Protecting your VOIP system from cyberattacks

 In Technology, Telecoms

Transitioning to VoIP from a traditional telephony system can be extremely advantageous to your business. It offers greater flexibility, is usually cheaper to maintain and is able to grow as your business scales with minimal disruption. It’s no wonder so many companies have already made the switch.

However, like all internet based systems, VoIP can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. When switching to a VoIP system, it’s important that you understand the type of threats that you could have to deal with and the simple precautions to take to combat them.

There are four types of VoIP threats to be aware of:

1. Denial of service (DoS)

DoS attacks are the simplest and most common kind of attack against the majority of internet based services, including VoIP. It involves flooding a network with requests and overloading the system. This prevents legitimate users from being able to access the service.

2. Service abuse

This occurs when hackers infiltrate a VoIP system and use the service for their own purposes. These attacks usually take place outside of business hours and can go undetected overnight, which means the costs can really rack up before they’re noticed.

They will also sometimes try to set your system to call premium-rate overseas numbers which they earn a commission from. If they manage to do this, you could be liable for thousands of pounds in charges.

Hackers can sometimes utilise this method to eavesdrop on private calls and gain access to sensitive information.

3. Call interception and tampering

If a hacker is able to gain access to a transmission between two phones, they can send data that mimics audio files over the line. This will significantly reduce call quality and can even cause calls to be dropped entirely.

Once this happens, the VoIP server is unable to realise that the call is lost, leaving the line open which can lead to further attacks.

4. Viruses and malware

Anything connected to the internet will be susceptible to viruses. With these malicious pieces of software, hackers are able to take control of computers, steal sensitive data and deal permanent damage to the system.

This may sound scary however, there are several simple methods we recommend you implement to ensure that you don’t fall victim to these attacks.

1. Antivirus software

Ensure that you have up-to-date antivirus software installed to catch and remove viruses before they take hold of your system.

2. VoIP firewalls

Installing firewalls specifically designed for VoIP systems is the best way to prevent unauthorised users from accessing your system and disrupting the service. They’re able to detect any unusual activity and will flag it up to you immediately.

3. Authentication and encryption

This simplest method of authentication is setting up a strong password and using a VPN (virtual private network) which will enhance the security on your VoIP system.

Encryption changes the format of your audio files to cipher text, which is much harder for hackers to intercept and comprehend.

Many VoIP service providers will be able to include some kind of encryption software with your system, so be sure to take advantage of this offer. This is particularly important if you’ll be communicating a lot of sensitive information.

4. Call restriction and authorisation

By setting up lists of permitted country codes and blocking any others, businesses can prevent hackers from hijacking their system and making unauthorised calls. It’s also a good practice to perform regular audits and monitor any unusual activity like long silent calls and overseas calls. Finding a lot of these on your system is usually an indication that you’ve been hacked. If this is the case, you should contact your service provider who will be able to get to the root of the issue and advise you on protecting your system.

With these easy-to-follow recommendations, you can feel safe and secure in your choice to transition to a VoIP telephony system.

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