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Election Protection: Deploying Lenny to Block Robocalls

In the United States, some may be unaware that the FCC exempted elected federal officials and businesses with whom you do business from the stringent restrictions enacted against robocalls. That’s the reason you typically hear from your favorite politicians at about the time you sit down for that evening meal. In 2013, we implemented Brian West’s Lenny scripts for use with Asterisk®. We won’t regurgitate all of the background and legal considerations, but they are available in our original article if you’re interested. The idea behind the Lenny robot is a series of voice prompts that keep robocallers chasing their tails for lengthy periods of time without interfering with your regular phone calls. A number of these recordings are available on YouTube for your listening pleasure. Here’s one of our favorites:


Even though access to Lenny through SIP URI calls has never wavered over the years, actual deployment of the code to implement Lenny on local servers disappeared because of the inability to verify the author of the original Lenny recordings. We still have been unable to do that, but seven years have passed without anyone voicing a complaint so we’ve decided to once again make the recordings available in this new deployment for Incredible PBX® 2020. A similar module is also available for Ombutel and VitalPBX. If anyone wishes to claim ownership of the recordings and desires that they be removed, simply contact us.

Prerequisites. To install today’s version of Lenny, you’ll need an Incredible PBX 2020 platform for CentOS 7 or the Raspberry Pi 3 or 4.

Installation. To install Lenny on your server, log into the Linux CLI as root. Then…

cd /var/www/html/admin/modules
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/lenny2020.tgz
tar zxvf lenny2020.tgz
rm -f lenny2020.tgz
fwconsole ma install itslenny
fwconsole reload
cd /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/en
ln -s /var/www/html/admin/modules/itslenny/sounds/lenny lenny

Configuration. Next, you’ll need to configure Lenny to answer calls on your Blacklist and, optionally, to replace the existing 53669 (L-E-N-N-Y) SIP URI extension so that non-blacklisted incoming calls can be transferred easily to Lenny as desired. Let’s first tackle the Blacklist setup. Log into the FreePBX GUI with a web browser using your admin credentials. Navigate to Third Party AddOn: Its Lenny. Make sure the Enable checkbox is checked and optionally check the Record option, if desired. The default Silence Detection Delay and Iterations settings should be fine on most platforms. Click Submit to save the settings.

NOTE: The PBX Open Source Software Alliance (POSSA) no longer maintains this module.

If you want to replace the existing 53669 SIP URI extension with access to this new module using the same 53669 setting, here are the steps:

1. Delete the existing 53669 extension under Applications:Extensions.

2. Under Admin:Custom Destinations, Add app-nv-itslenny,s,1 and name it Lenny. Submit.

3. Under Application:Misc Application, Add:
      Enable: YES
      Description: Lenny
      Feature Code: 53669
      Destination: Custom Destination -> Lenny

Operation. Here’s how we envision a typical deployment. When an incoming call arrives that you believe is a spammer, say, "Just a moment. Let me transfer you to the man of the house." Using your SIP phone, hit the Transfer button and dial 53669 to send the call to Lenny. Next, blacklist the last caller by picking up the phone again and dialing *32. In the future, when calls arrive from this number, the call will automatically be answered by Lenny. You can add and remove entries in the Blacklist by navigating to Admin:BlackList in the FreePBX GUI.

Continue Reading: Spam Phone Call Blocker and CNAM Caching for FreePBX

Originally published: Monday, April 20, 2020

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