Many people are turning away from traditional phone service and are choosing an option called VoIP. VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and is a communication system that uses the internet to send and receive calls. VoIP is often less expensive than traditional landline calls, and as a result, individuals and businesses alike are considering VoIP.
However, with wide-spread internet hacking, the question must be asked, is VoIP secure? This article will take a look at the nuts and bolts of VoIP security to answer that question.
How Secure is Your Network?
Voice-over-IP, by its very nature, uses the internet to provide voice services. VoIP security relies on your network for its first line of defense.
The first place, therefore, that needs a good examination is your network.
Security Software and You
When was the last time you installed antivirus software on your computer? Your data and your VoIP calls are protected by security software. Security programs are created to stop hackers in their tracks.
Without security software, your computer is open to attack from hackers, malware, and clickbait schemes. Simply put, if the internet on your computer is not protected, hackers can use malware or clickbait to get in and monitor your phone calls.
What do these terms mean exactly?
- Hackers: people who use software to break into your computer through the internet
- Malware: software that can infect your computer giving out permissions and data a hacker can access.
- Clickbait: a button on web pages or a link in an email that is actually a virus set to attack unprotected computers as soon as they are clicked.
That sounds pretty scary and is an important reason why you should ensure your software is always up-to-date.
Say Yes to Updates
In addition to using anti-virus software, keep all computer programs and apps up to date. In other words, if you’ve been delaying those Windows or Norton Antivirus software updates, now is the perfect time to run them.
Waiting to install updates may leave your computer exposed to malware and hacking attempts. Remember, if a program has an update ready for you, it’s because they found something that needed to be fixed.
Often, that update deals with security.
Use Encryption Software
You’ve set up antivirus software and updated your computer programs. Now what?
The most important thing you can do as an individual user of VoIP is to use end-to-end encryption. If your phone call data is encrypted, it’s safe even if a hacker gains access. Why? Because the information is encoded, and the hacker doesn’t have the code to unencrypt it.
Virtual Private Networks
Commonly known as VPNs, virtual private networks give you an encrypted internet browsing experience. They can also be used for wholesale VoIP termination calls and remaining “private.” You’ll want to check with your VoIP provider to make sure VPNs won’t get in the way of security protocols they set up.
Pro Tips To Keep in Mind
What else can you do to protect yourself?
Run a virus scan at least once a week. Scanning your whole computer will alert you to any suspicious activity.
Avoid suspicious websites as much as possible. If a website looks like a scam, it’s probably a scam. Don’t click on buttons or enter information on unknown websites or emails.
It only takes one click to give hackers access to your computer. Protect yourself by avoiding dangerous websites and sketchy emails.
Talk with Your VoIP Provider
By now, you should be getting a feel for methods to secure your VoIP system. But you’re not the only one who bears responsibility.
You receive cell phone and landline calls from a telephone provider. VoIP works the same way. Your VoIP provider is often your home internet provider. After securing the internet as much as you can, move on to step two: talking to your VoIP provider.
There are many features your VoIP provider can use to make sure your calls are secure. Here are some of the top options to discuss with your VoIP provider.
Many providers have systems that monitor incoming and outgoing calls placed on your system. If they notice any unusual activity, they can alert you to this kind of activity.
If your VoIP provider catches any unusual activity on your system, they can lock your account to prevent identity theft and scams.
Establish geographic call limits with your service provider. How does this work? You can limit locations that outgoing calls that can be placed. If you live in Georgia and work from home, you can restrict outgoing calls to Georgia.
What happens when someone from China places a call using your system? It gets blocked immediately.
If you’re using a VoIP handset, the following applies to you.
Update Phone Software
VoIP handsets look like regular handsets but come with sophisticated software inside. Just like computers, this software needs to be updated regularly. If your handset software isn’t updated, hackers can potentially access your network through holes in the security.
Check Call Logs
The benefit of using a VoIP handset is the ability to check call logs. Remember to review them daily. Check the records for calls placed and received. If there is suspicious activity, you’ll catch it right away.
What is considered suspicious though? This would be calls placed that you didn’t make and calls placed from an unknown location.
In addition to checking for suspicious caller activity, call logs will record a vital detail: failed attempts to access your VoIP service. If either of these hacker activities come up on your logs, alert your VoIP provider. They will take measures to shut down the hacking activity.
The Bottom Line
Is VoIP actually secure? Much of VoIP security lies in your hands. With the proper security measures put in place by you and your VoIP provider, you can place calls with confidence. Using anti-virus and end-to-end encryption software will help you sleep well at night.
Protocols such as geolocation limits and access denial will help your VoIP provider catch a would-be hacker before they can access your system.
When it comes down to it, no system is 100% secure in this digital age. But with the right choices, it can be close. Are you willing to put in the work it takes to use VoIP securely?