Hackers run up £120 000 phone bill for Canadian law firm

The Canadian company - along with many other Toronto area firms - has reportedly received a large monthly bill due to hackers breaking into their voicemail systems and dialling calls onward.

Martin & Hillyer have been landed with a bill for more than $207 000 (around
£120 000) and other Greater Toronto companies have reportedly received similar jaw-dropping accounts.

The voicemail hackers are known to dial a number out of hours, wait for automated voicemail and then brute-force attack the system with generic or system admin passwords until they hit paydirt.

Bell Canada's track record suggests it will cut the bills to a more manageable size, but it won't wipe the slate clean.

Oakville, Ontario-based Gordon Cowan, the president of GPS Consulting Group & Insurance Agencies, for example, was hit by $60000 (£34 500) bill for calls made over a 14 hour period one weekend last Autumn.

"I came in on Sunday and there was a call from the Bell Canada fraud squad saying we had been breached. They shut our voicemail system down," Cowan said in an interview at the time.

"They told us to change our passwords, which we have been doing anyway, and they would be in contact with us," he told a local TV news station, adding that a week later the hacking incident happened again.

After parading the 38-page closely printed itemised bill to the media, Bell Canada reduced his bill to $7 000 (£4 000).


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