Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is Your Telephone and Voice Mail System Safe From Hackers?

There has been a recent increase in hacker attacks on business telephone and voice mail systems. The systems are hacked and used to make expensive telephone calls to international phone numbers or premium rate numbers at the expense of the unlucky company targeted. This type of attack is not limited to one type of system, ALL systems can be targeted, Hybrid, IP, Hosted IP, or basic PBXs. Unfortunately, many businesses adopt the "it can't happen to me" philosophy... until it's too late. Companies aren’t helpless against these hackers though – here are ten top tips designed to help you protect your telephone system from being hacked:

1) As obvious as it seems, many companies (including some installation companies) still forget to remove the default passwords from telephone and voice mail systems. Reset all default passwords as soon as possible and limit access to maintenance ports.

2) Change passwords regularly on telephone system and voice mail boxes to keep ahead of hackers. Make passwords as difficult as possible and avoid using your extension number as your password, or the "1234" or “Default” passwords at all costs.

3) Limit call forwarding by extensions. If one extension user has no need to forward to mobile for example, then block forwarding access to outside numbers, or limit to specific numbers, at that extension.

4) Make sure you always monitor (or disable if not needed) DISA – Direct Inward System Access.

5) Make sure that the telephone system hardware is kept in a secure place that has limited access.

6) Always check your telephone bills regularly and review your calls as often as you can. Also review your Telephone Service Provider line features, as many new VOIP lines have features that you (and your service provider) may be unaware of.

7) Block access and change the passwords of unused mailboxes, or even better, delete unused mailboxes.

8) Make sure you are aware of what functions your telephone system can carry out – and then deactivate those functions you don’t use.

9) Assess the security of all the telephone and voice mail system applications.

10) Always be on the lookout for signs of hacking – investigate any calls made outside of business hours. Most hacks occur on weekends and long holiday weekends.

Please contact Key Communications for a security assessment of your system.