Never before in history of telecommunications has a more important warning been needed for current and potential VoIP (computer phone) users who have joined, or will be joining, in inevitable paradigm shift from telephone to VoIP.
Warning! Warning! Warning!
Beware of VoIP internet service providers that operate on industry standard codec and industry standard protocols because they are PUBLICLY OPEN and INTERPRETABLE! This also includes, but is not limited to, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.
In plain terms, this means, if you subscribe to, or considering subscribing to a VoIP internet solution provider who operates on these industry standards – and over 90% do -- you have inadvertently made yourself vulnerable to criminal activities of hackers. Regardless of type of anti virus software you have on your computer, publicly accessible industry standards provide a pathway by which these criminals can access your computer to plant viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and/or steal your identity.
Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, unscrupulous criminal hackers view systems operating on these industry standards as their personal “Cash Cow” because of ease by which they can access your computer and gather your information to sell to other criminals.
Did you know that some hacker-friendly providers offer processor chips that are only sold on Internet?
Did you know that hacker-friendly providers actually offer hacker software that enables these criminals to deliberately disable security on computers, access your personal and confidential information, as well as inject their viruses, worms, and/or Trojan horses?
For instance, “Vomit” is a free download software that was designed to convert VoIP phone conversations into a wave file which could be played with standard sound players. Hackers gleefully interpret this as a tool they can utilize to attack unsuspecting victims.
Hacker manuals are also easily accessible via Internet. One of these manuals shows how to DoS other sites. DoSing (Disruption of Service) involves gaining unauthorized access to “command prompt” on your computer and using it to tie up your vital Internet services. When a hacker invades your system, they can then delete or create files and emails, modify security features, and plant viruses or time bombs onto your computer.
“Sniff” is another tool (originally intended to help telecommunication professionals detect and solve problems) that criminal hackers use to tamper with protocol and “sniff out” data. When hackers sniff out a data packet from Internet traffic, they reconstruct it to intercept conversations. This enables them to eavesdrop on conversations, gather information, and sell it to other unprincipled criminal entities.
Identity theft is one of most sinister of vulnerabilities you can inadvertently be subjected to. Identity theft is defined by Department of Justice as
“…the wrongful obtaining and using of someone else’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”
Identity theft is by-product of unscrupulous criminal individuals obtaining your social security number (including those of your spouse and children), your bank account, your credit card information, etc. Your information is then sold to other criminal entities for profit. Using your information, these criminals can then:
·access your bank account funds ·create new bank accounts with your information ·create driver’s licenses ·create passports
Attorney General Ashcroft stated that,
"Identity theft carries a heavy price, both in damage to individuals whose identities are stolen and enormous cost to America's businesses.”
Don’t be naïve enough to think it won’t happen or couldn’t happen to you!
A group hosting a website known as shadowcrew.com was indicted on conspiracy charges for stealing credit card numbers and identity documents, then selling them online. While this group allegedly trafficked $1.7 million in stolen credit card numbers, they also caused losses in excess of $4 million.
According to a Press Release issued by Department of Justice on February 28, 2005, a hacker was convicted of several counts of fraud, one in which
“…he fraudulently possessed more than 15 computer usernames and passwords belonging to other persons for purpose of accessing their bank and financial services accounts, opening online bank accounts in names of those persons, and transferring funds to unauthorized accounts.”
If you are using a VoIP internet service provider and do not want to be a victim of Identity Theft, then take first step to protect yourself -- don’t use VoIP internet service providers operating on industry standard codec and industry standard protocols.