Voice over IP (VoIP) presents different challenges than a public switched telephone network (PSTN). It runs on the Internet and inherits several challenges for VoIP service providers for how to secure VoIP systems. Until now, security has been overshadowed by the attractiveness of VoIP technology.
VoIP traffic travels on networks that are not sufficiently protected. This infrastructure includes private branch exchange systems; gateways; proxy, registrar and locator servers, and phones. Each VoIP element is addressable and accessible over the data network. Therefore, before deploying a VoIP system, you must be aware of its security risks and their countermeasures. In fact, the potential threats are various and include, for example, attacks on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the system.
The top security issues associated with VoIP implementation are:
- interception of calls
- denial of service attacks
- theft of service
- exfiltration of data via media session
- malware embedded in signalling and media session
Moreover, the opening up of corporate networks increases VoIP security risks. Hopefully, a number of security measures minimize the risk of attacks on VoIP systems.
How to secure VoIP system:
- carefully choose the proper VoIP protocols. The equipment should satisfy your requirements;
- especially relevant is to disable unneeded protocols, which could harbor unknown vulnerabilities;
- perform a security audit of each VoIP element that is accessible on the network. Check telephones and terminals. VoIP elements are software components running on hardware. Make sure it’s possible to manage the underlying operating system;
- separate the VoIP and other IP-based infrastructure using physical or logical separators;
- authenticate remote operations. It’s important to use only authorised personnel from authorised locations;
- make sure the VoIP security system can track the communications ports by reading inside the signaling packets to discover the selected ports and enable two endpoints to send media packets to each other;
- include your VoIP servers in the tape backup schedule. Without a backup, you will be unable to restore telephony;
- use Network Address Translation (NAT) because it converts internal IP addresses into a single, globally unique IP address for routing across the Internet.
In conclusion please note that the list is not exhaustive and only includes some of the most common tips for mitigating security issues.
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