Why would anyone hack into a VoIP system?  VoIP communication offers a lot of exciting advantages to businesses: feature-enriched deals and low monthly costs offered by service providers are enough to entice businesses to make the shift from traditional communication. While the decision often pays off, there are situations when, because of poor infrastructure implementation, a VoIP solution can have disadvantages; the biggest one being the system’s ability to be hacked. A poorly implemented VoIP system can pose a lot of vulnerabilities and hacking a VoIP call is actually pretty easy; all you have to do is trick a service provider into believing that the call is coming from a specific IP (when it isn’t). Hackers make calls using the victim’s VoIP system and the victim is left astounded when they receive a bill that’s a lot heftier than they expected. Have a look at some of the features your VoIP system must have.

A business VoIP system needs to be devoid of the vulnerabilities that can allow hackers to have an easy pass. The same attacks that your email server and web connection are prone to, VoIP can be susceptible to. VoIP systems send calls via the same path that your network employs for internet and that makes VoIP vulnerable to the same exploitation that every online service can get affected by. A hacker can take control of your whole VoIP system via any old IP phone that nobody pays attention to.

Are you wondering whether your VoIP system has been hacked? Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common signs that you’ve been hacked:

 

How to Know if You’ve Been Hacked

1. Redirected Internet Searches

A VoIP system can provide interesting new features but when they are not being used, they should be logged out of and powered down. However, when up and running, many people use the internet for other purposes (like searching) along with making calls. If a person notices that their search has redirected them to an unwanted site then that is a definitive sign that the whole system has been hacked, including (possibly) the VoIP system.

2. Irregular Call Histories

VoIP call history should always be monitored. Every IP address which logs into the system, should have to go through a multi-step authentication process. While placing incoming or outgoing calls, make sure that unrecognized calling patterns are noticed. Calling history disparities are a sure sign that something is not right.

3. Huge VoIP Bills

Another huge indicator that your VoIP system has been compromised is when you receive unexpectedly huge VoIP bills. Hackers can make the originating IP of the call look like one recognized by the system and place as many calls as they wish using the victim’s VoIP infrastructure.

 

Want a better understanding of how VoIP works? Read here.

 

Which Protocols Are Under Attack?

VoIP works on various specific protocols that can change depending on the type of your provider and solution. SIP, H225 and Cisco’s proprietary SCCP protocols are some of the most compromised VoIP protocols (according to IBM Managed Security Services Information). SIP can be regarded as the most famous of the aforementioned protocols, and therefore, it is the most hacked one. SCCP or Skinny Client Control protocol was responsible for approximately half of the total attacks that were analyzed by IBM but it’s not a surprise either. Cisco is one of the largest VoIP providers, which means there are a lot of business-specific solutions implemented, which eventually means that the possibilities of things going wrong are high. Most of the SCCP protocol attacks can be referred to as pre attack probes which make the attackers able to get potential target data by analyzing the device capabilities of the network (They can see the type of defenses your business VoIP is equipped by before they proceed with the attack).

 

If you are thinking about making the switch to VoIP but haven’t found enough reasons to do so, here are 5 reasons that will help you make the decision.

 

How Can You Stay Safe?

Keeping your VoIP solution safe and devoid of the most common vulnerabilities is something that requires immediate attention. Here are some of the proven ways to stay secure:

  1. Strong passwords: There isn’t a “how to stay safe online” list that won’t tell you to keep strong passwords. However tempting and easy-to-remember weak passwords might be, they can lead to your downfall. Always ensure that all the users and administrators keep strong passwords.
  2. Encryption: Most of the time, VoIP communication is unencrypted and that makes it an easy target for the hackers. Ensure that all the traffic that travels via your VoIP network is encrypted using state-of-the-art cryptographic techniques.
  3. Use a VPN: Using a virtual private network to tunnel your traffic and allowing off-site people to access on-site networks is another great way of keeping VoIP systems secure from the threats of hackers.
  4. Test your network: No matter how big or small your network is, make a habit of running security checks on it whilst looking for backdoors, vulnerabilities, or traces of attacks made in the past.

 

Which VoIP Providers Can You Trust?

Choosing a VoIP provider can be a tricky business; especially when you need to be certain that the right amount of security has been implemented. The following are the 3 most highly recommended VoIP providers that will keep your business or personal VoIP solution safe from unwanted intrusion:

1. Vonage

Vonage provides a plethora of features in their VoIP solutions (monitoring tools, desktop plugins etc.) and their support team is experienced and highly vetted, ensuring that any possible vulnerabilities in the system are found and dealt with.

2. Alliance Phones

The feature-rich and highly reliable VoIP solutions provided by Alliance Phones are only second to the ones Vonage provides. They implement rigorous security features to ensure that any hacking attempts are rendered useless.

3. RingCentral

RingCentral uses modern encryption techniques which makes sure that all the traffic that flows via the VoIP network is undecipherable to anyone who tries to attack it.

 

In a world where online attacks are increasing with every passing day, it’s of paramount importance that a corporate (or a personal) VoIP infrastructure be kept safe and its security, paid high attention to.

Aaron Foster
Co-founder of a West Coast web consulting firm and a prolific blogger, Aaron is a source to be trusted when it comes to the latest business software solutions. His professional expertise is matched only by his encyclopedic knowledge of Mexican cuisine.
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