Your mama's a Vonage phone hacker!!

A number of years ago, there was an illicit racket that involved hackers of the day building "black boxes" that would emulate ring tones used in the phone system. That way, these hackers (this was before the term took on the somewhat positive meaning it has today), were able to use these simulated tones to get into phone systems and cause all sorts of havoc.

A number of years ago, there was an illicit racket that involved hackers of the day building "black boxes" that would emulate ring tones used in the phone system. That way, these hackers (this was before the term took on the somewhat positive meaning it has today), were able to use these simulated tones to get into phone systems and cause all sorts of havoc.

I thought those days were behind us, up until I read a new Vonage VoIP Forum thread titled Touch tones during most calls?

On the thread, Forum member geekette writes that when she talks to her Mom over her Vonage line, and her Mom makes a certain beep-like sound, apparently that sound can cause her Vonage connection to spawn a beep. Kind of like the beep you get when you, say, "Press 2."

A Forum Member named paul248 (who posts a lot there) replied by writing that this faux tone could be attributable "DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency) tone detection algorithm." And as the Vonage Forum's Dan Connor writes today, "that is the system used by touch-tone telephones. DTMF assigns a specific frequency (consisting of two separate tones) to each key."

"When you push '2' for example," Paul explains, Vonage sends '2 was pressed' as data, instead of just passing on the sound of that button. However, some voices (mostly female) are too close to the DTMF tones, and they get mistakenly converted into a real tone at the other end."

Hmm. Yo, yo, ma! Want a comp sub to 2600- The Hacker Quarterly?

And some of us thought our Moms were Luddites!

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