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SCI/TECH: New York Lawmakers Target Modem Hijacking

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posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 04:18 AM
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New York lawmakers are targeting the increasingly prevalent practice of modem hijacking. Their bill is the first measure of its kind in the United States. Internet thieves tie dialers to pop-up windows that many just click through without realizing that they are authorizing a dialer installation. Once that happens, the victim's phone line is used to make phone calls to the most expensive locations in the world. Some victims have been bilked for thousands of dollars that they are legally responsible for. Verizon is doing its best to erase such charges from the bills of its customers.
 



www.washingtonpost.com
As you're clicking away at your keyboard, you may be turning your telephone modem over to Internet thieves who make international calls and a profit at your expense. That's modem hijacking.

New York lawmakers on Monday announced what apparently is a first of its kind measure in the nation to target the practice, which is estimated to run up millions of dollars in illicit phone calls for Americans whose service is stolen through dial-up connections from personal computers.

"They are very creative in doing what they do," said Sen. James Wright, of northern New York's Jefferson County. He said the hijackers can now probably avoid the law because they flash a pop-up window for the computer user to check, authorizing the downloading of modem software that then is remotely accessed to make international calls that are charged back to the unwitting computer user.

New York's bill appears to be the first of its kind to target modem hijacking, said Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states are considering similar, broader bills and some modem hijacking might be investigated under some states' computer-trespassing laws, she said.



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A few weeks ago, an older fellow at my favorite restaurant was complaining about how messed up his computer was. After talking for awhile, I determined that he was a little short on protective software and recommended a few free utilities that are available on Download.com. A few days ago, he approached me and told me that one of the programs I suggested, TweakNow RegCleaner, had made calls to Diego Garcia and he had gotten a phone bill for over seventy dollars. Qwest, so far, has refused to remove the charges, but disabled international calls on his phone.

Well, I was sure that it wasn't TweakNow or any other of the products I recommended, because I use them myself and they are widely used and accepted. I knew about dialers, but until this story broke, I really didn't understand how they worked and how they can attach to trusted software and do their dirty deeds clandestinely, making them hard to detect and delete.

Surely, this is a matter about which dial-up users should be aware and we can all begin to put pressure on our legislators to address this problem now that New York is setting a precedent.

Related News Links:
www.kntimes.com
www.businessweek.com
www.democratandchronicle.com
www.jpost.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
EXCLUSIVE: Med Network DNS Hijack, A Web Exploit That May Spell Cyber-Disaster
Microsoft Conspiracy
SCI/TECH: Microsoft Drops Fine for Virus-Writing Teen
NEWS: More Than One Million Computers Hijacked By Hackers


[edit on 05/4/8 by GradyPhilpott]




posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 04:38 AM
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This is quite alarming. I will comment with only a suggestion to users of broadband, especially those who recently switched from a Dial-up service. Uninstall your dial-up network components, but keep your regular network components (for ethernet/broadband duh lol). If this seems tricky for any reason, then simply have your dialup modem disconnected while your broadband connection functions. jeez, what next, skype jacking?



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