How Did Noor Do It?
Noor gathered business cards of small businesses and used them to target private branch exchange (PBX) switches by dialing into voicemail accounts and guessing passwords. One he guessed the voicemail passwords correctly, he would use the voicemail to forward calls to premium phone numbers that he owned. Then he and his many accomplices repeatedly dialed the hacked PBX numbers which forwarded to his premium phone lines earning him millions of dollars over several years. The premium phone line charges were in the range of several dollars a minutes.
The FBI’s official indictment doesn’t name specific entities, but it lists examples: One business in Livingston, New Jersey, was hacked for $24,120. Another, in Englewood, New Jersey, was charged $83,839, according to a story in International Business Times. Noor and his accomplices netted over $50 million over 4-year period from 2008 to 2012 by this scheme.
How Was Noor Caught:
Early in 2015, Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) found the cell phone number used by Noor personally. Upon getting hold of the phone number, Jabbar contacted the wireless service provider with a court order. The carrier then gave him access to the phone's GPS coordinates. And that's how Jabbar reached Noor's doorstep last month.
|Source: Communication Fraud Control Association|
How Big is the Phone Hacking Fraud?
Widespread use of Voice over IP (VoIP) by small businesses has created a huge opportunity for phone hackers. Communications Fraud Control Association, a telecom trade group based in New Jersey, estimated the PBX fraud at $4.42 billion in 2013.
Growing access to technology is opening up new opportunities for criminals in both physical and cyber worlds. Noor Aziz Uddin case shows that the technology used by criminals to commit crimes can also be used by governments to fight such crimes. It requires law enforcement to stay one or two steps ahead of the criminals to beat them at their own game.
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