Here are 7 Ways to Protect Your Business from Wiretapping

“Wiretapping” is a term often associated with security agencies legally or illegally obtaining information or international spies taking part in political espionage. However, the increasingly competitive nature of business today means that there is always the risk of your competition trying to steal a match on you by listening in on industry secrets, business plans and vital information that can sway momentum in their favour. Even in businesses with a robust PBX system, wiretapping is a huge concern. As at the end of 2014, wiretapping of PBX systems had already led to a loss of $4.4bn globally.  Here are top ways you can protect your business.

Distinguish Business Critical Information

It is easier for wiretappers to gain access to your business secrets if you don’t have any drawn lines and do not understand what business secrets mean in the first place. Expansion plans, finance deals, new product designs and launches are all sensitive information that must be safeguarded as much as possible, including during discussions.

Avoid discussing such details on unencrypted channels. Meetings in your business environment on such topics should be discussed in digitally isolated locations.

You and Employees Need to Understand that Phones are Vulnerabilities

You need  to ensure a culture that treats phones as internet-connected and easily hackable devices they are. When this is in place, it will be easier to stick to all the other practical ways of preventing wiretapping as contained in headings below.

Turning off phone systems when not in use

When phones are off, it makes it harder for hackers to eavesdrop or glean information from them. Additionally, some software used in wiretapping makes it impossible to turn off the phone. This makes it easy to know when you  have been tapped.

Disabling of Bluetooth systems when not in use

Wiretappers can use idle bluetooth connections to listen-in on discussions. It is also important to emphasise acceptance of bluetooth connections from only familiar sources. Similarly, GPS connections should be turned off when not in use as it makes it easy to detect physical location.

Use of anti-wiretapping software

Many advanced cybersecurity companies have top level enterprise solutions that can be deployed on PBX, mobiles, computers and all other systems that can be wiretapped. Most of the solutions are software and hardware based. The software solutions detect remote taps while hardware solutions helps sniff out taps as a result of implanted bugs on devices or around critical business infrastructure.

Use of strong passwords

Strong passwords remain efficient in helping protect a device against external threats. Combinations of letters, numbers and special characters that are at least 16 characters long should be encouraged for voice call systems including voicemail. Without the protection offered by a robust password, wiretappers can change call routes, delete extensions and of course listen to conversations and voicemail. Emphasise changing of passwords every few months where possible. This approach is most effective for the prevention of non-sophisticated or state-sponsored attacks.

Stop use of call forwarding

Call forwarding may allow business employees to receive calls when away from work desk but it also allows wiretappers to reroute calls to a service numbers for their own gain. Simply turning off call-forwarding eliminates this risk.


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