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Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
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Gary Audin | March 04, 2013 |

 
   

Securing Cisco IP Telephony

Securing Cisco IP Telephony Learning about IPT hacking may not seem to be high on the list of IT concerns, but you ignore or underestimate it at your own risk.

Learning about IPT hacking may not seem to be high on the list of IT concerns, but you ignore or underestimate it at your own risk.

We do not hear of a lot of IP Telephony hacking, but it still goes on. The latest problem for Cisco was demonstrated at the 29th Chaos Communications Congress last December. A Cisco IP phone was manipulated through physical access, to cause it to execute malicious code. Connecting via the IP phone's serial port allowed attack code to be loaded and to take control over other devices.

The lesson: Learning about IPT hacking may not seem to be high on the list of IT concerns, but you ignore or underestimate it at your own risk.

Moving to IP Telephony (IPT) not only opens an enterprise to IP network security issues, it also opens the enterprise to a new set of telephony security problems that are independent of the IP networks they reside on. Looking for knowledge to protect IPT is mandatory.

When it comes to Cisco IPT, there's a new resource available that's worth checking out. Reading a technical book can be either ponderous or enlightening, and this latest book is on the enlightening side--it's called "Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks," by Akhil Behl, a senior network consultant with 10 years of experience. The book is published by Cisco Press as part of their series, Networking Technology: IP Communications. It was published in August 2012 (before the most recent security breach was publicized).

Although there are 16 chapters plus appendices, the reader does not have to go through the book from front to back. If you have some knowledge, then you can skip earlier chapters. The introduction helps the reader to select the appropriate chapters to read. This is a real-world guide to securing Cisco-based IP telephony applications, devices, and networks.

"Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks" provides details for securing Cisco IP telephony equipment, securing the underlying infrastructure and the telephony applications. It includes a complete set of practices and detailed configuration examples for securing Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM), Cisco Unity/Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Presence, Cisco Voice Gateways, Cisco IP Telephony Endpoints, and many other Cisco IP Telephony applications.

This guide is a valuable asset for technical professionals and IT decision-makers involved with securing Cisco IP telephony networks, including network engineers, administrators, architects, managers, security analysts, IT directors, and consultants. The book covers:

* How to recognize vulnerabilities caused by IP network integration, as well as VoIP's unique security requirements.

* Discovering how hackers target IP telephony networks and how to proactively protect against each facet of their attacks

* A guide to implementing a flexible, proven methodology for end-to-end Cisco IP Telephony security

* Using a layered (defense-in-depth) approach that builds on underlying network security design

* Securing CUCM, Cisco Unity/Unity Connection, CUPS, CUCM Express, and Cisco Unity Express platforms against internal and external threats

* Establishing physical security, Layer 2 and Layer 3 security, and Cisco ASA-based perimeter security

* Configuring Cisco IOS Voice Gateways to help prevent toll fraud and deter attacks

* Securing Cisco Voice Gatekeepers and Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE, the Cisco session border controller or SBC) against rogue endpoints and other attack vectors

• Securing Cisco IP telephony endpoints--Cisco Unified IP Phones--wired and wireless IP phones and softphones--from malicious insiders and external threats

There are two appendices that are worth the purchase of the book. Appendix A, "Cisco IP Telephony Authentication and Encryption Essentials" can be read as a stand-alone primer even for those not implementing Cisco products. The same can be said for Appendix B, "Cisco IP Telephony: Firewalling and Intrusion Prevention". Both are worth a read.



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