If recent news stories concerning worms, trojans and security exploits within Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, left you feeling vulnerable, this will leave you terrified. PC’s the world over are already being hit by a new breed of trojan type software called Rogue Dialers. More malevolent than most ordinary spyware, Rogue Dialers actually hijack the computer’s modem and then uses it to dial-up a premium rate telephone number, racking up huge telephone charges. Many Dialers operate whilst the victim is actively surfing the Net by dropping the current connection and then performing an automatic reconnection via a premium rate number. Most scary of all are the Dialers which connect themselves to a premium rate number while the victim is away from their machine, achieving this by detecting long periods of inactivity.
Most “infections” of Rogue Dialers are contracted by the “drive-by download” method, where-by the dialer software is automatically downloaded from a webpage without the victim ever being aware. This method of installing software onto a users PC was pioneered by the online adult services industry as a way of putting spy and adware programs onto a customers PC without them knowing. Originally confined to adult websites, drive-by downloads of spyware used to be known as the Electronic Pox; a risk the end-user took when visiting adult websites.
Of course, just like the first pop-up box, also developed by the adult industry, the rest of the Internet was soon to follow. Thanks to a glaringly obvious design flaw in Microsoft’s Outlook Express, which allows emails, including those containing HTML and embedded malevolent code, to be previewed without any warning, Rogue Dialers can be placed onto a victims PC without them ever going near a website. Rogue Dialers are just the next generation of electronic misery which can be inflicted upon the end-user. Unfortunately for any victims, Rogue Dialers hit the pocket and they hit it hard!
In America, one victim of a Rogue Dialer scam racked up some $500 in charges after their modem was hijacked and a premium rate number was contacted on just six occasions. In the UK too, numerous victims have reported huge telephone charges, with some in excess of