MTN has put in place a number of mechanisms to curb possible cyber-attacks on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The move includes securing the VoIP platform by tightening policies on their firewall, and performing regular penetration tests to determine vulnerability, the firm said.
Other mechanisms include changing common ports and deploying the setups on MPLS VPNs. MPLS VPN is a set of methods used in multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to create virtual private networks (VPNs). MPLS VPN is a flexible method to transport and route several types of network traffic using an MPLS backbone.
Jacob Nyakiamo, MTN systems engineer, said even though any system can be prone to cyber-attack, precautionary measures are necessary to avoid systems crush and losses that businesses could accrue from such attacks. He said there are many hackers who are busy looking for loopholes, posing a great danger to businesses.
“We realised that businesses face great difficulties while establishing an effective call-voice solution; often the cost of purchasing the required hardware and software push down profits and delays expansion plans.,” said Mr Nyakiamo.
He said although VoIP is slightly new in the country, awareness has been on the rise. “This is a positive thing since people are more informed on the advantages of VoIP as services, but there is a need for more push since it’s the in-thing.”
VoIP is analog voice calls converted into packets of data. The packets travel like any other type of data, such as e-mail, over the public Internet and/or any private Internet Protocol (IP) network. The steps and principles involved in originating VoIP telephone calls are similar to traditional digital telephony and involve signalling, channel setup, digitisation of the analog voice signals, and encoding. Instead of being transmitted over a circuit-switched network, the digital information is packetised, and transmission occurs as IP packets over a packet-switched network. They transport media streams using special media delivery protocols that encode audio and video with audio codecs, and video codecs.
Early providers of VoIP services offered business models and technical solutions that mirrored the architecture of the legacy telephone network. Second-generation providers, such as Skype, built closed networks for private user bases, offering the benefit of free calls and convenience while potentially charging for access to other communication networks while third-generation providers, such as Google Talk, is a departure from the architecture of the legacy networks.
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