Gloomy Monday for Net phones

Vonage outage, and news of hackable Net phones

Tech Culture

It's a VoIP kind of day. Or not, I guess. Vonage had an hour-long service outage that sent emails streaming into our tip boxes here at Not a good thing for a company that's trying to compete with ordinary phone service which – for all the phone companies' problems – very, very rarely goes out.

Then the New York Times publishes a big piece looking at how Net voice service is very hackable. "Tapping phones by hacking into servers and hard drives is easier than wiretapping, which requires special equipment and more effort. Now, hackers can eavesdrop on hundreds of calls without ever leaving home," the paper writes.

The article is a quintessential scare piece, with nothing but frightening factoids on the first page, and very little about what companies like Vonage are doing to address the known security issues. But whatever is lacking, it's true that companies need to button this issue up before consumers will flock to Internet voice services, particularly when people are already migrating to cell phones instead.

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