Understanding the Threat of VoIP Spoofing20 March 2023
VoIP spoofing is a severe security threat to both businesses and individuals. By using spoofed caller IDs, malicious actors can mask their true identities, leaving unsuspecting targets vulnerable to fraud, scams, and other malicious activities. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what VoIP spoofing is, its associated risks, how it works, and how to unmask and stop spoofed caller IDs.
If you think your VoIP.ms number (DID) is being spoofed, please consult our Wiki article to learn more about the actions we can take to help you.
What is VoIP Spoofing?
VoIP spoofing is the practice of using a false caller ID to mask the originator's identity when making a call or sending a text message. It's a form of identity theft and fraud, as the caller is pretending to be someone else to deceive the recipient.
The nature of VoIP makes spoofing possible in many situations. Since VoIP technology is easy to access and use, it has become increasingly popular with malicious actors looking to mask their identities and commit fraud. VoIP spoofing can be used for various nefarious purposes, including making false charges on credit cards, stealing personal information, and harassing victims.
The Risks of VoIP Spoofing
VoIP spoofing poses a grave threat to businesses and individuals alike. It can be used to deceive victims into revealing sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and passwords. It can also be used to make fraudulent phone calls, text messages, or even harass victims.
The most significant risk associated with VoIP spoofing is identity theft. By using a false caller ID, malicious actors can easily pretend to be someone else to gain access to sensitive information or commit fraud. In addition, VoIP spoofing can be used to make unsolicited calls or text messages, which can be used to harass victims, spread malware, deceive victims into revealing sensitive information or commit fraud, to name a few risks.
How Does VoIP Spoofing Work?
VoIP spoofing works by taking advantage of the VoIP protocol to make it appear that a call or text message is coming from a different number than it actually is. This is done by changing the caller ID information associated with the call or text message and sending it through the VoIP protocol, it's also called Caller ID Spoofing.
The malicious actor can also make it appear that the call or text message is coming from a different location than it actually is. This can mislead victims into believing that the call or text message comes from a trusted source, such as a bank or government agency.
How to Unmask Spoofed Caller IDs
Unmasking spoofed caller IDs can be difficult, as malicious actors can use the VoIP protocol to make it look like a legitimate call. However, there are a few ways to unmask spoofed caller IDs.
- One helpful tool is a reverse phone lookup service. These services allow you to enter a phone number and see to whom it belongs. However, these services can only reveal the caller's true identity if the malicious actor has yet to be able to mask their identity altogether.
- Check the authenticity of the caller by asking specific questions that may reveal if the caller is truly who the ID it says it is.
- Use an app to block spam: for mobile phones, there are apps that can help you to identify the caller ID and mark it as spam before you pick up.
How to Stop Caller ID Spoofing
Unfortunately, there is no way to stop caller ID spoofing completely. However, you can take steps toward reducing the chances of spoofing your number.
First, you should ensure that your phone number is not publicly available. This can be done by changing your phone's settings to prevent your number from being displayed on caller ID screens. It would be best if you also were wary of giving your number to unknown sources, as malicious actors can use this information to spoof your number.
Second, you should use a reliable VoIP service provider. Reputable VoIP service providers will have safeguards to help prevent caller ID spoofing. It would help to keep your VoIP service provider's software up to date to ensure the latest security features are enabled.
How to Protect Your Business from VoIP Spoofing
Businesses are especially vulnerable to VoIP spoofing, as malicious actors can use it to commit fraud or gain access to sensitive information. Fortunately, several solutions are available to help protect businesses from VoIP spoofing.
These include using a reliable VoIP service provider, using a reverse phone lookup service to verify the identity of callers, and enabling two-factor authentication for all calls and text messages.
- Businesses should ensure that their VoIP service provider has the latest security features enabled. This will help protect against malicious actors attempting to spoof caller IDs.
- Enable two-factor authentication for all calls and text messages. This will help ensure that only authorized users are able to access sensitive information.
- Businesses of all sizes should look for a reliable VoIP service provider. Reputable VoIP service providers will have safeguards to help prevent caller ID spoofing.
- Using a reverse phone lookup service to verify the identity of callers. This will help ensure that calls and text messages are not coming from malicious actors.
- It is also recommendable regularly review their VoIP system to ensure that it is up-to-date with the latest security patches and upgrades. This will help protect against any newly discovered vulnerabilities and keep the system secure.
Before signing up for any VoIP service provider, we recommend reviewing its terms and conditions to understand how the provider collects, stores, or shares customer data. And ensure that if customer data is shared, it should only be used for legitimate business purposes.
By following these steps, businesses can ensure that their VoIP service is secure and that they are actively protecting its data against malicious actors. With the proper security measures in place, businesses can rest assured that their VoIP data is safe and secure.
VoIP Spoofing Solutions
In addition, technical initiatives such as the STIR/SHAKEN suite of protocols look to develop policies and industry-standardized procedures that reduce the risk of spoofing and other illegal activities like robocalling.
This protocol is a meaningful step towards improving the security of phone networks, as it can help verify the caller's identity and reduce the possibility of fraud. It uses digital signatures to authenticate the caller ID information, which is then used to verify the caller's identity. The protocol is based on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology, a cryptographic system that uses a combination of private and public keys for authentication.
In Canada, the Canadian Secure Token – Governance Authority (CST-GA) enforces the STIR/SHAKEN framework in which:
- STIR: stands for Secure Telephony Information Revisited and is a technical standard that allows the call originator service to certify the identity of callers.
- SHAKEN: means Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information using Tokens, is a framework that establishes information about the caller is transmitted using a digital signature to verify its authenticity.
Explained easily, when someone makes an outbound call, the STIR/Shaken protocol uses the caller's private key to generate a digital signature, which is then stored in the caller's signaling system. When the receiver gets the call, the receiver's signaling system will then validate the digital signature using the caller's public key. If the digital signature is valid, then the receiver will know that the caller ID information is authentic and can be trusted.
Picture source: https://cstga.ca/about/
VoIP spoofing is a serious security threat to both businesses and individuals. By using spoofed caller IDs, malicious actors mask their true identities, leaving unsuspecting targets vulnerable to fraud, scams, and other malicious activities.
Businesses should use a reliable VoIP service provider, implement a reverse phone lookup service to verify the identity of callers, and enable two-factor authentication for all calls and text messages to protect against VoIP spoofing. They should also use VoIP security software to monitor suspicious activity.
If you take the necessary steps to protect your business from VoIP spoofing, you can ensure that your sensitive information is kept secure, and your business is safe from malicious actors.
Remember to check out our Caller ID Spoofing Wiki article to learn more about VoIP.ms actions to face this threat.
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