Industry Canada trials intrusion prevention for VoIP

Industry Canada is testing intrusion prevention technology as a means to help protect voice over IP (VoIP) and next-generation, converged networks where data, voice and video travel over the same communications layer.

Ottawa-based Third Brigade Inc. announced Wednesday that its host-based intrusion prevention system was being adopted by Industry Canada’s Protocol Analysis Lab (PAL) to investigate possible security measures against vulnerabilities in IP (Internet Protocol) networks.

PAL also aims to facilitate collaboration between government, academic institutions and the telecommunications industry on initiatives to quantify and help resolve potential security threats.

“As VoIP is rapidly being adopted by a wide range of users – from government to small business to the home consumer – it is increasingly important that we work to ensure the stability of these networks,” says Michael Binder, assistant deputy minister at Industry Canada. “Federal government labs are working with Canadian technology firms to promote the safe and secure use of new technologies.”

One of PAL’s goals is to provide analysis of existing and emerging security threats to what’s being called next-generation or converged networks, like IP and MPLS (multi-protocol label switching).

Like all IP-based applications, VoIP is vulnerable to attacks that can result in service disruptions and theft. By architecting advanced, host-based intrusion prevention technology into their systems, Third Brigade says VoIP providers are addressing a key customer concern, and will help ensure the rapid adoption of their products and services.

VoIP, or IP telephony, can potentially offer a broad range of compelling benefits, if deployed carefully and correctly. Experts often cite simplified network infrastructure, increased room for growth, reduced operating costs and improved productivity among the major advantages.

Third Brigade’s host-based intrusion prevention system is one of the technologies being used by PAL in its ongoing engineering studies into VoIP and IP network vulnerabilities.

The vendor describes its security software as a deep packet inspection engine that checks inbound and outbound traffic streams for malicious code and protocol anomalies that match defined rules.

“Industry Canada is involved in stimulating the study of VoIP security between government, industry and academia partners,” says Brian O’Higgins, CTO, Third Brigade.

“The valuable insights we’re gaining from their studies will help further ensure we’re able to provide the most advanced, practical security solutions for today’s telecommunications systems, and tomorrow’s.”

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