'Apprentice' hacker rings up large phone bill

An "apprentice" hacker broke into the PABX system of John James Hospital in Canberra last week and made more than $5000 worth of international calls.

The calls, made primarily to South America and the Asia/Pacific region between Wednesday March 22 and Thursday March 23, were stopped only when a Telstra account executive called the hospital's administrators to notify them of the irregular long-distance calls. Consequently service from the PABX was barred.

Director of finance and corporate services at John James Hospital, Tina Dewis, said the police and internal IT staff were able to sift through the telephone logs to discover that someone had hacked into the system, sussed out the four-digit passwords and made the calls.

"I am glad our account manager picked up the [call pattern] because we usually wait for bill to arrive ... apparently someone started making calls at 1am Tues until the ban was placed on the PABX on Wednesday afternoon," Dewis said.

"The stuff our internal IT guy does is fairly ordinary and his eyes glazed over when he got the chance to put his expertise to use. We now have removed the ability to dial into the PABX, turning the modem off and removing numerous functions.

"The information we have received from our hardware people is that it was not done by a hardcore hacker but a hacker in training. I guess that's what they do to try different things out and get their confidence up as they have gone in and played around and have not done any other damage apart from the financial impact."

Dewis said dial-in attempts are still being made to the affected number, leading her to consider whoever has the original PABX number is still attempting to defraud the hospital.

An ACT Police spokesman said it was the first big attack of its kind in Canberra this year.

John James Hospital will lodge a formal report to police when they receive a situation report from Telstra. Dewis said the hospital doesn't hold a lot of hope the attackers can be traced.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Crawford

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?