Dialers

A dialer (US) or dialler (UK) is an electronic device that is connected to a telephone line in order to monitor the dialed numbers and alter them to seamlessly provide services that otherwise require lengthy access codes to be dialed. A dialer automatically inserts and modifies the numbers depending on the time of day, country or area code dialed allowing the user to subscribe to the service providers who offer the best rates.

Dialers are necessary to connect to the internet (at least for non-broadband connections) but some dialers are designed to connect to premium-rate numbers. The providers of such dialers often search for security holes that may be present in the operating system installed on the user’s computer and use them to change the computer to dial up through their number, pocketing the additional money for themselves. Alternatively, some dialers inform the user what it is that they are doing with the promise of special content, accessible only via the special number.

Users with DSLs (or similar broadband connections) are usually not affected. A dialer can be downloaded and installed, but dialing in is not possible as there are no regular phone numbers in the DSL network and users will not typically have their dial-up modem, if any, connected to a phone line. However, if an ISDN adapter or additional analog modem is installed, the dialer might still be able to get a connection.

Malicious dialers can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • A download pop-up opens when opening a website.
  • On the website there is only a small hint, if any, about the price.
  • The download starts even if the cancel button has been clicked.
  • The dialer installs as default connection without any notice.
  • The dialer creates unwanted connections by itself and without user interaction.
  • The dialer does not show any notice about the price (only few do) before dialing in.
  • The high price of the connection is not being shown while connected.
  • The dialer normally cannot be uninstalled, only with serious effort.

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There are currently 26 articles listed on dialers.

Name Threat Level Detection Count Date
XLoader 77/10 1 July 24, 2009

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