Voice over IP or VoIP technology is rapidly being adopted by enterprises, consumers, and governments as it offers a higher degree of flexibility and more features than traditional telephony infrastructures, as well as the potential for reduced cost through equipment unification and—for the consumers—new business models. However, VoIP systems also demonstrate a higher degree of complexity with regard to protocols, architecture, and implementation, along with a corresponding rise in the potential for misuse.
Despite its flexibility and cost-effectiveness, individuals and businesses have come to realize that cybersecurity is necessary when it comes to using VoIP. Digital threats remain a serious issue to this day, which is why it’s probably not a good idea to access questionable files sent by unknown sources. VoIP services are vulnerable to similar threats; after all, these calls are made through the Internet. Let’s take a closer look at some of the risks:
- Potential Security Threats: Well-known cyber threats that pose a risk to a network and its accompanying equipment include viruses and Trojans. These threats can negatively affect a VoIP system just as easily and quickly as other digital components.
- Conversation Eavesdropping: Every phone conversation is at risk of eavesdropping. In a traditional phone system, this is typically done by tapping into the phone line or switch; on the other hand, a skilled hacker can compromise the phone call’s VoIP network and possibly intercept the data packets of communication being transmitted. They can convert these packets into more compact sound files, which can be listened to outside of the network.
- Free Service Access: Another security threat to your VoIP office phone system involves cyber criminals obtaining free access to the tools of a VoIP system. A classic example of this is the act of sneaking free long-distance calls, which might not seem like much but it can eventually slow down your system.
- Call Interception: If a hacker is able to successfully gain access to a company’s VoIP servers, they are likely to be able to intercept or redirect Devious hackers might even try to pretend to be an employee with the intention of damaging the company’s reputation.
While no single security measure will completely take out attacks against a VoIP office phone system, there is a layered method that can significantly mitigate the success of these attacks.
- Appropriate Firewalls: VoIP providers are well-aware of the existing risks to their systems. As a result, most services come equipped with the necessary security measures. However, in order to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of these measures, it is essential to have a VoIP-ready firewall, which takes into account the added dangers of IP-based telephony.
- Encryption Protection Strategies: It’s actually quite easy to prevent eavesdropping, thanks to various encryption protocols. VoIP software comes armed with encryption tools; if they don’t come with any, businesses can utilize other tools to encrypt voice calls. Furthermore, using a Virtual Private Network or VPN can also encrypt all information being transmitted to a network.
- Increased Use of Digital and Physical Security: One of the best things a business can do when utilizing a VoIP office phone system is to install up-to-date anti-virus programs. If external threats can’t access a network, they certainly can’t make it to the phone system.
Internet-related business risks will forever be present in this modern age of technology. Fortunately, these threats have managed to remain relatively stable over time, giving developers and businesses the ability to identify, prevent, and destroy these risks before turning into serious disruptions.