The risks of making calls over the Internet (VoIP)

Making phone calls over the Internet, especially with a webcam, can be a great way to stay in touch with far-away family and friends. However, be sure you know the risks before you make the connection.

What are the risks?

  • Getting hit with Spam over Internet Telephony (SPIT). SPIT is a fast, cheap and invasive way for telemarketing messages to reach you.
  • Being a victim of spoofing, where an attacker pretends to be a trusted VoIP caller, such as your bank. The objective is to trick you into divulging personal information.
  • Identity theft, which can result from cyber criminals gathering bits of information collected from your conversations.
  • Eavesdropping, where hackers steal VoIP features like voicemail to get information about the user. Corporations that use VoIP are a main target.
  • Vishing attacks (voice phishing) to gain access to your personal and financial information in identity theft schemes.
  • Data sniffing by hackers to identify, modify, store and play back your conversations.
  • Toll fraud by hackers who gain access to corporate phone lists may charge long distance calls to your bill.
  • Deactivated firewalls can lead the provider to be “port agile”, where they seek out open ports to make the connection – providing a back door to cyber criminals.
  • Compromising your confidentiality, which is always a concern. Is the phone call private and secure?

VoIP risks and safety issues continue to grow as more and more people rely on this service to make phone calls. Always be aware of the information you’re sharing and that others may be listening in.

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