Is VoIP Secure? Ways on How to Protect Your VoIP From Internet Threats
Since digital collaboration is known as an important part of any business, Voice Over Protocol has become indispensable. Is VoIP Secure? However, as it becomes popular, the threats against it become widespread too. With this, security must be a priority, particularly because cybersecurity and privacy risks continue to grow.
It is also important to be aware of the most common security issues associated with VoIP and at the same time know what solutions could offer a good defense against them.
What is VoIP?
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a method which lets you make and receive calls over the Internet. Or in simpler terms, VoIP offers phone service over the internet. It could also offer a lot of various features which your current telephone service may not.
Things are made easier with VoIP like call forwarding to desktops or smartphones, international calls, and some other business communications services. Also, most VoIP providers offer chat, file-sharing and video conferencing.
Most Common VoIP Security Threats
Here are some of the most common VoIP security threats that you should be aware of:
This is one of the most common VoIP threats that could make you suffer a headache. Audio streams are being intercepted having no authorization, putting the information from conversations at risk. However, packet capture tools let the hackers to tap into any unencrypted VoIP traffic therefore making the conversations easily accessible. And most of the data collected from this kind of threat is utilized for identity theft.
This is the voice-based equivalent to the email phishing scheme, and it happens once attackers use ID spoofing in order to trick call recipients to give up sensitive data. These attackers pretend to be reputable businesses like credit companies and banking institutions. The attacks would generally target end users and not the entire VoIP system that could make it a lot harder to prevent.
Another kind of call fraud is the phreaking wherein hackers would steal service coming from a service provider. Those hackers who engage in phreaking could change calling plans, rack up calls on an account or add more credit to an account. And this leads to excessive charges on the account of the business.
Denial of Service Attacks
Once a DOS attack happens, a hacker would flood a VoIP network server with SIP call-signaling messages that could consume available bandwidth as well as slow down or stop system traffic. And this halt both the incoming and outgoing VoIP calls and could disrupt the flow of daily business, therefore, equaling a loss in sales and a decrease in productivity.
This attack could also let hackers gain remote admin control of servers which means that sensitive data could be stolen, and expensive calls could be made on the account of your business.
Malware and Viruses
Once using softphones with a VoIP network, software and hardware are vulnerable to attacks by viruses, worms and malware. Softphone applications run on the user systems, so they are exposed to the malicious attacks. These various viruses would take over a computer system, destroying information, sending spam, and tracing keystrokes to allow remote access. Also, it has been found that financial data as well as credit card information are considered as the most vulnerable during such attacks.
What Are The Solutions To Avoid VoIP Security Threats?
Of course, the best way to counteract the above-mentioned threats is to be very proactive and stop them right before they happen. There are various ways that smart businesses could go when protecting themselves from possible attacks and threats. These solutions include the following:
Once setting up the VoIP network, you have to make sure that you never leave a default password on an IP phone, switch, router, SBC, firewall or on any other device which requires a password. Once you choose a password, you have to make sure that you are following the rules on how to make a strong one.
Indeed, the best passwords are those long strings of characters which do not include most common phrases. You can add some capital letters, special characters and numbers. Also, you should make sure that you are using a different password on every device.
Once VoIP calls are being transmitted over the Internet, they would be unencrypted therefore information is definitely accessible. In most cases, it would be easy to turn on and to enable or configure encryption of the communications in between already existing points on the network.
This would depend on how the VoIP network is being set up, the hardware used and the settings on Session Border Controllers, Firewalls and routers. This encryption is crucial for almost all types of businesses however critical for any industry which deals with consumer data like financial services.
Using a VPN
VPN or Virtual Private Network is referred to as a service which would allow a business to connect to the Internet via a server run by a VPN provider. The data would then be encrypted securely therefore protecting the sensitive one.
Using a VPN is indeed an easy and great way to make sure that connections of remote workers are secure. What a VPN would do is to make a tunnel via the public Internet and only filter through secure information from and to an office network.
So, these remote workers would have secure access to their onsite network via a public network.
The admins of the network must be monitoring closely of everything. Once something suspicious happens, like strange calls coming in on your network, the office should be advised and trained on how to handle the said unwanted vishing calls. The end users must know how to handle cybersecurity as well.
This one is obvious. However, not all businesses who use softphones are fully equipped with such software. You can protect softphones as part of the computer system in your office by installing and updating anti-malware and antivirus programs like firewalls.
Using a Session Border Controller
The said devices offer a secure entry point for UC, beginning, conducting and stopping VoIP voice calls. They also make a secure connection in between the enterprise and the SIP trunking provider. SBC offers protection against DoS attacks, overflow attacks, intrusions as well as some worms that could be contained in a single packet.
So, is VoIP Secure?
It would a lot easier to listen to a conversation over a cubicle wall compared to tapping a VoIP call. Prior to becoming too excited about encoding all the IP telephony with IPSec, you should consider some simple warnings such as telling the sales force not to discuss the key negotiations on the cellphones in a crowded airport. At the same time, lock the doors to the equipment rooms.
So, if you plan to deploy VoIP, there are certain steps to make the data network a lot more secure particularly if you have not performed an overall security check recently. However, for most corporations, there is a higher level of security needed intended for data applications compared to simply phone conversations.
You could actually improve the level of telephony security than with the traditional one by simply piggybacking your voice to the more secure and safer data network.
How secure a VoIP should be? Like for example, there are numbers of legitimate concerns coming from the law enforcement community regarding whether advanced voice networks are too secured for court-sanctioned wiretapping.
Probably, VoIP is as secure as the traditional telephony and also a lot more secure in most cases compared to your cell phone. You only need to balance enough security against both risks and benefits. Once the effort required to obtain the information coming from a VoIP call is greater compared to the intrinsic value of it, VoIP could be considered as secure enough.
What to Look For in a VoIP Provider?
Here are some of the security measures that you should look for in a VoIP provider:
- Observance of information security frameworks. Examine if they follow certain international information security frameworks, which are developed by these international organizations and set standards on how companies could keep their data secure and safe.
- Encrypted customer data. The provider must be encrypting all the communications with the most recent TLS protocol. Also, providers should encrypt connections at both ends and the call content itself.
- Data centers having complete security. The VoIP provider must use cloud computing services having secured data centers.
- Monitoring systems. Indeed, the right provider would have infrastructure which allows them to monitor the VoIP call traffic as well as data to keep an eye out for something suspicious.
These are some of the factors that you should look out for a VoIP provider in order to be confident that the said technology is safe and secure to use.
Indeed, it is imperative to take certain precautions to prevent VoIP attacks and threats. Being familiar with what these attacks or threats are, along with the solutions to prevent those, could make the job a lot easier. VoIP is still considered secured once you know how to prevent your network from these threats!
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