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Harry Emerson Emerson Development

At a time of economic downturn when insurers are struggling to grow revenue, the security issues generated by Internet phone service, aka Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP, could very well create a new frontier for insurance carriers.

Most of you are familiar with the popular Internet phone service known as VoIP, a low-cost, discounted service that is rapidly being adopted just about everywhere. The use of VoIP telephones is growing because of their generous price structure and the relative ease of entry for new users. But there is a dark side to nearly-free telephony which has escaped our general attention as we joyfully embrace its ever-cheaper cost of doing business. Unfortunately for the user, society will be noticing this dark side more and more as organizations and institutions across the globe continue to adopt VoIP for their primary means of telephone communication. Lured by the siren call of low cost or no-cost service, and the absence of any FCC regulations whatsoever, the public and private sectors have closed their collective eyes to the glaring absence of safeguards built into this cheaper / cheapest business model, and like lemmings are enthusiastically racing towards the cliff of cyber-insecurity.

What we are not looking nor seeing is that in the process of changing over to VoIP, users are unwittingly shifting from the reliable and secure traditional telephone network to an Internet environment of extreme risk. As it becomes more prevalent, we anticipate that VoIP will be increasingly vulnerable to hostile acts. This is because due to the architecture of the Internet, every person and every system has direct access to one another, implicitly giving all of us a trusted relationship with every hacker and terrorist in the world. By joining the VoIP party, we not only give those with malicious intent the direct access to our existing systems, computers, and networks–which we have already conceded–but we extend that access into the private realm of telephone communications.

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