Can a VoIP system at my business get hacked?
We explain whether or not VoIP phone systems can get hacked.
The term hacking seems to be thrown around alot these days. From the traditional definition of hacking used to talk about technology, to political meanings, everyone is concerned about getting “hacked”.
Since VoIP phone systems use computers and the internet, unlike traditional phone systems, we have a fair amount of customers wanting to know if their systems are susceptable to any devious or nefarious intrusions from unwanted 3rd parties. In short, our customers want to know if their VoIP system at their business can get hacked!
This is a fantastic questions because as we all know, cyber security is an incredibly important thing, especially when it comes to any business. So, let’s dive into the topic and talk about whether or not VoIP phone systems can get hacked.
Can VoIP phone systems get hacked?
The short answer is yes, your VoIP phone system absolutely can get hacked. The cold, hard truth is anything that’s connected to the internet can be hacked. Smart fridges, cars, thermostats, VoIP systems, etc., anything that uses the internet is susceptable to being “hacked”.
However, by using best business practices, you can make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, from being hacked. For example, a good firewall will stop 99% of hackers. Of course if you’re getting targeted by a heavy state sponsored attack, for example if North Korea decided to hack your small business, you might be in big trouble. But, chances of that happening to most small businesses is pretty slim.
But again, it is possible to get hacked. For example, we’ve actually learned how to hack our own VoIP phone systems in order to provider a higher level of security for our customers. If we know how the bad guys work, we can put safeguards in effect to prevent them from getting to you.
How can VoIP phone systems get hacked?
In reality there are two ways VoIP phones systems can get hacked.
Port Forwarding or Openings in Firewalls
These are two ways of more or less saying outsiders to access the phone system through unscrupulous means. But, there are many ways to prevent this.
For example, you can have your VoIP phone system setup so only devices from within your office are allowed to make & receive phone calls. There are many security measures that can be put into place to prevent this. But, it requires a lot of IT and network related work to implement this, completed by knowledgeable, competent experts in both the IT and VoIP fields.
This is not something that a strong password can prevent, but of course we always recommend using a strong and secure password everywhere possible.
This is a way of being “hacked” that’s applicable to all phone systems, not just VoIP.
Basically, someone can dial into your system and access it due to weak voicemail passwords. So if your password is 1-2-3-4, you could be susceptible to toll fraud.
What people do is get into your voicemail, gain access to a dial tone, and make outbound phone calls. We’ve seen too many examples of phones making international calls at 3am, so we always stress to our customers that it’s vital to use a good, strong password or pin.
Your computer’s already infected!
If your computer is already infected with some sort of malware, spyware, or virus, then there’s a chance that hackers may be able to access your VoIP phone system. However, if this is the case, then they can connect to anything you’re connected to, potentially meaning everything at your office could get hacked. Of course, this is a big problem that goes above and beyond just your VoIP phone system.
Thoughts on VoIP phone systems getting hacked.
The easiest way to avoid this is to use someone who’s an expert. You’re going to want to deal with a company that’s an expert when it comes to VoIP setup, whether it’s a VoIP provider themselves, or a recommended IT partner. Security is important, especially when it comes to a business, so do yourself a favor and get your VoIP system setup safely and securely up front to avoid any “hacking” issues.
By Bill Braunschweiger
VoIP Engineer, Tele-Data Solutions
E-mail: [email protected] | Direct Line: (908) 378-1201
When I’m not helping my TDS customers keep their systems up and running at 110 percent, I like to stay active. I really enjoy playing hockey and experiencing the great outdoors while mountain biking. I have a wonderful family, I’ve been married for two years, I have a great six-year-old son named Nathan, and I have a wheaten terrier.