Microsoft and Rogue Dialers

By | September 12, 2005

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?

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