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The Essentials of VoIP Security

June 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 180

Though security for the VoIP network is not implemented in a standardized way across all organizations and SIP providers, the idea of creating a secure framework is not new. Indeed, there are several built-in protocols that can be implemented in order to render VoIP as secure as possible. Actually VoIP security works on multiple levels. Just like any other computer system, it is only as strong as its weakest link. If for example your organization doesn't enforce proper password setting and retrieval mechanisms, it's quite possible that an attacker will be able to gain access to your infrastructure without having to go through the headache of breaking in somewhere else. So before you think about upgrading to the security systems, ask yourself what your current weakest link is and plug that first.

As for the technology itself, encryption at various levels remains the best way to protect yourself against random VoIP hackers. This is also a good practice in general. Many companies have valuable business secrets that they would not want to disclose to any other organizations that happens to be snooping in. As an extreme example, imagine a company like Apple having an unsecured network!

Few things are more secure than a corporate VPN. At least as far as the connection between the server and your VoIP client goes. These are pretty much unhackable except at the end user and the server level. A man in the middle attack would be useless since nothing but encrypted data flows between the two communication points.

If you're not using a secure VPN however, the first stage is to encrypt your SIP signaling. A VoIP connection is broken up into the RTP stream and the SIP part. The latter is what carries your authentication password etc. Encrypting this is a must. Once you have that figure, you might consider utilizing the services of the SRTP protocol rather than the RTP one. Unfortunately, not all of SIP providers support SRTP connections so you'll need to find another way to achieve end to end encryption if that's the case.

Another attack vector is poorly configured and outdated VoIP client software. As a business, you're likely to have hundreds of VoIP clients either on your employee's smartphones or as landline based VoIP phones. The best practice here is to ensure that your SIP provider has a tie up with VoIP phone manufacturers. That way, all your VoIP phones will automatically configure themselves and download and install the latest upgrades and patches that will harden your network against attacks.

Contact your Internet telephony service provider to find out what measures you can take to secure your business VoIP communications. Better safe than sorry and if you're a business with sensitive information to keep private, you just can't take the risk.

Bhagwad is an expert consultant on VoIP clients. He also specializes in VoIP security.

Source: EzineArticles
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