Protecting your VoIP network from security threats

Protecting your VoIP network from security threats

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology is designed to be secure, but it has inherent vulnerabilities that can pose serious risks to any business when exploited. The good news is that VoIP security issues can be mitigated by taking the appropriate precautions and countermeasures.

Here are seven best practices to keep your VoIP network protected from various security threats.

1. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication

VoIP phones typically come with default login credentials. These username/password combinations vary by manufacturer and model, but they can easily be found with a quick Google search. Default credentials also rarely utilize strong passwords, so it’s crucial that you change them right away to keep bad actors from accessing your device and changing its settings or, worse, locking you out.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to create a strong password management policy that provides guidelines for the consistent and secure management of passwords. It should define best practices in generating, storing, and changing passwords, as well as steps to take if accounts or credentials have been compromised.

Finally, make two-factor authentication or 2FA mandatory for all users on your VoIP network. Doing so provides an extra layer of security, ensuring that the person logging into your network is an authorized user by requiring them to provide two separate, distinct forms of identification before being granted access.

Related reading: 5 Infosec habits your organization should develop

2. Review call logs regularly

It’s good practice to perform regular call log reviews to look for errors or suspicious activity that deviates from the norm. For instance, abnormal call durations, destinations, and times can point you to areas where there may be gaps or misuse. Administrators should investigate these to ensure that your VoIP system has not been compromised.

3. Disable international calling

Fraudsters can hack into your VoIP phone system to make calls to long-distance, international, or premium-rate phone numbers that are charged to your account. This is known as toll fraud, and perpetrators often commit this to take a cut of the revenue generated from these calls. The best way to mitigate toll fraud is to configure your system to restrict international calling entirely.

If your business needs to make international phone calls, enable geo-fencing. This is a feature that allows you to block calls to or from a geographical location outside of a “fenced” region. Similarly, using IP blacklists on your firewall lets you block connections, including VoIP traffic, from IP addresses where high numbers of hacking attempts are known to originate.

4. Ensure end-to-end encryption

It’s important that your VoIP service ensures end-to-end encryption (E2EE) across all calls and messages. E2EE directly encrypts voice and data packets when they are sent and only decrypts them once they reach the intended recipient, which means that no third-party can eavesdrop on the calls or read the exchanged messages.

5. Update VoIP phone firmware

Updating the firmware on your VoIP phones not only ensures that your devices run more smoothly, but it also keeps them secure by fixing bugs and installing critical security patches. Check for firmware updates regularly and install them as soon as possible. Firmware releases come at no cost, which is one more reason to keep your VoIP phones’ firmware up to date.

6. Deactivate inactive VoIP accounts

Inactive VoIP accounts are a common security risk because hackers can use them as potential entry points to infiltrate your network. That’s why you should inform IT administrators promptly when an employee leaves the company so they can close down the latter’s company accounts and revoke access rights to devices that will no longer be used for work.

7. Educate users on security practices

Your users are part of your first line of defense against VoIP security threats, so it’s logical that you educate them on how to use your systems correctly and securely. It also helps to implement policies on data handling to avoid unintentional disclosure of sensitive information and proprietary data, identity theft, and other similar security risks.

Likewise, teaching your staff how to keep an eye out on suspicious activities via regular security awareness training programs can help them detect and protect your VoIP system against various cyberthreats.

At outsourceIT, we can safeguard your network with our feature-rich and secure VoIP solution. Contact us today to learn more.

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