Cisco Funds Research to Improve VoIP Security

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are working to improve the end-to-end VoIP security, thanks to a two-year, $150,000 grant from Cisco Systems.

Researchers at the UAB Department of Computer and Information Sciences are designing mechanisms to establish peer-to-peer secure VoIP connections.

“Given the surge in popularity of computing devices, ensuring the security of VoIP connections is very important for personal users, and especially for business users,” Nitesh Saxena, Ph.D., principal investigator of the project.

The issue of VoIP device security has been a hot topic of late. With reports of widespread telecom fraud attacks on small businesses. The New York Times recently reported an attack that caused $166,000 in fraudulent charges.

Researchers from UAB presented preliminary findings at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, held November 3-7 of this year in Scottsdale, Arizona. In their talk, researchers focused on the use of peer-to-peer Crypto Phones and shared cryptographic keys designed to eliminate any possible eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle attacks that can put devices and data at risk.

“We hope to make establishing a connection secure and easy to do on the fly,” Saxena said. "We believe that this project will make strong impacts – not only on networking security, but also human-computer interaction and real-world usability.”

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