Which is More Secure? VoIP or Landline - Pentestmag

Which is More Secure? VoIP or Landline

Which is More Secure? VoIP or Landline

by Conner Flynn

When it comes to telecommunications, there is no such thing as a hacker-proof system. Landline, mobile phone, and VoIP systems are all at risk of being hacked, listened in on, and compromised. However, with more and more companies going to a VoIP system, security features are easier to install, since the system works off broadband internet. Where landlines can be tapped, and cell phones hacked, VoIP’s are getting the most attention. With many large companies transitioning to a VoIP system, more money is being spent on firewalls and security protocols. These will eventually pour out into the general public, and be made accessible to small businesses and independent users. In the meantime, however, which is more secure: VoIP or Landline phone systems? 

Are Landlines or VoIP’s More Secure? 

Landlines, as they stand, are the most secure form of communication. Despite the ability to wiretap a landline, the same is true for VoIP’s; neither are wire-tap proof. However, hackers are less likely to eavesdrop on landline phone calls since there is less knowledge to acquire. 

With large corporations using VoIP systems, hackers are most likely to spend their time breaking into a VoIP system than they would be your grandmother’s landline. 

Why are VoIP’s Easier to Hack? 

Landline phones use circuit switching to connect and maintain a call. When the circuit is created, the sound from one phone is transmitted to the other in virtually one motion. Try picturing the old operator switchboards. The operator connects a line from one party to the other. Once the call is disconnected, data is no longer transmitted. The call has ended. 

With VoIP, however, the use of broadband internet is utilized. Through the internet, data is sent together in little bundles, or packets, and reassembled, like a puzzle, on the receiving end. If any of these bundles are intercepted, rerouted, or interrupted, the information is “lost.” Since there is no one definitive way to transmit these packets of data as a whole, information regarding the same message to the same source may take many different routes. If any of these lines of communication are interrupted, some of the original content can be wrongly obtained. While there are processes being put into place to make VoIP’s more secure, and less scattered, there will undoubtedly be stumbling blocks along the way. What the cost of these issues will be is unknown. 

In addition to the data being scattered, it can also be falsely obtained and retransmitted in a manipulated fashion. This can be detrimental, and even perhaps dangerous, to those using a hacked VoIP system. 

Are Any VoIP Secure? 

VoIP systems, such as Skype are nearly closed systems that connect one party to another with end-to-end encryption. However, it’s not necessarily the broadband that is secure; it’s the app that utilizes the encryption.

Through apps, phone calls, text messages, and voice messages are more secure than any other telecommunication system.

However, this is not the case with most VoIP systems. The technology to step up the security game of VoIP is still unfolding and evolving, but what we do know is that it’s not impossible to make secure calls with VoIP.  

September 2, 2019
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