Dialers - can they be stopped?

  graham√ 13:33 05 Jun 2003

Recent threads concerning 'dialers' prompts me to ask if they can be stopped.

As I understand it from sites such as click here , they will drop your internet connection and then dial a premium rate number, the aim being to generate revenue from the call.

The 'dialer' is often installed as a program, so it can do its dirty work at random, unknown to the owner of the PC.

Will a firewall stop them? Will Ad-aware or Spybot find them?

  Nick 13:51 05 Jun 2003

Am I right in thinking that a dialler cannot dial out on my NTL cable broadband as it is not actually connected to the telephone line or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

  graham√ 14:00 05 Jun 2003

I'm no expert, but it could be only those on dial-up (56k or ISDN), that are vulnerable.

  fitshase 14:04 05 Jun 2003

You cannot "Dial out" on your cable broadband as it does not go out via a telephone line.

This is only a problem of dial-up accounts (i.e., accouts that dial a phone number to access the internet).



p.s., in response to the original question, our I.T guy at work made a login script to stop any additions to the dial up networking accounts. I think that this might be exclusively for a server/workstation relationship as we have to login to the network.

  -pops- 14:34 05 Jun 2003

Slight variant on Nick's question.

I have a 56K modem fitted which I use for Fax. If one of these dialers downloads into my machine from broadband, is it then able to connect to base via my analogue modem at vast cost? If it is, how will I know it is doing it before I get my phone bill?

This is only hypothetical, but may be a cause for concern.


  fitshase 14:40 05 Jun 2003

As far as I can gather, it cannot instigate itself and dial of it's own accord. When people on a dial up use the internet, they are confronted by a dial up box.

This box contains the name of the connection (e.g., Freeserve, Blueyonder, etc.) a user name and a password.

When I was on a dialup, I just clicked on connect without looking. Some people have it set to automatically connect.

It is under these circumstances that the dialer works and dials a premium rate number.

The best defence is to contact your telephone company and ask them to prevent dialing to premium rate numbers. That way, if you do get a rogue dialler and it tries to connect, it will be blocked by your phone company.



  -pops- 14:47 05 Jun 2003

Ah!! Yes.

Forgot about having to make the positive action for dialing out. Like you, I clicked on connect without looking - it just became a matter of routine.

I'll seriously think about barring premium rate numbers though - thanks.


  graham√ 15:06 05 Jun 2003

As far as I can gather, it can instigate itself. That's why it is so insidious, you don't know it's dialling.

  skeletal 15:16 05 Jun 2003

When I got caught, I certainly did not use a "strange" dial up. I only have two, one for email and one for internet. BUT, during the "strange" phase a new number did appear on my list of accounts and I did not know where it had come from (I do now!), but I never used it (it's now deleted). I think what it did, was when I was browsing, it downloaded, cut off my connection, and then re-dialled using itself. I would not notice as I find the internet so lousy I am always being cut off at random anyway.

I don't really know how it did it, but it did!

Skeletal (posts before being cut off!)

  graham√ 11:52 06 Jun 2003

A number of 'dialers' are listed in SpywareBlaster, so if you have one of those it will find and 'deal' with it. One at random gave this information :

'Premium-rate dialer, most likely for adult-rated material. If installed, it could dial to an overseas toll number without you knowing and cause large charges on your phone bill.'

  Uncle Den 13:25 06 Jun 2003

I wondered where you'd gone to off my thread, you knowledgeable rascal, Graham!

I tried Ad-aware and it did show premium dialers had been installed - advising me to delete it on one list from another list which didn't seem to use the same names for files - unless I've gone round the bend - which is quite likely. The real problem is that I'm still trying to work out how Ad-aware works and, to Internet novices like me, it doesn't seem over user-friendly.

As I see it, Ad-aware will show you what you've got after you've got it - but Spyware (if only I knew how to use that one properly as well - or even how to set it going) claims to detect and block dialers and viruses before they are installed.

The snag is that I don't know if the two detector programs can be run together at the same time.

To Nick:

BT tell me they can block you (or anyone else in the household) from directly making premium calls from your own line in the normal way - but cannot apply the block if you are connected online through an ISP.

My ISP (AOL) say they (or any other ISP's) can't stop premium calls being made either.

It would seem from all this that the rogue dialer is installed to totally disconnect you from your ISP and then (from your own PC) use your modem in some way to divert your telephone line (by making it call a normal line perhaps from which it can transfer you from there to a premium line - ??? - as I believe telephone salespeople very often do to stop you or BT tracing them) to make a connection to the premium line from there.

My last blunder in this area cost me £27 - so you can guess that I'm very keen to see this problem solved.

We may be able to delete dialers - but it's a bit too late after they've done their dastardly deeds, isn't it.

Turning off the compueter at the mains won't stop it - it's only using you telephone now! Pulling the telephone plug out of its socket on the wall won't help either. When you plug your phone back in, you are still connected to the premium line! I tried rattling the phone cradle rapidly up and down and - eventually - got a dialing tone back - but I don't know if this was because of my action or because the call had ended?

Actually, I'm writing a book that makes it necessary to explore the "naughty" and "illegal" sites (and I've asked the Home Office for permission to research) but even that doesn't mean I don't have to pay for my blunders.

What we need is a British Telecom whiz kid to come in on it and give us the lowdown - or some Government Official to take an interest.

Perhaps premium lines should be classed as theft (the same as mugging) and be banned from telephone services all over the world. I wonder who could initiate such an enterprise????

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