The Telecom Digest for October 25, 2010
Volume 29 : Issue 287 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 16:22:14 -0700
From: Steven <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Verizon now demanding surcharges to pay them...
On 10/23/10 9:28 AM, T wrote:
> In article<9PqdnRXWb5VrrAHRnZ2dnUVZ_omdnZ2d@posted.visi>,
> firstname.lastname@example.org says...
> It's the same amount here with National Grid. You can side step it by
> doing ACH. But that has its own problems.
> The thing is most utilities were just plain stupid about PCI so they
> farmed it out to Western Union, which will ALWAYS extract its pound of
> They could just use the Google Checkout API and be done with it.
I used my ARCO MC Debit Card for just about everything, mostly for payng
my bills online, just this week ARCO switched from MC to Discover, now
for some reason I'm unable to use it to pay bills, they say it is
blocked, but no whare on the agreement does it say you can't use it to
pay bills online or over the phone, the other thing is you would get
between 1 to 4% over time, now it is .25% a quarter. According to
everyone I talked to there is no reason to not allow such use as it is
just a debit transaction to the system, I guess I just will not use it
at all. I don't use Credit Cards at all.
The only good spammer is a dead one!! Have you hunted one down today?
(c) 2010 I Kill Spammers, Inc. A Rot in Hell Co.
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2010 11:40:06 -0700
From: Thad Floryan <email@example.com>
Subject: iPhone Jailbreak Tool Sets Stage for Mobile Malware
At the Kaspersky Lab Security News Service website:
iPhone Jailbreak Tool Sets Stage for Mobile Malware
by Paul Roberts October 23, 2010, 2:54AM
SAN DIEGO--The success of a group of hackers in compromising
the security of Apple's iPhone may set the stage for more
malware for the popular handset, including rootkit-style remote
monitoring tools and data stealing malware.
In a presentation at the ToorCon Hacking Conference here on
Saturday, Eric Monti, a Senior Researcher at Trustwave's Spider
Labs demonstrated how the same kind of vulnerabilities and
exploits that allowed a team of hackers to "jailbreak" iPhones
and iPads from Apple's content restrictions could be used to
push rootkit-style malware onto those devices and intercept
credit card data from an iPhone-based transaction.
For his presentation, Monti designed a proof of concept iPhone
rootkit, dubbed "Fat" by modifying the original jailbreakme
code to create a stripped down remote monitoring application.
"Fat" was an effort to learn from the work of the team that
created jailbreak by "weaponizing" the code, Monti said in an
interview with Threatpost. Among other things, the researcher
removed system prompts created by the jailbreakme app and
added a rootkit feature to remotely control such key iPhone
features as the microphone, camera and geolocation services,
as well as SMS, he said.
The program is harmless and the vulnerabilities in question
were patched by Apple in early August. However, Monti warns
that more and more high value applications on the iPhone
will increase the attractiveness of the platform for malicious
parties, including banking and e-commerce.
"There are lots of different applications for causing mayhem,"
Monti said. "We talking about some pretty sensitive apps:
banking, credit card processing, point of sale, SCADA," he said.
As an example, Monti used a free iPhone credit card transaction
reader,"Square," on a rooted iPhone, showing how magnetic
stripe data could be silently siphoned by the rootkit.
Monti hopes the presentation will be a wakeup call to
enterprises that don't yet see iPhone devices as serious threats.
"These devices are just as complicated as desktops and laptops
or server - and that's before you ship a point of sale
application on it," he said.
The biggest threat posed by mobile phones may be the false
sense of security that users and enterprises have about mobile
device security. The amount of malware targeting such devices
is small, but mobile platforms like IOS and Android are more
similar to their progenitors (OS X and Linux) than they are different.
"The resources are there for attackers," Monti said. As a result,
malware and attacks for mobile systems will overlap with those
for the original OS, rather than run along parallel paths. And,
as third parties introduce more sensitive applications for
mobile devices, interest from the malicious hacking community
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 15:50:40 -0400
From: T <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: A Simple Swipe on a Phone, and You're Paid
In article <email@example.com>,
> On Sun, 03 Oct 2010 11:12:22 -0400, Wes Leatherock wrote:
> > I can't imagine most types of stores expect to get that much in impulse
> > purchases. They have a much wider access to customers from all over the
> > country that think the additional business they generate is worth the
> > cost.
> > I usually carry a very small amount of cash, charging just about
> > everything to my credit cards.
> In Australia Mastercard are introducing the "Swipe and go" system where
> you just wave your card at a terminal for transactions under under a
> certain amount - no signing, not PIN to enter, just grab your receipt and
> go (TV ads are running now promoting it).
> They are definitely going for the "impulse" market as a direct replacement
> for cash.
They're also going for the easily hacked award too. Know how easy it
would be to read those little swipe cards in a casual setting? Only have
to get withing a foot or two to read it, store the data, then write to
your OWN card.
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 16:02:54 -0400
From: T <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: History--old MIT dial-up directory
> In article <email@example.com>,
> Lisa or Jeff <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >On Oct 11, 12:04 am, bon...@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi)
> >> As part of a major remodeling
> >> we did in 1964, we ended up with a "sort-of" hard-wired phone. an early
> >> 'panel phone' (dial variety, not touch-tone), built into the wall of the
> >> kitchen.
> >Forgot about panel phones. Apparently they weren't a very popular
> I KNOW they were uncommon. <grin> When we put it in, it was the only
> such unit in the entire state, and, I believe, all of NW Bell territory.
> In either commercial or residential service. The second installation in
> the state was nearly 10 years later -- a budget business-class hotel put
> in a bunch of them as the 'house phone' in all the public areas. Made sense
> for that use -- didn't have to have any furniture near it, just a piece of
> the wall; no cord to get tangled, etc. Not sure what they used in the
> rooms themselves,
> > I think far more people went for Trimline or Princess sets.
> I'm sure lots more people went for trimline/princess sets.
> The panel phone was one of a handful of 'specialty' telephone sets that Bell
> offered -- ones where you shelled out a bunch of money to 'buy' the phone
> (actually just the housing), and then paid a recurring monthly for 'renting'
> the actual phone mechanism innards. What, a decade later, was marketed as
> the (greatly expanded) 'design-line'.
> If I'm remembering right (some 45 years later) the 'purchase' price for that
> phone was something like $120. Including the installation. Which was a
> significant chunk of money in 1964 dollars.
My grandparents had the panel phone in their home that was built in the
late 1960's. Always kind of an odd set, the cord was fairly short so you
couldn't go too far with it.
When the Bell System broke up my grandparents gave back the pannel phone
and opted for a 2554 with a 25 foot cord.
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 16:11:56 -0400
From: T <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: History--unlisted number charge
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com says...
> >DDD required not only the long distance switching capability, but also
> >AMA (automatic message accounting) equipment to record toll calls and
> >later process the recorded tapes for billing.
> >Did the prototype installation at Englewood have AMA? I got the
> >impression AMA came out later.
> I recall ONI in that part of New Jersey. You'd dial the call, an
> operator would come on the line and ask for your number, then the
> call would go through.
> My relatives who run a rural telco in Vermont said that in the ONI
> era they were constantly having to move calls from one account to
> another due to kids who lied to the ONI operator.
Interestingly back in the early 1980's the town of North Kingstown, RI
was still served by an SxS exchange. But this exchange had some sort of
strange ANI setup. If you dialed a call and waited the correct number of
kerchunks and flashed the hook, it would bump cause it to route to an
And yes, you'd give her any random number.
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 16:16:40 -0400
From: T <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: IVR Hell
In article <B9DD9AB6-2288-46A3-B232-88099557D7AF@insightbb.com>,
> > From: Joseph Singer <email@example.com>
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org.
> > Subject: No dial tone, no service, no respect -- not even for
> > Alexander Graham Bell descendant
> > Message-ID: <email@example.com>
> > Her telephone died weeks ago. Since then, Helene Pancoast has been
> > engaged in a farcical struggle familiar to any no-account customer up
> > against an errant provider of cable, gas, electricity or telephone
> > service.
> > You know the feeling. Like wandering through a maze. Reduced to
> > communicating with robotic voices reciting touch-tone menus of choices
> > that hardly correspond to your particular dilemma. ``Press 3 if your
> > phone is inoperable.''
> IVRs have two purposes. One is to assist callers with easy
> solutions to common problems to avoid having to pay Rajiv^H^H^H^H^H
> "Roger" to talk with them, and the other is to adversively condition
> callers so they'll be more reluctant to call for help the next time.
> Call centers are run on statistics, and one "good" statistic is the
> percent of callers who hang up before speaking with a CSR, minus the
> percent of callers who hung up once and called back in a short period.
> In my experience the companies providing the worst "IVR Hell"
> experience are those with monopolies either de jure or de facto.
> If Wal*Mart makes it too much trouble to buy groceries from them,
> there's a Meijer next door who'll be happy to have my trade. If I
> have an issue with my electrical bill, I can't really give my
> business to their competitor.
Fedex is one such company. I had ordered a new printer and was anxiously
awaiting its arrival. At a little after 4PM I note the status was
updated to 'delivered' on the Fedex tracking site so I called home and
was told no package had arrived. It'd be hard to miss, 31.5lbs of
So I called Fedex. Their IVR can recognize simple spoken answers. But I
repeatedly screamed "AGENT" at it. It finally connected me to a human.
Kicked off the trace and that's when it occured to me, the package was
still on the Fedex truck.
Told the SO don't sweat it, it'd be delivered even though it said it
waas delivered and that I signed for it at 4:06PM.
Just as I'm leaving work my cell phone rings. Apparently some guy
dropped it off and said "Please call Fedex and tell them it's been
Apparently starting a trace lights a fire under someone posterior end at
Date: 23 Oct 2010 23:16:15 -0400
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Dorsey)
Subject: Re: Bell System Technical Journal
Lisa or Jeff <email@example.com> wrote:
>On Oct 20, 4:15 pm, klu...@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:
>> What is happening is that everyone in the world is hammering that site.
>> This is a huge, huge deal. Many of these papers were never available in
>> any digital form at all until now.
>I'm surprised there is that much demand for this historical
>information. Isn't it all basically technologically all obsolete?
No, that is the thing about basic research, and a LOT of what the Bell
Labs people did was basic research.
>Wouldn't someone designing any kind of system want to use modern
>literature for the latest research on telephone system, audio, and
>electronic theory and components?
The theory hasn't changed, and what is interesting is that in the audio
world, people are constantly re-inventing the wheel. Very few people have
actually see any of the original research.
>Much of the research of and operations of the old Bell System were
>concerned with economical usage of a very expensive physical plant.
>Copper wires or coax were expensive as was electro-mechanical and
>electronic switchgear. A great deal of the articles and work of the
>old Bell System was for planning the optimum level of equipment--not
>so much to be wasteful, but not so little to give poor service.
>Further, the old stuff was high maintenance compared to today and that
>was an issue, too.
This is true, and a lot of the applied stuff appears in the BSTJ.... some
of it remarkably useful like studies on the decay rates of different kinds
of wood used for telephone poles... some of it totally useless in today's
world like paper impregnation methods.
But there is a whole lot of actual fundamental pure research in there.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2010 01:55:22 -0500
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gordon Burditt)
Subject: Re: Kerry outlines bill to resolve TV disputes
>> Kerry outlines bill to resolve TV disputes
>I find this scenario questionable:
>> Scenario 3 - This will be the most likely scenario in most cases. The FCC
>> finds that both parties have negotiated in good faith but reached a true
>> impasse based on an honest disagreement on the value of the signal. In this
>> case, the FCC may request them to submit to binding arbitration. If one party
>> or the other refuses to engage in binding arbitration, then the FCC will
>> provide both parties with a model notice by which to inform consumers of the
>> potential loss of service as well as the difference in offers on the table so
>> that consumers can judge for themselves who was making the fairest offer.
>> This adds a more consumer friendly and transparent way to end transmission of
>> services if necessary and creates an attractive option for arbitration for
>> both parties.
>I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't know enough about the
>economics of either industry to be able to judge the fairness of any
Fairness is irrelevant. Most people wouldn't care if their Solyent
Green is made using slave labor of children, and the children
themselves, as long as it's not their children, if it's 10% cheaper.
>All the consumers care about is whether they can see their football
>games or favorite TV shows.
Let's expand that a little further:
The consumers care about:
- seeing their favorite shows
- if they can't see their favorite shows, whether they can cancel
without paying an ETF.
- if a channel they don't particularly want gets dropped, how come the
price doesn't drop also?
I keep seeing ads claiming that Dish has dropped these channels,
and they're about to drop these November 1, (including, interestingly,
a local channel) go to this web site to find another provider who
still carries them. Obviously, they are trying to drum up complaints
about distributors dropping these channels.
There are also some situations left out, as the FCC seems to want to
have all these agreements continue in perpetuity.
Scenario 5: The distributor has decided (based on an equipment
failure that nobody reported) that no one has watched The Temperature
in Degrees Delisle Channel in 5 years and wants to drop it. They
think one postage stamp used to send the broadcaster a cancellation
notice was way overpriced, but they did it anyway. They sent notices
with bills to customers they were dropping it last year and they
got 3 complaints (from people who obviously haven't watched it)
about it being inappropriate for elementary school children.
Scenario 6: The broadcaster wants to quit producing their Vietnam
War Breaking News Channel, regardless of how much they'll get paid
for it. It's getting harder and harder to find new stuff to broadcast
about the Vietnam War and their employees are getting bored with
it. The war is OVER.
Scenario 7: The broadcaster and the distributor both want to call
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2010 20:10:57 -0400
Subject: Disconnected: Attention Passengers it's perfectly safe to use your cellphones
With more than 28,000 commercial flights in the skies over the United
States every day, there are probably few sentences in the English
language that are spoken more often and insistently than this: "Please
turn off all electronic devices".
Asking why passengers must turn off their mobile phones on airplanes
seems like an odd question. Because, with a sentence said so often
there simply must be a reason for it. Or - is there not?
Flight attendants are required to make their preflight safety
announcement by the Federal Communications Commission because of
potential interference to the aircraft's navigation and communication
systems. Perhaps this seems like a no-brainer: turning off your
cellphone inside a piece of technology as sensitive as an airplane. In
our civilized times, there are only a few things imaginable which more
likely lead to direct physical conflict with the person in the seat
next to you than turning on your cellphone during takeoff and
nonchalantly calling your hairdresser to reschedule that appointment
next Wednesday. In Great Britain, a 28-year-old oil worker was
sentenced to 12 months in prison in 1999 for refusing to switch off
his cellphone on a flight from Madrid to Manchester. He was convicted
of recklessly and negligently endangering an aircraft.
Yet with people losing their freedom over the rule, it may come as a
bit of a surprise that scientific studies have never actually proven a
serious risk associated with the use of mobile phones on airplanes. In
the late 1990s, when cellphones and mobile computers became
mainstream, Boeing received reports from concerned pilots who had
experienced system failures and suggested the problems may have been
caused by laptops and phones the cabin crew had seen passengers using
in-flight. Boeing actually bought the equipment from the passengers
but was unable [to] reproduce any of the problems, concluding it had
not been able to find a definite correlation between passenger-carried
portable electronic devices and the associated reported airplane
***** Moderator's Note *****
Please, PLEASE, do not submit "quoted-printable" posts. I know that
M$'s borken, brain-dead take-over-the-world email clients love
quoted-printable, but it's very difficult to edit, moderate, or
approve. It took me 22 minutes to get this port into "acceptable"
condition for publication, and I had to mail it to a differnet
address, convert the character encoding, and take out the M$
It's easier to reject this stuff. Someone caught me in a good mood,
with time on my hands. You have been warned: next time, rtfm and
submit with "content-transfer-encoding=8bit".
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2010 20:48:59 -0400
From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net>
Subject: New Darwin award candidate (fast track)
CNN reported that a man was electrocuted, and his wife severely burned,
while he allegedly attempted to steal copper from a vacant building.
... which leads me to ask: doesn't anyone use a voltmeter anymore? If
I was of a mind to liberate base metals from their owners, I'd
consider an HV probe to be a basic part of my toolket.
Then again, I'm not eager to receive the Darwin award.
(Filter QRM for direct replies)
"... and in the blue sky overhead
the Northern geese fly South instead
and leaves are Irish-Setter red
when fall comes to New Enland"
- Cheryl Wheeler
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End of The Telecom Digest (10 messages)