A week late with this, but still shocking enough for a mention: Microsoft’s UK security chief has admitted to be being hit by a rogue dialler, according to ZDNet UK News:
Rogue diallers have claimed a high-profile victim — Microsoft UK’s chief security advisor Ed Gibson. Speaking to ZDNet UK on Tuesday, Gibson revealed that he has recently been hit by a £450 bill from BT after his computer was infected with a rogue dialler.
… Gibson was speaking at the London “eConfidence — Spam and Scams” conference, at which he delivered a passionate attack on rogue diallers. “I’m so perturbed about the whole area of rogue diallers… If we don’t make a concerted effort to make the Internet more secure, it will be a very different place in the future,” Gibson told the conference.
My sympathies with Mr. Gibson, who ZDNet says “was appointed as Microsoft’s chief security advisor in the UK in May this year and took up his post in July. He has previously worked for the FBI as an assistant legal attaché for the UK. “ But I’m still kinda gob-smacked that someone of his ilk and presumed savvy would fall for this hoary trick. Does Microsoft not read Loose Wire? (I’m kidding.)
Anyway, the sting in the tale is that BT is insisting he pay the 450 quid he rang up. Seems fair; a few months back I would have said not, but BT has, as ZDNet points out, launched a service to protect users from this kind of thing, so there’s really no excuse.
I suppose my worry is that Mr. Gibson is a little behind the curve here, and using a forum to fulminate against a problem which, in the scheme of things, is slightly less important than data theft, phishing and other Internet terrors. If one wanted to, I suppose one could argue this is symptomatic of Microsoft’s lethargic, unimaginative and all-or-nothing approach to security. Or is it just one guy’s bad luck?
Seems that those rogue dialers are still out there: This from the Manchester Evening News: £8m net swindle
UP TO 300 internet users a day are targeted by a swindle which cost British consumers about £8m in a year, says BT.
The company has received more than 80,000 complaints from computer users whose machines are linked to premium rate or international numbers without their consent.
Up to 2,000 people a day are now signing up for new BT software which guards against the internet dialler scam.
Victims of the con have seen their BT bills soar by an average £100, with some customers being stung for up to £1,000.
Here’s the software site. The blurb says:
Once downloaded, the software automatically launches everytime you start your computer. It monitors internet dial-up connections and alerts you when unauthorised users attempt to dial restricted numbers. When suspicious activity is noticed a display window will warn “You are attempting to dial a premium rate, international or non-approved number. If you do not want to proceed with this call hang up. If in any doubt you should unplug your modem and check your settings before attempting to redial”.
I couldn’t help passing this one on, though I don’t mean to mock either Milton Keynes, a charming artificial town in England, or Online Journalism, a very worthy project of the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review.
Online Journalism today picks up a piece from the BBC about how British Telecom is trying to extend broadband connections across the country. (I’ve written about this before after visiting a village in Northamptonshire, which got around the problem of BT’s glacial broadband program by building their own Wifi network.)
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the BBC article talked about extending ADSL reach from its present range from a broadband-enabled exchange from 6 km to 10. Testing site: Milton Keynes, a town that could not be more in the middle of England since that was why it was built there a few decades back. It’s a garden city, and its sprawling layout and majestic avenues make it the butt of jokes, and more importantly, broadband a hotbutton issue. not But remote it’s not: An hour from London, an hour from Birmingham, an hour from more or less everywhere.
Unfortunately Online Journalism got the wrong end of the stick and wrote about “Remote towns in U.K. to get broadband service: Soon, remote areas in the U.K. will have broadband Internet access, reports the BBC News. BT, the leading ISP in the U.K., is currently running a test in the remote town of Milton Keynes in hopes of establishing broadband service for the area. The town was chosen because 18% of residents experience great frustration over Internet access, a higher percentage than in most U.K. towns due to the city’s remote location.”
I don’t know whether Milton Keynesians are going to be happy about this. The Shetlands are remote. The Scilly Isles, maybe. Milton Keynes? No.