VoIP Network Security Methods

The threat to security is real and often ignored by a majority of users. Though we have been hearing about security threats to data networks connecting our computers, VoIP networks can also be affected by outsiders with malicious intent. VoIP networks are known to be easier to attack. After all, what can I lose, you may think. Quite a lot actually. Someone can listen on to your calls and use it for industrial espionage. One can insert a virus into your VoIP networks just to irritate you. Someone can block a large percentage of your connectivity making it impossible for you to make calls. An e-thief could latch one to your VoIP network and use that to make his own calls. You could have a disgruntled employee making calls and harassing your clients.

VoIP Network Security Methodology

If you are serious about protecting your VoIP network, the best way to do this is to take the help of your VoIP provider. They have professionals who have experience in VoIP networks, possible threats and proven ways of protection. At the same time, it does make sense to understand the ways you can protect your VoIP network.

Firewalls

One of the most common and foolproof ways of protecting your VoIP network is to use a firewall. The concept of a firewall is simple. It works on understanding an incoming or outgoing IP address and decides whether to allow connectivity to or from that address. A firewall blocks an IP address based on multiple factors. One is your own configuration wherein you have listed the sites or IP addresses as good or bad. All bad IP addresses will be blocked. Secondly, the firewall has its own database of malicious sites and uses that to block IP addresses. Third is “intelligence”. Here the firewall watches the activity of the IP address when it connects. If the site does something suspicious such as searching your network or trying to inject a virus, that IP address is immediately blocked.

Types of Firewall

There are 3 types of firewall. The most common is the software firewall. A software firewall is more commonly used for protecting a particular computer. It starts along with the booting of your computer and watches all your Internet activity. It does and can protect the usage of your complete network also. Software firewalls work through content filtering, intrusion detection, and a community driver database of blocked URLs. Software firewalls are available to protect small networks of 50 users or less to huge networks with 1000 or more users. As the number of users becomes large, stricter policies of network usage have to be enforced. One of the biggest disadvantages of a software firewall is that it must be installed on each computer connected to a network. This may make it an expensive affair for networks with large number of users. It will also be difficult to enforce policies as an intelligent user can fiddle with his own firewall and tweak it to suit his requirements.

A hardware firewall sits between the Internet and your routers or switches. It watches each and every data packet and examines the header of a packet to understand its functioning. It compares this with a database and decides whether to allow the data packet or simply drop it. Again, like software firewalls, hardware firewall use databases, intrusion detection, and content filtering to decide its course of action.

In both software and hardware firewall, some amount of internal knowledge is needed and you need an IT person to decide and set policies.

There is a third firewall that does away with this requirement – managed firewall. In this, a hardware firewall is installed in your network but completely managed by a cloud-based system. The system watches your network 24/7. You can also add your own surfing policies, but generally, the cloud-based firewall is quite robust in protecting your VoIP Network.

About One Call Communications

One Call Communications is a leading provider of phone systems in North Carolina. We serve thousands of clients across Greenville, Rocky Mt., Goldsboro, Smithfield, & Wilson. We sell, install, and service business telephone equipment, voicemail and, voice and data network cabling. Our installation and service includes premium quality products from Toshiba Telecom. We serve both commercial and industrial clients.

Call us today for your networking and communication requirements.

Data Security And Public WiFi Networks

There is no lack of free Wi-Fi networks in all the major cities and towns across the world. As a traveler, you will always find Wi-Fi networks at various public places like restaurants, airports, hotels and even in parks. This is a real boon for people who want to work on the go or simply stay connected. However, one thing that we often forget to consider is the data security risks involved in getting hooked up to these unreliable networks.

We often tend to overlook the data security aspect of public networks due to our eagerness to enjoy a free Internet connection. We skip the general welcome screen or any other pop up messages while signing up. This is a perfect set up for marketing firms that are ready to give free bandwidth in exchange for your phone number or email address.

Would you give up your privacy just to get free Internet at a public place?

Providing personal information can set you up for bigger problems like fraud and scams. Thus, it is important to read all the clauses included in the terms and conditions screen to ensure data security. You will get to learn how the Internet service provider intends to use the information. Is the Internet connection worth the information you’re providing? An alternate email id that you do not use for any other purpose can come in handy during such a situation.

Regular travelers can stick to only the official or advertised Wi-Fi networks, which are set up at airports, coffee shops, bars etc. There are several instances of hackers setting up free Wi-Fi networks to trap unsuspecting users. In case you come across networks that look too fishy or offer unimaginable freebies then it is best to avoid such networks.

Here are some tips to ensure watertight data security even when you are connected to free public Wi-Fi networks:

Secure Apps and Websites

It is important that you only use secure apps and websites while on a free public Wi-Fi network. Secure websites are marked by the green padlock that appears on the address bar of a browser. Refrain from doing anything important while you are using unsecured connection and that will automatically ensure data security. Hackers won’t be able to steal your personal information because all your transactions are carried out on secure websites.

In case you’re using your phone to connect to an unsecure network, use the browser instead of an app. Browsers verify everything before establishing a connection and the minute they detect anything fishy, your connection will be cut. Apps on the other hand are unable to verify bogus credentials and will give access to bots quite easily. You’re at the mercy of scammers while using apps on a public Wi-Fi network.

Installing VPN App For Data Security

Installing a VPN app can make your browsing extremely safe on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. This will protect you from snooping, besides hiding your location details. Any traffic that passes through the VPN app is rerouted to encrypted and dedicated server that guarantees absolute data security.

VPN services don’t come for free and you will have to subscribe for a reputable service that ensures total protection. There are several companies that provide mobile and desktop apps that are both easy to install and use.

Many reputable companies are offering their VPN services and you can choose the one that suits your budget and requirements.

You can even give free VPN services a try; there are a few that are quite good and enjoy a good reputation in the market.

Stay safe and protect yourself and you family.

About One Call Communications

One Call Communications is a leading provider of phone systems in North Carolina. We serve thousands of clients across Greenville, Rocky Mt., Goldsboro, Smithfield, & Wilson. We sell, install, and service business telephone equipment, voicemail and, voice and data network cabling. Our installation and service includes premium quality products from Toshiba Telecom. We serve both commercial and industrial clients.

Call us today for your networking and communication requirements.

Encrypt for Better VoIP Security

VoIP security is critical if you want to use your phone without worries. If you are a VoIP user, it is imperative to learn ways to keep your communication system protected from unwanted breaches and hacks. VoIP has revolutionized communication in a big way; however, it has also given rise to a number of security concerns. These concerns over the last few years have been the center point of several debates.

The introduction of VoIP technology is coupled with the advent of a number of hacking software as well. Thanks to these software packages, instances of hacking have reached an all time zenith over recent times. Thus, the situation demands a strong enough encryption for the VoIP. A strong VoIP security blanket would ensure that data pilferage is kept at bay. It also ensures that no one is able to eavesdrop on conversations carried over VoIP communication devices.

All VoIP based calls are made digitally. This makes tapping of VoIP calls far easier than tapping conversations carried over conventional telecommunication lines. That is the reason, VoIP security is so important and encryption is the best way to maintain privacy.

Let us discuss some of the easiest and most guaranteed ways of data encryption of a VoIP based network.

Zfone for VoIP Security

This is one most effective software packages that is designed and developed to provide VoIP security, with the use of ZRTP or Z and Real-time Transport Protocol. ZRTP is a cryptographic key-agreement protocol, meant for negotiating the encryption keys between the end point pair of a VoIP phone call, based on Real-time Transport Protocol.

Service Provider Encryption

Service Provider Encryption provided by Cryptographic Service Provider (CSP) is a specially designed software library, which is programmed to implement Microsoft CryptoAPI (CAPI). CSPs put into action various effective encoding and decoding functions usable by the computer application programs. These functions are used for carrying out operations like providing strong user authentication or security to emails.

IP Security and Transport Layer Security

Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is an advanced version of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a cryptographic protocol. It is designed to provide communications security to a computer network. The protocol is available in different versions to be used in various applications like internet faxing, web browsing, instant messaging, email, not to mention VoIP based communication systems.

Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), on the other hand is a protocol suite designed for securing the Internet Protocol (IP) communications. It does so through the process of authenticating as well as encrypting each and every IP packet of a particular communication session. IPsec includes protocols that are programmed to establish mutual authentication between the agents at the beginning of a session. It also includes negotiation of the cryptographic keys used during that session. IPsec is used for safeguarding transfer of data between a couple of hosts (host-to-host), a couple of security gateways (network-to-network), or between a security gateway and a host (network-to-host). Internet Protocol security (IPsec) uses various cryptographic security services to provide foolproof VoIP security.

Session Initiation Protocol

This is another very widely used protocol that provides VoIP security. It basically is a communication protocol that is designed for signaling as well as controlling the multimedia communication sessions.

The protocol actually defines the messages, which are transferred from the two end points that control the termination, establishment and other critical elements of a particular VoIP call.

There are endless ways to provide security and safety to a VoIP based communication system. Experts are of the opinion that the more security blankets are provided, the better it is for the VoIP set up from the safety point of view. However, the ones mentioned are the most practiced and tried and tested, for the purpose of providing VoIP security.

As more and more organizations are transitioning from the traditional public branch exchanges (PBXs) to the Internet-based PBXs, the Internet is becoming an enticing hunting ground for the malicious hackers. Hence, against this background, more and more encryption methods are being adapted by people to provide security to VoIP communication systems.

About One Call Communications

One Call Communications is a leading provider of phone systems in North Carolina. We serve thousands of clients across Greenville, Rocky Mt., Goldsboro, Smithfield, & Wilson. We sell, install, and service business telephone equipment, voicemail and, voice and data network cabling. We install and service premium quality products from Toshiba Telecom. We serve both commercial and industrial clients.

Call us today for your networking and communication requirements.

VoIP Security Issues & SMBs

VoIP Security IssuesVoIP has revolutionized the concept of communication in the business fraternity and the technology is attractively inexpensive. This is why even small businesses that run on shoestring budgets can afford to have this technology installed. However, the technology is not without any downside. In fact, it comes with a number of VoIP security issues that smaller businesses cannot afford to ignore. We discuss some of these VoIP security issues here.

The Danger of Hacking

Over the last few years, the numbers of hackers who like to break into VoIP systems has seen a steady increase. This is a major threat for businesses, especially the smaller ones. The VoIP security issues includes unauthorized call barging and recording, getting unauthorized hold of sensitive and confidential information that are discussed during the calls, and phone hijacking for making long duration overseas calls, which are pretty expensive. In order to negate this threat, it is imperative to regularly change the default password. Keeping the default password intact and unchanged for a long period increases the threat of phone jacking and hacking.

Denial of Service Attacks

As VoIP phone lines carry out transmission through the Internet, they are extremely vulnerable to DoS or Denial of Service attacks. A DoS attack chokes the line with a flurry of data so much so that nothing can get past that data cluster. This knocks out the service completely until the service provider fixes it, which can be a time consuming affair. Hence, it is highly imperative that a proper pre-screening of the VoIP service provider is done. This is important to make sure that the provider does have a proper DoS mitigation in place.  Since this is not a part of any VoIP security issues that you can manage, choosing your VoIP vendor carefully is critical.

Piggybacking

Technically speaking, this is not a VoIP security issue, but a mistake that the companies at times end up making. This is generally committed by the companies that use a single router for Internet services as well as VoIP services. This technique leaves these companies completely exposed and thus, extremely vulnerable to hackers. A VoIP router that is unencrypted can be the gateway for a hacker to get into a particular network, which may be otherwise protected. Hence, the smaller businesses need to be sure that they have a dedicated line for data that they exclusively own.

VoIP Phishing

Phishing is the practice of scamming or soliciting someone via e-mail by a person or an organization that appears to be credible and genuine. It is most commonly and easily done on VoIP, in which the perpetrator sends a phishing e-mail to the victim, with a particular number for that person or company to call back at. As soon as the call is made, the person or that organization is asked to provide banking and other financial information with the use of the keypad. Once that is done, all the information provided is recorded to withdraw money from an account or to access other vital financial information. This is a genuine VoIP security issues that each and every business needs to be aware of.

It is not that all the VoIP security issues that we discussed here have nothing to with the bigger companies. However, the fact is that the bigger companies, because of investment capabilities, are in a better position to take evasive actions against these VoIP security issues and even if they are victims of these threats, they have the financial backup and other cushion that will help them to recover. However, smaller businesses do not have that leverage and hence, are in a more treacherous position when it comes to countering these threats. Hence, smaller businesses need to be extra cautious to defend against these threats.

About One Call Communications

One Call Communications is a leading provider of phone systems in North Carolina. We serve thousands of clients across Greenville, Rocky Mt., Goldsboro, Smithfield, & Wilson. We sell, install, and service business telephone equipment, voicemail and, voice and data network cabling. We install and service premium quality products from Toshiba Telecom. We serve both commercial and industrial clients.

Call us today for your networking and communication requirements.