Crying Wolf About VOIP Security

I’ve been reading a lot of reports about VOIP security and wanted to know if it was hype or a reality. I’m not sure why I questioned it, but for some reason the huge cry about VOIP security – as opposed to other security issues – didn’t sound quite right.
M5 Network’s John Hendry, CTO of M5 Networks, a VOIP provider in NYC, explained to me that although VOIP security is important, the aspects of security are often no different than the security issues you should always be aware of.
For example, if you are at an airport accessing your voice messages and you are using a public computer system, you need to secure your VOIP session just like you would any other network access.
For example, has a hacker installed a key logger on the computer to steal data as you type it.
If you are worried about hackers using your VOIP network to make telephone calls, make sure that someone has not gained access to your network through a disgruntled employee, for example. Has this employee given an administrator’s password to an un-authorized user? Your VOIP infrastructure needs to be secure, but the precautions you take are not new.
Tech Target writes Smaller businesses are relying on solution providers or value-added resellers and system integrators to provide guidance. “They’re looking to them to make sure their total security solution is in place — that not just email, but all voice and data communications are secure,” he said. “On the one hand it’s a challenge for solution providers to address the issue. On the other hand, it might be an opportunity for them to increase their business if they can show they have the expertise and can protect networks.”
Voice is just as vulnerable to exploits as data communication, Ostrowski said, “because at the end of the day it’s running over an IP network and it’s ‘packetized’ data.”

Hendry shared another very important point.
If you are using an VOIP network using the public Internet, like Skype or Vonage your VOIP connection is going to be more insecure than if using a dedicated Internet connection as provided from M5, which uses its own data lines for VOIP service.
Bottom line: You need to ensure your VOIP communication is secure, but the security precautions do not necessarily need to have any more special considerations than how you would normally secure your network. Be careful of passwords, configure your protocol properly and etc.