November 19, 2012
Why is a Session Border Controller Important?
By Rich Steeves TMCnet Web Editor
Sometimes, a piece of technology that is designed for one purpose will prove itself to be useful in other areas as well. You might have bought your pickup truck to haul lumber around, but then you realized it was the perfect vehicle for off-roading and towing, as well. And, as many companies implemented VoIP calling technology, they discovered that session border controllers were not only good for ensuring communication between protocols, but that they provided security as well.
Many companies deployed session border controllers to ensure that VoIP calls are properly routed between network providers. Since different providers use different communications protocols, the SBC is needed to enable these protocols co communicate with one another and allow the calls to be delivered across different networks. But, as more and more companies have implemented VoIP technology, the SBC has started to play a more prominent role in securing these networks.
By its very nature, VoIP applications are exposed to networks that are out of the control of an enterprise or network provider. Often, VoIP is carried over public networks and calls can be initiated or completed on devices ranging from computers to smartphones, and these devices are not regulated, leaving VoIP communications vulnerable to malicious and fraudulent attacks. But session border controllers help control several common threats, including: service theft and fraud, spoofing, denial-of-service or distributed-denial-of-service attacks and registration storms.
SBCs deal with these issues in several ways. First, they apply cryptographic scrambling to voice and video messages, requiring authentication mechanisms to prevent eavesdropping. They also used back-to-back user agents to hide the architecture of a call so that malicious agents cannot discover sensitive information about the network. Finally, they maintain certain lists to allow a range of network access to certain operators.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli