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Bandwidth Theft on the Rise, Warns Telkom

Telkom cautioned that Web users are more in danger of becoming targets of "rogue dialing", and getting their bandwidth pilfered, forcing them to pay huge telephone bills and spending extra on added bandwidth.

As reported by Mybroadband on October 15, 2007, Thokozani Mvelase, Telkom Asset and Revenue Protection Services' (TARPS) Acting Executive, asserted that "rogue dialing" is executable software and is downloaded onto a user's PC while browsing the net, and is direct cost to the user.

This executable program snaps the user's link to the Internet Service Provider (ISP), dials an overseas number, and then re-establishes the link to the site that the user was browsing before the link to the ISP was snapped. The modem sound is also deactivated, that is why the user is oblivious of what is taking place and goes on browsing the net, producing a long distance call at international charges.

Although figures detailing the losses incurred to the users due to these unlawful frauds are not available, Telkom alleges that incidents of bandwidth theft and or rogue dialing are rising worldwide. Bandwidth theft has hit ADSL users the most. It happened when someone hacked into a genuine client's ISP account.

The computer software downloads the default userID and password that accompanies the recently bought ADSL hardware. In case the real user does not alter and individualize the default userID and password, the scammer can capture the bandwidth content of the customer. This not only impacts the customer's capacity to keep logging on to the net, but also frequently increase the need for buying extra bandwidth.

Since PCs and modems are clients' private property, they are legally responsible for the expenses incurred during these offenses. But to facilitate the detection of these offenses, Telkom has formed a 'fraud management system' that keeps the calling pattern of every customer in check. At the slightest alteration in the calling pattern, it will raise the alarm.

Telkom also advised the people who suffered bandwidth theft to immediately report the incident to the South African Police Service, which will subsequently get hold of the particular ISP for full records to help them in their probe.

To stop bandwidth theft, the clients must secure their modem by installing their own userID and password into the modem, and not continuing with the default userID and password, advised Telkom.

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