Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the talk of the town across the industry. Whether it is Zoom Call or Google Meet, it is used by many businesses to interact because it is cheaper and much more convenient. According to a report, it’s getting more and more popular. In fact, the VoIP market is projected to grow to a huge $183.7 billion by 2027.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a way to use the Internet to make phone calls. VoIP changes voice conversations into digital data and sends them through internet networks instead of traditional phone lines.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is becoming more popular with businesses because it saves a lot of money, especially on long-distance and foreign calls, and can be changed to meet the needs of growing companies. With high-speed internet, VoIP improves communication and efficiency with features like voicemail to email, call forwarding and mobility. It works well with different business applications, lets you work from anywhere, and has choices for redundancy to make it reliable. It also has a global reach, is easy to maintain, is good for the environment, has analytics tools, and has security features that make it a good choice for businesses of all kinds.
However, scammers and fraudsters who want to commit fraud, theft, or other crimes can hack VoIP phones like any other Internet-connected device. Many of these hackers work for well-organized groups and use business phones to call and scam small companies. Because of these scams and frauds, most businesses lose a lot of money. But if you take a few simple steps, you can make it much less likely that VoIP scams will happen to you.
In this article, we’ll talk about some steps you can take to keep hackers from stealing your hard-earned money by securing your phones, router, and business phone system’s fundamental settings.
1. Keep your VoIP system up-to-date
An essential VoIP security practice involves ensuring your system is consistently updated. Just as you would with any technology, it’s crucial to maintain the latest software versions and security patches for your VoIP system.
Regular updates shield your system from the newest security threats and vulnerabilities. Unlike traditional non-digital phone systems that were typically maintenance-free, VoIP requires proactive attention.
To achieve this, you can entrust the responsibility of routine system evaluation to your IT support team. Alternatively, you can include discussions about VoIP software updates in your quarterly business review meetings.
2. Ensuring Security Across Remote Locations
If your business operates across multiple locations, maintaining robust VoIP security across all these sites is of utmost importance. Here are some effective measures to bolster security in specific areas.
Geographical Restrictions: Just as you establish call route profiles with your vendor, it’s essential to implement geographical restrictions. These limits help you control usage from specific areas and prevent unauthorized access. If connection requests originate from locations outside the designated geographical restriction, your vendor can flag them for your verification.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Connections: Utilizing VPN connectivity provides a strong layer of VoIP security. It aids in securely connecting various branches of your company, ensuring the safe connection of remote employees, and encrypting your data for added protection.
3. Securing passwords:
It goes without saying that you need to have strong password policies to enhance your VoIP security, as most data thefts are associated with stealing usernames and passwords. Some methods through which you can prevent your data from getting compromised are:
Protecting Passwords: Do not give your username and password to anyone who is not supposed to have them. Also, do not store sensitive information in places that are not safe, and do not send it via email or any other method that is not secure.
Implement Password Guidelines: Set up security rules that say passwords must meet certain criteria, such as being at least 12 characters long and having a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
4. Preventing identity fraud:
To ensure that you protect yourself and your employees from identity fraud risks associated with your VoIP system, consider implementing the following precautions:
Access Lists: Utilize access lists to enable vendors to restrict access to consumer data, thereby bolstering protection against identity fraud and scams. Vendors can verify the consumer’s IP address against the one stored in their database to mitigate identity theft risk.
Call Routes: Establishing call routes empowers your vendor to create an account that exclusively permits outbound traffic through your preferred pathways, enhancing security.
Restrict Call Redirection: Call forwarding, a prominent feature of VoIP communication devices, can potentially be exploited maliciously. To mitigate this risk, consider limiting call redirection options on extensions. Collaborate with your vendor to implement the desired configuration settings.
5. Encrypt VoIP data:
One of the most common risks associated with VoIP communications is eavesdropping, where malicious actors intercept calls to steal audio data from live conversations. This could expose sensitive information like call origins, login credentials, and financial details.
Another concerning threat is call tampering, where hackers disrupt active calls by flooding the connection with excessive data packets or slowing down data transfer. These attacks result in poor call quality and extended interruptions, severely impacting business operations.
To mitigate these issues, most reputable VoIP service providers offer encryption capabilities. Most reputable VoIP service providers give encryption to help with these problems. Encryption is the process of coding data so that only authorized users can see it. Protecting your data can keep others from stealing it or getting into it without your permission.
6. Using a router with a firewall:
Occasionally, we come across cases where individuals connect their IP phones directly to the internet without utilizing a router or firewall as an intermediary. This practice exposes the phone’s web interface to anyone with an internet connection, especially if the administrator password remains set to the factory default. This situation essentially invites potential perpetrators.
Bridge Mode: If your router features a firewall, it is essential to activate this safeguard consistently. Firewalls are critical in scrutinizing incoming and outgoing network traffic, actively working to thwart any suspicious activity they detect.
7. Educating users:
Your VoIP users are an essential component of the initial defense line against fraudulent activities within your system, and they can be remarkably effective. Properly educating them about security credentials and familiarizing them with the expected quality of service during VoIP calls plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your system. Well-informed end users serve as an additional set of vigilant eyes, actively monitoring for any unusual activity that may indicate a compromise in your system’s security.
Moreover, your users should also be aware of the policies regarding the information disclosed during phone calls. This step is essential to prevent unintentional revelation of personally identifiable information and sensitive business data and to safeguard against identity theft or other intrusive criminal activities. It’s crucial to view security training as an ongoing process. As new security challenges and potential threats emerge, your training program must evolve to address these fresh concerns. Continuously educating your users is paramount since they utilize the system daily.
8. Preventing ghost calls:
If your phone is adequately secured, the likelihood of a hacker gaining access to exploit it is minimal. However, they may still attempt to send port scan requests to trigger the phone to ring, causing disruptions for people in the workplace. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as ‘ghost calls.’
Fortunately, there is a simple method to prevent these ghost calls. Most IP phones feature a setting that allows the phone to accept incoming calls exclusively from the server to which they are connected.
Protecting your VoIP system holds immense importance in today’s digital landscape to shield against various threats like hacking, fraud, and identity theft. With the VoIP market poised for substantial growth in the years ahead, the necessity for robust security measures cannot be emphasized enough. Thus, adhering to these best practices and maintaining a vigilant stance can significantly diminish the risks associated with VoIP-related vulnerabilities, ensuring the security and efficiency of your business communications within an ever-connected world.