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Taking Care of VoIP Security

June 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 131

VoIP has been labeled as one of the fastest-growing Internet services in the past few years. Its capability to dramatically lower calling costs for both international and domestic locations for individuals as well as business customers is just one of the reasons for this meteoric rise. Other features such as SIP forking, HD voice and the ability to transfer conversations from one device to another all combine to make it an attractive proposition as a communications medium. But the widespread adoption of this technology has attracted another kind of unwanted attention - that of hackers and other malicious elements who try and exploit VoIP systems in various ways. We're just beginning to understand the attack vectors and the motives behind these attempts. As time goes by, it is inevitable that more and more innovative means will be found to compromise poorly configured VoIP applications.

The most obvious and watertight way to keep your VoIP communications as secure as possible at least between your phone and VoIP server is to use a Virtual Private Network or a VPN that has end to end encryption of all data that flows through it. Some companies mandate that employees use VPNs for any kind of Internet communication that takes place on their devices. But not everyone has access to the state-of-the-art VPN systems that are used by some of the larger firms. What VoIP makes use of is an inbuilt security system that can be implemented by any client or SIP provider.

Communication is broken up into two parts. The SIP signaling and the actual media and RTP stream. The encryption of SIP signaling is absolutely essential for security within the RTP stream because the keys that are used later on are exchanged in plaintext. Once that happens, the RTP stream and the RTCP stream together can be encrypted and made secure. Not all SIP clients implement the SRTP protocol however. Try and find out in advance whether the VoIP client that you are installing on your device supports the use of encrypted communications if you feel that you need it. Also contact your Internet telephony service provider to find out whether they have provisions for providing VoIP security via encryption for your business.

It's also important to ensure that you keep up with the latest updates in software or have this done for you via automatically configured VoIP phones. This is known as provisioning and should be implemented by every business that makes use of VoIP.

Bhagwad is an expert consultant on SIP Clients. He also specializes in VoIP Systems.

Source: EzineArticles
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