With the rise of VoIP Phone use comes the increase in cybersecurity threats. These threats aren’t unique for VoIP phone systems, and they don’t have to happen to every VoIP user, but they do require responsible prevention. Since the invention of VoIP, the most common threat occurs at the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP is one of the common application-layer protocol technologies that establishes and maintains voice calls. However, creative ways to disrupt your connection and steal your data never disappoint, which means there are numerous other threats to VoIP Phone Systems.
Securing your VoIP Phone System takes a variety of steps, and taking all of them will ensure fewer security attacks and disruptions. Here are some tips for securing your VoIP phones.
- Use secure passwords
It is the year 2020, yet there is a vast number of people (and businesses) who rely on weak passwords. A secure password has to be a series of minimum 12 numbers and letters, including lower-case, capital letters, and special characters. It has to be non-personal so that hackers cannot guess it even if they find out about your personal information. Make sure to make it a mandatory step to reset the passwords as soon as you set up your system or in cases of resetting the phones to the factory setting. That way you will not forget about it and leave the door “open” for intruders who’ll rack up your bill. Also, remember to update them every two or three months. You can’t afford the laziness with passwords!
- Use a Firewall
A Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) firewall is an essential element of your VoIP system security, as it prevents the attacks by monitoring and filtering suspicious events. Think of a firewall as a bouncer at a nightclub that observes anyone that wants to enter. Their job is to weed out the unwanted “guests” from the door (or port) of a club. You do want to ensure no robbers with firearms ever enter! Make sure to have all your hardware secured with an SIP firewall and a regularly updated OS.
- Avoid International calls
One of the common reasons for hacking your VoIP phone system is so that expensive calls to international numbers can be made on your account. If you don’t need to make international calls for your business, it’s best to disable the option altogether. If you do need to call internationally, frequently monitor your phone activity for any suspicious traffic (before it’s too late).
- Closely monitor network activity
As mentioned earlier, despite all the steps you’ve taken to ensure you’re safe from cyber threats, you can never be so sure as to forego monitoring the network. Pay attention to hours with less expected traffic, such as weekends or after hours. An excellent way to prevent hacker attacks during vacant hours is to set up an automated alert system. The purpose of the system is to notify you in case any increase in the activity happens – instantly, as it occurs. Make sure to choose one of the business phone providers that provide sufficient technology and a variety of options. Monitoring of your network activity is a collaboration between your staff, and the network service provider, so choose carefully!
- Disable VoIP phone Web Interface
With a plethora of essential features of your phone system, comes the web interface option. Beware – this is the weakest link in the chain of your phone cybersecurity because it quickly exposes all your data as a plain text. In case any of the computers with the phone interface falls victim of phishing, hackers can make a significant disruption to your business.
- Use VPNs
If you have remote employees that use the VoIP phones, using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) is a must. What VPN does is that it creates secure connections – virtual tunnels that remote employees can use to access the onsite networks. Essentially, any data they send or receive is encrypted. If they don’t use a VPN, there are numerous weak spots in their hardware or software that can enable hackers’ attacks.
- Educate the Network users
Keeping your cybersecurity up isn’t a one-person job. If you have multiple people with access to your VoIP system, train them to understand the risks, and protocols regarding the safety of their activities. Repeated training sessions or quizzes show efficiency when it comes to keeping cyber safety. Everyone who is using the VoIP phone should get acquainted with security protocols and report any anomalies, as well as be prompted to stay careful with passwords.
As Chris Krueger, director of operations at Cisco pointed out, many VoIP solutions customers decline security services and assert they will manage the security alone. However, 100 percent of them fail ever to establish security protocols. So, don’t forget that leaving the cybersecurity of the system unattended can be detrimental for your business and cause major losses.