Switching a phone network to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has several visible benefits, including improved connectivity, significant cost savings, and centralized infrastructure. However, most firms are probably unaware that VoIP still poses security concerns.
VoIP connections are established virtually over the internet. However, security is often a major problem because everything gets hosted on the cloud.
Notably, over 1,200 businesses have gotten hit by a campaign that uses known exploits to gain remote access to VoIP accounts, with the attackers offering access to the highest bidder.
In this article, you will find everything to know about VoIP surrounding one central question: How is VoIP vulnerable to hackers?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an acronym that explains how to make and receive phone calls over the internet. The majority of individuals regard VoIP as a viable alternative to traditional phone lines.
VoIP is not exactly a new concept. Since the late 1990s, telephony has relied on digital lines to carry phone calls. People nowadays prefer VoIP phone service to traditional phone lines since it provides many more features than analog phones. Even better, it can do it for a fraction of the price.
Explaining VoIP Hacking
VoIP hacking is a sort of cyberattack in which someone gains access to a company’s phone system. They can listen in on phone calls, rack up large bills, and steal valuable data about businesses and consumers.
Acting as someone else, hackers usually target personnel working in customer service and the Network Operations Center (NOC). Employees may unwittingly provide the hacker with unauthorized access, allowing them to take control of your VoIP phone system.
As a result, it is critical to stay up to date on how they might hack business phone systems and the precautions businesses, and their providers can take to protect communications.
Common Methods of VoIP Hacking
Because of their configuration, VoIP phone systems pose different network security concerns than traditional phone systems. The five most common types of VoIP hacking to be aware of are listed below.
Hackers utilize a company’s phone system to make phone calls in this form of attack. When people contact the business’ caller ID number, they will hear a prerecorded message instructing them to do anything, such as enter their credit card number to “confirm their account.” The hacker will have access to all of that information.
Unfortunately, the unauthorized usage of a company’s VoIP system may go undetected, especially if the firm attempts to set it up on its own.
When hackers make international calls to other devices, this is known as toll fraud. Toll costs for these long-distance phone numbers can be costly, and they will charge the victim’s account. These phishing scams can gain unauthorized access to your VoIP system by targeting users and administrators. The hacker can then use the information to break into the VoIP phone system and make costly long-distance calls.
Caller ID Spoofing
Caller ID is not always accurate in identifying who is calling. They can use fake caller IDs in conjunction with other attacks, such as social engineering.
Employees frequently place high importance on the phone number or identity of a caller. As a result, if they receive a call from someone claiming to be from their VoIP provider, they may be duped into divulging sensitive information.
Eavesdropping is only possible when the link is unencrypted or the local network infiltrates. In this light, insecure Wi-Fi networks invite attackers to observe the network.
Hackers can use eavesdropping to gather information about organizations and their customers, increasing the dangers of:
• Blackmailing the business or customers
• Selling the customers’ private information
• Marketing proprietary information to the company’s competitors
Hackers aim to form relationships with their victims to believe the call is genuine, but it is not. In reality, the call is a hacker posing as someone else to dupe potential victims into divulging vital information.
Attackers utilize social engineering because they take advantage of people’s genuine desire to be polite. When someone asks for something, it is difficult to say no when someone asks for something, especially if you have no reason to question who they claim to be. As a result, these emotionally charged events intimidate employees into doing something right now, even if it means going against regulations.
Defensive Tactics Against VoIP Hacking
Be forewarned, each of the VoIP hacks outlined above costs significantly. But it is not all doom and gloom. You can mitigate most VoIP vulnerabilities with increased awareness, regular training, and proactive measures taken by internal teams to reinforce their defenses.
Here are some best practices to think about when it comes to preventing or avoiding VoIP attacks:
Regulate Administrator Access
A person with administrative access to the VoIP infrastructure can manage all aspects of a company’s phone system. As a result, businesses should exercise extreme caution when granting administrative access to the VoIP phone system.
Providing access to everyone increases the risk of a social engineering attack. People make mistakes, but their influence gets reduced with the right permits. Simply put, do not delegate administrative authority to those who do not require it.
Stay on Top of Call and Access Logs
A call log records all incoming and outgoing calls a company makes. However, it is not solely for sales purposes. With these logs, managers can quickly determine whether their VoIP phone system has gotten hacked.
As a result, companies could learn what “normal” looks like by monitoring call logs regularly. Any irregularities that could indicate a hack can be detected before the call limits kick in. Likewise, an access log reveals who has logged into the VoIP phone system. As a result, detecting an unusual IP address or seeing an administrator login in at odd hours makes it easier to detect an intruder.
Partnering with the Right VoIP Provider
The provider a corporation chooses is the first step in establishing a secure phone system. Hackers will have an easier time infiltrating the phone network and gaining access to private information if the provider is poor.
As a result, before signing a contract with any VoIP service provider, businesses should carefully review their security policy.
As a general rule, businesses should ensure that they:
• Share their pledges to the security of their network and the countermeasures they have implemented;
• Describe how to disclose a security flaw;
• If a hack occurs, have a plan of action in place;
• Have security accreditations that verify they are up to date; and
• Share a secure disclosure program that is both responsible and ethical.
Take some time to research this and inquire about the certifications of potential providers. They should provide companies with this information if you ask for it. If they do not, it may be time to choose a new VoIP provider.
There is no better time than now to double-check the security of your VoIP system. Even the simplest security flaw can expose your data to hackers, who can exploit it against you and your clients.
Every company should be concerned about VoIP security. While VoIP hacks are common, most of them can be effectively avoided by following the device and networking best practices outlined in this article.
Finally, being thorough and systematic is crucial, as is proactive in network security audits and testing for endpoint protection.
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