How to protect VoIP from scammers

How to protect VoIP from scammers

VoIP for Business provides a range of benefits, including substantial cost-savings that make it a must-have for most businesses.  However, as with most IT advances, VoIP has attracted the dark side of the developers.   Hackers and scammers are using VoIP for Business as a way to steal data and execute hacking exploits.

As with other types of malware attacks, business need to be aware of how these exploits are executed and what preventative measures they can take.

The first thing to understand is that most successful hacking attacks are by having users provide sensitive information. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, and they are increasingly using VoIP to steal personal and company data or just cause mischief.

Here are some common types of attack and how to avoid them.

  1. Interception


    An attacker can hack into your VoIP system to record business conversations.  They can then be  decrypted, sometimes in real time, to obtain crucial business or personal information.

    The first step is obviously to prevent hackers entering your VoIP system in the first place.  Change server passwords, and under no circumstances continue to use the manufacturer-supplied default passwords.

    Because your VoIP call is likely to be routed outside your network, protecting your calls from interception can be out of your hands.  If security is a major concern there are software tools that provide a second layer of end-to-end encryption.  Adding a second encryption layer makes it highly unlikely that calls can be decrypted in real time, and even when recorded calls are analysed offline.

  2. Hosted Services

    Hosted Services

    If you are using a VoIP Hosted Service supplier, you need to be very careful about the security they provide.  You need to be sure that they are as secure as you would be with an inhouse system.

  3. Firewalls and Security

    Firewalls and Security

    All companies already implement firewalls and security in their overall ICT infrastructure.   If you are concerned about security, it may be prudent to deploy a VoIP specific firewall that closes a VoIP session once the call is complete.  This prevents hackers piggy-backing on a session to find out information about your VoIP system.

    In a high-security environment, you may consider adding further layers of security, for example allowing only authenticated devices to make or receive VoIP calls.

  4. User Security

    User Security

    You can implement all the security technical features you like, but the majority of successful data breaches and hack attacks occur because of user error, deliberate or malicious.

    • Phishing


      In a phone-based phishing attack, the hacker calls a user and pretends to be from IT support or from a recognised company IT supplier. 

      In an attack on a user, they either quiz the user for personal information like credit card numbers, bank account details or information on family or friends.  Sometimes they claim to be from IT Support and need the user to go to a web-site, “to update their software”, and the malware finds its way onto the company network.

      Support policies applied by ICT need to ensure that all ICT maintenance functions are carried out by staff with verifiable credentials.  In any event, most ICT update functions can be carried out remotely without user involvement.

      Users need to be educated not to respond the requests by third parties to carry out maintenance tasks on their PCs and to refer the caller to IT support.

    • Fake Caller/Caller ID

      Fake Caller

      A phishing attack over a VoIP or cellular connection can be legitimised by having a caller-id that shows the call coming from a reputable source.   Unfortunately, caller-ids can be faked.  Users need to be very careful and verify that the caller is legitimate before divulging any potentially sensitive information.

    • War Dialing

      A carry-over from the dial-up modem days, a hacker sends out a phone message to hundreds of phone voicemail boxes, asking the caller to return a call. This legitimises the number and allows the hacker to carry out a phishing attack.

In short, VoIP defences have two components, technical appliance and software defences, and an education programme for users to make sure that they do not provide potentially sensitive information to a third party.   Obviously, electronic defences need to be kept up to date.  Users need to be educated on general and VoIP security on a regular basis.

Five helpful VoIP guides for your Business

Five helpful VoIP guides for your Business

Thanks to digital convergence, Voice over IP (“VoIP”) business systems are commonplace in businesses worldwide. Most major Telcos, networking companies and many third-party suppliers provide VoIP for Business systems and services as part of their hardware and software repertoire.

As usual, you need to be careful before committing money and resources to a particular VoIP for Business solution by making sure you understand exactly what you want.    You need to consider the functions required of your VoIP solution and set them out in a wish-list.  Knowing your budget is also essential.  You can use these criteria to measure solutions and see how closely they meet your needs.Continue reading

3 simple tips on saving fees on International calls

3 simple tips on saving fees on International calls

The advent of Voice over IP telephony (“VoIP”) has radically changed the face of communications for both personal and business users.  It has opened up opportunities for enhanced, and substantially cheaper communications, especially for long-distance and international calls.  VoIP for Business has provided communications options that are not possible with a fixed line environment.

However, the prudent personal and business user needs to be vigilant to make the best return on their investment and achieve the lowest possible international call rates.

Here are three simple tips for personal and business users to make sure that they accrue the full benefit of cheaper international communications.Continue reading

When and why should you choose an IP PBX Systems?

When and why should you choose an IP PBX Systems?

One of the more commonly encountered results of the digital convergence between voice and data is the IP PBX System. There are obviously costs and benefits to moving to IP telephony, and a business needs to consider if it should move to a IP PBX System and if it chooses to, when is the best time.

Typically, an IP telephony installation consists of a central PBX function and VoIP phones on user desks. Rather than dedicated cables needed for traditional non-IP systems, conversations are digitised and carried over the cabling that supports the office network.  For the very small business there is the option of a Hosted PBX system, where the IP PBX is hosted at an external service provider.Continue reading

Reasons to embrace VoIP

Ten reasons to embrace VoIP

A digital revolution in communications has been ushered in by the convergence of telephony with television, video and IT networking.   This revolution is driven by a digital voice distribution protocol Voice over IP, (“VoIP”).

VoIP telephony in both home and business is one of the fastest growing segments of the VoIP market.  It provides advantages in cost, in mobility and increased functionality with a range of compatible devices.Continue reading

Troubleshooting the VoIP call quality issues

Troubleshooting the VoIP call quality issues

We have all been frustrated at poor voice call quality on phone services.  It can be noise or chopping on the line or sounding like you have breathed helium.  VoIP is no different.   The typical business will refer problems to the business VoIP phone service supplier providing the VoIP support contract. It causes further frustration and delays if the fault is not with the VoIP for business system and the business needs to make a second support call to another service provider.

In the event of failure or call poor quality there are a few steps that the business can take prior to making the call to make sure that the problem does not arise elsewhere and the support call can be correctly placed.

Poor call quality can arise in at least three areas: the business network itself; the VoIP system – centrally and at the desktop VoIP phone for business; and the Internet or PSTN service provider.Continue reading

Six must-have features of a business VoIP Phone

Six must-have features of a business VoIP Phone

The convergence of telephony with television, video and IT networking has enabled a digital revolution in communications.   At the core of this revolution is Voice over IP, (“VoIP”), a digital voice distribution protocol.  All sizes of business are replacing their existing telephone systems with VoIP systems from a specialised VoIP provider operating over the company network.

Most businesses will need the assistance of a VoIP provider to help them navigate through the various options available in tariff plan, equipment, and feature selection.  There are several websites that compare and contrast the best UK VoIP providers. It will also be useful to ask other business owners their experiences.

The first introduction of a VoIP phone system to an organisation is a lot more than just changing the handset on the desk.   The features and functions offered by a VoIP system to the end user are a world apart from those of the traditional telephone system.Continue reading

How essential is it to train users during a VoIP migration

How essential is it to train users during a VoIP migration

The first introduction of a VoIP phone system to an organisation is a lot more than just changing the handset on the desk.   The features and functions offered by a VoIP system to the end user are the world apart from those of the traditional telephone system.

As with all changes taking users from their current comfort zones to somewhere new, training and handholding are needed.  It is a serious error to consider the new system as “just a phone”.  The surface similarity with cellular and smartphones tend to give the impression that you just need to pick it up and use it.  That’s dead wrong.  In addition, in most implementation projects when financial pressures hit, training is the first area to be trimmed.  “After all it’s only a phone”.Continue reading

Choosing the Right VoIP Telephones to Fit Your Business Needs

Choosing the Right VoIP Telephones to Fit Your Business Needs

There are numerous benefits to opting for a business VoIP phone system for your company. However, there are a lot of different VoIP UK systems to choose from and not all of them are a perfect fit. Sure the principle is the same, but there are things you need to take into consideration before you make a decision.

In the following article we will examine the possible solutions for VoIP phone systems, and hopefully, help you determine which one will be the best for your line of work. Furthermore, we will go over some questions that you need to ask yourself, in order to make the best decision when choosing a VoIP phone system for your business needs.Continue reading

7n VoIP Security Tips for Businesses

7 VoIP Security Tips for Businesses

When a company upgrades its network system, it is highly likely that it will add a Voice over IP (“VoIP) capability to the corporate network. The advantages of so-doing are first and foremost reduced costs, and second, access to a range of applications and functions that are not available on a traditional phone system. WhatsApp and Skype allow voice and video calls to be made at significantly reduced cost. In some cases, video conferencing systems use VoIP techniques.

However, slack VoIP security can lead to an attack by thieves and hackers. Users might generate substantial bills through service abuse, and hackers might use lax security to gain access to the corporate network via the VoIP system.  There have also been instances of Identity Fraud perpetrated over a VoIP network.Continue reading