Arlene is the owner of a small PR firm in Brentwood. She relies on a TV and Internet Service provider for her office phone. Her phone bills are around $1,200 per month. But in January 2017, she was completely taken aback when she opened her bill. It was nearly $6,400 in charges for the international calls that neither Arlene nor her firm made.
She called her service provider to inquire what was going on. All they said was that she was charged for making calls to Cuba.
When she looked deeper into the things, she acknowledged that someone was making long-distance calls, for which Arlene was paying the bills.
Long story short, her office phone had been hacked.
Think about it.
A German hacker was making international calls on your dime.
Arlene was lucky that was all they did. The truth is hackers can take things a step farther.
They can breach your entire VoIP infrastructure to steal your personal finance information. They can eavesdrop on your unencrypted VoIP calls. They can use the information to reach out to your clients — or even break into your bank accounts.
In the end, you are left realizing that VoIP is costing you far more than you save.
Are you facing a similar situation now? Or are you delaying the integration of VoIP services because you are afraid to encounter a situation like this in the future?
Here’s the good news:
You don’t have to worry about any breaches if you successfully recognize the five telltale signs of a hacked VoIP and take immediate precaution.
Here are the signs of being hacked:
6 Signs of a Hacked VoIP System
1. Are You Redirected to Malicious Sites During Internet Searches?
VoIP technology transmits over the same network where data is stored, such as emails, documents, etc. This makes it easier for hackers to enter the VoIP system via the shared network. If you or your employees are redirected to other sites during searches, then it’s a potential sign that someone is trying to enter your VoIP phone system.
Alert your employees to inform the VoIP service provider the moment their searches are redirected to unwanted sites.
You can tell your service provider to integrate VLAN Segmentation, a system that keeps data streams separate from each other. It builds a stronger security system around VoIP and allows you to spot bad traffic easily and take quick measures to correct it.
There are other VoIP-specific security protocols that exist based on your requirements. Inquire about them from your VoIP service provider and find the best solution without draining your wallet.
2. Does Your Browser Install Extensions and Toolbars Without Your Knowledge?
Another sign of a hacked VoIP system is the auto-installation of extensions and toolbars without your knowledge.
If you switch on your computer and notice an extension that you never installed in the first place, then make sure hackers have not gained access to your system.
One way to prevent this from happening is to log out of the admin portal when the device is not in use. Still, if you notice a forceful installation of any extension or toolbar, contact your IT service provider to clean your device and install strong antivirus software.
3. Do You Notice Unusual Activities in Your Call History?
A reputable VoIP phone service provider always offers detailed call history logs to keep a track record of calls made and/or received. Organizations examine these records to acknowledge calling patterns and find out ways to reduce costs.
Another reason to analyze the call history is to pinpoint any unusual activities or irregularities in calls. Let’s say your organization operates in three Australian countries. That means most of your calls must remain within the limits of these regions.
So, what if you notice phone calls from other countries?
A consistent pattern of calls made and/or received from unknown locations or unfamiliar numbers is an indication of a compromised VoIP system.
If you notice such things in your call history, inform your VoIP service immediately to prevent paying bills for calls made by someone else.
Another step you can take is to geo-limit your VoIP calls, which will put a strong wall between your organization’s phone system and hackers.
4. Do You See Pop-Up Messages Saying, “Your System is Infected”?
If your employees observe sudden pop-ups alerting them to fake antivirus installations, system scans, or their system being infected, then it’s probably malware.
Instruct your employees not to click any of these messages while the VoIP system is on. Then call your administrator or VoIP phone system vendor to shut down the network so that you have enough time to scan your system to detect malware and identify the source of the pop-ups.
5. Does Your Webcam and Microphone Start Automatically?
VoIP gives you the freedom to make and/or receive calls via any device,including smartphones, computers, webcams, and even microphones for conference calls with colleagues. But if these same devices — especially webcams and microphones — activate automatically, then it’s a sure sign of a compromised VoIP infrastructure.
Hackers may be trying to record your conversations. They can overhear sensitive information, which may cause your organization to suffer drastic losses.
Therefore, if your employees face an auto-start problem with their microphones and webcams, then make sure they report it immediately to your IT specialist or VoIP service provider to stop cyber criminals from gaining access to your system.
6. Is There a Sudden Spike in Your Monthly Bill?
You signed up for VoIP to save money on monthly phone bills. But if you’re seeing a sudden spike in your monthly bill, then hackers maybe the reason. Hackers may be making or receiving premium-rate calls using your network at your expense.
As you are the bill payer, these calls must come from a legitimate IP that belongs to your company. So, your VoIP service vendor won’t have any doubts that the calls were made from your company.
So, if you receive higher monthly bills than average, inform your service provider about the issue to stop hackers from using your phone system.
VoIP Hacking is a Problem with an Absolute Solution
The signs are definitely intimidating. But you can take rigid measures to stop paying high bills, prevent data breaches, and restrain hackers. By choosing a vigilant, experienced VoIP service provider to maintain operational security within an organization, you can safe guard your VoIP infrastructure against all cyber-attack possibilities and fulfill your dream of saving more money.