Privacy Concerns, Medical Information Breaches and Choosing a Secure VoIP Provider

When you’re picking an IP telephony provider security needs to sit at the top of your list of concerns, and this is doubly true if you’re going to be signing up for a full remote-hosted networking solution, including any sort of cloud storage. Every organization needs to be extremely concerned about network security, yet organizations in certain fields need to be even more concerned with security breaches than others.

Take the example of the medical community.

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A Grad Student Hacks Cisco’s VoIP Tech! Should We All Freak Out?

One of the main arguments against IP telephony revolves around security. More specifically, there are some people out there concerned that IP telephony isn’t as secure as traditional telephony, and as such it isn’t viable to use in serious organizations, including large business or any group working in a highly competitive industry. This concern sounds legitimate at first, but it really doesn’t pan out when thoroughly explored, even when a big news story drops talking about a systemic vulnerability, as just happened when a 5th year grad student researcher at Columbia breached security in a Columbia VoIP phone and managed to record its calls.

First thing’s first, let’s start with the grad student’s achievement to evaluate whether it’s really as significant and ground-breaking as the media wants to make it seem.

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Useful Tips on IP PBX Security

Hosted VoIP is gradually becoming more widely accepted by many small to medium-sized businesses as an alternative to costly telephony infrastructures.  As PBX systems increase in popularity so do the concerns that surround VoIP security. When your PBX is hosted, these concerns are addressed with the help of your VoIP service provider. If, however, you opt for a premise based solution, you are going to be very much on your own. Most “big box” carriers will do little to nothing to help you secure your IP PBX.

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VoIP SPAM as We Know It

VoIP technology has clear advantages over traditional circuit switched telephony. One of the most prominent advantages of Hosted VoIP is its relative affordability as call volume scales up. We call it “price-performance”. Unfortunately ethical and legal business operators are not the only ones to take advantage of this benefit. Accessibility of hosted VoIP resulted in lowering the cost of predictive dialing (technology allowing a PBX system to place many calls automatically).

This spam takes interactive and non-interactive forms. By interactive I mean any unsolicited robotic calls that let you talk to a live agent. Non-interactive spam is typically presented as message broadcasts (be they text, voice or email).

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No more SPIT!

This article is not a roaring plea from baseball fans. No, this article is about SPam over Internet Telephony or as it is often shortened—SPIT. Those annoying, unsolicited messages that clutter your email inbox have an ugly cousin that seeks to bombard your digital phone messaging system with pre-recorded messages and cause much more damage. The problem with SPIT is that if it isn’t controlled it can quickly eat up your valuable bandwidth and clog up your system, which can prevent legitimate callers from reaching you. There are software programs on the market to tackle SPIT. Many of these function similar to the tools used to control and prevent email spam.

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Hosted PBX Unwrapped: The Challenges of Automatic Voice Recognition

As computer use becomes ubiquitous, it is increasingly desirable to communicate with them in the same way that we communicate with one another: using human speech. Voice or Speech Recognition technology aims to do just this. Personally, I fell in love with the concept of voice recognition ever since I first saw “Star Trek, The New Generation” series. Unfortunately, my first attempt at making a productive use of speech recognition in Microsoft Windows 3.1 was rather disappointing.

Today our ability to use voice recognition is limited to issuing system commands to speed up familiar functions. So what prevents us from talking to our personal computers and phone systems (those are quickly converging into one) ? What you may not realize is that speech recognition is a rather complicated and resource intensive task. 

Humans easily and efficiently relay information via speech despite many complications, including background noise, slips related to spontaneous speech (stammers, filled pauses, false starts, etc.) and the inherent variability of human speech.

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Hosted PBX Toll Fraud Attacks: Phreaking

Phreaking (or phone hacking, toll fraud, dial-through fraud) is not new. In the not too distant past it was often a domain of adolescents with modems, phone lines and a PCs looking to make a couple of calls on someone else’s tab to their friends out of state or, sometimes, out of the country. Those call volumes often went unnoticed in the overall vast number of calls on company’s phone bill.

Toll Fraud

But phreaking in this day and age has moved from geek to something more sinister and more damaging. Telephone phreaking of Internet era is a big business run by an organized crime. What’s also interesting is that telecommunications carriers reap substantial benefits from these activities by demanding payments for the tidal wave of illegal call traffic phreakers generate at the victim’s expense. Some insiders hint that phreaking is telecommunication’s industry’s biggest dirty secret, generating massive funding for carriers.

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FCC’s VoIP Regulation Dilemma

telephone

1835, “apparatus for signaling by musical notes” (devised by Sudré in 1828), from Fr. téléphone (c.1830), from télé- “far” (see tele-) + phone “sound” (see fame). Also used of other apparatus early 19c., including “instrument similar to a foghorn for signaling from ship to ship” (1844). The electrical communication tool was first described in modern form by P.Reis (1861); developed by Bell, and so called by him from 1876. The verb is attested from 1878.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become a mature technology that allows individuals to place phone calls using the Internet Protocol. VoIP utilizes the Internet infrastructure to make voice and video calls as opposed to the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) that has been in place for more than a century. VoIP service is less expensive to provide and operate as compared to traditional telephony. Another advantage of VoIP is that a subscriber can make a voice or video call from any global location with a broadband Internet connection. Modern VoIP telephony evolutionizes the boundaries of telephony by adding voice, presence management, chat and other services and by then embedding it into many business applications that are run on computers.

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