Many businesses use email and instant messaging to communicate with each other. Voice systems allow you to connect with anyone, anytime, and anywhere. VoIP has been popular in the previous years due to its economic pricing among big or small businesses. It opened new streams of opportunities with its advanced features aside from being able to choose a payment plan that suits your business. As businesses adopt VoIP as a lucrative communication solution, will it introduce new security risks in the organization? The answer is yes. VoIP is internet-based. The network environment of VoIP is susceptible to attacks that extend beyond spamming and eavesdropping. Cybercriminals may use VoIP as an entry point to your business network. That’s why security protection is a must for every cloud-based service that’s plugged into your business.
Fool-proof your VoIPProtecting your voice network is much like protecting a data network. Organizations need to be meticulous in overseeing IT management and security requirements. It’s important to remember that when you install VoIP, critical business conversations are occurring over ISP networks and internet backbones. While some “phreakers,” as phone hackers are called, are simply hobbyists looking for a way to get free long-distance service, other VoIP security threats come from malicious actors. Many hackers plan to steal either your bandwidth, customer data, or proprietary information. There are many ways that VoIP security can be threatened by a phreaker:
- Call fraud, in which hackers get into the VoIP system and take control. They may steal customer data or employee data, or use the system to make long-distance calls.
- Malware or viruses are used to infiltrate VoIP handsets to send spam or record keystrokes to steal credit card information.
- Denial of Service attacks occurs when a hacker uses up all of a company’s bandwidth so the company is unable to conduct business through their VoIP system.
- Call hijacking is the sending of a noise packet to disrupt a call, delay voice signals, or drop the call altogether.
- Man in the middle attacks trick the server into thinking the hacker is a legitimate member of the call, and then the hacker is eventually able to infiltrate the IT environment.
VoIP breach and warning signsThe web is a virtual playground for attackers who constantly search for potential victims and fine-tune their craft to launch new attacks. Depending on the gravity of the methods used, a SANS Institute paper identifies the following common threats:
- Call recording
- Call eavesdropping
- Voicemail tampering
- Worms and viruses
- Denial of Service (DoS)
- Registration hacking
- Caller ID spoofing
- VoIP toll fraud
- Data theft
- Voice spam
VoIP Security ServicesNo company can completely eliminate every risk associated with VoIP security, and addressing these items comprehensively would require additional staff and monitoring resources. That’s why many companies that use a hosted VoIP system appreciate the security services that come with their subscription:
- Virtual private networks (VPNs): This is a secure network that protects each type of data transmission going in and out of a company. Most businesses use VPNs for other purposes, but they also serve VoIP security well.
- Multi-protocol label switching (MPLS): This connection to the internet is highly secure and, with the right network treatment, can be used to prioritize VoIP transmissions over other communications.
- Encryption: Encryption will not protect against the most sophisticated attacks, but it is a great first step in protecting VoIP systems.
- Patches and updates: Some businesses are surprised to learn that a phone system needs the same security patches and updates that other software applications require. A hosted VoIP provider will make sure the system always has the latest security features.
- Antivirus software and monitoring: Any hosted VoIP provider will use antivirus software and continuous monitoring as part of their complete VoIP security package.