Why Your Phones Could Be Letting Hackers in Your Front Door—and What You Can Do About It
By any objective measure, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been a boon for business, allowing most organizations to save time and money by running their phone calls over their Internet connections and virtual private networks. But did you know that your VoIP systems can be one of the most vulnerable parts of your network?
It all comes down to the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which is a signal that’s generated in your internet line, telling it to separate this call traffic from the internet traffic, and stream the incoming data differently. It’s part of every VoIP generated call—and it’s the perfect vehicle for hackers to hitch a ride into your systems. And that makes mitigating VoIP security risks job one for your Cybersecurity strategy.
VoIP Security Risks
So what’s in a hacker’s evil toolbox? Here’s some of the most common VoIP attacks:
Denial of Service (DoS): Shutting off the tap for internet access, which slows or stops all calls.
War Dialing—Using your system to scan for other networks, and connect to other modems, launching attacks across an area like a virus.
Toll fraud—HIjacking your network to make expensive international phone calls. And the worst part is, you generally won’t even know it’s happened until you get your bill.
Phishing—Using a caller ID that convinces a user that their incoming call is legitimate, then convincing them to divulge passwords or other sensitive data about your network. Credentials in hand, hackers will use them to download trackers, malware and every other kind of shady trick, often leading to holding your files for a monetary ransom. It’s a very effective way into your company, and one that you enable when you have no VoIP security plan.
Call intercepts—Listening in to your calls for espionage purposes, or waiting for sensitive system information to be passed.
Spam—the everlasting bane of phones everywhere. But hey, have you updated your car’s warranty? Spam ranges from unsolicited sales calls, to appeals from fraudulent charities, to criminals pretending to be from your employee’s credit card company.
So with VoIP security risks this serious, do you have the right security plan in place? We have some recommendations.
VoIP Security Best Practices
It may seem like VoIP security risks are hard baked in to having voice over internet phone services. But there’s a lot you can do to stop hacking in its tracks.
Enforce Strong Passwords—When employees use two-factor authentication systems, like Duo Mobile and others, passwords can’t be guessed or passed, because employees have to identify who they are. This eliminates a large share of threats.
Stay up to date with System patches—Every company should have remote access systems that allow you to force through system patches to desk and company issued mobile phones remotely. If you don’t have to rely on employees for every little security upgrade and system patch, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Install Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and WiFi Encryption—When you create a VPN among certain extensions and devices, you create an encrypted environment. The same goes with your WiFi, which, when secured, keeps any passerby with a mobile device from just signing onto the network.
Parse Your Call Analytics—You have the power to look for the patterns in your calls. With the right monitoring system, you’ll be able to detect patterns of hacking and phishing calls coming into your organization.
Want to Learn More?
While VoIP systems may have their pros and cons, they are a modern networking tool that’s here to stay. All you need is the proper VoIP security plan. If you’re wondering how VoIP might look at your organization, check out our VoiP Demo!