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VoIP firms join forces to tackle security fears

Leading suppliers of voice over IP systems have formed the VoIP Security Alliance (Voipsa) to help address user concerns about...

Leading suppliers of voice over IP systems have formed the VoIP Security Alliance (Voipsa) to help address user concerns about the security risks involved in using the technology.

VoIP puts voice conversations into data "packets" so they can go over IP data networks instead of the public switched telephone network. However, this means that VoIP conversations, just like data traffic, could be hacked into.

Voipsa has the backing of 3Com, Alcatel, Avaya, Tipping Point, Siemens, Spirent, Symantec and the Sans Institute, among others.

The allliance said that as VoIP became more widespread, so the technology would become a more attractive target for hackers, with attacks on VoIP-based systems occuring as hackers became more familiar with the technology.

Voipsa aims to help organisations understand and avoid VoIP security risks through discussion lists, white papers, the sponsorship of VoIP security research projects, and the development of tools and methodologies for public use.

Brian Kelly, director of the US Giuliani Advanced Security Center at professional services firm Ernst & Young, said, "Despite the advantages of VoIP, if the technology is not implemented properly and securely, we will likely circumvent existing security controls and expose our networks."

More details on Voipsa can be found at:

www.voipsa.org.

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