. I list the obvious of servers and storage systems here but, did you ever think of the data in your telecom system? IP-based PBX systems dominate telecom sales for medium and larger organizations. This is a particularly hot spot for us because we have seen just how easy it is to log into PBX systems from all of the major brands.

Virtually every phone system today is managed via the network and that means that if you can manage it, a cyber criminal can get into it. If a cyber criminal gets into one of these systems – and the point is more of “when than if” because none of these systems offer much true cyber protection – there is no limit to the information they can gain or the damage they can cause.

Consider the following critical data that can be stolen from most phone systems:

  • The phone numbers and names of each person who has been called by your employees
  • The phone numbers and names of everyone who has called someone in your organization
  • Voicemails left for your employees
  • Personal calendars and other information that are tied into the system

Cyber Attacks on Telecom Rack Systems

So what would an unscrupulous competitor pay for this information? It turns out, just like the drug economy exists because their are buyers, so too, cyber crime exists because their are buyers of this data. A whole underground economy exists and flourishes in the business of black market data.

In addition to stealing data from your IP-PBX or other phone system, hackers can also break into your phone system for the purpose of using your system to originate international calls.  Hacking IP-PBX systems for toll fraud has become a huge problem in the past few years.  To alert its customers to this problem, TDS Telecom, a large Independent Voice and Data Carrier, sent the following warning to its customers:

Telephone hackers can infiltrate vulnerable PBX systems to make international and long distance calls, listen to voice mail, or monitor conversations…By controlling the PBX maintenance port, hackers can change the call routing configuration, alter passwords, add or delete extensions, or shut down a PBX, all of which adversely impact business operations.

Unfortunately, you may only find out you have been hacked when you receive a bill for international calls made from one or more of your lines that were not dialed by anyone in your company…Your business, not your Long Distance Carrier, is responsible for all charges incurred on your system due to fraud (including toll fraud), abuse, or misuse of services, whether known or unknown, and whether or not your Long Distance provider takes any actions to stop or block Toll Fraud. The responsibility for the security of your PBX system is yours and you should take steps to protect your assets.

So, yes, by attacking your PBX system, cyber criminals can actually make fraudulent toll calls, running up enormous bills in the process. They can also steal sensitive information about your employees, your customers and your vendors.  As you can see from the above information, there is virtually no limit to what a cyber criminal can do to you through your phone system and the only way that you might even know that someone has tampered with your system is if they run up an enormous toll charge.

For all of the readers of this blog, please consider the small cost of securing your phone system with RackGuardian. RackGuardian is the only product that can both monitor the maintenance port of your PBX system while it shuts off any attempt to connect to the system from the outside.  RackGuardian also monitors the power and environment in your telecom server room, a huge factor necessary to keep your system up and operational.  It provides the ability to reboot your telecom server in a uniquely secure manner.  In addition, it on-board analytics can warn you when your UPS system battery is about to fail.  No other product has gives you such a broad-scale protection for your telecom systems.

Cyber vulnerabilities in PBX/IP systems are real and, with time, they will only increase. RackGuardian can protect your phone system, its power, environment and everything in the rack. Its a small price to pay vs. a risk from hackers that is growing exponentially by the year.

Please think on this and, until next time,

Be Well!