In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell received US patent number 174,465 for his improvement in telegraphy,” triggering a revolutionary change in human communications and the emergence of a new industry with technology at its very foundation. Today, more than 130 years after the telephone’s invention, we face the difficult task of reconciling the prodigal children of the two great men quoted above within the confines of our computer networks. The assignment is far from easy, considering that men from telephony and computing worlds have substantially different philosophies, idiosyncrasies, technologies, business models, entry barriers, and operational characteristics.
The clash between these two world views in the realm of computer networks already plagued with security and privacy concerns is a fertile ground for both offensive and defensive information security practitioners. In this installment of Attack Trends, I delve into the new security and privacy challenges the ongoing widespread adoption of IP telephony and voice over IP (VoIP) pose.