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Illegal usage of home phone number from external source

Whelk
Whelk asked
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Hello,
Is it possible for a home phone number to be utilised by hackers from an external source when the computer is switched off and the internal modem is still linked to the line? I know of a case where a residential number was utilised to dial an adult web page in the early hours of the morning when the computer was definitely switched off. The resultant time spent was registered on the person's phone bill at a time when noone in the house had been anywhere near the computer or the web site at any time. I look forward to your answers because I have been told that it can be done by malicious users. Incidentally, the line is a standard british phone line and not a cable line. Further to that, a dial-up connection was discovered in dial-up networking called "hearsayx" with the dial-up number being 5555555. This had never been created at all by the user. A full virus scan was done of the system with the latest definitions and nothing turned up.
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CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
No more can a hacker get into PC and utilize the modem to dial out than can you get 50 elephants in a volkswagon.

The only way someone can utilize your residential phone line is if they bridge on to your physical phone line somewhere between your house and the Telephone Company's Central Office. This is not as difficult to do as most people think.  With more and more of the phone cables being underground, it's quite easy to connect into any ground level terminal and connect a pair of wires to your "PAIR" of wires. It's no different than connecting up an extension line in your own place.

The only other explaination is that someone in the house is not being entirely truthful. The easiest way to check this is to check the history file in either Explorer or netscape  (in Netscape use Ctrl-H)  in Explorer click on History.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for replying DTH. A bit difficult checking the history as by the time the phone bill comes through it can be over a month old and history isn't saved for that long. There are only two in the house... man and wife and neither of them is going to dial a premium phone number and run up a #20 call per occasion if they are not prepared to pay it. I'm sure there must be another explanation.

Author

Commented:
Sorry, that #20 should read 20 pounds (british)
rid

Commented:
rid

Commented:
rid

Commented:
rid

Commented:
Test??
/RID
rid

Commented:
rid

Commented:
Test??
/RID
rid

Commented:
Sorry about these repetitions... I altered the comment, retried, altered etc to no avail. Then EE went unconscious. Anyway, what I tried to say was that if the computer was accidentally left "on", some program might have been working according to some hidden schedule and dialled somewhere. In Sweden there were reports of websites that, when you clicked certain links, diconnected you and then forced a redial, to a number abroad. These sites dealt in "adult material", of course; I mention this just to point out that it is technically possible. The only other possibility I can think of is a wire-tap.
Regards
/RID

Author

Commented:
HI Rid,
Thx for the comment. No, the computer was not left on at any time. I know wire taps is a possibility but wondered whether there was any other way. So far it looks like not.
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Commented:
If your using Internet Explorer - you can change the history to any number of days your want.

Unless it happens again - I'd say just chalk it up to bad luck. If the telephone company is willing to work with you - they can test the line to see if anyone else has a device on the line. To do this you will need to unplub the second phone - call the repair service and explain what happened. Ask them to test the line for additional devices. They may ask you to unplug the phone your on for a minute or two while they test the line - even a modem on the line will have some indication as opposed to the straight line capacitance.

If they won't help you - try calling the business office and explain the situation - and ask that the charge be taken off your bill. If they refuse then - insist that the test centre test your line as requested. If they still refuse - then make a complaint to the government agency that regulates the phone company - You'll be suprised at how fast you'll get a response.

20 lb  is a fair chunch of groceries (or a real good nite at the pub.

The other thing you can do is to go into the modem properties and make sure that a log is being written for all modem calls.  Check it every so often for numbers that are unusual. It the modem has an existing log you may be able to use this to prove that a call was made or not made.


Author

Commented:
Ok thanks for your input DTH, I will award you the points for your comments and suggestions. Many thanks again.
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Commented:
Glad to Help

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