Modem hangs up and dials out automatically

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  #1  
Old 01-27-04, 11:39 PM
DSS
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Angry Modem hangs up and dials out automatically

Windows XP Home, IE 6.0, 56k modem. While surfing, occassionally my modem will suddenly hang up; then automatically dial some number (probably a 900 number), but the connection icon on the system tray disappears so I can't stop it. Got one charge from a 900 service - Verizon agreed to credit it and had a 700/900 block put on the line. Then, on the next bill, got a big charge from AT&T for an international call made after midnight (the time when I'm online), for like 1 minute. When I called AT&T to complain, they said the company was something like "Vice Entertainment", but AT&T is so far refusing to wipe the charge.
I don't know how to prevent these interruptions. Very random. Very embarrassing. I keep the cookies cleaned out. I keep McAfees up to date. I've scanned my system - clean.
Please help! Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-28-04, 05:45 AM
R
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Run a good virus program, run one or more of the spyware programs and use a good firewall, either hardware or software (or both).
 
  #3  
Old 01-28-04, 06:01 AM
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Here is some information on this hijacking of the modem:

http://www.tgrsolution.net/support/m...demhijak.shtml

http://www.computercops.biz/postp55772.html

http://www.familyeducation.com/artic...13-0-2,00.html

This will require some investigation on your part to track this down. Meanwhile, blocking outgoing long distance calls without a card might be a good defense.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 01-28-04, 09:43 PM
DSS
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Thank you for the info. Never heard of "modem hijacking". Sounds like what's happening, but just one thing - I still can't find the dialer on my system and it kicks in at apparently random times, or sometimes not at all. I have noticed, however, that it does like to kick in when I check email (using Outlook Express) sometimes.

Can anyone suggest to me how to find and delete or disable this beast?

Also, since ATT knows about this, but seems to be refusing to delete the charges when people ask for a credit, well gee, that sounds alot like racketeering to me, doesn't it? Conspiracy to commit fraud, infliction of emotional distress, etc.

Wonder what it would cost ATT to have their lawyers defend a class action. Maybe I'll ask them.
 
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Old 01-29-04, 05:51 AM
R
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Let's see. You know you have a problem where your computer is making long distance calls and such. Yet you continue to use your computer, and you expect AT&T to remove those charges.

You need to disconnect your modem from your computer until you find and fix the problem.

If you can't find and fix the problem then you need to start over. Reformat the hard drive, reinstall the OS and start anew. This time use the above mentioned programs to prevent this problem from happening again.
 

Last edited by racraft; 01-29-04 at 08:12 AM.
  #6  
Old 01-29-04, 07:38 AM
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how to find and delete or disable this beast?
Was there no solution from following the links to the discussion of the hijacking and how to isolate and remove it?
 
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Old 01-30-04, 01:58 PM
DSS
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Originally posted by racraft
Let's see. You know you have a problem where your computer is making long distance calls and such. Yet you continue to use your computer, and you expect AT&T to remove those charges.

You need to disconnect your modem from your computer until you find and fix the problem.

If you can't find and fix the problem then you need to start over. Reformat the hard drive, reinstall the OS and start anew. This time use the above mentioned programs to prevent this problem from happening again.

That is the way it seems, but it's not quite that simple. Suffice it to say that I think I'm being reasonably careful. Remember, so far, I CAN hear it when it disconnects and redials, AND I think the new calls keep getting blocked. I can hear a recorded message saying something like "You are not authorized to access this provider's network. Please call 1-800-......" This goes on for about a minute and then I can access the modem again and dial MSN. If I'm missing something, please tell me.

I have already been leaning toward the option of doing a system restore. There's not much on the system that can't be re-installed or backed up.

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-30-04, 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by chfite
Was there no solution from following the links to the discussion of the hijacking and how to isolate and remove it?
Correct! At least no REAL solution. Lots of advice about how to protect yourself from it happening, but even that advice was tempered - there are ways to work around ActiveX controls, etc.

And the one program out of Australia - tried the trial version, but no instructions with it, and it kept disconnecting me from MSN. Plus, I don't really feel like I should have to go that route, when I can first try a system restore. (I don't really want to do that either if I have a real alternative).

I just don't know where, on my system, the little bugger is hiding out. I checked the registry, but I don't know what I'm doing in there, so I didn't change anything.

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-30-04, 04:23 PM
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DSS,

Have you already tried running ad-aware?

You have not indicated or said you tried it.
 
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Old 01-30-04, 09:55 PM
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I have not. Only used McAfee's online. Has virus and spyware checking. Does Ad-Aware have something different that would help with modem hijacking?
 

Last edited by SafeWatch; 01-31-04 at 10:31 AM.
  #11  
Old 01-30-04, 10:29 PM
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yes. And always update before running.
Ad-aware:
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
Spybot search and destroy:
http://www.safer-networking.org/

Also you could try:
http://mjc1.com/mirror/hjt/
HijackThis examines certain key areas of the Registry and Hard Drive and lists their contents. These are areas which are used by both legitimate programmers and hijackers. It's up to you to decide what should be removed. Read all the instructions!
 

Last edited by tae; 01-30-04 at 11:04 PM.
  #12  
Old 02-01-04, 11:41 AM
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Have you gotten a phone bill lately? My parents' grandson has a computer whose modem was hijacked recently to the tune of $700. The phone bill shows 4 calls to the country of Comoros, two for about a minute, two for almost an hour. There are other countries where this seems to be a thriving industry. AT&T finally refunded their money, but others are not so lucky. Do a google search for "modem swap scam" and you should find plenty of info. It happens enough that the FCC has a page on their website devoted to it. My parents now have an international call block on their phone line and the computer has all the latest and greatest anti-spy, anti-virus, anti- whatever, that is available. So far no more scams.
 
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Old 02-01-04, 01:36 PM
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I know it's a pain in the rear - but the absolute best security is simply to just <i>unplug the phone line</i>. Even if you run all the anti-this and anti-that programs out there, eventually something is going to come along that is going to defeat them. If you can't get a dial-tone on the line, you can't call long distance numbers - simple as that.

The problem with dialers is that they by-pass conventional dial-up procedures (like use DUN) - they directly access the modem and call these numbers. So, there's no software solution to keeping the modem from dialing - the only alternative is a hardware solution or phone company solution.

You'll have to either call the phone company and have them block these numbers, or require special dialing techniques to access them, or just disconnect the phone line.

Good luck!

BTW, while you can fuss and complain and argue all you want with the phone company, they are under no obligation to credit or reverse any charges to you. While these programs may not seem fair, they have to be installed on your computer somehow - usually by downloading and installing a rogue program - technically, it's your computer and your responsibility in the end.
 
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