SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Securing your unified communications: Three key considerations

By Sara Barker
Mon 31 Jul 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

In the last couple of months, cyber-attacks have been making headlines almost daily. Most recently we’ve heard about a worldwide ransomware attack that affected some well-known corporations.

Earlier this year a complex attack cut access to some of the world’s best-known websites.While most businesses globally have some sort of cyber security protection in place, such as firewalls, web application firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, these tools don’t seem to scare the cybercriminals away.  Companies need to start thinking ahead and ask a question, “If I am the next target, is my infrastructure protected properly? Are all infrastructure endpoints appropriately secured?”

Surprisingly, attacks against unified communications (UC) are some of the fastest growing and most misunderstood threats organizations face today. As more enterprises in the Asia Pacific region are coming to the peak of their digital transformation journeys, they are increasingly adopting IP-based voice, video and instant messaging services to support their global workforce. However, some of the communications services have never operated over IP before, meaning there is a new IP application that organizations must protect.

The three main threats against UC security leaders must start paying attention to are a denial of service, toll fraud, and data exfiltration. Each of these attacks presents its own set of challenges, but a zero-trust security posture dictates that security strategies must address all three. When organizations take control of their security posture and protect UC as vigorously as any other application on their infrastructure, they’ll be on the path to a more secure network.

Here are three key considerations organizations should consider to keep their communications flowing:

Think Beyond the Traditional Firewall: For the most part, organizations are using firewalls to protect their network. Unfortunately, firewalls don’t have the awareness to protect complex SIP services such as voice and video calls from application layer exploits.

In other words, UC applications exceed the IQ of the standard enterprise firewall. There is no one solution that is going to completely secure the enterprise, but in terms of UC, session border controllers (SBCs) are the firewall for real-time communications. SBCs have inherent security features, such as per-session state awareness, protocol filtering, topology hiding, encryption and service awareness that enables granular enforcement of application usage and dynamic blacklisting when application abuse is detected.

This functionality enables SBCs to protect UC applications from SIP-based attacks in a way that firewalls – and even advanced next-generation firewalls – simply can’t. Beyond that, they also provide intelligent routing, signaling interworking and media services to ensure the quality of UC experiences.

 Don’t Forget About BYOD: Organizations should consider the impact of BYOD. We’ve all heard how BYOD has given rise to Shadow IT and other threats, but it also presents a fundamental change to how organizations have historically protected devices. For years, organizations were only concerned with making sure their employees had access to desk landline telephones (i.e. a closed system). Employees never used personal devices for corporate work.

Today, the number of devices organizations need to protect are unbounded, expanding across home computers, mobile phones, tablets and more.

And from a UC perspective, those applications are being used across all those devices, making the attack surface even larger. End-users have to do their part too, especially when their devices may be used to connect to corporate networks. Users should keep their software updated, secure their devices appropriately, ensure that all UC access transits a SBC and exercise caution while using public Wi-Fi networks.

Make Your Security Solutions Work Together: The most important question that security leaders can ask is “How would my security posture change if all of my tools and solutions worked together?” As organizations usually use different security solutions for different end-points, they don’t work in synergy.

Each device does exactly what they’re good at, and passes off issues to other devices in the conga line if something arises that they are not equipped to handle.

Think about it – once devices start sharing security information with each other, the overall security posture of the entire network strengthens. A simplified way to think about this synergy is through the lens of a neighborhood watch.

Once a homeowner informs their neighbor of an attempted break-in, the rest of the neighborhood is on higher alert for similar activity from the same burglar. A multi-faceted attack, which is increasingly common, is more effectively mitigated.

The same collaborative approach should be taken when protecting UC. For instance, if an SBC detects potentially anomalous behavior across UC applications it can shut down the questionable session.

Once this happens, the information can be shared with other devices, like firewalls, routers or other SBCs, who can be on the lookout for similar anomalous behavior on other applications.

By taking a collaborative communication approach to security – where each device across an enterprise shares information, data and policies – the trust level of communications and the overall security posture of the enterprise is increased. Ultimately, this provides a better way to address today’s increasingly sophisticated and advanced threat landscape.

New threats – like attacks on UC applications – will continue to emerge and evolve as organizations and networks expand and digitalize. A holistic security strategy and risk management are essential. While the challenges may seem insurmountable, by collaborating with experienced and innovative vendors, businesses can continue to grow while offering and using secure services.

Article by Kevin Riley, chief technology officer and senior vice president of engineering, Sonus Networks.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implentations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Blue Prism
Blue Prism Desktop uses IA to defend against vulnerabilities
SS&C Blue Prism Desktop aims to help protect businesses against vulnerabilities, using a combination of security measures and intelligent automation tech.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
APAC
Odaseva expands in APAC and UK with more security features
Odaseva, a data platform for Salesforce, is establishing new headquarters in London as well as a new data center in India.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Companies rushing to secure print infrastructure
As the pandemic prioritised communication channels and the shift to remote work, IT departments fell behind in updating the security of print and IT infrastructure.
Story image
Microsoft
Apple, Google and Microsoft expands plans to get rid of passwords
FIDO Alliance says the world is closer to not relying on passwords after Apple, Google and Microsoft expands their support for a passwordless sign-in standard.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Firewall
Sophos named Gartner Peer Insights Customers Choice for network firewalls
The company earned the highest overall customer rating among vendors with at least 150 verified customer reviews.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet sees 34% revenue increase in latest financial results
Fortinet has released its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, seeing a total revenue increase of 34.4% compared to the same quarter last year.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
SonicWall
Find out how you and your business can prevent being caught out by everything from ransomware to cryptojacking.
Link image
Story image
Hyperscale
SpaceDC partners with Aofei for data center sales in Asia
SpaceDC has partnered with Aofei Data International to sell Aofei's data centers, CDN and SDN in China.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Versa Networks recognised as SASE leader in Govie Awards
Versa Networks has announced its SASE offering has been recognised in The Govies Government Security Awards competition by Security Today magazine.
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Cisco, Hitachi Vantara, Tricentis & Zscaler
We round up all job appointments from April 28 - May 5, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Training
Fortinet training edges toward closing cybersecurity gap
The Fortinet Training Institute has made significant progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, on track to train one million people by 2026.
Story image
Phishing
Developments in phishing and how to protect your business
Phishing, the practice of sending malicious emails to encourage users to perform actions that benefit an attacker, is a key security concern for modern businesses due to its prevalence and impact.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Cybersecurity
New report reveals evolving techniques targeting cloud-native environments
Companies are adopting cloud-native technologies faster than ever before. Unfortunately, with new technology comes new threats and challenges.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils three new security managed services
Security Experts includes three new managed services, Defender Experts for Hunting, Defender Experts for XDR, Security Services for Enterprise.
Story image
Surveillance
Genetec launches new enclosure management system for data centers
Genetec has released a new enclosure management solution that will give data centers the ability to secure, monitor and manage access to racks and cabinets remotely.
Story image
Malware
Sharp increase in phishing as cybercriminals leverage SEO to lure victims
"Malware lurking everywhere, from cloud apps to search engines, leaving organisations at greater risk than ever before."
Story image
Ransomware
Anniversaries remind us to review identity risks
World Password Day provides a timely reminder for ordinary citizens and organisations to stop and think about the risks associated with digital identities.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.