Telekom Austria Increases Customer Protection

Vienna, 15.12.2004 -

Less Leeway for Operators of Illegal Dial-Up Access to Value Added Services – Immediate Block for Observed Misuse – 0939 Value Added Numbers Principally Blocked as of January 1, 2005

Great losses are caused annually by dialer programs through unintended dial-up of the Internet access to value added numbers. Many customers become dialer victims by means of unnoticed infection from Internet downloads or by opening e-mail attachments. Instead of dialing up via the number to the service provider, these programs automatically access the Internet via an expensive value added number through download and installation.

Since October 1, 2004 dialer programs may only be offered within the numbering area 0939. To protect consumers, as of January 1, 2005 Telekom Austria will principally block this numbering area for all customers. Dialer programs can then only be used upon the express wish of the customer. For this the dialer numbering area can be unblocked by means of a written order.

Increased Illegal Dialers in Other Numbering Areas

Events of the past few months have shown that providers of value added services frequently do not adhere to legal stipulations in deploying dialer programs. Over the past few weeks Telekom Austria has received numerous customer complaints that show that dialer programs are also being applied illegally in other numbering areas.

Erich Schickengruber, Head of Customer-Related Legal Affairs at Telekom Austria: Telekom Austria is now taking strict precautionary measures as protection from illegal dialer programs, so that high costs for these kinds of value added services do not even arise for its customers. Each suspicious case (objections, complaints) is examined; if misuse is determined (deployment of dialer programs outside the allocated numbering area, breach of terms of the regulations for communications parameters, fees and value added services) the respective dial-up access to value added services will be blocked.

Additional Protective Measures: aonDialerControl, Blocks and Broadband

With its free aonDialerControl Telekom Austria is taking a further step towards a secure Internet. To be able to protect aon Internet customers from international Internet dialers as well, Telekom Austria offers effective protection with aonDialerControl, which is free of charge. Upon request by the user, paid service numbers can still be used.

What does the protection offer?

Protection from dial-up via undesired international numbers, the customer decides which Internet connections can be dialed up and which should be reliably blocked, a control program prevents nasty dialer programs from ending or deactivating aonDialerControl, and aonFlash Internet connections can be set up or reconstructed easily.
The aonDialerControl software is now available in the Kundenbereich (customer area) of www.aon.at or directly under http://dialercontrol.aon.at for aon customers to download.

Naturally there are also other possibilities for protection from expensive dialer programs. In principle one can have Telekom Austria block access to all value added numbers from ones telephone line unbureaucratically and free of charge. That means – as it does in using the free aonDialerControl – secure protection from expensive value added number software. Or one changes to aonSpeed: for broadband users dialer programs basically pose no danger.

Free Hotline Round the Clock

Telekom Austria customers that are already the victims of illegal dialer programs can call the free hotline 0800 100 100, send an e-mail to kundenservice@telekom.at or send a written objection to Telekom Austria AG, Kundenservice, Postfach 1001, 1011 Vienna. For dialer programs that have been deployed illegally Telekom Austria does not collect fees for providers of value added services.

When accessing the Internet, customers should check the existing link connection regularly in short intervals by means of the Internet dial-up number, to effectively protect oneself from undesired dialer attacks. Telekom Austria asks its Internet customers for increased caution and for immediate information on detected misuse, so that counter measures can be initiated.

For further information please contact:
E-Mail: oeffentlichkeitsarbeit@telekom.at

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