Youve got to admire Ed Gibson, Microsofts recently-appointed UK chief security advisor. He was brave enough to stand up at a conference and admit that he had been conned by the rogue dialling scam that in the last couple of years has been hitting people all over the country with huge and fraudulent phone bills.
Just to refresh, these are the bits of unwanted malware that redirect dialup connections to premium rates lines to generate huge profits for the criminals.
His sting in the rear end was £400 ($720), incurred presumably when using an analogue modem as backup for broadband. How his PC came to acquire the rogue dialler is harder to work out. You would have though that standard security and anti-virus defences could have stopped it in its tracks.
It is a problem strongly associated with the lower orders of PC-dom, in other words those so clueless that they have still not reached the higher sanctum of broadband, or bothered to protect themselves.
The authorities have put in place some modest counter-measures, but the truth is that nobody much cares about this group of Internet users. They are yesterdays people.
In most fields, demonstrating you are a victim of fraud allows the users recompense for some or all of the financial hit. Telecoms is still, somehow, different. The phone company is not going to absorb a bill on your behalf because the PC realm is not their worry. All the broadband providers that once-upon-a-time made money out of phone calls fit this mindset.
In a world of phishing and card-not-present fraud, Internet banking and ecommerce would collapse with such a modus operandi.
Some months ago, BT started giving away a simple application that blocks rogue dialling using a white list system. You have to download it its an add-on for Windows.
Now why didnt Gibsons employer think of that before the issue even arose?