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SPIT happens

Dec 19, 20052 mins

* Network planners worry about Spam over Internet Telephony

As a part of the soon-to-be-released 2005-2006 Webtorials “VoIP State-of-the-Market Report,” user attitudes toward Spam over Internet Telephony (SPIT) were included for the first time. To put the question into context, the Webtorials community, which consists primarily of individuals responsible for designing their company’s next generation of networking, was surveyed in August and September. The roughly 375 respondents were representative of these network planners and implementers, with responses coming from companies of all sizes on a global basis.

Over the past four years, the community has been queried about what it sees as primary impediments to implementation. Not surprisingly, security remains a major concern. In fact, drilling a bit deeper, for the past three years the community has been asked, “What are your major concerns about the security of VoIP?” The respondents were asked to choose from a laundry list of 12 possible factors, indicating all that apply.

Not surprisingly, factors having to do with network infrastructure security significantly exceeded concerns about the security of the conversation content.

A new option for this year, “Viruses and denial-of-service attacks [that] reduce network bandwidth, server or endpoint availability,” was the primary concern, cited by 63% of the respondents.

The surprise concern, though, was another new option, “SPIT floods voicemail inboxes.” It was cited by 40% of respondents, making it the fifth-most-important concern overall.

The lesson is clear. The beauty of IP telephony is the power of converged applications, integrating telephony with applications of all sorts. At the same time, we may be opening a Pandora’s box with the ability to mass-generate voicemail messages and calls of the same ilk as we now face with e-mail.

The full report, by the way, will be available at Webtorials in January.