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Phone hackers target Tory MPs' office
1:00pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
A CONSTITUENCY office shared by two south Essex MPs has been swamped with voicemails as hackers try to break into its telephone system.
The office of Stephen Metcalfe, MP for south Basildon and east Thurrock, and Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle- Price, was inundated with 800 voicemails over the weekend as phone “phreaks” attempted to illegally dial into its eight phone lines.
Phreaking is a form of hacking that applies to telephone networks where hackers tap into the phone system to take control of lines to get free phone services, including longdistance calls.
Robert Smiley, a director at Basildon-based Connects Telecom, which operates the phone system at the office, said it was “constantly under attack”, but the phreaks had so far not managed to break the voicemail pin code.
He said: “Anyone who has more than one telephone line is at risk, every business, every school.
“The problem we have had is people don’t understand what’s going on until they are done.
“It’s four times the level of credit card fraud now. It’s absolutely huge with regard to the money being stolen.”
Mr Metcalfe said: “We’ve got a very robust password system, but at times it does frustrate people because the lines are tied up with calls coming in.
“It’s a big problem and not just for us. I’m aware there are businesses locally who have ended with hundreds of pounds worth of bills.
“It’s an unfortunate sideeffect of modern technology, but we’re not unique and I can categorically say we’ve not been hacked.”
If residents have left messages for the MPs, but haven’t had a response, call Mr Metcalfe’s parliamentary office in Westminster on 0207 2197009, or Ms Doyle-Price’s on 0207 2197171.
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