How to Protect Your Network From Cyber Hacks

By Bhagirath Sindhav / 05 December 2019

Web networks are becoming more complex. Learn how to protect your network by choosing the right session border controller.

Networks are becoming more complex with rise in the use of VoIP solutions and IoT. Risks of data theft and network blockages increase as hackers find ways to tunnel into vulnerable networks, especially VoIP networks.

To protect your network from cyber hacks, implement session border controller at both ends and gain a high degree of protection against cyber hacks.

How to Protect Your Network With the Right Session Border Controller

  1. Remember network protection protocols
  2. Know the devices and attacks hackers use
  3. Consider the risks of hackers infiltrating your VoIP network
  4. Know what remedies can counter network threats

Remember Network Protection Protocols

VoIP networks make use of the session initiation protocol (SIP) as the application layer and it is the most targeted accounting for over 51% of attacks. Hackers find open ports they can tunnel through and then launch attacks such as DoS or DdoS that can clog networks. Another method is to push through malformed packets that cause application crashes and cause hardware to become unresponsive. 

Cisco’s SCCP protocol is no less vulnerable to attacks with an attack percentage of over 48%.

Cisco's SCCP protocol

Such a high attack percentage provides evidence that even massive networks struggle with attacks.

H225, a more recent protocol, forming part of the H.323 suite has come under attack, too, but accounts for only 1% or so of attacks. 

Know the Devices and Attacks Hackers Use

Hackers may launch probes in the initial stages and then launch attacks in many forms: 

  • Misconfigured SIP messages that overwhelm the system
  • DDoS and DOS attacks that take down the SIP protocol and its application layer thereby making the system useless
  • Hackers may access open networks with caller ID spoofing through routers or computers or even mobile phones and IP phones. Then, the hackers will spam phones or sell phone numbers that can lead to toll frauds. Additionally, hackers may obtain control and upload firmware and gain unauthorized access to data. Hackers detect open VoIP ports through which they can tunnel in and gain control with compromised SIP credentials and perpetrate frauds. Some hackers have been known to tunnel in and then place a large number of fake calls resulting in insanely high billing for the compromised client. 
  • Unencrypted packets over networks are easy to tap into and listen. 
  • Hackers engage in vishing, the voice equivalent of phishing and use spoofing to target recipients and gain information they can misuse, such as credit card or bank details.
  • Hackers can engage in phreaking which is stealing services from a service provider and then changing plans, adding credits or making use of an account to make calls.

By knowing the devices and mechanisms hackers use to infiltrate your network, you can keep it safe.

Consider the Risks of Hackers Infiltrating Your VoIP Network  

For VoIP service providers, there are many risks to hackers infiltrating a VoIP network.

For one, a VoIP hack risks a loss of reputation and clients as well as loss of revenue and sensitive data. They could find themselves facing claims and legal action. 

Both small and large businesses face risks with unprotected channels:

  • Business enterprises may find that their valuable data is stolen and their security is compromised. They may be faced with paying huge bills for usage not made by them as well as loss of customer confidence. 
  • In both cases, communications may come to a complete halt if the hacker floods the network or otherwise causes malfunctions. 

Make sure you consider the risks that a VoIP network could provide to your network.

Know What Remedies Can Counter Network Threats

Firewalls are inadequate in the matter of VoIP networks. What your business needs is a session border controller to identify and stop such attempts at penetrating networks. Still, you can take some precautionary steps such as: 

  • Configuring each IP, phone, and associated hardware with specific passwords instead of relying on default passwords. It is recommended to use long string characters with alphanumerics and special characters
  • Monitor network closely to detect suspicious activity
  • Use antivirus and anti-malware software
  • Use virtual private network that provides a measure of encryption 

Even then these measures may prove inadequate given the rising sophistication of cyberattacks. The best solution is to implement software based session border controller at both ends of the network. SBC for VoIP security is better and effective in various different ways.

Use SBC to Prevent Cyber Hacks

Intelligent session border controller (SBC) is usually deployed at the edge of networks to provide a high level of security against attacks.

The SBC functions as a back to back user agent. It acts as the user agent server and user agent client for each message on each call.

session border controller

A session border controller protects the various channels hackers can infiltrate.

The SBC provides NAT traversal, working as the interface for user agents. It hides inner network topology and private IP address, substituting such address with its own header in SIP messages. 

  • SBCs hide topology so external intruders cannot detect devices
  • You have the facility of access control lists in which you can define various parameters
  • Rate limiting can be fixed to present DDoS messages
  • Malformed packets are identified and blocked

Currently, providers of session border control solutions incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning. The SBC learns and identifies attempts at intrusions and raises alarm should it detect abnormal activity. It can act on its own to block such activity.

Then, other border controllers such as media transcoding and integration to the IP multimedia subsystem that provides flawless interconnects across protocols apart from its security features.

Any service provider or business enterprise that has IP networks and especially VoIP networks requires a higher than normal level of security. SBCs step in and work as doorkeepers, not only providing security but also facilitating easy traffic flow. 

VoIP service providers and carriers as well as ITSPs benefit by reducing chances of becoming victims of attacks that paralyze networks and affect their operations as well as those of their clients. They avoid revenue loss and loss of reputation with the SBC working as a tireless watchdog over the network. 

Enterprises with VoIP networks enjoy peace of mind and flawless performance of their system when the SBC is at the frontier, offering security, interoperability, and media transcoding. Plus, data on their servers remains protected since hackers will find it tough to tunnel into the network. 

Call centers that have an SBC in the network and cloud based IP services are assured of highest levels of protection against hacks. 

How effective the session border controller is depends on the developer and its integration with class 4/5 softswitches.

Protecting Your Network From Cyber Hacks With The Right Session Border Controller

Now that you know the full risks of data theft and network blockages, you can protect your network from cyber hacks.

Just remember: Use SBC to prevent cyberattacks and your business will have peace of mind.

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