Changes to dial in access

Some time ago, I put in place a test number on our Asterisk system to allow the Telecoms Team to access the internal telephone network from the public telephone network, so that we can test and verify facilities, and access our exchange test numbers from home.

It’s been brought to my attention that this number has “leaked” and is now being used by at least one person to access the internal network from their mobile phone during the running day.

Apparently me working on the Asterisk DP during the day on the 8th August caused an issue for this person, and while they didn’t complain to me directly, I did get to hear of the complaint.

I don’t know who this person is, but I can see that they have used the facility 27 times in the last 3 weeks and rumour has it they are operational staff – and that worries me.

The Asterisk system which hosts the test number is maintained by a single volunteer who has a full time day job in Bristol (me!), and I can only really work on it at weekends – during the running day. It has no resilience or redundancy designed into it, and the phone number is provided by a free provider (so may go away or change at short notice)

In the past, when the Asterisk has failed it’s taken me 3 weeks to get to site to resolve the issue (in one case, much longer) If that was to happen again, and someone was relying on it for operational use then that may put the safety of the railway, or the continuity of the business at risk!

Given these limitations I cannot in good conscience allow the facility to become relied upon for business, operational, safety or emergency use – so I need to nip this in the bud and clarify the position.

I have changed the recorded message on it this evening to something which makes the status of the facility clear, and if the message doesn’t appear to get through – I may be forced to change the PIN.

Sorry if that’s inconvenient for anyone, but I just can’t let an informal test facility sneak into operational service like this!