Home | Contact | Advertising
Small Business, Information, Resources, Articles - SmartBiz.com
Members Login:
Sign Up Forgot?
Marketing Online
Email Marketing
Search Marketing
Website Creation
Web-based Software/SaaS
Case Studies
Smart Answers
Smart Blog
Human Resources
PCs & Online Equipment
Mobile Computing
Security/Business Continuity
Telecom/Office Networks
Small Business Products
Free White Papers
Tools and Calculators
SmartBiz Forum
Legal & Business Forms
News Feeds
Featured Webcasts & Videos
Franchise Offers

Search SmartBiz:
Forms and
White Papers
Free Email
Telecom/Office Networks
VoIP: Is It Safe?
Email ArticleEmail Article
Print ArticlePrint Article
Increase Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Decrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size
Digg This
Bookmark and Share

By Carl Weinschenk

Many people feel that VoIP will replace the century-old traditional phone network—but only if users are confident that it is safe.

In an effort to assess its current level of security, SmartBiz invited three experts—Phil Zimmermann, Patrick Hinjosa and Andrew Graydon—to participate in a "cyber" round table on the topic. The participants responded to the same questions separately (Zimmermann in an interview; Graydon and Hinjosa via email)

Zimmermann is the principal of Phil Zimmermann and Associates, a company that is developing a VoIP security system called zFone. He was the developer of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), a popular email encryption program. Hinjosa is the CTO of Internet security firm Panda Software. He is an expert on a wide variety of Internet security issues. Graydon is the CTO of BorderWare BorderWare.

Is VoIP as secure as traditional phone networks?
PHIL ZIMMERMANN: No it's not anywhere near it.

ANDREW GRAYDON: Since VoIP utilizes the same IP infrastructure as traditional Internet communications, service providers are already implementing various means to secure these systems. For example, we don't worry about our email being "hacked" over the Internet. We do, on the other hand, have concerns about other security issues on the Internet such as viruses and spam. VoIP is not exempt from these threats, whereas traditional phone networks do not face quite the same challenges. This is where one needs to take a deeper look at VoIP security.

PATRICK HINJOSA: Unless your business voice communications contains very sensitive information, the security at this point isn’t really an issue. Intercepting VoIP data is possible but would take a targeted and dedicated effort that wouldn’t make much sense if the target was Joe’s Hardware store.

What are the key differences in security between traditional phone networks and VoIP networks?
ZIMMERMANN: In the public switched telephone network it's not easy for just anyone to tap into a phone call. You'd have to either physically go to the right place and attach alligator clips to the right wires or you have to be at the phone company and do it at the switch, which means the phone company has to be in on it. Typically only the government is allowed to do it. VoIP, on the other hand, could be tapped into by someone on the other side of the world by hacking into one of the PCs in your office and tapping into the phone calls. If just one is compromised by a hacker—who could be anywhere—that PC can be used as a platform to monitor all the phone calls in your company.

GRAYDON: Traditionally, telephone calls between two end points are connected across a basically private system. The telephone companies own the infrastructure and control the usage. VoIP calls travel over the open Internet, which is inherently public in nature. However, the security of that "open" system is not as bad as commonly believed. Eavesdropping on an Internet call is about as easy or difficult to do as tapping into a call on a normal phone system. What is more vulnerable, however, is the actual perimeter security of the network where the VoIP calls come in. In the same way you secure your email systems with a mail firewall, you should consider securing your VoIP systems.

| 1 | 2 | 3 | Next page »
Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
Add a Comment View Comments
Small Business Home

SmartBiz Shop
Promotional Items with Your logo
Smart Services
Add Your Logo Now
Get Your Business Online
Build a Website Host Your Website Market Your Business Online
Business Form Downloads
Legal Forms Business Forms
Smart Forums
Recent Postings
Stimulus or "Pork"ulus?
Blog: How Do You Know What Insurance Is Right for Your Business?
If Layoffs Are Necessary, Protect Your Business
Blog - Do You Have Email and Internet Usage Policies in Place?
Home | Contact | Advertising
© 2019-2021 SmartBiz. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement and Terms of Service
Small Business Home | Business Tools | Online Business | Bits & Bytes | Sales & Marketing | Business Strategies | Forums & Resources
Browse Abandonment & Cart Abandonment Driven By: Hosted By:   Design By:
Browse Abandonment
XML LogoRSS Logo
Receive our stories via SmartBiz XML/RSS feeds.
Include our stories on your website through SmartBiz javascript content feeds.