VOIP Security Guide
By Mansi Aggarwal
Revolutionizing the world of telephony, VoIP has become one of the fastest growing technologies of today. It has quickly gobbled up the market for the traditional and well established tools for communicating over large distances, by making them look antiquated and expensive.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is basically a process which converts your voice into digital signals that travel over internet. Its most prominent feature is its affordability. With VoIP you can make long distance calls at a fraction of cost that you used to pay to your telephone companies. It is primarily because of the fact that transferring digital signals over internet is quite cheaper than transferring analog signals over the traditional telephone lines.
However, nowadays VoIP is in the news not for the great savings in long distance calls that it offers but for the security concerns attached to it. As VoIP runs through internet, the information exchanged can be intercepted by anyone at any time. Moreover, because of its popularity VoIP has become a soft target for the hackers. In the absence of a strong firewall system, hackers may capture sensitive information such as credit card number and bank details. They can even launch denial of service attacks and shut down a voice conversation, or send spam or virus over the internet to disrupt the services. Another vulnerability that the IT sector is worried about the hacking of VoIP networks for making free calls. According to industry sources, a new generation of “phreakers” may be able to manipulate the data switched through a hybrid TDM-VoIP network which will allow them to exploit the billing system to make free calls. Another menace that is plaguing the VoIP networks is ‘caller-id spoofing’. There are some hacking websites that allow people to control the phone number that appears on the receiver’s caller-id display. Moreover, they can modify their voice with the help of voice modification software. Thus, they have become a useful tool for private investigators and pranksters.
VoIP service providers are now trying to secure their customers from these threats through the tunneling and encryption processes. These techniques prevent the hackers from capturing the information packets as they pass through the internet. Most of the service providers are using Layer 2 tunneling and an encryption method called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to prevent anyone from getting the confidential information. However, despite of all these possible threats the IT segment is still enthusiastic about the cost savings and the added functionality that VoIP offers to their business. Most of them consider VoIP as a reliable and robust system and the security concerns not so serious to hamper the progress of VoIP.
Thus, although the attacks on the VoIP systems are at a nascent stage but they may gain teeth and hit the consumers sharply as the hackers become aware of the details of this service. Thus, it is necessary for the concerned authorities to understand the criticality of the situation and be ready to take the necessary preventive measures to prevent any major impact of these threats on VoIP in future.
Mansi Aggarwal recommends that you visit VOIP security for more information.