Both hacktivists and blackmailers have used phone denial of service attacks to achieve their goals
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a strong warning about the impact that call denial-of-service (TDoS) attacks on call centers could have on people's lives.
If TDoS attacks are launched against critical call centers, they can ultimately prevent callers from reaching emergency services such as first responders in a timely manner, thus posing a legitimate threat to public safety. "The resulting increase in emergency response times can have serious consequences, including loss of life," said the FBI's public service announcement.
As the name suggests, the goal of TDoS attacks is to overwhelm a phone system so that it is not available to the intended users. It does this by continuing a series of distraction calls for as long as possible, flooding the victim's phone system, delaying legitimate phone calls or even making it impossible for them to get through.
While in the past TDoS attacks were carried out manually by encouraging people on social networks to call campaigns to flood certain phone numbers, the perpetrators have now refined their approach and used automated systems.
“An automated TDoS attack uses software applications to make tens or hundreds of calls simultaneously or in rapid succession, including Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Numbers and call attributes can easily be forged, which makes it difficult to distinguish legitimate calls from malicious ones, ”said the Bureau.
Hacktivism, harassment, and financial gain from blackmail are among the most common motives for carrying out TDoS attacks. As hacktivists use computer networks to advance their political and social causes, threat actors will resort to TDoS attacks to squeeze communities for money.
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The FBI also provided a list of guidelines to help prepare for situations where emergency numbers are unreachable:
Contact your local emergency services for information on how to contact them in the event of a 911 failure
Write down the non-emergency numbers of your local fire, rescue, and law enforcement agencies and have them ready in the event of a failure
If possible, register for automatic notifications in your area of emergency situations in your area
Follow various sources of information, including websites and social media, for emergency responders in your area