VoIP is a communication technology that has changed the way organisations and their employees connect and communicate with each other and the outside world. It offers many benefits to small and large businesses alike, regardless of geographic location. Businesses can stay connected via the Internet, take calls from a professional business phone line as well as communicate with international companies, at affordable rates.
With the ease of communicating through the Internet comes the same risks that usually accompany Internet connections. Your VoIP system may be efficient, but it also has vulnerabilities. It can be prone to hacker attacks and viruses. Luckily, there are some signs that indicate your system has been hacked and there are precautions you can take to prevent it.
The red flags you should look out for to identify a potential breach:
Inconsistencies in VoIP call history
Reference your call history and carefully analyse the calls that have been made. Keep an eye out for any unusual irregularities such as numbers that you don’t know or unusual call behaviour patterns. If you spot any of these, investigate further.
Consistent fake antivirus messages
Because VoIP solutions use the Internet to provide voice and video communications, another sign is one typical of a compromised Internet connection: antivirus messages that appear fake. If anyone in the company has been receiving this kind of antivirus popup, it is a sign that your connection’s security has already been breached. The best course of action is to turn off the system immediately and inform your VoIP service provider or technical team so that they can intervene.
Redirected Internet searches
If your Internet searches are being redirected to suspicious sites, your system has been compromised. Another indication is unwanted extensions or toolbars added to your browser, ones that you didn’t install.
Automatic activation of webcams of microphones
One of the features which make VoIP so appealing to businesses is that you don’t simply get a business phone line.You are also able to use microphones and webcams for video calls and conferences. If these two elements are activated without permission, you need to alert your provider.
Unreasonably high VoIP bills
One of the benefits of a VoIP solution is that it offers affordable call rates, so naturally, if you receive an extremely high bill, you need to be suspicious. If hackers have gained access to your VoIP system, they will abuse it and make international calls. Should you see that your bill does not correlate to the calls you usually make, you need to bring this to your provider’s attention as soon as possible.
Fortunately, as with most hacking situations, there are precautions you can take to prevent it from happening. The first requirement is awareness. Knowing about the potential risks will make you more alert, and you will recognise signs of breaches should they occur. Being aware enables you to make informed decisions about the kind of security methods to put in place. Other precautions include:
Make use of VoIP equipment that uses updated wireless security standards. Examples of these are WiFi Protected Access (WPA), WPA2 and IEEE 802.11i.
Authentication and encryption
WPA, WPA2 and IEEE 802.11i devices usually already have advanced encryption and authentication technology installed. These features will ensure call privacy and keep unauthorised parties off the network.
There are firewalls available that have been specifically designed for VoIP traffic. They monitor calling patterns, identify irregularities and check for signs of attack.
If it’s possible, consider using two separate Internet connections: one designated for your VoIP business phone line and the other for Internet access. This way viruses or attacks on your data network will not affect your VoIP line.
Run and use the latest versions of antivirus or antispam technology on your devices.
If you would like to know more about VoIP solutions and how they can fit in your business, read our eBook about Scaling your business communications as you grow.