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More than 20 networking and security organisations have formed the voice-over-IP telephony (VoIP) Security Alliance. The group will monitor security risks to VoIP services, work to reduce existing threats, and identify new dangers. Members include 3Com, the SANS Institute, Symantec and Siemens.

The group warns that attacks on VoIP systems are inevitable, as the technology becomes more widespread. VoIP is still quite new, and the numbers of people using it are small enough that there is no commercial reason to attack the systems.

However, as voice and data networks converge, the security risks of one will apply to the other. Organisations must be ready for spam or phishing attacks on their telephone systems, for instance.

VoIPSA's efforts to combat this perceived risk will include running email discussion forums, publishing white papers and funding research into VoIP security, as well as developing tools and methodologies for public use.

Ari Takanen, CEO and co-founder of Codenomicon, argues that an active community in VoIP security now, could prevent a descent into the "patch-and-penetrate race" that has afflicted email.

Brian Kelly, director of the Giuliani Advanced Security Center at Ernst & Young said: "Despite the advantages of VoIP, if the technology is not implemented properly and securely, we will likely circumvent existing security controls and expose our networks," said

Find out more about VoIPSA here. ®

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