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Rogue diallers

by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 15, 2004 9:50 AM PST

Hi all,

In the UK I watch a half hour tv program most days about finance matters.

Very often this program has articles about Rogue diallers that viewers have suffered from, and have approached their telephone companies, (British Telecom in the main), who are demanding hundreds, even thousands of pounds because of the premuim rate or even international calls they have made. They are asking BT etc to "excuse" them the charges as they did not know these rogue diallers were installed on their PC's.

BT and the telephone authorities are now taking action to bar such premium rate numbers, and some international numbers where they can, but it is difficult as Premium Rate isn't illegal per se, and as BT said today on the show, with 180 million calls being made a day, (I'm sure thats what he said), there is a lot of calls to monitor.

I wanted to write into the program and explain what could be done. No-one on the show seems to give any advice on what PC users should do, and although I know myself, my letter/email is now running to 4 pages of "easy steps", and this is just too long and complicated for this type of show.

How do I cut any advice down to easy steps. I'm not trying to help them with past inflated telephone bills, but with measures they, the tv viewers can take to prevent it happening to them in the future. I have to mention viruses, spyware, trojans and hijackers. I can't mention what anti-malware programs to use as that is advertising, and as this is the BBC, such things are frowned upon, Happy

I also want to mention about configuring dun's so that they;

1] show the connection icon in the system tray, for users to keep an eye on if ever the icon disappears briefly,

2] play the modem dial up and connection sounds so users can listen to their normal connections going through, and get used to the sounds. If a different sound is heard, they will notice it better;

3] configure IE to never dial a connection,

4] set their dun as default, and place a shortcut of the dun on the desktop, so that the "user" has to connect, not anything else.

5] download and install anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware, anti-adware,

6] keep all anti-malware definitions uptodate and scan the computer regularly,

7] scan all downloaded files/programs/images from emails and the internet etc,

Cool switch to Firefox,

9] keep windows updated.

You see there is a lot of information. "We" would know what this means, but I bet most tv viewers will not without more detailed steps/information.

Is this a hopeless task?

Or is there anything you can suggest, eg a web site which is easy to read out on the show, and which is easy to follow and includes most if not al of these steps?

Your thoughts will be most appreciated.


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You have an excellent idea Mark
by roddy32 / December 15, 2004 10:34 AM PST
In reply to: Rogue diallers

as always. I don't know how easy it would be but Eric Howe's website has a lot of it including links to other places and the BBC MIGHT go for it because Eric is not selling anything. One reason why I like his site besides listing the rogue websites is his diagrams of searching on Google and showing where the search results are and where the paid ads are. I LOVE Google and even have a Google Toolbar which I use, without exagerating probalby 100 times a day BUT for those that are not familiar with it, especially when looking for things to protect their computer security are PROBABLY going to click on the paid links, MANY of which but not all are ripoff sites. I commend you what you are doing. I hope they listen to you. At the bottom of his page are closing words and contact info so IF you decide to use it, I would ask his permission but I can see no reason at all why he would not give it as this particular thing you are doing is the reason why he made the page in the beginning. Good luck Mark. Grin

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Many thanks
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 15, 2004 8:27 PM PST

Hi Roddy,

Thanks for Eric Howe's site. I have used it before and it is excellent.

I was hoping for something simpler. The specific problem at the moment in the UK is rogue dialers, (I got my spelling right this time), which hijack the modem and dial up a premium rate telephone line and Eric's site doesn't specifically deal with this. I don't denigrate UK users, but I feel they would quickly get lost in all the technicalities of the anti malware campaign. That's why I stopped my own draft explanation because it was getting too technical.

However, from Eric's site, linking to other sites I managed to get this brief "Protect Yourself" article. It says;

"Protecting Yourself & Your Wallet

Firewalls and anti-virus software WILL NOT provide protection against Rogue Dialer infections. The "drive-by download" method of introducing a Rogue Dialer onto a PC normally involves an ActiveX script and users are advised, at the very least, to set their browser settings to either disable ActiveX or warn of its existence. For a more professional approach to protecting your modem, StopItNow, an Australian based software company has released a specific Rogue Dialer killer which retails for just $16.95.

To avoid having a Rogue Dialer dumped onto their computer via the preview pane of Outlook Express, users may want to consider an alternative email client such as the freeware program, Eudora.

If I use this I will delete the adverts to StopItNow and Eudora, and just use the basic, but it does explain, quickly and concisely what can be done.

That is, set ActiveX in IE to disabled, or to Prompt, (and I can include directions to do that), and to remove the Preview Pane in Outlook Express.

With SP2, I reckon that the ActiveX may have been tightened up, but I fear and doubt that many of these users have upgraded to SP2 yet.

So, I have something to go on, and thanks again.


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Hi Mark
by roddy32 / December 15, 2004 8:42 PM PST
In reply to: Many thanks

I'm not an editor LOL. Your whole prinicple on this is great. Maybe you could try e-mailing Eric and see what his opinion it is. His e-mail address is at the bottom of his website. BTW, One of the new things in SP2 is an option in OE to block "HTML" from loading when you download a message. There is a small bar in the preview pane that you can click on IF you DO want to view it, such as a CNET newsletter. The same thing goes in IE with "Active-X". A bar is put at the top of the page, along with a warning IF someone or something tries to install an "Active-X" control but, like you said, many people have NOT installed SP2 yet. Regardless of whether they have or not, everybody needs more protection than just that anyway. There are various other ways to get infested as you already know, among them is clicking on a link in an e-mail that they THINK is valid.

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