Phones at real estate office hacked
The phone system for a local real estate office has been hacked – the second reported incident of its kind this week in Aspen.Otis, Walker & McCormick on East Hopkins encountered trouble with its phone system last week. The firm’s service provider determined the office’s system had been hacked by a caller from the Philippines, and that 3,100 calls had been placed between midnight and 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.Earlier this week, a hacker in the Philippines hacked into the city of Aspen’s phone system, police said, placing a long-distance collect call on the line that cost about $500.In the case of the real estate office, the service provider was unable to tell the office the total bill for the phone calls made by the hacker.”I’ll be interested to hear that because I’m sure it’s a pretty funny amount,” said Teresa Miller, office manager for Otis, Walker & McCormick.Police are warning local businesses that the easiest way to safeguard against hackers is to make sure that all voice-mail boxes are protected with passwords. Businesses should also have their providers check that their firewalls are up-to-date for the best possible protection.Aspen Police Officer Adam Crider said he is working with the phone company in the investigation, although the case may be taken over by national or international authorities, depending on its scope.Miller said she was on vacation last week when the office began receiving a call from a man with an accent who repeatedly asked to be placed into the office manager’s voice-mail box. Soon after he was placed into the system, two phone lines at the office were continually busy.By the time Miller came back from vacation the voice-mail system had crashed, but the man continually called and asked to be directed to voice-mail. Before he hangs up the phone, office workers hear a series of beeps and clicks on the line.The office’s phone system crashed completely on Tuesday, though they had gotten it up and running by Thursday morning.Two of the phone lines, however, are still continuously busy, and the voice-mail system is still down.[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]
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