Virtual cloud phones vs. landline phones: Which are more secure?

In this article, you will get a brief conclusion about which phone system is more secure. You will also learn about their security issues and measures to understand the security level they are giving to users.

The phone system has come a long way from a wire-based landline phone system to an internet-based virtual cloud phone system. Today, both these systems have a significant role in normal households, businesses, and government agencies.

Undoubtedly, virtual cloud phones are way more forward than landline phones in terms of features, flexibility, and cost. But people and businesses are more concerned about their security and privacy.
When it comes to security, many people are still unsure about which is more secure: virtual cloud phones or landline phones.

Both virtual cloud phones and landline phones are vulnerable to security issues. The question is which one provides more security than the other.

What is a virtual cloud phone? How does it work?

A virtual cloud phone allows users to make and receive phone calls via the internet connection and the cloud. It uses VoIP technology.

Users can handle the calls using smartphones, desktop apps, web apps, or desk phones. It converts audio signals to digital signals and vice-versa during phone calls.

Virtual phone lines are not physically connected to each device. They can be accessed on any device as long as there is the internet. That makes it flexible and can be accessed from any location.

One of the biggest benefits of using a virtual phone is its set of advanced features. That's why most companies are moving from traditional phone systems to cloud-based phone systems to improve their calling experience.

Intelligent call routing, Automatic Call Distribution(ACD), Interactive Voice Response(IVR), Call recording, Call monitoring, etc. are some of the powerful features of virtual phones.

Cloud phones use virtual phone numbers for calling and messaging. It allows you to get virtual numbers from any country of your choice. You can get local numbers, national numbers, toll-free numbers, mobile numbers, and vanity numbers.

Another benefit of virtual phone systems is that they are cost-effective. They are a lot cheaper than any traditional phone system. According to stats, getting a virtual phone system reduces initial cost by 90%, international phone calls by 90%, and local calls by 40% for business

What is a landline phone? How does it work?

A landline phone allows users to make and receive phone calls via physical media like copper wire or fiber optic cable.

It is also referred to as a dedicated line because two physical locations have a permanent connection using wires or cables. It converts audio signal to analog signal and vice versa during phone calls.

Generally, there are two different types of landline phones. One of corded landline and the other is a cordless phone.

A corded landline is connected to the phone service provider's wiring via a wall jack. This landline device has a base and a receiver connected by a cord. It can even work without electricity.

A cordless phone is also connected to the phone service provider's wiring via a wall jack but only on the base.
The receiver is connected wirelessly. It has a short wireless range. The cordless phone needs to be plugged in for electricity. Unlike a corded landline, it cannot function during power outages.

Landline phone systems have basic features like call routing, call forwarding, call recording, call transfer, etc. It requires a separate physical phone line connection for each device.

Virtual Cloud Phones Vs Landline Phones: The Differences

The main purpose of virtual phones and landline phones are the same which is to make and receive phone calls. But looking at their features and services, virtual phones are far ahead of landline phones.

Virtual phones are more flexible, cost-effective, and powerful than landline phones. However, the main concern for people and businesses is security. A phone system needs to be secure for privacy and data protection.

Virtual phones and landline phones both have security issues and strengths. To come to a conclusion on which is more secure, let's have a look at their security issues and measures.

What are the security issues of virtual cloud phones?

Although the virtual cloud phone has the merits of its advanced technology, it is not untouchable by security vulnerabilities. Some key security issues have been a major problem for many. Here are some of them:

1. Internet-based hacking

As we know, virtual cloud phones require an internet connection to function. It's great but also a gateway to much internet-based hacking. This can compromise the reliability of virtual phones.

Internet-based hacking can do more harm than you can imagine. It can listen to your calls, increase your phone bills, steal confidential information, and many more. Businesses are more likely to bear more losses. Even the customers can lose their sensitive information.

Generally, virtual phones have more network security risks than landline phones. The following are some common types of internet-based hacking:

i. Unauthorized use

It occurs when a hacker gets access to your virtual phone account and uses it to make phone calls. They can do anything with your account even using the auto-dialing feature and robo calling.

If you are running a business with that account, hackers can get the information of customers and even ask them for sensitive information like credit card details.

There is a high chance that customer might give them what hackers needs. They can easily scam people without being detected by you.

ii. Toll fraud

It occurs when a hacker uses your account to make international phone calls. Although virtual cloud phones are cheaper than landlines, they are still more expensive for local calls. Hackers will make the call and you will have to pay for the calls you never did.

iii. Caller ID spoofing

It occurs when a hacker uses a fake caller ID to call you with the intent of scam or defraud. Fake caller ID can fool you into thinking someone you know is calling you. This could lead to exposing sensitive information to the wrong person and eventually access to your virtual phone account.

iv. Eavesdropping

It occurs when a hacker eavesdrops on your phone conversation without authority. Hackers listen to your conversation and get sensitive information. They can also listen to the call recordings or voicemails with unauthorized access.

2. Government surveillance

Virtual phone service providers are under the legal regulations of the government. This means the government has law enforcement access to your virtual phone.

Government can spy on your conversations at any given moment. Once law enforcement obtains the warrant, they have the right to place electronic surveillance on your virtual phone.

What are the security issues of landline phones?

Like virtual phones, landline phones are also prone to security vulnerabilities. Though landline phones are analog and cannot be digitally hacked, there are ways in which hackers can get into your phone system. Here are some of the major security issues of landline phones:

1. Wiretapping

Landline phones convert your voice data while talking on the phone to electrical signals. The signal is transmitted through the physical phone line.

If anyone gets access to the phone line then he/she can tap your phone calls using a wiretapping device. The person will be able to listen to your phone conversation. The wiretapping device converts the electrical signals to voice data which anyone can easily listen to and understand.

2. Cordless phones

Cordless phones are popular in households and offices because the receiver is wireless and people can talk on it like a mobile phone within a certain range. It's convenient but also makes it vulnerable to interception.

Anyone with a radio scanner can intercept your phone and listen to an ongoing conversation. Anyone can get this radio scanner from a local store or an online store at a reasonable price. Analog cordless phones are even riskier to use than corded phones.

There are digital cordless phones that are way more secure than analog cordless phones. They are less likely to be hacked with a radio scanner but are still hackable.

People will need advanced equipment to hack the digital cordless phones and easily intercept the call to eavesdrop on the conversation.

3. Government surveillance

Like the virtual phone service providers, landline phone service providers are also under the legal regulations of the government. This means the government has law enforcement access to your landline phone.

Government can spy on your conversation at any given moment. Once law enforcement obtains the warrant, they have the right to place electronic surveillance on your landline phone.

How secure is a virtual phone?

Now that we have briefly understood the security issues of a virtual phone, it's normal to question what kind of security is put in place to tackle such vulnerabilities.

Since virtual phones are gaining huge popularity, especially in the business sector. There is a lot of effort put in to secure the system. Here are some of the major security added to a virtual phone:

1. Encryption

Encryption is the simple process of mixing up the voice data packets into incomprehensible jumbles while traveling from origin to destination. This prevents hackers from intercepting or deciphering any information.
Even if your virtual phone gets intercepted, hackers will have a very hard time figuring out what encrypted data means.

There are different kinds of encryption used by virtual phone service providers to secure their systems. Popular service providers offer Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
SIP Signaling Encryption using TLS and Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) are some of the powerful end-to-end encryption against hackers' activity.

2. Multi-factor authentication

You must have heard about two-factor authentication. It's one of the strong practices to enhance the security of the system. In our case, virtual phone systems are greatly benefited from using the multi-actor authentication method.

This method asks users to give two different forms of identification for logging in to their virtual phone system. Usually, it asks you to input your account credentials and a verification code. If logging in on a new device, you will have to verify that it's your device to access it.

Even if hackers have your account credentials, multi-factor authentication prevents hackers from using your account from other devices.

3. Virtual Private Network

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs is one of the popular terms in networking. Most people and businesses use VPNs to get a secure channel for exchanging data. VPN for virtual phone systems provides secure tunnels with encryption to send VoIP data over the internet.

VPN will protect your virtual phone conversations from hackers or unauthorized parties. It will encrypt your data from people monitoring your virtual phone account activity illegally. It encrypts traffic against mass surveillance and analysis.

4. VLANs

One of the benefits of a physical network is that it can be easily divided into multiple virtual networks. This creates a layer of advanced security for businesses using virtual phones.

Using a separate Virtual LAN enables you to restrict your virtual phone traffic only on that particular network tunnel. This will increase the security of your phone system. It will be harder for hackers to attack a separate VLAN.

If you detect any security issue with your virtual phone, you can directly check this particular virtual network and fix the problem.

How secure is a landline phone?

Similar to virtual phones, landline phones also have got security measures to tackle any security vulnerabilities. Let's have a look.

1. Encryption

Landline phones have encryption so that anyone trying to listen to your conversation won't understand anything. Especially for cordless landline phones with wireless technology, no one will be able to decipher the data even if anyone intercepts the phone line.

Which is more secure: Virtual phones or landline phones?

Although virtual phone seems to have higher chances of getting hacked, it has also received multiple forms of security measures to tackle any security issues. This already makes it more secure than landline phones.

According to stats, more than 61% of businesses are switching from traditional phone systems to VoIP phone systems. This stat itself is proof that despite the hacking, virtual phones have a better security system. If it wasn't secure, businesses would never risk switching to VoIP.

Landlines phones aren't bad. They are secure too but they cannot match the security that virtual phones provide.

Although it's true people need to have physical access for wiretapping which will be difficult, it's still not a logical reason to think landline phones are more secure than virtual phones.

To sum up, virtual phones are more secure than landline phones. It will require hacking expertise and advanced equipment to hack into the virtual phone system which would still be insufficient because of the advanced security that virtual phones provide.


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