Common VoIP Threats and Vulnerabilities

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) involves communication via the internet. Like every other application that runs on the internet, VoIP faces a lot of threats on security. VoIP is a relatively new technology and its security features are constantly improving. VoIP phone systems are fast becoming exceptionally popular in today’s business world because they are extremely affordable and offer a wide variety of productivity-boosting features.

When VoIP was first introduced, people did not have to worry about security issues related to the product. People were far more interested in its price and efficiency.  As VoIP becomes widely accepted by businesses, safety has become everyone’s major concern.

VoIP has many benefits for small and medium-sized businesses, however, businesses look out for possible VoIP threats; these threats are similar to those posed to other forms of technology connected to the internet such as computers. Here are some common VoIP threats to businesses:

  1. Vishing – “vishing” is a name invented for “VoIP- phishing”. Just like the normal internet phishing we know, this threat involves someone posing as a financial institution or email provider and requesting important but private information.
  2. Audio Spam – We all get obnoxious spam emails that we wish would go away. The audio spam is very similar to this and it accounts for approximately 10-percent of spam online. Every VoIP phone system is linked to a unique IP address, which makes it easy for spammers to direct voicemails to various random addresses
  3. Malware (Virus) –  VoIP phone systems are susceptible to viruses and malware because they run on the internet.  Although the effect is often indirect, most computer software programs are very vulnerable. In fact, this can be introduced into the system months in advance and activated once a VoIP connection is established.
  4. Eavesdropping – Just like traditional landlines, VoIP users are at risk of anybody eavesdropping. The attacker is able to get important names, billing information and passwords while eavesdropping. This information is usually used for identity theft.
  5. “Man-in-the-middle” threats – VoIP is very vulnerable to man-in-the-middle threats and attacks. Here, the attacker breaks the call signals and pretends as the calling party to the person being called. This then provides the attacker access to the called party’s server. This is most common when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.

Here are some simple steps to protect your VoIP systems from these threats

  • Conduct a security audit before implementing or upgrading any VoIP phone system
  • Purchase Firewalls and regularly upgrade existing ones
  • Run security checks on VoIP systems periodically.

Following these simple steps will ensure you have reliable telephone systems with minimal problems.