'Phreaking' is the term given to describe people who participate and experiment with telecommunications systems. As telephone networks are now computerized, they can be hacked and the practice has become closely linked with computer hacking.
What began as a relatively benign endeavour has quickly become a way for hackers to break into corporate phone networks and use them for their own purposes, such as making expensive phonecalls - often leaving businesses with huge phone bills.
The UK has been identified by the CFCA (Communications Fraud Control Association) as one of the top five countries targeted by "phreakers" or telephone hackers.
Call 'phreaking' is actually more common than some might think and occurs five times more than credit card fraud, according to
Unfortunately, there is no protocol for victims of phreaking to be compensated when attacked.
"There are some that say that call phreaking is the telecommunications industry's best kept secret because at the moment, victims have to pay for the fraudulent calls," said Manish Sablok, Alcatel's Head of Marketing for Central and North Eastern Europe.
Organisations can suffer massive financial loss from call phreak attacks.
"Call phreakers are often highly skilled, highly organised, highly determined and organised gangs that hack into an organisation's telecommunications system leaving them with a phone bill up to 100 times higher than normal," said Sablok.
Alcatel-Lucent suggests companies can prevent attacks by investing in phreaking prevention technology and for companies to be extra cautious during public holidays.
"Phreakers usually strike after hours, at the weekend or on public holidays when detection is least likely, said Sablok.
"So take, for example, a college or school: it could be a prime target because of the long holidays when call spikes might go unnoticed."
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