When it comes to VoIP communication, there are many advantages to be gained, especially from a business viewpoint.  After all, VoIP services enable your workers and clients to stay in touch no matter where they are located, and best of all, you can enjoy reduced communication expenses.  But as with all aspects of life and business operations, there are drawbacks associated with VoIP if not implemented properly.  First and foremost, VoIP calls can be easy to hack.  All that needs to be done is tricking a phone service provider — or Internet service provider — into thinking that a VoIP phone call is coming from a certain IP or phone number.

Fortunately, though, there are five specific ways in which you can pinpoint if your VoIP system has been hacked.

1. You notice irregularities in your call history 
Sure, there’s no reason to actively monitor the conversations that take place — unless of course you’re concerned about confidentiality and call quality — but you should at least be monitoring your call history.  Geo limits enable you to avoid fraudulent calls as well as monitor abnormal call patterns.  For each IP address that logs in to your company’s VoIP system, it should be required to go through a 3-step authentication process.  When monitoring your calls, including outgoing and incoming, it is imperative to look for numbers or calling patterns that you don’t recognize. If patterns are present that shouldn’t be, this is a sure sign that you’ve likely been hacked.

2. You notice fake antivirus messages
A VoIP system works via the Internet.  It takes your Internet services and uses it as an avenue for carrying out voice, and sometimes video, communications.  If you or any workers notice fake antivirus messages popping up when the VoIP system is on, it is imperative to notify your VoIP provider and have a system administrator check out the source of the messages and get rid of any malware.  Unfortunately, once a fake antivirus message pops up, the hacker has already had time to sneak his way into your VoIP system.  It is crucial that all employees be trained to recognize fake messages, and more importantly, not to click on them.  Also, when these messages appear, the entire network needs to be shut down until the IT technician has provided a remedy for the situation.

3. Internet searches get redirected
VoIP systems should be powered down, and logged out of admin portals when not in use.  When they are activated, many people will carry out their phone calls while also conducting searches on the Internet related to their phone conversations.  As they make these searches, if they find the search results redirect them to unwanted sites, this is a sure-fire sign that the entire IP has been hacked, including the VoIP system.  Another way to identify this type of hacking is if there are unwanted toolbar and browser extensions being installed without approval.

4. Microphones and webcams are activated without approval
Along with the many features offered through business VoIP, is the ability to use a device’s microphone and webcam to make voice and/or video phone calls.  And while this is of the utmost advantage, it also leaves a doorway open for hackers.  If you or any workers ever notice that the microphones and webcams are operating themselves — coming on and going off, recording conversations without approval, etc. — this is another sign that your system has been hacked.  Hackers will use microphones and webcams to spy on your organization in an effort to collect confidential and private data, including financial information.

5. Your VoIP bill skyrockets for no reason
Lastly, your VoIP system has likely been hacked if the accompanying bill skyrockets for no reason.  Take for instance that your company currently pays $200 a month for business VoIP system for 10 employees.  However, this past month you noticed that the bill increased to $550.  Each line on your VoIP system should come with a complete history and the reason as to why the bill increased.  If you see that unapproved calls were to made to, especially international calls — which tend to cost upward of .05 cents a minute — his is sign that your system has been hacked.  This is why it’s of the utmost importance to monitor the calls on a daily or weekly basis to catch hacking activity as quickly as possible.

Protecting Yourself
To ensure you stay protected against VoIP hackers, it’s imperative to keep in mind the importance of VoIP security software.  This will not only help you locate potential downfalls, but it also improves your daily working order.

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