Have you ever heard your computer’s modem dialing in the middle of the night – with no intervention by you? Well you’ve probably been (or are) the victim of modem hijacking.
This occurs when a software program instructs your modem to dial a telephone number, often an international number and your phone bill is charged a HUGE amount of money for the call(s). How can your modem be hijacked?
By going to a malicious web site and inadvertently downloading a program that takes over your modem to instruct it to dial.
Associated Press writes Consumers can fight hijacking by using a dedicated phone line for the computer dial-up connection, then blocking international calls to that line. Lawmakers said people should also install a firewall to block hackers and avoid unfamiliar Web sites, although some hijackers masquerade behind legitimate-sounding names.
The hijackers tap into people’s modems by luring computer users to specific Web sites ? sometimes through e-mails ? where pop-up windows emerge inviting the user to click on them. The windows authorize the downloading of modem software that is then remotely accessed to make international calls that are charged back to the user.
“This is a new kind of thievery and it takes new kinds of law to deal with them,” said Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, one of the bill’s sponsors.