One Lync engineer recently demonstrated how easily someone could use the Internet's open architecture to record phone conversations of unknown callers to the FBI in San Francisco and Secret Service in Washington, D.C.
Apparently neither party knew that Bryan Seely, a Microsoft engineer, recorded the third-party calls, as he told Search Marketing Daily. Seely said he did this to demonstrate vulnerabilities in Google Maps he's been aware of for more than five years. ValleyWag posted two audio files, but he recorded more than 15 phone calls.
"There are more fake business listings in Google Maps," he said. "They're not getting phone calls today, but if I were to optimize them they would."
Seely said one such listing is the White House, and the other the U.S. embassy in London. Optimizing the listings means boosting up the listing with reviews, and merging his listing with theirs. "Google thinks they took everything down, but they haven't," Seely said. "They are reverse engineering what I've done and trying to shut things off."
Seely created the fake business listings for the FBI and Secret Service in Google's mapping platform, which transferred the callers from the fake numbers to the real numbers for each of the government agencies. This allowed Seely to capture the audio conversations of the unsuspecting callers with the real federal agents.
He built the fake locations on Google Maps with Google's Map Maker tool and then switched to Google Places. Seely started with a new IP addresses and new Gmail accounts, and used the software called Dynamic Interactive to generate the phone numbers and record the calls.
The fake listings, which were up for four days, continually ranked No. 2 every time he checked Google Maps. Seely is not the only one with the ability to hack the system. Telemarketers have been using local company phone numbers and listings to make calls to unsuspecting consumers.
Seely has called attention to more than holes in Google Maps. Some believe his findings could put the nation's national security at risk.