What's he dialling in there?
May 1, 2008 8:32 PM   Subscribe

For the last month or two I've been hearing noises from the flat above me. Specifically, I hear a phone number being dialled (as if by a modem), followed by the standard telephone voice saying that the number dialled has not been recognised. This voice repeats itself for a while, before the whole process starts again. This goes on for hours at a time. What's going on?

I wouldn't find this odd if it was just occasionally. I don't always hear it, depending on what I'm doing and whereabouts in my flat I am, but it seems to happen at all times of day and night.

I can't think of what it could be. If he were using dial-up internet, then I'd expect the occasional sounds of dialling, but not the unrecognised numbers or the fact that it repeats for hours on end. I did wonder if he was running some kind of auto-dialling phone scam, but it seems to happen too much in the early hours of the night for that to be the case.

This is in the UK. I don't know the guy (or anyone else in the building) so I can't just ask. But at this point I'm curious as to what's going on and any ideas would be welcome.
posted by xchmp to Technology (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe they're wardialing? Wait, do people even wardial anymore?
posted by the dief at 8:36 PM on May 1, 2008

Sounds like someone war dialing to me.
posted by bigmusic at 8:36 PM on May 1, 2008

Fax spammer?
posted by nathan_teske at 8:42 PM on May 1, 2008

Fax spam would be my guess.
posted by pompomtom at 8:42 PM on May 1, 2008

Autodialer? Maybe running a telephone scam.
posted by SansPoint at 8:53 PM on May 1, 2008

If you can post a link to a recording of what you're hearing, I'm sure somebody here can tell you what numbers are being dialled.
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on May 1, 2008

I don't know the guy (or anyone else in the building) so I can't just ask.

This is one of those Ask Mes which could be resolved by JUST TALKING TO YOUR NEIGHBOR!

Go up, ask them what the deal is. You may not get a straight answer, but the neighbor will probably take steps to insure the noise doesn't continue. Maybe that doesn't satisfy your curiosity, but at least it's a step toward getting to know your neighbors.

Asking strangers on the internet to speculate about a person who lives within dozens of feet of you is some sort of antisocial behavior...
posted by wfrgms at 9:33 PM on May 1, 2008 [4 favorites]

Tell your neighbor to put M0 in his AT command in his dialer prefs. That turns the modem sound off.
posted by ctmf at 11:19 PM on May 1, 2008 [4 favorites]

Sorry not to answer the question - I think war dialing is the answer.
posted by ctmf at 11:20 PM on May 1, 2008

for those not in the know (like me) wardialing is, according to wikipedia:
a technique of using a modem to automatically scan a list of telephone numbers, usually dialing every number in a local area code to search for unknown computers, BBS systems or fax machines. Hackers use the resulting lists for various purposes, hobbyists for exploration, and crackers for password guessing.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:52 AM on May 2, 2008

Does sound like fax spamming or war dialing, so you may want to request he do something to minimize/eliminate the noise. Maybe hint at what you think he might be doing. If he's doing something illegal and scammy, that might make him take more precautions about pissing you off.

Of course at the end of the day its none of your business what he's doing...just that the sound of it is annoying you.
posted by Elminster24 at 4:47 PM on May 2, 2008

Is your neighbor actually around when this is going on? I mean what are the odds of a war dialer hitting dozens and dozens of out of service numbers with such great regularity? If you kept getting zero hits I'd think you'd eventually try a different exchange or something.

This makes me wonder if a) he's infected with a virus and would be part of a botnet if his system could actually get on line or b) got an old computer from work, uncle Bob, whatever, that is trying to do something like update virus definitions, but is dialing a number that is not legitimate from your building (e.g. dialing 9 to get an outside line when you only have an outside line).
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:48 PM on May 2, 2008

Thanks everyone. He's definitely home while it's happening so fax spamming and war dialling both make sense.
posted by xchmp at 11:35 AM on May 4, 2008

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