VoIP Users May Face Spam, Viruses

    September 21, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Mass adoption makes a technology a greater target for exploitation, and VoIP will be no exception.

It’s a low-cost way to make a voice connection from PCs to phones everywhere, and many VoIP offerings make PC to PC calling a free service. Millions of users have signed up for VoIP services that let them make calls for a flat monthly fee.

That adoption may be too attractive to the criminal element. Several security vendors have begun to alert analysts and the public on the potential threat to VoIP.

A technical group has already formed to develop and promote vendor-neutral standards in VoIP security. VOIPSA has a broad membership already, with participation from the likes of Microsoft, TippingPoint, AT&T, and several universities.

Two projects on tap from the organization will help classify VoIP threats and build security requirements. Spam and Denial of Service attacks have been mentioned as the two most immediate threats VoIP users will face, but filtering voice traffic at the gateway can thwart both.

Viruses could be a bigger problem. Specific malicious code could threaten people on advanced networks that switch VoIP traffic from a PC to a mobile phone to a handset in the office. Remote users could see their handsets damaged by viruses sent via VoIP, and damage suffered by something like a SIM card or flash memory could ruin data stored on it. Worse, a virus could enable the theft of sensitive data from those resources.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.