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NSA Guides on Securing Unified Communications and Voice and Video over IP Systems

June 18, 2021

NSA released a Cybersecurity Technical Report today that provides best practices and mitigations for securing Unified Communications (UC) and Voice and Video over IP (VVoIP) call-processing systems. The comprehensive report, “Deploying Secure Unified Communications/Voice and Video over IP Systems,” also describes potential risks to UC/VVoIP systems that aren’t properly secured.

To complement the larger report, NSA published an abridged Cybersecurity Information Sheet to capture key takeways and introduce the steps organizations should take when securing their UC/VVoIP systems.

UC and VVoIP are workplace call-processing systems that provide a variety of collaboration tools as well as the flexibility to communicate using voice, video conferencing and instant messaging. The access to advanced call-processing features and centralization of management have made UC and VVoIP popular in enterprise environments, including National Security System, Department of Defense and Defense Industrial Base networks.

The IP infrastructure that enables UC/VVoIP systems also presents risks that were less prevalent in the prior generation of call centers. If UC/VVoIP systems are not properly secured, they are susceptible to the same malicious activity targeting existing IP systems through spyware, viruses, software vulnerabilities or other malicious means. Malicious actors could penetrate the IP networks to eavesdrop on conversations, impersonate users, commit toll fraud and perpetrate denial of service attacks. High-definition room audio and video could also be covertly collected.

To securely deploy UC/VVOIP systems, NSA provides best practices to use when preparing networks, establishing network perimeters, using enterprise session controllers and adding endpoints to deploy a UC/VVOIP system.

Methods to minimize the risk to UC/VVOIP systems include segmenting the networks to limit access to a common set of devices, ensuring timely patching, authentication and encryption of all signaling and media traffic, and verifying the security of devices before adding them to a network.

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