Dismiss
InnovationQ will be updated on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 10am ET - noon. You may experience brief service interruptions during that time.
Browse Prior Art Database

Device to prevent a computer that connects via a modem from dialling an unwanted number

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000114552D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-29
Document File: 2 page(s) / 56K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

PCs that connect to the internet via a modem are often subject to online attacks which cause the dialler to call a number that has undesired effects. This invention proposes a device to trap each dialling attempt and let the user vet the proposed number. It is proposed that the device be a physically separate hardware item, external to the PC.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Page 1 of 2

Device to prevent a computer that connects via a modem from dialling an unwanted number

PCs that connect to the internet via a modem are often subject to online attacks which cause the dialler to call a number that has undesired effects; either charging the subscriber a high rate per minute, or connecting them to a system which will harm their computer by downloading malicious software, or by reading private information. These attacks are often silent, so the user is unaware that a new number is being dialled, and believes that he is still connected to his normal ISP. The first attack may be to alter the dialler so that it hides the second attack, which dials the unwanted number.

    A similar problem occurs with unwanted inbound calls, either to voice handsets, i.e. normal telephone receivers, or fax machines, either free-standing or embedded in a PC. The undesirable result in this case is usually junk faxes or unsolicited sales calls.

    This invention proposes a device to trap all inbound and outbound dialling attempts, to present the called or calling number to the user for consideration, and to accept or reject the proposed number. The device could be implemented by a software program run on the subject PC, but that would be open to attack like any other software program, and so could be compromised by an attacker. This would become more likely if the software device became widely used.

    Therefore it is proposed that the device be a physically separate hardware item. This device would be interposed between the PC and the telephone wall socket. It would have its own power supply; either mains or battery. It consists of an input socket, to connect to the PC's modem (in place of the wire that would normally be connected to the telephone socket), an output socket to connect to the telephone wall socket, a digital display to show the number being dialled, a button to accept the number and one to reject it. The device would have a bleeper to provide an audible alert to the user.

    The advantage of the device being a separate hardware item is twofold; first, it cannot be compromised by software attack, and second, it can also be used with non-computerised fax machines and normal telephones.

    This invention addresses unwanted calls, both inbound and outbound. Mode of operation There are 2 modes:
1. Outbound dialling by a PC using a modem.

    Normally, the device connects its input socket to its output socket. However, it listens to the DTMF tones on the line, and for the dial tone. When the dial tone...