Do a quick Google search for top VoIP trends and you’ll likely see two words in your results: VoIP fraud. Fraud unfortunately represents an emerging VoIP trend in which hackers gain unauthorized use of paid communication services, which are charged to someone—either a service provider or end-user—unbeknownst to them.
So, what do businesses need to know about VoIP fraud besides the fact that it can rob them of hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars? The way we see it, education is the best defense against any business threat. To this end, here are six critical points to keep in mind:
VoIP Fraud Has Been on the Rise
Domestic and international VoIP fraud have both been increasing in recent years; in fact, research shows it has increased by up to 40 percent over the last several years in some countries. It is only expected to grow further as hackers continue to identify new tactics and employ existing ones, from password scanning to traffic pumping. Overall, it has become one of the biggest reasons why VoIP-based businesses take all precautions to secure their networks.
Having an Insecure Network Could be Costly
You may think this goes without saying, but consider that only 38 percent of companies surveyed last year feel as though they are prepared for a sophisticated cyber-attack. The bottom line is that if a hacker breaks into any PBX or phone, the individual can begin placing a very high number of outbound calls to costly destinations. Hackers could theoretically begin many calls at the same time, even leaving them open for several hours. By the time this is caught, it could result in an exponentially high bill. Ensure your network is locked down and that access is restricted and monitored accordingly.
Be Extra Cautious During Off-Peak Hours
VoIP fraud can happen at any time; however, hackers are more likely to try exploits when they think nobody is watching. Keep watch especially during weekends, holidays and the early hours of the morning for any abnormal traffic patterns.
Use an Alert/Monitoring System
It’s important to remember that things do happen, regardless of how many precautions you take. If a break-in does occur, it would be wise to have some sort of alert or notification system so that corrective actions can be taken as soon as possible. Your best bet will be a real-time (or near-real-time) alert system that will notify you of suspicious or abnormal traffic. Even better, find a solution that will enable you to customize the alerts you receive—for example, notifications sent by endpoint, jurisdiction or IP source—in order to gain deeper insight that meets your specific needs.
Keep Your Systems Up-to-Date
Hackers may try to implement known exploits on specific devices; therefore, ensure your PBXs and/or phone systems automatically release frequent updates that add new features or patch such vulnerabilities. Most likely, the latest patch you have will fix any known exploits that a hacker may try to capitalize on.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Don’t make the mistake that many VoIP businesses do: wait until they’ve already been targeted by fraud to then take proper precautions. Lock down your network and implement a solid fraud detection solution before even the slightest sign of compromise. Just because you haven’t been a victim of it yet doesn’t mean you never will be.
At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you are taking the necessary preventative steps to ensure you have a strong reputation in terms of security and reliability so that your customers never have to worry.