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In an infamous sequence in the classic movie “Marathon Man”, Dustin Hoffman’s character, ”Babe”, is repeatedly
asked by the bad guy, Dr. Zell (Laurence Olivier), “Is it safe? Is it safe?”.
Confused by the question—Dustin Hoffman alternately says “yes, it’s safe” and “no, it’s not safe”. Both answers result in more painful torture.
If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I won’t spoil it. The method of torture is both diabolically cruel and one that most of us can all too easily empathize with. Always the sign of a good plot device.
The question, “Is it safe” is often the same question senior executives are asking voice and data professionals about the new breed of Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone systems. Although the question itself is easily understood in the telephone system context, a truthful answer is not far from the “yes” and “no” answer that Dustin Hoffman provides in the movie.
The security practices and systems in place with VoIP networks are, for the most part, a great improvement over what was in place ten years ago.
However, that may be small comfort in an environment where the Johnson’s Landscaping is fast becoming one big improvement system.
During his time with Sun Microsystems, John Gage was credited with the statement “the network is the computer”. Today, this can just as easily be said about a modern VoIP phone system. The network is indeed now the phone system and due to the complexity of modern networks, new challenges abound.
Every node or entry point on the system provides new ways to gain access to obtain outside dial-tone. In addition, because many VoIP systems are global in their reach and include countries where long distance is still expensive, the motive for stealing long distance services is still strong.
Just in case you think Toll Fraud is a thing of the past, a 2009 Network World article detailing the exploits of an international organized crime ring should provide a dose of reality. The ring is alleged to have stolen over $55 million dollars worth of services over a three year period from several hundred companies. Unfortunately, Toll Fraud is alive and well.
So what does all this have to do with collecting and analyzing call activity? Simply this; having an effective method of profiling your normal call activity, a good detection system and an automated alarm system to tell you when things don’t look right is still a great way to minimize potential damage from Toll Fraud.
Someone once put it to me this way, “Even though you lock your front and back doors at night, don’t you feel a bit safer when you set the alarm?”
To learn more about the size of the Toll Fraud problem today, request a free copy of the the Communications Fraud Control Associations 2013 Fraud Loss Survey. CLICK HERE