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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has come of age and is quickly gaining momentum on Broadband networks. VoIP makes phone calls through the same routes used by network and Internet traffic and is consequently prone to the same cyber threats that plague data networks today. These include denial-of-service attacks, worms, viruses, and hacker exploitation.

VoIP is one of the big trends in telecommunications. Before VoIP, telecommunications occurred over PSTN. The cost savings of Internet telephony systems by converging voice with other data applications, both in cost and bandwidth, compared to that of circuit switched networks, is encouraging companies to move to VoIP. But many companies are unaware of the certain security vulnerabilities of the VoIP phone systems.

In this article we will be talking about 5 security risks of using a VoIP phone system and what can we do to eliminate or fix them. 

5-VoIP-security-risks-and-how-we-can-fix-them

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Is VoIP secure?

Although VoIP offers a variety of features like cost saving and call managing from any devices, as no phone system is bulletproof, a VoIP phone system faces a variety of threats from different networking layers and areas of trust from within the network. For instance, an attacker can try to compromise a VoIP gateway, cause a denial-of-service attack to the Call Manager, exploit a vulnerability in a vendor’s SIP protocol implementation or try to hijack VoIP calls.

As VoIP works on the internet, it can be hacked if it is unsecured. Calls can be intercepted and in some cases, it can be used as an access portal into servers. Though there is a way you can secure VoIP using some basic cybersecurity methods and good practice.

In practice, the security issues for VoIP users break down into 3 basic areas.

1. Can anyone tap into your call?

An attacker can also spoof a SIP response, indicating to the caller that the called party has moved to a rogue SIP address, and hijack the call. An attacker can also spoof a SIP response, indicating to the caller that the called party has moved to a rogue SIP address, and hijack the call

2. Is your own network and device safe?

Working on an insecure network or using your  personal device can be reasons for an alarming rise in security issues.

3. Can someone steal your calls and make you pay for them?

This can only happen if someone gets hold of your password and username and knows their way around your service or if you’re using an unprotected hardware PBX (instead of our normal hosted services). They could then use whatever credit was in your account at the time. Just like if you lost your credit card and wrote your PIN on it.

5 VoIP security risks that you must be aware of

1. Phreaking

An attacker can also spoof a SIP response, indicating to the caller that the called party has moved to a rogue SIP address, and hijack the call. An attacker can also spoof a SIP response, indicating to the caller that the called party has moved to a rogue SIP address, and hijack the call.

2. Eavesdropping

Any types of phone calls have some eavesdropping risk, but the risk is relatively high for VoIP calls. On traditional phone network, eavesdrop is possible when an attacker gets physical access to a telephone or its cable. That means the hacker needs to be closer to the phone set. In IP telephony technology, eavesdropping is possible from anywhere in the world. The hacker needs some tools and skill set. 

3. Phishing

It happens when a data thief sends a message (via email or phone) mimicking your bank or an e-commerce site. The message or phone call contains a notification about a problem in your account or an alluring offer. Some people easily become a victim of these attackers and lose their money.

4. DoS (Denial of Service)

Through Denial of Service (DoS) a perpetrator floods a network with a large volume of connection requests. For example, SIP call-signaling messages to overwhelm the server and keep the system busy. Though DoS attack does not involve information theft directly, an attacker gets the administrative power of a system to disrupt its activities. 

5. Spamming over Internet Telephony

We all know SPAM emails but when spamming occurs in VoIP, it is called spamming over internet telephony (SPIT) VoIP spam. Spammers send bulk messages or voicemails to hundreds of IP addresses at a time using spambots. The message may carry virus and spyware, which has made SPIT more than just a nuisance.

How can we make VoIP Secure?

1.Advanced Firewall

Install advanced level firewall software on the central server to prevent unnecessary traffic and spread of malware. Nowadays, firewall built-in routers are available that filters VoIP packets over the network.

2. Multi-factor Authentication

Enforce authentication to allow legal users in the network. The users will get access to the network by entering a username and password. Set up a multi-factor-authentication.

3. Regular Audits and encryption

Conduct a security audit of your VoIP system, review configuration of the existing system and upgrade it. One of the most effective security measures employed by top providers is strong high-level encryption. It is the most important measure in securing data for end-to-end transmissions across IP networks. To ensure reliability, the top VoIP providers also have multiple data centers set up in different locations.

VoIP vs landline: Which one is more secure?

VoIP-vs-Landline

The moment we talk about risks, no matter how avoidable they might be, people assume VoIP is less secure than landlines. This is without checking facts about the security of landline phones. If landlines were safer there would be no need for warrants to wiretap phones. From a technical standpoint, both landlines and VoIP are vulnerable to interception. Hackers can compromise both phone systems.

Additionally, there are some risks that are common to both networks. Consider social engineering attacks. This involves hackers trying to manipulate users into revealing their passwords or other account credentials. This works equally well for computer networks, VoIP phone systems, and landlines.  

While both are vulnerable in their own ways, yet, you have many more options when it comes to securing VoIP. There are many software and hardware tools at your disposal. Many of these are not available for landline phones at all. If you do the right things, choosing VoIP can be the most secure option for your business.

Related article: VoIP vs Landline: 7 Reasons why you should choose VoIP over landline

Here’s how to choose a secure VoIP solution

When choosing a VoIP solution for your business, ensure that you understand the VoIP features that you’re looking for. Also, use a solution that offers encryption so that you do not have to bother about VoIP being a secure solution. Let us take a look at a few features you need to keep in mind in order to choose the right VoIP solution.
 

1. Collaboration Tools

Full-featured VoIP services can offer a variety of collaboration tools your employees can use to meet, interact, and work jointly online. Users can access these capabilities either through a single unified communications client or through separate apps offered either by the VoIP provider or via third-party integration.

2. Call management

For organizations that are investing in VoIP because of its software, call management is a good example as this is an umbrella term for almost everything the system can do with a typical phone call.

3. Third party integration

This is one VoIP’s key features. Using these extensions, customers can build custom workflows to help them work more efficiently.

Related article: Top 5 VoIP for business

We work with leading VoIP solution providers to get you the best features suited to your requirements. Savincom can help you with the switch to VoIP. For a FREE demo click on the below link now.
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