Channel warned over voice security neglect
The rush towards convergence among voice and data resellers means that the security of voice and VoIP installations is being neglected with potentially damaging consequences.
Convergence VAD Wick Hill, which has just announced the availability of new Panasonic voice switch platforms incorporating Control Phreak security software from Callista, claims that 90% of resellers don't fully appreciate the security risks of voice.
Wick Hill is speaking out on the dangers of toll fraud, also known as 'phreaking' occurs when criminals hack into voice running on an IP network.
The phone system can then be effectively hijacked and huge bills run up for unsuspecting end users, who frequently do not discover the breach until they receive their next bill.
Callista's Control Phreak works to stop illegal call traffic and allows for user regulation, so that problem calls can be blocked while genuine voice traffic carries on as normal.
Wick Hill chairman Ian Kilpatrick told MicroScope that while data resellers are largely security-savvy, many voice resellers still didn't understand the risks of failing to protect VoIP activity.
"It's in their business interest to talk about it because neglecting it creates questions that reflect badly on the industry as a whole," he said "End-users will try to sue their suppliers if they abrogate that responsibility."
Paul Brewer, technology solutions director at Avaya partner Datapoint, said that "voice security is in the same place as internet security was 10 to 15 years ago".
Brewer said that toll fraud was already netting crooks over £1bn a year.
Kilpatrick added that once criminals have hacked the VoIP system, it is very easy to get inside the IT system and cause even more damage, which can leave end-users at risk of
"There's always a join between voice and data, and if I can get into that I can easily get into the data network," he said.