Companies including 3Com, Alcatel, Avaya, and Siemens have formed an alliance to search out and eliminate security risks affecting voice over IP (VoIP) technologies.
The VoIP Security Alliance (VoIPSA) said that the growing convergence of voice and data networks will magnify the risk of cyber-attacks.
It warned that successful attacks against a combined voice and data network could cripple an enterprise by halting communications, and that as VoIP deployments become more widespread, the technology will become a more attractive target for hackers.
VoIP application-level attacks are likely to occur as attackers become more familiar with the technology through exposure and easy access, it said.
VoIPSA will sponsor VoIP security research projects, and the development of tools and methodologies for public use.
The Alliance claims to be the first group dedicated solely to VoIP security, and is backed by organisations including universities, security researchers, vendors and service providers.
"Despite the advantages of VoIP, if the technology is not implemented properly and securely, we are likely to circumvent existing security controls and expose our networks," said Brian Kelly, director of the Giuliani Advanced Security Centre at Ernst & Young.
Joseph Curcio, vice president of security technology development at Avaya, added: "Once the decision is made to put VoIP at the heart of a business, companies need to address security holistically at the application, system and services layers."
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