Cisco Systems Funds University Research into VOIP Security

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Cisco Systems is one of the largest technology companies in the world and has long been a leader in the Voice Over IP (VoIP) scene. The company is somewhat responsible for setting the standard for enterprise communication and collaboration. With the exponential uptake in VoIP usage in recent times, by both enterprises and consumers, security has never been more important to Cisco and its fellow heavyweight peers such as Microsoft.

Security is the number 1 fear relating to VoIP

It should come as little surprise then, that Cisco is providing the necessary financial support to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to uncover and investigate possible security flaws in VoIP technologies. Alleviating any security concerns with VoIP technology is in Cisco’s best interests, as security is the number 1 fear of both existing and potential VoIP customers.

Nitesh Saxena, Ph.D., an associate professor of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) at UAB, confirmed the wider need for this research suggesting that, “Given the surge in popularity of computing devices, ensuring the security of VoIP connections is very important for personal users, and especially for business users”.

Cryptographic keys could be the solution

The official findings from the UAB research were presented at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, by a team from their CIS Department.

The research was centred around Crypto Phones, and researchers made use of cryptographic keys to secure the calls. These keys are reported to eliminate taps on voice calls and data. When using Crypto Phones, users typically exchange security information verbally, and researchers found that there is a large risk of attack using sophisticated speech recognition software.

To combat the potential security vulnerabilities of VoIP Crypto Phones, researchers suggested that a more complex system involving biometrics or voice recognition could be implemented.

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