VOIP: Don't overlook security

Wednesday, 9 October 2002, 5:50 PM EST

Most users implementing VOIP these days are primarily concerned about voice quality, latency and interoperability. All are fundamental quality-of-service considerations that companies need to deal with before they can even begin justifying the move to VOIP.

But some security organizations are cautioning users about the dangers of unsecured VOIP services. For instance, in an August 2001 paper on its Web site, the Bethesda, Md.-based SANS Institute warned of privacy- and authentication-related issues stemming from VOIP services and urged users to apply the same precautions they've used to protect their data services.

"With the convergence of the voice and data worlds, the real similarities of the security concerns will become apparent," the SANS report said, urging users to take measures such as encrypting voice services, building redundancy into their VOIP networks, locking down their VOIP servers and performing regular security audits.

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