When it comes to efficiency and flexibility there is no better system than VoIP. However, just like any other IT system, it’s not immune to cyberattacks. Read on to discover how you can improve your VoIP security and reliability.

Heard about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)? Wondering why many modern-day businesses have now switched to VoIP?

For many companies, it’s just a wise choice considering that VoIP comes with several huge benefits to a business.

Using VoIP lowers their operating costs, offers greater convenience compared to traditional services, increases accessibility, higher scalability, and the ability to better multitask. Also, VoIP is completely portable!

However, don’t rush into getting VoIP systems too fast, it can become a very easy target for hackers.

The good news is that it’s possible to protect your VoIP system from 99.9% of cyberattacks with proper preparation and training. In this article, we will tell you what dangers can your business can encounter using VoIP and how to avoid them.

THE NEED FOR VOIP SECURITY

VoIP system requires an internet connection to function. But their reliability on the internet makes them vulnerable to various security issues.

The most frequent issues that we noticed in our 10+ years of work are:

#1 DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACKS

Denial of Service (DoS) is a common attack designed to completely shut down a network or make it inaccessible.

When this happens, legitimate users can be blocked from their devices and systems. And even if they can access their devices they will notice lower call quality, uptime problems, and latency.

#2 TOLL FRAUD

Hackers don’t have to ruin your systems completely or make them inaccessible. They can just mess with your systems slowly raking up your charges and draining your pockets.

For example, hackers can dial international or any other expensive numbers intending to secretly waste your budget.

#3 PHISHING

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Phishing is when attackers send fraudulent messages designed to trick their victims into revealing sensitive information like login/password, personal information, home/work address, or bank credentials. After, the unsuspecting victim reveals sensitive data hackers usually sell it to other cybercriminals specializing in bank fraud, ransomware, and extortion.

#4. MALWARE

Malware is a file or code that gets delivered over a network and has the goal of infecting, stealing, corrupting, or destroying the information contained within a system.

After infecting your system with malware, VoIP hackers are able to infiltrate your network and access confidential business information. If hackers are skilled enough, they will not only steal your data but also use your machine to infect others.

#5. CALL INTERCEPTION

The call interception attack is rare but scary if performed correctly. After finding a poorly secured VoIP network attacker intercepts the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) traffic that serves to initiate, maintain, and terminate real-time voice and video sessions. After a successful interception attacker usually redirects the victim to another line hosted by the scammers.

5 TIPS FOR BOOSTING VOIP SECURITY

Given the variety of potential threats to your VoIP systems, it’s necessary to optimize your VoIP security measures ASAP.

Here are 5 tips to get you started immediately.

#1. SET UP A FIREWALL

VoIP security as well as many other IT security benefit greatly from reliable Firewall software. A firewall will scan all the information that goes in and out of your VoIP system and ensure it’s secure.

If spam, viruses, or other threats are detected, the firewall will block and safely remove them, shielding your system from the attack.

Not only will it keep your system safe, but a good firewall will also make sure that data packets you send can no longer be interfered with until they reach their destination.

TIP #2. USE STRONG PASSWORDS

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This is obvious but we will say it anyway because there are still people who use simple or generic passwords for software and platforms that handle their sensitive information.

What password is considered strong? Well, aim at 12 characters or more, including numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and special symbols.

Set your password as soon as you configure your VoIP system. Relax, no one is sitting there waiting for you to install your VoIP to attack it as soon as possible. But it’s very likely that you’ll forget to do it later.

Some VoIP phones come with pre-set passwords, and often they are available publicly. So, change your password as soon as you get a chance.

For extra security, try to change your passwords every three months.

#3. RESTRICT CALLING

If you run a local business, there’s probably no need for the international call option. Disable it, and make toll fraud impossible. And save yourself some headache by avoiding paying for expensive calls you didn’t even make.

Need to make international calls? Well, at least block all the 1-900 numbers.

#4. REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR

Educate your team on how they can do their job with minimal security risks for your company.  Remember, many VoIP attacks happen due to irresponsible behavior.

For starters, they should know what usual and unusual network activity looks like, how to handle passwords, and to who can they report suspicious activity to. At least, tell them to report ghost calls and missing voicemails.

Most of the times cybersecurity training during onboarding isn’t enough. You get some new employees, some employees get lazy or simply forget security guidelines. Try to do some training sessions with your staff to refresh their knowledge and better protect your VoIP system.  Phishing attack simulation is also a good way to check if your staff remembers their lessons.

#5. DEACTIVATE WEB INTERFACE USE

Ideally, you should deactivate the web interface used for your VoIP system unless you have a dedicated IT department that monitors your systems daily.

Why?

Using phones on a desktop computer is a severe security risk. It’s enough for a single phone user to be hacked or tricked into giving login credentials to leave the whole system exposed to a full-scale attack. All your data can be stolen, your machines locked, and your servers wiped clean.

So, unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to use the web interface, we’d recommend against it.

GAINING OR REGAINING CONTROL OVER YOUR VOIP SECURITY

VoIP is a fantastic alternative to landlines. It offers many more features and flexibility at a lesser cost. However, VoIP’s reliability on the internet makes it susceptible to cyberattacks.

If you have purchased a VoIP system for your company or just thinking of getting one, securing it should be your number one priority. Take some time to secure your business, start with the tips from this article.

For more information on how to implement these changes and to further discuss securing your business’s VoIP system, schedule a quick 10-15-minute chat chat with us.
EB Solution is a Toronto, Ontario-based IT Service Provider that provides security for their clients’ VoIP, wireless, and networking needs.

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