VoIP Communication Technology

By: Matthew Hick

VoIP... or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is the latest and greatest communications technology. It can easily convert voice signals into digital signals. It can then send these signals over the Internet.

Before transporting the data, it is broken into packets, which are reassembled, in the correct order when received. It can produce tremendous cost savings on long distance and international calls, as well as, increase productivity in businesses. Along with all the advancements made, there have also been some threats to its security. We are coming to find out that data traveling the Internet is vulnerable to attacks.

Since VoIP uses the Internet to send data, this is a potentially dangerous situation because anyone can intercept the data during its transmission. Hackers have caught onto this and have already started to do their damage. They have been able to retrieve credit card and bank information due to the lack of any strong firewalls. They have also launched viruses and Spam to disrupt services and caused damages to systems. The latest menace has been hacking into VoIP networks to make free calls and caller-id spoofing where a number on the receiver's caller id display can be controlled.

VoIP providers see the potentials for danger and have been working hard to provide security for their customers. They have turned to tunneling and encryption processes to aid them in this endeavor. Most VoIP providers use Layer 2 Tunneling and the Secure Sockets Layer (SLL) encryption method to help keep confidential information safe.

Layer 2 Tunneling acts as a data link layer protocol and tunnels network traffic between two peers over an existing network. It helps to secure public networks by providing a link (tunnel) for encrypted data. Needed security comes from protocols layered above or below it.

Today, every web browser supports SSL. SSL enables the encryption of sensitive material during transmission on the Internet. It protects HTTP channels. It contains unique, authenticated information about the owner and verifies identity of owner. There is a public key encryption and a private key decryption.

In addition to the VoIP provider's security methods, users can also protect themselves by taking certain measures. It is important to remember to keep all software up to date. Updates are also known as firmware updates and usually prevent attacks on known problem areas. Users can also use and keep current anti-virus software. In addition, they can take advantage of security options that their service provider supplies. Also they should install and enable firewalls, which can prevent infections. And they should evaluate security settings, select those, which they need but which won't put them at risk.

There are many dangers awaiting data as it is being transmitted over the Internet using the new VoIP technology, which has taken such great strides in recent years. It is easy for transmissions to be intercepted by those lurking in these areas. Fortunately, although a concern, it is not likely to cause a decline in VoIP's growth. Its benefits will outweigh the trouble it is now experiencing. VoIP providers are addressing the situation and with some individual protection, the fight against those troublesome hackers will result in a victory for VoIP.

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