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How Secure is Mobile VoIP?

Updated on October 2, 2013

VoIP Security in General

Many companies have realized the need to update their communications strategy and to that end, have deployed VoIP networks at all or most of their offices. However, there are bound to be employees working remotely or constantly on the road who need VoIP access. Whether they use work provided devices or their own phones with VoIP apps, enterprises need to make sure that such communications and their contents are adequately protected against unauthorized use.

In some ways mobile VoIP may be more secure than regular calls. VoIP calls, unlike traditional cellular calls, cannot be traced easily since the signals are broken up into packets and then relayed on the network. Often company and vendor networks also use encryption to enhance security. While the vendors may have the ability to break encryption in certain cases, it is more difficult for outside parties to do so. Mobile VoIP users usually have to download a smartphone app which makes it harder to pinpoint locations via the IP address since the phone may be connecting to the VoIP network from anywhere.

Mobile VoIP Security
Mobile VoIP Security

Mobile VoIP Safety

However the fact that voice calls are transferred over the same network as other data also opens it up to new threats. In case of mobile VoIP, even if the company network uses encryption, it is entirely possible that the user’s mobile data connection is not as secure. Security protocols regarding device usage which govern on-site access may be rendered useless if employees are lax in following it on their mobile devices. It is also easy for these to be stolen and misused, especially if it does not have a proper security lock or if apps are usually kept logged in.

Mobile VoIP calls can be intercepted at any point between the source and the destination and they usually take complex paths which introduces several points of attack for hackers. Anyone who can intercept a call, can also listen to it. It is very difficult to ensure that the complete path is always secure. Hence the best form of protection is end-to-end encryption, so that even if there is a data leak, no one can decipher the content. Several vendors also utilize security systems which allow mobile VoIP calls only from authorized handsets. This ensures that only devices which have the proper security in place and which have prior authorization can make calls.

As more business users worry about the security and privacy of their mobile communication, vendors are trying to stay one step ahead by providing strong authentication and encryption to keep them safe. Of course, the Internet is only as secure as the underlying policies. Any business VoIP outages will end up affecting your mobile VoIP strategy as well.

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