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The Five Biggest VoIP Security Risks and How to Avoid These Threats


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When an enterprise implements a new system or tool, one of its priorities is security. With the cost of data breaches rising year on year, this is an area where many businesses concentrate their efforts. It's crucial when identifying business processes that you not only consider the advantages of implementing them but the potential risks too.

Along with data breaches, something else that's seen a dramatic increase in recent years is the adoption of VoIP systems (these trends are not connected). However, despite the numerous advantages, such as cost savings and scalability, many businesses worry about VoIP with regard to its security.

Fear not though! In this article, we look at the biggest VoIP security risks and how can you solve and/or avoid them.

The five biggest VoIP security risks and how to avoid them

1. Phishing/vishing

Phishing or "vishing" (voice phishing) is one of the most common cybersecurity scams and accounts for around 90% of all data breaches. Cybercriminals typically use what appear to be legitimate phone numbers from government departments, banks, and so on, then ask for sensitive information such as account details, passwords, or logins.

As vishing is so prevalent, this is an area where you should focus on raising awareness among your workforce. Instruct your staff to follow this guidance:

  • Verify details of any call that includes unusual requests. This may include tactics such as calling an official number for the agency the caller claims to be from to check they're legitimate.
  • If any caller asks for sensitive information over the phone, be immediately suspicious and report the call to management or security.
  • Inform staff that they'll never be asked to change passwords, login details, or network settings over the phone. If they're asked, tell them to immediately report the call to security or management.

2. Malware and viruses

As VoIP systems are internet-based, they're vulnerable to common online threats such as malware and viruses too. If your business is affected, cybercriminals may be able to gain access to your systems, use your bandwidth, or decrease the quality of your calls. The biggest danger is that these attacks will create backdoors to your system, allowing hackers to steal data and information.

Thankfully, there are constant efforts to reduce VoIP security risks now and in the future, so you should be able to combat this by staying abreast of the latest innovations. Have your IT team check your firewall settings and also regularly monitor traffic to your system. Good antivirus software should protect against both malware and viruses.

If you're a larger organization or suffer attacks regularly, you can buy hardware for your network to block malware and malicious websites.

3. DDoS (distributed denial of service)


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DDoS attacks are another common VoIP security risk. 45.95% of these attacks happen in the US. This is when cybercriminals overwhelm your network with user requests, consuming the entirety of your bandwidth. Even if this attack doesn't shut down your phone service, it can severely affect the quality of calls.

There are a number of ways to prevent (or at least mitigate) DDoS attacks. The first is to keep data and voice communication separate. You should also ensure all staff use a VPN and encryption on their VoIP phones. For larger organizations, it may be worth the expense of installing a dedicated internet connection that's solely for your VoIP system.

4. Man-in-the-middle attacks

This is quite a sophisticated VoIP security risk, and cybercriminals may take months to research your business and phone system before mounting the actual attack. They'll often use custom tools or fake websites to capture confidential information from staff or customers, such as passwords or account numbers.

As you'd expect from a more sophisticated attack, the damage and potential financial loss can be huge. The best way to prevent this is by training staff to spot fake links contained in emails or posted on social media. If they're unsure, encourage them to check with management and/or IT before giving out information on these sites. You can also restrict higher-level access to confidential data. Warn your customers to be careful of such attacks too.

5. Eavesdropping

VoIP phone for businesses also carries the risk of third parties eavesdropping on calls. When you consider how much confidential information may be received during a communication, such as account details, passwords, etc., this can be a major security risk. It can also be dangerous for customers, as confidential personal details, such as credit card information, may be given.

One step you can take to avoid eavesdropping is ensuring any VoIP service provider you use offers end-to-end encryption on calls. This means that even if a cybercriminal did access your system or manage to record calls, they wouldn't be able to decipher them or access confidential information.

The takeaway


While some of these security risks may make you hesitate to implement a VoIP system, you can prevent the likelihood of them happening. Ongoing developments in cyber security often focus on remote and hybrid workforces and can involve data encryption and other robust security measures, as well as regular training of staff to increase awareness. This means you can use your VoIP phones with confidence and without worrying.



Jenna Bunnell - Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

Jenna Bunnell 

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives with helpful features like number porting in Dialpad. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand's design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna has also written for other domains such as TRAFFIT and Codemotion. Check out her LinkedIn profile.

Published Wednesday, November 23, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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