What’s a hidden dialer?
Hidden dialers are programs that secretly use your computer to dial telephone lines.
Hidden dialers are often hard to detect and if left untreated, can lead to you receiving an unexpected phone bill.
This results from the dialer calling many telephone numbers, sometimes that are long-distance.
They could also connect your computer to websites or other content you wouldn’t want to view, such as pornographic sites.
Dialers are often bundled with other software that’s either downloaded or shared from other users. This may be a downloaded game, for instance.
Some victims of hidden dialers are tricked into clicking on pop-up alerts or advertisements that seem to provide a legitimate message.
In these cases, computer users are asked to click “Yes” or “No” to take a specific action, but no matter which one you click, the dialer will be downloaded onto your computer through the use of a Trojan virus.
You likely won’t even know it’s happening, but sometimes, certain activities might indicate a hidden dialer has been installed.
It could be a hijacked browser, a change to your system’s files, or even noticeable changes on your computer’s desktop.
Hidden dialers could also be used to share your personal, secret data.
Some dialers may choose to operate only when an infected modem isn’t being used.
How to protect against hidden dialers
As with most computer security, use and update popular anti-virus programs and use a firewall to keep worms out of your network.
Also, ensure your computer’s operating system isn’t vulnerable by updating it as often as possible.
Use your Internet web browser’s settings to require your permission before downloading software from any website.
Also, don’t download programs unless you’re confident they are from legitimate, safe sources.
Open-source and free products online could be bundled with malicious programs, such as a hidden dialer.
Keep tabs on your bills.
Many victims use automated bill-paying services, and if you don’t look at the bill, you may not realize that your phone line has been used to call unauthorized numbers.
If you don’t catch the error, the phone company will automatically withdraw the bill from your bank account.