Season to be #jolly – if #hackers stay #away

Christmas is the prime time to be hit by hackers, a telecoms service provider has warned.

HighNet claims the quiet time during the festive season allows fraudsters the perfect opportunity to make millions of pounds from businesses when it is easier to break into computer or phone systems.

The firm, which manages more than 20,000 business lines, said in the past year its security systems have intercepted eight fraud cases – involving numbers from Morocco, Cuba, Liberia, Togo, Tunisia, Albania and Bosnia – potentially worth around £100,000 in total.

It says companies, charities and even schools are vulnerable to hackers using dial-through or voicemail fraud and other criminal techniques when premises are closed. Common times for them to strike include the early hours of the morning, weekends or public holidays.

Aberdeen-based John MacLean and Sons suffered two fraud attacks this year, from numbers in Cuba and Liberia. In both instances, voicemail in the Aberdeen site had simple passwords on them which were guessed by the fraudsters. This was then changed to divert to international and premium rate numbers, and then corresponding direct numbers were repeatedly dialled at random intervals for short periods each time.