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Don’t let hackers ruin your Christmas: Lock down your VOIP system

Christmas is the time of year when even the busiest of people get time to step back from work and relax. During this time, most workplaces shut down, and workers take time away from the office to enjoy the festive period with their loved ones; which is why the last thing that anyone expects is a security breach! However, while there is no one in the office, the dangers for companies are still very much real.  

Hackers will target VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems over the Christmas break precisely because teams are less likely to be in and because any frauds they commit can be run for much longer without the business being aware.

How you could be at risk 

Fraudsters looking to attack businesses can gain access via a business’s phone system, for example, through a voicemail login. Once in, they use the voicemail to dial out. This can rack up huge phone bills by calling premium numbers often in foreign countries.  It has been known that over the space of a weekend, companies have been charged hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of these calls are made to developing countries such as Nigeria or ex-soviet bloc countries where the regulation and enforcement is not as effective as in the US.  

How to protect yourself 

First, it is important to know that premium carriers invest huge sums in ensuring the security of their systems.  These help to detect fraud and prevent it before it racks up too many costs. Smaller carriers often do not have the money to invest in this infrastructure so while they may seem more aggressive commercially, they often are less secure.

Even with this added protection, it is still sensible to ensure you teams take precautions. 

Passwords  

It is important to make sure all passwords are up to date and are not the original ones that were set. This will prevent hackers from having an easy choice when it comes to signing in as a member of the team. It is also important to change passwords on a regular basis, and certainly following the departure of an employee. 

Keeping on top of your bills 

Early billing notifications are a good way to ensure that you are on top of your business’s outgoing payments. These will highlight any large amounts leaving your bank account along with any unusual payments that are planned be taken. Importantly, this will allow you to review all payments leaving your account. 

In the same sense, it is important to check your business account throughout (and following) the Christmas period. It is understandable that over the Christmas period everyone wants to switch off, though ideally, it is important to monitor outgoings. However, if having some time away is essential to your Christmas experience, it is absolutely pinnacle that you check your bills as soon as you return to work. 

Disallow risky calls 

Depending on the nature of your workplace, limiting call access to certain countries or dial codes can help to limit the chances of getting hacked. If your business doesn’t deal with international clients or partners, then you can simply block international dialling. However, if you do have to conduct business internationally, an option is to disallow dialling to certain areas and dial codes.  

Work with your carrier 

If you are receiving a disproportionate number of missed calls, this shows people are calling a lot and potentially trying to crack passwords. This is something that should be reported to the carrier so that they can investigate it further. It is also important to stay alert for calls from you carrier. The carrier could very well get in touch with your company if there are any changes or important information that you should know.  

Private Connections 

Setting up VOIP to work on Cable, DSL or T1 is the norm for homeworkers. By using a private connection that is ‘on net’ with your carrier, not only can you improve quality, but you can also provide better control for rolling out and configuring access to the handsets.   

Updated security protocols, password changes etc. can all be done centrally meaning less room for hackers to exploit. 

No matter what your business, it is essential to have sufficient cyber security. For more information on connection and security for your business’s telecoms, please contact us. 

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