Traditionally, telephone hacking was amusingly known as “phreaking”, which is presumably what individuals who fell victim to it would subsequently do. Whereas “Plain Old Telephone Service” (POTS) operates via a circuit board and electrical current, VoIP sends voice traffic over IP networks and the Internet. Many prospective business VoIP and residential VoIP users are concerned about the reliability and security of VoIP, but have little to fear by taking the proper measures to protect themselves.

Firstly, it is safe to say that VoIP at a basic level, is voice “data” running over an IP (Internet) infrastructure, and as such, has the same vulnerabilities that exist in any other IP application. Users must make sure to secure VoIP gateways, ensuring an enterprise firewall. This is the best way to set a barrier between you computer and any hacker or security threat, by screening data going to and from the network. Most service providers attach a firewall to their service, but in the event they do not, a firewall will need to be setup by the user to protect their network.

Selecting a virtual private network (VPN) or private branch exchange (PBX), also eliminates a lot of risk by encrypting VoIP traffic and exchanging information securely. Encryption of data puts it in a form that is not able to be distinguished while being transmitted. Once that data reaches its destination, it is decrypted into a legible form. This methodology is the best way to ensure that even if confidential information and data packets are intercepted, they cannot be used adversely.

Another way of thwarting attacks is by creating and enforcing authentication points, by requiring names and passwords to be entered for any user attempting to access your network or service. It is a small measure, but one that will protect machines, devices, and users from unauthorized breaches.

Finally, contact your VoIP service provider to see if the above-mentioned elements are already a part of their service. In most cases, encryption, proper firewalls, and other security measures may already be included in the subscription. As VoIP becomes more advanced, security measures are growing with it, and large providers are committed to addressing issues as they arise. 

As mentioned, look to secure the network by encrypting, enforcing a firewall, and actively monitoring for unauthorized activities on the internal VoIP network. Despite the impending presence of an attack, vigilance and adherence to security practices will reduce/fully eliminate the chances of a breach. With the advantage of VoIP, comes the advantage of a wealth of technology being developed to protect oneself.

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