It seems that on a daily or weekly basis, we're hearing about a data breach of some kind. Whether it's the leak of corporate e-mails, an online service being taken down, or something more nefarious, the harsh reality is that the threat of cybersecurity is very real.
Phone systems are not immune to such attacks, and that includes those that utilize Voice over Internet Protocol. With VoIP, the threats are somewhat different from those of traditional systems, so it's a good idea to be informed of what your hotel may be up against so that you can communicate effectively with your VoIP provider on preventing any such issues.
To lower your risk of a breach, these are the security threats you should be aware of:
The idea of eavesdropping has been around for so long, it wouldn't be too surprising to learn that Thomas Watson had listened in on one of Alexander Graham Bell's subsequent conversations. For the most part, eavesdropping has been relegated to invasions of privacy by noisy neighbors and other individuals. But with VoIP, there's also the chance of criminals obtaining as credit card numbers or other sensitive information.
Interception and Modification of Data
For whatever reason, many hackers simply love to "have fun" by intercepting and modifying digital transmissions. They may look at such a thing as nothing more than a harmless prank, but what it can do is damage your hotel's credibility to negatively affecting the usefulness of the phone system. They often achieve this by uploading sound packets to a server or creating delays and/or echo effects on live calls. What this does is severely reduce call quality, which won't make your guests happy.
Abuse of Service
Hacking a phone system to make free calls has been around for decades. When it first occurred with standard phones, it was nothing more than emulating the tones of each number as it was pressed by using a device designed to do exactly that. These days, the idea is the same, but the technique has changed. Now, hackers break into your system and use your phone service for free, which can cause you to rack up a high phone bill, especially since many of those calls are often international. The sad truth is that this type of attack will often go undetected for a long time unless you take steps to prevent them.
In case you haven't been keeping up with current events, let's just that intentional interruption is a big deal, in part because the equipment needed to do it can be very easily obtained and utilized. We're referring, of course, to DoS (denial-of-service) attacks. In these cases, an excessive number of phone calls is sent to a company's VoIP system. This can not only stop your guests from communicating with you, it will often cause a phone system to crash. While high-profile companies like Microsoft and Sony are the most likely targets, smaller companies have been hit by this threat as well.
This type of attack is rare, but it's important to make note of it, just in case you may be susceptible. These attacks involve direct manipulation of your system, which typically translates to damage of your hardware through vandalism.
If you want to keep your hotel's phone system secure, and therefore, your guests safe, it's important to know what threats you may face, and to always use strong authentication and encryption tools, along with user passwords, firewalls, and physical security. For more information on what you can do to make your VoIP phone system more secure, gives a shout-out to the professionals at PhoneSuite and we'll work with you.