PBX Anti-Fraud Guidelines

What is PBX fraud?

PBX, IP Telephony and Unified Communication systems are combination of solutions that integrate various communication tools and features into single management system. They provide technologies that enable users with services like voice calling, instant messaging, video and audio conferencing, voice mail and contact centers.

Fraud risks are incidents that happen frequently to a customer’s telephony system, where hackers attack less secure networks and utilise the PBX systems for outgoing calls as a gateway to redirect the calls to external destinations.

How does fraud impact your business?

Hackers tend to breach into the system through unprotected services and start making a large number of international calls to expensive destinations.

The affected customers’ bills could reach thousands of dirhams in few hours; this in turn could result in several issues with the business as well as damage the company’s reputation.

How does fraud happen?

There are many reasons for vulnerabilities of networks and telephony systems. We have listed a few of them:

    1. The introduction of IP-based Telephone PBX has led to a majority of them having Internet and wireless connections. This has increased the number of attack channels and added several vulnerabilities to the network
    2. Hackers use several techniques to gain access to the telephony system.
      • For example,a default password for voicemail systems can be used to set-up long distance calls through (follow me) feature.
      • Also,IP-based PBX that uses the data network and Internet might be compromised through its media gateways. This could allow hackers to make calls without going through the PBX directly

    Fraudsters continue to develop ways to compromise the security of the telephony system and cause large losses to their victims. Furthermore, they target business during the weekend and holidays to avoid detection or mitigation attempts. Businesses need to protect their PBX system by implementing the necessary measures and best practice to avoid these losses.

    What can you do?

    Businesses need to make sure that they are protected from fraud. Below are a few suggestions on how to reduce chances and mitigate any fraud, if it happens:

    1. Physical security:
      • Restrict access to your core equipment and servers
      • Access and control management
    2. Admin and user profiles:
      • Choose strong passwords and codes to access the PBX system collaboration features
      • Make sure to change your default password and introduce two-factor authentication for critical roles
      • Check system remote access functionalities and deactivate the unnecessary ones
      • Restrict access to companies’ files and data
    3. Network configuration:
      • Apply the latest version of firmware
      • Protect your data network through access lists, firewalls, etc.
      • Apply Denial of Service Attack (DOS) policy
      • Implement secure protocols for your media/voice gateway
      • List of potentially unused active network connections should be reviewed, and any unused interfaces should be disabled
      • Configure Access Control List and MAC address filtering in your media/voice gateway
    4. Telephone configuration and dial plan:
      • Apply the latest security patches and system version
      • Control trunk registration and media sources
      • Introduce a non-predicative dial plan
      • Produce blacklist
      • Block unused prefixes

    How do we help you?

    Etisalat continues to develop ways to protect customers from PBX fraud. We have invested in a network-level fraud mitigation system that reduces the attacks on a customer’s infrastructure with mitigation plans to prevent breaches and fraud at earlier stages. Our Central Network Operations Center has the capability, resources and expertise to provide solutions that help our customers further enhance their security level in many aspects.

    For more details, please contact your account manager.