TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: E-Mail Bug Made Computers Phone Emergency Line

Re: E-Mail Bug Made Computers Phone Emergency Line

Dave Close (
17 Feb 2005 19:18:10 -0800

Lisa Minter <> writes:

> SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to
> sending rigged e-mails that caused some computers to dial the 911
> emergency services number, prosecutors said on Monday.

Back in the early 1980s, I worked for a small company called
Axxa. They were created to build a workstation product desired
primarily by Citibank. I wasn't there when the product was designed,
but I met many of the folks who were. The product was called the Axxa
911. This was before 911 service was common in the US.

It consisted of two workstations, one for a manager and the other for
his secretary, linked by a dial-up modem line. The line was usually
routed through a PBX so the two stations were local extensions. Of
course, each station needed to know the extension or phone number to
dial to get to the other, and the default value as delivered to
customers was "911".

The story goes that the default was changed after an incident late one
night at company HQ. Some engineers working late and testing the
device accidentally connected it to an outside line. Some time later,
they were surprised to find some officers creeping down the dark
hallway with guns drawn. Of course, the 911 operator heard no voice on
the line and had no way to return the call as after-hours calls rang
somewhere else.

Dave Close, Compata, Costa Mesa CA +1 714 434 7359
"Though the people support the government, the government
should not support the people." -- Grover Cleveland

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