If you’re running a business that talks with its customers over a phone a lot, you’re probably using a VoIP system to do it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. These are easy to use, they’re reliable, and they’re cheap for what they give you. But are they safe? For the most part, yes. But as its popularity grows, there are more and more threats against it. So, if you’re sharing some important notes or information over it, it’s only natural that you want to keep your online calls encrypted and secure.
And we want to help you feel safe while you do what you do the best – run your company. So, today, we’ll familiarize you with some of the most common security issues associated with online calls, and we’ll teach you about the solutions you can use to protect yourself.
One of the biggest benefits of using VoIP for your business is that you get more for your money. You can forward calls to a desktop or a smartphone, call overseas, or even video conference. No landline telephone provider can offer you such things. However, these open a whole new set of risks. So, let’s see what those are.
Most common online calls threats
One of the most common threats associated with VoIP is eavesdropping. Your call gets intercepted without authorization, and someone can hear what you’re talking about. It’s clear how this puts information about your business or contracts you make at risk.
However, when it comes to this threat, leaking business info to the public isn’t what should concern you. When hackers tap into the unencrypted calls, they use the data they collect for identity theft. So, your clients are the ones that are at most risk here, and that’s not a pleasant thing to hear.
Vishing is the same thing as the email phishing scheme, but here it’s done via a voice call. Hackers will use ID spoofing and try to trick people into giving out sensitive data. They’ll pretend that they’re a reputable company (most often a credit or a bank institution), and they’ll try to get a credit card number or something similar from the call recipient.
It’s worth mentioning that the target here isn’t the entire VoIP system. Instead, they’ll try to get to an end-user. Unfortunately, this makes it a lot harder to prevent.
Phreaking happens when hackers steal services coming from the provider. Once they’re in, you can expect them to do the following things:
- Change calling plans
- Rack up calls on the account
- Add more credit to the account
Whatever they do, it will lead to big costs that your business will have to cover. Luckily, if you keep your online calls encrypted and secure, you won’t have to worry about this one bit.
Denial of service attacks
When a DOS attack happens, a hacker sends a ton of SIP call-signaling messages to your network. This consumes all the available bandwidth, and as a result, your system traffic slows down or even stops altogether. Neither your incoming or outgoing calls will be able to go through, and that’s a problem. You can’t make any sales when your phones aren’t working, so it disables your business from functioning.
And if the attack is well thought out, the attacker might gain control over your servers. If you get to that point, even knowing how to minimize the VoIP system downtime won’t be of much help. All the chances are that your sensitive data will be stolen and that you’ll end up with a big bill at the end of the month. So, this is one of the worst scenarios out there.
Malware and viruses
If you’re using softphones, you’re vulnerable to attacks by viruses, worms, and malware. These phone apps run on user systems, and that’s why they’re exposed. If a computer catches a virus, it might lose information, send out spam, or even allow remote access without you knowing. During such attacks, credit card information and financial data are on the hit most often.
What are the solutions?
To stand in the way of all the threats we talked about, you must be proactive. Do everything right, and you’ll stop them before they happen. Here are some paths you can follow to protect your business.
Use strong passwords
When setting up your network, use strong passwords. Never leave default ones on any of the devices you use. We’re talking about your IP phone, switch, router, firewall, or any other device connected to the internet. If you don’t know how to do it, here are some tips on creating a strong password.
If you want to be as protected as possible, go for long strings of characters that don’t have any common phrases in them. Be sure to use some capital letters, special characters, and don’t forget the numbers. On top of that, each device should have a separate password.
By default, VoIP calls are unencrypted, and this makes them accessible. However, most of the time, you can enable the encryption with just a few clicks. Now, how you do it depends on many things, so it’s the best idea to contact your provider and ask them to do it for you.
If you’re setting up your VoIP phone for the first time, be sure to do it right away. No matter what your business is all about, you want to have encryption. It will keep all of your data safe, and you should embrace it for that.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network is a service that allows businesses to connect to the internet through a server that’s run by a VPN provider. All the data you receive or send will be encrypted as it comes and goes. So, when your customers leave their information in the ConvertMore callback widget, you’ll be the only one who can see them.
Combine the VPN with the encryption offered by your VoIP provider, and you’ll keep your online calls encrypted and secure at all times.
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