An interesting story from Government Security News on a new wrinkle on how Jihadists raise money:

A phone hacking ring with ties to Al Qaeda-related groups in the Philippines and Somalia have targeted small businesses in New York, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of overseas long distance calls.

The ring is exploiting gaps in telecommunications carriers’ protections against such activities.

The ring has a connection to Syracuse and is currently being investigated by law enforcement, but its members have not been caught.  26 businesses in New York’s capital area, which includes Albany, area have come forward to say they’ve been victims of a communications scheme.

Hackers were manipulating businesses’ voicemail systems to make thousands of costly long-distance calls overseas, leaving New York businesses on the hook for the substantial bills.  Phone numbers compromised in Syracuse are being connected to phones that are known to be linked to the terror organization in Somalia and the Philippines.  The operation may be a revenue-generator for Al Qaeda, or a way to communicate with inconspicuous numbers.

Onondaga County First Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office said in recent months, police reports in the case indicated links to a broader phone hacking scam connected to Al Qaeda cells in Somalia and the Philippines. Trunfio also said there have also been reports that the hackers phone lines could be run through Syracuse as a way to target New York businesses.


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