Is VoIP Safe From Surveillance Systems?

Recently, there has been serious objections about government agents’ and other agencies’ spying on private calls. Many users are worried about their privacy. They are doubts whether VoIP is strong enough to guard against such eavesdropping and phone tapping. Well, no communication method is safe in digital world. Some way or other it is possible to breach security. However, not everyone is skilled enough to do that.

Privacy has been discussed internationally, users demand for privacy increasing but as there are no strict laws, which could actually help them with. However,as technology VoIP tends to provide better security than its pervious systems. Landline communications were easily traceable, while VoIP runs protocols to safeguard information.

Safety with VoIP

Hackers know how to attack on internet based devices. VoIP also use the same kind of safety. They can easily get hold of customer data, records of conversations and voicemail. Even if account details of user are compromised, it can be used to charge third party services. However, it requires high skills and technical knowledge in order to that.

VoIP also has its own safety, which pose challenges to such hackers or surveillance agents. All the traffic is routed through a firewall and network address translators. Firewall is one of the most used safety system for protecting a device from internet-based attacks. Translator helps in interconnecting networks and creating a safe communication system. Services like Skype use proprietary protocols for protection by routing calls through other skype peers on the network. This enables it to traverse symmetric NATs and firewalls. There are many other protocols, which are used such as ICE (Interactive connectivity Establishment) and STUN. Encryption is one of the powerful tool in protecting digital information but VoIP is not using it currently. Due to this sometimes, it gets easier for spies to eavesdrop on voice call on data networks. There are solutions like Wireshirk, which help in doing that.

Protocols like secure real-time transport protocols (SRTP) and ZRTP are used for securing VoIP. IPsec also help in securing point to point VoIP. All the traffic is encrypted using opportunistic encryption.


Why is VoIP more secure than previous systems?

As we know, traditional systems were based on analog signals. This signal cannot be encrypted. VoIP uses data signals, which are digital and this signal,can be easily encrypted for protection. Receive device can then decrypt the packets easily as they get the respective decryption key. This decryption process is necessary if real information is required. In process transmission if this signal is traced, the hacker would have to decrypt it based the decryption key, which is possible only with device for which signal was intended.



It is hard to tell whether our conversation will remain private or not because powerful authority like government might come up with some laws which might give them power to do surveillance. In USA, recently FBI announced its plan to expand Communication Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) on order to bring internet calling under this law. This law gives them power to intercept calls. If plan is passed then provider will have to make the tracing easier for them, which would compromise the privacy of the user.

However, even with all this laws in plan, military, hospitals, and large corporations have slowly adopted VoIP. If we see figures, almost one third of businesses in world today use VoIP. It most trusted communication system. When compared with other communication systems, VoIP is best possible option, which is cheap and provides better safety. These are main factor, which makes VoIP trustworthy and cost efficient system for business around the world.