In an incident described as “unprecedented” by cybersecurity experts, a coordinated series of cyber attacks have struck UK-based providers of voice over internet protocol services, also known as VoIP.
VoIP providers offer internet-based calls to a variety of customers, from everyday people to public services to businesses, including NHS and the metropolitan police. VoIP is an extremely popular service, with offshore scammers historically exploiting the service to spoof UK numbers.
According to experts, these extortion attempts are by professional cyber criminals as part of a coordinated international campaign. They targeted VoIP in order to extort the companies which provide it.
A Comms Council UK spokesman has said that it’s impossible to say at the moment how many firms have been affected, commenting that the organisation has “never seen anything like it since we were established back in 2004”
DDoS has been described as an interesting choice of attack by the hackers by Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert from the University of Surrey.
Technology to protect businesses and websites against DDoS attackers has massively improved in recent years, and the form of attack is typically regarded by cyber criminals as a low-level, unsophisticated form of hacking. Not to mention the fact that most cyber criminals typically use ransomware to extort money from companies.
But the hackers use of DDoS to exploit VoIP is actually extremely clever, involving a twist on traditional approaches to the attack.
These attacks have the potential to make Zoom and Teams meetings extremely painful, with frequent drop-outs and lags, prompting major complaints from customers to the providing companies.
This attack has been described by Comms Council UK as a “threat” to the “entire industry”. As we all become more reliant on forms of technology like VoIP, what with the phasing out of copper networks across the UK, attacks like these also pose a threat to businesses across the country.