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MPs' office under phreaking attack
7:00am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
A CONSTITUENCY office shared by our two MPs has been swamped with voicemails as hackers try to break into their telephone system.
The office of Stephen Metcalfe, MP for East Thurrock, and Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price, was inundated with 800 voicemails over a weekend recently as phone “phreaks” tried to illegally dial into its eight phone lines.
Phreaking is a form of hacking that applies to telephone networks. Culprits exploit weaknesses in the phone system to make long-distance calls for free, tap into other’s calls, take control of lines or get free phone services.
Robert Smiley, one of the directors at Basildon-based Connects Telecom, which operates the phone system at the constituency office, said it is “constantly under attack” but the phreaks have so far not managed to break the voicemail code. He said: “Anyone who has more than one telephone line is at risk, every business, every school.
“It’s four times the level of credit card fraud now, it’s absolutely huge.”
Mr Metcalfe added: “We’ve got a very robust password system but at times it does frustrate people because the lines are tied up with calls coming in to break the barrier.
“It’s a big problem, not just for us. I’m aware there are businesses locally who have ended with hundreds of pounds of bills.
“It’s an unfortunate side affect of modern technology, but we’re not unique and I can categorically say we’ve not been hacked.”
If residents have left messages for the MPs but haven’t had a response, call Mr Metcalfe’s office in Westminster on 0207 2197009, or Ms Doyle-Price’s on 0207 2197171.
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