This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Keeping Hackers Off VoIP

Any new technology has bugs in its system to work out, and phone calls that run over the Internet are no exception.

VoIP, or voice-over-Internet protocol, calls can get "spoofed," SPIT" (spam-over-Internet-telephony), "sniffed" and even stalked by "computer zombies" that hackers control remotely to launch all kinds of attacks. However exotic the language, the logic is clear: These are serious security issues.

The problem is even the experts don't agree on how to address the challenges.

Take encryption, for instance. The average VoIP subscriber, lured by a price tag that's 80% and 90% less than a land line, is comforted to hear that his VoIP provider "encrypts," or protects, phone calls.

But while some fully encrypt calls, others don't, says Vincent Weafer, senior director of security response at Symantec (SYMC - Get Report), the company that created the popular Norton antivirus software. "Everyone I've looked at encrypts at least the initial user-authentication portion of the call, which is the most sensitive data because it contains your user ID and password."

Encryption promises often aren't fully reliable, says Doug Graham, a consultant for BusinessEdge Solutions in East Brunswick, N.J., whose clients include AT&T (T - Get Report), Verizon Communications (VZ - Get Report) and Time Warner's (TWX) cable unit.

"Most companies say encryption helps, but once the conversation starts, that conversation is generally not encrypted or protected." Only some companies own the wires end to end, which is why they can't guarantee content remains private," says Graham.

Vonage (VG - Get Report) spokeswoman Brooke Schultz says encrypting private conversations isn't necessary. "It would be very hard to target into one conversation -- the hacker would have to have access to a network or to a home user's machine."

But that's exactly what they do, say Weafer and Graham. Special software can eavesdrop, intercept and interrupt your calls, says Weafer. If your leave your computer unprotected and a hacker steals your user ID and password, he can start to "impersonate you and make calls in your name." VoIP attacks range from the merely mischievous (calls that "spoof," or pretend, to be you) to the malicious (calls that redirect financial transactions to a third party).
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
EBAY $23.20 0.00%
IDT $11.56 0.00%
T $36.88 0.00%
SYMC $19.76 0.00%
VG $5.00 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,204.97 -211.61 -1.29%
S&P 500 1,880.05 -35.40 -1.85%
NASDAQ 4,363.1440 -146.4150 -3.25%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs