Several years ago, SPam over Internet Telephony (SPIT) was merely a security issue that hadn’t yet manifested. In fact, NewScientist was predicting SPIT back in 2004. However, many naysayers felt that the fear of SPIT was simply “paranoid media coverage” that would never come to fruition. Ah, if only that were true. It looks like those who discounted the threat of SPIT must now eat some humble pie.
SPIT is not only a reality these days, it’s a quickly growing problem. No, it’s not as common as the Viagra spam in your email bulk folder, but it has definitely arrived. Skype users, in particular, are seeing a rise of instant messages from spammers with fake accounts. As companies scramble around in an attempt to stem these attacks, we the users are left to defend ourselves.
Below are five ways to protect yourself against SPIT:
- Block Suspicious IMs â€“ If you’re a Skype user who is suddenly garnering a lot of attention from scantily clad anonymous women, it’s time to go on the defense. Sorry to burst your bubble, but someone is either trying to hack your computer or sell you something you don’t need.
- Demand Authentication â€“ No matter what kind of VoIP provider you are using, SPIT can be a problem. By demanding authentication from your nearest and dearest, you can limit your incoming calls to a trusted inner circle. Mind you, this isn’t really an option for business users.
- Install Additional Security Measures â€“ Programs are arriving, such as VoIP SEAL, which are getting smart about detecting known untrusted callers. This could give more freedom to business users who can’t narrow down their incoming calls to just a few people.
- Screen All Calls â€“ Sadly, many of us resorted to this defense on our regular landlines long ago. If all inbound callers have to pass some voice-automated recognition or even leave a message in your inbox, then you can easily dodge those nasty SPITters.
- Improve All Security Measures â€“ SPIT isn’t the only security problem faced by VoIP users. Research conducted by VOIPshield Systems Inc. found many flaws in three of the leading VoIP vendors’ products. By increasing security measures on all fronts, you will lower your risk of SPIT.
Has the VoIP industry been lulled into a false sense of security? Since there hadn’t been a widespread breech of security problems with VoIP before now, many people assumed it wasn’t going to happen. However, that was merely due to the lack of VoIP usage. The technology is becoming much more commonplace, which is why security problems are rising now. By going on the defense and nipping some of these problems in the bud, we could prevent a potentially debilitating setback.
Heather Johnson is a freelance business, finance and economics writer, as well as a regular contributor at Business Credit Cards, a site for best business credit cards and best business credit card offers. Heather welcomes comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: heatherjohnson2323 [at] gmail [dot] com .
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