Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

EDITORIAL: Prevent Cyber Crimes Targeting IP Phone Users Via Public-Private Cooperation

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

EDITORIAL: Prevent Cyber Crimes Targeting IP Phone Users Via Public-Private Cooperation

Article excerpt

There has been a flurry of cases in which IP phone users have been overcharged by significant amounts after their phones, which use Internet connections, were hacked.

Hackers use such tactics as breaking into a switchboard that connects a telephone to the Internet, and then giving instructions to make international calls automatically by controlling the phones remotely.

In the case of international calls, domestic telecommunications carriers collect fees from IP phone users, and then pay part of the fee to phone companies in the overseas destination. Some countries employ a system in which part of the phone charges are paid to receivers as a fee for information. Criminal organizations are suspected of reaping profits through the fraudulent use of this system.

We cannot overlook the rampant nature of heinous cyber crimes, targeting telephones, easily accessible household items. The telecommunications industry and supervisory authorities should cooperate closely in improving countermeasures.

Using such means as fiber-optic networks, IP phones transmit and receive voices in the form of digital signals. As the charges for calls are comparatively low, the use of IP phones is widespread in Japan, with the number of IP phone contracts accounting for more than 50 percent of fixed-phone contracts.

NTT East and West said they have confirmed at least 130 cases of this type of hacking since last fiscal year. But the amount the damage caused, including that of other carriers, remains unclear.

One IP phone hacking victim was asked by NTT East to pay more than 2.5 million yen, with the carrier claiming that the victim made 15,000 phone calls to Africa over a matter of three days.

Responses too little, too slow

On a contractual basis, the phone user had no choice but to pay that bill. …

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