Phone lines run on servers, people like to overload servers with botnets. Can a phone line be affected by a DDoS attack?

Realistically, there are so many ways to make a phone botnet, so would a phone botnet realistically be able to cause a DDoS attack to phone lines?

I imagine if it was possible to DDoS a companies support service phone lines, it would be all over the news but then again, what do the news know about hacking?

  • Are you asking about denial of service with local impact (i.e. against a specific end system or a whole company) or attacks with more global impact (i.e. against phone service provider)? – Steffen Ullrich Oct 23 '16 at 11:52
  • @SteffenUllrich local impact – Jake Wickham Oct 23 '16 at 12:10

A denial of service with local impact against a single or a limited number of phone lines is easy: just call them and if they drop the call then call again. As long as you call them the line is blocked for any other calls, i.e. denial of service. Even phone numbers which can handle multiple calls at the same time (for examples emergency lines) can be flooded. This process can be easily automated, both for modern VoIP lines and also for old POTS lines (which can be usually reached by VoIP too). It does not even need to be distributed, i.e. with VoIP a single computer can be used to keep multiple calls at the same time open.

For more information see the numerous hits you'll find when searching for phone denial of service or voip denial of service, like:

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  • You just need to look at environmental disasters like floodings, thunder storms, etc. At least here in Germany where more and more people think, that the fire departments will clean their basements from the 2 centimeters of water, the emergency lines are flooded with calls and hardly able to respond to the real emergencies. That's also some kind of DoS. – dunni Oct 23 '16 at 13:50
  • There is also a recent example of a teenager accidentally launching a DDoS attack against 911 in Phoenix: it.slashdot.org/story/16/10/29/1443241/… – mschwaig Nov 3 '16 at 22:33

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