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VoIP security framework erected

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An industry group has released what's billed as the first comprehensive description of security and threats to Voice over IP (VoIP) systems. The framework - dubbed the VoIP Security Threat Taxonomy - was put together by the newly formed Voice over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) and is designed to provide the industry with a clearer view of VoIP security risks put into context with a discussion of technical trade-offs.

"Until now, the public has been uncertain about the various threats, how risks related to each other and technical trade-offs. This is fundamental to all future work in the field," said Jonathan Zar, secretary and outreach chair for VOIPSA, head of the taxonomy project and senior director for firewall supplier SonicWALL.

Major elements of the work include:

  • Core definitions that give specific meaning to privacy and security
  • A framework that effectively connects public policy and technology issues
  • Recognition of the human element in threats as distinct from their technical means
  • Specific sets of issues for consideration by legislative bodies and by law enforcement
  • A detailed structure for technical vulnerabilities across the value chain

The security framework is intended to be a framework for further (more detailed) technical work and discussion. VoIPSA is inviting comments on its work. Portions of the VoIP Security Threat Taxonomy are available for discussion by registering here.

The discussions will help inform the direction VoIPSA takes on net telephony security. David Endler, chairman of VoIPSA and director of security research for 3Com’s TippingPoint division, said it expects to deliver a list of security requirements for VoIP by the end of the year.

VOIPSA has recruited 100 organisations - including major carriers, software firms, equipment vendors, large users and system integrators - since its foundation in February 2005. More about the organisation can be found here. A public VoIP security discussion board (VOIPSEC) run by VOISPA can be found here. ®

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