Businesses using VoIP technology are now increasingly vulnerable to the threat of cyber attacks, a new report has suggested.
Security researchers Paul Moore, Per Thorsheim and Scott Helme have released a demonstration identifying where malware encountered on a web page takes over a VoIP handset and forces it to dial a premium-rate number, increasing the costs for users without their approval.
As part of the investigation, it was found that in its standard state, the Snom 320 device did not need any authentication and can be attacked without having to bypass any security processes.
In his blog, Mr Moore explained: “To their credit, some manufacturers provide a default set of credentials... even if they're usually "admin/admin", thus equally insecure.
“Snom however, opted to place a tiny "HTTP password not set" warning at the top of the configuration screen. That'd be fine if it forced you to set a password during the setup process, but it doesn't.”
Mr Moore explained that, once an attacker breaches the hardware, it is possible for cyber criminals to make, receive and transfer calls, while it is also possible to upload new firmware and use the device for surveillance.
He also warned that VoIP devices are essentially a PC and suffer all of the same security vulnerabilities related to them.
Mr Moore recommended using strong passwords, network segregation and restrictions to APIs. He also suggested upgrading firmware regularly to make sure it does not revert to the default setting afterwards.
As more devices now benefit from internet access, it is vital that users understand how they need to protect these tools just as much as they would for a laptop or computer.
This means it is vital for users to introduce anti-virus or firewall applications to ensure they can be properly protected from attacks.