Telecom Namibia has temporarily blocked calls to a number of countries following massive fraud practices dubbed as phreaking that has cost companies 6 million Namibian dollars (75,000 U.S. dollars) in February alone.
Phreaking, also known as private automatic branch exchange (PABX) fraud, is when criminals hack into companies’ telephone systems and make long distance calls.
In a statement Monday, Telecom Namibia said they temporarily blocked calls to Angola, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Somalia, Senegal, Uganda, Guinea, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Sao Tome, Papua New Guinea, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cuba, Guyana, Albania, Macedonia and Monaco.
“The routes to these destinations have been blocked, meaning no calls can be made from Namibia to all the above countries,” the statement said.
This fraudulent activity, the statement further said, has spiked in the past weeks and impacted heavily on Namibian businesses.
“While this type of fraud has been around for a very long time now it seems that the fraudsters are now back trying to hit businesses in Namibia,” the statement said.
In this regard, the statement also said, the breach is a result of a PABX system being inadequately protected, and not as a result of a line or network problem on the part of Telecom Namibia.
“We, therefore, want to ask all those who have experienced such fraud/hacking to contact their service provider to rectify their PABX systems,” the statement said.
Telecom reminded its customers that the legal liability for the traffic and payment for international charges rests with them.