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Sound Choices for VOIP Security by Jonathan Casteel on 10/01/06

The future of voice communications, much like most everything else, is going with some type of Internet Protocol (IP) implementation. In voice communications, this technology is called Voice over IP or VoIP. Along with any technology being implemented with data or any kind, whether it be computer data, voice information, banking information, or any other sort of information for that matter, there is always the topic of security of the technology that is a major concern. People want to feel secure and protected in everyway, and voice communications is no different. Some of the main security issues that arise with VoIP are similar if not exactly the same to issues regarding network security. Today’s world rides on the backbone of the Internet, which is possible due to IP addresses. VoIP also uses IP addresses as its basis for locating other entities out there on the voice communications network. As a result, IP security is a vitally important issue to address in order to secure the VoIP network that will eventually, like the Internet is now for electronic data, be the backbone of voice communications around the world.

Many of the VoIP network security issues can be addressed by implementing existing general IP security, using this security to protect IP PBXs, engineering the network for security, implementing protection of IP phones, and implementing VoIP-optimized firewalls. In order to know where to start, understanding the vulnerabilities of VoIP is vital. At that point, a system should be put in place that follows some basic security recommendations.

As the implementation of VoIP continues to grow, many enterprises will use a hybrid network, consisting of the older circuit-switched phone system, and the newer VoIP equipment. As this architectural configuration is utilized, existing issues with the security of circuit-switched networks will continue to remain, while new security issues will surface concerning security with VoIP. Some of the circuit-switched network vulnerabilities include toll fraud, theft of service, attacks on modems, use of unauthorized modems, and eavesdropping in the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). As long as circuit-switched networks are present, problems such as toll fraud and theft of service will remain to exist, and in some cases, these problems may only become more severe.

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