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One Big Problem – OBP

OBPs are Outbound Payments, they’re what’s paid to the telephone company in the country that finally delivers a call there from another country.

So if you call France we might send the call to France Telecom. We charge you 1.5p per minute and then have to give France Telecom almost all of it. The payment to France Telecom is the OBP.

Then Brexit comes along.

Back in an earlier blog I said that Brexit wouldn’t make any difference to either us or you as far as telecoms go, well that was before the idea of no-deal became a near certainty.

Now we’re hearing rumours that as soon as we’re out of the EU without a deal we’ll be hit by OBPs. That call to France that cost you 1.5ppm could easily cost you 15ppm. Flashback to 2004 when we started out sending telephone calls around the globe.

This is not project fear, we can see it happening already. If a call leaving us gets to the EU without an unambiguous CLI (Calling Line Identity) showing that it’s from another EU country, that kind of surcharge is being slapped on it. What will happen with a no deal is that surcharge – which is already being applied to calls entering the EU from outside it – will apply to the UK too.

Some say that this won’t happen because it’s MAD. MAD as in Mutually Assured Destruction; but mad it may be.

Come on guys, get a grip.

Indecent Proposal

hacked computerPretty much everyone I know has been receiving email blackmail demands from fraudsters saying that they have hacked into their PC, smart phone and laptop cameras and have recorded what they’ve been up to. And apparently what we’ve all been up to is a bit rude. And now the lovely guy is going to send his recordings of you enjoying yourself to everyone in your email contacts book unless you pay him $1,000 in Bitcoin. 

What makes these threats seem more serious than the average spam is that the spammer uses a real username and sometimes even a password that you have used on a website somewhere. They know you! They really do have control of your PC!

So what’s going on? Well the fraudsters have found a new way to monetise the billions of credentials stolen from bona fide websites around the world, from Yahoo to LinkedIn to TalkTalk. Last month I was intrigued to read the methods by which global hotel chains have hacked into their Property Management Systems stealing everything from future booking data to credit card details and Passport information. How did they do this? They checked into hotels and plugged into the LAN jack of the smart TVs on their hotel room wall, and even into a remote controlled curtain opener. Only today I hear that iPhones have been compromised simply by visiting a website. Apple are being closed mouth about this but recommend we keep our iPhones updated.

It’s now safe to assume that almost all of us have lost private data of some description to these hackers and it is now out there in the wild. Your credentials are now openly for sale on the dark web and this bogus threat is only one use that the fraudsters have for them.

So far my friends haven’t been surprised by an undignified email from me – any more than usual that is – so I must have paid up mustn’t I?

Here’s the Bloomberg article, it’s a bit of an eye opener


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