Despite often going undetected, theft of service is the most common type of fraud for phone systems that use the internet to make calls. How does it really affect an organization’s VoIP network and what are the ways that businesses can prevent or minimize the risk of this type of fraud? Let’s take a closer look.
What is theft of service?
Internet-based calls are far more vulnerable to fraud compared with more traditional telephony services. VoIP calls face threats from identity theft, eavesdropping, intentional disruption of service, and even financial loss. Theft of service, the most common type of VoIP fraud, includes stealing usernames, passwords, and account information. Hackers usually introduce viruses into your system to crash it or steal user passwords.
From a legal standpoint, theft of service means obtaining service from an individual or a company without payment. It may involve: deleting or changing invoicing records, unauthorized invoicing, or taking the property of a service provider.
Also, hackers may simply want to crash your system and will flood the network with packets of data so that callers lose access. They may also try to intercept the packets to eavesdrop on calls.
A third type of VoIP hack accesses your VoIP system and allows spammers to flood your office with promotional calls similar to junk email. This type of attack is called SPIT (spam over internet telephony). Once a hacker accesses your communications system, they might broadcast unsolicited messages, advertisements, or other commercial messages over your VoIP.
Defending against theft of service does requires nothing new or unusual, just a little common sense as well as technical preventative measures.
Common-sense measures involve even IT novices who can make your passwords as secure as possible and, obviously, prevent unauthorized physical access and use of your VoIP phone instruments. The technical stuff? Keeping your antivirus software up to date, combined with fraudulent call routing detection and encryption software.
VoIP has rapidly become an essential business communication tool, so it makes perfect sense to understand exactly what theft of service is to avoid its negative impact. We’d be more than happy to give you advice on implementing any of these protections or managing your VoIP services. Give us a call to get started.