When Will They Steal Phone Numbers?

by Moshe Yudkowsky

I recently uncovered evidence that Investor's Business Daily, the second-largest print and online newspaper devoted to financial information, had at least part of its subscriber list stolen.

Now I've become curious. I've heard about selective attacks against specific targets to harvest email addresses. I can't recall ever hearing about a Trojan or virus that harvested phone numbers.

Certainly that day can't be far off. Phone calls sometimes attract the attention of police and regulators; therefore it makes sense from a criminal's point of view to make as few phone calls as possible and to direct the calls at lucrative targets. As a result criminals have even more incentive to gather lists of "high quality" phone numbers than they do to gather lists of email addresses.

But I don't recall ever hearing of a Trojan or virus that targets phone numbers or snail-mail address; the most leading-edge thefts I'm aware of are directed at IM addresses. Now I'm wondering if I missed the memo, if I'm forecasting the furture, or if there are stealthy attacks in progress...


2006-10-24 06:26:34
I think the main reason is money. If A wants to call B, A's provider needs to pay B's provider to reach B. Email routing is "free", call routing isn't. Thats all